Skip to content

Jude

May 18, 2009

Background

I. Introduction Jude 1-4

  1. Who                             Jude 1
  2. To Whom                   Jude 2
  3. For What Reason    Jude 3-4

II. God’s Character includes Judgment for Sin Jude 5-7

III. The Deceiver’s Character Jude 8-19

IV. The Believer’s Character Jude 20-23

V. God’s Assurance Jude 24-25

Background:

There is general agreement among scholars that Jude refers to Judas the brother
of James and half brother to Jesus. If such is true, one could speculate that
this letter could be directed at the Church in Jerusalem assuming Jude entered
into some position of authority after his brother was martyred. Or one could
speculate that is was written to churches around his boyhood home, Nazareth,
and near the Sea of Galilee and distributed in the area. And one could even speculate that this letter is written for Jewish congregations more so than gentile congregations. But the key word here is speculation. The message he gives is an important one for all Christians wherever they reside.

The overall theme seems to be

Faithfulness.

Be Faithful for He is Faithful.

Be Warned and be Faithful.

Jude wants us to be discerning about those in the Church who do not want to
follow the Truth and wish to divide the Church. This was a very big issue in
the early Church. They had the Old Testament but they did not yet have the New
Testament. They had the Apostles teaching, those men who were present with Christ
from His baptism to His cross. But the Apostles were scattered from Jerusalem,
martyred and/or ministering in other parts of the Roman Empire. Therefore many
of the Epistles in our New Testament give similar warnings in order to keep
the Gospel Message pure. We understand from this letter that Jesus Christ came
to save sinners who repent and will punish those who sin and do not repent. There
is no such thing as “middle ground”.

Study this Epistle/letter alongside I and II Peter. They have much in common
when considering subjects such as the mercy of God [I Peter] and false teachers
[II Peter]. They probably were written near the same time in history too.

Introduction                                                                                                          Jude 1-4

Who                                                          Jude 1

There is an imposed priority given. Jude is first a servant of Jesus Christ
and second, a brother of James. This introduction is why most scholars believe
that Jude, a synonym for Judas, is the half brother of Jesus. He is the full
brother of James. He isn’t the brother of Jesus because Jesus was born of God,
conceived by the Holy Spirit. He is no different than any other Jew/man living.
He is born of flesh and needed to be born of the Spirit just like everybody
else. I speculated in the Background that Jude was a leader in the Church but
he could just as well have been a layman. Obviously he had some influence because
this letter was saved and canonized. But his influence was because he was a
servant and not because of any position he held. We too can be an influence
in the Church and in our community but it always involves being a servant. Be
a Servant and make a difference.

To Whom                                                  Jude 2

Jude is writing to all those called and kept by Christ. They are the “born
again”, those chosen, and those filled with the Spirit, protected and guarded
by Him for fellowship with Him eternally. They are the ones God loves. He wishes
them abundant mercy, peace, and love, all which are gifts from God. We become
abundant by sharing these gifts with others. God is merciful to us as we show
mercy to others. God grants us peace as we are peaceful. God love us as we love
others. Share God’s goodness and you will never want for anything, especially
His mercy, peace, and love.

For What Reason                              Jude 3-4

Jude wanted to write a letter of rejoicing about the great gift of Salvation
God has given through Jesus Christ. It was to be a positive letter about our
Hope in Christ. But he now sees Godless men within the Church and must exhort
them to contend for the faith. These people have cheapened God’s grace, believing
they are free to sin as they please because God forgives. They have no intention
of obeying. They are hypocrites and destroy the testimony of God’s grace. They
do not appreciate what Christ Jesus did on the cross, dying for our sin. They
believe Jesus was a great teacher but fail to worship Him as Lord and Savior.
They have no respect and comprehension for Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation.
They think they are living in freedom but they are really living in bondage
to sin.

God’s Character includes Judgment of Sin                                  Jude 5-7

These two verses remind Jude’s readers of God’s past judgments of sin. He
sites three examples:

  1. Those Israelites who were delivered out of Egypt but rebelled, grumbled, disobeyed, and refused to believe that God would deliver them to the Promised Land.
  2. Those “fallen angels” who were thrown out of heaven because they followed Satan instead of the Lord God. They gave up positions of authority because they thought Satan had a better plan. They too were rebellious.
  3. Those people who inhabited Sodom and Gomorrah, also rebellious, desiring immorality and perverted worship instead of worship of the true God.

The message is clear. God loves us but he hasn’t tolerated sin in the past,
either with the Jews, the heavenly beings, or gentiles. Since He is the same
yesterday, today, and forever, He does not tolerate sin in any era. We need
Jesus, who took our judgment for sin [death] and clothed us with His righteousness.
Judgment for sin is part of the Holy and Righteous character of God.

The Deceiver’s Character                                                                    Jude 8-19

The character traits of these “deceivers” are the same as those
listed in verses 5-7 that were judged by God. They are dreamers [without any
foundation], polluters [drunk and immoral], rejecters of authority [denying
the authority of scripture and the Apostles], and slanderers of heavenly beings
[deny their existence including the existence of Satan]. They don’t believe
there is such a thing as spiritual warfare and fail to call on God. They are
like Cain [proud], desire profit like Balaam, and show disrespect for their
chosen leaders like Korah. Humility is unknown to them.

These selfish “infiltrators” give a black eye to the gospel message.
They are described as fruitless, dead, wild, wandering, and destined for hell.
Their hearts are like the seed that fell on the rocky places in Mark 4:6.

Enoch’s prophecy of judgment applies to them and will come upon them. They
grumble, find fault, follow their desires, boast about themselves, and flatter
one another. They are not grateful for God’s gift of salvation [they don’t believe
they need it] nor are they humbled by His presence. They scoff at God’s Word;
they do not have the Spirit; they are motivated by their will instead of God’s
will; and they are divisive. They take God’s Word out of context for their benefit.
It’s what I want to believe instead of what I should believe. The Apostles have
warned about such people in previous Epistles and we must take it seriously.

We as Christians have a tendency to ignore these things because we are afraid
to pass judgment. “Do not judge lest ye be judged”. Thus we shirk
our responsibility to keep His message pure and His messengers pure. Judgment
is the Lords’ but we have been given a responsibility to point our error. A
friend of ours uses the term “fruit inspectors”. We use His Word and
not our behavior as an example of what He desires us to be. Our discernment
is according to Him, not us. And we do so in love. Just like Christ, we don’t
want anyone to perish.

The Believer’s Character                                                             Jude 20-23

Jude sets out 7 characteristics for the believers to follow in confronting
the deceivers.

  1. Exercise your faith; use it. Read, study, and obey God’s Word.
  2. Pray. Use the Holy Spirit within you to guide you.
  3. Obey God through service in His name according to His will.
  4. Be patient. Let the Lord lead. He is merciful.
  5. Be merciful to those whose faith is shaky. Love them and comfort them while teaching them the Truth.
  6. Confront those in error and seek to bring them back into the Truth.
  7. Be merciful to those who refuse to admit their wrong doing. But be careful so you don’t fall into their traps.

These principles are good to follow in any situation. We need not worry. God
will work through our lives and protect us from evil.

God’s Assurance                                                                                         Jude 24-25

This is commonly called The Doxology. It is a prayer of trust and faith in
God. It expresses our confidence in Him and His assurance of protection from
falling into error. He will make sure that we come before Him as blameless,
without sin, having the righteousness of Christ, full of joy, and ready to worship
and praise Him for His work of salvation. He is faithful. He is God, our Savior,
Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the King of Kings. Amen!

dividerPlease note: the links directly below (after “from–>”) are external links. Clicking on them means you will leave the Greenley Commentary Web site. To search Greenley Commentary using categories, use the Search by Category function in the right sidebar.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: