Book of Jude
This Book of Jude was written somewhere during the period of A. D. 66-69. It was an open letter written to the entire Christian community. It’s a prophetic letter warning against the false teachers who would enter the church, not boldly carrying their message aloft, but sneakily coming in quietly and perverting the truth a little at a time. It reminds me of what’s going on in our churches now with the false prophets and false teachers spouting out things that pervert Scripture and cannot be biblically maintained, and with lukewarm Christians warming the pews.
Pastor Bobby Stults wrote, “Have you ever wondered about how Satan can get into a church? I believe Satan attempts to sneak in ‘secret agents’ into the church to confuse the fellowship and poison the unity and ultimately crush the witness of the believers!” Sadly, some of the people who enter the church to cause division and spoil the witness of those Christians there know they are there for that very purpose. Then there are those who are totally unaware of what they have been sent to do. They are deceived themselves and they spoil the church fellowship.
Jude also mentioned Jesus’ return with the tens of thousands, which literally means tens of ten thousand, or the “armies of heaven” that will follow Jesus to earth at His Second Coming.
Jude (named Judas) called himself a bondservant (Greek: Doulos) of the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t mean Jesus owned Jude as a slave. Jude was the brother of Jesus. It means Jude made a conscious decision to follow Jesus and do anything He asked of him willingly without thought of recompense. This wasn’t always so between these brothers. “Even Jesus' own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5). When Jesus was working His ministry on earth, His brothers thought He was nuts. “Jesus entered a house. Again a crowd gathered. It was so large that Jesus and his disciples were not even able to eat. His family heard about this. So they went to take charge of him. They said, "He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:20-21).
Some people call them step-brothers, but that’s not so. Step implies there is no physical connection between Jesus and his brothers and sisters whom the Bible speaks of. They are half-brother from the same physical womb. Mary was not, as some religions claim, a perpetual virgin all her life. Once Jesus was delivered into the world, Mary and Joseph began their normal married life. Some religions teach that the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas, and his sisters, who are left unnumbered and unnamed, were actually cousins to Jesus. We know this is not so because Scripture calls them His brothers and sisters.
Jude also identifies himself as the brother of James. James was an apostle of Jesus as well and named himself, in the epistle he wrote, as, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” In Galatians 1:19, James is called the brother of Jesus. To me this clears up the confusion about if this Jude was the apostle and the brother of Jesus. “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.” This James was also the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. When Peter was miraculously freed from jail, his first command to the disciples was that they go tell James and the brethren. (Acts 12:5-17)
The Book of Jude, or his letter to the church, begins and ends with promises of preservation for the saints of God. Verse 2 says, “To those are called, sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Verse 24 says, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”
The reason Jude originally started the letter to the Christians was to “write unto you of the common salvation.” In other words, he wrote this letter is to encourage the Christians. Apparently, while writing this letter, he received news that false teachers had infiltrated the ranks of the churches. Verse 3b says that “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Instead of an uplifting letter, Jude wrote to “exhort” the Christians to keep up the good fight of faith.
Why are we looking into the Book of Jude for this study? There are two reasons. 1. It is a Book in the Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit of God for our spiritual advancement. 2. How many of you have ever studied through or been taught through Jude? It’s time we do. God gave Jude the words that are written here to teach us and elevate us in the faith. There will be verses we study that will probably pinch, and that’s ok, it’s growing pains. We will learn that Jesus wants us to be submissive and follow His plan for the church – His bride.
There are many people now in the five-fold ministries of the church who are nominal Christians. There are many Christians who are nominal Christians. What is nominal? It means not committed. It means being a Christian in name only. These are people who make an open profession for Christ, maybe get baptized, take communion when it’s offered and may even mention the name of Jesus now and then. It means Christians not having a solid faith base to stand on so that anyone who comes along preaching what tickles the ears and pleases the senses can draw them away from the Lord.
In Mark 7:6, Jesus quoted Isaiah to the Pharisees when they questioned why His apostles didn’t wash their hands before they ate, saying, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” So, this speaks to hypocritical Christians who say things like “Praise the Lord!” or, “glory to God!” then go out to lunch and gossip about the pastor and everyone else at church.
God had Jude write this Book because He was deeply concerned about Christians falling prey to the wiles of satan. He knew that many had infiltrated the congregations to perform the works of the devil. The Holy Spirit gave Jude a message to teach about faith in Jesus the Christ. Jude names the characteristics of false teachers. Some of those characteristics are:
Defilers of the flesh (verse 4)
Speaking evil against church leaders (verse 8)
People who only serve self (verse 12)
Walking according to their own lust (verse 16, 18)
There are other characteristics we will find as we study the word that will define false teachers and weak Christians.
Jude will tell us about God’s intent to pour out judgment on these false teachers. He will remind us of God’s previous judgments on Sodom and Gomorrah, destruction of those who did not believe, and the darkness of their final resting place.
So the Book of Jude begins with an introduction, a promise, then a teaching about false teachers, who they are, what they look like and what must certainly happen to the at the judgment.
Now we come to part 2. In the following verses, Jude will build up the body. All believers are called to build each other up in the faith, but before we can do that, we must first build ourselves up. We begin with prayer. Not just everyday prayer, but powerful praying in the Holy Spirit. Prayers with belief attached so that we ask and not doubt. These are prayers that grow our faith because they make a difference.
Some of you might remember when my friend Anita’s friend, Lorraine, was dying from cancer. Her priest refused to go to her house and comfort her with prayer. Anita called me and asked me to come, so I did. For the entire 45 minute ride to her home, I prayed and sang in tongues. Arriving at Lorraine’s I was not impressed with what I saw and heard. I firmly believe that the praying and singing in tongues allowed God to lower Lorraine’s defenses so that, when she said, “Rev, I’m so scared!” I could tell her about Jesus and lead her to the Lord in prayer. It was my honor to make that trip once more, this time to the hospital to see her and pray with her. She died a few weeks later. So – if anyone asks if I believe in praying in tongues, the answer is a resounding, “YOU BET I DO!”
Understand this. The Book of Jude is not merely a history book of what took place centuries ago. It’s appropriate to us nowadays. We will study it as a letter written to us and our generation. Jude is truly a life changing Book. When we have finished studying through it, we should be different. Next week, before you come in to study, take a moment to ask God to open your hearts to grow spiritually. Ask that the Holy Spirit be allowed to lead you and guide you as we study. Ask Him to make this word of truth relevant to your lives.
J. Vernon McGee calls the Book of Jude, “A fitting introduction to the Book of Revelation.”