Pray: Humble yourself before God in prayer. Ask Him for wisdom and open eyes to see the wonderful things He has for you in this section of the Bible.
Read: Jude 1:20-25
This is probably the most important passage in Jude’s letter. Most of it has been written describing these false teachers, many of which we encounter in our world today, yet has little direct application to us outside of Jude’s initial charge to “contend for the faith”. So, how do we respond to the false teachings that surround us in a culture which teaches that nothing is true for everyone? How do we respond to distortions of the gospel that focus on prosperity and health, or more blatant false teachings denying the deity of Jesus Christ?
Here Jude returns to the initial theme of the letter and tells us how we are to “contend for the faith.” It takes the form of 4 commands that make up two familiar Christian triads:
1) Build yourselves up in your most holy faith
2) Pray in the Holy Spirit
3) Keep yourselves in the love of God
4) Expect the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life
Faith, hope, and love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We are to “build ourselves up in the most holy faith.” Our first response is to check our own lives and doctrine and make sure we ourselves are living right with God. Be sure that we have a right understanding of the Bible and the truth before we approach others about their false teaching or wacky doctrine. You cannot correct someone’s teaching if you have no idea what the truth is. That isn’t to say you have to be an expert on everything the Bible says, but you should have a firm grasp on whatever subject before you confront anyone. All the conflict averse people just cringed! Otherwise you yourself are subject to being swayed by persuasive arguments of the false teachers.
Second, we are commanded to pray in the Spirit. We are to seek God, His intervention, and wisdom in the situation. He can do greater works in the hearts and lives of the false teachers than you can.
Third, we are to pursue God’s love. Turning to an erring brother or sister in haughtiness and pride will probably do more harm than good.
And finally, we are told that in contending for the faith we are to wait for Christ’s mercy.
Our response to false teachers is to be firmly rooted in the truth; spoken in love, mercy, and grace; and looking to the future hope and work of grace that only God can bring.
Jude goes on to describe another triad in the types of individuals we might encounter:
1) Have mercy on those who doubt
2) Save others by snatching them from the fire
3) Have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh
Some we will encounter are plagued by doubt, in this context it’s probably referring to those who have been affected by the false teachings and are struggling in their faith. Treat the doubter with mercy and restore them gently.
Some we are to save by “snatching them from the fire,” referring to those who have bought the lies of a false gospel and are in spiritual peril of never coming to the truth.
The final category describes those who are fully entrenched in the false teaching. The phrase translated, “garment defiled by the flesh” is more literally translated a “feces stained undergarment”. Love them, show them mercy, but handle their teaching like you would human waste. Don't get any on you!
1. What are some ways you can “build yourself up in the most holy faith”?
2. Have you ever been bold enough to correct a false teacher? Why is it important to show “faith, hope, and love” in our correction?
3. Why doesn’t Jude just tell us to wash our hands of the false teachers?
4. What are some examples of popular false teachings in our culture? Why is it important to handle false teachings carefully?
Memorize: Jude 1:24-25
"Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen."