Introduction and Chapter 1
-Introduction: Jude, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, writes a short polemic on the necessity to protect, guard, and contend for the faith in the Savior against certain persons who have crept in unnoticed into the group of believers. They are ungodly persons who turn the grace of God into “licentiousness (aselgeia- unbridled lust, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence)” and deny the only Master and Lord (Jude 1:4). He uses several Old Testament examples of situations where the Lord’s judgment came upon people with these two characteristics and expounds upon the wayward people’s character. By the end, he is exhorting Christians to fulfill their duty to fight for God’s truth in a corrupt-wicked world that causes divisions and is devoid of the Holy Spirit. Jude is written in about 65 A.D. and is giving perspective on the first century Church that has been threatened by heresy and false teaching. The key verse is verse three in this one-chapter book. “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.” Determine to be a good and faithful soldier in and for Christ as we study this impactful portion of Scripture.
-Chapter 1: Jude was the brother of James, and the half-brother of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that he calls himself a servant (doulos, bond-servant, slave) of his Lord and Savior. This reflects the Deity of Christ Jesus and Jude’s place in the pecking order. He writes to those who are called (klatos, the invited), and beloved IN God the Father and KEPT for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1). He asks the Lord’s favor in the multiplication of mercy, peace, and love upon his recipients in this unknown church (Jude 1:2).
-Jude started out to write about salvation, but as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), the Lord placed it in him to expound on contending for the faith already received that was once and for all time delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). The issue was false teachers and deceivers that had crept in unnoticed to the church. These ungodly were long ago designated for this condemnation. They pervert the grace of God in sensuality (licentiousness) and deny the only Master, the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). By way of reminder, he sets forth the necessity for belief using the children of Israel as a stark depiction of unbelief coming out of Egypt and perishing. He also uses the fallen angels who did not stay in their position of authority, but left their proper dwelling in Heaven out of rebellion (among whom was Lucifer, or Satan, the evil one) to demonstrate the demise of the doomed ones. Their judgment is keeping them in eternal chains under gloomy darkness, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which pursued the same sexual immorality and perversion of unnatural desire. The eternal fire awaits those who stay turned against God and His ways. These false teachers rely on their dreams, rather than the prophetic Word of God; they defile the flesh, reject dominion (authority, people in charge), and blaspheme the glorious ones. The angel Michael is cited as using his authority to correct with rebuke in the proper order under authority. He stated, “The Lord rebuke you,” rather than take matters into his own hands with a spirit of pride. The evil ones blaspheme (blasphēmeō- to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate) what they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they know instinctively as fallen creatures, like unreasoning (unthinking) animals. They have walked in the unbelief of Cain (Genesis 4, Hebrews 11:4), in the error of Balaam (Numbers 22-24; 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, Revelation 2:14), and in the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16:5-49). These unrighteous ones are compared to hidden reefs (think about the unseen dangers beneath the ocean waves where sharp and dangerous coral reefs are) at the love feasts (fellowships) of the church. These have no fear of God and feed themselves selfishly. They are waterless clouds swept along by strong winds. They are fruitless trees in late autumn. They are twice dead (physical and spiritual). They are uprooted-wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their own shame. They are wandering and drifting stars in a vast galaxy without orbit for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 1:5-13). God is coming to execute His righteous judgment on these who run from the Lord by their ungodly deeds and harshness. These are grumblers and malcontents, who follow their own sinful desires. They are loud-mouthed boasters. They show favoritism and flatter to gain advantage (Jude 1:14-16). Jude reminds them again that in the last time there will come scoffers with ungodly passions, who cause division. They are people of the world, devoid of the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:17-19).
-*Application* Here we see a long list on things to look for as we “contend” for the faith. Some important things for us to think about in the church: Not everyone is on the up and up spiritually, they are distinguishable by these very clear attributes delineated here by Jude in Scripture, we are not to cower to these people, but we are to be strong in the face of the adversary within the church of the Living God. He will fight for us and execute His justice when evil is present. It is a war, make no mistake about it. Our weapons can be put on and the fight is the Lord’s (Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Chronicles 32:8).
-In contrast, as believers in the one-true God, Jesus Christ, we must build ourselves up in the most holy faith, and we must pray IN the Holy Spirit. We must keep ourselves IN the love of God, and patiently wait for the mercy of our Savior that leads to eternal life. Christian living includes having mercy ourselves on those who have doubts and fears. We are to be like firefighters who snatch the victims out of the burning flames in a spiritual rescue effort hating the very garments stained by the worldly-fleshly living patterns (Jude 1:20-23). We need to keep looking to Jesus, who IS ABLE to keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of God in His glory with great joy. To God be this glory, majesty, dominion, and authority from the beginning before all time, to the now (or present), and going forward into forever (Jude 1:24-25). *Application* Keep the big picture in mind. There may be a temporary suffering in this world as we live in Christ, but the end results are worth the price of admission. God’s greatness extends to all who love Him and are called to be His children in Spirit and truth. Receive all He has to offer you and reject the temporary and fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-27).
Verse to Memorize: Jude 1:3