Have you ever heard of a false teacher preaching from the book of Jude? It isn’t likely, because Jude takes them to task. It comes just before Revelation at the back of the Bible.
It is only a page, so just take a couple of minutes to read this and you will have completed a whole book of the Bible!
It was written by Jude (surprise!), one of Jesus’ half-brothers. He is modest in his introduction. He could have done the ultimate in name-dropping (“It’s me, Jesus’ brother . . .”).
The general theme of Jude is to avoid false teaching. He highlights past examples of false teaching and examples from his time then gives guidance on how to avoid it and achieve victory over it.
It is interesting that the church was only a few decades old and false teachers had already slipped in. Most of the New Testament letters correct false doctrine, and Jesus himself spent a lot of time blasting the false teachings of the Pharisees. More verses on the importance of sound doctrine and rooting out false teachers can be found here.
Jude highlights the doom of people without Christ, and encourages believers to persevere in their faith.
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Judgment on False Teachers
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
God is serious about sound teaching. Many theological liberals mock the need for understanding scripture properly. Ironically enough, that is more evidence of their credentials as wolves in sheep’s clothing. The apostate denominations teaching all sorts of perversions are the same ones denying the deity and exclusivity of Jesus. No surprise there.
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
I thought it was very interesting how the ESV said it was Jesus who saved the Israelites in Egypt. Of course I know that Jesus is God and there are countless other verses to support that, but I didn’t know that the earliest and best manuscripts had “Jesus” instead of the less specific “Lord” in verse 5.
Verse 7 references the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sexual immorality and perversion. This and other Bible passages show how rampant, unrestrained homosexuality was the real sin of these towns, despite some revisionist claims that their real sin was inhospitality. It is true that inhospitality was a serious social error in those times, but God isn’t in the habit of annihilating multiple cities because humans violate their own customs. If you read the original account in Genesis 19 it is clear that to call the citizens’ behavior “inhospitality” would be a gross understatement.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
Verse 11 has three references to Old Testament passages: Cain, who offered the wrong kind of worship to God and killed his brother out of jealousy, Balaam, who pretended to serve God out of greed and encouraged others to sin, and Korah, who rebelled directly against Moses and indirectly against God.
Verses 14-16 point out how serious rebellion is and how it will eventually be judged.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
Note the repetition of “ungodly” four times.
A Call to Persevere
17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
The last section emphasizes perseverance, or staying the course. Living the Christian life can be very hard at times, but we can trust that everything works out for the best in the end. Focus on Christ and living for him and you won’t have any regrets.
This all applies today like it did 2,000 years ago. Verse 21 emphasizes that Jesus brings us eternal life. Thanks be to God for that!
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
That is magnificent ending to this short book. Jesus will indeed present his followers as blameless before God. That is the real Gospel: Jesus died for our sins and rose again. He is the one true God who is over all things.
False teaching is rampant in the church today. The cure is to be intimately familiar with the truth. Study God’s word as much as you can, and be ready to share the truth in love. Because eternity matters.