Jude 1:1 - 25
NKJV - 1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
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In my view, Jude deliberately did not tell the local church who these men were by name. Why? Because he wanted the church to watch out for and recognize them by their behaviour, then deal with them appropriately, so they don’t corrupt the church. Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit – a good tree would bear good fruit, an evil tree would bear wicked fruit. Paul, also did not mention by name the man in the Corinthian church who was having sex with a family member and bragging about it. Paul said to cast the man out of their fellowship and let Satan attack him for a time, then welcome him back when he had repented. So what can we learn about these “godless men” from this short book. 1. These are not Christians but pagans who are condemned to face God’s judgement (v4) 2. They have secretly slipped into the fellowship of the church (v4). Jesus warned us to expect wolves disguised as sheep in out midst. Peter said that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. 3. They change the grace of God into a license for immorality (v4). Paul dealt with this same issue in the Roman church (see Romans 6:1-23). 4. They deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord (v4). Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:3 “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says ‘Jesus be cursed’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” 5. They serve as an example of those who will suffer the punishment of eternal fire (v7). 6. These dreamers pollute their own bodies (v8) 7. They reject authority (v8) [this would be the authority of the spiritual leaders in the local church] 8. They slander celestial beings (v8). 9. They speak abusively against whatever they don’t understand 10. They are like unreasoning animals who only act by instinct 11. They have taken the way of Cain (v11). They give God the leftovers but still expect his blessing. 12. They rush for profit like Balaam (v11). 13. They rebel against the leaders of the Lord’s people, like Korah (v11) 14. They eat at the church love feasts without any qualm [guilt] about their sinfulness (v12) 15. They are shepherds who feed only themselves (v12) 16. They are clouds without rain, blown by the wind, autumn trees without fruit & uprooted, wild waves of the sea foaming to their shame, wandering stars in blackest darkness 17. These men are grumblers and faultfinders (v16) 18. They follow their own evil desires (v16) 19. They boast about themselves (v16) 20. They flatter others to their own advantage (v16) 21. They are scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires (v18) 22. These men divide you [bring disunity to the local church] (v18) 23. They follow natural instincts and do not have the Spirit (v19) Do we know such godless people in our local churches today? In my view, there are two types of godless people in churches; 1) those who are genuinely seeking to find a relationship with God, and 2) those who claim to be Christians but don’t act like it because they don’t have the Spirit of God. For Group 2, the scriptures tells us to avoid fellowship with them because they will corrupt our faith. To protect ourselves from such corruption Jude tells us to build ourselves up in our most holy faith, to pray in the Holy Spirit, and to keep ourselves in God’s love (v20, 21). For Group 1 Jude says “Be merciful to those who doubt, snatch others from the fire and save them, show mercy mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (v22,23). As we reach out in love to those who are genuinely seeking God, we must be careful that we do not become stained, by the corruption in their lives, that God will deliver them from when he saves them.
In my opinion, although Jude did not further identify the men of whom he was speaking, he was referring to the Nicolaitans, who were later condemned by name by the glorified Christ in His messages in Revelation to the churches at Ephesus (Revelation 2:8) and Pergamum (Revelation 2:14-16). The Nicolaitans were a heretical sect in the early Christian church. Specifically, they advocated or allowed the eating of food that had been sacrificed to idols, as well as fornication or sexual licentiousness, both of which had been activities that the apostles had warned Gentile Christians not to practice in Acts 15:29.
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