THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
REVEALING A COUNTERFEIT FAITH - STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF JUDE
Reinforcing Our Faith!
The letter of Jude was written nearly 2,000 years ago, but it is still relevant today. We live amidst false teachers who propagate all kinds of counterfeit "Christian" ideologies, philosophies, and worldly false religions, every "ism" and "wasm" imaginable! Since we are surrounded by so many spiritual counterfeits, it is essential to reinforce our faith. When we saturate our minds with scriptural principles, we develop a filter that allows us to discern truth from error.
According to Jude 20-23, there are five ways to fortify faith. The first "building yourselves up on your most holy faith" (verse 20) In other words, studying Scripture, we build a theological foundation that becomes strong and unshakable. What we believe about God, Jesus, the True Holy Spirit, full imersion baptism, heaven, hell, salvation, reinforces that our faith is not compromised when we hear false teaching.
Verse 20 also contains a second faith builder: "praying in the Holy Spirit." This can mean several things. First, when we are unsure how to pray, "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). Second, it refers to praying under the guidance of the True Holy Spirit, who impresses our hearts regarding what to bring before the Lord. Third, it means walking in obedience to the True Holy Spirit. If we are not praying in the Spirit, then we are praying in the flesh-no wonder some prayers are ineffective.
Another reinforcement is guarding our intimate relationship-and time- with God. In our modern lifestyle, we are uncomfortable with solitude and do not know how to be still with God. When verse 21 speaks of "keeping in the love of God," it instructs us to guard our precious, personal fellowship with Jesus. (Ps:46:10) "Be still, and know that I am God.."
To further strengthen faith's foundations, focus attention upon Jesus Christ's imminent return. (Jude 21b) Awareness that He could come back at any moment purifies and guards the true believers' daily conduct. It can also inspire us to walk through difficulties or encourage those who are hurting.
Finally, telling others about God will bolster our true and genuine faith. Because there is so much spiritual deception in this world, our own faith should be Sufficiently reinforced before it can be further solidified by sharing the True Gospel. (Jude 22-23) This means that effective witnessing is preceded by studing Scripture, fasting, praying in the Spirit, guarding our relationship with God, and keeping our life holy.
Ask God to help you cherish time alone in His presence. The other faith reinforcements will flow from your deepening relationship with Him.
1. THE SETTING
The Epistle of Jude deals primarily with apostasy. It presents Old Testament examples of those who corrupted the true faith and it predicts God's judgment at the appearing of our Lord to this earth. Apostasy is here shown to be a willful return to rebellion, disobedience and ungodliness.
Let us notice the situation of verse 1:"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."
Jude, the brother of James, is the author of the book. He is mentioned in the list of the apostle in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. In Matthew 10:3 he is referred to as "Lebbaues, whose surname was Thaddaeus." In Mark 3:18 he is called "Thaddaeus." John speaks of him as "Judas ... not Iscariot"(John 14:22).
Jude describes himself as "the servant of Jesus Christ" or the "bondslave" of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt he has in mind Exodus 21 where we have the law concerning bondslaves. Exodus 21:2: "If thou BUY an Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing." Now notice verses 5 and 6: "And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever."
A bondslave was one who had been bought with a price. Jude recognized that he had been bought with a price, not 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave, but with the precious blood of Christ. He now belonged to the Lord. Jude, out of love for His Lord, gave his life to serve Him forever.
Notice Jude writes to those who are "called." God's people are said to be called of Jesus Christ (Rom.1:6). They are saints by calling (1 Cor.1:2). God's children are a called people because all that they have and enjoy is from the Lord Himself. They are called from self to Christ and from sin to holiness. "God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess.4:7). Only sinners saved by grace are called into the fellowship of His Son (1 Cor.1:9). "Whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Rom.8:30).
Jude goes on to say: "To them that are sanctified by God the Father." Here we have the manifestation of our calling. The word sanctify means to set apart from common use and to dedicate unto holy use. It means to be set apart by and for God. True Christians are to be vessels of honour for the Master's use (2 Tim.2:21). We should differ from others because we are a people set apart from the world to live for God. We are to do all for God's glory whether it is eating or drinking or working (1 Cor.10:31).
Yes, and Jude reminds us that we are also "preserved in Jesus Christ." In the midst of all the difficulties of life and trials of our faith, we are preserved by the same One who has saved us. We are kept by Christ and in Christ. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). Christ is 'entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb.9:12). "For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb.10:14). "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb.7:25). The Greek here translated "to the uttermost" means "to the end." Christ is the Testator who by will and testament made over the heritage to them. He is also the executor and liveth for ever to see His own will executed. He died ONCE to make the testament, and He liveth forever to see it made good.
Jude verse 2: "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied." Here we have a prayer for three special blessings: mercy, peace, and love. Jude prays for these graces in a time in history that was characterized by apostasy. May I say that spiritual blessings are the best blessings that we can ask of God. It is only by the mercy of God that we may be kept from the snares of Satan and stand for God.
How we need His peace in times like these. Christ says to us today: "peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). First, there is "peace with God" (Rom.5:1), which is the immediate effect and fruit of justification. Then there is the "peace of God" which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
The third thing mentioned here is love. It is not speaking so much of God's love for us but of our love for God. God is love and He loved us with an everlasting love. He revealed that love in His Son. Christ loved us as sinners and died for us, shedding His precious blood, to allow for the remission of our sins after our genuine repentance and a true genuine biblical baptism. Now through His indwelling love we seek to honour Him in every part of our lives. 1 John 3:18: "...let us love ... in deed and in truth."
Jude verse 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." Here Jude, by the Holy Spirit, sits down to write to those who are beloved, those who are in Christ, members of His body, brothers born of the same Spirit, and living in the same family of grace.
Jude, inspired of God, began to write of the salvation which is common to all saints. Now it became needful, under the direction of the same Holy Spirit, to exhort them to contend for the faith in a day of great apostasy.
In the Greek, the words "earnestly contend", is one word and it means that we must be ready and willing to defend the faith. We are not to be ashamed of it. There are those who "make void thy law, Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold" (Psa. 119: 126-127). Early believers were glad to die for their faith.
Times of error and compromise are trying times but we must constantly defend the truth of the Bible. Paul said of the True Shepherds of the flock: "Holding fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9). This means to hold the truth fast against a contrary force.
We must contend for the faith that we might not endanger the truth. Uncontrolled error will affect both the present and the next generation. Error is of a growing, spreading nature and we must not retire from the battle. The truth of God's Word is precious. Christ thought it worthy of His blood to purchase the Gospel. By offering up Himself He not only procured the blessing of the Gospel but the sharing of the Gospel with others. We must stand for the truth no matter what the cost.
Jude says (vs. 3) that we "should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." We must contend for every truth of God. Such truths as creation from the hand of God; man's sin and God's judgment upon man for sin; salvation through the precious blood; Repentance, Baptism and the necessity of the new birth; the resurrection of the saints at the rapture, and the final judgment of every disobedient, rebellious sinner in the Lake of Fire. This is no hour for dumb dogs that bark not when the thieves come to steal away the treasure (Isa.56:10-11). We must warn of the ravenous wolves that are everywhere today (Acts 20:29).
This true and genuine faith is delivered to you out of the inspired Scriptures. We are to receive it as the Word of God, not of man, and it will profit us (1 Thess.2:13). The word "delivered" means also that we are to leave this truth in the hands of others as a trust. We must publish, own, and defend the truth by profession and death if need be. That is why the True Church is called "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim.3:15). The glorious Gospel was committed to our trust (1 Tim. 1:11). We are to take care that nothing is added to or subtracted from it. Every single version, including the New American Standard and the New International, is founded upon the corrupt texts of the Westcott-Hort tradition.
We must take a stand against the new-evangelicalism which is spreading like a forest fire all over the world. We must stand against all the compromises of our day. The faith for which we contend was "once delivered". It is never to be altered or changed. The doctrine of salvation has never changed, for example. There was only one way for you to be saved, by having a true and genuine Faith, by having a true and genuine Repentance, By having a true and genuine Biblical Baptism. (Acts 2:3739). Every effort has been made throughout the centuries to destroy God's Word by banning, burning or bending it. Today men seek to destroy it under the guise of new knowledge. In reality they are adding to and taking away from God's eternal Word and upon those who do this God has pronounced His eternal judgment.
The faith has been delivered "to the saints." Thank God it was not delivered to the new age scholars! Scholars in all periods of history have tampered with God's Word and have caused shipwreck to the souls of men and women. Scholars today are parading up and down the land with new, compromised and corrupt Bible versions, with a new humanistic social gospel, with a new age message, and with a new ecumenical movement, and are seeking to water down and weaken and wear away the faith of our fathers. Our hope is in the true saints, in the faithful people, in the True Bible believers. Praise God for His faithful people who stand for the Bible, live by the Bible, seek to deliver the message of the Bible to this generation, and are not ashamed to be known as a people of the Bible.
2. GOD'S JUDGMENT
While Jude was rejoicing in the salvation that is common to all true believers and desired to write about it, the Holy Spirit led him to give a warning on the theme of contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. "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" (Jude 4).
While these evil workers (Counterfeit Christians) crept secretly into the church and mingled with the unsuspecting assembly of believers, God knew all about them. No doubt these heretics professed to believe in Christ and the Bible. In Galatians 2:4, Paul speaks of: "false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty." The enemies of Jerusalem in Ezra's day said: "Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do" (Ezra 4:2). Their real purpose, however, was to hinder and destroy God's work from the inside.
There are several ways that false teachers get a foothold in local churches. They sometimes raise up a pious standard. It looks like humility to appeal to angels, as if men were conscious of their unworthiness to speak directly to God. But to do so is an insult to the True Christ, who is the Head of the True Church. Colossians 2:23 says: "Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh" (Col.2:23). Self-imposed rituals and sufferings might have a show of uncommon spirituality, but this is not honouring to God.
False teachers often appear to be very meek but Jesus said: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt.7:15). Watch out for those who are all for "love" and "kindness." Often, like the Judaizers of Paul's day, they try to introduce "another gospel" (Gal.1:6), and in so doing come under the curse of God. Some are accepted into the local church through new knowledge and we need to be aware of the "oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Tim.6:20).
Such wicked leaders "were before of old ordained to this condemnation." The words "before of old ordained" really means "were written as in a book." God's judgement will come upon all such apostate leaders and it is just as certain as if their names are written in a book.
Notice that these men are "ungodly" or without God. "Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom.5:6). This word is used five times in the Epistle of Jude, the other four times it is used in relation to Enoch's generation. The word "ungodly" means refusing subjection to God. It means living a life of rebellion and disobedience, without God and having no desire to please Him. Psalm 1:5 says: "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment", that is, they will be unable to plead their cause and shall hang their heads in shame. As the flood swept away "the world of the ungodly" (2 Pet.2:5) of Noah's day, so God's judgment will one day fall again.
"Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness." They lived to gratify the lusts of the flesh while pretending to believe God's grace. Christ came not to reconcile God and our sins but to liberate us from the power of sin. The Gospel teaches us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12).
Now we come to the last part of the description given in Jude 4: "And denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Ungodly men may PROFESS to know Christ personally but their lives and their works DENY Him. We refer to them as false or Counterfeit Christians, practising and promoting a false or counterfeit Christianity. We have here the full title of Christ. he is Lord. He is Saviour. He is Christ the Anointed. "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ"(Acts 2:36).
Those who renounce the True Lord Jesus Christ will not hear His Holy Voice through the Holy Word of God. They will NOT OBEY Him, but are strong advocates of "Freedom" and "Liberty" that is the " Freedom and Liberty" to repeatedly COMMIT SIN, rather then the Biblical principle of "Freedom and Liberty " FROM SIN. They instead indulge in every worldly desire and fashion, lusts and pleasures. They use Grace and Legalism as an excuse for their sin. We have all of this in our midst today through the promotion of the ecumenical and other compromising movements.
Jude 22-23: "And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." We have a duty to ourselves and to others. We are to show compassion to those led astray, making a difference, so that our messages to different apostate leaders will be according to their need. Some must be pulled "out of the fire" for unless they return to the truth of the bible they shall end up in the Lake of Fire whence there is no escape. "Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." We do not join up with these apostates in order to win them, nor do we conduct evangelistic campaigns with them. Titus 1:13 says: "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith."
Jude 24-25: "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, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Jude commends us all to the divine grace of our God and the Freedom and Liberty that keeps us from sin. He alone is able to keep us from falling into sin and apostasy. Christ will one day present us faultless when He presents His True and Faithful Church to the Father (Eph.5:25-27: "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Jude concludes his Epistle with praise to "the only wise God our Saviour." Truly He is worthy of all our praise for His many blessings, especially for the blessing of His plan for our salvation made available to us by His Son's atoning work on Calvary's Cross. Our hearts shout a joyful "Amen" as we wait the fulfillment of all His promises, and look forward to the day when we shall be in His Presence forevermore.
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!
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