Jude Wastes No Time In Identifying The Enemy!
We have already noted that Jude set out to write an encouraging letter about “the common salvation.” The name Jude (Judah) means, “praise,” and he was anxious to praise God and rejoice in the salvation God gives in Jesus Christ. But the Spirit of God changed his mind and led Jude to write about the battle against the forces of evil (the enemy) in the world.
Why? Because it was “needful” for the church.
When the enemy is in the field, the watchmen dare not go to sleep. The Christian life is a battleground, not a playground.
Jude wasted no time in identifying the enemy.
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
Jude 3 (NLT)
Jude emphasizes the important relationship between correct doctrine and true faith. The truth of the Bible must not be compromised because it gives us the real facts about Jesus and salvation.
The Bible is inspired by God and should never be twisted or manipulated; when it is, we can become confused over right and wrong and lose sight of the only path that leads to eternal life.
Before writing about salvation, then, Jude felt he had to set his readers back on the right track, calling them back to the basics of their faith. Then the way of salvation would be clearer. “His holy people” refers to all believers.
How do ordinary Christians “defend the faith” today?
Think about these ideas:
- We can defend the faith by knowing the truth. We do that by studying the Bible. Don’t ever imagine that pastors and seminary professors hold a monopoly on this task. Without study, you cannot know what to defend. You must understand the basic doctrines of the faith so that you can recognize false doctrines and prevent wrong teaching from undermining your faith and hurting others.
- We can defend the faith as we grow personally with Christ. While knowledge is important, your personal relationship with Christ is essential. Through that relationship, God has given you the Holy Spirit as a teacher. Unattached to God, you may know everything, but understand nothing. Attached to Christ, you are given spiritual understanding as well as experiences with Christ that underscores your faith.
- We can defend the faith by remaining unified on the essentials. While Christians can certainly disagree on many nonessentials (music in worship, methods of worship, methods of outreach), we must always defend the truth of the basics of our faith as found in God’s Word.
I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 4 (NLT)
They Were Ungodly
This is one of Jude’s favorite words. While these men claimed to belong to God, they were, in fact, ungodly in their thinking and their living. They might have “a form of godliness,” but they lacked the force of godliness that lives in the true Christian (2 Tim. 3:5).
Even some of our churches today have false (“ungodly”) teachers who have “wormed” their way in and are twisting the Bible’s teachings to justify their own opinions, lifestyle, or wrong behaviour. In doing this, they may gain temporary freedom to do as they wish; but they will discover that in distorting Scripture they are playing with fire. God will judge them for excusing, tolerating, and promoting sin.
They Were Deceitful
“For there are certain men crept in unawares,”
Jude 1:4 (KJV)
They “crept in unawares.” The Greek word means “to slip in secretly, to steal in undercover.” Sometimes Satan’s undercover agents are “brought in secretly” by those already on the inside (Gal. 2:4), but these men came in on their own. Peter warned that these men were coming (2 Peter 2:1) and now they had arrived on the scene.
How could false brethren get into true assemblies of the saints?
The soldiers had gone to sleep at the post! The spiritual leaders in the churches had grown complacent and careless. This explains why Jude had to “blow the trumpet” to wake them up. Our Lord and His Apostles all warned that false teachers would arise; yet the churches did not heed the warnings. Sad to say, some churches are not heeding the warnings today.
They Were Enemies Of God’s Grace
“Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,”
Jude 1:4 (KJV)
Why did they enter the churches?
They entered the churches to attempt to change the doctrine and “turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness”. The word lasciviousness simply means “wantonness, absence of moral restraint, indecency.” A person who is lascivious thinks only of satisfying his lusts, and his base appetites stain whatever he touches. Lasciviousness is one of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19) that proceeds from the evil heart of man (Mark 7:21-22).
Peter had already warned these people that the apostates would argue, “You have been saved by grace, so you are free to live as you please!” They promised the people freedom, but it was the kind of freedom that led to terrible bondage (2 Peter 2:13-14, 19). The readers both Peter and Jude addressed knew what Paul had written (2 Peter 3:15-16), so they should have been fortified with Romans 6 and 1 Corinthians 5-6.
The apostates, like the cultists today, use the Word of God to promote and defend their false doctrines. They seduce young, immature Christians who have not yet been grounded in the Scriptures. Every soldier of the Cross-needs to go through “basic training” in a local church so that he knows how to use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
They Denied God’s Truth
“And denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jude 1:4 (KJV)
“Even denying the Lord that bought them,” Peter had warned (2 Peter 2:1). Jude was not writing about two different persons when he wrote “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” for the Greek construction demands that these two names refer to one Person. In other words, Jude was affirming strongly the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God!
But the apostates would deny this. They would agree that Jesus Christ was a good man and a great teacher, but not that He was eternal God come in human flesh. The first test of any religious teacher, as we have seen, is,
“What do you think of Jesus Christ? Is He God come in the flesh?”
Anyone who denies this cardinal doctrine is a false teacher no matter how correct he may be in other matters. If he denies the deity of Christ, something will always be missing in whatever he affirms.
Many first-century false teachers were teaching Christians could do whatever they liked without fear of God’s punishment. They had a light view of God’s holiness and his justice. Paul refuted this same kind of false teaching in Romans 6:1-23.
Even today, some Christians minimize the sinfulness of sin, believing that how they live has little to do with their faith. But what a person truly believes will show up in how that person acts. Those who truly have faith will show it by their deep respect for God and their sincere desire to live according to the principles in his Word.
The church is always one generation short of extinction. If our generation fails to guard the truth and entrust it to our children, then that will be the end! When you think of the saints and martyrs who suffered and died so that we might have God’s truth, it makes you want to take your place in God’s army and be faithful unto death.
What does it mean to “contend for the faith” and reject the enemy?
The Greek word is an athletic term that gives us our English word agonize. It is the picture of a devoted athlete, competing in the Greek games and stretching his nerves and muscles to do his very best to win.
You never fight the Lord’s battles from a rocking chair or a soft bed! Both the soldier and the athlete must concentrate on doing their best and giving there all. There must also be teamwork, believers working together to attack and defeat the enemy.
Sometimes you hear well-meaning people say,
“Well, it’s fine to contend for the faith, but don’t be so contentious!”
While it is true that some of God’s soldiers have been the cause of quarrels and divisions, it is also true that some of them have paid a great price to defend the faith. As Christian soldiers, we must not fight each other or go around looking for trouble. But when the banner of Christ is in danger of being taken by the enemy, we cannot sit idly by, nor can we ever hope to win the victory by wearing kid gloves.
Charles Spurgeon once said “the new views are not the old truth in a better dress, but deadly errors with which we can have no fellowship.” False doctrine is a deadly poison that must be identified, labeled, and avoided.
Spurgeon also said, “I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware?”
We must always speak the truth in love, and the weapons we use must be spiritual. At the same time, we must dare to take our stand for “the faith” even if our stand offends some and upsets others. We are not fighting personal enemies, but the enemies of the Lord. It is the honor and glory of Jesus Christ that is at stake.
“Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).
LOVE THAT CONFRONTS
Though it is easier and more enjoyable to give positive feedback to our fellow Christians, there are times when we must address difficult and painful situations very directly.
Growing In Godliness
There have always been those who attempt to divert God’s people from their main purpose. Whether angels or men, God knows how to deal with the rebellious, but believers are warned not to participate with any such persons.
The wicked appeals to the lusts of the eye, lusts of the flesh, and to inordinate pride. They will pretend to love God, appear to do good works, but on close examination they are as fruitless as the fig tree that Jesus cursed.
The wise will be able to identify those whose object is to be god, rather than to serve God. It will take a deeply spiritual heart to know how to reach any who are deep into evil without being contaminated – hating the sin but still loving the sinner.
Truth In Action
Contend strongly for biblical faith. Accept no form of alteration.
Reject anyone who teaches that grace is “God’s permission to sin.” Understand that such teaching is godlessness.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I earnestly contend for the faith that God gave me when I became His son/daughter. What He gave, He gave once for all. It is a done deal. My faith is mine for eternity. I fully understand its nature and its production of true holiness in my life. God has called me to it and I will live by it, no matter what the critics or the twisters of the Word may say.
I pray this declaration of faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.
A Quick Reference Below To Authors Of False Teachings.
It is no secret these days that Christian bookstore and ministry resource databases are often jam-packed with so-called Christian resources that are actually promoting anything but biblical Christianity. Special care may be taken by bookstore owners and ministry leaders alike to ensure that ministry and business are “in order,” but, when a close look is taken, the sale of spiritually unsafe material abounds. This is the primary reason for these three lists—to help warn and protect you, the reader, and to provide a quick reference guide.
Click on the image above or Click Here To Receive The List of False Teachers.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Alert (2, 3 John and Jude).
NLT Chronological Life Application Bible
New Spirit Life Filled Bible