Verse 17 begins with “But you must remember…” It is here that Jude brings the topic of this letter back to the minds of the readers. He has spent the past eleven verses reminding the readers about the consequences of sin, but now he writes “Remember the predictions of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “remember” means to be reminded, bring recollection or be mindful of. This is an active thing. The believers are told to make a conscious mental effort to bring back to memory the promises of God as they contain the predictions of the Apostles.
What predictions are Jude speaking of?
I am not a prophecy buff, so I cannot say with any authority that the state of this world right now is sure proof that the return of Christ is at hand. I believe the Bible teaches that the return of Jesus is imminent (it could happen at any time and any moment) so we do not know the year, the day or the hour of his return. Even through we do not know when Jesus will return to establish his Kingdom but we do we are living in the last days. With Jesus’ ascension to heaven was in fact the start to the beginning of the end of days.
The return of Christ is something believers have longed for and anticipated since the death of Jesus Christ. Since we are in living in the last days we must be on guard, ready and openly share the promise of Jesus in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible explicitly declares the Promise of God through Jesus Christ. The Gospel message or the good news of Jesus Christ is that he willingly gave His life for humanity on the cross of Calvary. Contrary to what many of us have learned Jesus was not murdered by the Jews or the Romans. He willingly laid down his life for humanity. Sure, the Jews and Romans were the ones who beat him, degraded him, mocked him and put the nails in His hands and feet, but the Bible tells us that He GAVE UP his Spirit. He was the one who told death that he was ready… not vice versa. He willingly gave up His life so that “whoever” (by the calling and quickening of the Holy Spirit) believes (puts their faith and trust) in him shall have eternal life. Eternal life is the gift and the promise of God for all who believe. However, the promise does not end here. The promise of the Gospel goes beyond getting saved from hellfire and damnation and inheriting eternal life. Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. This means that our salvation is not only a future event but it includes life here on earth. Abundance means excellent or superior. In Jesus Christ we have excellence, we have an extraordinary life, we have much more than what the rest of the world has. We have a superior life here on earth with the promise of an even better eternity in Christ. We have abundance because Jesus willingly gave his life for humanity and was raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:23 – 25). This superior life comes at a cost, one we are never able to repay… fortunately we do not need to repay it we need to receive it.
The second thought for today is to remain or persevere in faith. According to the Believers Commentary our goal “is to stay close to the Lord and live in unbroken fellowship with Him.” This means that no matter what life throws at you, you need to stay near Jesus and continue in fellowship with him. We do this by building one another up in faith. When we gather together as a body on Sunday mornings, home fellowships or in fellowship with one another, we are to build one another up in faith. How do we do this?
While we wait however we have a job to do…
Jude concludes his letter with exuberant praise for the Lord, who alone could keep the readers from being deceived Victory over apostasy is found in Jesus Christ who is able to keep us from stumbling, and it is in him that we are presented blameless to the Father. “This well-known benediction contains a wealth of spiritual truth for the believer to receive. If we want to keep our feet on the ground spiritually, walk straight, and not stumble, then we must yield ourselves fully to the Saviour. He alone is able to guard us, but we must “keep ourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). For there is only one God and He has acted redemptively for us by sending his Son Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior. Jesus is our mediator he is our bridge that has made a way for humanity to have access to the Father. Since God has provided a way then ALL glory, majesty, dominion and authority belongs to Him from eternity past, to present, to eternity future. May we pause (in prayer) as we magnify and glorify our God and King? May we proclaim His kindness to all humanity and live an abundant life in Him and in expectation of what is to come.
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Jud 20). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Jud 24). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Jud 24). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
A Stern Warning and a Gentle Reminder
Since the false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothing) had secretly crept into the Church, Jude finds it necessary to give the readers a warning about the judgment of false teachers by reminding them how God deals with all tolerated sin. He starts verse 5 with “I want to remind you” about God’s stern judgment in the past in dealing with sin. This reminder implies that they were familiar with the forthcoming accounts and maybe they needed a “refresher” course on the history of God’s dealing with all types of blatant sin.
Jude gives three examples for the church to remember…
Jude reminds the readers that the Jesus he speaks about was the same Jesus who saved the Israelites from Egyptians slavery and pursuit. He is also the same Jesus who executed judgment on the nation in the desert. Some manuscripts read “The Lord” but the ESV and other modern translations show that the Greek word used is Jesus. In this passage we see that Jesus and God are one in the same. Equating Jesus with God was an early Apostolic teaching that was widely held and understood (Remember Jude says, “I want to remind you). It is safe to assume that Jesus and God are considered equal here and this was nothing new to the readers.
Two facts are present in this account of the Exodus of Israel.
The second reminder is in verse 6. The angels who rebelled against God were sinning against God. We do not know what their actual sin was. Some attribute it to the angels and Nephilum in Gen. 6, plus 2 Peter 2:4-9 talks a little about the fallen angels. However, what we do know is that the angels who sinned did not stay in the position God appointed them. This could very well be referring to Lucifer and his desires to be like the Most High. He left his position of servant or messenger and tried to overthrow the throne of God. The end result or punishment for their sin was containment in eternal chains and kept until the judgment. The Greek word for gloomy darkness ζόφος [zophos /dzof·os/] which means the darkness of the nether world. Until the Day of Judgment κρίσις [krisis /kree·sis/] – the day of sentencing of condemnation, damnatory judgment.
Sodom and Gomorrah
The third reminder is found in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The question arises, “Why was Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed?” We are told that is was because of sexual immorality. The Greek word is ἐκπορνεύω [ekporneuo /ek·porn·yoo·o] and means giving oneself over to fornication, to go a whoring. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah pursued unnatural desires and the word nnatural ἕτερος [heteros /het·er·os/] means went back after another, one not of the same nature, form or class. The word Desires - σάρξ [sarx /sarx/] means flesh or more commonly referred to the animal nature with cravings which incite sin. It is the earthly nature of man and therefore prone to sin and oppose God. Sodom and Gomorrah serves as an example of how God has dealt with the sin of sexual immorality and is very much a warning to the ungodly.
In review the three sins mentioned are…
Motivations of an Apostate
In verse 8 the false teachers had similar if not the same qualities as those sins previously mentioned. The men relied on their dreams to be their guide, claiming them to be from God. The word for dreams is interpreted as a filthy dreamer. One who is beguiled with sensual images and thus carried away to impious course of conduct. They were using their dreams and interpretations as ways to defile the flesh (living to satisfy the cravings of the flesh), reject authority (disobey God’s Word and authority) and blaspheming God (Arrogantly speaking evil or reproachfully against God).
These false teachers/Apostates spoke arrogantly against God and they did not know the power they were dealing with. In their self centered living they (in their minds) thought themselves higher than God. Jude is saying that this kind of arrogance is foolishness since even the Archangel Michael was not so arrogant as to speak an evil word about one who would have been a contemporary or equal to him. Michael probably could have engaged in a battle with Satan as the two are equal but instead he does not even hesitate to give the battle to the Lord. So, instead of engaging in battle with Satan, Michael admonishes this battle to Jesus.
There was apparently a battle between Satan and Lucifer over the body of Moses after his death. We have no more information about this conflict but we see that when Moses died, the Lord buried him and no one knew where the sepulcher was located (Deut. 34:5–6). This was purposeful on God’s part because there would have been no doubt that the Jewish people would have made a shrine out of the sepulcher and fallen into idolatry, so God kept the information to Himself. The text tells us that “not any man” knew the place, so perhaps Satan did know the place and tried to claim Moses’ body for himself. Inasmuch as Satan does have a certain amount of authority in the realm of death he may have felt he had a right to interfere
Jude continues in verse 10 to say that the false teachers speak evil of things they do not understand (i.e. God, Jesus, salvation, angels etc.) and this is their ultimate destruction. Their understanding is destitute of reasoning and instead they think based upon their animal lusts, instincts and pleasures which is their nature.
Jude does not have hostility and anger towards the false teachers; instead he grieves and has pity on them because he knows they walk according to their own self gratification, greed, ambition and arrogance. Everything they do is for their own personal gain. They will do or say whatever they need without moral regard or ethics to get what they want. In fact, Jude equates them to Balaam (see the story in Numbers 22) who takes money from an individual named Balak in exchange for placing a curse on (Balaam’s own people) the Israelites. He also associates them to Korah who tried to usurp Moses’ authority in the desert and he tried to start up a revolt against him and Aaron. Like Balaam and Korah these false teachers are “hidden reefs”, which is a metaphor of men who by their conduct damage others morally and secretly. They are dangerous individuals who can cause harm without others knowing it. At their charity feasts (which would include the Lord’s Supper) they would only seek to watch out for themselves. They had no regard for the others present. They would go and indulge in gluttony and self gratification with no regard to the fellowship of the saints.
These false teachers are like…
Verse 14 speaks of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This will be the time the Lord executes judgment. The ungodly will be convicted of their blasphemous deeds they have committed and they will be held accountable for the words they spoke. Those facing conviction or judgment include…
a.Grumblers – Those who complain against God.
b.Malcontent – Those who are not content with their place where God has placed them.
c.Those following after their lustful desires.
So the take home for us today is…
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Jud 8). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
Jude is a short letter (25 verses) written to Christians at an undisclosed location. The letter was written from a Jewish point of view, and many have concluded that it was written to either solely Jewish Christians or a mixture of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians who had an understanding of Jewish traditions. It was written around the mid-60’s A.D. by a person named Jude. We don’t know very much about Jude, but we are pretty certain that he was the brother of James (who is believed to be the brother of Jesus), and according to Matt. 13:55 & Mark 6:3 it is concluded that Jude was the brother of Jesus. These passages refer to Jude as Judas. The name Jude in the Greek is Ἰούδας (Ee oo das).
The purpose in writing this letter was a response to and a call to the recipients of this letter to contend for the faith as false teachers had infiltrated their body of believers.
The author refers to himself as “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.” The word “servant” in Greek is δοῦλοσ (doulos) which means a bond servant or a slave. It is one who gives himself up to another’s will and whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men. A biblical servant was one who is devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. Jude considers himself first and foremost a servant to Jesus Christ. His interests, causes and services were to Jesus Christ. He was a bond man to His savior and master and he spent his life preaching and advancing the Kingdom of Christ. According to extra biblical historical documents James was known as “James the just” and according to Acts 15 he was the leader of the Jerusalem church. Josephus writes that James was “noted for his scrupulous keeping of the Jewish law.”
Once Jude establishes who he is, he writes that the letter is written to “those who are called” or κλητός (Kletos) which means those invited by God in the proclamation of the Gospel to obtain eternal salvation in the Kingdom of Christ. The called are people who are divinely selected or appointed. In simple terms this letter is written to Christians. Since this is so this means that not only does this letter apply to the people of this time but also applies to you and me today. We are the Kletos, we are divinely appointed to be His people. God has called us to eternal salvation and with this comes a great responsibility to walk according to His ways and share His gospel message. The called are also the “beloved in God” which means that not only are we divinely appointed Christians but we are also loved dearly by the Father. We are divinely called to be followers of Christ, dearly loved by the Father and “kept” in Jesus. The word “kept” τηρέω (tereo) means preserved, to guard, attend carefully. In Christ we are preserved and guarded. To those who are in Christ there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. We are kept secure by Him.
Mercy, Peace & Love be multiplied among you.
Contend For the Faith
In verse three Jude gives us the purpose for writing the letter. Jude was writing with a heavy heart because he initially wanted to write this letter as a letter of encouragement and affirmation. He wanted to edify the believers as he desired to write about the common salvation they shared. Common salvation is the general faith they had in common. The word common is the word koinos in which we get the word koinoinia which means fellowship. Jude desired to fellowship (through a letter) with the believers and encourage them in their salvation and let them know they were on the right course. Unfortunately his desire to write an encouraging letter had to be placed on the backburner, because of some very unfortunate events that were happening in the fellowship.
Jude found it necessary to urge the believers to “contend for the faith”. He was making an appeal to them to stand up against the heresies that had been infiltrating the body of believers. Even as early as the mid 60’s A.D. heresies were making their ways into fellowships. Unfortunately, as we will soon see, some of those heresies were starting to surface in this group. Jude was encouraging the fellowship to “contend for the faith”. The Greek word for contend is where we get our English word agonize. It means to fight, to struggle with strenuous zeal. Jude was urging this body to be proactive in its fight against heresy. They were to actively struggle in fighting for the faith. Jude was essentially telling them not to have an attitude of “We don’t want to offend anyone or cause people to leave or start any fights so we will allow these teachings to go on and eventually they will stop.” No, Jude was urging them to stop what was going on or face the consequences.
They are to contend of fight for the “faith”. The word faith in greek πίστις (Pisitis) which means a strong conviction of truth; in particular it is a conviction of belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things. These truths include…
At the time of writing this letter there was already an established teaching about salvation that was rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Jude is urging the body to contend for the faith. They were to fight for the truth of the existence of God, to fight for the Lordship of Jesus Christ, to fight for the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and to fight the wolves who were masquerading in this body as sheep.
Unfortunately, certain people had crept in and infiltrated fellowship with false teaching and heresy. They had “Crept in unnoticed” or pareisduno (par-ice-doo'-no) to enter in secretly or stealthily like parasites. These people have secretly crept into this body and they were designated ahead of time for condemnation. This expression teaches that the condemnation of apostates has been determined long beforehand. They may have crept in and taken the church by surprise but God in his sovereignty was not. They were designated before hand to be false teachers and God had taken measures to make sure these people were exposed.
Characteristics of Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing
How to Contend For the Faith Today
Unfortunately, there are still wolves masquerading as sheep in the church today. We are to contend and guard the message of Christ that is taught in the Bible. We are called to expose the wolves when they creep in and we are to protect the flock with the truth. How do we do this?
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Jud 4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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