JUDE Anne O’BrieN
A brief and concise account of the main points of the letter of Jude. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. 1
The Book of Jude Read verses 1&2 General opinion has it that this letter to the churches was written by Jude (Judas), the brother of Jesus. Jude humbly refers to himself as the brother of James (also one of Jesus’ brothers) and a servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek word that Jude used (doulos) actually means slave. He is writing to those who have been called – in other words, to Christians everywhere who serve the Lord; those who know they are loved by God and whose spiritual life is sustained by Jesus Christ. He pronounces mercy, peace and love over our lives. Read verse 3: The Faith, the belief that we have in Jesus Christ, has been entrusted to us to maintain it, to keep it, and to make sure it is not altered or watered down by others. We are to contend for it because it is our prize possession. We are to fight for it (and even suffer for it) when necessary. We are to stand up and be counted; to question wrong doctrine and wrong interpretations of God’s Word – which was passed on to us by the Apostles, through Jesus Christ. Q. Do we fully realize our responsibility in this? Read verse 4: Now we come to the point of Jude’s letter. “Because certain individuals” have slipped in and perverted God’s message. This was obviously a problem in the early church – but it continues to this day, and moreso! These people were saying that Christians can more or less do what they like, because God is a God of love and will forgive. Jude defines these people as Godless, immoral and they even deny Christ as Lord. Jude returns to this theme in verse 11, but first (v5-‐10) he sets down his argument for saying what he does. Q. In our country today, do you think the gospel has been watered down to try and please everyone? Q. Do you think God will punish us for this? If so,in what way? Read verse 5-‐7: Jude reminds us that unrepented sin will be punished (a subject we don’t like to talk about!), whether we are under the Old Testament Law or under New Testament Grace – and he goes on to give several examples: (God is still God and his standards remain, whatever period of history we live in.) • God delivered all the Israelites from Egypt, but those who did not believe and trust him did not escape punishment • The angels who rebelled will be punished at the Final Judgment • Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of punishment for sexual perversion and immorality. However, Praise God that through Jesus Christ, if we repent of our sin and make every effort not to repeat it, then we can be forgiven – because Jesus has taken the punishment for us by his death on the Cross. Each one of us, by our own deliberate sin, crucifies Christ – a sober thought. 1 2
Read verses 8-‐10: Jude lists more signs of the kind of thing/people that can infiltrate the church and spoil its witness: • They pollute their bodies (sex, drugs, smoking, gluttony!) • They reject higher authority, whether from spiritual leaders, or “celestial beings” – even abusing or denying heavenly powers. • They follow their own instincts He reminds us that even the angels do not take authority on themselves. They also work under God’s authority. Q. In an effort to attract more people into the church are we guilty of watering down our standards – not wanting to appear “holier than thou”? Read verse 11: Jude selects three more examples to illustrate his meaning and he says “woe to them” for behaving in this way: • They have taken the “Way of Cain”. (Genesis 4v1-‐16) Cain was guilty of rebellion, jealousy and murder. Fundamentally, he was selfish. When God’s will didn’t suit him, he imposed his own will. • They are like Balaam (Numbers 22-‐24) – he was guilty of false prophecy, making up a word from God to suit the ears of his listeners – and he did it for money. When God tried to remonstrate with him, he became stubborn and rebellious and disrespectful. • They are like Korah (Numbers 16v1-‐35) – Korah refused to accept authority from Moses. Jude makes the point that a lack of respect for authority in the church is not good. God has placed his leaders in their respective positions. Unity and growth and blessing come from a submission to God-‐ ordained, Spirit-‐led authority. Q. How easy is this in practice? What would be the outcome if there was no respect for authority? Read verses 12&13&16: Here Jude uses a series of metaphors to describe the sort of people he is talking about. They are like: • Blemishes. They should be shepherds but they only have their best interests at heart. • Clouds without rain, all talk but with nothing helpful to say • Autumn trees bearing no fruit or leaves, as good as dead • Waves of the sea – blatantly shameful • Wandering stars in darkness – and darkness will be their reward! And just in case we are thinking we don’t fit into any of these categories Jude goes on to add that his list includes: • Grumblers. People who complain about this that and the other. • Fault finders. People for things are never quite good enough. • Selfish. People who want things done their way. • Boasters. People who like to show off what or who they know and what they have done • Flatterers. People who say nice things to get people to like them. 2 3
Read verse 14: Here Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch chapter 1v9 (an epistle to the churches which didn’t become part of Scripture). And he is making the point that there will come a day when everyone will have to face judgment and all unrepented sin will be punished. Read verses 17-‐19: Jude continues with his theme and says that division in churches is to be expected in the Last Days. We all know of churches that have been divided and whose congregation and witness have suffered as a result. Therefore we should be on our guard. Read verses 20-‐23: Jude tells us the positive things we should be doing: • Build yourself up with Scripture and with prayer – the most basic and the most important things for Christians to do every day! • Stay in the Holy Spirit – walk in the Spirit – pray in the Spirit so that you can keep yourselves strong. • It’s up to us to keep ourselves in God’s love, and not to move out of it by going our own way. • We are to wait, going through the paces of our everyday life, in the assurance of God’s mercy and his eternal life • We are to be merciful (not judgmental) to those who doubt and even to all those whom Jude has listed previously – seeking their repentance and salvation • Snatch them from the fire – be direct and forceful if necessary • Hate the sin ... but love the sinner. Read verses 24&25: Sometimes the Christian life is a hard call! But Jude exalts us not to give up because Jesus is able to keep us from making mistakes, he will present us before God without fault when we trust in his redeeming blood. And we are reminded that all the power and all the authority and all the honour belongs to Jesus Christ for all eternity.
The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil Godâ€™s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to email or talk to one of the team email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549) 5