One short chapter tucked in God’s story to us closing out the letters to individuals and churches before the revelation received by John. Jude is widely believed to be the brother of James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the early church in Jerusalem, making Jude also the half-brother of Jesus. Like James, he also did not believe in Jesus as Messiah prior to the resurrection. All of the words penned in the Bible are inspired by God to us, but there is something powerful to me about these words from someone who spent the early years of their life with Jesus as an older brother…can you imagine?!?!
Jude is primarily concerned with false teachers. This is a common theme, warned about by Jesus, as well as the others in their letters. Something so often repeated should give us pause.
Like Satan, the Father of Lies himself, these false teachers are good at what they do. They are manipulative and often charismatic, using smooth words, impressive speech, with a commanding presence, and some truth sprinkled in to throw us off. Here’s how Jude describes these false teachers…let it be a warning to us to be alert and aware!
They creep in unnoticed. They become part of the Christian community. The ones we need to worry about aren’t the loud antagonist shouting from the outside in obvious opposition, but instead the deceitful ones from the inside. They pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny Jesus as Master and Lord. They indulge in sexual immorality, defile the flesh, and reject authority. They blaspheme what they don’t understand, relying on their instincts. They are in our community, but they are wandering with the waves of the day. They are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters. They show favoritism to gain advantage, full of smooth and flattering words. They deny Jesus as Christ – God in the flesh -- crucified for our salvation.
It is a serious warning. Let us not be deceived...there is only ONE Gospel; only One path to salvation. So, what do we do? We tend to want to fight back, point fingers, and wildly expose. But according to Jude our response should be to continue building our faith, to pray, to keep in the love of God, to have mercy on those who are doubting, to show mercy to others. I think we need to be discerning and careful about who we lump into this category of false teacher and how we respond. It isn’t about our instincts and preferences, it is about Jesus Christ as savior and the glorification of God. Our response should focus more on us than on others. These warnings should drive us to dig deeper in the Word, seeking truth, abiding in God, showing mercy and love, desiring that no one be deceived. It is a posture of surrender and humility, working on ourselves, loving our neighbors, and trusting God is in control.
I’ve been so strongly convicted this past year about being intentionally and consistently in the Word. I believe the most effective way to not be deceived by false teachers Jesus and the apostles repeatedly warned us about is to know God’s truth and pray for the spirit’s wisdom and discernment. I’m starting a daily devo on Jan 1 that will journey through the Bible in a year. If you want to join us, follow along at Jesus 365.
All 1 1 Corinthians 1 Peter 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 & 3 John 2 Corinthians 2 Peter 2 Thessalonians 2 Timothy Acts Colossians Ephesians Galatians Hebrews Info James John Jude Luke Mark Matthew Philemon Philippians Revelation Romans TItus