Intending to write a letter to the Church on
the subject of salvation, Jude was prompted instead to write
about the false teachers that were already infecting the church
with their lies. He
was just getting nicely wound up as we finished our first
rejoin him now as he releases the full force of his torrent
against them. And as we saw last time, he wasn't just writing
about his times, he was also writing about ours.
These men are blemishes at your love
feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds
who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown
along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and
They are wild waves of
the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom
blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude:12-13)
The phrase love feast refers to the early
church's practice of eating together and sharing communion at
their weekly gathering.
It was an adaptation of the Passover Jesus celebrated
with His disciples.
Jude said the false teachers didn't belong there because unlike
shepherds who understood their responsibility to feed their
flock, these people are only interested in feeding themselves.
Clouds with out rain fail to fulfill their
promise of bringing relief from the drought.
They get our hopes up but don't bring us comfort. Trees
that don't bear fruit are uprooted. Jude called them twice dead
because by bearing no fruit they produce no offspring and by
being uprooted their own life is ended.
The wild waves of the sea come from odd directions.
They can knock a boat off course or even cause it to
stars are unreliable and cannot be used for navigation. Anyone
following them is in danger of becoming lost.
These four analogies show that false teachers
are not just wrong, they're dangerous.
And they're most dangerous to those who are least able to
defend themselves. Like wolves, they feed off the weak and the
Jude said the darkest blackness has been
reserved for them forever, indicating they're not saved. John
confirmed this when he wrote the following
They went out from us but they did not
really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would
have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them
belonged to us. (1 John 2:19)
False teachers who deny the deity of Jesus or
the sufficiency of His sacrifice, who blaspheme the creation and
lend support to the murder of the preborn, who teach what they
know to be false because it profits them, and who rebel against
the authority of Scripture are not just mistaken.
Jude and Paul say they know in their hearts they're
wrong, and John said by their words and deeds they're proving
that they never belonged to us.
Paul said, “such men are false apostles,
deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants
of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
(2 Cor. 11:13-15)
When you're masquerading you're pretending to
be someone you know you're not.
Just like Satan knows he's not an angel of light, his
servants know they're not servants of righteousness. These men
are not merely deluded, they are consciously deceptive.
seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is
coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the
ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the
harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil
desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for
their own advantage. (Jude: 14-16)
Some commentators use this passage to support
their view that the book of Enoch belongs in the Bible.
But Jude was writing under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit and would have known that the book of Enoch a) was
not written by Enoch, and b) has a number of historical
and theological errors.
Jude was very specific in identifying Enoch as belonging
to the seventh generation after Adam.
The Book of Enoch wasn't written until several thousand
Jude:14 is similar to 1 Enoch 1:9.
But even if Jude was quoting it, that wouldn't indicate a
blanket endorsement of the book.
Jude could have had confirmation from the Holy Spirit
that the original Enoch actually said what Jude had written.
That would explain why Jude attributed the statement to
Enoch rather than the book by that name. The important thing to
remember here is that the Lord will come to judge the false
teachers for the way they've twisted and distorted the truth of
But you don't have to depend on Jude's quote
from Enoch to verify the judgments that await the godless false
teachers. Peter said the same thing.
there were also false prophets among the people, just as there
will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce
destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought
them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow
their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into
In their greed these teachers will exploit
you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long
been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been
sleeping. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
In Old Testament times there were false
prophets pretending to speak for the Lord.
Now we have false teachers who twist His word into
something it was never meant to be.
What they teach denies the fact that the Lord died for
all our sins and just by receiving His free gift we can live in
eternity with Him.
Instead they use their influence to introduce destructive
heresies that lead their followers astray.
Peter added his voice to Jude and John saying,
These men are springs without water and
mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
(2 peter 2:17)
And Jesus will seal the fate of these
pretenders saying, “I never knew you. Away from me you evil
doers.” (Matt. 7:23)
A Call to Persevere
But, dear friends,
remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will
follow their own ungodly desires.”
These are the men who
divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have
the Spirit. (Jude:17-19)
Here Jude referred us once again to Peter who
warned that these scoffers would taunt us. “Where is this
‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything
goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
( 2 Peter 3:4)
These advocates of evolution contend that things always
have been and always will be. They laugh when we talk about the
2nd Coming, as if we're being naive to think such
But they deliberately forget that long ago
by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out
of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that
time was deluged and destroyed. (2 Peter 3:6)
It's not that they never heard how things
began. They've made a conscious decision to ignore what God said
about creating the Heavens and the Earth, and how he destroyed
it when men became evil. Against all the evidence they've
decided to believe that God doesn't get involved in the workings
of men and therefore won't be coming back, ever.
dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and
pray in the Holy Spirit.
Keep yourselves in God’s
love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring
you to eternal life. (Jude:20-21)
Building faith is like building our muscles.
It takes practice. Jude's brother James said it this way.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops
perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
An athlete looks for chances to test
himself and faces them joyfully because it's an opportunity to
make himself bigger, faster, stronger. We should be the same,
thinking of the trials we face as opportunities to build our
faith. We know in
advance that the outcome will be in our favor, so we can
consider these tests pure joy. They bring us closer to the Lord
and help us look to that day He's promised will come.
Be merciful to those who doubt;
snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy,
mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted
Like the seasoned veteran encourages the
rookie, we can reach out to those who doubt while we wait.
I believe Jude had Zechariah 3:1-10 in mind here.
It was a vision, one of eight Zechariah had in the same
night. The Angel of the Lord was there, along with Joshua the
High Priest and Satan. When Satan began to accuse the High
Priest, God said, “The Lord rebuke you Satan.
The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Is not this
man a burning stick snatched from the fire?
Joshua was dressed in filthy (literally
excrement bespattered) clothing.
The Angel of the Lord said,
“Take off his filthy clothes”, and told Joshua He
had taken away his sin. Then He had Joshua clothed in rich
garments and said he was symbolic of things to come.
He was referring to the day when the Lord would come to
take away the filthy garments of our own righteousness and
clothe us in rich garments of His
“I will remove the sin of the people in
a single day,” the Angel said, thereby identifying Himself
as Jesus. It's an
incredible model I call the Gospel in Zechariah, and I think
Jude was calling it to our attention for a reason. We need to
remember what we were before and who we are now.
As we build our faith and wait for the
Lord, we'll become so heavenly minded that our earthly clothes
will remind us of the High Priest's filthy robes and we'll long
to be clothed with our heavenly garments.
To him who
is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his
glorious presence without fault and with great joy —
to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and
authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now
and forevermore! Amen. (Jude:24-25)
Jude's letter ends the way it began, with an
assurance that Jesus will obey His father's will and not lose
even one of us (John 6:38-40), but is able to keep us
from falling and to present us to Himself without fault, as
though we'd never sinned at all.
At the beginning I said the Epistle of Jude
could be called the Acts of the Apostates.
This is because of the author's focus on the false
remember they all claim to be part of the Church, even though
their teachings are far from the Gospel.
Some of them say Jesus is not the way at all.
They deny His deity, doubt the fact that He died for our sins
and rose again, and dismiss His claim that you have to be born
again. You have to find
the way yourself, by living a good life, or learning secret
knowledge, or joining their group.
Others say He's not the only way.
There are many ways to God and as long as you're sincere
in what you believe you'll find yours.
Still others say He's not all the way.
He made it possible for you to begin your journey to God,
but you have to complete it by your own efforts, living a
righteous life according to their standards.
These are all branches of the broad road with
its wide gate. They lead to destruction because in the final
analysis they make you the author of your salvation. These are
the acts of the apostates.
The Bible says Jesus is the the way, the only
way and He's all the way. Only by trusting exclusively in His
completed work on the cross can we hope to see the Kingdom.
Faith in His substitutionary death is the only thing we can do
that isn't counted as work, and it alone is credited to us as
righteousness (Romans 4:5) This is the narrow road with
the small gate, because it makes Jesus the sole author of our
It's exciting to be part of a big crowd all
praising God and caught up in the stimulation of a great musical
a feeling of self satisfaction that comes from being seen by
your peers as a shining example of what it means to live a
victorious life. And
there's an unparalleled sense of fulfillment to be found in
expressing the love of the Lord to the less fortunate through
missionary or social justice programs.
But if you're not also a born again believer,
none of that will get you even one step closer to the Kingdom.
You'll just be one more victim of the acts of the
apostates. It's what you believe in your heart that saves you,
not how you behave in your life.