Jude – The Urgency of Believers
The author introduces himself as Jude, the brother of James. These are the brothers of Jesus. They did not believe while Jesus lived but came to the faith after Jesus ascended back into heaven.
The letter was an open letter to all Christians.
Jude launches immediately into his reason for writing, saying “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith” (KJV).
Contend means to ‘struggle for’, or ‘fight in its defense’. He speaks not of a passive Christianity, but rather one that is very active. This is a faith that doesn’t idly go about their day, but rather, with intention, steps into every opportunity that the Lord brings to them.
While people may come into a church with a wrong motive, or develop a poor attitude after they have decided to live for Christ, or teach a doctrine that Christ never taught; these are all people who pervert the truth and are not of Christ.
God delivered His people out of Egypt but later destroyed those who did not believe.
God did not spare the angels who did not keep their authority when they left they’re home (dwelling place). God bound these angels with, “everlasting chains under darkness”.
God holds them in perpetual confinement, with no power to escape.
In the same way, God did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns when they gave themselves over to the lust of this world and lived in sexual immorality and perversion. Then they followed this by being non-repentant of their actions.
These all, “set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” God does not take lightly those who pervert truth. Whether its an attitude like the Egyptians; a decision to leave Christ like the angels; or a way of living like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah; judgement awaits.
Sodom and Gomorrah were turned into hell on earth as a very visible sign for all of us.
The dreamers mentioned here are false teachers. Who first pollute themselves by their false teaching (teaching that does not line up with Christ’s teaching). By doing this they reject God’s leadership. Their false teachings break faith with glories and blasphemes. The Greek word for glories is δόξας or doxas; meaning, honor, renown, glory, splendor, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God.
Some would say this ‘glories’ refers to earthly and heavenly dignities or spiritual governors. Either way, we see that it ‘breaks faith with’ or leaves what once they believed to turn to something else.
That is what it means to blaspheme, it reverses the moral values. What once was wrong is now considered right. How often do you look around the world these days and see example after example of what once was morally wrong and considered now to be the standard.
Matthew Henry explains this verse well.
It appears that the defeated enemy* wished to make the place of Moses’ burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. And learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns.
*Henry uses Satan, but I have begun to use this term from a friend of mine instead. I remove his name and replace it with what he is, an enemy. But to just say enemy gives him power that he doesn’t have so add defeated. This states what we know him to be while reminding him of what the future holds for him, defeated enemy.
Since the world does not understand our faith or our God, they will slander what they do not understand; just as animals viciously attack without thought. But it’s this very unreasoning attitude that brings their very destruction. Because the world does not understand our faith, they set out to destroy it with blind rage. This should help us understand the viewpoint of the world. This is why we are called to love. Hate begets more hate. But love changes the equation and allows the hate to dissipate and be replaced by love.
These people follow the same errors of Cain, Balaam and Korah. Cain followed jealousy, Balaam followed greed, and Korah followed rebellion.
These people are ‘hidden reefs’, snares to catch you unaware if you do not pay attention to the way of love. They will devour you without a second thought and care only for themselves. But they are merely clouds without rain (having no nourishment), blown along by the wind (having no foundation), autumn trees (having no fruit – all they do comes to nothing), without fruit and uprooted – twice dead (having returned, after baptism in the Spirit, to the death of sin).
They are wild seas of foam (reckless and without substance), foaming up shame (they rant and rave creating what they believe to be something incredible – yet it is only foam and there is nothing to it), wandering stars (a comet without orbit – there is nothing firm to hold to, nothing firm to believe in), for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
They have a very bleak future which in effect is just an extension of the life they have lived. They contain only darkness, they offer no light, and are without any light. This is the forecast of the doom awaiting them.
Do not fear them, do not hate them. They have one chance and that is you. Who is the Cain, Balaam or Korah in your life? Live your life so that Christ’s love shines through and they can see the darkness within themselves.
Verse 14 & 15
Enoch prophesied about God’s judgment. All the harsh words and actions of these people will be judged, none will escape this.
These people are grumblers, fault finders, follow their own evil desires, boast about themselves, flatter others for selfish gain. Wow! Did any of that hit home for you? Judgment won’t just be to horrible despicable people but also to those who grumble and complain, find fault with others, want what the world offers more than what Christ offers, and boast to get ahead. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t fit into that! So, what hope is there? Keep reading, its coming!
Verse 17 – 19
It is foretold that there will be scoffers in the last days who follow their own ungodly desires; who want to divide believers, who follow mere natural instincts (of survival, in order to get ahead), and who do not have the Spirit.
Verse 20 – 21
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying 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.
That’s it! That’s the answer! Build ourselves up in the faith and pray in the Spirit.
But more instruction is offered…
Be merciful to those who doubt.
To the world who doesn’t understand, be merciful to them. Don’t fight back, don’t argue in hate. Love them. Speak in love. Do loving things for them.
I love how this verse is worded…
‘snatch others from the fire and save them, to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.’
Here is where being a fisher of men comes directly into play. Snatch others from the fire and save them. Even when they look like they are beyond redemption, they are still loved by God and His restoration can take place through us loving them.
Be not of this world – don’t wish for, lust for, or want the things of this corrupt earth. Desire what God has for you. Build yourselves up in the faith! Desire Him, not the lust of this world.
The verse continues by saying show mercy (just as He has been merciful to us) mixed with fear.
We should have a respectful fear of this corrupt world. It offers a lot of tempting things so be careful what you wish for, and pray for.
It continues with ‘hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh’.
Doesn’t this make you think of a communicable disease that can spread even by the clothes a person is wearing. The lust of this world is strong, it can wither your soul as it would your flesh. It attracts us in different ways that are specific to each of us. Some of us want the latest fashion, others the latest technology, others want fame or fortune, and others want merely to be loved. But when we are attempting to set the standard for what we deserve, we make it a corrupt worldly lust instead. When we let God set the standard for us – we do this by praying in the Spirit and allow His guiding to show us what is best for us – then it is what God believes is best for us.
His Word – the Bible is Him talking to us. Allow Him to speak to you, read your Bible often.
This fear and hate should not make you stagnate or quit loving others.
To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling 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.
There is a way to make it, but it is only through Christ. He is the one who is there to catch us when we stumble and to wash away our sin bringing great joy! He will keep us from stumbling into sin when temptation is staring us in the face. When we look to Him and take our eyes off the temptation, there is salvation. But we have to decide to take our eyes off the temptation.
Through Him we can be without fault by the price He paid on the cross. Through Him we can share in His same glory, majesty, power, and authority. Through Him, everything is possible when we ask in His Name.
Be strong and courageous and be ready to snatch back what the defeated enemy has stolen.