The Book of JUDE
James J. Barker
INTRODUCTORY MESSAGE FOR THE BOOK OF JUDE
- S. Maxwell Coder said, the beginning of the church age is recorded for us in the book of Acts, and the end of the church age is set forth in the little epistle of Jude.
- Dr. Coder said since the book of Acts is called “the Acts of the Apostles,” Jude should be called “the acts of the apostates.”
- Jude has been called “the vestibule to the book of Revelation.”
- Warnings about apostasy are given all throughout the Bible. Isaiah the prophet wrote, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).
- Isaiah said, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (Isa. 56:10—12).
- Isaiah sounds like he is warning us about many preachers today.
- How about this? “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9, 10).
- Our Lord said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
- The apostle Paul said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (II Tim. 4:3).
- Paul warned the elders of Ephesus, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
- While there are hundreds of such warnings throughout the Bible, Jude is the only book in the Bible which is entirely devoted to the great apostasy which will take over all of Christendom before the second coming of Christ.
THE AUTHOR OF THE EPISTLE (vs. 1)
- The name Jude (or Judas) is the Greek form of Judah. It was a popular name up until the treachery of Judas Iscariot.
- Our Lord had two disciples named Judas. “One went out into infamy; the other went out into obscurity” (John Phillips, Exploring the Epistle of Jude).
- In Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 we are told that our Lord had several half-brothers and half-sisters. The brothers’ names are given: “James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas.”
- Notice another brother was named James. This is the preacher in Jerusalem referred to in Acts 15 and the author of the epistle of James.
- James is referred to as “the Lord’s brother” in Galatians 1:19.
- After our Lord’s resurrection, He appeared to his half-brother James. Jude identifies himself as the “brother of James” (vs. 1), meaning he was the half-brother of our Lord.
- Jude identifies himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ” (vs. 1). Bible scholars are certain this Jude is the half-brother of our Lord, but Jude does not refer to himself as the Lord’s brother, but as the Lord’s servant.
THE RECIPIENTS (vs. 1)
- The epistle was written “to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (vs. 1).
- “Sanctified” means “set apart” by God. It means, “made holy.” Sanctification begins at conversion.
- This is very important, because as the apostasy grows worse and worse, we must remember that God has called us to be “set apart” from it.
- Not only are we sanctified by God the Father, we are also “preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (vs. 1b).
- The Greek word translated “preserved” is found five times in Jude’s epistle. Some times it is translated “reserved” or “keep” (cf. vs. 21).
- A different Greek word is used in verse 24, but it is the same idea – God keeps us from falling. We are safe and secure in Jesus.
- God has preserved us, and we must keep ourselves in the love of God.
- Our Lord used this same word when He prayed to God the Father in John 17:12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
- Jesus kept all of His disciples, except Judas Iscariot. This is because Judas was never saved. He was an apostate. This is the theme of the book of Jude.
- The Scofield Bible says, “In this brief letter the apostasy of the professing church is predicted, and the cause and course described. As in Second Timothy and Second Peter the apostasy is treated as having already set in.”
- We are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” This is one of the great doctrines of the NT.
- “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
- We are sanctified, preserved, and “called.” The call is universal – “Whosoever will may come.” But it becomes personal when we answer the call and accept Christ.
- The apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
THE THEME OF THE EPISTLE (vs. 3).
- Originally Jude was going to write about “the common salvation,” but it was “needful” for him to change plans and write instead about contending for the faith (vs. 3).
- The apostates were causing serious problems and so the Holy Spirit wanted Jude to warn his readers (and us).
- This warning can be applied in so many ways that we do not have time this evening to deal with it. Our country may elect a Mormon as president.
- Another candidate has a Muslim background. Because of their high birth rate the Muslims may soon take over Europe.
- Despite all of the horrible priest scandals, Romanism is still growing.
- The JW cult is still growing all over the world.
- And then there is the problem with the charismatics and their “health and wealth prosperity” message and all of their strange delusions and nonsense.
- Millions of Americans claim to be “born again” but give no evidence of being saved.
Lord willing, I will expand upon Jude 3 next week.