Jude 001 – Contending for the Faith

SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH

Gabe Morris

Jude 1-25 – Contending for the Faith

9-17-17

Can we open our Bibles to thank Pastor Andy for another opportunity to preach, even though he’s in San Antonio, bringing a different lesson in the middle of the Seventy Weeks Prophecy I’m sure for some it’s a tough time to interrupt.  I’m certainly enjoying and spiritually benefitting from the lessons in Daniel 9.  How about you, Amen!  So today I hope to bring a pleasant break in the Seventy Weeks Prophecy.  You know, sitting under Andy at CBS and hearing him preach verse by verse I too developed a desire to teach my first book of the Bible verse by verse.  And I asked Andy what he thought about it and he seemed more excited than me.  I was actually terrified about it and avoided it.  And I was hoping he would say you know, just leave the verse by verse to me but he didn’t say that.  When Andy is your Senior Pastor it’s kind of intimidating. At any rate I got Andy’s blessing and he’s excited to see the fruit of this and how the Lord will work through it.

So today I was thinking of going verse by verse to the Book of Deuteronomy… no, just kidding.  [Laughter]  We’re going to begin in the Book of Jude.  What better way to get my feet wet than preaching the shorts book in the Bible.  You have to crawl before you walk, Amen!

So despite what critics say, they say the Bible is not relevant for today and for our world today.  They really don’t have an idea what they’re talking about; the truth of the matter is that the Bible is nothing but relevant for us today.  It speaks to everything that you and I are going through.  It speaks directly to our situation, our difficulties and how we should move forward.  And so as we begin to learn the Book of Jude we will see just that, that the Book of Jude speaks to us today, the 21st century church.  It has a timeless message for us in our situation and therefore we should take notice.

Can we pray before we begin.  Abba, Father, we glorify You this morning and not with just our lips but with our hearts as well. We acknowledge our utter dependence upon You and we give ourselves to the teaching of Your Word this morning.  As we open the Book of Jude, Father God, we thank You in advance for the truth in it, we pray that we can learn, that we can digest and we can act on Your Word, becoming a testimony to the world and ultimately glorifying the name of Jesus.  Use me, Father, to deliver Your teaching and bless  Your people today.  And it’s in Christ’s holy name that we pray, and God’s people said… Amen!

Before any study of the Bible it’s prudent that preliminary study and research surrounding a particular book is tremendously benefitting, beneficial to your study, to our study in understanding any book, in turn giving you a better understanding of the Bible as a whole.  This is called Bible study methods and all we want to do here is ask a few preliminary questions to get us familiar with the book, acclimated with the book before getting into it verse by verse.  So this is sort of an outline or direction we are going; we’re going to ask eight questions.  Who wrote the book?  Who was the book written to?  When was the book written?  Where was the book written from?  What’s the genre of the book?  What’s the purpose of the book?  What’s in the book?  And is there an application?

These questions are an excellent way to get familiar with the book.  I emphasize this to the youth group; we are currently studying the Book of Philippians and there is a reason why Paul wrote that letter.  There’s some things, perhaps most things, we may not understand if we don’t get a proper background of the book, you know, the setting, the audience, the questions we just asked.  One may never understand what the author is writing about until they find these things out.  And if that happens, if we don’t get a proper understanding of the book one can usually walk away with a wrong interpretation, or worse, a misapplication.  We don’t want to do that; we want to honor God’s Word.  So we will cover the introductory matters, so let’s jump right in.

The first section here we want to answer the question, who wrote the book, and that speaks to the authorship.  Look with me at Jude 1, Jude 1 says, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”  The name “Jude” (of course) is a Hebrew name, also known as Judas or Judah.  There is, as you can see, the Hebrew rendition and the Greek, pronounced you-das.  In Hebrew it means praised.  And Jude was a common  name in Israel and because the name was so common we have a problem.  In the Bible there are eight people that have the name Jude or Judas and obviously there can only be one Jude who wrote this book.  So we need to figure out who that was.

The first candidate here is in this first verse, Jude 1, it says the “brother of James.”  Okay, we have eight candidates, as you can see up here, the verse being in Jude 1, so who was James?  James is the half-brother of Jesus Christ Himself.  Galatians 1:19 says this: “But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.”  So logically if James was the half-brother of Christ that would mean the first candidate, Jude, was also Christ’s half-brother.

The second candidate is the son of the Patriarch, Jacob, in Matthew 1:1-2 and Luke 3:33 says that. It says that, the son of the Patriarch Jacob.  [Matthew 1:1-2, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:  [2] Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.”  Luke 3:33, “the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,  [34] the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor.”]

The third candidate would be the Apostle Judas  Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus and  you can reference that in Matthew 27:3.  His name was  Jude or Judas.  [Matthew 27:3, “Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,”]

The fourth candidate is Judas, also known as Barsabbas, he was a church leader and a prophet in Acts 15:22 and 27.  [Acts 15:22, “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas– Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.”  Acts 15:27, “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.”]

Then there’s the fifth candidate, Judas, not Iscariot, and he was the son of James, (this is another James) and you can find that in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.  [Luke 6:16, “Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”  Acts 1:13, “When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.”]

And then there’s a sixth candidate, the ancestor of Christ.  And then there’s Judas of Galilee, the Zealot, Acts 5:37.  [Acts 5:37, “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.”]  And then there’s Judas, the owner of the house on Straight Street, where Ananias was to meet Paul, Acts 9:11,  you will see that candidate there.  [Acts 9:11, “And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,”]

So let’s go through this list carefully, shall we?  Candidate 2 is highly unlikely as well as 5-8.  Now these candidates are unlikely because, simply because of the lack of evidence.  There is a lack of evidence.

Candidate 3, the Apostle Judas is also unlikely and the reason is because the author of Jude here chose to distinguish himself apart from the apostles.  In other words, he didn’t want to be known as an apostle, perhaps he felt he was unworthy, maybe, to be called one.  I really don’t know but…  in fact, if we scroll down to Jude 17 you will see that the author kept himself out of this large group of disciples.   [Jude 17, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,”]   It’s likely that this author has seen the apostles higher than himself so candidate 3 is out.

Candidate 4 is also unlikely, Barsabbas, and although he was deemed a prophet in Acts 15:32 he also accompanied Paul, Barnabas and Silas on Paul’s missionary journeys, and you can see that in Acts 15:22, there is also very little evidence that points to him as the author.  [Acts 15:32, “Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.”  Acts 15:22, Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas– Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.”]

So this leaves us with the first candidate, Jude, the brother of James and consequently the half-brother of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  And so with this tidbit of information we can piece together some biographical information about the author, Jude.  He was the brother of James, half-brother of Jesus, Galatians 1:19, [James 1:19, “But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.”]

He was the son of Mary and Joseph obviously; he had an identical salutation to James, James 1:1, [James 1:1, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.”]  And in addition to Jude he had brothers and sisters.  Did you know Jesus had brothers and sisters?  That’s listed in Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3.  [Matthew 13:55-56, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.”]

This is the same Jude that didn’t believe Jesus, John 7:5 says this: “For not even His brothers were believing in Him” in Jesus.  But later, in Acts 1:14 he and his brothers believed.  [Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”]  Now you see, proximity to Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus, not even a blood relationship to Jesus, guaranteed salvation.  Right?   Only faith alone in Him alone guarantees salvation.

And I’m so glad that Betty Cooke came up last week and gave her China’s mission report.  She said something that was loud and clear about their team and that was about planting seeds… planting seeds; us Christians we are in the business of planting seeds.  So many times we want to see salvation results right away because of our fleshly nature.  Many times we want to evangelize or minister to someone else and we want to hear a response right away.   We have that mindset.  And if a person doesn’t make a decision about Christ right then and there then perhaps he or she is a hopeless cause.  We think that way.  That’s nonsense, because we’re in the business of planting seeds; we’re all about planting a seed of truth in their heart.

1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Paul said, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. [6] I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. [7] So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  It’s God who gets the increase Paul is saying; we’re simply the means or the workers or the laborers.  As Betty rightly said, in His field the job of Paul and Apollos was to evangelize unbelievers but also bring believers to maturity.  Amen.  To Christ-likeness.  For me I’m very thankful for those who had the courage to speak in my life, in my immaturity, at the risk of our relationship.  Those are the type of people that you need in your life.  It’s not necessarily you don’t want in your life, you need them in your life.

And when you speak truth in someone’s life you notice that it never really goes well.  They don’t really want to receive what you have to say, and it depends on their spiritual maturity and teach-ability, right?  It may take years for them to receive what you have to say, to fully understand the truth in their lives.  Before mature Christians had the courage to speak in my life, you know, I really never knew what I never knew.  So my flesh would lash out.  Jude, and apparently his brothers, are perfect examples of this.  They never knew what they never knew.  It took him a long time, perhaps years, for him to believe in his older half-brother.  But thank the Lord Jude did come to his senses and in Acts 1:14 it proves that, they believed.  [Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”]

According to 1 Corinthians 9:3 Jude was married, and he took his wife with him to evangelize.        1 Corinthians 9:3 says that.  [1 Corinthians 9:3, “My defense to those who examine me is this:  [4] Do we not have a right to eat and drink?  [5] Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”]

Let’s take a look at Jude 1 again.  Here Jude crosses over to the threshold of just a believer to a disciple.  Jude 1 says, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ,” praise the Lord Jude believed; he put his faith in Christ Jesus but it didn’t stop there, Jude was teachable, thus becoming sold-out for Christ, as they say, so much so that he identified himself as a bond servant, a bondservant of Jesus Christ.  That word in the Greek is doulos which simply means slave.  How many of you would describe yourself as a slave?  One person!  He described himself as a slave.  Would you put that on your job application?  A slave, not only that, a slave of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ wasn’t a popular figure in that time. We Americans have a negative reaction when we hear the word “slave,” especially in today’s time, right?  Whereas the first century disciples, it was an honor to be called a slave.  Many of us have no idea what a slave’s life is like, to be in submission or subject to another person.  I think the closest we get is our employer, right?

The author of Jude, he was a bondservant, a slave of Jesus Christ.  And incidentally, according to popular commentaries, church fathers such as Clement, Alexandria, Origen, Jerome, Augustine, they all agree with our assessment that the author of Jude wrote this book.

So the next section answers the question, who was the book written to?  And this speaks to the issue of audience.  Look with me at Jude 1 again; it says, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those” this letter, “To those who are the called,” THE called, “beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”  so as we just read notice that Jude did not specifically name nor reveal where his audience is from.  Instead he refers to them has “those who are the called beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.”  He uses the word “beloved” verses 2, 3, 27 and 20.  So Jude had tremendous affection for these people.  He calls them “beloved.”

And if we look at verse 3 the audience shared a common salvation.  He also made note of “the faith,” THE faith.  And that they not only contend for it but was once for all handed down to them, the saints, verse 3, confirming… this verse confirms their sainthood.  [3, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”]  They were believers.  We can confidently say that Jude’s audience were believers.

But if we read further in Jude we will discover that his audience was not just a believing audience but a Jewish one. There’s strong evidence of that, a Jewish believing audience.  How do we know that?  Well, throughout the book Jude makes frequent references to the Old Testament, many references.  Not only that the apocryphal writings, in particular The Assumption of Moses, he refers to that.  He refers to The Book of Enoch, so we can safely assume that his audience was of Jewish descent because a Gentile believer would have no idea what he’s talking about.  Right?

And we know that because Jude never offers an explanation; he doesn’t clarify those references, the Old Testament or the Apocryphal writings.  He references the Exodus and the death of the Israelites in the wilderness.  He references the fallen angels in verse 6, Sodom and Gomorrah, verse 7.  Moses’ body, verse 9, Cain and Abel in verse 11, Balaam, Korah Enoch and Adam.

[Jude 6, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, [7] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire [9] But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” [11] Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”]

In other words, his audience knew what he was talking about.  In contrast, a contrasting example would be someone like Luke.  We finished Luke a few Sunday’s back and Luke explained his Jewish references, his Jewish cities and localities.  So by that information we know that his audience was Jewish.  So we can assume that they were Jewish.  We have strong evidence of this.

But not just that, we can assume that they lived outside of Israel, meaning that they were scattered in the Diaspora.

We can come to that assumption because of Jude’s similarities to another book and that’s 1 Peter, Peter’s writings.  You will discover many similarities with those books, as this chart shows.  We’ll talk more about this later in our study; however scholars say that Jude relied on Peter’s writings as far as content and material and so since Peter, 1 Peter 1:1, he wrote, Jews “scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who are chosen.”   [1 Peter 1:1, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen”]  See that area there in the circle, that’s who Peter wrote to, scattered Jews in Asia Minor. And so since the similarities cannot me missed nor ignored we can safely assume that Jude wrote to these people as well, these scattered Jews.

This brings us to our next section, the date of the book, answering when the book was written.  Now here there’s some debate.  We all love debates, right?  Surrounding the time when Jude was written and many accepted the date of Jude, written around 68-80 A.D.   And again, the reason for this is because 2 Peter was written around that time and the similarities between the two.  Now notice all these similarities.  If you compare, like this chart does, both side by side, you will see very striking parallels. They speak on the same issues.

Now this begs the question, who influenced who?  Who borrowed from who?  Who preceded who? And I believe Peter’s epistles precedes Jude, Jude’s letter, for four reasons.  The first reason is because Jude, many times as we see here, directly quotes Peter’s book.  And Jude even references the apostles.  Look at verses 17-18 for a second.

It says, speaking to his audience, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, [18] that they were saying to you, “In the last ‘time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”’  There Jude quoted 2 Peter 3:3.  Now notice what Peter says, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,” see that, he quotes Peter, Jude does.

The second reason I think Peter preceded Jude’s writings is because around the time of Jude’s writings the destruction of Jerusalem either happened or was imminent but Jude never mentions this, this destruction.  Some may say that doesn’t prove anything but I think it’s very significant because the destruction of Israel was a very significant time in Israel’s history… very significant.

The third reason why I think Peter’s writings precede Jude’s is because Jude references other sources.  Like we said before, he quotes Moses, Enoch, he quoted the apocryphal writings.  It was normal for Jude to quote other people so that would mean it wouldn’t seem out of place for him to quote Peter, right?  Peter’s writings.  And he can’t really quote someone that was after him, right?  That’s the third reason.

The fourth reason I think Peter’s writings precede Jude is this: notice the priority in this chart.  Peter predicted and Jude confirmed.  Peter predicted there will be false teachers, 2 Peter 2:1.  [2 Peter 2:1, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”]  Jude reveals certain persons have crept in, Jude 4.  [Jude 4, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”]  Peter predicted many will follow these false teachers.  Jude reveals they have already gone the way of Cain.  Peter predicted that scoffers will come.  You notice the “will”?  They will, many scoffers will come. Jude reveals that they are already there.

You see that in verse 12, also in verse 17 and 18.  Do you notice the priority there?  Peter, moved by the Holy Spirit, clearly made predictions.  Then Jude comes, moved by the Holy, merely confirmed those predictions.  Does this not speak loud and clear about the reliability when it comes to predictive prophecy?  We’re learning that in Daniel 9, aren’t we.  I think so!  God means what He says and says what He means.  So given the Book of Jude’s strong similarities to that of 2 Peter you can safely assume that it was written around the same time as 2 Peter, around 68 to 80 A.D.

This brings us to our next section: location, and this answers the question where was the book written from?  So Bible students usually ascertain this answer from either or external geographical clues.  However, and unfortunately there are none [can’t understand word].  There’s no source that lends, any other source that lends to the clues as to where this letter was written from.  Our best guess comes from a trusted scholar we all love, Andy Woods, (he’s an okay scholar so… you know) he says, “If Judah is written along with Peter’s letters then it could have been written from Babylon or Rome,” because 1 Peter was written from Babylon.  Another possibility is that it was written from inside of the land of Canaan.  Now that’s a large area which includes Israel, which would make sense because his audience was scattered outside of Israel.  So three, possibly Babylon, possibly Rome, possibly the land of Canaan.  Short section.

This brings us to our next section.  One thing that stands out about the Book of Jude is its genre.  What genre does this letter fall under?  And we can classify this books as an epistolary sermon within the genre of oratory discourse because of its strong exhortation to its audience, an urgency to action.  For example, verse 3, and 17-23 show that, a very strong exhortation.  Let’s look at verse 3 for a second.  “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend.”  So being that Jude did not present this orally, notice he “felt the necessity to write” makes this an epistolary book in form.

Another reason why this epistle stands out is because of its unique characteristics.  Jude’s style of writing, very unique, very colorful.  He uses vibrant, very colorful illustrations and borrows from nature, you’ll see that in the book, many figures of speech, like verse 12 and verse 13. He repeatedly refers back to the Old Testament.  He cites non-canonical literature as we’ve just seen or discussed earlier.

One thing to take notice, Jude uses triads all throughout this book.  Triads are a group of threes; groups of threes closely related things or persons.  He uses this method in his introduction.  Notice Jude 1, Jude, bond-servant, brother.  [Jude 1, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”]  All the way to his benediction, before, now and forever.  Very unique.  Jude’s creative writing according to some scholars become very unfamiliar to the modern reader, even Christians.  In fact, one scholar wrote a book entitled It’s the Most Neglected Book in the New Testament.  That was the title of his book.

The readers are either puzzled or terrified of Jude’s cryptic message as he makes reference to all of these references, Enoch, Moses and others.  It’s an amazing piece of literature, very short, very concise, and it demands respect because of its style, vocab.  One scholar said: “It’s astounding brevity though through acquaintance with and calculated use of Jewish literary sources marshalled in a concise, well-conceived polemic that simultaneously exhorts the faithful and warns the unfaithful.”   The genre of the book is epistolary in form.

This brings us to our next section, a very important section and that’s the purpose.  This answers the question why? Why did Jude write this letter?  Almost every letter in the New Testament was written to address a problem, an issue facing the church.  Many times Christians fail to fully under­stand this when an author of any book is trying to get across to his readers, they fail to understand it simply because of a lack of understanding of the overall purpose of the book.  And these preliminary questions that we’re asking ourselves are immensely beneficial.  It’s a great exercise to get familiar with any book.  In fact, it’s a requirement for Bible College or Seminary.  Ask Alice.  It was one of my favorites.  And so the goal is to fully understand the Bible.

That said, the purpose of Jude’s letter is immediately found in his salutation.  Look with me again at verse 3.  “…I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith….”  Please take notice of what his former subject was going to be… a common salvation, he was going to talks about salvation.  That’s a pretty important topic; right?  However, Jude “felt it necessary to write” about we believers contending for the faith.  Why would he want to write about such a topic as contending for the faith?  Look at the following verse.

Verse 4, this is why, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed,” the purpose of the book was to warn his fellow believers of these false teachers.  Now remember, Peter predicted and Jude confirmed, right?  It became a reality, these false teachers were in there; contend for you faith now he says.  Why is that?  For they “crept in,” “For certain persons have crept in,” these were false teachers, false believers, perhaps false prophets.  We call them apostates, heretics, sheep in wolves clothing, slithering in the ranks of believers, “unnoticed…”  unnoticed!  I have a question.

If Peter predicted these  in the first century and Jude confirmed these prophecies shortly thereafter, I wonder, is the church now filled with false teachers, these persons?  And  you know what else concerns me?  Notice the word “unnoticed,” they “have crept in unnoticed” not observed, given no attention, given no mention, undetected.  The church was not aware nor alarmed.  They did not discern them.  They were not cognizant of these people creeping in.  No one said a word.

This sort of reminds me of the writing on the wall incident in Daniel 5.  Remember that?  If I could use the incidents in Daniel 5 as  a comparison, who with Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, partying with his guests, eating and drinking.  And then fingers of God writes this cryptic message on the wall for Belshazzar and his guests to see.  And then Daniel is summoned in to interpret the writing. Can he basically reveal that the king’s kingdom was going to be stripped away, just like that.  And here’s the comparison I wanted to make: the Medes crept in unnoticed, undetected, without any battle.  There was no war, in other words, they crept in unnoticed.  And I think Jude is revealing something similar here; they’re creeping in unnoticed, without a fight.

Does that mean the church was asleep?  Partying it up?  Not vigilant or alert in their posture.  Or worse, did these believers begin caving in, believing these lies, being devoured by apostates?  This is the reason why Jude said “contend for the faith,” not just contend, contend earnestly.  I think the answer is yes, that’s the reason.  The word “contend” there, in the Greek, means to fight, to do battle, to war.  He said “contend earnestly.”

And not only that, again look back at the purpose; there was a necessity to fight because of the fact that they’re already in there.  Of course not a physical war, just spiritual war, a war of truth and lies, a war against speculation, things like that.

You know, when a boxer trains he is trained to keep his hands up, to stay alert, to be on guard.  If you ever watch a boxing match you’re going to hear hands up, hands up.  He must always have his hands up protecting his head and his body, the vulnerable parts and then attack and counter and be aggressive in order to win the fight.  In Jude’s letter is this not an exhortation to be aggressive in that manner in the face of false teachers and their falsities?  He said “contend earnestly.”  So the purpose of Jude’s letter is to warn believers of this present threat of apostasy or apostates.  Peter predicted it and Jude confirmed it.

Look with me at Jude 3 again, Jude 3, there’s the purpose statement.  And I encourage you to highlight this and underline it, this is a key verse.  It says, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

If we could capture the purpose of Jude’s letter in one statement it would be to exhort believers to earnestly contend for the faith in the face of apostasy.

This brings us to our next section.  There’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  The purpose of Jude: to exhort believers to earnestly contend for the faith in the face of apostasy.  The next section, what’s in the book?  What’s in the Book of Jude?  And this is basically an overview and an outline of the book.  And thankfully God is a God of order.  Amen!  And Jude’s letter consists of just 25 verses and it can be nicely divided into four sections.  The first section is the purpose, we’ve just been through that.   A warning to believers, be prepared to contend against false teachers.  The second section, to describe the false teachers.  Now in this section it not only describes the teachers, he also illustrates their imminent and ultimate doom, in detail.  How is this doom executed?  By divine judgment.  God is the judge.

Among the references Jude uses to describe the false teachers, he uses references from Israel’s past, particularly in the time of Moses.  Jude takes lessons from the angelic rebellion; remember that in Genesis 6.  He uses lessons from Sodom and Gomorrah.  He lists judgments in the Book of Enoch, very cryptic and sobering, a very sobering section and that we should not take lightly.  The third section is the defense against false teachers.  In other words, what do we do as believers, what do we do to insulate ourselves, protect ourselves from these false ideas and false teachers?   A very interesting and very eye-opening section.  He teaches us how to treat other believers as well, who may have been affected by false teachers and their ideas.

And then the fourth section we see a doxology of Jude, verses 24-25, a very important aspect for us today, that everyone should be doing, myself included, and that is we should be giving praise to God in the midst of this apostasy.  Look at Jude 24 and 25.  It says, “Now to Him who is able” now in light of the false teachers that are among us, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, [25] to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”  Jude rightfully gave glory where glory is due, which is what we should be doing in these times.  Peter called it the end times; in these end times, or last days giving all glory to God.

And then the last section speaks to an application.  After answering all these preliminary questions we, as Bible students, should ask another very important question: how can I apply this message of Jude to my life?  We don’t want to ask this question before, we want to ask this question… when we answered the last question how was it applicable to my life?  And of course as we go through this book verse by verse we can extract more life applications and the information that we just learned and discovered by asking these questions we can generate a general application for us to go home with.

And so knowing the purpose of the book, I love how one scholar summarized an application of value, he said this about the Book of Jude: “The book is a solemn warning to Christians everywhere since all are subject to the same doctrinal and practical errors.  Though its theme regarding apostasy was specifically directed to first century Jewish Christians it’s message is applicable to all Christians.  All believers need to avoid the pitfalls of denying Christ’s Lordship, promiscuously following the fleshly desires, rejecting authority, being divisive, and living for self.

Apparently these false teachers were promoting those ideas in Jude’s time.  And so there’s a very loud and clear message that Jude is conveying here and it’s the frightening reminder of the recurrent dangers of error, or rebellion, of apostasy and of judgment.

Also, that false teachers will by no means escape from divine judgment.  There’s past and present examples to prove that.  The polemic against false teachers should not be missed; it sticks out like a sore thumb.  And Jude exhorts his audience to remember these examples.  He fluently illustrates the tension between the two, the ungodly and the godly and that should not be missed as well.  And it’s amazing how Jude does that.  The ungodly is reserved and the godly are kept for their appointed end.  According to Jude apostasy is linear; there’s a progression, it moves from deception, as in the example of Cain, verse 11, then it moves to error as an example of Balaam, verse 11, THEN to destruction, also in verse 11.  [Jude 1:11, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”]  He uses the example of Korah.

And that’s why in my prayer time I have committed myself to pray for the leadership of this church.  When I pray for Pastor Andy or Pastor Jim, the elders, Carol, Casey, as well as for myself, I pray that the Lord keeps us from compromise or from false ideas, or false influences because we’ve seen throughout church history that once, that anyone or any group is susceptible to apostasy.  Apostasy—falling away from known truth.  And I’m sure you guys agree, for me I love the teaching that comes from this pulpit, that comes from Pastor Andy and I pray for Pastor Andy because once false ideas fill the ranks of the leadership it’s just a matter of time… it’s just a matter of time.  I pray that we all get serious about praying for leadership in that respect.

So as far as a general application it’s loud and clear, Jude desires for us to grow spiritually, verse 20.  Grow spiritually!  Number 2, be assured of your salvation, verse 21, verses 24-25.  And also help the weaker believer, in this case those who are in doubt, those who have fallen because of false teachers.

So by way of review?  Who wrote the book?  Jude, the brother of James, half-brother of Jesus Christ.  Who was the book written to?  Jews scattered in Asia Minor.  When was the book written?  Between 68 and 80 A.D.  Where was the book written from?  Possibly in the land of Canaan or Babylon.  What’s the genre of the book?  Epistolary in form.  What’s the purpose of the book?  To exhort believers to earnestly contend for the faith, THE faith, in the face of apostasy.  What’s in the book?  A present threat of and a defense against false teachers.  And is there an application?  Yes there is, to grow spiritually, be assured of your salvation, and also to help those who doubt.

Apostasy is real in the world and in the body of Christ and it ought not be taken lightly.  Amen.  I remember when I was a child visiting my grandparents in [can’t understand word] on  the island of Oahu, on the weekends with my family, my grandparents lived near the mountains, very green and lush.  They lived in and old house, creaky floors, and so I could remember the faint smell of mustiness, [can’t understand words] he had chickens in the background always making noise.  I remember running to the house [can’t understand word] this was my grandparents’ house, I loved them.  But I was instructed by my grandpa NEVER enter the backroom—NEVER!  And the reason was because it was infested by termites.  The damage was so extensive that it affected the sub structure of the walls and the floors.  There was… you could see the dirt underneath the house because of holes.  I mean, it was bad, and he says don’t go there, just don’t go there.  They had to fully reconstruct and renovate that section of the house.

But the termites had crept in unnoticed, silently wreaking havoc on the structures of the house and compromising the whole integrity of that house.  And that’s the picture that comes to mind when I consider Jude and the false prophets in Jude, people who secretly creep in Christian churches unnoticed and prey on the weak… the weak.  They impose their will and speak with selfish intentions and speak lies concerning Christ and His church, trying to advance their godless agendas.

And like termites, false teachers affect and infect the substructures of the church, the leadership, the congregation and things of that nature.  And eventually, if not treated, or eliminated, the house and everything in it falls.  I’m excited to embark on this expositional journey with you.  This will be my first time going through a book verse by verse so please pray for me; I would greatly appreciate that.

You know the Book of Jude reminds us that Jesus Christ is able to keep us from stumbling in the ways of the false teachers.  He is able to make us stand in His presence blameless.  The Scripture says blameless with great joy [Jude 1:24].  But what about the unbeliever?  Well, he doesn’t have those benefits, right?  The Bible says they are enemies of God.   That’s not a good position.  And there might be some of you who may not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Instead of an enemy of God how can I be a child of God.  And that’s plain and simple, it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ.  And how do I get into a relationship with Jesus Christ?  One thing… believe, believe in the gospel.  The gospel is Christ came, lived a perfect life, died for our sins and yours, He rose on the third day and ascended into heaven.  That’s the gospel.  And when we believe on that the Bible says we have transferred from death into life.  And I encourage you to believe, the best you can, believe on the gospel and you will be saved.  The Bible says today is the day of salvation.  I pray you are doing that; if you are still confused about it or need some assistance I’m available to talk after the service.  Shall we pray.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that Your Word is settled and  Your Word is sure.  I pray that from this day forward we would take Your Word serious as it pertains, contending earnestly for the faith and about false teachers.  Keep us from the snare of the devil; cause us to remember Your Word and live out Your Word and trust You for our provision.  We love you and we give You all the praise.  In Jesus’ name God’s people said Amen.