THE BOOK OF JUDE
Copyright © 2003 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Christian churches are sick unto death with sin, and much of the reason is false doctrines, particularly regarding grace. The book of Jude is the cure if we will apply it to our lives.
But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. (II Peter 2:12)
The book of Jude is directed toward the sins in the Christian churches. The comments it makes about some of the people in the churches are harsh. Yet the Holy Spirit found it necessary to employ such strong language. Although Jude was written two thousand years ago, its message is very much needed in our day.
We who have been Christians for a number of years know that sometimes Christian churches become cages of unclean spirits. The hatred, division, lust, jealousy, greed, selfishness, pride exhibited by so-called born-again Christians make us know that there can be a vast difference between people who are walking with Jesus Christ, and membership in a Christian church.
The Holy Spirit is blowing the trumpet in Zion today. We need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, for the fire of Divine judgment is in the land.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. (Jude 1:1,2)
The Lord Jesus had four brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and some sisters as well. The names of the Lord’s sisters are not given. Like Hannah, once the special child was born, Mary had several other children. James, the Lord’s brother, was the author of the book of James and the pastor of the large Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. Judas, or Jude, the author of the epistle we are discussing, also was a brother of the Lord.
Every true Christian has been called out of the world by the Spirit of God. He is in the world but no longer of the world. He or she has been called to be a saint, a holy one. Once we are called to be a holy one, we have no other calling in life. Though we may work at a trade or profession to support ourselves and our family, our calling, and only calling, is to be a saint.
God loves His saints with the same love wherewith He loves Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ is keeping us and praying for us at all times. If we do not live a victorious Christian life, that is our choice. All we need to overcome every hindrance has already been provided. We either receive the grace of God (divine assistance) and by it overcome the world, or else we permit ourselves to be distracted and thus neglect our great salvation.
Mercy, peace, and love have been given to us in abundance. God in His mercy toward us overlooks many frailties and mistakes as long as we are confessing our sins and following the Spirit rather than yielding to our sinful nature. We have the peace of Jesus Christ and are without condemnation when we are seeking the Lord each day and doing His will. This Divine peace will hold us steady during the coming tumultuous years in America.
The love of God in Christ, which has been given to us, is so intense, so powerful, so enduring, that the evil in the world is forced to give way before it. Truly, human love is but the faintest flickering shadow of God’s love.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Verse 3)
Jude had a desire to write to the believers about their salvation, but there was a pressing need to discuss the wicked people who had begun to infiltrate the assemblies.
Too often in our day, salvation is regarded as a ticket to Heaven. We take the “four steps of salvation” and that is all there is to it. We now are on our way to Heaven, and some even teach that it is impossible to lose our ticket.
The truth is, we must contend vigorously for the faith. We must fight the good fight of faith because carnal believers enter our churches and spread their poison.
I have a young friend who has a revival on his hands. People, including young people, are coming to his house to hear the Word of God. Although he is in another state he is under the spiritual covering of our church. Wouldn’t you know it? Here come the “birds” who can smell the sacrifices being made — the people repenting of their sins, being baptized in water, and rejoicing in the Lord. Here comes one man who tells the little group they must be baptized all over again because they were not baptized in Jesus name. He states also that sin is merely lack of faith in God. But my friend, having been taught better than that, pointed out the passage in First John that states sin is the breaking of the commandments of God. Then another: “You must call Jesus ‘Yahweh’. If you do not, you are sinning.” Yet another: “You should not be meeting in a home. You must meet in my church.” Still another: “You must preach Dispensationalism.”
My counsel to my young friend continues to be: “Do not come down from the wall. The Sanballats and Tobiahs will do everything in their power to discourage you, to call you down from what you are doing so they may reason with you. (How the demons love to reason!) Ignore them and keep on preaching the Word. The Holy Spirit will bring in those whom the Lord is calling to Himself.”
A fine young man called me recently and advised me that when the Lord Jesus spoke of the wheat being gathered into the barn, He was referring to the outer darkness. He believes we ought to do all we can to bring these in the “barn” into a victorious walk in Christ. It is obvious to me that by “gather the wheat and bring it into my barn,” the Lord Jesus is referring to His Kingdom.
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)
I responded to him that indeed we ought to encourage every believer to live a godly life in Christ, but if he keeps pressing the issue that the barn is the outer darkness, most mainline Christians will reject this thought and not be moved to practice righteousness.
I mentioned further that the unity of the faith to which we have been called is not a unity of the head, but of the heart. We can love Jesus without agreeing on every point of doctrine that someone else holds dear. Do you believe this? I do! Arguing about doctrine is not contending for the faith. Rather it is debate, and the spirit of debate is definitely of the sinful nature. Contending for the faith is holding fast to faith in Jesus, not faith in doctrine. Jesus is a Person. The all-important issue is that we are abiding in Him at all times, not that we have memorized a commentary. Satan uses doctrine to get our eyes off Jesus.
When I was first saved, I was in the Marine Corps. Within a couple of weeks, here came an elder from the Seventh Day Adventist church in downtown Honolulu. He spoke to me about not carrying my rifle on Saturday. Do you think this brought me closer to Jesus? It certainly did not! It caused tremendous confusion in the mind of a new Christian — me. A mature Christian Marine prayed for me, and I was able to see this was not God, at least for me, and I was delivered from that bondage. Yet to this day I have a high opinion of the Adventists, although I do not make a special effort to abide in Christ on Saturday more than any other day. Oh well…
Truly, the Christian churches are in absolute chaos. Everyone does whatever he feels “led” to do. Even in our own assembly, there have been individuals who accost people in the parking lot or meet in homes and tell whoever will listen what they think is wrong with me or with the church. I leave such people alone until God shows me what to do. Sometimes the Lord brings them to repentance and they begin to show forth the Life of Christ.
It is the good fight of faith. We meet opposition all the time, but Jesus is with us when we look to Him and refuse to come down from the cross, from the wall where God has placed us. Nehemiah is a good book to read when we are being harassed as we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Verse 4)
There are two problems with these ungodly men:
- They change the grace of God into a license for immorality.
- They deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Today most of the Christian churches in America have changed the grace of God into a license for immorality. They have not done this deliberately; it is because they do not understand Paul’s writings. The Apostle Paul presented Divine grace as a means of turning away from the Law of Moses and placing our trust in Jesus Christ. Then, as part of the grace of God, we have the born-again experience, the body and blood of Christ, and the daily leading of the Holy Spirit to enable us to understand the will of Christ and to perform it. Day by day we are transformed into Christ’s moral image. We become a new, righteous creation — something the Law of Moses is unable to accomplish.
But what have we done? We have interpreted Paul to mean God has given us Divine grace as a substitute for, an alternative to, righteous behavior. We could not have missed the mark more completely.
So today, as Jude commented, the grace of God is being used far and wide as an excuse for immorality. It will be a wonder if we ever escape from this error before the Lord returns. If we do not, numerous American Christians will not gain the crown of life.
Not only are we using God’s grace as an excuse for our sinning, but also we are denying Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. We are willing to receive Christ as our personal Savior, but not as our personal Sovereign and Lord. How many American Christians obey Christ in every detail of their lives? How many have truly surrendered to God’s will? How many have denied themselves, taken up their personal cross, and are following the Master?
These are the only true Christians. These are the disciples of Christ. The remainder are merely members of the Christian religion. There is no salvation, no eternal life, in being merely a member of the Christian religion. How can we tell that American Christians are not disciples, have not received Christ as Lord, are changing God’s grace into an excuse for immorality? By the things they say and do.
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord [some early manuscripts say ‘Jesus’] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Verse 5)
There has been much talk in Christian circles about “once saved always saved.” Since it is commonly acknowledged that coming out of Egypt is a type of salvation, and since Jude reminds us that the Lord having saved His people out of Egypt later destroyed those who did not believe, how can we persist in this eternal security error? Don’t we know that this passage in Jude tells us that it is possible to be saved and then lost?
Actually, the concept of “once saved always saved” reflects a profound error in our concept of salvation. “Eternal security” is based on the notion that our salvation is a Divine intervention having nothing to do with our response. This is not at all true. Every aspect of our salvation is an opportunity. God moves and we are to respond by faith and obedience. When we do not do our part, God’s intervention in our life is rendered null and void. The contract is broken. We broke it; God did not.
We have the power to make the Word of God of no effect in our lives.
Here is one of the fundamental errors in Christian theology. If the teachers and preachers would preach expository sermons, taking a portion of the Scriptures and expounding on it verse by verse, not warping it into a preconceived mold or model, they would rapidly find that God’s intervention in the lives of people is effective only as they believe and obey God.
Salvation is not a ticket to Heaven that we cannot possibly lose. Salvation is the Presence of God in Jesus Christ that enables us to move from the character of Satan to the character of God. Christ is always present to help us and will see us through. But we must keep His commandments or else the process halts.
If we do not keep His commandments, we do not love Him; we will not bear the fruit of His image; and we will be cut out of Vine, out of Christ. This is what the Bible says.
The Christian churches in America are on dangerous spiritual ground. If we do not have nation-wide repentance, a turning to God in sincerity, and a change in our doctrine to conform to the Scriptures, then our nation is lost and we are going to face an angry Christ. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we do not go back to the New Testament, particularly but not only the epistles, and see whether they press a sovereign intervention of God that ignores our behavior, or if they teach that if we continue to walk in our sinful nature, we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God but we shall reap destruction.
What will God need to do in America to make this change in doctrine and practice? If I am hearing the Lord correctly, He is going to slap America hard. Then He is going to raise up our country in righteousness so we may send the Gospel of the Kingdom to the end of the earth, not the gospel of lawless-grace, but the Gospel of the soon coming of God’s righteous Kingdom to the earth.
We bear the name of Christ, we Americans, and for this reason Christ shall keep us from being completely destroyed. But we must remember that in the present hour, instead of the Gospel of the Kingdom coming forth from our supposedly Christian nation, the waters of moral filth are pouring out in movies, television, and the Internet. God wants America to preach righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. He wants us to live it and preach it. If we will do this, we will continue as a nation. If not, our end is in sight.
Our government is in tremendous moral confusion today with each politician seeking his or her own interests, it appears. It is the lawless-grace preaching in the Christian churches that has produced this immorality in the government. God wants our preaching to be Bible-based, not based on our unscriptural traditions.
I am not crying “Ain’t it awful!” I am stating that I believe God is telling me that He is going to punish America severely, and then raise us up so once again we can portray to the Muslim world, the Jews, and everyone else on earth that Jesus Christ requires righteous, holy, obedient behavior from all men. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and neither the churches nor the nations of the world are prepared. He is not only the Savior of the world, but also the Lord of the world.
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home — these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Verse 6)
We know we are wrestling with fallen angels in the heavenlies, as Ephesians tells us. It must be that many of the angels were cast down into the darkness while God permitted some to remain in the air above us in order that we might learn how to fight against wickedness.
This verse is a reminder to us that the original sin was self-will, an unwillingness to remain where God has placed us.
One of the hardest tests we Christians experience is that of remaining in the prison where God permits us to be placed. We are prevented from doing what we desire, from getting what we want. We cry out in our prison, but no one hears. Then we have a choice. We can break out of our circumstances, or we can remain and submit to God, waiting for Him to release us. In order to break out, we must break God’s laws. If we do, and God still intends to save us into His Kingdom, He will capture us again, and then our new prison will be much worse.
The original sin of Satan and his angels was that of not remaining where God had placed them. This was the mother of all the sins that now afflict mankind. No Christian will be glorified with Christ and ride on the war stallions until he or she has been proven faithful, has been willing to stay on the cross until the Lord is satisfied concerning his obedience.
When Christ appears, we shall appear with Him, but only if He has become our life. Christ does not become our life until our former adamic life has been crucified. Our prison, our personal cross, is the engine of destruction that God has tailored to our unique personality. It is not an obstacle we are to attempt to get around. It is the means of destroying our self-will, our unwillingness to submit meekly to Christ no matter how much we dislike our circumstances.
Remember, the only path to the crown of glory is through the boring, sometimes painful prison we are called upon to endure. To not be willing to abide in the situation where Christ has placed us is to forfeit our crown of glory, and in fact may place our very salvation in danger.
If anyone tells you that Christians are not to suffer, ask him for chapter and verse.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Verse 7)
The United States of America is given over to sexual immorality and perversion. Those who promote moral filth are often wealthy and politically powerful. Instead of denouncing such ungodly people, our political leaders bow to the pressure.
There is, however, a God in Heaven. He did not punish Sodom and Gomorrah with the lava from erupting volcanoes, as some assume. The Bible says these two prosperous farming areas suffered the punishment of eternal fire. Eternal fire comes down from Heaven. It is a destructive force, an example of the fiery energy that created the galaxies of stars.
God loves people dearly. There is no other who loves as God does. But God cannot accept sexual perversion. The fire that left Sodom and Gomorrah smoking ruins, the downpour of salt on the plain that covered Lot’s wife, reveal the awful wrath of a loving God.
You can imagine how God views America, considering the widespread acceptance of sexual perversion and the murdering of babies when they come to term. We are going to experience much suffering in America. If you want to save yourself and your household, pray much, and ask God to lead you in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.
Do not put your trust in a “rapture” to save you. The millions of Christians who have suffered throughout the Church Era were not delivered by a rapture, and neither shall we be. Rather, prepare yourself for the dark days that lie ahead. We are no different from Sodom and Gomorrah. Why should God spare us Americans? Are we His pets?
In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals — these are the very things that destroy them. (Verses 8-10)
We are too big for our britches these days. We are going around rebuking demons, sometimes Satan himself. We do not know what we are doing. Find one verse in the epistles that advises Christians to rebuke the devil. The Bible tells us to submit to God and resist the devil. But we Christians would rather engage in our little sins, our flirtations, and then come to church and rebuke the devil. We should not be rebuking the devil unless we are hearing from Christ that this is what we should do in this particular circumstance. The book of Jude does not advise us to bring slanderous accusations against celestial beings.
I used to hear the children in Sunday School sing “If the devil’s in the way we’ll run right over him.” I cringed when I heard this. It certainly is a good thing God is patient with us.
In the years to come, we are going to see manifestations of Satan we never thought would be present on the earth. We are not to be afraid of Satan or any fallen angel. Christ is greater than all. But neither are we to be continually challenging Satan to a fight. He loves this kind of attention and soon outwits us. We have not been called to attack Satan.
Instead, we are to put on the whole armor of God and stand our ground. We can pray that God will bind the powers of darkness; this certainly is scriptural. But remember: Only Jesus has the authority and power to confront Satan and his followers. We should look to Christ humbly before we take it on ourselves to go about rebuking and confronting the dignitaries that fell because they were doing many of the things present-day Christians are doing.
Well, you do what you will. But I think this is what Jude is warning us about.
Audrey and I went to another country on one occasion. I had a distinct impression that the spiritual power in that place did not like our coming there. But we were in the Lord’s will and minding our own business. If this had not been the case, I think we would have experienced trouble of some kind.
We really should avoid being presumptuous!
The “mixed multitude” in the Christian churches are ready to attack the fallen lords of darkness, formerly angels of the highest rank in Heaven. Such people do not understand against whom they are speaking abusively. But what they do understand from their animal instincts, such as adultery and fornication — these are the behaviors that destroy them.
Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. (Verse 11)
The way of Cain is that of jealousy because God is blessing someone besides you. This kind of jealousy results in a murderous slander and gossip. It is very common in Christian churches. Cain was arrogant. If he had asked God how he could improve his offering, God would have been more than happy to show him what to do. Instead, Cain reacted in an arrogant rage. He fumed about this “injustice” until he finally was driven to murder.
The way of Balaam is the love of money. It is common in the churches. The idea is to use your gift to make money. Riches are deceitful. Balaam heard clearly from God the first time. But the prospect of riches deceived Balaam into going back to God a second time. Of course, God, who expects to be obeyed the first time He speaks, told Balaam to go ahead and get his gold. Because the spirit of prophecy in Balaam would not permit him to curse Israel, Balaam counseled Balak to send out the dancing girls where the Israelite warriors could see them. God then sent a plague on Israel because of the resulting fornication. Thus Balaam was deceived by the desire for money and brought the curse of God on himself. Even today we have preaching in Charismatic churches that we should use Christ to gain material wealth. This type of person will be judged severely when the Lord returns with His saints. Balaam finally was killed by Israelite warriors — a fitting end for a man with a tremendous spiritual gift who tried to use it to make money.
In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. (Joshua 13:22)
The way of Korah is that of rebellion against God-given authority. Often God places people in authority over us, in the church or elsewhere, that we despise. We can see all their faults. We cannot understand why they should be telling us what to do.
Korah was of the family of Kohath, the descendant of Levi, as was true also of Miriam, Moses, and Aaron. Korah could not understand why Moses and Aaron should be telling him what he could and could not do. The Bible tells us authority comes from God.
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. (Psalms 75:6,7)
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1,2)
We in America are accustomed to calling our most highly placed leaders by their first name or their nickname. In this manner we hope to bring them down to our level. This is an abomination to God. God is a lover of government. We do not please God by rebelling against secular or ecclesiastical government.
If God has called us to pioneer truth, or to do something else outside of the accepted order, we had better make certain we are hearing from God. When members of a church do not agree with the doctrine of their church, they can meekly bring their point of view to the elders of the church. Having done that, if they cannot bring the elders to their point of view, they should go elsewhere. The church will not grow in a wholesome manner while there are people who are attempting to undermine the authority of the church.
Sometimes a believer feels he or she has been called of God to bring about division in a body of Christians. I have never, in more than sixty years as a Christian, seen anyone prosper in God who had set himself to rebel against the authority of a church.
God honors government, whether secular or religious, until that government commands us to disobey God. This seldom happens. What is more commonplace is a Christian with the spirit of Korah who is seeking to control the church.
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 uprooted — twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Verses 12,13)
Can you imagine Christians having love feasts and such people being in their midst! It was true then and it is true today — in our Christian churches! They are shepherds, but they feed only themselves. They are completely self-centered, working so every benefit accrues to themselves regardless of how other people fare. They are clouds without rain. They give the appearance of being a source of blessing, but there is no blessing in them. They leave us hungry and thirsty after they have preached.
They are blown along by the wind. They espouse every new doctrine as long as it makes them popular and rich. They are autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted. They are as trees in the late fall in northern climates. They have no fruit or leaves, but are as bare skeletons against the sky. They may appear to be fountains of blessing to their followers, but the Lord sees them as they truly are. You will get no nourishment from them.
They have no roots in God. They are twice dead. They were born in sin, as is true of all of us. But now they have died again by their behavior, turning the grace of God into an excuse for immorality. They are wild, not having a peaceful spirit. They reject the quiet waters of Shiloah in favor of the tumult they produce by their own selfish ambitions. The things they say and do are shameful, yet their followers are blind to their words and actions. There are many of these today!
They are wandering stars because they have not become part of the one Morning Star. They are self-willed religionists, causing confusion wherever they go. Although they have been very active in the Christian religion, sometimes leading thousands of believers, Christ does not know them. They walk in the light of the sparks they have kindled by their self-seeking, their personal ambition. Their end is eternal darkness, although they profess to be ministers and servants of Jesus Christ.
The above is true of many Christian leaders and people of our day.
Enoch, the 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.” (Verses 14,15)
The coming of the Lord will be against all wickedness in the earth, both spiritual and human. Christ will appear with an army of saints to whom has been given the authority and power of judgment. Judgment will begin with these sinners in the churches. This is why we are blowing the trumpet in Zion today. We Christians are not nearly ready for the appearing of Christ and His saints and holy angels.
These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (Verse 16)
There is so much grumbling and faultfinding in the churches of our day, so much gossiping and slander, so much criticizing, that we have come to accept this sort of behavior as normal. It is not normal even though it is commonplace in our churches. It is not acceptable. Those who do such things are worthy of death. It was because of grumbling and faultfinding that Israel was turned back into the wilderness until the grumblers had died.
We Christians become exercised about drunkenness, rape, and murder. We indeed should be outraged about the immorality and abuse of infants and children that is occurring in the United States.
But the root of the problem is in the Christian churches. We are supposed to be the moral light of the world. Instead, we show by our behavior that we are not different from the world. The same malice, self-seeking, lying, and stealing that occur in the world occur in the churches. We are too occupied with the unscriptural “rapture” and not occupied enough with the light of good works which is supposed to be shining from us. We follow our own evil desires instead of presenting our body a living sacrifice to God.
We boast about how great our church is. We bring people to see how wonderful we are and show them the parking lot and the fellowship hall. But when the people attend, they hear backbiting and criticism. Then they know God is not on our parking lot or eating pie in our fellowship hall.
We boast about ourselves in order to persuade people how marvelous it is to be a Christian. We tell the world how wonderful we are now that we have been “born again”. But when the people of the world look, they see malice, self-seeking, avarice, pride, smugness — a total focus on self.
We pass out tracts and encourage people to take the four steps of salvation. This is a good thing to do. But when the convert comes into the assembly, what does he or she find? Self-centered religious people who criticize each other constantly.
The world understands the television evangelist when he pleads for money. The world is accustomed to greed. The world knows also that this has nothing to do with God. The American public is cynical concerning the Christian religion. Have we given the nation cause to be cynical? The Muslims call America the great Satan. Have we behaved in such a way that the Muslims see Satan instead of Jesus Christ? And then we criticize the Muslims for not receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
Having the spirit of Absalom, we flatter people hoping to gain political advantage. Instead of speaking the unvarnished truth, as Jesus did, we stress what is “positive” so the surfeited American believers will not be offended. But just as Absalom ended up hanging between the sky and the ground, so shall we, because of our insincerity and treachery, find a welcome neither among the saints nor among the unbelievers.
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They 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. (Verses 17-19)
We are in the last days. There are scoffers in the churches who follow their own ungodly desires. We ourselves have been scoffed at because we preach righteousness, holiness, stern obedience to God, and the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. While others laugh and joke and play about, we are proclaiming the need for repentance. While others are hopping up and down next to their pew in preparation for the unscriptural “rapture,” we are urging people to read the New Testament and pray for wisdom and strength to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, being especially careful to forgive all against whom they may be holding anger and unforgiveness.
Then we are accused of preaching “works”! Did Christ ever accuse people of preaching works when they taught His commandments to other people? Isn’t this the Great Commission?
“And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Is the Great Commission to go out and “get souls saved” and build churches, or is it to make disciples and teach people to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles? Are these the same commission? In actual practice, they are not. We are getting souls “saved,” building churches, and telling people they do not need to keep Christ’s commandments because they are “saved by grace.” What a mess!
Why is this? It is because people are following their own ungodly desires. They cause division. In some instances, if you go to the Bible school of one Pentecostal denomination, you are not permitted to preach in the churches of another Pentecostal denomination. Is this attitude coming from Jesus Christ?
Those who walk in the soul, according to their self-will, shall bring confusion and division wherever they go. Such ministers may talk in tongues, but they do not have the Spirit of God. They follow their own soulish instincts. We do not see in them the fruit of Christ’s image. Sooner or later they shall be cut from the Vine even though they have wrought miracles in the name of Christ.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (Verse 20)
Praying in the Holy Spirit might include speaking in tongues, but this is not the key issue. The issue is living and praying in the Spirit such that we are flowing with the Spirit of God. It is a way of life. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God and they are regarded by the Lord as having the righteousness of Him who kept the Law of Moses perfectly.
Of all the needs in the American Christian churches, the greatest (after changing our doctrine to conform to the New Testament) may be for the believers to spend time each day praying in the Spirit. In fact, if we do spend time each day praying in the Spirit, our doctrine may change if it is not in line with what the Spirit is saying.
We talk about the merits of prayer. We all nod agreeably when the prayer closet is mentioned. However, the American culture is so rich in monetary, educational, and scientific opportunities that the days are not long enough to take advantage of all that is being offered. The result is that we talk about the importance of prayer, but do not pray. We do not build up ourselves in the most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. We work or study until we are exhausted, and then come home and flop in front of the television and let Satan do our thinking for us.
It is absolutely impossible to stand before God in these days in America unless we are praying in the Spirit each day. Praying in the Spirit means we stay in prayer until our prayer begins to merge with the prayer of Christ. We can usually tell when this happens.
At the very least, one-half hour is to be spent each day in a place set aside for prayer. I do not mean thinking good thoughts; I mean getting down and praying. The best time is when we first wake up (although I understand this is not always possible). This means we must go to bed earlier so we can get up in the morning.
Prayer is a delight. We rob ourselves when we become too busy to pray. There is this about it: if you do not have time to pray one-half hour a day (at the very least), you do not have time to watch television.
We must turn aside each day from the demon-inspired culture of the United States and pray until we come into the Presence of God. If not, the newspaper and television and Internet will conform us to the world, whether or not we claim to be a Christian. We will grow old until we are confined in a nursing home, never having found the will of God for our life.
If you don’t have time to pray, ask God for time to pray.
Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Verse 21)
We keep ourselves in God’s love by keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
We think of eternal life as something we have now. To a certain extent this is true. But there are passages of Scripture, such as the above, reminding us that eternal life is a goal we are to pursue each day of our discipleship. It is entirely possible to be given an initial portion of life, and then to allow the distractions of life to remove that beginning life from us.
Jesus Christ Himself is eternal Life and is the path to that Life. We must lay aside everything, as the Apostle Paul did, in order to gain Christ, to gain eternal life. If we sow each day to the Spirit of God, we shall reap eternal life in the Day of the Lord. But if we as a Christian sow instead to our flesh and soul, we shall reap destruction in the Day of the Lord.
The expression “eternal life” is not referring to eternal existence. It is a kind of life, a quality of life. It is the Life of God given to us through Christ. We choose each day to pursue the Life of God, or we choose each day to pursue our fleshly, soulish desires. If we choose the latter, we are facing destruction in the Day of the Lord.
We must keep ourselves in God’s love by praying in the Spirit and making the seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the highest priority of every day of our pilgrimage.
Be merciful to those who doubt; (Verse 22)
Many believers are weak in faith. We are to receive them and not argue with them. The Bible says the Lord will not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick. This means He will deal gently with those who are beset with doubts and fears.
We need to distinguish between those who are arrogant, who defy God’s laws of righteousness, and those who are weak in faith toward God. The former have no place in the Kingdom of God. The Lord holds them at a distance from Himself. He is not impressed with their religious boasting. But God will work with the weak until they are strong enough to stand. We are especially kind to our handicapped children. So is God. But the proud and self-assured will be sent away empty.
snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Verse 23)
The above verse tells us we must have the mind of the Lord when we are dealing with weak Christians, for some are to be treated differently from others. It reveals also that the current teaching of a sovereignly instituted grace that ignores our behavior has no place in the Bible. The Bible deals with the conduct of people, with their growth in righteousness.
Some are snatched from the burning when we warn them of the consequences of their behavior. Others are to be treated more gently. Yet we must be cautious, for the immorality and idolatry that are binding them have permeated even their clothing and are contagious.
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. (Verses 24,25)
It is unquestionably true that Christ is able to keep us from falling and to present us before His glorious Presence without fault and with great joy. The only problem is our unbelief and disobedience. Such verses as the above have been used to prove that once we “accept” Christ, we cannot fall away. If this were the case, then what Jude said earlier in his epistle about leaving Egypt and then dying in the wilderness would be meaningless.
Of course Christ has the power to keep us from falling. Of course Christ is willing and desires to keep us from falling. But we are warned, warned, and warned in the New Testament about not inheriting the Kingdom, about losing our crown, about being ushered into the outer darkness because we did not use our talent, about reaping destruction. These warnings are seldom preached today. Instead, the verses such as the above that are “positive” are employed over and over again to comfort lukewarm American believers who have no intention of taking up their cross and following Jesus.
It surely is time for a reformation of Christian thinking, especially in America, for God wants a pure Word of the Kingdom to be coming forth from our country instead of the immorality and violence produced in Hollywood.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we ascribe to God Almighty, glory, majesty, power, and authority. Such incomprehensible glory was true of God before time existed, is true now, and shall be true forever. We need to know fully that when we are serving Christ as we should, there is no power in Heaven above, on the earth beneath, or in the dark regions below the earth’s surface, that can possibly harm us. During the coming age of moral horrors, Satan and his demons shall become increasingly manifest in the earth. The Christians will be tempted to spend their time and energy “rebuking Satan.” We are not to do this.
We shall stand in the darkness if we will press into Jesus each day and follow the Holy Spirit in righteous, holy, sternly obedient behavior. If the Spirit leads us to pray and bind evil spirits, then we should do this. But ordinarily we shall conquer, not by confronting Satan but by learning the difference between good and evil, and rejecting the evil and embracing the good.
The power of Jesus Christ is so massive, so total, that the spiritual struggle is not one of power against power but of truth against error; righteousness against wickedness. If we will keep our eyes on Jesus, doing His will each day, Satan will flee from us. He has no power whatever over those who are part of Christ.
Remember that all glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to God Almighty, and He has entrusted the fullness of His Glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. As long as we follow the Lord, practicing righteousness, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, Satan has no power to harm us. Christ may permit Satan to pierce us with a thorn in the flesh, or to place us in prison. Such afflictions will serve to press us more fully into the Life and power of Christ.
In the Day of Resurrection, all that is of eternal worth shall be restored to us. Let us put all of our treasures in Heaven and serve the Lord with gladness.
Therefore we know that the book of Jude is very current. It describes the situation in the Christian churches in America as we approach the twenty-first century. Our churches are not pure. They are filled with the works of the flesh of every sort. Also, in our midst are prominent “shepherds” who are not men of God at all. They do not know the Lord. They “serve” only to their own advantage. Yet we have not been careful to “test the apostles.”
We of the Pentecostal persuasion are the most vulnerable to these wolves in sheep’s clothing because we are not Bible oriented but experience oriented. If this were not the case, we would not for one moment have accepted those who are telling us we ought to be rich in this world — in clear defiance of the writings of the Apostle Paul.
Jude tells us of the arrogance that was present in his day and remains to the present. There is a willingness on the part of many to run about rebuking the devil and attempting to bind the angels who govern nations. It is true that we cannot enter the strong man’s house until we bind the strong man. But we must make sure we are obeying Christ and He is directing us, that we are not acting in our own spiritual pride and self-assurance.
Perhaps the message that is the most significant for us concerns the return of the Lord. We are putting forth a false vision today, picturing the return of Christ as a giant celebration in which all who have made a profession of Christ will be caught up to the great Sunday-school picnic in the sky, even though we have never denied ourselves, have never taken up our cross and set out after Jesus.
Jude tells us that the Lord Jesus will return with His holy ones to judge the sinners in the churches — quite a different vision!
The Christian churches are sick unto death, and the book of Jude is the cure if we will read it and apply the text to our lives.
(“The Book of Jude”, 3106-1, proofed 20230828)