In the book of Jude, we see the spiritual character of two sorts of people, those who are false and those who truly know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As we look at these spiritual traits it is good to keep in mind that they describe any member of the visible church, not only those who presume to lead the visible church. Let us look at this God given book and be taught by the truth that our glorious Lord and Savior has given to us.
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: (2) Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. (3) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (5) I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (8) Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. (9) Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (10) But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. (11) Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (12) These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; (13) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (14) And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (15) To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (16) These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaks great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. (17) But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; (18) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (19) These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (20) But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (22) And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (24) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:1-25
Jude, God’s prophet, warns believers against certain men who have crept into the assembly and fellowship of believers. These men God has condemned as ungodly, they turn God’s grace into an opportunity for the indulgence of the flesh. They ultimately deny God the Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. They are under God’s judgment and are headed for destruction because they have rejected the gospel of our salvation. They believe in their own dreams; reject God’s Word and are corrupt in all that they do culminating in grievous sexual immorality. They are self-righteous and seek their own way rather than God’s way. They are driven by covetousness, being self-serving, setting themselves up as “servants of the Lord” when they are in no way His chosen vessels. They are ungodly in attitude, word and action, being dead in their trespasses and sins. They are sons of perdition and attack our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with ungodly words. They take advantage of people through flattery and are masters at manipulation. They grumble, complain, follow their own lusts being devoid of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, these spiritual traits and behaviors mark so many within the visible church today that is immersed in apostasy.
God’s people, His saints, on the other hand are described as those sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Christ Jesus, we are called by God and are blessed with His mercy, peace and love. We have the very Word of God as our protection from the lies and evil behavior of these pretenders. We are encouraged to remember the Words of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, which have their origin in their letters written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and have been preserved for us faithfully by our Great God and Savior in the Received Text and faithfully translated for us in the King James Version. We can stand fast in our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as we hold fast His Holy Word; Christ’s apostles have warned us repeatedly that there would be these false brethren within the visible church corrupting the truth with their abominable lies.
We as God’s saints have the call to reach out to the deceived with the compassion of Jesus Christ, with power of the Holy Spirit, and with the truth of the Word of God. We must keep ourselves in the love of God by believing and obeying His Word by the power of His Holy Spirit, we must pray in the Holy Spirit, being led by Him, and we must look for the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bringing to us eternal life. We can obey our Lord and God, we can serve Him through working to rescue the deceived, and we can be faithful and true to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ through His power to preserve us, and bring us into His presence without fault and with exceeding joy. Jesus Christ can accomplish all that concerns us because He is our wise God and Savior who in glorious majesty rules over all dominion with His almighty power. Amen!
The influence of the visible church through these false teachers is reiterated in Christ’s letter to the church in Thyatira. Here is another portion of Scripture that can arm us and support us as we contend earnestly for the faith delivered to the saints. It is important that we realize that this opposition to the truth perpetrated by false brethren who have infiltrated the visible church has its origins in the diabolical work of Satan.
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; (19) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. (20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou suffers that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (22) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (23) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. (25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. Revelation 2:18-25
Here is additional encouragement for us as we endure the tidal wave of apostasy that has inundated the church through many avenues, the most grievous being the introduction and proliferation of the modern versions. Rejection of the truth of the Word of God allows bringing in all manner of evil into the visible church. Jesus Christ knows us and tests us; we are answerable to Him. He does and will judge all who allow and support false doctrine to lead His saints astray. We must hold fast His truth and turn away from all deceivers and liars. If that means leaving the visible church, then we can trust Him to be with us while we hold fast to Him and His truth.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Lord Jesus Christ, You have promised to keep us and bring us into Your presence faultless and with great joy, may we be faithful to believe and obey Your Word while we reach out to the lost with Your truth and Your salvation. Amen!