“A Call to Arms” – The Epistle of Jude 1-25
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Jude's epistle, despite being of few words is powerful and addresses the central problem in the church universal today.
Apostasy, false doctrine that seeks to deceive "the elect:"
And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you."
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
And bring judgment on those who deny Christ and the faith.
Jude's original intent in writing this epistle was "...to write to you (us) concerning our common salvation..." (Vs. 3)
But the Holy Spirit impressed on him a different direction.
Apostasy and false teachers (gnostics) had impermeated the Church.
When the truth of God and His Christ are attacked, we must "contend earnestly for the faith," defeat the lie, and do battle with the forces of evil!
The core of the apostate’s attack against the faith was simple, false doctrine, primarily they taught:
Being saved by grace is a license to sin:
"...ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into license for immorality..." (Jude 4 NIV)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Rms. 6:1-2)
This violates the orthodox Christian doctrine of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility.
So, the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16) led Jude to put down his "harp" and pick up the "trumpet" of battle.
The epistle of Jude is a call to arms for us to engage in this great battle that is being fought in both heaven (Eph. 6:12), and on earth in Christ's church (Jude 4).
"...contend earnestly for the faith..."
"Jude, a bond servant of Jesus Christ..."
* Jude considered the most important relationship as being a slave to Christ Jesus, his Lord and Master.
* "Jude" - Judas or Judah = Praise
"...and brother of James."
* Not as being Christ's half-brother.
* Christ's "brothers" didn't recognize Him as Messiah (Jn. 7:1-9).
* And only came to Him as Lord after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7, Acts 1:14).
"To those who are called..."
*"Called" - It is God's Holy Spirit that calls us to salvation in Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
* God's choosing and God's calling go together (Matt. 22:14).
* "Sanctified" - "Loved in God" (NIV) or beloved of God.
"...preserved in Jesus Christ..."
* "Preserved" - "Kept for Jesus Christ" (NIV).
"...Holy Father keep through Your name those You have given men...I kept them in Your name. Those You gave Me, I have kept..."
* Preserved means "carefully watched and guarded." The Christian is secure in Christ.
"Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you."
*Because of the "mercy" of Christ we have "peace" and rest assured of His "love."
Jude wants to assure his readers of the security of their salvation.
Now he will turn to the destruction of the apostates.
"...our common salvation..."
* Our faith in Christ and the salvation that only He provides.
* Exhort - A General giving orders to his army. Parakaleo (Gk.)
"...contend earnestly for the faith..."
* "Contend earnestly" - Fight to the point of agony in battle.
* "The faith" – Orthodox Christianity, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel...
"...which was once for all delivered to the saints."
* "The faith," and the doctrine that supports it was "delivered” completely in Christ (Heb. 1:1-2).
Cults and false teachers within the church always add to or subtract from the completed, inerrant Word of God (the Holy Bible).
- Mormons add to.
- Jehovah Witnesses add to.
- Some main line "Christian" denominations subtract from.
"...crept in unnoticed..."
* There will always be false teachers, apostates placed by Satan to destroy the Church from within (Matt. 13:19, 31-32, 36-43).
"...long ago were marked out..."
* By the prophets, false prophets were nothing new or their destruction (Jer. 6:14-15).
* Peter also warned these apostates were coming (2 Pet. 2:1), then and now, they are here in the church.
* These men claimed to be "godly," belonging to God, they were actually "ungodly" in their thinking and living.
"...who turn the grace of our God in lewdness..."
* "Grace" vs. "lewdness" (licentiousness).
* "Who pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality." (NIV)
Biblical "grace" means forgiveness and power to overcome sin, not permission to live "lewdly" (immorally).
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
And thereby they:
"...deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
* "...deny Jesus our only Sovereign and Lord." (NIV)
* This phraseology in the Greek confirms Christ is our Sovereign God. God and Jesus are one in the same.
1 John 2:18-23
This is the apostate’s greatest weapon against Christ's church, then and now.
Now Jude will give three examples of Disbelief, Disobedience and Disgusting sin that brought God's righteous judgment.
"...the Lord having saved the people..."
* He freed His chosen people (Hebrews) from bondage in Egypt.
"...afterwards destroyed those who did not believe."
God judged His own people for their disbelief. (Heb. 3:8-11)
"And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their abode..."
* "Proper domain" - Their station and purpose - God's supernatural beings for His personal use.
* "Positions of authority" - NIV
* "Their abode" - The supernatural realm.
"He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the Great Day."
* "The Great Day" - The phraseology of Enoch for the day of God's judgment at the return of Christ (1 Enoch 22:11, 54:6, 84:4).
God judged His angels for their disobedience. (2 Pet. 2:4)
"...Sodom and Gomorrah...having given themselves over to sexual immorality, and gone after strange flesh..."
* Simply stated, homosexuality is an abomination before God (Lev. 18:22, 29).
"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." (Lev. 20:13)
"...are set forth as an example..."
* God brought punishment for their abomination.
* If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow—
What does the world today deserve??
"...suffering the vengeance (punishment) of eternal fire (hell)."
* Sodom deserved it; the world today awaits the same judgment unless there is repentance.
Genesis 19:1, 4-7, 13, 24-25
God judged the sexually immoral Gentiles for their wickedness. (Gen. 19:24)
"Likewise, also these dreamers defile the flesh..."
* Jude is speaking of the apostates in his day, it seems they had the same sins as Sodom.
* Heavenly authority - God.
* Earthly authority appointed by God (Rm. 13:1).
"...speak evil of dignitaries..."
* Church leaders designated by God.
"You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people."
2 Peter 2:9-10
"...Michael the archangel..."
* The general of the Lord's angel armies and Israel's guardian. (Rev. 12:7-9)
* Not “Commander of the army of the LORD.”
"...contending with the devil...about the body of Moses..."
* God apparently had a reason to preserve the body of Moses. (Rev. 11:3-8)
"...the Lord rebuke you..."
* The archangel Michael did not challenge the devil in his own power, but invoked the power of God (Zech. 3:2).
"But these speak evil of whatever they do not know..."
* "Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand..." (NIV)
"...these...speak evil of things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their corruption." (2 Pet. 2:12)
"Woe to them..."
* Pain and destruction on them.
"...the way of Cain..."
* Cain's disobedience to God (Gen. 4:3-8).
"...error of Balaam for profit..."
* Profiting from God's people (2 Pet. 2:15).
"...rebellion of Korah..."
* Defying God's appointed authority (Num. 16:1-7, 31-35).
"...spots in your love feasts..."
* "Spots" - Stains, blemishes, ones not right
* "Love feasts" - In the early church, communion was usually celebrated with a fellowship meal. (2 Pet. 2:13)
"...serving only themselves..."
* "Shepherds who feed only themselves" (NIV).
* Call down God's judgment themselves:
The "love feast" was supposed to build fellowship and love amongst the Church, not destruction.
...whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ...
"...they are clouds without water..."
* "Living water" (Jn. 4:10)
1. Natural death
2. Spiritual death
"...raging waves of the sea..."
* Waves symbolized wickedness (Isa. 57:20).
"...for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."
* Eternal separation from "The Light," a Jewish idiom for hell.
"Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints..."
* Jude quoted from 1 Enoch 1:9.
* The Book of Enoch was read and used by members of the early church.
* Although Enoch's writings were not canonized, they are useful in understanding the context of how the early Jewish believers thought about prophecy.
* The Book of Enoch was well read and distributed in the Hellenistic Period (third century BC to third century AD).
* "...the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones." (NIV)
"...to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
* Need I say more?
Do we want to be counted with the "ungodly?"
"...grumblers, complainers...walking according to their own lusts..."
2 Peter 2:18-22
"...remember the words spoken before by the apostles..."
* "The Apostles Doctrine" (Acts 2:42)
"...that there would be mockers in the last time..."
* Mockers - Scoffers
* Paul knew it (1 Tim. 4:1-2, 2 Tim. 4:3-4).
* Peter knew it:
2 Peter 3:1-10
"These are sensual persons..."
* "Sensual" – Worldly
"...who cause division...'
* "...the people who divide you..." (NIV)
* Christ desires unity in His church (1 Cor. 1:10).
"...not having the Spirit..."
* Professing to be believers, but unsaved without the Holy Spirit.
"...building yourselves up on your most holy faith..."
* How do we do that?
Acts 2:42, 17:11
* Implies effort on our behalf, but not "works" simply.
"...in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
* OUR BLESSED HOPE!
"And on some have compassion..."
* "Be merciful to those who doubt..." (NIV)
* Some of the apostates are just doubters, not completely sold to Satan.
"...but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."
* This verse is difficult to explain without a Jewish mindset and and knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures (Amos 4:11, Zech. 3:4-5).
* It seems to refer to sinners whom we consider hopeless (not just doubters, vs. 22), with the admonition that there are none beyond redemption, if they want to be saved.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.