Friday, September 20, 2019

Short Letters, Big Truths: Jude


 

Jude: Earnestly contend for the faith


Background

Author- Jude

Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,  
Who was Jude? Where is he mentioned in the New Testament?
Jude was the brother of James the pastor of the Jerusalem church and of Jesus the Messiah.

He is mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
and Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Date

The book was written about 67-68 AD before the fall of Jerusalem under Titus in 70 AD.

Purpose

At first Jude wanted to write about the doctrine of salvation but the spirit and his heart led him to write a warning against evil and deceitful men.

The Epistle of Jude warns against the incipient heresy of Gnosticism, a philosophy that distinguished sharply between matter, as being inherently evil, and spirit, as being good. Such a system of thought had serious implications for Christian life and doctrine. It challenged the Biblical doctrine of creation. And it gave rise to the idea that Christ's body was only apparent, not real, for if Christ had had a real body, it would have been evil. In its effect on Christian ethics, Gnosticism prompted two quite different results: on the one hand antinomianism, the belief that one is not under obligation to obey the moral law, and on the other a form of abuse of the body to promote spirituality. Both are opposed by Scripture. It may be inferred from the epistle that the readers were guilty, in varying degrees, of rebellion against authority, irreverence, presumptuous speech, and a libertine spirit. Jude's tone is polemic, for he rebukes false teachers who deceive unstable believers and corrupt the Lord's table. - (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Outline

Identification, salutation, and purpose. Jude 1-4.
Admonitions against false teachers. Jude 5-16.
Exhortations to Christians. Jude 17-23.
Benediction. Jude 24,25.

Analytical Chart

 

The Letter

 Identification, salutation, and purpose. Jude 1-4.
 How does Jude’s salutation compare with Paul’s or John’s?
Very similar to Paul’s grace, hope and love but John’s is much more directly plunging into his subject with few words of salutation.

How does vs. 3 show Jude’s original purpose and how it changed?
He says he first wanted to write of the “common salvation” but due to a great need had to warn against ungodly men crept in unawares.

What were these ungodly men teaching?
They were turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (worldliness), and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, (the deity of Christ)

Admonitions against false teachers. Jude 5-16
What is Jude’s plain warning in vss. 5-7?
That God judges ungodliness harshly and a past relationship with God is not a shield from punishment.

In vs. 8 these evil men are accused of rebellion against authority. What does the apocryphal story of Michael and Satan have to do with this accusation?
Jude is using the story as an example of Michael the archangel appealing to the authority of God whereas these false teachers refuse all authority.

Why is the Apocrypha not a part of the NT since Jude quotes it here?
Jude uses it as an example which fits his argument, he does not equate the entire book to scripture.

What is Jude’s accusation in vs. 10-11?
They condemn the spiritual which they cannot know and the physical which they do know, they corrupt. They are more interested in power and money than in truth. (Some things really haven’t changed at all.)

In vs. 12, list and explain the 5 labels Jude used for these early Gnostic teachers.
Spots in your feasts of charity: hidden rocks upon which the Christians could become shipwrecked, fellowshipping with them in the love (agape) meals.
clouds they are without water: disappointed hope like rain clouds that don’t rain in the midst of a drought.
Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead: trees without leaves or fruit which are destroyed after not producing. 
Raging waves of the sea: aimless wasted energy littering the beach with their refuse.
Wandering stars: shooting stars, meteorites which brightly burn but burn out and are destroyed.

Vs. 16 shows how these men operate. How did they raise themselves up in the church?
They murmured (talked against others). They complained (spoke against the church and its leadership) They spoke great swelling words (swayed people with fancy word and style).
What was their real motivation?
Their own lusts and seeking out important people to sway to their own advantage.

Exhortations to Christians. Jude 17-23.

Jude gives a contrast between the Gnostics and the true Christians in vss. 18 -21. What are the differences they should see and strive for?
Gnostics are prophesied mockers who walk after their own ungodly lusts. They separate themselves from Christians because they only have physical senses not the Spirit of God
Christians, on the other hand, build up their holy faith, they pray in the Spirit’s power and keep themselves in the love of God, while also trust in the mercy of Jesus Christ for eternal life.

Benediction. Jude 24,25.

How does Jude’s benediction also contradict the Gnostics?
It states that only Jesus is able to keep us and that He is our Savior and God.
According to vs. 24, can a true child of God ever fall away?  Can they ever be lost again?
No the passage clearly states that Jesus keeps us not we ourselves.

Conclusion

What a turn of a life for Jude, the little brother of Jesus. Once he and his other brothers had told people that Jesus was “beside himself” in the Greek, the literal meaning was “moonstruck” meaning they thought he was crazy. Now that same brother is no longer filled with doubt but is filled with faith and indignation against any who would dishonor Jesus, his Lord and Savior.

The change in Jude, from a doubter of Jesus’ sanity to a believer in His being the Savior, is one of the strongest proofs of Jesus bodily resurrection, for what else could change the hearts and minds of the family that had grown up with Jesus? It is also proof of what Jesus can do with our own doubts, fears and disbelief. If we will but look and listen. Jesus will prove who He is, and our hearts and minds will also by changed.