Epistle of Jude

Jude - Lesson 2

Jude 4-8

Next lesson

  • Last week we learned that Jude felt the need to write to the church asking them to fight for the faith

    • The fight was to protect the content of the Gospel and the teaching of the Apostles

      • The fight was against those who might wish to do harm to the orthodox teaching of the church

      • These are the false teachers Peter warned the early church they would see coming soon enough

      • And now it fell to Jude to deliver the news that these false teachers had, in fact, arrived

    • Jude asked the church to fight against them, but the success of any battle depends on knowing your enemy

      • The enemy is easiest to identify when they look different than we do

      • It helps create an “us” against “them” mentality

      • It’s why the villains wear black hats and the heroes wear white hats

        • It keeps things so much easier

    • But what happens when the enemies are inside the gates?

      • When they live and work among us

      • When they look like us and pretend to be on the same team

      • It’s dangerous because we can’t tell the difference between our neighbors and our enemies

        • It’s why spies are universally hated

        • G.K. Chesterton said:

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”
  • So Jude is writing to name names, to expose the false teachers, to put a face on the enemy of the faith

    • The church’s enemy have infiltrated into the camp

      • They’re working from the inside to weaken the church

      • They speak from a position of strength and authority

      • They cause the faithful to stumble because they appear to have standing and maturity

      • And in Jude’s day, they weren’t challenged by New Testament scripture, since the canon wouldn’t be written and available until the end of the first century

    • So we pick up in v.4 as Jude identifies these enemies the church must battle for the preservation of the faith

      • They are posing as friends

      • And they are encouraging the church to great sin

    • Like Charlotte Bronte once said:

“I can be on guard against my enemies, but God deliver me from my friends!”  


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. 
  • In his third triad, Jude describes the manner and nature of the enemies of the faith

    • Certain persons have crept in unnoticed

      • Certain persons is literally specific men

      • Jude has certain men in mind as he writes this letter to the church

      • The enemies of the Gospel come in many forms and attack in many ways, as Satan has many weapons at his disposal

      • Nevertheless, Jude’s concern is focused on one certain form of enemy

        • So he is intent on describing that enemy in detail

    • Secondly, these certain men have crept in unnoticed

      • The phrase “crept in unnoticed” is a single word in Greek

      • It is the only occurrence of this Greek word in the NT

        • It’s actually a compound of three Greek words

        • Para (beside), eis (among), and duno (to settle in)

      • It means to settle in alongside quietly, without drawing attention 

    • In Jude’s day, itinerant preaching was very common

      • Itinerant preachers were men who moved about the countryside preaching from town to town

      • They earned their living from love offerings

      • And they never settled in any place for long

      • This pattern made it easy for false teachers to enter a church and teach, since the culture accepted strangers as having virtually equal authority as resident teachers 

        • Perhaps these men arrived as itinerant preachers and then stayed

        • Or perhaps they were homegrown false teachers

      • Either way, these men had already become a part of the church by the time Jude wrote

    • But they managed to enter without any in the church noticing

      • This fact is a problem by itself

      • As we’ll learn later in this letter, these men hold to very wrong doctrines and encourage very bad practices

      • Yet somehow they joined alongside the church without raising concerns

      • It was as if Peter’s warnings weren’t heeded

  • Contrast that to what we know about the church in Ephesus, which existed in this same time and region

    • Jesus wrote to that church through John and said this:

Rev. 2:2  ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
  • According to Jesus, false teachers couldn’t sneak up on the Ephesians

  • That church wouldn’t tolerate evil men

  • What was the difference between Ephesus and the churches Jude has heard about?

    • We have one clue in Jesus’ letter: they tested the men who made claims of apostleship

    • That probably means they demanded the men demonstrate the apostolic powers that uniquely identified the Apostles

    • And we can be sure they also tested their words against Old Testament scripture and the teaching of the Apostles, similar to the Bereans, of Acts fame

  • Somehow other churches in the Diaspora failed to take these precautions

    • Testing any leader’s teaching is Defense 101 in the church

    • It’s like closing the gates in a city wall: it’s your first line of defense

  • The church still has that requirement today

    • As we’re going to see, the men Jude is concerned about still exist today

    • They have wormed their way into churches in our communities just as they had in Jude’s day

      • You can’t pick them out by appearances

      • They love their wives, kiss their kids, and smile a lot

      • They speak in soothing tones, pray with their eyes tightly closed, and use the name Jesus a lot

      • And they wear white hats

      • They are tares among the wheat

    • But in the end, their teaching gives them away as enemies of the faith

    • And we can only find them by listening carefully, studying our Bible and testing what they say against what scripture says

  • In the first part of the triad, Jude rebukes the church concerning these false teachers

    • He says these false teachers were men marked out for condemnation

      • Condemnation is the Greek word krima, which is simply the word for judgment

      • Jude is referring to the judgment of God, the Second Death, the Great White Throne judgment 

      • As enemies of the faith, it shouldn’t surprise us that these men will face judgment for their sin

    • But Jude says something intriguing concerning this judgment

      • These men were marked out for this fate beforehand

        • The literal Greek phrase is “long ago written out in advance”  

      • In other words, these men and their fate was long ago prophesied or written 

      • Jude is referring to how Peter and the other apostles foretold the arrival of such false men

        • In fact, Jesus Himself foretold their arrival

Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Matt. 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matt. 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are  ravenous wolves.
Matt. 7:16 “You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
Matt. 7:17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Matt. 7:18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
Matt. 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matt. 7:20 “So then, you will know them  by their fruits.
  • Jude is rebuking the church over their lack of vigilance against false teachers

    • The apostles had taught them, Jesus had warned them, and still they have allowed these men to creep in

    • No wonder Jude felt compelled to change the topic of his letter! 

    • They should have seen it coming, but they failed to guard against their arrival

  • In the second part of the triad, Jude describes the manner of these false teachers

    • They are ungodly men who change God’s grace into licentiousness

      • Ungodliness is the Bible’s term for our modern term “unbeliever” 

      • So it comes as no surprise that these enemies are unbelievers

      • We’ll see Jude emphasize this fact again when we get to the third part of this triad

    • Next, their modus operandi is to turn or change grace into a license to sin

      • Licentiousness means having a license or a right or freedom to commit sin

      • Before we truly understand grace as the Bible teaches it, our flesh can be tempted or persuaded to see God’s limitless forgiveness as a green light to go on sinning

      • Paul addressed this problem in Romans

Rom. 6:1  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 
Rom. 6:2  May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 
  • Paul’s question was likely the essence of the false teachers’ argument to the church

    • Grace is the forgiving of sin, and it is without limit

    • Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to cover all sin

  • Therefore, the false teachers were gnostics, who taught the church that they could glorify Christ through their sin

    • Because as they sinned in the flesh, they were creating a need for more of God’s grace to be made available to cover that sin

    • By allowing the flesh to engage in sin, the believer was increasing God’s grace, which is a good thing

    • And since the flesh was to be replaced one day anyway, it mattered not to God that we allowed the flesh to sin

    • They dismissed the need to observe moral laws of any kind, which is called antinomianism

  • Let’s address this notion clearly. This is heresy and false teaching.

    • As Paul said, are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!

      • In fact, every true believer need only search their hearts to know the answer to that question

      • For the Spirit convicts us of our sin and leads us to an understanding that God is calling us out of sin

      • Paul says we are to glorify the Lord in our body, since He dwells within it

    • Our body is to die, Paul says, making it a sacrifice to God

      • Just as the Jews never sacrificed imperfect animals

      • Our earthly life is to be used to prepare our bodies as a sacrifice

      • So that our body is a pleasing sacrifice in life and in death

    • These men on the other hand, aren’t seeking to glorify their bodies, much less the Lord

      • Their warped theology was merely a cover for their corrupt morals

      • These men wanted to engage in all manner of sin and do so within the context of the church and without the bother of condemnation or judgment

      • They weren’t content to carry on with their sinful choices outside the church

        • They wanted to bring their sin into the church

        • Yet at the same time, they brought with it teaching that made an argument for why their sin wasn’t actually sin

        • And then along the way, they encouraged others to join in with them

    • We can see examples of this kind of thinking still living on today, with various sexual perversions and other sins

      • Christians, and supposed Christians, seeking to be a part of the church while maintaining their immoral behaviors

      • And they want to redefine sin so that these immoral practices can be allowed to continue and even be accepted as normal

      • Sin is always corrosive and corrupting

      • Ever since Woman took the first bite, those who enjoy sin long to share it with others

  • Finally, Jude says these men deny Jesus Christ as master

    • This last part of Jude’s fourth verse is a direct quote of 2 Peter 2:1-2

2Pet. 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. 
2Pet. 2:2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 
  • Notice Peter also mentions secretly introducing heresies

  • Denying the Master

  • Prepared to receive judgment

  • Following their sensuality

  • Thus maligning the faith

  • Their denial of Jesus wasn’t a specific repudiation of Christ or Christianity

    • They denied Jesus in that they demonstrated they didn’t know Him

    • As John says:

John 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 
  • So Jude has not-so-subtly reminded his readers that they ignored Peter’s good advice, and now they find themselves fighting an enemy inside their city walls

    • The enemy looks like one of them, but he can be known by his fruit

      • The fruit is sin, done in the name of grace

      • And by their sin, they deny the Master

      • Corrupting the truth

    • Jude knows there is a leak in their ship

      • So he has written urgently asking the church to plug the holes and throw the scum overboard

      • But perhaps they wonder if such men could be rehabilitated inside the church?

      • Shouldn’t the church have more compassion on these unbelievers?

      • After all, even though they don’t know the Lord, maybe they are seekers, and therefore maybe the church should remain seeker-friendly?

    • So Jude reminds the church how the Lord has historically dealt with such people

Jude 5  Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord,  after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 
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, 
Jude 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. 
  • In these verses, we reach Jude’s fourth triad, which shifts our focus

    • It’s easy to see the three parts of this triad, and it’s made particularly easy since each part gets its own verse

      • Collectively, these are three lessons from history

      • Jude reminds Jewish believers of Jewish history as it relates to their present situation

      • Let’s look at each example to better understand the lesson Jude wants to leave with the church

    • First, he prefaces his examples saying I want to remind you of something

      • But then he quickly adds they know everything once for all

      • Does the phrase “once for all” ring bells from last week?

      • This phrase is another reference to the scriptures

    • So once again, we should hear these words as a polite rebuke to the church

      • Jude says I desire to remind you, but you already have everything you need to know available in scripture

      • Jude is implying he shouldn’t have to remind them of anything

      • All three of his examples are found in the Jewish scriptures, which every God-fearing Jew should have known 

      • More importantly, they should have already learned the lessons these examples existed to teach

  • In the first example, Jude references the wandering of Israel in the desert after leaving Egypt

    • Israel departed Egypt as a nation, but that nation consisted of two million individuals

      • God didn’t call that nation because all two million were God-fearing believers

      • Scripture makes clear that a believing Israel has never been more than a remnant

      • Sometimes that remnant is quite small, sometimes it’s most of the nation

      • But we should never confuse what God does with the nation, with what He’s doing for the individual members of that nation

    • So as Israel left Egypt, and received the Law and prepared to enter the Promised Land the first time, they revealed their true hearts along the way

      • Time and time again the people of Israel chose to satisfy their flesh, in conflict with God’s instructions

      • They grumbled about the lack of water, the lack of food, and even worshipped idols

      • Scripture says they did these things as a result of a lack of faith

      • Hebrews says specifically

Heb. 3:16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed,  did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 
Heb. 3:17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 
Heb. 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 
Heb. 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. 
  • So Jude reminds the church that even though God’s nation left Egypt together, they were not all equally God’s people

    • Among the camp of Israel were unbelieving men and women who looked the part but lacked a true heart

    • They were like the false teachers of Jude’s day

    • They didn’t get credit for showing up...they were condemned for lack of faith

  • As a result of their unbelief, God eventually destroyed an entire generation of Israel in the desert

    • Only the remnant entered into the Promised Land

    • The rest were destroyed, Jude says

  • What lesson do we learn from Israel in the desert?

    • God knows who are truly His, and who are hiding in the camp

    • And those who are not His will perish

    • As Peter taught: 

2Pet. 2:9  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 
  • In his second example, Jude mentions sinning angels

    • First, these angels didn’t keep their proper abode

      • Simply put, they didn’t stay where they belonged

      • They went somewhere they were forbidden to go

      • In short, they sinned, which means they are demons

    • Secondly, Jude doesn’t say what they did in this verse, but he does mention the consequence of their actions

      • They are currently bound and kept in darkness

      • They are awaiting a future day of judgment

      • Notice that Jude calls that day, when all sin is finally judged and removed forever, as the great day....great, indeed

    • From Peter’s second letter, we learn that the sin of these angels was associated with the time of Noah, which leads us to Chapter 6 of Genesis

Gen. 6:1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 
Gen. 6:2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 
  • For a full exposition of these verses, I leave it to you to listen to the Genesis study online, but I can summarize here for now

  • A careful examination of the Hebrew words used in this passage leads us to understand what was happening in the years prior to the flood

    • Satan sought to pollute the seed of mankind by sending demons to impregnate women

    • We obviously don’t know how the spirit realm and mankind could interact in this way, except to know that it was possible

      • Similar to the way that angels appeared with Abraham and ate with him in his tent

      • Somehow the angelic realm has the capacity to take on the appearance of flesh to interact with man in a physical way

    • After the demons made this plan, God responded by bringing the flood

    • And the demons responsible for this great sin were bound and are being kept until the day of judgment

  • What was the lesson for the Church of the angels’ rebellion and God’s response?

    • First, consider what these angels knew

      • They knew the reality of God

      • They knew the truth of Jesus as the Son of God

      • They understood the majesty and power of God to accomplish His purposes

    • Yet they still chose to rebel against such glorious things

      • Clearly, these angels were not interested in the truth

      • Moreover, they were not candidates for rehabilitation

      • They were bound in darkness, removed from any further influence

    • So the lesson was that even an exposure to God’s truth and His power doesn’t ensure someone of knowing the truth

      • And when these counterfeits are exposed, they must be removed

      • Because they are due a judgment that has been prepared for them

  • Finally, the third example is Sodom and Gomorrah, a story that needs no explanation

    • The chief sin of these cities was indulging gross immorality

      • In Greek, the term carries a sense of giving in to an urge or desire

      • The men of the city gave in to a wrong desire and as a result, they went after strange flesh, Jude says

    • And then Jude says the entire episode of Sodom and Gomorrah took place so the world would have a vivid picture of what the Lord has planned for those who practice such things

      • The judgment of the cities was temporal

      • But the judgment the people are enduring is eternal

    • And that is the lesson Jude is drawing from this example

      • The false teachers of his day were indulging in fleshly sinful desires

      • But God has a judgment prepared for them, one of eternal fire

  • So let’s sum up these three examples

    • The enemies of the faith may be hard to see, but God knows them

      • They are the ones who do not believe

      • They reject God’s authority

      • So He will reject them and destroy them

    • The enemies of the faith have been exposed to great and wonderful truths and wonders of the faith

      • They are like the angels that willingly left the proper place

      • They despise the majesty of God’s glory in Christ

      • They will experience eternal darkness

    • The enemies of the faith are motivated by an indulgence in their flesh

      • They are seeking to defile the flesh

      • But they will experience eternal fire

  • Jude gives us that summary in v.8

Jude 8  Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 
  • These men are the point of his examples

    • They are defiling flesh by their false encouragement to sin

    • They are rejecting authority in their denying of God’s word and the Apostles’ teaching

    • And they are reviling angelic majesties

  • The word for angelic majesties should probably be translated differently

    • The Greek word is doxa, which is literally glory, as in heavenly glory

    • So they revile the majesty and glory of God, which is seen in the Spirit’s work in the temple of God

  • Just as the demons wished to corrupt the bodies of women so as to destroy the human race, now these false teachers are doing to same to us today

    • Any time we are encouraged to walk in sin in the name of Christ, we are experiencing the same kind of deception

    • It is the deception of reviling majesty or glory

    • A call to sin is a rebellion against the glory of God’s work in man

  • This is why Hebrews says that God does not give help to fallen angels

    • The plan of redemption is limited to mankind

    • He is working a plan of glory for man

    • But these false teachers, like the demons before them, reviled that glory and sought to destroy it.