Jude – Chapter Study

1Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,

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

2Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

3Beloved, 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. 4For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s only one Jude we know from church history who was the brother of James – and that’s Jude, the half-brother of Jesus.

The reason Jude identifies himself as the brother of James  and not the brother of Jesus is two-fold.

1) First of all, James was the undisputed leader of the Church in Jerusalem, and well know to virtually the entire Christian world.

2) Second, Jude avoids referring to himself as the brother of Jesus for humility’s sake, and because the virgin birth made explaining Jude’s kinship to Jesus a difficult thing to explain.

It was simply easier to identify himself as the brother of James, who everyone knew was the half-brother of Jesus – and so this covered all the bases.

Jude also refers to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

This was one of the titles the writers of the NT letters loved to use of themselves.

We get the impression this may have been a common way to refer to leaders in the church – as bondservants – slaves, really – of Jesus Christ!

Peter, James, Paul and Jude all call themselves bondservants.

 

A bondservant was a slave who had voluntarily taken a pledge of enduring loyalty to their master.

Among the Jews, slavery was not a continuous state - every 7 years, slaves were set free.

But if a slave found his or her master to be of great benevolence and had come to love the master, then the slave could approach the master and ask to be bound to him or her.    [Exodus 21]

The master would then take the slave to a wooden post - usually the doorpost, and drive an awl, like a leather punch, through the flesh of the lobe of the ear and into the wood.

They would stay there for a time, as a living symbol that the slave was now being bound, attached if you will, to the household.

Then the master would yank out the awl, and replace it with an ear-ring.

In traveling through the market, if you saw someone with a ring in their ear, it meant they were a bondservant – someone who had willingly and out of a deep sense of love and devotion to their master, bound him or herself in perpetual slavery.

When Jude calls himself a bondservant, he is saying he has willingly taken Jesus as his Lord & Master.

He has given up the world’s idea of freedom, which is in fact, bondage to sin and death, and embraced the glorious bonds of service to Christ, which is true freedom.

 

Jude identifies his audience as called, sanctified, and preserved – CSP.

Since we covered what these things mean on Sunday, I’ll leave it for those who missed it to get a copy of the tape.

 

In v. 2, Jude gives his greeting – “Mercy, peace, and love.”

You’ll notice the one word he omits that we find in the other NT letters is the word “grace.”

Mercy and Peace are used by the others, but where Jude says “love” the others say “grace.”

It’s probably safe to conclude that Jude sees grace and love as equivalent as a greeting.

Grace is unmerited favor and blessing while love is the action of that blessing.

We could go in to a whole excursus now on these three words and show how for the Christian, something as common as a traditional greeting of a letter becomes a treasure trove of spiritual truth and blessing.

We could dig into the words “mercy, peace, and love” and see how these are far more than words – they are spiritual realities that have been opened to us through the grace of God.

But because our time is limited, we won’t tonight!

I would just ask that you note HOW Jude wishes them to experience mercy, peace, and love

. . . be multiplied to you.

He desires that these things would grow in them.  He longs for his readers to go deeper into an understanding and apprehension of God’s mercy and peace and love.

I don’t know how long you’ve known the Lord, how many months or years you’ve walked with Him.

But I do know this – no matter how long it’s been – there’s more mercy, more peace, more love, more grace, more truth for you than you have right now.

Don’t become lethargic in pursuing Christ.  Don’t slack off and pull back.

Don’t set your heart for spiritual growth in cruise control.

Don’t jump in the back seat and take a nap on your personal spiritual journey.

 

In vs. 3-4, Jude tells them why he was writing.

He’d originally planned on writing an encouraging and affirming word about the things that unite believers – the common tenets of our Faith.

But Jude had been made aware of a dangerous threat to the Faith that was troubling his readers, so he had to set aside his original theme to confront this new threat.

In the strongest words, he challenges them right up front to put themselves in the spiritual posture of battle.

He says –

I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you

Urging you with all seriousness and urgency -

to contend earnestly for the faith

The words “contend earnestly” translate a Greek word that is used only here in the NT but which was well-know = it meant to exert intense effort in a wrestling match.

In fact, the words are in the tense of continuous action, meaning they are to understand that they are to enter this posture of battle and then stay there.

What Jude wants to them to contend for is the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Since Jude was a half-brother of Jesus, this letter had to have been written sometime between 65 and 70 AD.

That means just a little over 30 years had passed since the time of Christ, and yet there was already an established body of teaching about what constitutes the Christian Faith.

Note carefully what Jude says here – though it’s no later than 70 AD – he speaks of the Faith that has already, once and for all, been delivered to the saints.

He’s referring to the OT revelation of God, fulfilled and clarified by the Work and Teaching of Jesus Christ, communicated by the Apostles, and passed on in the churches to the Body of Christ.

It’s crucial we grasp just what Jude is saying here!

Our Faith as Christians is not something that’s pliable and subject to change as we get new light from later day prophets and so-called modern apostles.

The Christian Faith was given, once for all, by Jesus Christ and His first Apostles.

Any subsequent teaching has to be weighed and judged by the revelation of the original message.

Let me use an example; The Constitution of the United States of America is the foundational governing document of our nation.

It provides the framework for all law and all procedure.

It’s that task of the Supreme Court to analyze all modern law, policy and procedure in light of the Constitution.

It’s not the Court’s duty to make law, but to interpret modern legislation in light of the Constitution.

The same is true of the Christian faith.

The Gospel, revealed and proclaimed by Jesus, then established and put into effect by the Apostles, is the Constitution of the Christian Faith.

We find that Gospel right here in our NT’s.

It’s the task of pastors and Bible teachers today to interpret the scriptures according to their original meaning and intent, and then to apply that in a relevant way to their own age – but never tampering with the fundamental content of the Faith itself; no adding to or taking away from the Body of Truth given by Christ and the Apostles.

That was the problem Jude saw rising – there were false teachers who were monkeying with the Faith.

Certain men had stealthily insinuated themselves into the Church who had an agenda of twisting the Gospel into something other than what Jesus and the Apostles intended or taught.

Jude says these guys are godless, are destined for hell, and know exactly what they’re doing.

They turn grace into a license to sin and deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Just who is Jude referring to?

As we’ve been studying 1 & 2 Peter and then over the last couple weeks, the letters of John, we’ve repeated encountered them refuting a false teaching called Gnosticism.

Gnosticism was a mish-mash of Greek philosophy, Eastern mysticism, and Christian terminology.

It’s central idea was the Greek philosophical belief that the material universe was inherently evil while the spiritual realm was unalterably good.

Gnostics believed the object of life was to realize we are good spiritual beings in evil material bodies; and this done through enlightenment.

This led to two branches of Gnosticism.

1) One branch said that if all matter was evil, the only way to gain victory over the physical world was by a strict lifestyle of asceticism and denial of earthly passions and fleshly desires.

So these Gnostics ate only bland foods, fasted a lot and wore ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothes.

They abstained from all forms of pleasure – even normal sexual relations between married people.

2) The other branch said; hey, if all matter is evil, then it doesn’t really matter what you do physically – even asceticism is evil!

They said the path to enlightenment came by forcing one’s self to be MORE spiritually minded and attentive than conscious of the body.

The route they chose to this enlightenment was through a lifestyle of gross immorality!

They immersed themselves in sin, saying that enlightenment came when a person would be engaged in the most evil of practices, physically, and then in the middle of it realize that their spirit was untouched by that evil.

It’s this second group of Gnostics that Jude is speaking of.

They had twisted the message of God’s grace, which says that God saves us apart from our works, and turned it into a license to sin.

And not just sin normal everyday sins – but the most heinous and grievous of sins!

He calls it “lewdness” in v. 4.

These false teachers were engaging in stuff that even shocked the sensibilities of the pagans they lived among.

The reasoning of the false teachers went like this:

We are saved by grace – apart from our works, apart from what we do.

Because we have been born again, we are now primarily spiritual men and women.

When is it that we recognize grace most fully?  When we least deserve it.

When do we least deserve it?  When we are sinning.

So, in order to realize the priority of our identity as spiritual beings, let’s immerse ourselves in sin, really gross sin, so that we can obtain as much grace as possible and advance in our understanding of the spiritual life.

Jude sees this whole mentality as a fundamental rejection of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

He is the one through whom grace comes, and Jesus has called us to a life of holiness, not lewdness and immorality!

The Gnostic’s view of grace was faulty.

Jude is going to give a lengthy description of these false teachers, describing their motives and judgment.

5But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And 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; 7as 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.

It’s clear from all the OT references and stories Jude gives, that he was writing to Jewish believers who had a thorough heritage of Bible teaching.

He appeals to that here in v. 5 when he says –

I want to remind you, though you once knew this –

He’s not saying they had forgotten it; He’s simply saying, “Remember how God has weeded out & judged apostates in the past.”

He weeded them out of the Nation of Israel in the Exodus.

God weeded out the angels who departed from their ordained place.

He even poured out His judgment on the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Jude’s point is that God will visit judgment on those who willingly and knowingly distort the truth for their own purposes.

Whether they be individuals, angels, or even whole groups.

The Books of Exodus-Deuteronomy tell us the stories of several people who were part of the Exodus from Egypt who rebelled against Moses’ leadership and refused to follow the Lord.

These were separated out, and then experienced the judgment of God.

Jude’s reference here to angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode is a bit obscure – but he’s probably referring to the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6.

We read how in the world prior to the flood, there was an unholy union of the sons of God and the daughters of men.

This produced a race of overlarge men who became rulers and led the Earth in wholesale sin and violence.

It’s been understood by many bible students that the angels Jude refers to here are those “sons of God” of Genesis 6.

These angels, lusting after the beauty of human women, forced the possession of particular human men who they knew possessed the potential of producing really large off-spring.

This forced possession of certain men was a gross violation of their assigned role and place and for their abominable behavior, they have been rounded up and confined to a place of imprisonment – awaiting the day of their final judgment.

The lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah doesn’t need to be explained.

These cities are proverbial in how they stand as examples of God singling out for judgment those who knowingly overthrow truth and go after sin.

So, just as God has done in the past with apostates, so He will do with the false teachers that were now troubling the Church of Jude’s day . . .

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

The three examples of judgment Jude just gave did all these things.

The apostates of the Exodus spoke evil of Moses and leveled all kinds of false accusations about him.

The angels rejected God’s authority and the position and role He had assigned them.

And of course, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah defiled their flesh with the very grossest of perversions.

To give you an idea of just how far gone the people of Sodom & Gomorrah were – they wanted to rape a couple of angels!

False teaching, if allowed to prosper and grow, will always eventually move to these three characteristics.

1)  There is only one thing that can discipline the lusts of the flesh and that’s the Spirit of God.

So when a person grieves the Spirit by knowingly promoting error, they lose the Spirit’s ability to resist temptation and will eventually get caught up in the lusts of the flesh.

History shows how the leaders of cults and movements that depart from the Faith end up in gross sexual sin.

2) False teaching always ends up coming to the place of rejecting the testimony and authority of the Apostles.

It has to because what they taught contradicts false teaching! 

The leaders of cults set themselves up as the only God-approved standard and reject all others.

3) As true believers contend earnestly for the faith, they will challenge the error of the false teachers, which will only raise their ire and indignation.

Because the cult-leaders have set themselves up as the sole authority, they find it no problem to defame and say all kinds of harsh and terrible things about those leaders in the Body of Christ who stand against them.

 

One quick stylistic thing before we go on – watch how Jude loves to put things in triplets.

Just in the verses so far –

1) V. 1 = Jude, bondservant, brother

2) V. 1 = Called, sanctified, preserved

3) V. 2 = Mercy, peace, love

4) V. 4 = Marked for condemnation, turn grace into lewdness, deny the Lord

5) Vs. 5-7 = Those who did not believe in the Exodus, the angels who sinned, Sodom and Gomorrah

6) V.8 = They - defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

This use of triplets permeates the letter.

 

Having spoken of the false teachers as dreamers who care little for God ordained authority, Jude goes on to describe how cavalier they are toward the whole issue of honor and respect for that which is holy . . .

9Yet 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!” 10But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

Jude loves to drop bombshells of insight on us, but seems to care little about filling in the details.

Just what does he mean here about Michael and the devil arguing over the body of Moses?

Jewish tradition tells us that when Moses died up on Mt. Nebo, God sent Michael to bury it honorably.

But the devil came and laid claim to it – saying that because Moses and misrepresented God at the striking of the rock, he had rights to it.

Who knows what mischief satan intended with the body of Moses – but Michael would not give in.

A conflict took place between Michael and the devil in which Michael, as the warrior of God, might have been prone to start leveling all kinds of arguments with Satan over who had the real rights to his body.

But Michael didn’t go that route.

He knew HIS authority lay in the command of God to go and deal with Moses’ body.

Where God commands, He also gives all that’s necessary to fulfill that command.

So Michael knew he had the higher authority here and used that authority, a delegated authority, to rebuff the devil.

The great danger for Michael was to try to deal with Satan purely in his own authority and power as the Warrior of the Lord – a role we see him in time and again in Scripture.

When Lucifer fell from his position as second to God, it may have been Michael who took that place.

And so now, as they square off over the body of Moses, the great challenge here may have been Michael’s desire to see if he was up to the challenge of dealing with the devil on his own.

If that was every a struggle – Michael won it where it needed to be won; in his own heart.

He didn’t rebuff the devil on his own authority but on the authority delegated to him as an agent of God.

Jude’s point is that if Michael was respectful of a spiritual dignitary as corrupt and perverse as Satan, how much more ought we mere human beings be respectful of spiritual beings, whether demonic or angelic?

The Gnostic teachers had devised an entire realm of higher and lower spiritual beings.

They said it was the task of the lower spiritual beings to impart the knowledge that would lead to higher and higher levels of enlightenment.

They actually had given names to many of the lower angels and assigned certain topics to them.

The higher one went in the Gnostic system, the more proud and arrogant one became.

Those who were the initiates of the highest levels of Gnosticism actually thought themselves to be on a higher spiritual plane than the lower angels!

They would speak disparagingly of these angels, mocking them as inept.

Of course, the whole Gnostic system was bunk; there was no hierarchy of angels as they proposed.

But their cavalier attitude toward the spiritual realm revealed an arrogance Jude saw as extremely dangerous.

So he says -

11Woe to them!

Then notice another triplet -

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.

The way of Cain means to know that you’re doing is wrong and pursuing it anyway.

Before Cain murdered his brother, God warned him and told him the right thing to do.

But Cain rejected God’s counsel and knowingly pursued a course God had clearly warned him away from.

The false teachers who had snuck into the church knew what they were teaching was in error and ought not teach it, but they did so anyway!

The reason why they pursued this course is given in the phrase –

They have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit

Balaam was the prophet who had counseled the king of Moab on how to trouble the people of Israel.

As the people were passing by his land on their way to Canaan in the Exodus, the king was concerned they might overrun his land.

So he asked Balaam to curse them.  The king didn’t understand that the words of a prophet don’t create anything, they only report God’s intention.

So when all Balaam did was bless Israel, the King of Moab grew upset and said that unless Balaam did something to assist him in cursing Israel, he would miss out on a fortune in reward.

When Balaam saw the loot that was offered to him, he gave a strategy to the king of Moab on how to get God to turn against the Jews.

Balaam knew what he was doing was wrong – but he did it because of the personal profit he thought to get out of it.

This is what the false teachers of Jude’s day were doing, teaching what they knew to be error, but teaching it because of HOW IT WOULD ENRICH THEM.

Do you suppose this motive is used by false teachers today?

 

Then Jude says that the false teachers of that day are doomed to perish in the rebellion of Korah.

Korah was the man who led a rebellion against Moses’ leadership.

He refused to acknowledge and yield to the authority of God given to Moses.

And as a result, he and all his followers were judged in an instant when the earth opened up and swallowed them.

Though this judgment had taken place almost 1,500 years prior to Jude’s day, Jude sees Korah’s rebellion and judgment by God being carried on throughout history whenever and wherever false teachers reject those God has placed in authority.

12These

The false teachers -

are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.

The love feast or agape was the heart and centerpiece of Christian worship.

While we celebrate Communion or the Lord’s Supper once a month, the early church was in the habit of celebrating it every week.

It included an entire meal that ended with the bread and wine of communion.

These love feasts were the focal point of the Christian assembly and the heart and soul of worship.

It was a time of commemoration of what Christ had done at the cross and so a most solemn and reverential time.

But the presence of false teachers who were spreading damnable heresies was like spots and stains on the holiness of their service.

When Jude says they serve only themselves, the word for “serve” means to shepherd.

It describes the task of the pastor – but here we find the false teachers doing what they do and saying what they say, not for the benefit of the flock, but for their own benefit.

They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Jude piles up metaphors here of things that hold some kind of promise, but fail to fulfill.

Like a cloud that only blocks out the sun and never gives any rain.

Or a tree in the middle of the harvest season that yields no crop.

A twice-dead plant is one that is not only not producing any sings of life, but it’s been yanked out of the soil so it’s impossible that it can ever come back to life.

Like a raging wave of the sea, the false teachers make a lot of noise, but only do damage, never any good.

They are wandering stars – which is a term for meteors.

They make a quick, bright flash, but almost before your eye and mind register that you’ve seen it, it’s gone and all you see is the darkness.

False teachers are like that.  They may make a big splash today, but tomorrow, their gone and forgotten.

14Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15to 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 quotes from a book that was in circulation in that day but which was not accepted as a part of the canon of Scripture.

The book of Enoch was simply a compilation of many Jewish legends and myths.

As Jude reveals here, it even contained some legitimate material drawn from antiquity.

It wasn’t worthy of inclusion in the Bible, but it still was instructive at points and Jude draws a real quote of Enoch’s from it.

Enoch had given a prophecy of the Second Coming of the Messiah and said that when the Messiah came in glory, attended by His glorified saints, He would execute judgment on those who had done evil.

This ties back to what Jude said in vs. 5-7 – that God knows how to separate His faithful ones from those who spread error.

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

Jude doesn’t like these guys very much does he?

They are grumblers and complainers.

I’ve noticed that about false teachers; with rare exception, they love to complain.

They divert attention away from their own short-comings by being critical of everyone and everything else.

False teachers and heretics have often mastered the fine art of complaining and grumbling in a humorous, or sophisticated manner.

They poke fun at things they dislike.

They communicate their displeasure in a way that makes others want to please them.

Instead of walking in the Spirit, they order their lives by their lusts.

And when those desires aren’t satisfied, they let everyone know they aren’t happy.

When they are positive and not complaining – it’s only and always because they’re buttering someone up in order to get people to do what they want them to, which is enrich and empower them to fulfill their lusts.

Some time ago, I actually heard a message from a false teacher that went something like –

We got all these “Bible” churches today that seem to worship the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Bible rather than the Holy Spirit.

Why, they want to scrutinize everything I and people like me say and find some Bible verse to support it or they won’t accept it.

But what about a fresh revelation of God?

Those Bible churches are nothing but a bunch of petrified logs.

I believe in a God Who speaks a fresh word, a new word.

And I know that because you’re here in this meeting, you’re the kind of person who is really in tune with God.

You’re not like those petrified Christians in those stiff Bible churches.

You’re wise enough to discern God’s special anointing on my ministry.

So, let me tell you what God and I were talking about just the other day.

God told me that if you would just give to this ministry so this message can get out to a wider audience, well then, God would increase your capacity too.

And I know right now, that you’re close enough to the Holy Spirit to know what I’m saying is the gospel truth.

That isn’t word for word what was said, but it’s close enough and you get the idea.

It’s exactly what Jude speaks of here.

False teachers complain and grumble about what’s holy and good; flatter their listeners to ingratiate themselves into their lives, and they make merchandise of them to fulfill their own ungodly desires.

17But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

Jude isn’t issuing a new call to caution – Jesus and the original apostles had already given a warning about the appearance of false teachers teaching among them.

The motive of false teachers is a desire to satisfy their own lusts, of which they have many because they are sensual and not spiritual people.

That right there ought to be a huge clue as to what’s false and what’s true.

False teachers will usually slant things in the direction of that which brings satisfaction to the carnal & sensual person rather than to the spiritually mature person.

Take for instance, two of the biggest modern heretical movements that have brought division to the church – the faith message with it’s emphasis on health and wealth, and the counterfeit revival with it’s emphasis on laughter and euphoric trances.

These movements coddle spiritual immaturity and sanctify carnality.

They reduce the pursuit of God to the acquisition of houses, cars, a designer wardrobe, and being happy.

God’s best is redefined from being conformed to the image of Christ, to having the best the world has to offer.

This is nothing less than worldliness dressed up in Christian terminology.

And the reason why false teachers are so effective at selling it is because it’s what so many carnal Christian want to hear.

Also, it’s the very lifestyle the false teachers are themselves living.

20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

This will be my text for Sunday, so I’ll leave till then.

22And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude is careful to make a distinction between false teachers and those who have been seduced by them.

There are those who know what they’re teaching is in grave contradiction to the Word and Will of God, and then there are the vast majority who have simply been deceived.

We need to make a distinction and try to rescue those caught in error.

We need to show compassion to the vast majority of poor deluded folk who have been snagged by the clever words of some heretical group or dynamic but false teacher.

These people don’t need our anger and a cold shoulder – they need our tender compassion and persistence in contending for the faith.

Jude sees this group of delude believers divided into two groups;

1) Those who have started listening to heresy and are being led away to it but are still in fellowship in the Church

2) Those who HAVE BEEN led away and have forsaken the fellowship to join with the cult.

The first group we should be diligent in seeking to reason with – showing great compassion and perseverance.

The second group, we need to see as an urgent rescue operation!

Our compassion for their eternal soul may mean a little less tenderness and a tad more urgency.

When a fireman enters a burning building to rescue someone who’s overcome with smoke, he or she generally isn’t very tender.

They smash through walls and are willing to do extensive property damage in order to save the life of a person.

That’s the idea here.

But Jude is not saying we can just bulldoze our way through people’s lives in order to save them.

He’s saying we need to have that kind of mentality about OUR role in going after those who are caught in error.

And the entire time we are pursuing them, we need to make sure we’re not falling prey to the lies and deceit of the enemy ourselves.

The phrase with fear means “with caution.” [1]

In trying to help those who have erred, we must be careful not to be trapped ourselves!

Many a would-be rescuer has been drowned himself.

When an unstable believer has been captured by false doctrine, we must be very careful as we try to help him, for Satan can use him to defile us.

In trying to save him, we may be stained or burned ourselves!

We had a brother here who was attempting to assist a man who had gotten caught in an practice of immorality.

This other man asked the brother to go with him to the place of where this immorality was practiced to explain to the other participants why he ought to stop.

The brother asked me what I thought – and you can guess my counsel.

NO WAY!

Stronger believers must never think they’re beyond immoral influences.

Even while serving the Lord and seeking to rescue one of His erring children, we can become defiled by those we want to help.

We certainly must love God’s people, but we must also hate sin.

Wherever there is sin, Satan has a foothold and can go to work.

Spiritual defilement spreads rapidly and secretly, and it must be dealt with drastically.

Not every Christian is equipped to deal with false teachers or with those they have influenced and captured.

It takes a good knowledge of the Word, a faithful walk with God, an understanding of Satan’s tactics, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

It also demands a huge dose of spiritual discernment.

It’s much easier to instruct new Christians and keep them away from the false teachers than it is to snatch them out of the fire.

 

Jude ends with a word of praise and commendation of his readers to the grace of God.

These words are so well-stated, they have become a famous doxology.

24  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,

25  To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

 The theme of this letter has been to encourage the readers to contend for the faith against false teachers and their errant teaching.

Jude knows that ultimately it’s the power of God that will keep them and bring them safely through the perils and pitfalls of this world.

So He commends them to the grace of God.

 

As Jude looked at the Church of his day, he saw a dangerous threat looming on the horizon.

The Apostles would soon pass away and the leadership of the Church would pass into the hands of second, third and fourth generation followers of Christ.

Persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire and the Jewish elders was heating up.

Christianity was now butting heads with Greek philosophy and eastern mysticism and Jude could see the spiritual vultures circling high overhead, just waiting for the Faith to stagger and go down.

His letter was aimed at steeling the resolve of the saints to stand firm and not give an inch in compromise with error.

So, having said his piece – and giving it his very best shot, Jude now releases them to the Lord, trusting that God would keep them.

 

Every pastor must do the same thing with his flock.

He looks at the world and sees all the challenges, all the seductive voices that never relent in their cry for moral and spiritual compromise.

He issues an impassioned call to steadfast faithfulness and does his very best to prepare his the people of his flock to deal with the challenges they will face.

But then, having done his best, he has to let go and turn them over to the grace of God – knowing that ultimately, it is ONLY God who preserves and protects, and without God’s grace, all he does is for naught.



[1] Wiersbe, Warren