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PART I.

 

     Jude, or as it appears in the Greek Ioudas” was one of the half-brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ, and brother of James (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). There is no universal agreement as to which Jewish community Jude wrote in particular. Some suggest that it was to the Jewish saints in Jerusalem, or those who lived in, and around Mesopotamian Babylon. The date of the writing of this epistle is equally uncertain. The writing of Jude has been fixed between 66 A.D. to around 80 A.D. Though it may not be totally clear as to what Jewish audience he wrote in particular, or the exact date of his writings; it is certain that this epistle is of such weight that we, who live in the last days, should give it special attention.

     Jude begins his epistle with, Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ…” The term servant” in the Greek is, doulos” which is a bondslave; someone bought from a slave-market. We as believers know that, we were lost and undone; slaves to sin and death, but after that the love of God our Savior appeared in the person of his Son Jesus Christ, we were redeemed by his precious blood; bought back from the slave-market of sin and death. Jude, out of true humility, would not identify himself as the brother of our Lord, but chose rather to refer to himself as his servant” demonstrating that though he was aware of his earthly relationship to our Lord, he realized that Jesus Christ was indeed God manifest in the flesh, and therefore his personal Lord and Savior. Jude then proceeds to identify himself as “brother of James,” the other half- brother of our Lord. According to the internal evidence, Jude wrote primarily to Jewish believers; perhaps the same Jewish believers to whom the apostle Peter wrote. We know that they were, sanctified by God the father and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace and love be multiplied” Jude tells his readers that his first intent was to write concerning the “common salvation” a positive presentation of the Christian faith. But felt moved  by the Holy Spirit, that it was more needful for him to write a powerful, and stirring exhortation to, . . . earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”   It is the faith that we are to contend for; not our denominational dogmas, and creeds; not our church affiliations, not some political party, or some ecclesiastical council; but the faith that was once delivered to all the saints. The word in the Greek for “earnestly contend” is, “epagonizomai” this is the only place in the New Testament where this Greek verb is found. This word speaks of athletes contending in the athletic contests; it gives us the image of the vigorous, intense, determined struggle to defeat the opposition. Our word “agony” is the English spelling of the noun form of this word. The Greek athlete exerted himself to the point of agony in an effort to win the contest. This is the exact kind of effort we as believers in Jesus Christ should put forth in the defense of the faith. It is imperative to note that, in order to contend for the faith, we must with all boldness falsify all others. Paul, writing to the Ephesians said in chapter 4:4-6, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and though all, and in you all.” Notice the repeated use of the term “one” not two, or three, or four, but one. When Jude writes concerning the “faith” he isn’t referring to the ability to believe as in saving faith, but the system of Christian doctrinal truth, built upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why did Jude write with such urgency, why such emergency, why such an alarm? Jude tells us why in verse four “For there are certain men crept in unawares. . ” The phase “. . crept in unawares” is “pareisduno” duno, “to enter,” eis, “into,” para, “beside,” Thus, “to enter alongside” “ to slip in stealthily,” “to enter secretly as by a side-door” These false teachers would feign themselves as disciples of Christ, but were actually wolves in sheep’s clothing. They had a form of godliness, but they denied the power to live godly. Many of these false teachers had already infiltrated the body of Christ before the end of the first century. These are imposters, and enemies of the cross who will be in the professing church until the end of the church age. This means that the warnings to the first century church are warnings that echo down through the centuries. We in the 21st. century have a greater responsible to keep the faith than they who lived in Jude’s day. For now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. Peter said in his first epistle, chapter 3:13-15 that even in the face of death and persecution, we should “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” The apostle here in chapter 3:13-15 is not speaking of answering a question when someone asks you something about Jesus. He is telling us to be ready to give a defense (Gk. Apologiea) for the faith, especially in the face of opposition. The Greek word here for “give an answer” means, to    give a verbal defense. Paul tells us In Philippians 1:7-17, he tells the Philippians that he stood in, “. . the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (vs.7) While he stood in the defence of the gospel, there were others who only preached Christ in order to add to Paul’s afflictions. Some were preaching Christ out of envy and strife, but there were others who preached Christ for the right reason, “. . of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.” (vs.17)  we, the true church who live in the closing hours of this age, must be ready to give a defense (Gk. Apologeia) for the faith. It isn’t enough for us to give a positive presentation of the gospel; we must give a bold, authoritative stand against heresies. The apostle Paul demonstrated this in Acts 15:1-2. He and Barnabas stood up against the judaizers who came down from Judea to Antioch. These judaizers began to teach that the gentile believers had to be circumcised, and keep the Law of Moses to be saved. Just imagine the destruction these false teachers would have done if Paul and Barnabas had assumed the same attitude most preacher, and laity are accustomed to today. The faith would have been lost in the first century, and if we who live in the 21st. century do not make a decisive stand for the gospel; the true knowledge of the faith will be robbed from the next generation. There are also many apostate bible versions, and corrupt paraphrases. We must have a pure, unadulterated faith to transmit to the next generation. We have another instance were Paul in Acts 17: 16-34, is stirred when he saw the idolatrous practices of the Athenians. It is quite interesting that Paul did not become “ecumenical” in his dealings with the paganism around him. He did not make foolish statements like, “We all serve the same God just under different names” nor did he try to find some so-called “common ground” that we all can agree on for the sake of unity. Quite to the contrary, Paul “stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” (vs.22) Paul opposed their altars to demon worship, and the worship of nature. He proved it to be false and contrary to the conscience, and the light of revelation in creation itself. After falsifying their religious practices as it contradicted the worship of the true God of whom they were ignorant; Paul called them to repentance. Why? “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” That man is Jesus Christ.

     These are two of many examples in the Holy Scriptures of how we are to content for the faith. Notice the first scripture reference, how the dangerous opposition was from within the church. The second reference had to do with the opposition that comes from without. The lesson we must glean from this is, when opposing the false religious systems from without with the truth of the gospel; it is for the purpose of evangelizing the lost, to see men and women come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. For example, we cannot evangelize the Muslims with the false premise that we are serving the same God, just under a deferent name. We must expose Islam as false by the light of the truth of the gospel. All faiths do not lead to God, for there is but one true faith, Jesus Christ and him crucified.

     However, the greatest danger to the “. . . faith once delivered to the saints” is not from without, but from within. This fact is so attested to in the Holy Scriptures that time and space would not allow me to examine all that the Scriptures have to say on this subject. Nevertheless, I believe it would be in the interest of truth to examine briefly some references concerning this present and real danger to the faith within the church of Jesus Christ. Notice the first reference above in Act 15:1-2, how that the judaizers came to the church of Antioch, and attempted to mix law with grace. Paul addresses this so powerfully and sternly in his epistle to the Galatians. This was called, “another gospel” in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Paul said of those who preached this false gospel, or any other gospel would be accursed by God. Another reference is found in II Corinthians 11:3-4, here Paul feared that the Corinthians would be deceived by “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” (vs.13-15) Once again Paul warns of the danger to the church, from within the church. By virtue of these false teachers preaching “another jesus” by “another gospel” energized by “another spirit” the Corinthians would be in danger of apostatizing from the true faith; the simplicity that is in Christ” (vs.3) The Corinthians would have to earnestly content for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Just as the Church in Jude’s day, we have a solemn responsibility to content for the faith; we have the same mandate laid upon us in the 21st century. It is imperative that we wrestle, agonize, and strive for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27) Unfortunately, the modern church is in the greatest apostasy since the first century. We are also experiencing the great falling away spoken of in scripture. This is not a falling away from church attendance, crusades, conferences, convocations, and seminars, etc. but a falling away from the faith once delivered to the saints. There will be more people in the last days, which will flock to hear much preaching and teaching, but it will not be based on the word of God, but on doctrinal mythology. 2 Timothy 4:3, “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables.”

 

  (vs.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”

 

     Jude said of these evil libertines that were “. . . ordained to this condemnation” That is, their condemnation and destruction have already been foretold. God does not predestine some for condemnation in particular. He warns us in his holy word, what would cause men to be judged and condemned. He also tells us in his word how we can be saved, and delivered from the wrath to come. It is for us to repent toward God, if we are to escape his wrath. It is not his will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Instead of these false teachers repenting of their sensuality, they have instead “. . turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness” That is, they turned the grace of God into a license for immorality. This is known as the doctrine of the Antinomians. They were those who rejected the moral law as binding on the Christian. Some go farther than this, and say that good works hinder salvation, and that the child of God can not sin; that the moral law is altogether abrogated as a rule of life; that no Christian believes or does good works, but that Christ believed, and did the good works for us. Wesley defines antinomianism as “the doctrine that makes void the law through faith.” Its roots lie in a false view of the atonement; its view of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness implies that he performs for men the obedience they ought to perform, and therefore that God, in justice, can demand nothing further from man. As a consequence of this doctrine, Antinomianism affirms that Christ abolished the moral law; that Christians are no longer obliged to observe it; that a believer is not obliged to use its ordinances, and is freed from “bondage of good works;” and that preachers ought not to exhort men unto good works: not unbelievers, because it is hurtful; not believers, because it is needless (Wesley, Works, 5’196) McClintock and Strong encyclopedia

    When men teach a grace that allows us to live in sin with impunity, they are indeed denying the Lordship of God, and of Jesus Christ. Paul writing to Titus in chapter 2:11-12, said, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”  This is the true grace of God, and any other is really no grace at all. (vs.5) “I therefore put you in remembrance, though ye know this. . .” Jude brings to our attention some past examples of divine judgment, that by these we may know that God intents to punish with eternal fire those who practice ungodliness.

 

(1) The murmuring of the Israelites

(2) The fallen angels       

(3) Those of Sodom and Gomorrah

 

“. . . how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”

Here we have an account of the children of Israel; after being saved out of slavery; redeemed by the mighty power of God. They even heard the voice of almighty God speak to them from Mt. Sinai with thundering, lightening, fire, and a great tempest of thick darkness. Yet they turned back in their hearts, and limited the holy one of Israel. In their rebellion they had made to themselves an idol of gold and worshiped the works of their own wicked hands; as the scripture tells use in Exodus 32:6, “. . and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” They committed fornication in association with their idolatry. These false teachers according to Jude are no different than the children of Israel in the wilderness, and they shall be destroyed for their insolence as Israel was destroyed.

    (vs.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.”  The sin of these angels is horrific in nature. As a matter of fact, their sin resulted in the flood of Genesis 6. The word for “first estate” in the Greek is, “arche” it means, “beginning, origin.” The second meaning of this word is, “sovereignty, dominion, magistracy.” These angels left the original position of their created purpose, and violated the laws of God that separated the celestial beings from terrestrial beings; namely human beings. This is perversion of the highest sort; that of unifying two separate categories of created intelligence into that which is against nature. Jude, like Peter points us to Genesis 6 where these angels came down to co-habit with the daughters of men. We read in Genesis chapter 6:1-2, “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Down in verse 4, it tells us the result of this unholy union; “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”  This sin of co-habitation with “the daughters of men” committed by these angels help bring about the conditions, that brought the judgment of the flood. Just as God poured out his judgment on Noah’s generation, and imprisoned these celestial fornicators; so will he also bring his holy wrath to bear on those who turn his grace into a license to allow such deeds. (See also 2 Peter 2:4)

   (vs.7) “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, 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.” In the same manner as the angels of verse 6, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of the same kind of sin; the sin of sexual immorality. The word in the Greek translated “. . giving themselves over to fornication” is, “ekporneuo” which means, “to be utterly unchaste.” The prefixed preposition of this Greek word, “ek” means, “out” and, “porneuo” means, “to act the harlot, to indulge unlawful lust” also used figuratively of the practice of idolatry. The angels of verse 6 and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves out to satisfy completely their lusts. The word in the Greek translated, “strange” is, “heteros” which means, “another of a different kind” Just as these angels that left their heavenly position to co-habit with women of another nature, these of Sodom and Gomorrah are guilty of the same.

    The apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians in chapter 15:39 said, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. Perhaps they of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of bestiality, as well as homosexuality. These Sodomites and libertines have been set forth as an example. That means that in the scriptures, they are held up high for all to see, and take warning. Why isn’t that strange? Here we have these examples of past societies in the word of God as evidence of divine retribution, and yet our modern pulpits, for the most part are silent concerning the reality of divine judgment. God will call into account every minister who stands behind the sacred desk, and neglects to blow the trumpet, and warn the people.

   As a result of their fornication, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are suffering. The word for “suffering” is the Greek word, “hupecho” means, “to hold under, to put under” metaphorically it means, “To sustain, to undergo”  The participle is in the present tense, indicating that they are suffering to this day the punishment that came on them in Lot’s time. Jude is saying that the inhabitants of these cities are presently undergoing the punishment that came on them, namely “the vengeance of eternal fire” the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah is in a conscious, fiery torment in Hell. This is the same judgment that these false teachers will experience, who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness in their teachings, and in their conduct produced by their teachings. The faith that was once delivered to the saints has never been in danger of being lost like it is today. With every destructive wind of doctrine blowing through the church-world; coupled with a lack of concern among Christians for sound doctrine; it is only by God’s grace that we still have the faith with us. If we are going to keep the faith that was once delivered to the saints, we must earnestly contend for that faith in opposition to all the damnable heresies we see in the church today. (See I timothy 1:3-4; 4:1, 13; 6:11-12, 20; II Timothy 2:14-18; 3:13-17; 4:1-4; Titus 1:9-13; 2:1, 15)               

 

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