The book of Acts is known as the acts of the apostles of Jesus after the holy spirit was given to us. The Book of Jude is essentially the acts of the apostates, specifically the apostate teachers who lead apostasy in the church age.
It’s a short book in the New Testament, with just 1 chapter and 25 verses, but the spirit of God packs a punch in it. God, through Jude is saying that we should “Contend for the faith” against false teachers who operate in immorality and obviously, false teaching. They are those who deceive and destroy the spiritually immature and undiscerning believer. And get this, they are alive and deceiving today. I highly encourage you to read this short book and really feast on what the Lord is saying because He is warning His church. He’s warning you. God’s word says His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge and that some even willfully reject the knowledge of God. For this, God says will will turn their glory into shame (more in Hosea 4 if you care to read.) I want to highlight a few verses in Jude that were impressed upon me to share:
“I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
God describes the last days apostasy as one that embraces many paths to God and heaven, which means that “they” have rejected Jesus as the only way, the only truth, and the life. You might have heard this if you’ve heard anyone say, the path to Allah and the path to Jesus end in the same place. I’ve heard that a lot because of certain circles I grew up in….Or that saint/icon worship is acceptable (think Virgin Mary worship) alongside Jesus. Jesus, while I’m sure he honored his mother because the bible commands it, never said, “You should worship my mother too”, yet many Catholics revere Mary more than Christ.
But I submit to you that an apostate looks like anyone who serves anything above Jesus. These are a few philosophies that are being embraced today: universalism; new age philosophies (great blog here that highlights some new age practices in the church); secular humanism; these and more are all influencing believers and non-believer seekers and their personal statement of faith in Jesus, or lack thereof. You’ve heard someone in your life say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Assuming they’ve been presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ, in other words they’re saying, “I’ve counted the cost, and I’m gonna stay over here in the universe I’ve build around my ideas that don’t require that I put a greater demand on myself to be all that Jesus’ sacrifice paid for me.” They reject the truth for a lie, and they spend the rest of their lives living/pursuing a lie that ends in destruction.
Apostasy can also look like hyper-grace (just keep on sinning bc you’re covered) and prosperity gospel. While there are divine principles in the word of God around reaping and sowing, tithing and offerings to God, false teachers who promote financial gain over everything else. Jude says, in verse 10, “These men speak abusively against what they do not understand; and what things they do not understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals- they are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”
Following Cain’s example, the false teachers despised Jesus’ blood sacrifice and devised their own corrupt worship. Jude’s connection to Cain implies some level of jealousy. Just as Cain was jealous of Abel. *False teachers are jealous of those who obey the Lord, and they hate genuine believers.
Balaam was a heathen prophet who lived during the time of the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness following their escape from Egypt. Balak, King of Moab, offered rewards to Balaam if he would curse the Israelites. Balaam refused to curse them, but he persuaded Balak to corrupt them by getting them to marry the pagan Moabite women (Numbers 22—25). *False teachers value financial gain more highly than God’s will and lead their followers into immorality.
Korah and his followers rebelled against Moses’ authority and thereby refused to accept God’s authority since God had appointed Moses as Israel’s leader (Numbers 16). Korah also presumed to take upon himself a priestly role, but God had appointed only Aaron to the position of Israel’s high priest. Consequently, God destroyed those rebels.*False teachers reject the authority of Scripture and of those whom God had appointed to teach it.
Jude goes onto say that false teachers are shepherd who only feed themselves. He calls them, “Clouds without rain; autumn trees without fruit AND uprooted, TWICE DEAD; wild waves; and wondering stars for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever” (v. 12-13).
So what are WE called to do?
Verse 17 says, “Remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ” In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires,” There are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts but do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourself up in the most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
-Be merciful to those who doubt; (kindness and compassion to others who are struggling or being led astray. Speak the truth in love, always.)
-Snatch others from the fire and save them; (witness to others about Jesus. It’s a matter of life and death for those who don’t know Him.)
-To others, show mercy mixed with fear, even hating the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Hate sin, but always love the sinner.)
Jude Finishes With This
“To him who is able (has the power) to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence *without fault* and with great joy- to the only God and Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
The Lord and the Lord alone has the power to keep you from falling away. There’s power in a daily relationship with him. There’s power in staying connected to him through the daily reading of his word. There’s power in praying to him daily, and praying in the holy spirit. I pray that you will continue in your gritfull pursuit of being conformed to his image on your journey through this life until your time has come to behold him face to face.