Book of Jude

 

            During the past several weeks we have studied the three epistles of John and the book of Jude is an excellent follow up to that study.  I personally believe that not only the preservation of the Bible has been by the providence of God but in addition that the order in which the books of the Bible are presented are by His providence as well.  In I John we learned how to walk in the light and that we must walk in the light of the Word of God in order to be in fellowship with God.  We learned the characteristics or marks of a child of God, how to determine who is a faithful child and who isn’t and that we can KNOW whether we have those characteristics or not, i.e. whether we are a child of God or not.  And, finally, in I John we learned that fellowship with God is only through his Son, Jesus Christ.

            In II John we learned that we are not to have fellowship with deceivers or false teachers, even to the point of avoiding providing any approval to their efforts of making them welcome in our company.  In III John we are given three examples of men; told about their spiritual characteristics, two of which we are to follow and one of which we are to avoid.  We are also given the formula for our support and relationship with missionaries.  These lessons are followed by the book of Jude, which gives us further warning about deceivers and false teachers.  These are lessons that are needed today perhaps as much as any other time in the history of the Lord’s church.

            Jude has a somewhat unique style in that he presents thoughts in groups of three and we will follow this pattern in studying his writing.

 

v.11Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

 

            The first group of three that we encounter is in the very beginning of the first verse of the epistle.  First of all he tells us his name, Jude, second that he is a servant of Christ and thirdly that he is a brother of James.  The James in this instance is the brother of Christ, a prominent member of the Jerusalem church and the writer of the epistle of James rather than either of the other two men named James who were apostles of Christ.  This helps us identify him from earlier scripture:

 

Matthew 13:55  55Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”

 

So therefore this Jude is a fleshly half-brother of Christ as well.  He didn’t believe in the deity of Jesus during his personal ministry (John 7:3-5) but later, after the resurrection, believed.  He was married, traveled and took his wife with him as Paul refers to these facts in I Corinthians 9:5.

            He is writing to Christians, members of the body of Christ and we see this in the language in the balance of this verse, another figure of three.  We’re told that even though its authenticity is questioned by some that Tertullian believed it to be genuine, Clement of Alexandria quoted from it as scripture and wrote a commentary on the book of Jude.  The matter of its inclusion in the canon of scripture was settled completely in the middle of the third century and it has been included in the canon of the New Testament ever since.  We have no idea when it was written nor where.  Scholars have been intrigued because it bears a lot of resemblance to the book of II Peter.

 

v.22Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

 

            Another trio of terms is used to wish the people to whom this letter is addressed well in their walk of faith.  It is very similar, again, to:

 

I Peter 1:22Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

 

II Peter 1:22Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,”

 

v3.  “BELOVED, WHEN I GAVE ALL DILIGENCE TO WRITE UNTO YOU OF THE COMMON SALVATION, IT WAS NEEDFUL FOR ME TO WRITE UNTO YOU, AND EXHORT you THAT YE SHOULD EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH WHICH WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS.”

 

            Jude in his epistle apparently originally intended to write to these brethren about the “common salvation”; perhaps a letter of encouragement and edification.  But, again apparently, a situation had arisen that called for something different, a situation that involved false teachers.  Those addressed have had the faith delivered to them through the preaching of Jude and others.  What is The Faith?  It is the entire deposit of Truth, delivered by Jesus, His apostles, and the Holy Spirit, infallibly and correctly through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  It is all scripture, which is given by the inspiration of God:

 

II Timothy 3:1616All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

 

Paul in his latter writing to Timothy used other words to describe his subject.  Those sound words, those words taught by Paul and recorded in his epistles:

 

II Timothy 1:13  “HOLD FAST THE FORM OF SOUND WORDS, WHICH THOU HAST HEARD OF ME, IN FAITH AND LOVE WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.”

 

The whole counsel of God, which he told the Ephesian elders he had provided to them.

 

Acts 20:24-27  “BUT NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME, NEITHER COUNT I MY LIFE DEAR UNTO MYSELF, SO THAT I MIGHT FINISH MY COURSE WITH JOY AND THE MINISTRY, WHICH I HAVE RECEIVED OF THE LORD JESUS, TO TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.  AND NOW, BEHOLD, I KNOW THAT YE ALL, AMONG WHOM I HAVE GONE PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, SHALL SEE MY FACE NO MORE.  WHEREFORE I TAKE YOU TO RECORD THIS DAY, THAT I am PURE FROM THE BLOOD OF ALL men.  FOR I HAVE NOT SHUNNED TO DECLARE UNTO YOU ALL THE COUNSEL OF GOD.”

 

            Jude writes that we are to contend for the faith - what does that mean?

 

con·tend (ken-tènd¹) verb

con·tend·ed, con·tend·ing, contends verb, intransitive

1.   To strive in opposition or against difficulties; struggle: armies contending for control of strategic territory; had to contend with long lines at the airport.

2.   To compete, as in a race; vie.

3.   To strive in controversy or debate; dispute. See synonyms at DISCUSS.[1]

 

In addition we are to stand firm in it.

 

Philippians 1:27  “ONLY LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE AS IT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THAT WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU, OR ELSO BE ABSENT, I MAY HEAR OF YOUR AFFAIRS, THAT YE STAND FAST IN ONE SPIRIT, WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”


            And Paul tells us to fight the good fight of faith.

 

I Timothy 6:12  “FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH, LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE, WHEREUNTO THOU ART ALSO CALLED, AND HAST PROFESSED A GOOD PROFESSION BEFORE MANY WITNESS.”

 

v4.  “FOR THERE ARE CERTAIN MEN CREPT IN UNAWARES, WHO WERE BEFORE OF OLD ORDAINED TO THIS CONDEMNATION, UNGODLY MEN, TURNING THE GRACE OF OUR GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS, AND DENYING THE ONLY LORD GOD, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.”

 

            We’re told by Jude here that these men crept in unawares.  How can that happen, weren’t we warned?

 

Matthew 7:155Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

 

Matthew 24:11 “11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”

 

II Peter 2:1  “BUT THERE WERE FALSE PROPHETS ALSO AMONG THE PEOPLE, EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU, WHO PRIVILY SHALL BRING IN DAMNABLE HERESIES, EVEN DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, AND BRING UPON THEMSELVES SWIFT DESTRUCTION.”

 

            And many other places in New Testament scripture.  But yet today; to many, many of our brethren the false teachers that brought about the current apostasy, the current digression from the Word of God did creep in unawares just as they did in Galatia and other places that Paul is referring to when he wrote to the Galatian brethren.

 

Galatians 2:4  “AND THAT BECAUSE OF FALSE BRETHREN UNAWARES BROUGHT IN , WHO CAME IN PRIVILY TO SPY OUT OUR LIBERTY WHICH WE HAVE IN CHRIST JESUS, THAT THEY MIGHT BRING US INTO BONDAGE.”

 

            But weren’t there those among our brethren who tried to warn us?  Does anyone know just when faithful preachers started trying to warn us of the current digression, the current apostasy, started?  I have books in my library copyrighted in 1966 that warned those who would listen that what we see today was coming.  How could we have prevented this tragedy from happening?  Jesus said, become fruit inspectors:


 Matthew 7:16 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

 

We needed to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, proving by scripture what the preacher was telling them.  We must do as the Hebrew writer tells us “MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET”, “FOLLOW PEACE WITH ALL, AND HOLINESS”

 

Hebrews 12:15  “LOOKING DILIGENTLY LEST ANY MAN FAIL OF THE GRACE OF GOD; LEST ANY ROOT OF BITTERNESS SPRINGING UP TROUBLE you, AND THERE MANY BE DEFILED.”

 

            During the past 40 years these men and their teaching have taken over most of the larger congregations in our major cities, medium sized cities and even in smaller towns and are in total rebellion against the word of God.  The same kind of men have taken over the colleges that many of us and our immediate ancestors slaved to establish and support to the extent today that we can’t send our children to any so-called Christian School and be assured that they will still be faithful Christians when they complete their advanced education.  Men such as Paul described to Titus:

 

Titus 1:16  “THEY PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD; BUT IN WORKS THEY DENY him, BEING ABOMINABLE, AND DISOBEDIENT, AND UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK REPROBATE.”

 

            Or if you want to use the language of John the Apostle of love.

 

I John 2:22  “WHO IS A LIAR BUT HE THAT DENIETH THAT JESUS IF THE CHRIST?  HE IS ANTICHRIST; THAT DENIETH THE FATHER AND THE SON.”

 

            And as we studied in I John, the antichrist is not just the devil, but anyone who opposes the Word of God.  Anyone who is anti-Christ; anyone who opposes the doctrine or teaches a different doctrine than that given by the Holy Spirit through Jesus and the inspired writers.  One more thought before we move on.  Elders; what is this congregation doing to educate and build some backbone into our younger men so that Sunset won’t follow the same pattern 5, 10, 15 or 20 years from now?

 

v5.  “I WILL THEREFORE PUT YOU IN REMEMBRANCE, THOUGH YE ONCE KNEW THIS, HOW THAT THE LORD, HAVING SAVED THE PEOPLE OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, AFTERWARD DESTROYED THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT.”

 

            Now Jude gives his readers and us a series of word pictures to describe the destiny of those who oppose God; those who disobey God’s commandments, those who hold the word of God in such contempt that they will follow their own devices, their own wants even when they know better.  He places us in remembrance of the punishment of those who stood in defiance of God in the wilderness.  Those who looked at the promised land of Canaan; and then said we will not go there and tried to elect themselves a new captain to lead them back to Egypt.  We read of them in numerous places:

 

Numbers 14:29  “YOUR CARCASES SHALL FALL IN THIS WILDERNESS; AND ALL THAT WERE NUMBERED OF YOU, ACCORDING TO YOUR WHOLE NUMBER, FROM TWENTY YEARS OLD AND UPWARD, WHICH HAVE MURMURED AGAINST ME,”

 

Numbers 14:37  “EVEN THOSE MEN THAT DID BRING UP THE EVIL REPORT UPON THE LAND, DIED BY THE PLAGUE BEFORE THE LORD.”

 

Psalms 106:26  “THEREFORE HE LIFTED UP HIS HAND AGAINST THEM, TO OVERTHROW THEM IN THE WILDERNESS:”

 

I Corinthians 10:9  “NEITHER LET US TEMPT CHRIST, AS SOME OF THEM ALSO TEMPTED, AND WERE DESTROYED OF SERPENTS.”

 

Hebrews 3:17  “BUT WITH WHOM WAS HE GRIEVED FORTY YEARS? Was it NOT WITH THEM THAT HAD SINNED, WHOSE CARCASES FELL IN THE WILDERNESS?”

 

            Then he tells us about angels who defied their creator.

 

v6.  “AND THE ANGELS WHICH KEPT NOT THEIR FIRST ESTATE, BUT LEFT THEIR OWN HABITATION, HE HATH RESERVED IN EVERLASTING CHAINS UNDER DARKNESS UNTO THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY.”

 

            Jude tells us that even the angels kept not their first estate, they sinned and God punished them; how can that be?  Peter confirms this fact:

 

II Peter 2:4  “FOR IF GOD SPARED NOT THE ANGELS THAT SINNED, BUT CAST them DOWN TO HELL, AND DELIVERED them INTO CHAINS OF DARKNESS, TO BE RESERVED UNTO JUDGMENT;”

 

            The devil himself is an angel who sinned, fallen, rebelled against God whom God has allowed to deceive mankind and we confirmed that in a study that we did last summer.  God has reserved a place for Satan and those that he deceives.


 Revelation 20:10  “AND THE DEVIL THAT DECEIVED THEM WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, WHERE THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET ARE, AND SHALL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER.”

 

            How did Jesus address the false teachers of his day?  What was His attitude towards those who would sow the poison that would cost men their souls?  How did he address the Pharisees?

 

John 8:44  YE ARE OF your FATHER THE DEVIL, AND THE LUSTS OF YOUR FATHER YE WILL DO. HE WAS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, AND ABODE NOT IN THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. WHEN HE SPEAKETH A LIE, HE SPEAKETH OF HIS OWN: FOR HE IS A LIAR, AND THE FATHER OF IT.”

 

v7.  “EVEN AS SODOM AND GOMORRHA, AND THE CITIES ABOUT THEM IN LIKE MANNER, GIVING THEMSELVES OVER TO FORNICATION, AND GOING AFTER STRANGE FLESH, ARE SET FORTH FOR AN EXAMPLE, SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE.”

 

            We remember Sodom and Gomorrha, in his conversation with Abraham, God consented to not destroy these cities if he could find but ten righteous men within them.  But they could not:

 

Genesis 19:24  “THEN THE LORD RAINED UPON SODOM AND UPON GOMORRAH BRIMSTONE AND FIRE FROM THE LORD OUT OF HEAVEN;”

 

            The Holy Spirit through Jude uses one of the most despicable kinds of people that exist on the earth to compare to the false teacher, a sodomite or homosexual.  This was done as an example for us, an example of God’s wrath toward unrighteousness, it doesn’t matter what label man puts on it.  And to think that today in this wonderful land of America we have people who are successfully putting forward this sin that destroyed these two cities as a perfectly, acceptable, alternate life style.  And even more amazing we need only to go as far as the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to find those who profess to be our brethren doing the same thing.

 

v8.  “LIKEWISE ALSO THESE filthy DREAMERS DEFILE THE FLESH, DESPISE DOMINION, AND SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITIES.

 

            Likewise, or in like manner, as Sodom and Gomorrah who were punished by God for their gross sins in the days of Abraham and Lot; people who portray the same characteristics in the time of Jude and today will be punished as well.

            What is it that Jude says are the problems with these people?  They defile the flesh with gross impurity, sins of the flesh condemned explicitly in Romans chapter 1; including homosexuality.   They hold any and all authority in contempt, they despise dominion.  They despise anyone, including God, who would rule over them, they’re rebels, rebellious people who will accept no rule.  In the Old Testament God addresses them in the Mosaic Law

 

Exodus 22:28  “THOU SHALT NOT REVILE THE GODS, NOR CURSE THE RULER OF THY PEOPLE.”

 

            And we find another description of them in the New Testament in the words written by Peter.

 

II Peter 2:10  “BUT CHIEFLY THEM THAT WALK AFTER THE FLESH IN THE LUST OF UNCLEANNESS, AND DESPISE GOVERNMENT. PRESUMPTUOUS are they, SELFWILLED, THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITIES.”

 

            We see them on our televisions every day, especially during the news hour.  During this election year they are especially prominent and active and we recognize them without fail.  But men of the same mind also exist in the congregations of the church across the country, sit on the ruling councils in the so-called Christian colleges and universities but there they are much harder to see.  And when brethren do finally recognize them it’s a long way too late and the damage is done.

 

v9.  “YET MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL, WHEN CONTENDING WITH THE DEVIL HE DISPUTED ABOUT THE BODY OF MOSES, DURST NOT BRING AGAINST HIM A RAILING ACCUSATION, BUT SAID, THE LORD REBUKE THEE.”

 

            Even Michael, the angel of the Lord who was sent to bury Moses wouldn’t speak against or make an accusation against the devil himself such as these men do, but said simply- The Lord rebuke thee.  People with this mindset despise dominion, anyone who would rule over them, they will speak against governing officials and here we’re speaking more of Jesus Christ, the apostles and their teaching or the elders of the church.  They do things that Peter tells us that men like Michael, the archangel, who has much greater power and position in God’s kingdom than mankind will not do before the Lord.

 

II Peter 2:11  “WHEREAS ANGELS, WHICH ARE GREATER IN POWER AND MIGHT, BRING NOT RAILING ACCUSATION AGAINST THEM BEFORE THE LORD.”

 

            And keep in mind during this study that while our minds are probably holding to the corrupt politicians and campaign tactics that we are seeing daily the Jude is talking about rebellious brethren; men that are in Christ’s kingdom that would destroy our faith and they do the same things.

 

v10.  “BUT THESE SPEAK EVIL OF THOSE THINGS WHICH THEY KNOW NOT: BUT WHAT THEY KNOW NATURALLY, AS BRUTE BEASTS, IN THOSE THINGS THEY CORRUPT THEMSELVES.”

 

            And again we find the parallel in Peter’s second letter, in a little different wording

 

II Peter 2:12  “BUT THESE, AS NATURAL BRUTE BEASTS, MADE TO BE TAKEN AND DESTROYED, SPEAK EVIL OF THE THINGS THAT THEY UNDERSTAND NOT; AND SHALL UTTERLY PERISH IN THEIR OWN CORRUPTION;”

 

            The false teachers among us are like brute beasts, they have about the same consideration of mankind and men’s souls as brute beasts would, they speak evil of things they understand not.  Jude says they corrupt themselves, Peter says they destroy themselves, or perish, in their own corruption.  In the verses that follow Jude gives us another series of three examples that describe the kind of condemnation these people will face.

 

v11.  “WOE UNTO THEM! FOR THEY HAVE GONE IN THE WAY OF CAIN, AND RAN GREEDILY AFTER THE ERROR OF BALAAM FOR REWARD, AND PERISHED IN THE GAINSAYING OF CORE.”

 

            They have gone the way of Cain, rebellion against God, refusing God’s commandments regarding how he was to worship.  Do we have the same problem in the congregations of the church today?  Of course we do.  One of the first things men want to change is how God is worshipped adding mechanical instruments, choir, solos, praise teams, and all manner of things that appeal to men’s emotions rather than to God.

 

Genesis 4:5  “BUT UNTO CAIN AND TO HIS OFFERING HE HAD NOT RESPECT. AND CAIN WAS VERY WROTH, AND HIS COUNTENANCE FELL.”

 

            And when God refused to honor or accept his worship what did Cain do?  He became angry with God.  He threw a temper tantrum, his countenance fell, he pouted.

            What is the example that we get from Balaam?  Balak had tried to hire Balaam to place a curse on God’ people, the Israelites, but he refused, at first:

 

Numbers 22:18  “AND BALAAM ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THE SERVANTS OF BALAK, IF BALAK WOULD GIVE ME HIS HOUSE FULL OF SILVER AND GOLD, I CANNOT GO BEYOND THE WORD OF THE LORD MY GOD, TO DO LESS OR MORE.”

 

            But then later Balaam changed his him and rode to meet with the princes of Moab because of his greed but God stopped him.  These who trouble spiritual Israel today are like Balaam, at first following God’s direction but letting their greed get the better of them.  Peter speaks of him as follows:

 

II Peter 2:15  “WHICH HAVE FORSAKEN THE RIGHT WAY, AND ARE GONE ASTRAY, FOLLOWING THE WAY OF BALAAM the son OF BOSOR, WHO LOVED THE WAGES OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS;”

 

            And what did Korah do?  He rebelled against the authority of God.  He gathered a following of 250 princes of Israel:

 

Numbers 16:33And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”

 

            What does this remind us of?  How about Diotrephes in III John who refused to accept the authority of the Apostle John, wouldn’t even allow his letter to be read to the congregation?  How about some of the church fusses that we’re familiar with where members of the congregation decided that the elders had “TOOK TO MUCH UPON YOU” and rebelled against their rule.  And we could site a number of examples but must go on.

 

v.1212These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;”

 

            Another translation calls them rocks in your love feasts.  What is Jude talking about?  They are like brethren who attend and participate in our life group dinners, putting on all the appearance of faithful, loving brethren but in reality looking for the opportunity to create problems.  They are like the piece of bone in a sausage that cost me a broken tooth and a new crown a few months ago.

            These false brethren are like clouds that come over a dry land promising rain but blow on through without refreshing the earth.  These false teachers are pretentious, boastful and promising in their persuasion of gullible brethren but leave nothing behind but disaster.

            They are like fruit trees that bear no fruit, such as the fig tree upon which Jesus placed a curse:

 

Matthew 21:1919And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”

 

v.1313Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

 

            False prophets, false teachers, false brethren are like the waves of the sea, rolling and foaming but throwing up nothing but trash.  They’re like that described by Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 57:2020But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”

 

And Paul:

 

Philippians 3:1919Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

 

Or as Peter describes; turn and read II Peter 2:17-19

 

v.14-15And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

 

            We know who Enoch is, of course, but that’s about all.

 

Genesis 5:23-2423And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

 

            Moses doesn’t tell us that Enoch was a prophet; simply that he walked with God.  There is a book of Enoch that was discovered during the late 1700’s but it is false scripture and was probably written 200-250 years after Jude wrote so where did Jude get his information?  He got it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, just as he did everything else that he wrote.  He uses this reference simply to assure us that God will execute judgment on all men; and these who are standing in opposition to God, who are the ungodly will suffer that judgment.  Daniel describes it this way:

 

Daniel 7:1010A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”

 

            And who are these people whom God is going to visit his judgment upon?

 

v.1616These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

 

            These are the murmurers and complainers; disgruntled church members, people who are always finding fault with everyone else but none of themselves.  We also think of people who rebelled against their lot in life; complainers who cannot be satisfied with what God has provided them; perhaps even railing against God himself.  They have big plans and grandiose ideas that never seem to bring forth fruit; they’re boastful of these grand schemes.  But what Jude has in mind here are brethren like our brethren today who are seeking great numbers rather than spiritual growth; those who throw away the foolishness of preaching the gospel of Christ and use modern marketing schemes and tactics to bring people into what they call church.  These are those who would develop followings after themselves; who build their church membership on emotional appeal, entertainment and by giving worldly people what they want rather than what they need.

 

II Peter 2:1818For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.”


 v.17-1817But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”

 

            Jude says, remember?  You were warned, you shouldn’t be surprised when there is trouble in the church, that we were once persecuted and will be again if certain laws that some people want to pass are successful.  It’s already happening in some areas where preachers who speak against homosexuality and their congregations are being targeted.  Even without that we have enough problems people within our own number:

 

I Timothy 4:1-21Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

 

Read II Timothy 3:1-8

 

v.19These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”

 

            These are they who separate themselves, cause divisions, factions and political parties within the church of our Lord.  The Greek word translated “make separations in the ASV or separate themselves in the KJV literally means to draw a line through the church and set one part against another.  Spiritual Israel is being separated, divided; one part set against another by false teachers and denominationally minded men.  Hosea describes the same thing in physical Israel this way:

 

Hosea 9:1010I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.”

 

James in his epistle describes men of this nature as be full of the wisdom of the world and warns that:

 

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.James 3:15-16


 v.20-2120But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

 

            But you brethren; build up yourselves in your most holy faith; keep yourselves in the love of God.  Pray for that strength, Jude says in the Holy Ghost, Paul says that the Holy Spirit will help us bring our gravest needs to God:

 

Romans 8:2626Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

 

18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:18

 

13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14

 

v.22-23 22And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

 

            There are some you can save with compassion and love; others must be literally pulled out of the way of the fire of hell by instilling fear in their minds of the wrath of God.  Yet there will be those that refuse; Amos wrote of them in physical Israel:

 

Amos 4:1111I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”

 

Be determined, as Paul was, to save some of them if they will allow themselves to be saved:

 

Romans 11:14  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

 

            Even if we lose those that we are trying to save we will save ourselves:

 

I Corinthians 3:1515If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

 

            And we shall be as those Jesus describes in:

 

Revelation 3:4-54Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

 

            Jude closes his letter with praise and honor for God.

 

v.24-2524Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.”

 

            Keep yourself in harmony with Him whom Paul describes as:

 

“…him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20

 

Give ourselves over into the hands of the one:

 

“…that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Romans 16:25-26



[1]The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.