Jude 17-25

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Text: Jude 17-25

FIGHTING FOR THE FAITH

INTRODUCTION:

Jude was written because certain men had crept in unawares, (i.e. they had sneaked into the local churches).

These men are described as ungodly, as turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (i.e. into licentiousness, sensuality, debauchery), and as denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

In verses 5-16 Jude has given further descriptions of these false teachers.

Jude wrote in order to exhort his readers to earnestly contend for the faith which was once (for all time) delivered unto the saints. This was necessary because even some believers might be adversely influenced by these false teachers.

Now that Jude has informed his readers of the characteristics of these false teachers, he proceeds to inform them how they can go about fighting for the faith.

I. BELIEVERS MUST RECALL THE APOSTLES' PREDICTIONS THAT FALSE TEACHERS WILL ARISE WITHIN THE CHURCHES - Jude 17-19

Jude 17-19 - 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

Jude addresses his readers as beloved, which means dear ones or loved ones and is understood in the sense of dear friends. It shows Jude's affectionate regard for his readers. These people were not only loved by the Lord but also by Jude himself.

Remember is remind yourselves, keep in mind, or recall to mind.

What they were to remember was the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The words which were spoken before suggests that a prediction had been previously made regarding these false teachers' infiltration of the churches.

Of the apostles is by the apostles rather than about the apostles as the English might be understood to imply. Although this particular English expression is capable of more than one meaning, the Greek text is not. It indicates direct agency. The apostles spoke about these things before they happened.

The apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ were Christ's apostles in that they had been sent out by Him.

Jude 18 - How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

How that is understood in the sense of how. It summarizes what they said rather than giving their exact words.

They told you is they kept saying to you, they were telling you, or they told you over and over.

What the apostles kept saying was that there should be mockers in the last time who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

There should be is there will be. There is no suggestion in the Greek text that it is indefinite. It was a definite prediction of something which would actually happen in the future.

Mockers are people who do not believe the Word of God or the things of God and scoff at them or make fun of them.

In the last time refers to the period of time before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jude was already living in the last time because this prediction was already being fulfilled.

These mockers are described by who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Who should walk is not indefinite as the English might suggest. It is most definite. The tense of should walk indicates that its action is ongoing and occurring at the same time that the mockers come. It means Who will be conducting their lives or who will be living.

After their own ungodly lusts is according to their own desires of godlessness or in accordance with their own desires of ungodliness. It can be understood in the sense that their desires are ungodly, or it can be understood in the sense that their desires are for ungodliness. Both are undoubtedly true.

Jude 19 - These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

These be they is these are they and refers to these false teachers who have infiltrated the churches.

They who separate is the ones who divide or the ones who separate. This means that they cause divisions within the churches. If they were living right and teaching correctly, there would be no need for divisions to form. They separate themselves and their followers from others in the churches and thus cause divisions within the churches. One is reminded of what Paul wrote in Romans 16:17 .

Romans 16:17 - Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

They are also sensual which means physical or soulish. The same word is translated natural in I Corinthians 2:14 where the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. They have no new spiritual nature because they have never been saved.

Therefore, they are further described as having not the Spirit, which means that, as unsaved individuals, they do not possess the Holy Spirit.

This is reminiscent of Romans 8:9 where we are told that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

II. BELIEVERS MUST KEEP THEMSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD - Jude 20-21

Jude 20-21 - 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast between what these unsaved infiltrators of the churches are like and what the believers to whom Jude was writing should be like.

Ye is you (plural) and is used for emphasis. It refers to Jude's readers.

For the second time in four verses Jude addresses his readers as beloved, which means dear ones or loved ones and is used in the sense of dear friends.

Building . . . up, which means building . . . on, indicates the means by which Jude's readers will keep themselves in the love of God, and its tense indicates that its action occurs at the same time as the action of keep in the sense of by means of building on yourselves, keep yourselves in the love of God.

Yourselves is what they are to build on, and they are to do it on your most holy faith, i.e. in your holiest faith. It means that they are to be building themselves up spiritually. This is done by studying the Word of God, the Bible, and submitting their hearts and minds to its teachings.

They are also to be praying in the Holy Ghost or praying by means of the Holy Spirit. It is by means of praying that Jude's readers will keep themselves in the love of God. The tense of praying indicates action going on at the same time as the action of keep, which it modifies. Their prayers will involve confessing their sins.

Jude 21 - Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Keep yourselves is a command which suggests that Jude's readers are to keep themselves in a situation where they are protected from harm.

In the love of God is where they are to keep themselves. It suggests that they are to keep themselves in the place where God is able to shower all His love upon them. They are thus to live in order to keep themselves in the place of God's blessing.

This is done by building themselves up on their most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, and by, or while, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Looking is expecting or waiting for. It is understood in the sense of keep yourselves . . . while you are waiting for or in the sense of keep yourselves . . . by waiting for, or keep yourselves . . . and wait for.

What they are to look for or wait for is the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those to whom Jude is writing have already received mercy when they trusted Christ as Savior. As used here, mercy, which means compassion or pity, is referring to the completion of their salvation and the escape from the consequences of their sins. Like the ones to whom Jude is writing, when we believed, we were saved from the power of sin in our lives. We were then promised that we would escape the consequences of our sins, i.e. the judgment and the receiving of the punishment we justly deserve in the lake of fire. We were promised instead that our old sin natures would be removed, that we would be made completely Christlike, and that we would spend eternity with Christ in heaven.

The mercy we are waiting for is of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that it is the mercy which the Lord Jesus gives us.

Unto eternal life indicates the final result or end of the mercy of Christ. We will have eternal life. We will live forever in the mansions He has prepared for us. By contrast the unbelievers can look forward only to the wrath of God and spending eternity in hell. Inasmuch as we who are believers can look forward to eternal life with the Lord in heaven, we should continue doing our best to live for Him now.

Believers can keep themselves in the place of blessing by looking forward to the Lord's return for them and living as if He might come at any moment.

There is no hint that God would stop loving them, but by allowing sin in their lives, they might make it impossible for God to fully bless them. They would thus limit God's blessings they might otherwise have experienced.

III. BELIEVERS MUST HAVE A PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD THE FALSE TEACHERS - Jude 22-23

Jude 22-23 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Though Jude has written sternly about the character and conduct of the false teachers, Jude charges truly saved people with the responsibility of aiding the spiritual recovery of any whom it may be possible to win to Christ out of sin and out of false teaching.

They must have compassion on some, making a difference - v. 22

Having compassion on some is having mercy on some, being merciful to some, having pity on some, showing mercy to someone, helping someone (out of pity).

Just as mercy has been shown to us and continues to be shown, we must habitually be merciful toward others.

Making a difference is separating, distinguishing. It refers to the readers of Jude's epistle. They are to distinguish between individuals and so adjust their attitude toward them, having mercy and compassion on some.

Jude 23 - And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

They must save (i.e. rescue) others with fear - v. 23

The tense of rescue denotes customary or normal action. It means that it is to be the habit of Jude's readers to be doing this. Inasmuch as it is a command, it is mandatory rather than optional. Assuming that the reference is to unsaved people who are in danger of entering the fires of hell, then the way they will be saved is by presenting the gospel to them, praying for them, and encouraging them to believe it.

With fear means that believers are to act in fear, not that they are to try to instill fear in those whom they are rescuing. They are to act in fear lest they themselves be contaminated.

Pulling them out of the fire means that they are to pull them out of the fire. Although the fire may refer to sensual passion, it most likely refers to eternal punishment in hell.

Pulling means snatching or seizing. It suggests that they are suddenly and vehemently removed.

Out of the fire indicates what they are to be saved out of. The fire is representative of hell and refers to eternal punishment in hell.

Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh

The garment spotted by the flesh refers symbolically to the sin by which the false teacher has corrupted himself.

The false teacher and those who have followed his teachings have corrupted themselves by their sin and are unfit for heaven. The point is being made that, although the believer is to have compassion for the sinner, he must also have hatred for the sin committed.

Inasmuch as believers are surrounded by false teachers and others influenced by them, there is a definite danger to their spiritual lives. Can we avoid falling? Yes, we can because -

IV. GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP BELIEVERS FROM FALLING - Jude 24

Jude 24 a - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling. . . .

Now continues the thought.

In verses 24-25 Jude ascribes glory, majesty, dominion, and power unto him that is able to keep you from falling. He is the same one referred to in verse 25 as the only wise God our Saviour.

Unto him that is able to keep you from falling is to the One who is able to keep you from stumbling.

He is not only able, He will also do it for those who have been genuinely saved.

To keep you is to guard you, to defend you, or to protect you.

From falling is without stumbling or from stumbling. There is no hint here of a loss of salvation. In fact, it is just the opposite. It refers to the course of life in this world. The fact is that they will not stumble because God is able to keep them from stumbling.

The believer has a responsibility in this matter.

He must be putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and not making provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Rom. 13:14)

V. GOD IS ABLE TO PRESENT BELIEVERS FAULTLESS - Jude 24 B

Jude 24 b - Now unto him that is able . . . to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

Not only is God able to keep you from falling, but God is also able to present you faultless before the presence of his glory.

To present you is to set you, to place you, to bring you, to allow you to come, or to make you stand. It is the positive aspect corresponding to the negative not stumbling.

He is not only able; He is also going to do it.

Faultless is unblemished or blameless.

Before the presence of his glory is where God is able to present you. It refers to the believer's sure position in the world to come.

His glory represents God Himself. He is able to set believers before Himself.

With exceeding joy indicates that there will be rejoicing in the presence of God over their final and complete salvation.

VI. GOD IS THE ONLY WISE GOD - Jude 25

Jude 25 - To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

The fact that He is the only wise God indicates there is no other god who is wise.

VII. GOD IS OUR SAVIOR - Jude 25

Jude 25 - To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

God is our Saviour. This is likely a reference to God the Father, but one cannot be certain. It may refer to the Triune God rather than to the Father, or even to Christ.

VIII. TO GOD ALONE BELONGS GLORY AND MAJESTY - Jude 25

Jude 25 - To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Be indicates that Jude is wishing these things be given to God. Of course, He already possesses them. Hence, Jude is wishing them to be evident to all. Glory is majesty, and majesty is literally greatness. Both words mean about the same thing.

IX. TO GOD ALONE BELONGS DOMINION AND POWER - Jude 25

Jude 25 - To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Dominion is power, rule, or sovereignty; and power is authority or absolute power. Again both words mean about the same thing.

Both now is both at the present time.

And ever is and unto all the ages, which means and forever.

Jude concludes his epistle with amen by which he means truly or so be it.

CONCLUSION:

Although false teachers may abound, God is able to keep believers from stumbling.

He will also some day present us faultless before the presence of his glory.

He can do this because He alone is wise.

Scriptures
Series

This sermon is the 7th part of the series, Study of Jude. Other sermons in this series are: