The Book of JUDE
James J. Barker
GOD’S JUDGMENT UPON APOSTATES
- I am going to speak tonight on God’s judgment upon apostates. Jude has already referred to this terrible judgment at the end of 6, where Jude refers to “the judgment of the great day,” and verse 7, where he refers to “the vengeance of eternal fire.”
- Verse 13 says, “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
- HA Ironside wrote, “There is something unspeakably solemn in this severe indictment of those who, professedly followers of Christ and servants of God, really walk in a self-chosen path, and are elsewhere described as ‘enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things’ (Phil. 3:18, 19)…They are a self-seeking, worldly-minded, mammon-actuated class inside the nominal church, who make their profession of faith in the Lord Jesus a cover for their own selfish ends. They are often looked upon as leaders of Christian thought and champions of truth and righteousness. But underlying all they say and do, there is the open, or covert, denial of everything that really makes for godliness. To the heavenly calling they are strangers; hence their aim and object is to advance their own interests in this world” (Jude).
- In verses 12 and 13, Jude uses five colorful metaphors to describe these wretched apostates.
SPOTS IN YOUR FEASTS OF CHARITY (JUDE 12)
- In Bible times, sitting down and eating with someone implied genuine trust and friendship. For Christians it meant true Christian fellowship.
- David wrote of his trusted friend Ahithopel’s treachery in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
- Our Lord told His disciples that this Scripture referred to Judas Iscariot’s betrayal. Jesus said in John 13:18, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”
- But, like Judas Iscariot, these deceitful apostates sit right down with God’s people and pass themselves off as genuine Christians. But they are not – they are “twice dead” (Jude 12), i.e., spiritually dead.
- These fellowship meals – “feasts of charity” (Jude 12) or “love feasts” were an integral part of the fellowship of the early church. The apostates took advantage of these meals, just as Judas Iscariot did.
- These apostates “feed themselves without fear” (Jude 12). They have no fear of God. The word “feeding” in Jude 12 is from a Greek word meaning “to pastor” or “to be a shepherd.”
- This is why the Scofield Study Bible margin says, “shepherds that without fear feed themselves.” They have no interest in feeding others, only themselves.
- They are false shepherds. They prey on the untaught and the unsuspecting. Just recently a Christian lady told me her church was about to be taken over by these false shepherds. I told her I would be praying that God would give some discernment to those being deceived.
CLOUDS WITHOUT WATER (JUDE 12)
- HA Ironside said, “in place of refreshing showers of spiritual blessing accompanying their ministry, there are but emptying vaporings” (Jude).
- The hymnwriter wrote:
There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.
Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.
- But there can never be showers of blessing when apostates are in our midst. “Clouds they are without water” (Jude 12).
- It is a fact that many apostate preachers are great orators. They are often witty and clever. But they are “clouds without water.” Those who sit under their ministry will soon dry up spiritually.
TREES WHOSE FRUIT WITHERETH (JUDE 12)
- Like the other metaphors, this one stresses these apostates are spiritually dead. They bear no fruit. But genuine Christians will produce fruit.
- “Twice dead” is a frightful expression. All sinners are spiritually dead because they have never been born again. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
- But these apostates reject the doctrine of regeneration. They are “twice dead.” They are like Judas Iscariot. Our Lord said of Judas, “woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matt. 26:24).
- Our Lord also said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). These apostates shall be rooted up – “plucked up by the roots” (Jude 12), and destroyed.
- There is no hope for Christ-denying apostates. They will be cast into the hottest part of hell for their wicked ways. In Mark 12:40, our Lord said, “These shall receive greater damnation.”
RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA (JUDE 13)
- The raging waves of the sea have sunk many ships, destroyed many homes, and drowned many people. In other words, these apostates are dangerous – they ruin churches, corrupt Christian schools, and lead souls to hell.
- Last night my daughter’s school’s performed a play based on the life of Isobel Kuhn (1901-1957), missionary to China. Isobel Kuhn studied to be a schoolteacher at the University of British Columbia. Atheistic teachers nearly destroyed her faith. Thank God, her Christian father prayed for her and she got right with God.
- But many young people never recover from the influence of the “raging waves” of God-haters.
- Isaiah 57:20 says, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”
- They are “foaming out their own shame” (Jude 13). Like flotsam and jetsam dumped along the shoreline, the apostates dump their shameful garbage into the minds of unsuspecting people.
- This is why Jude gives such a strong warning. Actually, the Holy Spirit is giving the warning (Jude 3).
WANDERING STARS RESERVED FOR THE BLACKNESS OF DARKNESS FOREVER (JUDE 12)
- In a similar Scripture, II Peter 2:17 says, “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”
- Jude describes apostates as “wandering stars,” disorderly and erratic, pursuing their own path, not God’s.
- For a time, they seem dazzling and brilliant, but soon enough they are sent to hell. They have a “reservation” waiting for them (Jude 12).
- Apostates live in darkness. They prefer darkness. John 3:19, 20 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
- They love darkness, and they spread their darkness to others. Therefore they die in darkness and go out into “the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 12).
- This is one of the great themes of the Bible. Soon the whole world will be plunged into a terrible spiritual darkness. Revelation 16:10 says, “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness.”
- The “blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13) refers to eternal punishment in hell. Three times, our Lord referred to hell as “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
- And on all three occasions, he added, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
These five metaphors point out the selfishness, the uselessness, the fruitlessness, the shamefulness, and the hopelessness of apostates.