Jude 1-4

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

THE EPISTLE OF JUDE

INTRODUCTION:

Jude was written against a background of Gnosticism.

Gnosticism was a false philosophy which had a basic premise that all matter is evil and only that which is spirit is good. This resulted in a number of things including antinomianism, the philosophy which believes that it is not necessary to keep the moral law, which, thus, seeks to get rid of all law, of all restraint.

Jude was written to combat the antinomianism associated with Gnosticism.

Jude has been variously dated between AD 67 and AD 85. It is impossible to fix an exact date with any certainty.

Jude seems fond of using combinations of threes. Among other things he describes himself in three ways (v. 1), describes his readers in three ways (v. 1), wishes three things upon his readers (v. 3), uses three examples of judgment chosen from the Old Testament (vv. 5-7), and lists three classes of people who need help (v. 22-23).

In this message, as we consider Jude 1-4 , we want to introduce you to the Epistle of Jude.

I. THE AUTHOR - Jude 1

Jude 1 - Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. . . .

Jude was Jesus Christ's servant [i.e. Jesus Christ's slave].

Jesus is his master. Slavery was rampant in the Roman world at this time, and people were familiar with both the terminology and practice. Jude had dedicated his life to Christ and, thus, had voluntarily determined to serve as a slave to Jesus Christ forever. His life was lived for the purpose of doing his Master's bidding. By referring to himself as Jesus Christ's servant (or slave), Jude recognized that he was only one of many others who were also serving as slaves of Jesus Christ.

Believers who surrender their lives to live for the Lord are actually voluntarily enslaving themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ by doing so. From then on, their lives are lived for the purpose of doing the Lord's bidding.

Jude was the brother of James

James is the pastor of the church at Jerusalem and the author of the Epistle of James.

James is the half brother of Christ. He was the son of Mary and Joseph.

As the brother of James, Jude was also the son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus was the son of Mary, but He was not the son of Joseph. Thus, Jude, like James, was a half brother of Christ. Can you imagine growing up in the same household as Jesus? It would have been a privilege to have had a perfect brother who never committed a single act of sin. However, can't you just hear Mary or Joseph from time to time saying, Why don't you behave like Jesus? You can imagine that it would have created resentment against Jesus.

Jude is listed among the brothers of Christ in Matthew 13:55 .

Matthew 13:55 - Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

By being mentioned last among the four brothers of Jesus, Jude would appear to have been the youngest brother. Jesus would have been around 31 or 32 years of age at this time, and Judas could have been in his early-to-mid 20s.

Jude appears as an unbeliever in John 7:2-9 .

John 7:2-9 - (2) Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. (4) For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and [i.e. while] he himself seeketh to be known openly [The thought is that doing things in secret does not mix with seeking to be known openly.]. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. (5) For neither did his brethren believe in him. (6) Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. (7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (8) Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. (9) When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

Jude appears as a believer in Acts 1:14 .

Acts 1:13-14 - (13) And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. (14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

II. THE DESTINATION - Jude 1

Jude 1 . . . To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.

There is no agreement as to whom Jude wrote or where they lived because there is so little in the text of Jude from which to draw any conclusions. Jude is, therefore, considered a general epistle, written to all believers everywhere.

The Epistle of Jude is written to:

Them that are sanctified by God the Father.

The basic idea of sanctified is set apart for God's use. Its tense indicates that these individuals were set apart for God's use at some point in the past and that the result of this action continued on. Thus, they remained sanctified and are in a state of having been sanctified or set apart for God's use.

Furthermore, the voice of sanctified is passive which indicates that they did not sanctify themselves. These people were sanctified by someone other than themselves, and it is specified that it is by God the Father.

It was in providing for their salvation that God sanctified them. He sent His Son to shed His blood on the cross for their sins in order to make their sanctification possible, and He sent His Holy Spirit to apply this blood to every believer. Thus, them that are sanctified refers to believers and to their position in Christ.

Them that are sanctified is not to be limited in its reference to some elite group of believers who have attained some degree of sanctification in their Christian experience by living victoriously in Christ over an extended period of time.

Nor does them that are sanctified refer to the ultimate sanctification of believers when they will be made completely Christlike because they shall see him as he is (I John 3:2 ).

Them that are sanctified by God the Father refers to believers in general; and the fact that they were sanctified at some time in the past with its result continuing on to the present, is an argument in favor of their eternal security. God the Father has brought about their sanctification, and He has done a thorough job of it. It is a settled condition. In spite of themselves they cannot undo it, nor would they ever desire to do so if they could because they have been genuinely saved.

Not only is the Epistle of Jude written to them that are sanctified by God the Father, it is also written to:

Them that are preserved in Jesus Christ.

Preserved is kept, held, or reserved.

Its passive voice also indicates that someone else has preserved them. They did not preserve or keep themselves.

In Jesus Christ suggests by Jesus Christ and indicates the means by which they are kept.

The tense of preserved indicates that its action occurred at some point in time in the past and that its result has continued. Thus, they are in a state of having been preserved.

It is a settled matter that will never be re-opened. Jesus Christ is not going to fail to preserve them. If He were able to fail, it would mean that He was not capable of bearing our sins in the first place.

Not only is the Epistle of Jude is written to them that are sanctified by God the Father and to them that are preserved in Jesus Christ, it is also written to:

Them that are called.

Called refers to their being effectually called because they were not only invited to be saved; but, they had actually been drawn to salvation.

John 6:44 - No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

III. THE GREETING - Jude 2

Jude 2 - (2) Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Mercy is God's pity or compassion and shows how God has acted toward believers in their need.

Mercy had already been extended to these believers in saving them from sin and its consequences.

Mercy is also needed, however, throughout the Christian life because all believers are still sinners, although saved by grace. Furthermore, throughout the Christian life believers are called upon to endure trials, tribulations, and persecutions; yet, they are still expected to contend for the faith wherever they are, as well as to subdue the old sin nature and to live victorious Christian lives. Much mercy is needed along the way.

Mercy results in peace and love.

As saved people, we already have peace with God; so, he is not wishing peace with God upon these people.

Romans 5:1 - (1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

As saved people, however, we need the peace of God along the way in our Christian lives. This is obtained through prayer rather than worry.

Philippians 4:6-7 - (6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace is also part of the fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23 . The fruit of the Spirit is produced automatically over a period of time by the study of the Word of God and the submission of the believer's heart and mind to its teaching.

Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

(May) peace . . . be multiplied suggests that Jude is wishing an abundance of peace upon his readers. It means may peace grow or may peace increase.

(May) . . . love be multiplied suggests that Jude is also wishing an abundance of love upon his readers. It means may love grow or may love increase.

God demonstrated this sort of love when He sent Christ to die for our sins and, thereby, provided a pattern for us for love. As He loved us, we should love one another. Believers are frequently reminded of their need to love. They are to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. Husbands are also to love their wives, and believers are to love one another. Believers are even supposed to love their enemies. The old sin nature has love only for self, but God enables believers to love others and to love God Himself. Much love is needed.

IV. THE PURPOSE - Jude 3

Jude 3 - Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Beloved is loved ones or dear ones. The use of this term indicates that Jude definitely and sincerely loved his readers.

When I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation indicates that Jude had intended to write to these believers about something different. However, a situation arose which necessitated his writing to them about another matter.

When I gave all diligence suggests when I was very eager.

What he was eager to do was to write . . . concerning the common salvation. He intended to write all along, but he intended to write about something different from what he actually ended up writing.

Concerning the common salvation is about the salvation Jude had in common with his readers. The may be understood in the sense of our, i.e. about our common salvation. It is referring to the salvation God has provided in Christ.

It was needful for me is I had compulsion or I had necessity. Jude felt it necessary to write about another subject. Circumstances had changed Jude's priorities.

It was needful for Jude to write . . . and exhort, i.e. to write exhorting. It may be understood as two closely related activities as our translators have done, or it may be understood in the sense of to write for the purpose of exhorting.

The content of this exhortation is made clear by that ye should earnestly contend for the faith.

Earnestly contend for is an intensive form of a word meaning fight for or contend for, and its tense denotes habitual or customary action in the sense that you should earnestly be fighting for the faith or that you should be earnestly contending for the faith.

The faith refers to Christianity.

The faith is described by which was once delivered unto the saints.

Once is once for all time. This means that it is not going to be delivered again.

Delivered means handed over to, given over to, or entrusted to.

Unto the saints means unto believers.

It was God who handed Christianity over to believers.

V. THE OCCASION - Jude 4

Jude 4 - For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

For introduces the reason Jude found it necessary to write to these believers that they should earnestly contend for the faith and may be understood in the sense of because.

There are certain men crept in unawares.

Certain men is some men, but we have no way of knowing who they were or how many there were. Furthermore, men is the generic term for human beings and may include females as well as males.

Crept in unawares means slipped in stealthily or sneaked in.

They were before of old ordained to this condemnation.

Before . . . ordained is have been written before or have been written beforehand. Its tense indicates action completed in the past with its result continuing on.

Of old is long ago, formerly, in time past, or, possibly, for a long time. They were in time past ordained to this condemnation.

Although the Calvinists would like us to believe that God had elected these people to hell in eternity past so that there was never a real possibility of their being saved, the statement who were before of old ordained to this condemnation does not necessarily mean this. It may mean no more than that, earlier in their lives, they were appointed to condemnation because they had rejected Christ as Savior when they had the chance to believe the gospel and be saved.

To this condemnation is to this judgment, particularly an unfavorable judicial verdict and refers, not only to the condemnation, but also to the subsequent punishment itself.

They are ungodly men (i.e. godless persons) and it is not limited to adult males.

They are turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.

Turning is changing, altering, or perverting.

The grace of our God is our God's unmerited favor (or our God's undeserved favor), which He extended toward sinners, enabling them to be saved. Although all people deserve to die in their sins and to spend eternity in the lake of fire, God provided an alternative which they do not deserve. He sent Christ to die on the cross and pay for their sins as their substitute. If they would place their trust in Christ's death for sin, His burial, and His subsequent resurrection, God promised that He would forgive their sins and admit them to heaven when they pass from this earth rather than giving them what they deserve. Grace is thus the principle by which God deals with sinners.

Into lasciviousness means into licentiousness, into sensuality, or into debauchery.

Lasciviousness is used especially of sexual excesses. They turned the grace of God into immorality.

They are also denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Denying is repudiating or disowning.

The tense of denying indicates that this activity of denying was going on at the same time they were infiltrating the local churches by sneaking into them. There is no hint here that they changed their minds about their beliefs after they became part of their local churches. At the very time they infiltrated the churches, they were denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Any claim that they might have made regarding their being saved was a lie.

The only Lord God is the only master God.

Only suggests alone. He alone is the Lord God. There is no other in existence entitled to this name.

The only Lord God could be a reference to God the Father, or it could instead be a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ could be two references to Christ, but it is most likely a reference to both God the Father and to Christ. This is because the word translated Lord is used almost exclusively of God the Father. This term for Lord means owner or master and has given rise to the English term despot. The only clear example where this term is applied to Christ is in II Peter 2:1 where they are said to be denying the Lord that bought them.

CONCLUSION:

We must earnestly contend for the faith.

But how? By teaching and proclaiming its truths as taught in the Bible.

Scriptures
Series

This sermon is the 1st part of the series, Study of Jude. Other sermons in this series are: