Jude – A Message for the Church of God Today

We have our go to scriptures in this general epistle, but outside of that we rarely go to this book in the new testament. I thought it would be good to go through it and have a look at why Jude is a part of the Bible

Background

65 to 80 AD

Jude the half brother of Jesus

Matthew 13:55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary [not a virgin entire life]? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?

The name Judas here at the end of the verse.  In the Greek this is the same exact word as in Jude 1:1

Apparently the youngest

So it is interesting that Jude begins his epistle in the way that he does

Jude 1:1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, ….

Chooses to identify himself as a doulos of Christ rather than his blood relation.

Shows how Jude respected Jesus and had accepted him

Initially this was not the case

His family was not converted in the beginning

So in this first part of of the opening statement Jude speaks volumes by what he doesn’t say as well and it goes to show us the power of the holy spirit and it’s ability to change us.

Jude does go on to identify himself as the brother of James the oldest of Christ’s half brothers.

The fact that James was an apostle and also in charge of the church in Jerusalem I imagine carried a bit of credibility in mentioning it.

It also helps us in placing who this Jude is since there are around five that are mentioned in the New Testament

continuing in :1 of Jude

To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

Jude is called a general epistle since it was not to any one specifically mentioned in the letter  though we see here that he does indeed have a target crowd

But in this book we are a focus of the message: called, sanctified and preserved

Not a message for just those of that time, but for all of God’s people throughout time, and especially pertinent to us in recent times as we will see more of later.

Jude 1:2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

A standard greeting and salutation.

1 Peter 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

I bring this up because of striking similarities between Peter (specifically 2 Peter) and Jude

Very similar wording so a controversy has sprung up regarding who copied whom

Peter → Jude

Jude → Peter

Not just a case of similar phraseology … It goes beyond that

Could it be that Jude was very familiar with Peter’s epistle or having recently read it had this on his mind or vice versa?

Nonetheless, this should present no more problem than us quoting our own literature, in our own literature or using it sermons and etc…

nor should it be any more problem for us than the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John present with their repetition of each other.

We will find that in the same way that these nuances and different pieces of the puzzle just fill in the bigger picture.

When it comes to THE truth (speaking or writing it) no one man has the sole copyright to it…

I believe only God has a patent on the truth and I don’t think He minds us quoting Him…and of course giving Him the credit.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Beloved agapetos appears three times in this very short book (:17 and :20)  and each time it kind of serves as an attention getter

Matthew 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

When Jude says this, it seems to be a reminder of the specialness and greatness of our calling and all it portends for the future.

while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation ….

It was Jude’s intent to write concerning about the salvation that is common to the Jews, Gentiles, men women etc.

Which may have been a considerably lighter subject

But he was inspired to tackle what we will go through today

I found it necessary to write Literally, constraint was upon me [to write to you about these things] So Jude felt compelled to write about this subject that we are addressing today!

He goes on in this verse:

I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith

This is what he felt obliged to address

In :3 we find an overall theme for the book of Jude

epagōnizomai = contend earnestly for

agōnizomai struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

Paul used it in:

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And everyone who competes (strives; agōnizomai) for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

He was urging Christians to seriously stand up for the faith which they had been taught and had learned

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 6:9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.
Acts 6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

They seized him, lied about what he had done and set up false witnesses against him and he still delivered an awesome message in front of them,   (Read chapter 7)

Verse 3 of Jude concludes: …which was once for all delivered to the saints

Christ came and paved the way for us to hear and understand the word of God. He brought the Gospel and preached it for a very short time here on Earth. He then charged His apostles with doing the same and they then empowered others to do the same. And so it has gone on for centuries.

That was his SPS (specific purpose statement) – now we see the reason for it – for contending earnestly for the faith

Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, ungodly men,

Brethren were being tossed to and fro by the winds of erroneous doctrine, they were succumbing to the deception of men – in it for their own gain

This is one of the reasons why Jude is writing this epistle, because he could see what was happening or what could happen to the brethren in the church.

Here is a link to a previous message on the subject:  [Deception Within the Church]

…who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men,

Please understand that God has NOT placed these types in His Church.

But He does allow them if not just for testing

God also warns us that they there will be goats among the sheep and tares among the wheat

…who turn the grace of our God into lewdness [another ongoing problem]

See this message re grace: Growing in Grace I

Grace: unmerited favor; the showing of godly love towards a person in the form of giving unearned and undeserved gifts.

Salvation, calling, belief, forgiveness, redemption, justification,

What we also know is it is Grace and Law

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Romans 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

By doing this grace can be turned into lewdness

Those in Jude were merely giving into their carnality and in effect they are doing away with the Law by continuing with their lewd behavior, their sinning…lawlessness

:4 ends with and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

They do this in word and deed

Now Jude gives three examples of those that denied God and what the consequences were.

It follows a pattern Who, What and Why]

Jude 1:5 [So because of :4 Jude now says] But I want to remind you, though you once knew this…

[we can say the same for today; in other words this is a message for us today]

He knows they know this but he wants to bring it to the top of mind

having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

afterward

1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10:7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.”
1 Corinthians 10:8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
1 Corinthians 10:9 nor let us u>tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
1 Corinthians 10:10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed [be reminded] lest he fall.

To summarize:

Hebrews 3:16-19 rebelled… could not enter in because of unbelief

Action follows belief

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

Lucifer was not happy with following God and he convinced a third of the spirit world to act with him against God

He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle [possibly another allusion to the games of Greece in those days] against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

held captive by their own spiritual perversion. They are living today in a state of darkness. They are spiritually imprisoned by their own perversions. Sin has enslaved them too

…for the judgment of the great day

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 were, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The men of Sodom and Gomorrah… exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.

and the cities around them in a similar manner to these…

…suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

aiōnios

eon: age (can be for a really long time)

so for a period of time

Matthew 10:15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

They do have a future…where their land will not be on fire

In verses :5-7 Jude makes it very clear that there are consequences for not staying on the straight and narrow

Who: Israelites coming out of Egypt

What: Destroyed

Why: They did not believe

Who: Angels

What: reserved in everlasting chains

Why: did not keep their proper domain, left their abode [rebelled]

Who: Sodom and Gomorrah

What: suffer the vengeance of eternal fire

Why: Sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh

In other words there is a judgment that will come upon us for these things since we now have them for an example and by virtue of the fact that we have God’s holy spirit we should now know better.

The context is guarding against false teachers:

The admonition here is to study the word of God (grow in knowledge) and apply it (grow in grace).

This is why Jude gives a warning to contend earnestly for the faith we have been given

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

These false ministers who are conjuring up things not of God, are sinning in the much the same way as those of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Israelites who came out of Egypt and the fallen angels

defile the flesh similar to those in Sodom and Gomorrah who went
after strange flesh
reject authority or rebel like the Israelites
speak evil of dignitaries like the fallen angel does

dignitaries = doxa Other translations “celestial beings.” “glorious ones,” “glorious beings.”

It is apparent that the dignitaries being spoken of in Jude 8 are angelic beings and these false ministers who were full of themselves not afraid to speak evil of those above them in authority.

We know Satan did this towards God and in the next verse Jude makes it very clear that even Michael, one of the highest in the angelic realm, would not do what these false ministers were doing:

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Continuing the thought from :8 of speaking evil against the angelic realm

dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Hebrews 2:7 YOU HAVE MADE HIM A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS

While we don’t worship angels does not mean that we should ever look down on angels or speak evil of them to do so would be showing a disregard for God’s creation and the hierarchy as it now stands…this is what the false ministers failed to do

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

The men run headlong where wise men fear to tread.
They think they know the word of God but they are like a brute – brawn and no brains
That does not stop them from spewing drivel
These are the men that Jude was warning them about
These are the men that Jude is warning us about
These men are among and in the church today – speaking evil of what they do not know about. Speaking evil of doctrines and principles they do not understand

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Woe to them!

The way of Cain: hated righteousness; despised righteous Abel’s offering; hated his brother to the point of killing him; Abel contended for the faith – Cain stopped that

error of Balaam for profit; led Israel away from the faith and did it for money; that’s a hireling!

Sound familiar today? Balaam used his ability for personal gain at potentially great expense to God’s people – this is what many ministers have done in recent years
Grief will come to them and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Numbers 16:3 They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”

Which is exactly what THEY were doing. A case of the pot calling the kettle black.

…and what was the result?
Numbers 16:25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him.
Numbers 16:26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.”
Numbers 16:27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.

Numbers 16:34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also!
We also must identify and get away

Numbers 16:35 And a fire came out from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense.

Because God is in charge and he put Moses and Aaron in their respective offices, so this makes the rebellious action of the men led by Korah — actually against God (Numbers 16:11, 30).

Numbers 16:11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the LORD And what is Aaron that you complain against him?”

Numbers 16:30 But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD.”

So are we beginning to see how doing these things aren’t just against the angels or the people of God but are against God Himself and because of this the punishment can and will be a permanent removal from God

In the case of all three of these they were removed from the presence of God in one way or the other.

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
Jude 1:13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

in your love feasts,

Jude is addressing specifically that they are doing it during the annual Holy Days

The word “love” here comes from agape,” which means Godly love as we all know.

while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.

Deuteronomy 14:23 [Feast of Tabernacles]…that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

As ministers and the head of the congregation they should have been serving spiritually and fulfilling their role as shepherds, but instead it appears that they were only serving themselves physically and not fearing God

and then Jude goes on to use several metaphors to describe them.

notice 2 things: That they have no value and they eventually run their course

Jude 1:14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adamprophesied about these men also, saying,

Jude is not necessarily even quoting a book. Jude writes here this is what Enoch SAID

Some believe this to be a stamp of approval on the Book of Enoch which is not a part of the canon, and for good reason.

However, He will come, not only to reward the just, but also, to punish the unjust

Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap.

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien— Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts.

Jude 1:15 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.”
Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words,flattering people to gain advantage.

Jude is further elaborating on the end that ungodly ministers will have … judgment will be executed upon them, for all their ungodly deeds, their ungodly way, ungodly things they have spoken against God that we referred to earlier.

This is not only the false ministers but also the many in the world in general
More descriptions of the ones Enoch prophesied about

Done with the warning against the false ministers

Now back to our responsibilities

Jude 1:17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

And back again to what we are supposed to be doing:

the false ministers will have a lot to answer for

we will too

because they/we were told and warned

Jude 1:18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. [referring to Peter]
Jude 1:19 These are sensual persons [the nature of a person without God], who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

How do they cause division in the church?

The main way to cause divisions in the church is to attend

We are to be wary of the goats among the sheep and the tares among the wheat.

We are to remember the words in :17-19

The Answer

Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Back to the focus on us
This is why we should “EXAMINE yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
[we are to work on ourselves, but we are to help others as well; we are not in it to just get salvation for ourselves but we are extend mercy to others just as God does to us]
Jude 1:22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; [use discernment as how this is to be done and accomplished; not on the false ministers or unrepentant BUT ESPECIALLY to the household of God]
Jude 1:23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Matthew 18:15 how to win your brother back

Galatians 6:1 how to restore someone overtaken in a sin

Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present youfaultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
Jude 1:25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

At the end of the day our trust and faith needs to be in God first and foremost.