When I was a kid in 1968 my sister had a lot of 45 records. I used to compare the times of the songs which were listed on the front. Almost all of the songs were between 3 and 4 minutes long. The longest song by a wide margin was Hey Jude by the Beatles. Hey Jude was 7 minutes and 14 seconds. That was 3 or 4 minutes longer than any other song that she had on those 45’s and she had a ton of 45’s. On the back of Hey Jude and for you kids out there 45’s had 2 sides was the song “Revolution”. The Beatles were recording on the Apple label which was green and designed like an apple. In the song Hey Jude the lyrics go “Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, Take a sad song and make it better, Remember to let her into your heart then you can start to make it better.”
Ironically in the Bible there is a chapter in the New Testament called Jude. We don’t know much about Jude except he was the brother of James. Where Hey Jude was the longest song in her collection the book of Jude is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Apparently Jude had seen something happening in the church that was very disturbing. People were entering the church and spreading untruths as to what the true gospel was about. They were bringing the idea in that they could live their life without a change in their behavior. Do anything and say anything you want was their motto. This attitude was dividing the church and Jude an unknown felt the need to write a letter reprimanding the church. The letter was all about warning the early believers that these people were dividers and were a threat to destroy the true gospel.
Years ago there was a man that showed up one day at my church. Nobody had ever seen him before. He came in with an agenda and that was exposed when he sat in the adult Sunday school class. At the time the pastors wife was going through a horrible ordeal. She was sick almost all of the time and nobody could pinpoint what was wrong with her. The pastor many times came to church by himself. It turned out that she was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning that the parsonage was spewing. This particular Sunday, despite her illness, she had struggled to make her way to church. The new class member started questioning the churches faith. He was stating that if anyone was sick all they had to do was pray and believe. He questioned the faith of the church and brought hard feelings. The pastors wife was particularly offended by his divisive message because she and her husband had been praying for healing. Now this person was there questioning their faith and judging the church as a whole. After a week or two that unknown visitor left and was not seen again. He came, divided and caused pain and then probably drifted to another church.
Somebody recently made a point in a speech that I heard that there are three types of gatherings. There are Groups which are all about entitlements and social class ruling. there are Gangs that come in with ideas and force them on the entire population, and there are Teams that work together. The Teams are people that no matter what their position are willing to sacrifice for the good of the whole. Whatever job that needs to get done they are willing to do. It may not be something they are totally comfortable doing or do often, but for the good of the whole they do it anyway.
The opposite of this Team player is the Gang mentality that has a specific agenda. The people that had infiltrated the church in Jude’s day were of the Gang mentality. They were pushing their own agenda which was contrary to the Gospel. They were in fact trying to make their own rules and leading others down a path of destruction.
Isn’t it ironic that the Beatles were recording on the “Apple” label. We always have associated an apple with the fruit that was the center of man’s first sin. In the Bible it is the forbidden tree that God said not to eat. The serpent was a disrupter and was very jealous of God’s paradise. One day he tempted Eve and she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam and he ate too. Adam and Eve had listened to another voice and had doubted that God was telling them the truth. That is the same attitude that was in Jude’s time and continues to this very day.
The words “Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, Take a sad song, and make it better” only partially apply to the task of the people of the church. Ours is not a sad song. Ours is the happiest song anyone could ever sing. The Gospel is about Jesus dying for our sins and giving us a path to heaven. That is good news and should cause us to rejoice. We should not be out to disrupt the ship. We should as a Team, be on board willing to do whatever it takes to keep the ship sailing straight. We are not here to revolt and cause a Revolution, which the other side of the record is against. Changing the lyrics of Hey Jude a little gives us a great recommendation. Remember to let him into your heart, then he can start to make you better.
Thinking back to my pastors wife’s dilemma, it wasn’t her lack of faith that was the problem. It was the poison that had penetrated into the walls of her house. She was mysteriously sick for quite awhile. One day they had their house inspected and the root of her illness was discovered. That is exactly the same idea that Jude was getting across to the church. There are people that have come in and are poisoning God’s house with false ideas. These people need to be called out to change their attitudes or leave so that the church is working as a team without sickness from poison in the house.