Jude – How to Fix It?
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (Jude 1:9-13)
JUDE, THE HALF-BROTHER OF JESUS SENT OUT A SHORT LETTER to be circulated among several new Jewish churches. Its message has been relevant through the centuries and remains relevant for us today, He was warning us about the problem of false teachers infiltrating and polluting the churches.
THIS LETTER MAY NOT BE THE BEST PIECE OF LITERATURE FOR A DEVOTIONAL before we leave home for work in the morning. Jude, himself, declared that when he began writing the letter, he had intended to write something more uplifting and helpful in their Christian walk. He had intended to write to them about the “common salvation.” But, the Holy Spirit interrupted his plan and prompted him to write about the danger of false teachers that would be coming their way.
DO YOU THINK WE HAVE OUTLIVED THE NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE DANGER of false teachers invading our churches? I don’t think so. America has changed drastically in the last 50 years and we need to stand firm in the faith once delivered to the Saints. Thinking can be hard work, but we need to think some about Jude’s letter. Peter talked about stirring up Christians in his day by way of remembrance. And here, Jude is picking up the trumpet and blasting out some of the same warnings about the corruption of our faith.
JUDE PAINTS MORE PICTURES OF THE ENEMIES OF OUR FAITH than any writer I know. Just look at all the bad people he brings up to get his point across. False teachers in the New Testament were as bad as the false prophets of the Old Testament. They were as bad as the worst he could lay his tongue to. It beats anything I remember reading in the Bible, anywhere.
THEY HAD CHURCH DINNERS AND THESE PHONY RASCALS were right there to stuff themselves with the food and to use the church meetings in every way they could to benefit themselves. How are they to deal with these charlatans? Jude doesn’t want to engage in a fist fight in their church meetings. And yet, these evil people must be identified and resisted. His main weapon is to expose them in the worst terms possible.
JUDE BRINGS UP MICHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL. Only two angels are mentioned by name in the Bible, Michael and Gabriel and they are archangels, leaders of angels. When Michael was contending with the devil over the body of Moses, Michael did not rebuke the devil but said: “The Lord rebuke you.” One of the characteristics of the false teachers was their critical mouth. They would speak evil of anyone in a heartbeat. Jude brings this up. As a Christian, we are not to throw our weight around in a verbal boxing match. And yet, at the same time, these evil people who were sneaking into their congregations had to be exposed and resisted.
WE ARE REMINDED BY PAUL, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
BUT IN THIS SETTING OF OPPOSING FALSE TEACHERS, it’s not quite the same as going to battle over one’s private matters. Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem and turned over the moneychanger’s tables and publicly rebuked the offenders. He reminded them that the house of God was not a place of merchandise and making money nor a place of thieves. And, yes, He raised His voice.
JUDE WAS WRITING A LETTER AND WAS NOT IN THE PRESENCE of his readers. He identified the culprits that were to be resisted. In the days of the Old Testament Temple, there were door keepers who were responsible for crowd control and to protect the sanctity of the Temple. Jude’s people didn’t have that protection. They met in houses and anyone could wander in and mingle among the little groups of people.
IN OUR DAY, WE HAVE NOT ONLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF KEEPING OUT out false teachers, but it has become necessary for enough people to carry guns to church to shoot any would-be murderer who might come in to kill people. This is a shock to my system because I’m not used to churches being a killing ground for mentally deranged people. I wonder what Jude would say about this? We know that Jesus told His disciples to sell one of their garments and buy a sword to carry with them (Luke 22:36). They would need to depend on the Lord to protect them, but they also needed to protect themselves.
THE SHORT BOOKS BY PETER AND JUDE ARE GOOD WAKE-UP BOOKS to warn us to be alert as we meet together to worship God and to fellowship with one another. How to fix it? What were they to do to counter false teachers? We’ll see more about that tomorrow, but at this point, they were to be aware of the danger. Identify false teachers and deny them the dignity of a place of influence and leadership. They were not having encounters and squabbles with these false teachers. A key word in their problem is “unaware.” They had sneaked in so quietly that the church people were unaware of it.
IT IS GENERALLY THE POLICY OF MOST CHURCHES to allow anyone to sit quietly in the church services and listen if they do not try to take over the service or disturb the peace.
WHEN WE PREACH THE WORD AND STAND FOR GOD, it can result in bad reactions. I used to do a good bit of street preaching and that was…different. In Chattanooga, on 9th Street, one night in a mission, as one of the preacher-boys was preaching, a crowd gathered outside the door and someone was stabbed. We lost our crowd. They charged out the door to see what had happened. The police and ambulance came. But, that is not the problem Jude was having.
THE APOSTLE PAUL TELLS OF HIS BEING STONED and left for dead and Stephen was stoned to death. But that was not the problem Jude’s people were having. There’s no need to allow false prophets take over a service or to worm their way into church and take over the church. I’ve been told by bee keepers that if a strange bee gets into the hive, a few bees will kill the intruder and carry him to the door and cast him out. But the great danger to the people Jude was writing to was not personal attacks.
THE PROBLEM JUDE WAS TALKING ABOUT INVOLVED SLICK-TONGUED religious people who could sway enough people to cause a problem. They wormed their way into the congregation and the people never knew what devils they were at the beginning. God did not include the book of Jude in the Bible to take up space. It’s there because it’s needed.
I’ll repeat what Warren Wiersbe said about these false teachers: 1. They reject Divine authority. 2. They resort to deliberate hypocrisy. 3. They will receive their due penalty.” Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JUNE 20, 2018 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Nehemiah 12-13 P.M. Acts 4:23-37
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.) If you are behind in reading, read the passage for today and then go back.
Good Memory Verses:
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18) (Write verses on scraps of paper and put in your pocket to memorize like President Abraham Lincoln did. Or, write on a half 3x5 card. I like the bright green cards I got from Amazon. I cut them in half and write them by hand or on my daddy’s 1935 Royal typewriter.)
Song for Today:
Praise Him, Praise Him (3:13) – (Choir & Orchestra)
Great song and good performance! You may need to delete an ad or turn off the song when finished to avoid something you do not want to hear.