The Book of JUDE
James J. Barker
EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
- I mentioned last week that the book of Jude is a warning regarding apostasy. The Scofield Study Bible (pp. 1280, 1281) gives a good definition of apostasy. “Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth.
- As to the deity of Jesus Christ, and
- Redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (I John 4:1-3; Philippians 3:18; II Peter 2:1). Apostasy differs from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19:1-6), or heresy, which may be due to the sphere of Satan (II Tim. 2:25, 26), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in II Timothy 4:3, 4. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (II Timothy 3:5). Apostate teachers are described in II Timothy 4:3; II Peter 2:1—19; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16. Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Isaiah 1:5, 6; 5:5-7) is irremediable, and awaits judgment (II Thess. 2:10-12; II Peter 2:17, 21; Jude 11-15; Revelation 3:14-16).
- The epistle of Jude is addressed to Christians “beloved” by God and beloved by Jude (vs. 3).
- As Jude was diligently preparing to write about “the common salvation” the Lord had him change his course (Jude 3).
- Pressure by the Holy Spirit was brought to bear upon Jude. He says, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you…” (vs. 3).
- The compulsion that Jude experienced was the result of the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit compelling him to warn his readers of these wicked apostates who creep into churches and attempt to destroy the work of God.
- The Holy Spirit moved Jude (cf. II Peter 1:21).
- We must “earnestly contend for the faith” (vs. 3). The word “faith” in Jude 3 refers to the Christian faith – that extensive body of Bible doctrine taught in the Bible.
- This is more than just the Gospel. It is the sum of all things that God’s people (“the saints” – vs. 3) hold near and dear.
- The apostle Paul refers to this as “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Apostates try to add to it or subtract from it. God says we should “earnestly contend” for it (Jude 3).
- There is a war raging between truth and error. Bible-believers did not start the war. The apostates did. We cannot be neutral. Neutrality is not an option.
- The Sword & Trowel was a Christian publication started in 1865 by C. H. Spurgeon, the great Baptist pastor of London, England. Spurgeon named it after the story in Nehemiah 4 where the workers on the wall worked while keeping one hand on their sword. Spurgeon called it The Sword & Trowel because he understood that the Christian life involved both building and battling.
- Spurgeon announced the magazine with these words: “We would ply the Trowel with untiring hand for the building up of Jerusalem’s dilapidated walls, and wield the Sword with vigour and valour against the enemies of the Truth.”
- APOSTATES ARE SNEAKY (JUDE 4)
- APOSTATES ARE CONDEMNED (JUDE 4)
- APOSTATES ARE LASCIVIOUS (JUDE 4)
APOSTATES ARE SNEAKY (JUDE 4).
- They creep in “unawares” (Jude 4), i.e., they slip in secretly (cf. Gal. 2:4; II Tim. 3:6). The book of Jude should be carefully studied and compared with the second chapter of II Peter (cf. II Peter 2:1).
- Apostates are wolves in sheep’s clothing (cf. Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29). They are dangerous (II Cor. 11:13-15, 26).
- Some people find it distasteful when a preacher preaches against apostates. But we must remember that a shepherd’s job is to protect the sheep as well as feed the sheep.
- In I Timothy 4:1, the apostle Paul writes, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
- After describing some of these doctrines of devils, Paul says to Timothy, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ” (I Tim. 4:6).
- In other words, “a good minister of Jesus Christ” warns people about false teachers and their doctrines of devils.
- Jude says these apostates are “ungodly men” (vs. 4). He uses the word four times in verse 15.
- We must warn people about sodomite ministers, like Gene Robinson, an openly practicing homosexual Episcopal Bishop. This apostate recently said he and his sodomite partner are planning on getting “married” in a homosexual “legal union” in New Hampshire.
- Robinson said, “I always wanted to be a June bride.”
- In his speech, Robinson characterized the “religious right” as close-minded for taking the Bible literally. Beloved, we must “earnestly contend” for the literal interpretation of Scripture.
- Homosexuality is an abomination, and Gene Robinson is an ungodly apostate and a degenerate pervert.
APOSTATES ARE CONDEMNED (JUDE 4).
- Jude 4 says, the apostates “were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” “Before ordained” means “to write before.”
- Enoch wrote before of their judgment (vss. 14, 15). So have many other Biblical writers.
- Second Peter 2:1 says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
- Our Lord warned that Satan sows tare among the wheat (Matthew 13:24—30). Matthew 13:30 says, “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them.”
- HA Ironside wrote that “before of old ordained” means God “had of old marked them out, declaring by His servants that such men should arise, giving their characteristics clearly, so that they might readily be recognized – their end was judgment” (Exposition of the Epistle of Jude).
- We should stress that apostates have never been born again. They may be members of a church but they have never been saved.
- Jude 4 plainly states that these apostates deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. This means they are condemned because John 3:18 says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
- John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
APOSTATES ARE LASCIVIOUS (JUDE 4).
- Apostates are not only ungodly; they are also unholy. Many of them are adulterers and homosexuals.
- Because apostates are not born again, they are completely controlled by their flesh. Our Lord said in Mark 7:21, 22, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness…”
- Perversions of the doctrine of grace is one of the marks of an apostate. Sometimes when they are rebuked for their immorality they respond by saying, “We are not under the law. We are under grace.”
- Being “under grace” does not mean we can live like devils.
- A while back, a popular new-evangelical preacher, Chuck Swindoll, came out with a book called The Grace Awakening. In this book, Swindoll attacked fundamental Christianity as “legalism.”
- Swindoll claims that it is legalistic to preach against immoral movies, dancing, and so on. He actually redefines grace as a license to sin. But the Bible says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:11, 12).
- I will conclude tonight’s message with a quote from HA Ironside.
- “The fact is that well-living, according to the divine standard of holiness and uprightness, is a delusion and an impossibility, apart from the sanctifying power of the truth of God. Hence it will be found that where false teaching prevails, ungodliness abounds, as witness the wretchedly low standard of Christian living maintained by Romanists.”