This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth [who is a friend of the Truth, who belongs to the Truth] hears and listens to My voice. John 18:37
["Jude, like James, was a half-brother of the Lord Jesus (Mark 6:3). His letter focuses on false teachers and echoes Peter's warnings in 2 Peter 2. False teachers were creeping into the church and going undetected. These are unsaved people (v. 19), ungodly people (vv. 15, 18), and unprincipled people who use grace as an excuse for sin (v. 4). Like the unbelieving Jews in the wilderness (Heb. 3-4), the fallen angels (Gen. 6), and the evil cities of the plain (Gen. 19) they reject the authority of God. Their words are defiant and defiling (v.16). Like Cain (Gen. 4), they have no saving faith (v.19) but they do have religion (vv. 11-12). Like Balaam (Num. 22-24), they use religion as a way to make money; and like Korah (Num. 16), they defy the Word of God and the authority of God's chosen servants (12-16). False teachers promise much but produce little (beware of the prosperity preachers), like rainless clouds and fruitless trees (vv. 12-16). So remember God's Word (through study, memorizing, listening to it and obeying it; vv.17, 20) and build yourself up in your Christian faith. True believers are "preserved in (or kept by) Jesus Christ" (v. 1; 1 Peter 1:3-9), and they prove this by keeping themselves in God's love (v. 21) through spiritual disciplines; the Word (v.17), prayer (v.20) and other spiritual disciplines (fellowship, service, etc.; see Phil. 2:12-13). Therefore, God can "keep them (all true believers) from falling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy" (vv. 24-25). In trying to minister to people, we must be careful and exercise discernment lest they do us more harm than we do good (Jude 22-23). Concerning the Pharisees, Jesus said to His disciples, "Let them alone" (Matt. 15:14). God told the prophet Hosea, "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone" (Hos. 4:17). And Paul told Timothy to withdraw himself from certain troublemakers (1 Tim. 6:3-5). Ask God for wisdom as you seek to help persons wandering from the faith." Wiersbe, Warren W.: With the Word Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1991, S. Jude] Over the next weeks we will study the book of Jude verse by verse.
V.1 –"Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ (bond-servant; slave – Gr. doulos; a slave devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests), and brother of James (both James, the writer of the epistle and leader of the Jerusalem church, and Jude, were half-brothers of Jesus; Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3; both "Jude" and "Judas" are variants of Judah a common name among Jews. But what a contrast Jude is to the ultimate apostate Judas Iscariot). "To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, (God calls us His beloved) and kept for Jesus Christ." (kept- Gr. tereÃ…Â – to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard; see 1 Peter 1:5)
V.2 -"May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you." Without God's mercy at Calvary we could not have peace with God or the peace of God nor peace with one another. But because we have received God's mercy and peace because of His great love (Eph 2:4), we love Him and we love others as He commands and empowers us to do. (Matt. 22:37-39)
V.3 – "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith (the body of truth taught by the apostles doctrine) which was once for all handed down to the saint."
FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH VERSUS BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT! TOLERANCE WITH PEOPLE BUT NOT TOLERANCE OF THEIR ERROR AND/OR LIES! – Jesus says: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37) "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. (John 14:6) "God's household (all believers) which is the church of the living God, (is) the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15) Thus Jude calls us to know God's Word so we can be both able and willing to contend earnestly for it.
V.4 – "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Jesus said, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matt. 7:15). Most all of the epistles speak of false teachers but Jude devotes almost his entire letter to these apostate teachers who have crept in like wolves in sheep's clothing even as Jesus had warned them (and us) earlier. ["The deadliest assaults against the truth come from the inside. This is what we call apostasy. It is a defection. The most effective attacks against the truth come from those people who purport to know the truth and even to believe the truth. The greatest assaults against the truth don't come from the outside, they come from the inside, from apostates, defectors who name the name of Christ, or once named the name of Christ, and now are the enemies of Christ, who once affirmed their trust in God, belief in God, and affirmed the Scripture and have become the enemies of the Scripture. They're on the inside." J. MacArthur]
I recall to you my comments on "all kinds of strange teachings" from Hebrews 13:9: I will never forget what Ken Boa said to me years ago about reading and studying the Bible. Immediately after he came to Christ and realized that the Bible was true – pure truth, ultimate truth, he changed his career plans and enrolled at Dallas Seminary NOT to pursue a vocation of ministry BUT to study and thoroughly know the Bible because it is TRUTH! Otherwise, as Hebrews13:9 says, we will be "carried away by all kinds of strange teachings." ["The exact number of religions in the world is unknown. Best estimates place the number around 4200. Of this number, a dozen have been classified as "major world religions." Classical World Religions List – Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D.] If there are 4200 different religions (thousands of strange teachings) can you even imagine how many different "opinions" there are on the Bible (much less on how to live life)? Unfortunately even some "Christian" scholars can be the very ones who may lead us into strange teachings so we must be like the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) Add to this the influence of TV and internet with its plethora of information (mainly man's opinions) and the danger of being carried away with lies greatly increases. ["Suppose someone invented an instrument, a convenient little talking tube which, say, could be heard over the whole land…I wonder if the police would not forbid it, fearing that the whole country would become mentally deranged if it were used." Soren Kierkegaard – 1813-1855]
"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus' return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction," (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB). ["The arrival of the Antichrist cannot occur until sufficient apostasy has happened in the world. The Antichrist, who is the ultimate of liars, cannot abide in a world where the truth of God's Word is taught. This is why the Bible says that the apostasy will come first and then the Antichrist will be revealed. Therefore, we must, as Christians, ask this question "Is there an apostasy occurring in the Christian church today?" Apostasy means to fall away from the truth. Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed and then rejected the truth of God. Apostasy is a rebellion against God because it is a rebellion against truth. In the Old Testament God warned the Jewish people about their idolatry and their lack of trust in Him. In the New Testament the epistles warn us about not falling away from the truth. Apostasy is a very real and dangerous threat. If there is indeed an apostasy occurring in the Christian Church, we would not know it unless we first examined the Bible closely and then compared the Church to the Word of God. It is only after truth is established that we would then have a measuring rod by which apostasy can be detected. Therefore, I propose the following list of biblical truths as a sample of essential Christian doctrines by which we might compare other teachings and phenomena." Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry © Matthew J. Slick, 1995 – 2010]
Primary Essentials (Nature and work of Christ) – Cannot deny and be Christian since they are explicitly stated as required in scripture.
- Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14;8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4).
- Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21).
- Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 5:1-5).
- The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
- There is only one God (Exodus 20:1-3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8)
Secondary Essentials – (Nature of God) Cannot deny and be Christian.
- God exists as a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Virgin Birth of Jesus – relates to incarnation of Christ as God and man.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life?
2. Contrast "Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ (bond-servant; slave – Gr. doulos; a slave devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests), to Judas Iscariot. What was Judas Iscariot a slave to? How would being a slave (by choice) to Jesus Christ change how you live today?
3. "Contend earnestly for the faith" (the religious beliefs of Christians – doctrine, truth). FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH VERSUS BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT! TOLERANCE WITH PEOPLE BUT NOT TOLERANCE OF THEIR ERROR AND/OR LIES! Where may God be calling you to fight for the essential doctrines of Christianity?
4. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matt. 7:15). Do you believe that apostasy is occurring in the Christian church today? Where have you observed it?