Jude opens his letter with great humility. He identifies himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, which is how we should all feel. His heart is to deliver a message of salvation to the unknown community of people that he is addressing. But, because some false teachers had started teaching that God’s grace allows us to go on sinning as much and as often as we want to, he feels it is much more important to rebuke these teachers and correct their teaching. These teachers had not had a real experience of salvation that changed them from their sinful ways, they were not “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. While forgiveness and grace are certainly there for those of us who fall, it is not meant to allow us to live a sinful lifestyle. This would be in direct conflict with Romans 6:
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.–Romans 6:1-4 (NLT)
Those who do these sinful things and teach this false doctrine are making a mockery of God’s grace that He has shown to us. As we are told in Galatians 6:
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.– Gal. 6:7-8 (NLT)
So we must stand firm in what we know to be the truth. When we accept Jesus, we are no longer slaves to the flesh, we are “New creations” and now we are slaves to Christ Jesus and we walk in the Spirit. Do not be deceived by every “new” philosophy that comes along. Stand on the Rock and teach the Truth, even though it is no longer popular to do the right thing.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.– Romans 16:17
From the first century church until now, there have been those who use the Gospel for their own benefit. No matter what size the congregation, satan seems to always have one of his minions involved. Whether they are misleading people for financial gain, power or popularity, the reason really doesn’t matter. We must be aware of anyone whose message doesn’t quite align with the scriptures. Even more dangerous are those whose words ring true but their actions do not agree with what they say. These people are usually easy on the eyes and their speech is very eloquent. It is extremely hard for the flesh to resist them. But, as we have learned, following them leads to death. Sometimes spiritual death, other times both spiritual and physical death. We need to pray for discernment so that we will be aware of these deceivers. We are warned over and over in the Bible that these people will abound more and more as the second coming of our Lord and Savior grows ever nearer.12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.— Jude 12-13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. – Jude 5-8 NLT
Jude continues his warnings to the early Christians and to us to stay alert for false prophets and those teaching false doctrines. When we look around us in today’s world, we see the same things happening. We often wonder why God allows it to continue. God’s judgment may not come on these people when we think it should, but we can be sure that it is coming in His timing. The people who deny God’s existence will be punished as surely as these people in the Old Testament. There is a heaven and there is a hell. There are angels and there are demons. Those who do not believe this live immoral lives and tempt others to do the same. We must continue to stand firm. The end will come and the earth will be consumed by fire. Of this, we can be sure. We don’t need to focus on how or when this will happen. We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus and know that one day we will see Him face-to-face.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
We can see the things that are spoken of here in these verses happening in our churches of today. We have church leaders who are leading their congregations astray by teaching them that they have the liberty to live their lives as they please. Their messages “tickle the ears” of the people. Instead of preaching purity and obedience, they are saying “live like you want to live”, fulfill the desires of the flesh, its okay. But God says we are to be holy because He is holy and we are to pattern our lives after Jesus. Do not be deceived by false teachers, we will reap what we sow. If we sow fleshly desires, we will reap the consequences of those acts. If we sow righteousness, peace, joy, patience, forgiveness and the fruits of the Spirit, we will reap the rewards of those actions. Love God and follow His commands daily. Then we will be safe in God’s love.
God does not accept false worship. You know, the kind of worship where you are watching the clock and waiting for it to strike high noon. Just as he was upset with the Israelites about performing sacrifices only for tradition’s sake, He doesn’t like halfhearted worship. He wants our full attention and He deserves it. God inhabits the praises of His people. But not that shallow stuff. 3 songs, prayer, collection, sermon, prayer and we are good for the week. Not so, my brothers and sisters. God has something to say to us, give Him your time and your full attention. He is looking at your heart. Have you falsely accused? Have you caused someone else to have to carry a part of your load? Have you encouraged anyone today? Have you given any charitable donations or worked in a local ministry to feed or clothe the poor and needy? If not, then God does not consider that you have worshiped Him properly. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to show you where he needs you to work in His kingdom. Practice this and you will look forward to meeting with the Lord anytime, anywhere. Then the joy of your salvation will be restored.
After Israel was divided, the northern and the southern kingdoms were often at war with each other. On this occasion, Abijah, king of Judah had amassed 400,000 select troups and Jeroboam, king of Israel, had gathered 800,000 select warriors. From the human viewpoint, it was fairly easy to see who would win the war, but God had other plans. Judah had the original powerful weapon of mass destruction on their side. They trusted in God. They still worshipped God as they were supposed to but Israel had polluted their worship service with false prophets and false priests. God only accepts purity, He will not accept being one of many gods, when He is the only true and living God. Even though Judah had enemy troops behind them and in front of them and they were outnumbered two to one, they showed no fear, but trusted God to do what He promised to do. This obedience and trust in God resulted in God winning the battle for them. “God defeated Jeroboam and all of Israel”. All Judah had to do was the “mopping up” and retrieve the bounty. If we refuse to accept God’s gift of salvation and love, then we will have to face His wrath. No one can stand against the wrath of God. The only time satan thought He had defeated God, he soon learned that was his worst defeat. Do not be deceived by appearances and false claims, there is only ONE GOD! He is the Victor and only through Him will we obtain the victory!
2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. — 2 Cor. 11:2-4 NIV
Paul continues to warn the Corinthians about impurities in the church. These warnings apply to us in today’s society as well. In the first century, the people had gods of every description. They built temples in honor of them and offered sacrifices to them. Everyone did what was right in their own minds. We have the same thing happening In our society. We are conditioned to be tolerant of the beliefs of others. While this is good from a worldly viewpoint, it leaves us open to hearing false teachings and to being bullied by those who don’t believe this. But the down side of tolerance is that we get used to whatever we are being tolerant toward. Once we do that, we lose the ability to see it as the enemy of Jesus. Then we are open to accepting a “new” revelation, a “new: gospel and yes, a “new” Jesus. The deceptions blind us to the truth. There is only one way to heaven. That has always been true, is true today and will be true forever.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6
We must be alert and diligent to keep those teachers and teachings from being taught in our congregations. These people who sneak in and try to pervert the pure Gospel have a place reserved for them in eternity.
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. — Jude 12, 13
15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.—Gal. 1:15-19 (NASB)
Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for the remainder of three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD. 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. 20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.—Jude 17-23 (NLT)
We live in the times Jude is describing in these verses. Everyday, we read more and more articles and hear more comments about people who either disrespect Christianity or refuse to believe in God. They are becoming much more militant in their actions each day, demanding more and more rights but at the same time wanting to limit the rights of others. They use all manner of deception and false claims that others are mistreating them. We must stand firm in our beliefs and refuse to compromise the truth that is laid out in the Scriptures. God has not changed His mind about what He knows to be sin. After all, does the Creator not know what actions will harm the creatures He so lovingly created? Which of us can say to the Creator, “hey, you made a mistake”? After all God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. We must encourage new believers to stand firm and grow in the faith. We do this with love and mercy, just as God has shown love and mercy to us. We “snatch others from the flames of judgment” by witnessing to them about Jesus. We must do this also with great love and mercy, not judging them for their sins, but showing them a different way of life. We must love the sinner and hate the sin just as God does. As we do this, we must be sure not to allow the sins to contaminate our lives.
****Bob Dylan circa 1964
1 Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. 2 This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. 3 But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.—1 John 4:1-3 (NLT)
As we all know not everyone that speaks to us has the Spirit of God abiding in them. There are those sent from satan who masquerade as “angels of light” but are actually false prophets. 13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.–2 Cor. 11:13-15 (NLT)
We must always test the spirit and see if it acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The devil knows that God exists and he knows the Scriptures better than we do. The Spirit that dwells in us will witness to us if a person has a kindred Spirit to ours. But if you are in doubt, you can always ask if they believe that Jesus shed His blood on Calvary for our sins. If they acknowledge that this is true and they acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus, then we have assurance that it is not a false spirit. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.—1 Cor. 12:3 (NLT)