In my last blog I talked about Jesus’ warning to BE [a]ware of – not BE afraid of – false ministers! In this blog I want to keep going down that road to reality, that path to protection, and that lane that leads to liberty!
Let’s take a look at what Jude had to say to the first century believers that we would do well to pay careful attention to today!
~~~ Our text is from the Book Of Jude ~~~
“1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”
Identifies the author and the audience. Jude is writing to those who are THE called. In my last blog we talked about those who were called. I mentioned Jesus calls people and people call themselves. These called ones are the ones accepted by God into the Beloved, and are kept FOR Jesus Christ by God the Father.
Paul says in Ephesians 4:1 – “I . . . . implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” His inference is this, this particular calling is from the Lord. He then goes into the fruit of the Lord’s calling in the next few verses.
“2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Let’s take a quick look at these verses. I hope you will notice the “spirit” or “fruit” of the one legitimately walking in the Lord’s call as compared to the fruit of the false minister and ministry that we detailed in the last blog and will detail later in this one too.
“Humility” is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It is God-focused not self-focused. It is God-reliant not self-reliant.
“Gentleness” is our strength [areas of strength] in submission to the Lord and His delegated authorities. I ‘restrain’ my strengths for the common good. It is a picture of a stallion yielded to his trainer.
“Patience” is planning for the long haul, not plowing ahead against the wishes of those you are supposed to be related to, and relating to.
“Showing tolerance” is respect for the connections and relationships with those your are supposed to be in relationship with.
“Love” here is God’s love which is sacrificial not self-absorbed. It puts others before self.
“Be diligent to preserve” is being dedicated to be cognizant of the effect you are having and can have on the community. Be one who preserves not perverts.
“THE unity of the Spirit” is the Spirit’s unity, or what the Spirit is trying to accomplish in your community. Again the focus is on the Lord – not on you.
In verses 4 – 6 Paul then reminds his audience that we all should be in harmony with the Godhead, who exemplifies community [common unity], respect and focus.
“2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.” Jude releases the typical blessing that the New Testament writers begin their letters with.
“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 which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
Jude speaks of a common [shared among all believers] salvation, and the necessity for the saved community to contend earnestly for THE [only] faith handed down [from Jesus who authored it] to the saints.
“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.”
How did they get “in” “unnoticed”? They masqueraded as sheep [saints]! This means they must have adopted the outward appearance and like-minded lingo [language] of the saints, to deceive the saints.
This should not be a surprise to the wise. Satan himself will appear AS an angel of light.
Jude reveals they fooled the church people but they did not fool the One who’s idea the church was and is and will always be.
These imposter’s were from long ago marked out for condemnation which means they certainly did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Their ungodliness manifested in the form and fashion of the course of the world.
They turned, twisted God’s grace and made it after their twisted image. Their grace is called hyper-grace that allows for all kinds of illegitimate [licentious] behavior because “God has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses.” They believe they can do what they want, to whom they want, with whom they want, for as long as they want. They are not punishable. Just ask them!
Oh what an amazing grace!
They added insult to injury by denying the Only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
They did not deny His existence. They simply made Him effeminate, powerless, and unwilling to stop their illegitimate behavior. They said, “No, Jesus!” They denied His Lordship over their lives.
“5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.”
Do NOT think that the work of the Cross is God’s payment for you to keep sinning!
Do NOT think that God’s gift of grace is a get out of hell free card!
Jude is reminding his audience that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and no one should put the Lord God to a foolish test. “There IS a way that seems right to man, but it ends in death.”
“6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”
Again, Jude is giving a history lesson on the dangers of tempting God. Rebellion against God will never work out well for the rebellious, whether they be men or angels.
“8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.”
Jude is now connecting the dots between those who in past times mocked God by their behavior and the contemporary rebels. He identifies them by these characteristics:
They are dreamers – This means they live in a parallel universe than everyone else. Their reality is real to them but it is not real. It is their virtual world from which they get their virtual worldview. Metaphorically speaking, according to Thayer’s Dictionary of NT Words, this means to be beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct.
They defile the flesh – Means they disguise their flesh as a person would change the color of a garment with dye. “Wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It also means to defile with sinfulness.
Reject authority – Means they are their own authority. They are the captains of their own ship. They are masters of their own ministry. If they are “under authority” it is either a facade or they have aligned themselves with people who will not confront them.
Revile majesties – The word angel is NOT in the original text. These false brethren mock, blaspheme, speak evil of and reproach leaders who God puts in their life to bring them to repentance. Majesties speak of the God-head and God ordained authorities who they expect their people to be accountable to.
9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, he did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Here Jude is revealing that when Michael the archangel confronted the devil and argued with him over the body of Moses, did not approach him in his own name and in his own strength. He came “IN the name of The Lord.” Let this be a warning to anyone and everyone who would attempt to do God’s work in their own strength.
10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
These impostors step into realms they were not called to or prepared for. They operated out of natural instincts instead of Spirit anointing, and ended up being destroyed.
11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Bummer! “For they have gone” – this means they made this determination at some point in their past. They plotted and planned to carry out their agenda. Nothing was going to prevent them from having their own way.
Have gone the way of Cain – Cain was the first human murderer who refused to deal with his issue. Like Lucifer, who was a murderer from the beginning, Cain chose to eliminate his competition instead of dealing with his issues. God’s rejection of his offering [ministry], and his own disappointment drove him to do what he harbored in his heart. Cain was selfish, self centered, self absorbed and self inflated. He hated his brother just like the devil hates God and anything and anyone associated with God.
Have rushed headlong into the way of Balaam – Baalam was a prophet who could hear from God, and who could deliver accurate words from God. Balaam could also be bought for a price. In other words, he was not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus and money and prestige were his gods. Balaam was for sale. Balaam would also twist the word of God to fit his agenda. He was a prophet looking for profit!
Perished [past tense although it had not yet happened] in the rebellion of Korah – Korah gathered a group and led them in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, God’s delegated authorities. The earth opened up and swallowed them alive. They did not die and then go to hell. They went to hell while alive!
Someone once said something like this, “The only people who start at the top dig holes for a living.” These perverse men never learned the first rule of holes, “When you find you are in a hole, quit digging.”
“12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.”
Hidden reefs in your love feasts – Means they disguise their true intentions. They are shallow and dangerous. They are close to the body and close to attempting to shipwreck those who are deep drafted vessels of God.
Feast with you without fear – Means they believe they will never be exposed.
Caring for themselves – Means they are there for what they can get not what they have to offer. They come to be served not to serve and when they do serve it is not out of pure motives. They are posturing for position and power.
Clouds without water – They do not truly refresh the environment. They provide shade which is temporary relief. What they offer does not permanently change the terrain, because they carry no rain.
Carried along by winds – Means they are every changing. They cannot be satisfied. They are always chasing the latest fads and “moves of God”. There is no real stability in their lives.
They are unhappy, unsatisfied and unhinged – Paul references these in Ephesians 4 when he talks about “we are NO LONGER to be children, tossed to and fro by EVERY wind of doctrine.”
This doctrine is not sound Biblical doctrine. It is the latest “contemporary and relevant” marketing method of doing ministry.
Winds here are a counterfeit move of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit moved like the wind [John 3].
Autumn trees without fruit – Means they are like the fig tree Jesus cursed when He looked for fruit and found none. Jesus looks for specific fruit and as we saw in the last blog He will shut the door and remove from Himself those who bear unacceptable fruit. These trees do not produce the fruit Jesus looks for.
Doubly dead – Means they are destined for both physical and spiritual death, or eternal separation form God.
Uprooted – Means they are not rooted and or grounded in true love and they are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God, or the true house of God. They do NOT put down real roots.
Wild waves of the sea – Means they are unruly, unprincipled, undisciplined and under no authority. They are wild and restless. They are always stirring up trouble. [See Isaiah 57:20]
Cast up their own shame like foam – Means they have fluff but no substance. Their ministry is shallow and temporal. Their shame speaks of the eventuality they will be found out.
Wandering stars – Means they, like the angels who followed Lucifer in the rebellion against God, will not keep their place. This is a reiteration of verse 6. These ministers are not dependable as they cannot be “pinned down” as that would be considered “legalistic” and “religious” to expect them to be consistent. Again, this is another way to say they will not submit to legitimate authority.
For whom the black darkness has been reserved forever – This is a troubling statement because darkness is black, but Jude describes it as “black darkness”. This is a reference to what happened in Egypt when God struck them with a darkness so dark they could feel it, and could not see their hand if they put it right in front of their eyes. This darkness represents life without God, who is Light.
“14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
Jude, as he has throughout this short letter, refers to history when legitimate ministry is conducted by legitimate ministers. The Lord may take a while to get around to dealing with illegitimate ministry and ministers, but make no mistake about it, He will get around to it!
“16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”
These foolish people just do not know when to leave their masquerade party. Jude now shifts to a new set of perverse characteristics that give them away. They ~
Are grumblers – Murmurers, complainers, agitators. They speak just loud enough for those close to them to hear. They are the “grape [gossip] vine” in the church. Sometimes they join the intercessors so they can pray for others, especially the leadership, because the leaders just don’t get it, or them.
Find fault – Means they look for all that is wrong and fixate on that. They are great at seeing problems and have no problem making sure someone in the church knows they know what is wrong. They rarely have solutions so they rarely offer any. They are discontented and lay the blame at the feet of everyone or anyone but themselves.
Follow after their own lusts – Means they are led by their physical appetites not by the Spirit of God. Their motivations are worldly, not heavenly. Remember, they are in it for what they can get out of it. They give to get and when they believe they will not benefit any more they stop giving.
Speak arrogantly – Means they have an inflated sense of their own importance and have no problem talking about how great they are. They are the smartest people in the room. They are the most gifted in the room. Just ask them! These people elevate themselves by demoting others in their heart and with their talk.
Flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage – Means they are masters at manipulation. They are cool customers. They are smooth operators. They make you believe they are building you up but the whole time they are posturing for promotion – at the leader’s expense!
Jude continues by reminding the legitimate disciples and ministers what the 12 apostles of the Lamb, those authorized personally by Jesus to carry on His work His way, had to say,
“17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
We are to call to mind what the apostles of the Lamb wrote and said.
18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”
From their day to the last Day these false believers will be hanging around the real community of believers.
“19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.”
Jude, in reiterating the fruit to be aware of says this about the counterfeit Christian:
They cause division – They attempt to bring a different vision into the house than the one God has placed in the house. When they don’t get their way they work to separate others by enlisting those who will follow them and their vision.
They are worldly-minded – This means they operate out of a mindset that is inferior to heaven’s.
This mindset is carnal and corrupt!
They are devoid of the Holy Spirit – They can produce signs and wonders that appear on the surface to be legitimate but as we have seen God honors the name of His Son, not necessarily the person using His name.
“20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”
Jude points his finger at the ones kept for Jesus and says,
Be personally responsible for your spirituality [your own edification, your own holy faith] by praying in the Holy Spirit [being led by the Spirit in your daily devotion to God], and by –
“21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
Keeping yourself in the love of God. This means keeping your focus on God, not self. And keep your focus on how you can serve others in His name [character] and not be self-serving.
Jude continues by saying,
“22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”
Have mercy on some – Not all? No! On who? On those who are doubting, not those who are rebelling. Show compassion for the ones who became trapped by the seduction of the seducers, if they are repentant.
Save others, snatching them out of the fire – Do all that is possible to rescue the ones that can be rescued, or who want to be rescued, before destruction comes.
On some have mercy with fear – Try to appeal to them on the basis of what their future looks like if they do not turn from their evil way. Appeal to these people warning them that God may be slow to judge but judge He eventually will.
Hating even the garment polluted by the flesh – Remind them that to God all of our own efforts are as filthy rags. These rags were the menstrual cloths the women used in that day. The pollution of the flesh was the old blood mixed with dead cells. This is a graphic picture of what God thinks of doing His work our way, or without Him.
Then we find Jude’s benediction.
“24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever . Amen!”
Keep THE Faith! Keep THE Passion!
Our hunger and thirst for God escorts us into deep satisfaction in God! Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin A Hisstorymaker!