by James Merritt

This content is part of a series.

Courage under Fire (8 of 9)
Series: Jude - Keeping up Your Guard
James Merritt
Jude 22-23


1. As you know, the Louvre is one of the most famous art museums in all of Europe. They once ran a contest in a newspaper, providing a prize to the person that gave the best answer to this question: ''If a fire broke out in the Louvre, and you could save only one painting, which one would it be?'' Well, Tristan Bernard, a French novelist, won the prize with this reply: ''I would save the one nearest the exit.''1

2. That is not quite the type of courage I want to speak about today. I am speaking about the courage we need in rescuing the lost from the eternal fire of God’s wrath.

3. Jude has written firmly and forthrightly about the subject of apostasy. He writes with a firm hand, but with a broken heart. He knows that apostates are paving a one-way street of spiritual error that dead-ends in hell. He now encourages his readers not just to curse the darkness of apostate teaching, but to light the candle of evangelistic reaching.

4. A tragedy has taken place in the church of the twentieth century. Once great churches and denominations, have withered and died before our very eyes. Consider that from 1960 to 1980:

- the episcopal church declined 79%.
- the Lutheran church in America declined 70%.
- the united Presbyterian church declined 70%.
- the united church of Christ declined 68%.
- the Christian church declined 66%.
- the united Methodist church declined 46%.2

Add to that the fact that 80% of protestant missionaries spreading the gospel, are now affiliated with evangelical groups rather than mainline denominations.3

5. Why has this change taken place? What happened to the mainline denominations? Well, quite frankly, they got away from two things: the word of God and evangelism. I emphasize evangelism because there are some who think just because we are southern Baptists, and we believe the bible, we don’t have to worry abo ...

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