Divine Author God the Holy Spirit 2 Timothy 3:16
Human Author Jude (Judah) Jude 1
Theme Contending for the Faith Jude 3
Statistics Twenty-sixth book of the NT
One chapter of 25 verses
Key Verses The Doxology Jude 24-25
According to verse 1, the human author is declared to be “the servant of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James. Juda is being modest because he could also declare himself to be one of the four brothers of Jesus named by Matthew and by Mark.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” (Matt. 13:55).
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (Mark 6:3).
The reluctance of Jude to exploit his relation to Jesus, according to the flesh reflects his understanding that Jesus was more than a man, He was Emmanuel, God with us. During the early years of the life and ministry of Christ, Jude did not believe the fantastic claims made by Jesus, or attributed to Him by others. It was only after the death, burial, and resurrection Jude came to faith to say, “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus Christ is my Lord, and my Savior.”
Following the ascension of Jesus to heaven, Jude is mentioned as a disciple of Jesus. While waiting for the Holy Spirit to come with power, as Jesus instructed, we read, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14).
God the Father honored the prayers of those who waited for the Spirit to come. Jude, and his brothers, became leaders in various communities as the gospel spread. As a spiritual leader with unique insight into the person and work of Jesus, Jude was able to exhort the early believers to contend for the faith delivered to the saints.
It is important to pause and reflect on the exhortation of Jude in verse 3, for he speaks of a definite body of truth once, and forever, delivered to the saints.
There are some who believe in progressive revelation, in the sense that God continues to reveal new information to the Church. Such a position allows for such charlatans as the Prophet Joseph Smith, the rise of the sensationalism found in Dispensational theology, and the heresy of the Word of Faith Movement.
The epistle of Jude does not allow for new revelation. How can believers contend for the faith, a definite body of truth, once delivered, if that faith is not known for centuries to come, and is contradictory to other parts of Scripture? It cannot be done.
As Jude expands on the basic theme of contending for the faith, he reveals an intimate knowledge of the Old Testament, and a familiarity with Jewish apocalyptic literature. His knowledge is commendable, and reminds Christians to know their Bible, and value education.
Following his initial word of exhortation (v. 1-3), Jude speaks about individuals who have come into the church to corrupt the grace of God by turning it into a basis for lasciviousness. The corrupting process was rooted in a false teaching. Certain men denied the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 4).
To arrest the false teaching, and its damning results, if embraced, Jude calls upon the saints to defend the faith. He tells the church how to defend the faith, and why.
One primary way to defend the faith is to remember. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are called on to remember what they have seen God do, what they have heard the Lord teach, and what they have personally experienced of His love, grace, and mercy.
Like Jesus, Jude is saying in essence, “Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not? And do you not remember?” (Matt. 8:18)
Christians are to remember the miracles of the Lord (Matt. 8:19-21).
Christians are to remember the teaching of the Lord (John 15:2).
Christians are to remember the very words of the Lord (Acts 20:35).
Christians are to remember the resurrection of Jesus (2 Tim. 2:8).
To help the believers remember, Jude says he will bring to their memory what they once knew. He calls to their memory from Old Testament examples.
Rebellion and the
Administration of Divine Justice
Example: The Exodus Generation (v. 5). Though the Hebrew people were saved out of the Land of Egypt, God destroyed those that did not believe.
Example: Non-elect Angels (v. 6). Following their creation, some angels, led by Lucifer, revolted against God, and left their rightful place of divine appointment. As a result, they were judged and have been placed in everlasting chains under darkness until the final great day of judgment. Some Bible scholars believe Jude was alluding to a Jewish apocrypha work called First Enoch, which postulates the sons of God in Genesis 6 refer to angels who come to cohabitate with women and corrupt humans.
“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto 2 them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw, and lusted after them…” (1 Enoch 6:1-2, c. First / Second Century BC).
Example: Sodom and Gomorrha. These twin cities of sin, and the cities about them, became consumed with deviant sexual behavior that can only be understood by considering what is happening in modern America. Pedophilia, necromancy, cannibalism, lesbianism, bestiality, Satanic rituals, the lust to murder children, and the longing to feast on aborted fetus’ brought divine judgment on Sodom and Gomorrha, and demands God’s justice be rained down on America. Study Genesis 19
Example: The Testament of Moses. In this pseudepigraphal work (c. 100 AD), not included in any canon of Scripture, a story is told related to the death of Moses. It was a Jewish belief that Michael, an archangel, protected the dead body of Moses against the Devil by saying to him, “The Lord rebuke thee” (v. 9).
Turning from examples of rebellion, sexual perversions, willfulness, and a readiness to receive the wrath of God, Jude speaks of those who will corrupt others. Romans 1:32 explains why. There is the principle of pleasure. There are individuals “who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32).
The Corruption of Others
Example: There is the Way of Cain. Rather than worship the Lord in an appointed place, and in an appointed manner, Cain brought to God the fruit of his own labor, and was rejected. Cain became a marked man when, in his anger against divine justice he murdered his brother Seth, who had brought an acceptable sacrifice to God, and did not rebel. Cain would have led his brother, and eventually others, from the Lord. Study Genesis 4
Example: There is the Error of Balaam. For a price, Balaam, though a prophet of God, was willing to lure Israelites into idolatry and sexual impurity. Study Numbers 22-25; 31:16
Example: There is the Gainsaying of Core. Though a Levite, Core led a rebellion against Moses. His perverse willfulness and rejection of authority led to his premature death, and the death of others. Study Numbers 16
Characteristics of Graceless Teachers
As Jude mediated on what the ungodly are willing to do themselves, and to others, he became enflamed with holy anger.
Jude said the false teachers are like selfish shepherds who hurt the flock of God. “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (Ezekiel 34:2). Study Jude 12a
False teachers are like clouds without water. They promise, but cannot provide anything to quench thirsty souls. Study Jude 12b
False teachers are like the waves from the sea for their ideas wash over individuals, but give no rest, or cleansing. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20).
Jude concludes his small epistle with an ancient warning, and a contemporary one. He speaks of a prophesy from Enoch (1 Enoch 1:9), the seventh from Adam, who foretold the coming of Christ with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment on the ungodly. Enoch in turn was quoting other Old Testament prophesies such as Deuteronomy 33;2; Isaiah 66:15-16; Zechariah 14:5
Then Jude turns to the words of the apostles, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who warned of false teachers. Matthew 24:11; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1-3; Jude 17-19
Because the false teachers were real, because their teaching would corrupt the Church both doctrinally and morally, the Church must move to protect itself. Specific steps were to be taken (v. 20-21).
First, Christians were to build themselves up by the daily intake of the Word of God. They were to continue steadfastly in the Apostle’s Doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers prompted by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:42).
Second, Christians were to keep themselves in the love of God. Inappropriate thoughts and behavior rob the heart of any sense of God’s love. Gospel obedience brings joy and peace.
Third, Christians were to look to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jesus has promised to save those who are lost. Jesus has promised to preserve and protect His sheep. Believe Jesus is a merciful Savior. His love, His grace, His mercy, is greater than all our sins.
Fourth, Christians were told not to be come self-righteous against the false teachers but to have compassion, making a difference. So often, Christian apologists want to take a proverbial sledgehammer and destroy others who are in doctrinal, or moral error. The Lord would have us to be longsuffering, and seek to save some, with godly fear least we be led astray.
The Epistle of Jude ends with a magnificent doxology of praise. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25).
The doctrine of the believer’s security is a source of great comfort. Jesus is able to keep a Christian from falling away from the faith. He is also able to present the believer to the Father judicially faultless because His righteousness has been imputed to their account. Because of this, Jesus is worthy of glory and majesty, and love, both now and forever. Amen.
Lessons from the Epistle of Jude
First, sometimes we set out to discuss one topic, but find it necessary to talk about something else. Jude reveals he wanted to write in a positive way about the shared faith of the saints. However, he found it needful to write to believers, and exhort them to defend the faith, the Pearl of Great Price, which they had found in Christ.
Second, false teaching will lead to a sinful way of life. At the heart of every wrong teaching is a moral failure, be it lust, greed, pride, or the will to power. Lasciviousness tends to accompany the perversion of the gospel. A corrupt theology will lead to a corrupt lifestyle whereby sin is justified, and even glorified.
A theology that teaches everything is now allowed, including polygamy, homosexuality, and trans gendering, is a theology that will cause individuals to be lost forever in the fiery pit of God’s ultimate judgment.
A theology that teaches individuals do not have to weep over sin, only change their mind on certain doctrinal tenets, and call that repentance, is a theology that will cause the heart to grow cold, while inordinate passions grow hot. If you would be converted, weep over your sins. Ask God to give you the saving grace of a broken heart.
A theology that teaches God wants everyone to be healthy and prosperous, is a theology that promotes greed by forgetting, the Son of Man had no where to lay His head (Matt. 8:20). Jesus came to give life, not covet the treasures of others for an extravagant lifestyle. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
A theology that distorts the grace of God, and makes it a license to do wrong, is a theology which has no understanding of redeeming grace. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2).
Third, the love of money, the quest for inordinate sensual pleasure, and the will to power were prevailing temptations the early Church had to contend with, and nothing has changed after twenty-one hundred years. The message the Church needed to hear from Jude, is the same message the Church needs to hear today.
Fourth, individuals betray Jesus by rejecting His authority and His teaching. People have always existed who reject the rule of God, beginning with Adam and Eve. They are the lawless ones, the antinomians. Their kind is rooted in ancient history, but are made manifest in modern times.
While no one should be surprised the authority and teaching of Jesus is often rejected by those within the Church, some are surprised. Jude speaks of certain individuals who have crept into the Church unaware.
Disruptive individuals come into the local assembly because neither the sheep, or the Shepherds, keep watch as they should, despite the command of Christ. Jesus warned of how the Enemy comes to destroy. Still, false teachers creep inside the body of Christ without much attention being paid to them.
For those who are discerning, the false teacher can be identified by their self-absorption, and the chaos which follows wherever they go. Let the Church beware.