God Is Able to Keep You!

First Presbyterian Church of Elmer

107 Chestnut Street

Elmer, NJ 08318

Sermon Notes (Pentecost Sunday ~ May 15, 2016)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

God Is Able to Keep You!

Psalm 121; Jude 24-25

 

A little boy walked down the street, clutching his dad’s finger.  Along the way, the boy slipped, lost his grip, and fell.  His dad picked him up and they continued along.  It wasn’t long before it happened again.  His dad picked him up again, but the next time, the boy said to his dad, “Daddy, instead of me holding your hand, you should hold my hand.”  The father took the son by the hand.  The little boy did not fall again.  In a greater, deeper, and higher way, God is ABLE to keep us when we cannot keep ourselves.

 

The Epistle of Jude is one chapter, only 25 verses.  The purpose of the letter is found in verse 3: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”  The Book of Jude, therefore, is a call to live faithfully and to hold onto the truth of the gospel.

 

What was the threat for such faithfulness?  The threat is found in verse 4: “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”  False teachers were leading people into sin.  Professing Christians were falling away from the faith.

 

In verse 21 Jude says, “Keep yourself in God’s love.”  True saints persevere in faith until the end.  The key to perseverance amid deceiving errors and tempting sins is to keep yourself in the love of God, BUT what happens when you cannot keep yourself?  Verses 24-25 answer this question.  It is one of the greatest doxologies in the New Testament.

 

This doxology – this declaration of praise – teaches us that God is able to keep us when we cannot keep ourselves.  The doxology of Jude 24-25 is a song of victory, a high note of praise, and a great assurance for the redeemed.  How should we respond to the fact that we cannot keep ourselves?  The doxology in Jude 24-25 teaches us to trust and praise the God who is able to keep us.

 

The last lesson I want to leave with this church family is simple: God and God alone!  Two important things Jude tells us of what God our Savior is able to do for us.  First, God will keep us from falling all the way; Second, God will present us faultless at the end.  And as a result, we will always give Him the glory.

 

First: God Will Keep us from Stumbling

Jude reminds us in verses 24-25, “To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.”  Friends, we live with this awareness, this possibility of stumbling.  We know the weakness and wickedness of our own heart.  In James 3:2 we read, “We all stumble in many ways.  Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”

 

If stumbling is the sad reality, there is even a greater and more comforting reality.  God is fully committed to us.  No one will be able to keep us from stumbling but the Lord!  Our hope does not lie on the fact that we hold God’s hand, but on the truth that He holds our hand.  Whenever we lean on any thing but the power of God, we lean on a reed shaken with the wind.  Our God is able to save sinners and strengthen them.

 

1 Peter 1:5 echoes the same truth.  Peter states, we are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  We are “kept by the power of God,” but this is not an automatic process where we are passive.  To enjoy this benefit we must be very much active; for it says, we are “kept by the power of God through faith.”  God does the keeping and we must do the believing.  We are not the power holders.  God is.

 

Second: God Will Present us Faultless

“To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy …”  Not only God is able to keep us from falling, but also He is able to present us faultless.  “Without fault” means without spot or without blemish.  The word is used with reference to sacrificial animals being without defect or blemish.  It is also used to refer to complete sinlessness, as when it refers to the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 9:11; 1 Peter 1:19).  It means faultless in righteousness.

 

When you think about this promise, it’s amazing.  The longer I live, the more I realize that I fall short.  I am much more aware today of my own imperfection than when I was younger.  But we see this again and again in Scripture as a core celebration of the gospel’s power to save: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Ephesians 1:4).  When Christ brings us before the throne of God, He will clothe us with His own fine linen, and present us faultless.  Friends, we shall be truly the righteousness of God in Christ.

 

To Him Be Glory

To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.”  To God be the glory!  For the promises to keep us from stumbling and present us without fault when our mission on earth is completed, to Him be the glory.  For the time He has given me to serve this wonderful congregation, to Him be the glory.  For the faithfulness of so many people in this church family, to Him be the glory.  For the lives have been transformed and empowered by the good news of the gospel over the last few years at EPC, to Him be the glory.

 

Friends, as we venture this transition as a body of Christ here, let’s fully trust that God will keep us from stumbling and will bring the work He has begun in us into completion.  Today is Pentecost Sunday.  The Church all over the world celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit; the gift of God’s very presence.  God is always with us!  Let me remind you of the promises in Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip — He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm — He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  To Him be the glory!  Amen.

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