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|Posted on November 13, 2016 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – Jude 17-25 ON GUARD – Day 2
Jude 17 But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 they told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people create divisions and are unbelievers, not having the Spirit.
The apostles’ teachings, their letters to the churches, are filled with warnings about false teachers (Acts 20:28–31; 1 Tim. 4:1, 2; 2 Tim. 3:1–5; 4:1–3; 2 Pet. 2:1—3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 7–11). As noted previously, false teachers put their own desires above the will of God. They are not believers even though they present themselves as Christians. They create division rather than unity, and condone promiscuity, sexual perversion, and other ungodly behavior. Once again, the responsibility we have is to know what the scripture teaches about godliness, holiness, being changed by the Holy Spirit within us. This way we will have discernment to recognize erroneous teaching when we hear it.
Jude 20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
Here is the antithesis to false teachers and false teachings, the things we should be doing. We are to build ourselves in order to insulate ourselves against false teaching. As we read in 2 Peter 1:3, God has provided everything we need to live a life that honors and glorifies Him.
John MacArthur Study Bible
20 building. True believers have a sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11) and cornerstone (Eph. 2:20) in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith (cf. v. 3) have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32)
God keeps us and holds us securely in His hand (John 10:28-29). However, we experience His love by continually abiding in that truth and obeying His commands. When we are truly His, the Holy Spirit within us changes our desires to be in conformity to His will. We look forward expectantly to the day Jesus will call us home or return to retrieve us.
Jude 22 Have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
We need to be merciful to those who doubt. We need to explain truth to them at every opportunity and pray for their salvation. There are some who are toying with false teaching to the point that we need to grab them quickly and compassionately pull them back to hear the gospel. There are others who are following false teachers, denying the deity of Christ, and living lasciviously. We still need to witness to them but exercise caution lest we be sucked into sin rather than being a positive influence to them. We need to be careful that in our effort to identify with the world in order to reach them that we do not become worldly ourselves. You cannot become a wolf to win one. “He who lies down with dogs, gets fleas.” Jude likens this to someone covered with oozing sores taking off their shirt and handing it to you to put on. I don’t think you would do that, so don’t take on even a tiny bit of their sinful lifestyle!
Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Jude ends with praise to the Lord and confirmation that it is God who enables us to live the life He has called us to live. Paul makes this same affirmation.
Romans 14:4 (HCSB) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Ephesian 3:14-21 (ESV) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Jude declares the deity of Jesus by pointing out that He has been keeping us in the past, now, and forever. I like this in the Voice translation:
Jude 25b (VOICE) just as it has been since before He created time, may it continue now and into eternity. Amen.
Challenge: False teachers posing as Christian shepherds are a reality. Guard your mind against them by being rooted and grounded in the word of God. Attend a Bible teaching church. Participate in Sunday School and Bible Studies. Most of all study the Bible on your own, praying for the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, bring it to life, and help you to understand and apply it.
|Posted on November 12, 2016 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:1-3 and Jude 16 - ON GUARD – Day 1
2 Peter 2:1 (HCSB) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.
There have always been false prophets, the obvious ones like the prophets of Baal in the Old Testament and the sneaky ones that infiltrate the church as “tares among the wheat” (Matthew chapter 13). They slither in like snakes to poison and divide Christ’s church. Or they be more like chameleons, changing their colors to fit in. Jesus called them wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). We can recognize them by the fact that they teach things that do not line up with the word of God. They deny the lordship and deity of Jesus Christ. One cannot have salvation without lordship. Jesus bought us with His blood and is our Master as well as our Savior. A true Christian’s life will be characterized by repentance and obedience, growing in godliness as they mature.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them.
False teachers often lead a promiscuous lifestyle, downplaying or even denying the truth that Jesus taught us to live in purity. How often have we seen a person who claims to be a teacher of the word of God fall (or dive headlong) into sexual sin? The world, the unbelieving ones, see this and think that Christians are no different than the rest of the world. Baby Christians and non-believers come away with the impression that “you can have your cake and eat it to.” They feel they can turn to Christ and continue to drink to excess, do recreational drugs, and have sexual relationships outside of the marriage bed. This harms the witness of those who do seek to follow the Lord. Jesus calls us to a life of holiness, a life set apart from the rest of the world and to obedience to Him. We are to be the light that guides people out of the darkness of sin and into the glorious light of Christ.
Matthew 5:14 (VOICE) And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden.
As we studied in 1 Peter, we are to be holy – set apart.
1 Peter 1:15 (AMP) But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage];
2 Peter 2:3 They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
False teachers gather large crowds in order to exploit them. They are the type that convince impoverished people to give their last dime in order to receive healing or special blessings and then use those dimes to purchase luxuries for themselves. They want to extort money from these people, taking their livelihood, to foot the bill for their own fleshly appetites.
These false teachers may prosper for a time, but their condemnation is certain. We do not want to be riding on their coattails when they go down, so we need to use discernment when listening to teachers.
Jude 16 These people are discontented grumblers, walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.
Remember what the Lord did with the grumblers in the party Moses led from Egypt? He had the ground swallow some up, destroyed some by fire, and sent plagues among His people to judge them. Those who grumble against the Lord had best beware! Everything the apostates, false teachers, do and say is counterfeit and motivated by their own agenda. They want to trade the freedom from the law found in Christ for license to do as they please.
Jude 1:4 (NIV) For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
The false teachers “utter arrogant words.” Be wary of anyone who claims to have a new, never heard, perspective from the Lord. Check all claims against the Bible! If something being taught in any way contradicts God’s word, do not trust it.
Walk away from flattery as well. Again, if someone is teaching exactly what you want to hear, make sure it lines up with what God declares in His word.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NASB) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Chew on This: Increasingly this study is showing us how crucial it is to be in the word of God, to study it, meditate on it, internalize it. The only way we can unmask the false teachers is to have a firm grip on the Truth.
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
Jude 8-15: 2nd bonus lesson
Jude 8 (HCSB) Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.
“These dreamers” refers to the apostates who had so been deluded that they gave themselves over to fleshly appetites and perhaps even attributed their perverse ways to dreams or visions from God. They were characterized by sexual perversity, rejecting God and godly authority, and even blaspheming angels (glorious ones).
Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Michael was a powerful angel but did not fight Satan in his own strength, instead calling on the Lord to rebuke him. This account of Michael battling the Devil for the body of Moses is not found anywhere else in scripture, but is found in the pseudepigraphal Assumption of Moses. The fact that Jude quotes from this book does not necessarily mean that the entire book is true, but does imply that this particular account is accurate. However, scripture does record that Moses died alone on Mt. Nebo without entering the promised land and “was secretly buried in a place not known to man” John MacArthur Study Bible. (Deut. 34:5, 6)
We should be cautious about rebuking demons and in all dealings with spiritual beings. We must defer to the Lord Jesus and His power against them. Rather than speaking directly to them, we should pray that the Lord intervene on our behalf or on behalf the person we are praying for.
Jude 10 But these people blaspheme anything they don’t understand. What they know by instinct like unreasoning animals—they destroy themselves with these things.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
10 speak evil. Lit. “blaspheme.” Cf. v. 8. Apostate teachers, in their brash, bold, egotistical infatuation with imagined power and authority, rail on that which they don’t even understand....
Reformation Study Bible:
As usually interpreted, Jude’s point is that the rash talk of the false teachers contrasts with the temperate speech of Michael (2 Pet. 2:10 and note). Others interpret Jude as contrasting Michael’s appeal to God’s authority with the false teachers’ claim to having their own spiritual authority.
The apostates, the false teachers, rant and rave about things they do not really understand.
Jude 11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Cain committed the first murder out of jealousy that Abel’s offering was accepted and his was not. He was exiled. These teachers were jealous of the true believers, those declaring the truth of the Gospel. They, too, will be exiled permanently! (Gen. 4:1–15; cf. Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12)
Balaam was hired for a tidy sum by the king of Moab to speak false prophesy and lure Israel into idolatry and immorality. The Lord used Balaam’s donkey to talk sense into him. (Num. 22, Num. 31:16; Rev. 2:14)
We discussed Korah’s rebellion in our study of Psalm 106:16-23 which will post this weekend. Long story short – Korah and those with him rebelled against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God had everyone move away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the leaders of the rebellion. The earth opened up and swallowed the three men, their families, and their possessions (Num. 16:1–32).
God did not deal lightly with these three examples from the Old Testament, and He does not and will not deal lightly with false teachers. In fact, Jude pronounces doom upon them.
The Apostates’ Doom
Jude 12 These are the ones who are like dangerous reefs at your love feasts. They feast with you, nurturing only themselves without fear. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn—fruitless, twice dead, pulled out by the roots; 13 wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever!
Jude uses several metaphors to say the same thing…false teachers promise what they cannot deliver. They are clouds that do not water the crops, trees dead and unable to produce fruit, waves that wreak havoc on the church rather than tapping into the power of almighty God. They are all “dog and pony show” with no lasting results. They are what my relatives would call “a flash in the pan.” They seem to burn bright but soon burn out. Since they rely on their own power, they are truly powerless. Jesus is the only one who can fulfill our needs permanently.
Since the apostates teach a false gospel and deny the Lordship of Christ, they are doomed to an eternity in Hell.
Jude 14 And Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied about them:
Look! The Lord comes
with thousands of His holy ones
15 to execute judgment on all
and to convict them
of all their ungodly acts
that they have done in an ungodly way,
and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners
have said against Him.
In case you do not remember Enoch, he was the one the Lord took home without him having to suffer physical death.
Genesis 5:24 (AMPC) And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].
His prophesy concerning false teachers is found in an apochryphal work but is consistent with other Old Testament prophecies concerning judgement. Those who have denied God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Chew on This: How can we identify false teachers? We must know the characteristics of those who teach the truth versus those who are apostates trying to infiltrate the church. How are we able to discern them? We have a responsibility to know the word of God and to test all teaching against it.
|Posted on November 7, 2016 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
Intro to Jude - Jude 7
Bonus lessons: The Explore the Bible curriculum only covers verses 16-25 of Jude, but Susan and I are committed to studying the word verse by verse. So, we will end this week with the first 15 verses of Jude.
Introduction to Jude:
Author – Jude is accepted as one of the half-brothers of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James, by most scholars. He rejected Christ during His ministry on earth, but believed after His resurrection.
Audience – No specific audience is named, but they were most likely Jewish believers based on the Old Testament illustrations employed by Jude.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
Jude is replete with historical illustrations from the OT which include: 1) the Exodus (v. 5); 2) Satan’s rebellion (v. 6); 3) Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 7); 4) Moses’ death (v. 9); 5) Cain (v. 11); 6) Balaam (v. 11); 7) Korah (v. 11); Enoch (vv. 14, 15); and 9) Adam (v. 14).
Main Theme: Jude spends almost the entire letter addressing apostasy. He condemns false teachers and urges His readers to take a stand against them.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
Jude is the only NT book devoted exclusively to confronting “apostasy,” meaning defection from the true, biblical faith
For more background on the book of Jude, read the introduction to Jude in a good study Bible or at www.biblegateway.com.
Jude 1a (HCSB) Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James:
Jude begins by classifying himself as being in submission to, subservient to Jesus even before he declares himself to be a brother of James who was head of the church in Jerusalem. Jesus was no longer present in His earth-suit to exercise authority over His half-brothers, but Jude internalized the message of Christ to the point that he did not require Jesus to be present to lead him. Jude did not accept Jesus as Messiah until after the resurrection, but once he did believe and trust the Lord, the Holy Spirit guided him into obedience and a life of confirming the truth of the Gospel. Because of his initial unbelief, Jude was not present to hear all of Jesus’ teachings first-hand, but he had the testimony of the disciples, both verbal and via their letters. Jude was not one of the twelve apostles but was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this letter.
Jude 1b To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.
Jude addressed his letter to Christians, most likely Jewish believers (completed Jews.) He wrote to those who had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and, therefore, were kept in the faith by Jesus.
Jude 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
I love the greetings used in the Biblical epistles! So much stronger than “Dear Friends.” It is not just a salutation. It is also Jude’s prayer on their behalf. He desires the Lord to bless them.
Jude 3 Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.
Jude wanted to wax eloquent on the Gospel message, but instead he was led by the Spirit to exhort them to ready themselves for battle on behalf of the Gospel and its message. He strongly urged them to be ready to give a defense for belief as Peter had in an earlier letter (1 Peter 3:15). In addition, these believers were needing to combat the false teaching that apparently was rampant in their area.
Jude 4 For some men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
False teachers were prophesied about in both the Old and New Testaments and will receive their just “reward,” the judgement of God against them. False teachers are recognized by the fact that they are ungodly (not exhibiting the character traits of Jesus), they preach a perverted version of the Bible that distorts the truth of salvation by grace alone, and they deny the deity of Jesus. They initially infiltrate the church seeming to be followers of Jesus and His message but do not teach sound doctrine in keeping with the word of God. They tweak the gospel to fit their own agenda which often involves lining their own pockets.
Apostates: Past and Present
Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
APOS'TATE, noun [Gr.]
One who has forsaken the church, sect or profession to which he before adhered. In its original sense, applied to one who has abandoned his religion; but correctly applied also to one who abandons a political or other party.
APOS'TATE, adjective False; traitorous.
Jude 5 Now I want to remind you, though you know all these things: The Lord first saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe;
We saw a recap of many of God’s judgements against those who did not trust Him during the exodus from Egypt to the Promised land in our study of Psalm 106 which we are posting on weekends during November. For some examples, see Numbers 11:33-34, Numbers 14, Numbers 16, Exodus 32.
Jude 6 and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, the angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling.
If God so judges fallen angels (demons), we can know He also will judge the ungodly, those who deny and refuse to believe the truth of Jesus’ deity and the gospel message. Manipulative “pastors,” those who teach false doctrine, and false prophets espousing lies as truth will incur a harsh judgement. Some see this as dealing specifically with the fallen angels in Genesis 6 who had relations with human women.
Jude 7 In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as angels did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were so sexually perverse, that the Lord rained down fire upon the two cities and destroyed them and their people completely. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness, his nephew Lot was rescued out of the city by angels. The unbelieving people of Sodom and Gomorrah will be thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan and his demons as will all those who reject Jesus. Then they will be remembered no more. However, at this time their story serves as a reminder and a warning that failing to trust Jesus has the most serious consequences – eternal punishment – eternal pain with no comfort, no hope, no God! They will be alive forever but constantly tormented by their rejection of the One who could have spared them.
Challenge: The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was rejecting God’s direction, His law, resulting in gross sexual perversions. Unfortunately, this sounds like the USA today. PRAY for our nation to repent and return to being what our founding fathers envisioned – a nation submitted to and led by our Eternal Father.