Episode #238. Today we’ll read Jude chapter 1 together. Jude talks of apostates both past and present and speaks of their doom.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #238. Today we’ll read Jude chapter 1 together: Jude talks about apostates both past and present and speaks of their doom.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Today we read the Book of Jude, which is yet another New Testament book with only 1 chapter. Jude describes himself as “…a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James”, so Jude and Jesus are half-brothers. We know much less about Jude than we do James, but we know that he was a leader in the early church because in this letter he speaks as one with authority.
This book may be short on words, but it is long on instruction, full of vivid word-pictures that provide us with clear images of the important subject matter the author is teaching us here. It is a book that I can read over and over again, and each time get something new out of it.
When I was very young, I heard the phrase, “Brevity is wit” and it is a term that has stuck with me all these years. This phrase reminds me that what we say is more important than how much we say. For example, have you ever heard a politician give a speech that goes on and on, and at the end you shake your head and think, “What in the world did he or she just say?” Sometimes words are used as a smokescreen for people who really have nothing to say.
On the other hand, I am reminded of the words of Pontius Pilate in John 18:38 when he says to Jesus, “What is truth?” These 3 words convey a volume of information to the reader and are perhaps the most perceptive words ever spoken by a non-believer in the Bible.
Truth is Not Relative
Of course, Pilate is telling us that truth is relative and depends on the viewpoint of the person. This is a very common belief today, where popular culture has us believe that we each get to pick and choose our own truth, as if we are some sort of mini-gods here on earth. What a hopelessly empty philosophy this presents to us! If everything is true, then nothing is true. And we are lost.
Fortunately, we have apostles like Jude who speak concisely to us and warn us about falling into the trap of following false gospels and false teachers. For this reason, Jude is one of my favorite books in the Bible.
Jude Chapter 1
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James:
To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Jude’s Purpose in Writing
Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
Apostates: Past and Present
Now I want to remind you, although you came to know all these things once and for all, that Jesus saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe; and the angels who did not keep their own position but abandoned their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deep darkness for the judgment on the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns committed sexual immorality and perversions and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
In the same way these people — relying on their dreams — defile their flesh, reject authority, and slander glorious ones. Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct — like irrational animals — by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.
The Apostates’ Doom
These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn — fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.
It was about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied: “Look! The Lord comes with tens of thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all the ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and concerning all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against him.” These people are discontented grumblers, living according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.
But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.
Exhortation and Benediction
But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Jude’s target audience is likely Jewish Christians because his letter refers to angels and includes many details from the history of the Jewish people. Jude does not mince words in this letter but cuts right to the matter at hand: those pesky false teachers are at it again, spreading malicious lies among the believers, threatening to undermine the very Gospel itself.
Apparently, these false teachers used personal “inspired dreams” as their authority, dreams in which they were supposedly given authority and a false gospel message. They had slipped in among the true believers and were subverting them for their own evil purposes. Jude uses powerful imagery in verses 12 & 13 to describe these false teachers, and it bears repeating now:
These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are water-less clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn — fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.
There Will Be Scoffers
It is anyone’s guess whether the “inspired dreams” used to support the false teacher’s beliefs actually happened or were just a lie they made up to give themselves authority. But this does serve as a lesson to us: if anyone ever says they received a word from God himself, in a dream or otherwise, we are commanded to compare their words with the truth of Scriptures. If their message contradicts anything we are taught in the Bible, we are to reject their teachings as a lie. And we are to reject the false teachers as well, just as Jude is directing the readers of this letter.
Jude also encourages his readers to persevere because, “…In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” This is good advice in our day and age too, when it has become common sport to publicly ridicule Christians and our beliefs. How interesting that this was foretold thousands of years ago! Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Jude and his compelling letter. Thank You that You have provided us with Your word, a solid rock on which we can anchor our beliefs. Give us discernment when it comes to the words of false teachers and help us bear up under the criticism of a world that would tear us down. We know that all things are possible through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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