The Book Of Jude

Jude 1:1. “ 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.”

The author, Jude, was the brother of Jesus, as was James who is also listed here in the first verse (this James is also the author of the Book of James). Both of these two boys grew up with Jesus, watched Him throughout His earthly ministry, rejected Jesus, and literally wanted nothing to do with Him. It wasn’t until after the resurrection when they saw firsthand that Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven that they finally believed Jesus as the Lord and Savior of their lives. This salvific event was lifechanging for these two brothers, as they literally spent the rest of their lives sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and discipling young churches right up until their death! Think about that: these two brothers each wrote a book of the Bible! So be encouraged today to never give up praying for family or close friends who don’t yet know the Lord as their Savior. Like Jude and James, it took a miracle to have them turn away from their sinfulness and turn to Jesus. So too, it will take miracles for your family and friends to “see Jesus.” Keep being salt and light, continue to be awesome examples of Jesus’ love to them, and keep praying!

Jude writes this short letter during tumultuous times in Rome where the church was under severe persecution. When we face such difficulties and persecutions is when our faith, our loyalty, and our core beliefs get scrutinized. The church was going through the growing pains of really taking to heart what they believe about Jesus. Many started to doubt the veracity of their salvation and allowed people into their relationships that started to sway them away from their core beliefs. I believe we will all face—in some measure—these same things in our lifetime. Through trials, hurts, and discouragements in life, we can fall prey to doubting the goodness of God and the claims of the Scriptures about salvation. It is in these crucial seasons that we either explore opinions and options to find some measure of comfort, or we dig deeply and cling to the promises of the Word, what it says about the truths of Jesus, and what He came to accomplish on the cross. And this is why Jude writes to this church: to ensure that they not stray from the truth and that they not allow relationships into their lives that would slowly distract and temp them away from the core essentials of the faith.

Jude starts this letter, then with three amazing words to describe their relationship with God, used here as solid foundations and building blocks to the faith. He first calls the church “called.” This idea of calling is such a beautiful word picture. To be chosen. To be selected, not because you did something amazing, but because He did something amazing for you. The word picture depicts an invitation. God’s divine initiative of inviting you to be His very own is so special. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus.”

Not only are we “called,” but we are “sanctified by God the Father.” This Greek word literally means “holy.” Yes, God the Father makes you holy! When we surrendered our lives to the Lord, He made us holy! He not only cleansed us from sin and its deathly penalty, but He continues to refine our lives through the power of the Spirit, to cleanse those moral and ethical imperfections that we struggle with each week. No, God didn’t make us perfect when we came to faith, but He removed the penalty and the power of sin, thus making us in right-and-holy standing with Him. And in giving us His Spirit, we continue to shape our lives around His holy character! Isn’t it great to know that you have been made holy by God the Father?! You didn’t make yourself holy by doing good things, He made you holy by His shed blood on the cross, thus removing the power of sin in your life! Being described as holy should cause you much joy today! Yes, I know there are many-a-times that we sure don’t feel holy. And this is why Jude writes this letter; to ensure that you are not swayed by the world’s emotions and their temptations to see yourself as they are imposing on you. See yourself today as God sees you, as God has declared you to be: holy and cleansed of the power and penalty of sin!

And lastly here in this verse, Jude says that we are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” The idea behind this word is something to be kept safe, guarded, protected, and safely retained. Jesus not only died for your sins, but He watches over you, ensuring that you are guarded in this hostile and evil age. Once again, while we have trials, hurts, pains, and struggles in this life on earth, it’s such an encouragement to know that our eternity is safe and secure because it’s being protected by Jesus Himself, the One who died for you. Ponder on the perfect work of Jesus for you: He is the One who created all things (Colossians 1:14-16), He is the One who died and gave His life for His creation (1 John 3:16), He continues to pray and intercede for us (Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25), and He keeps our eternity safe and secure (Jude 1:1). The amazing work of Jesus!

So be encouraged today, that you are deeply loved by God, as He’s called you His very own, He’s made you holy, and He keeps you and your eternity safely protected!

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand. I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people as a light to the people of the earth"
Isaiah 42:6

Jude 1:2. “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”

Three small words that absolutely changed our lives! Each of these words has had a profound impact on us! Every time we see these words, it should instill awe and thanksgiving. So, may we never take for granted these three words, may we never become cold or indifferent to the immense and powerful ways that these three little words have had on our lives. Let’s reflect on them.

Mercy. An amazing word in both the Old and New Testaments that describes two characteristics. First, it describes  a heart of goodness, compassion, and kindness. And because of this tender heart, there is an immediate action to restore or come to one’s aid. Compassion that leads to action. In looking at God’s mercy towards us, we see His sheer compassion for us and His immediate action to save, restore, mend, and heal. God’s heart aches watching sin take root in people’s lives and out of that heart of compassion, He acts, He does something about it. This is what mercy is! Seeing someone in dire straits, being moved with compassion, and doing something about it. Oh, that we would rejoice today knowing God’s heart of kindness towards us as He comes to our rescue, saves us of our sins, and is there every day throughout our lives to encourage and help us through life’s ups and downs. He is truly a mercy-giving God. And if this kind of mercy that is at the heart of God’s character, then we too should exemplify a heart of mercy towards others. It starts with a heart of tenderness and kindness that springs into action. In what ways can you show mercy to those around you this week?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”  (1 Peter 1:3).

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

“But real wisdom from above is…full of mercy and good fruits…” (James 2:13).

Peace. It is because of God’s mercy towards us that we can have and experience real peace. God saw our need and He did something about it! And that something not only brought us salvation, but it brought us peace. Peace is described in five ways throughout the Scriptures.

First, peace describes a resolution of conflict. No more conflict with God. The past struggles of trying to find peace apart from God has been removed. We’ve all tried things to attempt to find peace and we all know that this simply doesn’t work. Peace can only come when we accept His mercy. But not only do we have peace with God, we have now been empowered to be able to enjoy peaceful relationships in your life and to be able to resolve conflicts that we have with others. Since God Himself has given us His peace, let us also show peace towards others.

Second, peace describes a resolution of emotions. We can have rest and contentment through life. Our heart’s perspective has been forever changed and we can remain in a place of emotional contentment and stability. His mercy towards us gives us great emotional comfort.

Third, peace describes a resolution of mind. When we have “peace of mind,” we refer to the logical resolution that everything checks out and all boxes are checked off. No need to panic or worry, since we know with certainty that God has everything under control. We have clarity and understanding of biblical facts about God’s past, present, and future work on our behalf.

Fourth, peace describes a completeness and wholeness. God’s peace is an understanding that your life is complete. We have been made whole!

Fifth, peace promises assurance and confidence. God’s peace brings complete confidence through life. He’s got your life under complete control. You are His and He’s got you!

So God’s peace really is wholistic! He gives you His peace in every area of your life, including the most important one: eternal life where there is perfect peace and rest! Take some time to reflect on each of these five facets of God’s peace. Which of these five areas do you struggle with the most in experiencing His peace right now? Pray and ask the Lord to provide His help and strength to give you that peace. Be encouraged, He wants to you have His peace!

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

“…to be spiritually-minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:13).

“Therefore, let us pursue the things which make peace and the things which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).

Love. The concept of biblical love has been destroyed by our world today. Love has been relegated to emotionalism or “in the moment” lusts. Rarely does the world think about faithfulness, long-term loyalty, or commitment when talking about love. While love has an emotional element to it, the core foundation of love is the selfless actions for another. Yes, real love is the giving of oneself to another with expecting nothing in return. It is the most selfless word we have in our Scriptures and it is the single-most difficult thing to do in life. Love displays faithful, loyal commitment. It all starts with God’s love, of course. All the way back to Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t wipe them out, or abandon them, or “start all over.” No, He demonstrated His love for them by faithfully being committed to them even in their sin. He came to their rescue (“mercy”) and provided a way of redemption even despite their faithlessness. He provided what they needed to be restored. Yes, He called out sin in their lives, but His love compelled Him to give of Himself for them. Indeed, He was loyal and He gave His life for them. John 3:16 is the best summary statement: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That’s about as selfless as you can get! God gave up His only Son. And Jesus gave up His very life. For you! That’s love! Not merely an emotion. (Note, mercy actually contains more emotion than love does.) An action of selfless giving to another. Thank the Lord for His selfless acts of love towards us.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Jude closes this verse with the words, “let it be multiplied to you.” The NIV translation says, “may it be yours in abundance.” And this is the encouragement: let God’s mercy, His peace, and His love be filled to overflowing in your life. Don’t take these words for granted. Take time to thank Him for His mercy in your life. Thank Him for the way that He’s watched over you and has protected you. Thank Him for giving us His peace through your difficult journeys and trials of life. And thank Him for His faithful, loyal loving care for you. May these be yours in abundance!

Jude 1:3. “ Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

This verse describes the purpose for Jude writing this short letter to the church. He first states that he wanted to write an encouraging letter about “our common salvation.” Jude’s initial desire was to highlight and bring joy to the church by talking about the awesome nature of salvation! But something came to his attention about the church that needed immediate attention, so he set aside his original thoughts to address other urgent matters. So, before we look further at Jude’s letter, let’s reflect on Jude’s original intention—the rejoicing of our salvation in Jesus Christ! Take some time right now and thank the Lord for saving you of your sins, for giving your life meaning and purpose, for giving you the joy of eternal life, and for giving you peace and contentment through life’s afflictions. The salvation we share together should cause us rejoicing and worship in our souls! The daily focus on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to our life should give us tremendous perspective.

Because of some important issues that had cropped into the church, Jude pivoted and wrote this letter instead. The thesis is stated in this verse and will prove to be a help to us as we move through this letter. He writes to exhort the church to “contend earnestly for the faith.” This really isn’t a great translation of the word. Jude’s intention isn’t to tell the church to “keep fighting for,” or to “defend” the faith. While we know the importance of having a solid understanding of our faith and doctrine to be able to talk intelligently to the unsaved, Jude’s message isn’t about that at all and misses his whole point. The Greek word for “contend earnestly” comes from the idea of two warriors agonizing in battle. The word isn’t about the battle or fight, rather, it’s about the sheer agony they felt and grief that they experienced! So, what was happening in the church for Jude to write this letter? Jude got word that people were no longer grieving over their personal sins, no longer feeling the agony for their lack of morals and ethics, no longer feeling the agony for the sin that they see in their community, and no longer watching out for their fellow congregants who are struggling in their sins. To some degree, they no longer felt convicted over their sins.

Simply stated, Jude writes this letter to urge the church to agonize over sin. Any sin should cause us to grieve over it because sin is so antithetical to what is holy, right, and pure. Christ died that we would have life and that we would be set free from the power and control of sin. If we stop feeling the negative results of our personal sin—agonizing, mourning, and grieving—then it will simply be a matter of time before we are running down a slippery slope of even greater sins.

Spiritual complacency, as Jude will show us in this short letter, has enormous residual effects on one’s daily life and on the church body. Jude starts this letter by exhorting the church to grieve over sin and to address any small sins head-on. Every small sin is still sin and cannot be tolerated in the Christian life. We must have a heart that grieves over any sin. God Himself grieves over the sin of His people. Sin pains God’s heart. Look at a few examples below.
Genesis 6:8 – God grieves over the utter sinfulness of the world.
Psalm 78:40 – God was grieved over Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness.
Isaiah 65:3, 10 – God grieved watching Israel turning to idolatry and foreign gods.
John 11:35 – Jesus weeping over the death of His friend, the results of a sinful world.
Luke 19:41-42 – Jesus grieving over the sinfulness of Jerusalem.
Ephesians 4:30 – The Holy Spirit grieving over your personal sin, primarily referring to your speech.

To reflect on and to see how our Lord grieves over the sin of the world should give us pause to take stock in the importance of grieving and feeling the agony of our own personal sins.

To agonize over our sin means that any sin we experience literally pains us; it hurts us to our core. Jude’s point is not to beat ourselves up over every sin, but to simply not allow the sins to desensitize us regarding its disastrous effects on our life. Jude will also point out, when we are not on spiritual alert we will “unknowingly” allow sins to also creep into our homes and into the church. Without the grieving over sin, it will have a widespread and devastating effect. Thus the letter to us here from Jude.

As Jesus says, “Blessed are you who mourn [over sin], for you shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Again, notice that Jesus didn’t say to mourn over your sin so that you feel beat up. No! He says when we identify and grieve over sin, we will be comforted! Because there is freedom and joy in knowing that we’ve been forgiven and set free from the power of sin. So, let’s be sure to be watchful in what we allow into our home, what we allow on our computer screens, what we choose to watch on our televisions or personal devices, and what outside influences (people, social media, entertainment) we are allowing into our lives that subtly and slowly change our holy perspectives. Grieve over the sin. Grieve over your personal sin. Grieve for our nation’s sin. Be sensitive to that which is holy and have a keen awareness of that which is not from God. Ask the Lord to give you a heart that is on alert for any sin, and ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of anything that you should move away from in your life.

Jude 1:4. “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The word “For” to begin this verse is important, as we now see one of the important reasons to agonize for the faith and not get casual with sin (vs. 3). The reason to keep grieving over sin is stated in the first phrase of verse 4: because “certain people are creeping into your life seemingly unnoticed by you.” These people have bad influences on your life and you seem to be unaware of their negative effects. Jude is more-than-subtly illustrating the connection between one’s allowance of personal sin and the “creeping in” of sinful people in one’s life. Jude uses this somewhat terse and derogatory term, “creeping in unnoticed” to accentuate that point: our sins have so blinded us at times, that we are allowing sinful people into our lives. The word conveys the idea of a thief slipping into a home while it is still occupied, and the owners didn’t even know it! Jude is saying that people are having devastating effects on our lives without us even really recognizing it! It’s subtle and it’s dangerous. Thus, Jude’s thesis in verse 3: be sure we are truly agonizing and recognizing sin. If we are not, then we run the risk of allowing people into our lives that casually creep in unnoticed. Unnoticed only because of our own undoing of the casualness to sin. Jude describes for us three characteristics of these people who are creeping into our lives.

The first characteristic describes those who are “ungodly.” You may be allowing ungodly people into your life. This word in English makes it sound as if these people are doing “ungodly things,” terrible acts of evil. But it is actually not what the word means. This word doesn’t denote someone doing the “horrific,” rather, it is someone who is living a life without a thought towards God. It describes a person who has no regard for God, a person who refuses to recognize that there is a God, refuses to think about God, or has no time in their busy schedules to even contemplate anything about God. It also can indicate people who live life as if God doesn’t exist, so busy just doing their everyday thing. It is a dangerous thing to have ongoing, deep relationships with those who have this kind of disregard for God. Slowly but surely this will have a major impact on your worldviews, on your morals and values, and on your desire for worshipping the Lord. It can start so subtly, but over time it will prove itself to be a hindrance to your relationship with God. The verse isn’t suggesting that we have no unsaved friends, but it’s a stark warning—as Psalm 1:1 points out—that having deep, ongoing, relationships with people who want nothing to do with God will not produce growth or fruit in your life. Take some time to seriously evaluate the sort of friendships you are allowing into your life. Are they influencing your decisions? Do you feel uneasy to talk about God around them? Do you catch yourself using language that you wouldn’t otherwise use when you are around them? Jude is asking us to evaluate and make course corrections.

The second characteristic that Jude points out are those people in our lives who “turn God’s grace into lewdness.” The word, lewdness, is a term in the New Testament that has sexual connotations, but it has its roots, first, in the mindset of “license.” People who may be creeping into our lives think they have license to do whatever they want. No rules. No morals or standards. No definitive stance on right or wrong. These are people who think they have a choice to do whatever they wish, believe whatever they want, and will certainly balk at those who think there’s an “only way” when it comes to morals, sexual morality, and biblical truth. The New Testament writers generally use this term to describe people who desire “sexual freedoms of expression,” endearing themselves to the belief that they can live their life sexually any way that they wish. This lifestyle of “license” should be a huge red flag for Christians. So many people live life to do whatever feels right for them, with no sense of right or wrong. When we surround ourselves with people who are characterized by this kind of “license,” we run the risk of imitating their mindset and behavior. We slowly over time start waning from our morals and Christian ethics in both behavior and beliefs, including sexuality.

The third characteristic of some individuals who you’ve let into your life are those who “deny the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is certainly the strongest of the three that Jude describes. The world has a difficult time understanding their need for someone to save them or to deliver them out of their sin. People like their sin and would rather not deviate from it. And they certainly don’t want anyone to be their Lord, as they would rather be on their own personal throne of their lives. We must be on guard for those we are allowing into our personal spheres, as their influence becomes great. We don’t want to run the risk of pivoting away from the deep need of a Savior of our soul or the need to have a new Master at the helm of our lives. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only way to have real life. Let us never forget that! Keep watch over your heart as you engage with your friendships. If these relationships aren’t Jesus-centered, we must ask those hard questions about:
“Is it worth it?”
“Why am I in this relationship?”
“Am I running the risk of negative influences?”
“Has my faith been hindered by being in this relationship?”

Because of the intentional behaviors of these people causing negative effects on your life with Jesus, Jude makes a major statement (found in the 2nd phrase of this verse): when people live out these three characteristics, they are “marking themselves for condemnation.” Unfortunately, the way some translations word it, it seems as if God was marking people for condemnation, as if they had no choice in the matter. This Greek verb is in the middle voice, which indicates the subject doing the action alone. The subjects of the sentence are the “men and women who have crept in unnoticed,” so they are the ones who marking themselves out for condemnation because of their sinful actions. They marked themselves. Their sins judged them as guilty. As Moses said in Numbers 32:23, “you can be sure that your sins will find you out.” If these people in your life are living as such, then they have marked themselves to be condemned.  These are not the best influences you should be having in your life, Jude says.

Jude’s purpose of writing this verse isn’t to completely isolate you from your friends or loved ones who do not know the Lord Jesus. Afterall, we are to be salt and light. But it is a serious reminder to not allow the unredeemed worldview, morals, and ethics to distract, deter, or hinder your walk with the Lord. If we allow sin to become commonplace without proper repentance and acknowledgement, we give the enemy a foothold into our lives, including keeping certain people in our lives that, frankly, should be removed. Ask the Lord to keep your heart softened to Him and His ways. Ask the Lord to show you anyone who has started making inroads into your life that is a distraction from holiness. Tough questions to ask of ourselves. But Jude isn’t going to back down from telling you the truth.

Jude 1:5-7. “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

The tension of this passage is real. The verses depict God’s grace while at the same time showing His judgment to those who really “should have known better” and are without excuse. Jude gives us three illustrations from the Old Testament as glaring examples that should wake us all up to this double-sided coin of God’s love and His judgment against those who reject.

Before he illustrates this, Jude first says, “I want to remind you, though you once knew this.” These are very strong words, and the English translation is far too weak. To put this in modern-day language, it would read something like this: “I am commanding you because there is no other option, to wake up your mind, shake you up to some real facts that for some reason you’ve forgotten and neglected to think about.” Notice, in verse 4, Jude uses terse and somewhat derogatory words to describe their sleepiness to sin and the “unnoticed” way that people had been creeping into their lives. Now, here in verse 5, Jude continues his assault on the church by calling them out to wake up! They were not using their brains when it came to spiritual things. Jude is saying that people had better start putting into practice what they’ve been taught and what they know. A lax, neglectful, and lazy Christianity is no Christianity at all. Jude points out three events of the Old Testament as examples to illustrate his point of lazy-brained Christianity. Let’s briefly look at each of these three.

The first Old Testament example Jude records for us (verse 5) is the powerful victory of Israel over Egypt and the quick turn-around of Israel’s celebration that turned to rebellion against God. The children of Israel literally saw God’s hand at work! They watched the plagues take place as a sign of God’s power, they watched the Red Sea open up as a sign of His deliverance, and they saw God’s presence in the form of mana, water, a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; all to display God’s care, provision, and protection. And yet, somehow, the children of Israel rebelled! God literally did everything to care for the people and yet they rejected Him. Jude couldn’t be clearer in his application here. Take some time to reflect on your own life, just how much God has done for you. Don’t ever get lax in your thankfulness for His multi-faceted provisions in your life, from salvation of your soul to various miracles in your lifetime, great and small. Never forget! Small grumblings can easily turn into grand-scale rebellion if left unchecked.

The second Old Testament example (verse 6) highlights the angels. Even some of God’s own created angels fell away! Revelation 12, Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28 record for us Satan’s downfall (and fall!). Because Satan wasn’t content, because of his pride, and because he wanted to be his own god, he rebelled against the holy, perfect, and good God. It’s difficult to imagine Satan and the angels in the heavenlies—in all of its radiance, perfection, and beauty—rebelling against God and desiring something better. What could be better? And yet, Satan and 1/3 of the angels sinned and rebelled against the Lord, being cast down to the earth where they would make life seemingly impossible for mankind. God promised to send His Son to remove sin once-and-for-all, and He also promised a new place for Satan and the fallen angels to live for eternity because of their rebellion. While Satan and the fallen angels are doing evil, Jude points out that even in their attempts to do evil, God has them chained in darkness as a sign to them that terrible things are to come (“judgment of the great day”). So, in some sense, the fallen angels have very limited power on the earth since they are currently chained. Spiritual warfare is real, but it cannot overtake those who are in Christ. Praise God for His power over sin because of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! This second example in some ways mirrors the first, namely, God showed His love and grace to the angelic realm (they “lived by sight” as it were), and yet their personal sin caused them to rebel against a perfectly loving and holy God. Just like Israel who saw God’s handiwork firsthand, they too fell and rebelled. Jude’s example is clear for us today. Trust the promises of God in His Word.  Be attentive to your tendency for greed, coveting, jealousy, and envy. Nip it in the bud. Go before the Lord and ask Him to help you live by faith, trusting Him and His words to you in the Scriptures. Don’t allow personal greed or pride to rob you in your life with Jesus.

The last example Jude gives for us is the stirring account of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins (verse 7). I use the plural “sins” because Jude highlights a number of them. First, they gave themselves over to sexual immorality. Second, they had “gone after strange flesh.” This is a powerful statement. The word, “gone after,” means that they intentionally and willfully moved away from God’s best ways and moved towards something that was evil and completely against God. And what did they go after? “Strange flesh.” The ESV translation says, “unnatural desire.” The people of Sodom were fulfilling sexual desires in someone or something that was deemed unnatural.
Clearly, God commands people to enjoy sexual intimacy only within the framework He set forth: between a man and a woman, after marriage. This reflects perfect covenant commitment and loyalty! The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were committing all kinds of sexual sins with all kinds of people and things. Third, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were evangelists to their sinful practices, as Jude points out that the “surrounding cities” were also indulging in these sinful practices. Yes, it is true that sin begets sin. Just as Christians should be sharing the Good News to others, so too godless people are evangelizing their sinful ways upon others as well. What is Jude’s point? Don’t allow sexual sins into your life. (note, that Ezekiel 16:49-50 lists six additional sins that Jude doesn’t mention.) The “reminder” here of the utter destruction of Sodom and the neighboring cities is a glaring example and a foreshadow of a future impending doom on the earth for their sinfulness and rebellion against God. Just as Sodom was burned to the ground, Jude reminds us that they served as type (tupos) for the eternal punishment to come upon this earth for those who disregard God.

Jude’s point is straightforward and no-nonsense. All of these three groups Jude mentions should have known better. They all had some measure of a relationship (or at the very least, a keen knowledge and awareness) with God. And they will be judged. So, let us take Jude’s words to heart. First, let us never forget or neglect the amazing truths of the Scriptures. Let us not get lax in our understanding and commitment to know the Word! Let us be diligent to not simply read the Word of God, but to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us in areas of conviction and encouragement. Let us hold fast and hold tightly to the promises of God in His Word. The Scriptures serve as awesome reminders, so let us never get to that place of forgetting or neglecting them (or Him!). Second, let us never forget God’s amazing grace, mercy, and love for us. He rescued us out of our sins, He saved us from eternal separation, and He gave us new life. We must not forget that there is indeed eternal punishment for rebellion against God. We thank Him for His love, but we must also recognize that He will come like a thief to judge the world of sin. Let us never take that for granted and get lazy in our faith. So, let us also be about the task of sharing the Good News about the love of Jesus and His great sacrifice for mankind! People need Jesus more than ever! Let’s not get lax in our role to share the Good News.

Jude 1:8-9. “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude was a masterful writer. Look at what has been said thus far and how Jude carefully crafts his statements into groups of three:
Jude 1:1 – Three Identities of Believers: called, sanctified, and preserved.
Jude 1:2 – Three Gifts Given to Believers: mercy, peace, and love.
Jude 1:4 – Three Examples of Those Creeping In: ungodly, lewd, and the denial of the Lord Jesus.
Jude 1:5-7 – Three Illustrations of Doom Because of Rejection: Israelites, fallen angels, and Sodom.

Now, we come to verses 8-9 with a paragraph listed in three’s as well. It is here that we get more detail into some of the core identifiers to those who have crept (vs. 4) into the church (or our own lives!). Jude lists three core identifiers that we should steer clear of. Jude loves illustrations and examples! This is a very practical book for us.

Jude alerts us about those who have crept in, and here in verse 8 he calls them “these dreamers.” The Greek word can imply two things. First, it could mean that these people believe that they are getting direct revelation from God Himself directly through visions and dreams. This is something Jude says is dangerous, because it is nearly impossible to “prove” whether or not what they are saying is truth unless it is only substantiated by the written Word of God. Those who claim to be a voice of God without the written Word is someone to be quite skeptical of, so says Jude. Secondly, the term can mean that these people are dreaming up or conjuring up things in their own minds. These are people who “dream up” new theology and new biblical insights to itch the scratch of tickling ears. They can gain a crowd based on their rhetoric and their emotionally poignant words, but Jude points out that these people who conjure up new thoughts are actually shallow. We should be more concerned with the thoughts of what the written Word of God has to say than the “God-told-me” dreamers. Slick talkers can easily persuade listeners to any views. Jude is asking us to beware of these hucksters who can talk their way into your heart. So, Jude will highlight for us three core identifiers of these “dreamers.”

The first identifier of these people is that of “defiling the flesh.” This can certainly indicate physical sexual sin. He has already pointed this out to us in verse 4 (lewdness) and in verse 7 (Sodom), so it would make sense that Jude would—for the third time, since he likes 3’s—point out once again how careful we all must be when it comes to falling prey to those who are trying to commit sexual sins. Recall, these are people who have “crept in seemingly unnoticed” (vs. 4), so Jude is highlighting once again the danger of such individuals. Jude has also touched on the facts of “lewdness” being that of advancing sexual freedoms. We have noted that Jude defends biblical human sexuality between a man and a woman within the confines of a marriage. And now here, Jude states that, as a result of sin, people will attempt to change the biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and sexual identity within the church and to persuade your own personal worldviews. Simply put, there are people defiling and altering the concepts of sexuality. We continue to see this in our current culture. People are now leaving it up to themselves to determine their sexual gender (let alone their sexual preferences!). We have abandoned God’s ways for human sexuality and identity. “These dreamers” are not only the politicians and judges altering the laws of our nation, but “these dreamers” are our neighbors and friends who have abandoned biblical rightness, slowly over time altering our nomenclature to what sexuality is, to the point of urging and demanding new laws and legislation on this issue. And they are creeping into the church! Thus, our nation is heading in a downward spiral of clueless sexuality and sexual identity. As Christians, we need to be clear about the biblical truths of human sexuality and identity. Let’s not get swept into these dreamers’ way of logic. While maintaining a spirit of love and honor towards one another, we still must hold fast to our biblical truths, not relenting on God’s design for human sexuality and identity.

The second characteristic of empty thinkers is that of “rejecting authority.” There are dozens of articles and studies written on the generational decline of respect for authority. It is as clear as ever that people are saying and doing whatever they wish, with no regard for authority. Like in the days of old, “people do what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). There continues to be a lack of respect for one another (as clearly seen in our social media), and there is a lack of honor towards those in authority. It starts in the home, with children disrespecting their parents and disrespecting their siblings. Then, as the children get older, they start disrespecting their teachers and others in authority at school. Then, in their adult years, they dishonor their bosses or co-workers. And the slippery slope continues! We all recognize that each of us may hold to slight differences of opinions on issues. But the lack of civility in our disagreements is outrageous. The foundation for the lack of respect for authority is one’s pride of position. There is a crisis of entitlement in our world today. We must get back to the foundations of honor and respect for one another. Be very careful to not be surrounding yourselves with people who have a chronic disrespect for others. And take a spiritual litmus test in your own personal life to ensure that you are a person of honor and respect.

The third characteristic Jude gives us seems somewhat strange for our culture. He says that these dreamers “speak evil of dignitaries.” Literally, it means angels, God’s created celestial beings. If we take Hebrews 2:2 into account, we see that when God gave the law to Israel, God sent angels down to earth to help administrate, teach, and lead the children of Israel into the ways of the Lord. God sent help to young Israel so that they would have divine assistance in learning the new ways and commands of God! Israel rejected the angels, thereby rejected God Himself. The point, then, becomes clear to us: don’t reject God and His ways! Since we have no place in dishonoring and disrespecting any human authorities, we certainly have no rightful place to speak evil of our Creator! Over time, our culture is losing its grasp on the presence of God! In verse 9, Jude uses a fascinating example by quoting from literature and folklore that isn’t found in the Bible. Jude illustrates the point about not speaking evil about God by giving us a story about how Michael the archangel fought against Satan regarding Moses’ bones. This story isn’t real, but Jude quotes from the literature in his day to make a point. It’s akin to a pastor using a movie scene or a book illustration to highlight a biblical truth. Sometimes using modern-day culture helps us see challenging things in the Word that seem archaic to our contemporary culture. The folklore Jude uses goes something like this: the devil wanted to steal Moses’ bones so that he could set people up to worship Moses (after all, humans have a most difficult time with idol worship and putting human icons on spiritual pedestals!). Moses was so revered; Satan knew that people would most rather worship Moses than God. So, the legend goes, God sent Michael down to earth to fight against Satan to thwart this evil plan. The story isn’t true, and it is folklore, but it makes a point to readers of the day, to show that Satan will try to do anything to get people to worship anything other than God. Additionally, while there was a fight for righteousness between Michael and Satan, Michael never verbally defamed the devil. While there was a spiritual fight, there was a maintaining of respect! If Michael would not give a terse word against the devil, then who are we to give a terse word against anyone, especially God Himself? In this tale (called, The Assumption of Moses), it is said that Michael didn’t give one accusation against the devil, except by stating, “The Lord will rebuke [judge] you.” A good lesson for us today: let the Lord do the judging of others’ sins. Let God be the judge. Yes, there is need for truth and correction, but not judgment. As Christians, we have been forgiven, so we too should treat one another in a judgment-free zone. Be very careful in your relationships to steer clear of those who speak evil about God and those who are harshly judgmental. Chances are that if your “friends” are judgmental, they will eventually start to become critically judgmental of you as well.

Three core identifiers of people who can easily creep into our lives and our worldviews. A lostness of our sexuality, the lack of honor and respect, and the loss of the presence of God. These three areas are slowly-but-surely disintegrating the moral fabric of our nation, and God forbid that it enter into our churches! We must take these words to heart and closely examine our own lives and honestly assess who we are allowing into our lives.

Jude 1:10-11. “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”

Jude is a true pastor-shepherd of his flock to ensure that people stick to what is holy and that they seriously consider who they are allowing into their lives. Here, in these two verses, Jude again masterfully weaves together his thoughts in sets of three. 
To review, look how Jude uses the groupings of 3’s in the previous nine verses:
Jude 1:1 – Three Identities of Believers: called, sanctified, and preserved.
Jude 1:2 – Three Gifts Given to Believers: mercy, peace, and love.
Jude 1:4 – Three Examples of Those Creeping In: ungodly, lewd, and the denial of the Lord Jesus.
Jude 1:5-7 – Three Illustrations of Doom Because of Rejection: Israelites, fallen angels, and Sodom.
Jude 1:8-9 – Three Core Identifiers of Sinful People

Now here, in verses 10-11, there are actually two additional sets of 3’s! The first set of “3’s” is found in verse 10, still on the subject of those who have crept into our lives (vs. 4), and it provides us more color into the lifestyle of these people. First, Jude addresses their speech. They “speak evil” of most everything, even if they really don’t have solid evidence or knowledge on the subject matter. I’m sure we know people like this; they speak first, then think. These people speak evil—unkind, mean-spirited things—without even thinking about what they are saying. No true wisdom or discretion. Secondly, Jude addresses their knowledge. Jude says that these people know only what their sinful nature provides; what they know, they “know naturally.” Like animals in the wild, many tend to instinctively react. Natural instinct in some areas of life is very helpful, and we thank God for the natural instincts that He’s given us. But when it comes to spiritual things, the sinful man has no ability to reason or instinctually act in a way that is consistently Christ-like, which leads to people naturally acting out their sinful morals and ethics. Jude says that their instincts are more “brute like” and mean-spirited, which doesn’t bode well for many long-term
relationships. Even our nation as a whole is acting like a natural animal in the wild, mindlessly going with the moral-and-ethical flow of their sinful proclivities, pushing agendas that are antithetical to the way our Creator intended us to live. And thirdly, Jude addresses their self-destructive behavior. Their actions have “corrupted themselves.” They have corrupted their minds, their ethics, and thusly their eternal destination. This short verse shows us that mankind is not born good or righteous, and that all people desperately need a Savior! Our human instincts—knowledge, speech, and behaviors—will not lead us to good or to Jesus, nor will our human instincts find a way to make us better or live more holy. (And we thank our Lord that He came in the flesh to redeem sinful mankind!)

After this short sentence, Jude gives three heart attitudes of such people. These heart attitudes may not be detected in the short-term, but over time, these heart attitudes will be reflected. Anyone can hide these attitudes for a short while, but like “natural wild animals” all will be revealed over time. Jude illustrates these three heart attitudes by using three Old Testament examples. This is done so that we can truly personalize and internalize these attitudes. Jude isn’t writing an academic paper here; he is giving us very practical examples for us to visualize. Let’s look at these heart attitudes that have crept into our churches.

The first heart attitude that Jude lists is that of anger. Jude illustrates anger by using Cain (Genesis 4). Cain knew better. He was taught by God just as his brother Abel was. There was something unsettling in Cain that caused his anger to get the best of him, eventually leading to murder. Cain didn’t start out that way, but over time, Cain removed himself from listening to God and having a heart to serve Him. Cain simply chose wickedness over godliness, and that will always have horrific side effects. In Cain’s case, disgruntled attitudes and selfishness turned into anger. A note of caution to all of us: don’t let anger get the best of you, don’t let the sun go down without addressing those feelings (Eph. 4:26-27). Your anger started with something first. Examine why you are getting angry and what things are causing your angry feelings? We generally don’t see anger in someone right away, but over time it will rise to the surface. Be aware of those in your life who have a more natural proclivity to anger or frustration. These are attitudes that can cause tremendous negative influences in your life.

The second heart attitude Jude describes is greed. Greed takes all forms (Luke 12:15), and it’s quite undetectable in many at first. The Bible says so much about a greedy heart, but Ecclesiastes 5:10 may be the best summary statement: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Never enough and never satisfied. The Old Testament example Jude gives is from Numbers 22—24, with the man named Balaam who would do just about anything for profit. Greed for wealth. Greed for status. Greed for superiority. Impure motivations! Teachers and pastors who show a proclivity towards greed will more often be allured to alter one’s theology or message of the Word to satisfy the audience. In the case of Balaam’s story, God intervened by way of a talking donkey (Numbers 22:21-39). What will it take for you—or others around you—to stop the heart attitude of greed, one-upmanship, or status? People with the proclivity for
greed will be terrible friends in the long run because their mindset is on self and about what they can get. Over time, greedy friends will turn on you because you will never be able to fully give them enough of what they want. It might not be greed of money per se, but a greedy heart needs to be fed more of self. This will turn into many negative things in a relationship, including gossip and anger if not satisfied. If you detect a greedy heart in any of your friendships, be careful. It is very corrosive.

The third heart attitude that Jude highlights is disrespect. He uses the example of Korah from Numbers 16. The core issue that Korah displayed—along with 250 other prominent leaders—was the attempt to manipulate the people of Israel to “unfollow” Moses and Aaron. Their manipulation, according to Numbers 16:3, was a spiritual issue: there was no need for Moses or Aaron—or God for that matter—because they felt that all of Israel was holy as they were. This wasn’t solely a disregard for Moses and his leadership; it was actually a complete disrespect and a disregard for God! If it were true that all of Israel was holy, then there would be no need for God! Korah was essentially saying, “The men are in no need of any leadership because as the Lord looks at all of us, we are holy!” In Korahs’ eyes, even God thought there was no need for Himself since the people were so perfect! This was disrespect at its highest form. Korah and the leadership did a masterful job and manipulating the people into thinking vain thoughts about their spirituality and their lack of a need for God. This manipulation included an overthrow of their spiritual leader—Moses. And God dealt with Korah and the leadership quite harshly, as the earth opened and swallowed them up (Numbers 16:31-35). Disrespect. There may be people in your life that have a tendency to grumble at just about anything. It might start out as a small “observation” or complaint, but if left unchecked—and the ignoring of the Spirit’s prompting—it will cause an uproar in your life and in your church. Just like greed, those in your life with a propensity for disrespect will eventually disrespect you. Be on guard for people in your life who have a natural tendency to disrespect any authority.

The three major verbs in this sentence are striking, as each one builds in intensity. Don’t go the way of Cain, don’t run the way of Balaam, and don’t perish the way of Korah. When sin takes root, it “goes”, then it “runs”, and ultimately we “perish.” Take some time to reflect on your heart attitudes. Pray and seek the Lord to what areas in your life need some pruning. The Lord is loving and gracious. As with all three of these Old Testament examples, each was given an opportunity to repent and to be restored. It’s never too late to make changes in your life.

Jude 1:12-13. “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

Jude continues his outcry against evil people who have seemingly crept into our lives (and our churches), sounding the alarm for us to stay alert to the sin that can so easily come alongside us and slowly cause us to loosen our grip from the holiness and rightness of God. Jude’s main concern is that we would, over time, become soft Christians who don’t look anything different than the world. Here in these two verses, Jude gives us a series of metaphors—word pictures—to help us visualize what these people are doing, what they are becoming, and what their result will be on their own lives. He says these things to keep us sharp and alert so that we too don’t end up like these examples. Let’s look at each of these five pictures.

First, they are “spots in your love feasts.” This is not the greatest translation of this word. The Greek word, spillas, is akin to a “coral reef.” It is a huge rock, or series of rocks, in or near the sea that causes shipwrecks. The water looks so great…until you hit a reef underneath! Hidden reefs. Unseen and undetected. As the analogy goes, it’s bad on the rock for being there, and bad on us for not noticing, detecting and altering our position! A “love feast” in the early 1st century was simply a weekly gathering of the church to share a meal together and celebrate communion. So there were unsaved people playing the part of a Christian and participating in the “Christian things.” They look the part of a Christian, they talk a good talk, and they seem legit. We even share meals together with them and they partake of communion. And they can so easily lull us into thinking that they are Jesus followers. But over time, they will show themselves for who they really are—fakes. Jude says that they are in our midst to only “serve themselves.” Selfishness will be a strong indicator if one’s faith is genuine or not; it is the antithesis of love. Paul tells Timothy, “Hold on to the faith with a true spiritual conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” (1 Timothy 1:19).

Second, they are “clouds without water.” Keep in mind that this illustration comes from a very arid culture over 2,000 years ago. The clouds looked so big and beautiful and it always meant one thing: rain! And how the people of the Mediterranean and the desert regions loved their rain. Seeing a cloud meant that their crops would be nurtured! But here, Jude sees these people as clouds without water! Their relationship might seem promising, but in the end…empty! Although they may look the part, their spiritual life is barren and bereft of anything holy. Not only are they clouds without water, but Jude also states that they are “carried about by the winds.” Committed for a moment, then off to other shiny things in the next. Carried about by other doctrines. Carried about by cares of the world. Carried about by better financial endeavors. Unstable and unpredictable relationships with Jesus are not genuine. The word, “commitment,” is something that is lost in our culture today.

Third, they are “trees without fruit.” In late fall, one would expect these wonderful fruit trees to produce lots of needed fruit. Once again, they look the part (full of foliage and looking bountiful), but when one gets close, we cannot actually see any fruit. Harvest time has passed and there’s nothing! Empty! This is so reminiscent of Jesus cursing the fig tree in Mark 11. The tree looks good, it’s flowering, but no figs! Just like the Pharisees: all show, all good morals and ethics on the outward, but no real fruit. You see, fruit isn’t only limited to works! Anyone can do works. Fruit is something far more substantial than outward works. And over time, people’s real character will reveal themselves. In this description, Jude describes both the “fakers” true character (“fruitless”) as well as their eventual demise. They are people who are “twice dead,” probably a term depicting people who are dead in their sins and will bound to face a “second death,” which is the final judgement (Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”). One day, God will “pull them out of their roots,” describing God’s final action on all who reject Him.

Fourth, they are “raging waves.” This shows people who are not only unstable (like the clouds being carried by the wind), but they are also prone to anger when things don’t go their way. While they may seem calm, it doesn’t take much for them to “lose it” (as it were). Either anger or panic, frustration or anxiety. Those without Christ will be subject to a peaceless life being thrown around by culture, circumstances, news, or peers. Unbelievers can fake Christianity for only so long, but when the cares of the world hit them, or when we church people call for true repentance in one’s life, their true colors will be seen. They will get angry and abandon ship, and they will generally cause a scene as well. Drama! These “raging waters”, Jude says, will “foam up their own shame.” Isaiah 57:20 says, “The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up [foam up] mire and dirt.” The anger and instability of their lives will eventually reveal themselves and will cause their own shame.

And fifth, they are “wandering stars.” This probably refers to something like a shooting star. For a split second, it’s a bright-and-brilliant light, then in one moment, it’s gone. Once again, showing instability. Those faking Christianity can give some measure of light for a while, but over time, the light will quickly fade. Christianity is a long-term proposition of covenantal commitment, just like a marriage. We can only fake true love for so long. It is through the test of time that we truly see what our marriage commitment is like. And so it is with our relationship with God and our Christian relationships. A fake commitment to a marriage will fail over time; the light will fade. And a fake commitment to Christ will show itself as the trials of life hit hard and earthly discouragements take place. Like a shooting star, the life of a pretender will grow dim. In the end, Jude says their lives will be in the “blackness of darkness forever.” Those who fake Christianity and take advantage of Christians will get a special kind of judgment (cf. 2 Peter 2:21-22).

In keeping with Jude’s use of 3’s throughout his letter, we see two sets of three in this passage. There are three overarching characteristics of a fake Christian depicted within these five metaphors: selfish, empty, and unstable. May these characteristics never depict your life with Jesus. And may we guard our lives from those who want to rob or steal our joy in Him. Let us keep our eyes wide open for those who try to creep into our lives. Jude also describes three overarching pictures of God’s final punishment of these kinds of people: twice dead, uprooted, and utter darkness. May we be about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to those who desperately need to hear about Him, and may we continuously be “truly and genuinely gospel people” in our words and our lifestyle that counter the fakery of this world.

Jude 1:14-16. “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage”

As Jude progresses through his short letter to the church, he pauses from his stirring descriptions of those who have crept into our lives causing us to not grow in the Lord as we should be, to focus on two verses regarding final judgment. It’s a bit of a recapitulation of 1:5-7 and an expansion on 1:13. These three small vignettes of “final judgment” to unbelievers should stir our hearts for evangelism and should compel us to continue to walk with the Lord through any circumstance. Here in verses 14-15, Jude uses a non-biblical passage from the Book of Enoch to colorfully illustrate the finality of those who reject and rebel against God. Like earlier, when Jude used the writings from “The Assumption of Moses” as an illustration (1:9), so too Jude is using contemporary literature of the day to show us important lessons about God. We know that Enoch was a real man (Genesis 5), but we’re not given much by way of what he did in his lifetime. According to this literature, he was quite the preacher and evangelist! And it is here that we see that real judgment is coming! The colorful image portrays Jesus descending with thousands of angels and saints who will bear witness to the judgment that is to come.

So, in these verses we see that the word “ungodly” is used four times, showing the severity their character. The word “ungodly” depicts rebellion of the heart, rejection of God’s holy ways, and the subsequent rebellious living that this entails. It can also be used as a term for those who don’t want anything to do with God; one who shuts himself off from even wanting to hear about God.

Jude describes the two basic ways in which people rebel: (1) actions and (2) words. In verse 15a, Jude says that judgment will come against those who have “committed ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way” (1:15a). Jude makes it clear that these aren’t ungodly deeds done in innocence. These are evil deeds that have been done with an ungodly and rebellious attitude. When we were raising young children, we could tell the difference between when they were sinning unintentionally and when they were outright being rebellious against the rules of the house. Because we all are born in sin, we will have the tendencies to sin and not even know it at times. But we all must be honest with ourselves, knowing that we have consciously, intentionally sinned many times in an act of rebellion against God’s best or against God’s holiness. Here, Jude says that final judgment will not be a shocker to anyone in that moment, knowing that they have willfully done sinful actions to defy God and His holy ways. Not only are people committing ungodly deeds, but Jude goes on to say that people are saying “harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (1:15b). Rebellious actions, and now, rebellious words. Words against God. Words that desire to keep people from God. Words that incite anger against God. Words that entice people away from God. “Harsh words.” The Greek word, skleros, is like a violent windstorm or a dried-up desert wasteland. Words that are violent, yet at the same time, have absolutely no value or worth. We’ve all seen enough skleros on social media! The things we get into with others that, in the end, have no real essential value. Oh, may we as Jesus-followers not get sucked into the vortex of skleros!

And how does Jude illustrate those who have “harsh words”? Verse 16 describes three ways people use their words to be violent. First, they are grumblers. This describes an inner attitude of discontent that sort of creeps out of the side of their mouths, like a murmur. It’s very passive-aggressive. It’s when someone really wants to show anger, but doesn’t want to necessarily show everything they’re feeling, but still wants everyone to know they are unhappy. Grumblers! Second, they are complainers. This is the full-blown, outward extension of a grumbler. They cannot contain it any longer and it will just blast out of their mouths. Both words really describe the extensions of their heart. I’m sure you’ve experienced this: a grumbler and complainer can easily cause ourselves to do the very same thing they are doing. What you listen to is what you will become! And thirdly, Jude says that these people will use “flattery to gain advantage of you.” Flattery is an extension of grumbling and complaining. The bottom line for all three is that sinful people want to get their way. They will get it through their anger or through their deception of friendship and flattery. People complain to get their way. People flatter to get something from you. Jude asks us to be alert to those in your life who are constant grumblers and complainers knowing that we too can so easily get caught up into that. And Jude asks us to be alert for those who are attempting to take advantage of us, causing us great stress and potential harm. Let us never be characterized by being a nagging grumbler, murmurer, or complainer!

Harsh deeds and harsh words. They are violent and they produce such emptiness in life. May the Lord show us all the ways in which we can have words of grace, love, and forgiveness toward each other. After all, let’s not forget how many times our Heavenly Father has forgiven us and shown us so much grace! It starts with a grateful heart for what God has done and will continue to do in your life. In a new season of change in our nation, let’s rise up and be full of grace and love.

Jude 1:17-21. “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

As Jude moves towards the end of this letter, he gives some insightful words of encouragement to the church—the “beloved,” as he stated also in verse 3, a beautiful bookend and reminder just how much God loves you! Please remember today, you are dearly loved by your Creator!

Most of the letter has been a series of hard-hitting descriptions of people who have been creeping into our lives seemingly unaware and potentially causing a “slow bleed” away from holiness. It’s subtle at times, but dangerous. Now, Jude turns his attentions to you, the beloved, to help you proactively “do something” to avoid such people. In this section, Jude will start by using two “But you, beloved,” statements (verse 17 and again in verse 20). Jude gives us—the church—some practical advice to counter the evil that pervades us. Let’s look at each of these two statements.

The first “But you, beloved” asks us to remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words of Jesus were directly given to the apostles and written in the Scriptures through the power of the Spirit. It is imperative that we read the Gospels regularly, to remember and put in our minds those things that Jesus taught. Simply stated, Jude pleads with the church to remember God’s Word! And, oh, how important it is to have God’s words ringing through our hearts and minds, especially in the cultural and political climate we live in today. Yes, there are a lot of things to stay away from in this life (as Jude has pointed out in the first 16 verses!), but it is so vital to read and to recall the words of Jesus to fill us and be nourished by His counsel to us. Allow God’s Word to shape you, to mold your thinking, to steer you away from sin and those who want to bring you down. A great exercise in reading the Bible would be to pick up a red-letter Bible, and simply read all of the red letters you see! Read and meditate just on those red letters. This is a simple way to stay real razor-focused on what Jesus taught. Keep the Word close to your mind and emotions. Specifically, here in our context, Jude asks us to remember the words of Jesus in regards to those who are trying to bring us down. Recall what Jesus said about fake Christians and what they can do to mess your life up. In essence, Jude summarizes all 16 verses of descriptors of these “creepers” into one word here in our verse: they are mockers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their lifestyle, their thinking, their behavior—their way of life scoffs at everything that Jesus is all about. Let’s not get lax here. Jude is saying that the result of all sin—any sin—is that it mocks Christ. Any sin not only goes against God’s holiness and is antithetical to all that is righteous, but any sin, big or small, literally mocks the character of Jesus Christ! When we “walk according to our own lusts,” we are mocking a holy God. When we make decisions based on our feelings (“sensual” is what Jude calls it here), instead of the Word of God, we are mocking Him. But you, dear friends, remember God’s Word and let the words of Jesus dig deeply into your mind and heart. Remembering the words of Christ will do just the opposite of mocking—we will be people who are praising, thanking, and rejoicing over what He has done!

The second, “But you, beloved” asks us to keep ourselves in the love of God. Jude says, instead of being a constant nag and fault-finder, be a person who exhibits love, kindness and forgiveness. As we remember the words of Jesus, we will be in a place of mind where His love is at the forefront. Jude gives us three ways, by using three different participles, that we can keep ourselves in this wonderful perspective of love. These three words: building, praying, and looking. First, he says we should be building yourselves up in the faith. In the book of Acts and in nearly every New Testament letter, the main thrust is on being “rooted,” “grounded,” “established,” and “strengthened.” These are the same concepts as being “built up.” How can we keep ourselves in a place of love? By being rooted and grounded in your faith! Don’t let your faith get stagnant. Build upon what you already know. Grow. Learn. Ask questions. Don’t get lax. Build yourself up, like a muscle group. Building your faith in Jesus will cause you to love more. You will see His heart and His perspective, and your love for Him and for others will grow. Second, Jude says to be praying in the Holy Spirit. Prayer! The more we pray, the more we’re saying to God, “You are in control, You are God, You know all things, and I need Your help.” Prayer will keep us in a place of humility and in a place of loving and caring for others as we intercede for them. Prayer keeps us attune with God’s heart. Note, we are not to pray selfishly, but rather, in the Holy Spirit. This kind of prayer isn’t any special or charismatic prayer. It’s simply a phrase that means that we are praying with the Holy Spirit—God—in mind, not us. We are praying in relationship to and in agreement with the Holy Spirit’s will and This is all about coming to Him with a right heart and a humble attitude, asking that His will be done. As we pray to Him, our love for Him and for others will grow. We can keep ourselves in a healthy perspective of loving when we are praying! And
third, Jude says that we should be looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is all about perspective. Do you recall the last time the Lord was merciful towards you? It might have been today, or maybe it was yesterday. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22), so if we take the time to reflect on ways that He has been so merciful to you, chances are we will show mercy towards others. We as Jesus-followers need to be compassionate, just as Jesus was with us! It is so easy to stay negative, critical of others, and stew about how challenging things are in this life. But God asks us here to look for His mercy in your life and look for ways to show mercy to others.

We see, then, some very practical things for us today: (1) Don’t forget just how much God loves you; you are “beloved.” (2) Remember God’s Word and recall the red letters of Jesus. (3) Keep yourself in a loving place with God, not allowing the negativity, anger, or the darkness of this world eat you up inside or rob you of your joy. (4) Build up and nourish your faith. (5) Pray and keep praying! And (6) look for places to show God’s mercy to others.

Jude 1:22-23. 22  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23  but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

Before Jude’s grand conclusion with an amazingly beautiful doxology, he ends the body of his letter with three important lessons about evangelism and the importance of staying focused on those that so desperately need a Savior in their lives. Jude has spent his entire letter making it abundantly clear regarding sin and the sinful ways people subtly creep into our lives causing us to sway in our convictions. Jude has not held back in his deep concern for these “infiltrators.” As Jude has pointed out throughout his letter, there are times when we need to remove sinfully-caustic relationships from our lives. Jude is also concerned for the lost, as they are so influenced by these sinful people. So while there are sinful influences keeping people away from Christ, we need to be just the opposite! We need to be Christ-like influences on a world distracted and distraught by sin. We must come alongside others who are being misled in hope that our holy influences outweigh and outmatch the world’s pull. Jude gives us three areas to focus on when evangelizing. It’s fitting that Jude concludes with yet another “3”, as it is a major theme for him. To review again, here is an outline of the “3’s” found in this little book of Jude.

Jude 1:1 – Three Identities of Believers: called, sanctified, and preserved.
Jude 1:2 – Three Gifts Given to Believers: mercy, peace, and love.
Jude 1:4 – Three Examples of Those Creeping In: ungodly, lewd, and the denial of the Lord Jesus.
Jude 1:5-7 – Three Illustrations of Doom Because of Rejection: Israelites, fallen angels, and Sodom.
Jude 1:8-9 – Three Identifiers of Sinful People: defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and speaking evil.
Jude 1:10 – Three Sinful Lifestyles: evil speaking, no spiritual knowledge, and self-destructiveness.
Jude 1:11 – Three Sinful Heart Attitudes: anger, greed, and disrespect.
Jude 1:12-13 – Three Overarching Characteristics of a fake Christian: selfish, empty, and unstable.
Jude 1:14-16 – Three Verbal Abuses: grumbling, slander, and flattery to gain advantage over others.
Jude 1:17-21 – Three Ways to Keep in the Love of God: building, looking, and praying.

Recall the verses 20-21 where Jude encourages you to build yourselves in the faith, to pray, to love, and to show mercy towards others. So, on the heels of that encouragement, Jude follows up with the encouragement to not give up on the people around us. If we are indeed praying, loving, and showing mercy, then we will be ready-and-able to evangelize! Here are three ways Jude says to evangelize. 

First, Jude says to “have compassion.” Compassion for others is one of the most compelling ways to display and share Jesus! Just in the previous verse, Jude encourages us to “look for the mercy of our Lord,” (same Greek word, but the NKJV translates it differently for some reason), so as we understand and appreciate His great compassion towards us, it should be a natural outcome to show that same compassion to a world that desperately needs His compassion in their lives! Show compassion to those who need Him! We have the answer to their lack! Show
compassion and be compassionate.

Second, Jude says to “make a distinction.” Unfortunately, the NKJV translation is insufficient here. The Greek phrase is literally to reach out to “those who are doubting.” There are people neglecting to make a decision about Jesus because of ongoing and lingering questions or doubts that they have. Some aren’t wanting to “commit” to Christ until their doubts are satisfied. Jude is encouraging you to be patient with these people, showing them how amazing Jesus is in your life, how He can rid them of the power of sin, and how they can have full assurance of eternal life with Him, without doubt or hesitation. There are times where we need to be a bit more firm to those who are “on the fence.” Fence-sitters will make excuses and, at times, that can be frustrating to watch. But we have the answer to their dilemma, so let’s not be shy about giving them the Hope that is within us! Be patient, Jude says, and keep sharing with them how the Gospel can change their lives.

And third, Jude says to “save with fear.” Notice the escalation of these three. First, he says to be a compassionate person as you share your faith, with right heart attitudes of love for the lost. Then he says to give an answer to people’s doubts, patiently being resolute to show them the Hope that is within you, alleviating their concerns. Now, Jude says to be even more assertive to those in dire need of Jesus by commanding us to share Christ in some measure out of fear. The wording is challenging. Is it our fear or their fear? Is it your personal fear for their eternal damnation? Or is it eternal torment that they should be fearful of? Either one seems to fit the context. We clearly know that the Gospel is more than saving people from hell, but Jude says sometimes a healthy dose of personal fear might be needed to get people out of their spiritually lackadaisical lifestyle. Hell should scare us, all of us. First, knowing that some of our friends or family have rejected Christ and will face eternal torment should cause some healthy fear in us! We need to share Christ with them before it’s too late. Additionally, the unsaved need to understand the horrific effects of rejection: it must be a part of our Gospel message. Sometimes we need to snatch them right out of their sins—“pulling them out of the fire,” as Jude says—in order to rescue them from themselves before it’s too late! He even ends this short paragraph with an interesting phrase, “even hating the garments defiled by the flesh.” There should be such a passion for the lost, to the point that we actually detest sin. We should “hate” the sin that keeps people away from the love of Jesus. We should “hate” sin of the enemy that distracts and hinders a relationship with Christ. We should even “hate” the sin in our own lives too! Sin should make us ill. It is so antithetical to Jesus. Oh, that we would have such a hunger for holiness! Let’s be so passionate about saving lost souls! It’s urgent!

Do you genuinely care for the outcome of those stuck in their sins? Are you able-and-willing to speak up and address their doubts or concerns? Do you have that nagging pit in your stomach about losing people to eternal hell? Jude lets us know that having a sincere love for God and a consistent prayer life will pave the way for a heart that reaches out to those who need Christ. Take his words to heart this week and keep your eyes open for opportunities to share His love with those around you.

Jude 1:24-25. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

The book of Jude concludes with, what is traditionally called, a doxology. The Greek words, doxa (“glory”) + logos (“word”) = “glorious words.” Doxologies in the Bible are always blessings surrounding the characteristics of God. And there’s no better way to conclude Jude’s letter than the encouragement that God’s attributes bring to us. Jude has rigorously described the horrific and adverse effects of sin creeping into the church and into your life. He vividly demonstrated, with dozens of examples, what kind of people we need to be aware of and how we can be on the alert to protect our spiritual lives. Jude concludes this hard-hitting, descriptive language about sin in the best way possible—looking at the character of God for wisdom, strength, and encouragement as you face the struggles of sin that surround (and can easily ensnare) us. It’s a great lesson for us to learn for everyday life: when you struggle with sin, when you feel attacked, when you feel anxious about all of the sin you see in our world—look to Jesus! Focus on Him! Keep your eyes fixed on God! This is Jude’s rousing conclusion, so let’s examine each of these incredible characteristics of God that will give you hope and encouragement.

God is powerful. While the English translations say, “…to Him who is able…”, the Greek word is dunamis, which means the power and capability to accomplish any task. Jude has talked about how difficult these intruders are, how challenging it is to stay away from them, and how difficult it can be at times to stand firm in one’s Christian convictions when surrounded by so much sin. And here—right away—Jude says that we can rely on the all-powerful God to help us through any circumstance we face! He is most powerful!

God keeps you. This Greek word, tereo, conveys the idea of safe keeping, protection, and preservation. This is the same word used in Jude 1:1, where Jude says we are “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved (tereo) in Christ Jesus. The wonderful bookend of this word now at the end of Jude’s letter re-emphasizes, again, the life-keeping presence of God with us! God is our protector, our shield, our help in time of need, and the one who will preserve us through the trials and difficulties of life.

God keeps you from stumbling. Jude isn’t suggesting that we won’t sin. But it’s a powerful encouragement that God is right here with you, helping you through trials and difficulties. The colorful image is one of someone who is in the process of falling and another catches your fall, keeping you safe from any harm. What a comfort to know that God is with you—right now—to help pave your way to holiness. God is speaking to you, giving words of encouragement and wisdom as you make life decisions, big and small. God won’t keep you from sinning entirely, but I think it should cause us to reflect on how much sinning we could have done if it weren’t for the Hand of God on our lives. Thank you, God, for keeping me from falling into more sin than I could ever know what to do. Thank you for preserving my life and keeping my life in check!

God presents you as faultless. So while God is in the active business of keeping you from stumbling, we must admit that we sin and fall short of God’s ways because of our sinful, wayward choices. The Greek word for “present” literally means, “to cause you to stand up.” So, God is showing us here that while He protects us from so many sins (aka, “He keeps you from stumbling.”), He also knows that you will choose to sin; but when you do, what does God do? He picks you right up! He presents you as faultless! The word, faultless, is a good translation. Just like blameless. No fault, no blame, no shame. God, through Jesus Christ, picks you up when you fall down, wipes the dirt off, cleans you up, and says to you, “My child, I see you as ‘not guilty’ of any sin, because My Son, Jesus Christ, paid for all of your sins and shortcomings. I find no fault in you.”

God is full of joy. And what God does, He always does with joy! He is happy—honored—to do these things for you! He does everything with absolute joy! He is delighted to powerfully work in your life, keeping you out of sin and trouble, picking you up when you fall down, and letting you know how much joy He has being in your life! How does that make you feel right now, knowing that your life puts a smile on God’s face! And might we add this: if God is so full of joy about you, then how much greater joy should we have about what God has done (and is doing) in us?! May we, too, be full of the joy of the Lord!

God is our Savior. There are only a couple of references in the New Testament where God is called our Savior. We generally use this term for Jesus being our Savior. Mary says this in her wonderful prayer (Luke 1) and Paul uses it twice in the book of 1 Timothy (1:1 and 2:3). It is God who is called our Savior here! He is the one who rescues and delivers! Praise Him for that! The Aramaic translation of this word is “life-saver.” In the day and age we live in, isn’t it nice to know that you’ve been rescued from this life? You have a hope and a future outside of this earth, all because of the life-saving power of God! Keep putting your trust in the One who has saved you!

God is wise. God has so much wisdom to share with you. He is perfectly skilled in understanding how to act in every situation. He is upright, honest, and pure in conduct. This is what is defined as true wisdom. Real wisdom can only come out of a heart that is pure and holy. And since God is just that, then we can trust that the words He gives us will be trustworthy and right in intent, perfectly designed for His glory and for good! Trust His wisdom for today, trust His guidance as He walks you through life. Yes, Father knows best!

God is glorious. He is so pure, He’s radiating perfection and beauty. There is absolutely nothing that even compares to the radiant holiness of the glory of God. Just read about it in Exodus 3 (the burning bush), Exodus 34 when Moses’ countenance completely changed being near the presence of God Almighty, or in Matthew 17 at the Transfiguration. Glorious. Radiant. Perfect. Pure in all of His ways. Trust Him today with your less-than-perfect life, knowing that His glory is able to shine through your weaknesses.

God is majestic. This Greek word conveys that God is of the highest prominence possible. There is none equal or higher in rank than Him. Psalm 8:1, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.” Keep your eye fixed on the One who can solve any problem and will take care of any issue on this earth. While all will fail, God will never fail. His word(s) always come to pass. He will always be the Faithful and the True. Look up to Him today for your encouragement. He is on the Throne!

God is mighty. This English word, dominion, connotes the idea of supernatural strength. Similar to dunamis (“power”) above, where God powerfully keeps you from stumbling, here Jude exclaims that God is supernaturally strong to come to your aid in any and every situation. I’m sure you can look back at your life and recall those moments that you absolutely knew it was God who got you through it; those times when you felt all was lost, and yet somehow you survived! He is a supernatural God who does supernatural wonders! I know you’ve experienced them and I know He will continue to show His supernatural power in your life. Of course the most impressive ways of showing His supernatural might is at creation (everything out of nothing), the resurrection of Jesus(!), and when He saved you of your sins, transferring your from death to life! Praise God today for His supernatural might.

God has all authority. Many English translations use the word, “power” here, but it’s best translated as “authority” (exousia). It’s the same word as in Matthew 28, “All authority has been given to Me, therefore, go and make disciples.” He is in complete control. He is all wise, He is all powerful, and He is of the highest rank (majestic), therefore He has all authority to make every decision perfectly! Be sure to ask Him for His guidance, since He has full authority. Don’t assume you know; go to the Source for all things big and small. It’s the same idea of a store clerk needed to ask their boss a question that they’re unsure about, when they say to you, ‘I’ll need to check with my boss on that one.’ So, go ask your Boss about everything; He’s got the answers for you!

God is eternal. All of these things noted above are “now and forever” because He is now and forever! He is the Eternal One. He had no beginning—He created the beginning—and He has no end! He is the One who was, who is, and who is to come! Put your confidence in Him, the Eternal one. He’s the one who made all things, so we can be 100% certain that nothing can get past Him. He’s got it all under control. His eternality illustrates His full control over all things.

Jude concludes with a resounding, AMEN. “It is so!” It cannot be anything else but this! He is powerful. He protects, guards, watches over you. He presents you without any fault. He does everything with great joy. He is perfectly wise. He is our deliverer and rescuer. He maintains the most prominent position because He is eternal. He has all authority to do and to accomplish everything. In other words, “God’s got this!” Amen to that. He can’t be anything but this!

Let Jude’s concluding statement about the character of God get you through any trial or difficulty you face. As Jude ends this letter, He begs you to look to Him for wisdom, guidance, and strength to endure the trials and the people that so want to turn you away from this most precious faith. Look to Him! Don’t look anywhere else! Keep life simple. Slow down and simply reflect on the amazing characteristics of Jesus. It will make for a great day!