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 1:5-19
When I was an undergrad, I took a few religion courses at the university I attended and quickly realized I was dealing with almost an entire religion department who were deacons at a local Baptist church and yet treated the Bible as a book of fairy tales. False teaching is dangerous in a classroom and even more dangerous in a church.
This is what Jude was dealing with in his brief letter. His primary message is to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3). False teachers had crept in and he had to fight for the truth. He uses examples his readers would be familiar with to point out the characteristics of the false teachers: Similar to the unbelieving Israelites who came out of Egypt, these false teachers do not believe God (v. 5). Similar to rebellious angels, these false teachers have overstepped their bounds (v. 6). Similar to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, these false teachers have perverted God’s gift of sex (v. 7). Our culture is furthering false teaching inside as well as inside the church: exchanging God’s unchanging word for political correctness, exchanging the exclusiveness of the gospel for pluralism and universalism, and exchanging “excellent behavior” (1 Pet 2:12) for compromise (internet pornography, profanity, drunkenness, sexual immorality, gossip, hypocrisy).
The false teachers blasphemed angels because of their refusal to recognize authority of the law (v. 8). “They blaspheme what they don’t understand” (v. 10). At the heart of false teaching is false thinking. “They blaspheme what they do know by instinct” (v. 10). While they considered themselves spiritually elite, they merely follow their base, sexual instinct. Jude uses three more Old Testament examples to describe these false teachers (v. 11): 1) they are hateful like Cain who was also a murder; 2) they are greedy like Balaam who was a prophet for hire; 3) they are rebellious like Korah who rejected the leadership of Moses and Aaron. They are further described as destructive, self-serving, empty, shameful, aimless, complainers, and conceited (vv. 12–13, 16). Jude makes use of a couple of extra-Biblical books in his letter that would be familiar to his audience (one earlier regarding the body of Moses in v. 9) to not only describe characteristics but also to describe the coming judgment that God will execute upon them (vv. 14–15). Jude finally appeals to the words of the apostles themselves who had warned earlier about false teachers in the last days who scoff at and mock God, follow their lustful desires, are divisive, and do not have the Holy Spirit within them (vv. 16–19). Jesus called them wolves in sheep's clothing. (Matt 7:15)
It is easy to get lost in the obscure references made by Jude in this passage so what is the bottom line? Know that the enemy is recognizable though cunning by using spiritual terrorists who creep in unnoticed. He has already been predicted and judged. We must stand in the face of false teaching and fight for the faith: stand firm on an unchanging gospel in an ever-changing culture.
1. What areas of your life present a conflict between what God’s word says and what culture tells you is true? How are you responding?
2. How well do you know God’s word and how well does your life portray it accurately?
Memorize: Jude 1:17-19
“But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they told you, ‘In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.’ These people create divisions and are unbelievers, not having the Spirit”