Friday, July 25, 2008

Jude 1:17

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
(NIV)
Two things I would like to point out in this verse: First, the "But".  So many writers in the Bible will lay things out for you, but they don't leave you without the "but".  They will come back in and remind you of something big and important and essential to empowering you to do what you need to do.



Second, I love the "dear friends" that he uses.  He is not speaking all of these things in an uncaring way, he is speaking to friends.  The same is true of God.  There are many places in scripture where God refers to us as His friends.


Keep that in mind this week, that God always brings in the "but" to empower you to do what you need to do, and He is with us as our friend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jude 1:16

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
(ESV)

Jude does not take it easy with the names he uses to describe these false teachers.  But he desires that the listener be fully aware of the heart of the false teacher.

Ask yourself though, do any of these descriptions match you?

I know that for myself, I will go days on end as a grumbler.  It is usually something about work, or something that the boss did.  So I will gripe and complain like the best of them. 

So before you start nailing false prophets, you may want to get the beam out of your eye.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jude 1:14-15

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, 

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
(ESV)

These people are a type of people that have been around since the beginning.  We just heard that they are like Cain, and now it is Enoch, just the 7th from Adam, that is prophesying their ultimate destruction.


God does not forget His word, and that word will come true.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jude 1:12-13

These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
(ESV)

What a description! 

They are hidden reefs (blemishes).  They have come to blend right in during the fellowship times.    They go unnoticed, therefore they are without fear.  They are selfish, like  a shepherd who feeds himself.

They are like clouds with no rain.
They are like dead fruit trees.
They are like a wave casting up foam.
They are like a wandering star.

There is a place reserved for them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jude 1:11

Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.
(ESV)

Cain was a hater of his brother.  He was jealous, but unwilling to do things God's way.  Cain was a murderer. 

Following Balaam meant to live a life of immorality.  Many of the practices included unmentionable deeds.  To follow those ways was to abandon oneself to those things. 

Korah and his followers stood against Moses and Aaron.  These false teachers are setting themselves up against the apostles.

These three examples are there to learn from.  Setting yourself up against God and His way will never work out.  The one thing that struck me about all three of these cases is that they are obviously wrong.  I am speaking as an observer... to me the wrong way is clear and the right way is clear.  but in the moment, I have no doubt that the ones who were going the wrong way believed that it was not the wrong way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jude 1:10

But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
(ESV)
Blasphemous words were proceeding out of the mouths of these false teachers.  And what is sad is that they were blaspheming what they didn't even understand.  If they didn't get it, they they were blaspheming it.  They were using their words to speak evil of all they did not understand.  And their understanding came from instinct, not reason.

Animals do, pretty much, what they feel like doing.  They don't reason out moralities or even risk assessment.  In a sense, they go with their gut.  ... or possibly, you could say that they go with their heart.  I know that I would have to disagree with nearly every Disney movie ever made, but following your heart (the inner man) should not be your guide to life, and it definitely should not be the final judge for what is right for you. These false teachers were guides that were led by their instincts, by their feelings, and the result was destruction. 

A truth that is found in this verse is that following your instincts (your heart or your feelings) will bring destruction.  The very things these false teachers were doing by instinct is what was destroying them.  The sad truth is that they probably didn't even recognize that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jude 1:9

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
(ESV)
 Whether or not this is an actual event or a fable taken from Jewish lore, doesn't really matter to the point that Jude is attempting to make.  Pronouncing blasphemous judgments on people in unacceptable.  Even if you are Michael the archangel.

If you would like to read some background on this story, check here or here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jude 1:8

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
(ESV)

 "...in like manner..." Just like the Israelites, just like the evil angels, just like the people of Sodom, these people are doing these things.  If those three examples deserved judgement, don't these false teachers also deserve judgment?

Notice a few things about these false teachers.  First, they are relying on their own dreams.  Instead of God's word as authority, they are depending on their own fantasies, ideas from their own minds.  Second, they are defiling the flesh by doing this.  The actions that are coming from the dreams is resulting in a defiling of their own flesh.  Third, they are rejecting authority.  By relying on dreams instead of God's word, they are rejecting His authority.  In the original it could be understood as "all authority".  In other words they have become like anarchists.  Nobody can tell them what to do.  Finally, they have gone so far that they are committing blasphemy. 

These people are false teachers, led by their own defiled minds.  Is it any wonder that Jude has taken the time to write this letter?  The question that you have to ask yourself is this:  In what ways am I like these false teachers?  Before you start looking around you, always examine yourself first.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
(ESV) 

Here is another example that God does, in fact, judge.

It is easy to think that God doesn't do this.  Many people like to think of God as this great big old guy, with a long beard, sitting up in the clouds.  He is always one step ahead of you, but as far as judging people, he's not really going to do that.  Yet the Bible is filled with examples of God doing that exact thing.

In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, He is bringing down actual fiery judgment.

Jude says that this example is trying to lead you to understand that there will also be an eternal fiery judgment one day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jude 1:6

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day
(ESV) 
Why did the angels lose their positions of authority?  Why are the angels being kept in chains... under gloomy darkness? 

Disobedience.

Jude is pounding in the point that obedience matters to God.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jude 1:5

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
(ESV)
 Jude is going to give several different examples from the Old Testament. 

I want to begin by pointing out that what Jude is going to be saying are things that one already knows, but Jude is going to remind us anyway.  I say that to my son quite often, "Son, I know that you probably already know this, but I am going to say it anyway..."  I usually say this when he is not acting as if he really did know this.  Having heard something before doesn't necessarily mean that you actually know it.

The story of the Exodus is full of examples of this.  Even though the Lord rescued them from Egypt, when they were disobedient, they were destroyed.  Remember that the false teaching that Jude is revealing has to do with people who believe that once they are saved, God will not judge them.  So, Jude is showing here that there were many, because we have all heard the story of the Exodus and the constantly rebelling Israelites, that were judged after they were "saved".

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jude 1:4

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
(ESV)
 Here is the first focus of Jude's writing.  He has noticed that there are people who have become a part of the church, that are perverting the Gospel.  This perversion is two-fold:  First they are abusing God's grace as an excuse to live out their lives according to their lusts.  Grace abounds, of course, so they have permission to continue to sin.  So, instead of denying self and taking up the cross, they are claiming Christ without sacrificing their lusts.

This leads to the second perversion, which is the denial of Jesus Christ as the Only Master and Lord.  When you live by your lusts, you are denying the Lordship of Christ.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jude 1:3

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
(ESV)
 Jude was motivated to write.  He had a strong desire to do so, and the topic that he wanted to write about was the topic of this salvation that we all share, the common salvation.  This salvation is available to all, to Jews and to Gentiles, and it is still available today.  There is no barrier to this salvation, it is available to you regardless of your background, your wealth or lack of it, your ethnicity, your family, your religious background, etc.  Of course Jude is wanting to write about this common, yet extraordinary, salvation.

On further thought, Jude decided that there was one particular aspect of the faith that it was necessary to write about.  That aspect which became necessary, was the importance of contending for the faith.  This common salvation cannot be tainted or watered down.  It is absolutely essential that the faith that was brought to this earth, through the person of Jesus Christ, remains clear and distinct until the end of the age.

...And here we are, 2000 years later, reading this letter by Jude.  No other ancient texts exist with the numbers and the accuracy of the collected works of the New Testament.  Is it essential to contend for the faith?  Let us listen to what Jude has to say, and see if it is as important today as it was 2000 years ago.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Jude 1:2

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
(ESV)
 First, remember that this letter is addressed to you.  Therefore, this statement is for you today.  These three things God desires that they be multiplied to you.

I would also like you to consider whether or not you desire these things to be multiplied to others, specifically to those who you encounter.  Do you desire Mercy, Peace, and Love to be multiplied to your family?  What about to your neighbors?  How about to the people you work with?  What about that one specific guy that you work with that is really annoying, and most of the time you just want to get away from that guy, and maybe it would be a joy to you that he might get fired... Do you desire Mercy, Peace, and Love for that guy?

Have you ever stopped and considered that you are to be the embodiment of Mercy, Peace, and Love to the people that you encounter.  People who are lost cannot have these things multiplied to them, except through you.