“Refute” – Jude 1:8-16

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Jude 1:8-16

Refute

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Bible Memory Verse for the Week:May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  —Galatians 6:14 (NIV)

 

Background Information:

  • Jude’s readers still have Peter’s letter. Jude points them to Peter’s own prophecy which had been made to them a few years ago; what Peter prophesied has now come to pass. The enemy has arrived, the readers must earnestly contend.” (R. C. H. Lenski, I and II Peter, the three Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude, 612)
  • MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE. Christians are no exception. We like to bask in the good news of all the blessings God has showered on us. This positive emphasis was what Jude had been hoping to convey in his letter (v. 3). But circumstances demanded otherwise. False teachers were such a threat that he felt compelled to warn his readers about them. Those of us in Christian ministry will often find ourselves in similar situations. We would rather not dwell on the negative; and we do not want to be thought “unchristian” by criticizing others who claim the name of the Lord. But Jude’s letter stands as an example of the need for negative preaching on occasion. God’s people need to be warned about the dangerous heresies that pop up all over the place in our day. The faithful teacher of God’s Word will need to help people discern truth from error. (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol 4, 238)
  • Within the Jewish society of Jude’s day, the book of Enoch was popular. Jude is not referring to it as Scripture, but rather as a common source with which his Jewish readers would be very familiar. (Lloyd J. Ogilvie, The Communicator’s Commentary: James, 1, 2, Peter, Jude, 257)
  • This little letter, lying as it does at the very back door of the New Testament, is a wonderfully helpful letter to use in answering the claims of the cults, -isms and false doctrines abroad today. It is my judgment that the essence of every false doctrine that has ever been espoused by anyone is answered here in this letter of Jude. For example, the Mormons tell us that the revelation that God gave us did not stop with the New Testament, but that we need new books and new revelations. But you see how clearly Jude answers this when he says, “I want you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” It was given to us through the apostles, at one particular time in history, and it does not need any additions. (Ray Stedman, Commentary on Jude, Raystedman.org)

The question to be answered is…Why does Jude go to such great lengths in exposing these godless men that had crept into the church?  What should we take away from it today?

 

Answer:Jude was contending for the faith by vehemently exposing these men for who they truly were.  Jude pulled no punches in refuting their practices.  We too, should pull no punches in exposing and refuting false teaching and practice; all while checking our own heart and motives to make sure we aren’t doing the very things these false teachers were doing.

 

The Word for the Day isRefute

 

What was so bad about these men that caused Jude so much concern?

 

I.          These men were dreamers – apathetic to the gravity and reality of their sin.(v.8)(Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Proverbs 26:12; Romans 2:8; Galatians 5:19-21)

“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” –(G.K. Chesterton,  ILN, 10/23/09)

 

They are dreamers. Even though dreams were respected as avenues of divine revelation (Matt. 1:20-2:20), dreamers were often portrayed in a negative light (Deut. 13:1-5; Jer. 27:9) as persons who led people astray by substituting their own imaginings and soothing wishes for the word of God. They were false prophets, held captive by their own love of praise and popularity. These intruders grant sexual license to themselves and those who follow them. They have apparently arrived at a position on Christian freedom that makes them indifferent to uses of the physical body or that prompts them to indulge the flesh as proof of freedom. They resist authority as further proof of freedom and shake the fist at heaven, insulting angels as messengers of God, keepers of moral order, and executors of God’s judgment. They display an arrogance not even found among beings of a higher order. (Fred B. Craddock, First and Second Peter and Jude, 140)

 

II.        They took the way of Cain; rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion – In other words, they were selfish, greedy, and insolent. (v.11) (Genesis 4; Numbers 16, 22; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:4, 21; 2 Timothy 3:2-4)

How does Korah’s sin differ from that of Cain and Balaam? Cain broke his relationship with God; Balaam desired to lead God’s people into sin for profit; but Korah questioned God’s wisdom in appointing Moses and Aaron leaders of Israel. Likewise, Jude’s adversaries presumably rejected apostolic leadership and teaching in the Christian church. In comparison with Korah and his followers, the adversaries, too, will perish because of God’s judgment. Jude is so positive that he writes the verb destroy in the past tense, as if the action already had taken place: “They have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude, 390)

 

Cain struck his brother dead, simply because he was more pious than himself. Jehovah had respect unto his brother’s offering, but unto his own offering he had not respect. So now “the way of Cain” is to rely upon one’s own works and scoff at the true good works; it is to circumvent and ruin those traveling on the right road, just as these very ones are doing. (Martin Luther, Commentary on Peter and Jude, 295)

 

What is the “way of Cain” which the godless men have taken? Not only Cain lacked the virtues of faith and love; the godless men of Jude’s day also are devoid of these qualities. They lack selflessness and generosity (see v.16). They nurture the vices of envy and greed; they have hearts filled with hatred toward God and man. And hatred leads to murder, as John points out in his epistle (I John 3:15). (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude, 389)

 

III.       They had no qualms about their actions. – Had no conviction; fed only themselves; made promises they had no intentions of delivering on. (v.12) (Isaiah 5:20; Colossians 2:8)

What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm. 119:105). The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, 68, 69.)

 

IV.       They were grumblers, faultfinders, boasters, and flatterers – doing and saying things to only benefit themselves. (v.16) (Ex 16:7-8; Philippians 2:14; James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:9)

Half-truths, statements taken out of context, misleading descriptions, words changed in meaning, and outright fabrications are designed to deceive, to hide the truth. Liars have many motives: to make a sale, to win an election, to hide wrongdoing, to enhance an image, to beat a rival, to cheat someone, to gain the favor of a coach, teacher, friend, parent, employer, or spouse. Whatever the reason, the real character of the liar is exposed when the truth is revealed. (Life Application Bible Commentary on 1&2 Peter, Jude, 230)

 

CONCLUSION / APPLICATION:So what can we learn and apply from this text today in order to keep our own church safe from this?

 

A.        Check yourself. Make sure you’re not doing these very things. Check if you have selfish or ulterior motives as a part of the HFM family?  If you do, get rid of them! (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 John 4:1; Philippians 2:3-4; Galatians 5:24; Luke 9:23Galatians 6:1)

No one is so strong of spirit as to be able to be confident of never slipping. (Fred B. Craddock, First and Second Peter and Jude, 147)

 

How are we to labor? There is but one answer. We must labor in the use of all appointed means. We must read our Bibles, like men digging for hidden treasure. We must wrestle earnestly in prayer, like men contending with a deadly enemy for life. We must take our whole heart to the house of God, and worship and hear like those who listen to the reading of a benefactor’s will. We must fight daily against sin, the world, and the devil, like those who fight for liberty, and must conquer, or be slaves. These are the ways we must walk in if we would find Christ, and be found of Him. This is laboring. This is the secret of getting on about our souls. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, volume 1, 349, 350. {John 6:22-27})

 

B.        Be on guard against these behaviors in the church. Refuse to give audience to grumbling, complaining, and false teaching. Stand up for the truth of God’s word. (Numbers 11:1-4; Matthew 7:15-20; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Ephesians 4:29, 5:11; Philippians 2:14; Titus 1:10-16; James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:9; 1 John 4:1)

It’s not that we don’t have enough scoundrels to curse; it’s that we don’t have enough good men to curse them. (G.K. Chesterton,  ILN, 3/14/08)

 

We know that one of the almost inevitable byproducts of false teaching is division within the church. There are always some who are ready to listen to anything new and different, who are ready to be swept away by whatever new wind of teaching might be blowing. Others, however, better anchored in the faith, resist. As a result, divisiveness follows. (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Bible Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude, 283)

 

With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference. (Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism, 56)

 

C.        Respect those in leadership and authority; taking proper steps when you have concerns. (Romans 13:1-14; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Ephesians 4:15, 5:21; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 4:9)

It is easier to hide behind philosophical arguments, heavily footnoted for effect, than it is to admit our hurts, our confusions, our loves, and our passions in the marketplace of life’s heartfelt transactions. (Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, 6)

 

Worship Point:

Worship as a church body happens when its people are relentlessly motivated by grace and free from the distraction of the kinds of things Jude speaks against here.  Build one another up so they are free to worship, and you will be too!

 

Spiritual Challenge:

Grow in maturity.  Seek only to do what will build the church up.  As you do, you will undoubtedly grow in your faith.

 

Quotes To Note:

In many ways, of course, this is justified:  Every person must make a decision for himself or herself about Jesus Christ, and we will all have to give an account of our lives to the Lord. But spiritual experience, the Bible makes clear, is never a purely individual matter. God always works within and through a people (see, e.g., Eph. 4:1-16). “Build yourselves up,” then, calls on us not just to see that our own experience with Christ is growing and strengthening, but to make sure that the church, the body of Christ as a whole, is growing and becoming stronger. And it is ultimately only by fully participating in the life of the church that we ourselves will be able to grow as we should. For none of us can mature in our faith without the encouragement, advice, and admonition of fellow believers. (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Bible Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude, 296)

 

That old enemy of mankind, the devil, has no more subtle device for ruining souls than that of spreading false doctrine. Outside the church he is ever persuading men to maintain destructive superstitions. Like a pirate, his object is to “sink, burn and destroy.”

Inside the church he is ever laboring to sow heresies, to propagate errors, to foster departures from the faith. If he cannot prevent the waters flowing from the Fountain of Life, he tries hard to poison them. If he cannot destroy the medicine of the Gospel, he strives to adulterate and corrupt it. (J.C. Ryle, Warnings to the Churches, “Divers and Strange Doctrines”, 72)

 

Second, they were saying that the grace of God is so broad that God will forgive anything you do; therefore, the more you sin, the more grace, so go to it. This same idea is being promulgated in our own day. People from within the church are saying we have progressed beyond these old-fashioned Biblical ideas against licentiousness and immorality, and that we now have a new morality. It is based on the Christian theme of love. If you love someone, they say, it does not make any difference what you do with them. Love justifies anything. This is an exact duplicate of this first century heresy, that called forth such condemnation from the Apostle Jude. (Ray Stedman, Commentary on Jude, Raystedman.org)

 

When God grants mercy or when man shows mercy to his neighbor, peace results. Peace is the restoration of broken relationships. And the blessing of peace culminates in spiritual and material prosperity. Peace means an absence of tensions prevalent in periods of conflict. Peace, in turn, results in love. That is, God expresses his love to man and man seeks to love God and his neighbor, according to the law. (Simon J. Kistemaker, New testament Commentary: James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude, 368)

 

How are Christians to act in the light of this situation? First, they are to remember the Word (see 2 Peter 3). Christ promised that mockers would come, and now they had appeared. The growth of apostasy is more evidence of Satan’s determination to block the truth of the Word of God. Further, Christians are to grow spiritually, building themselves up in the Lord. They do this by praying in the Spirit (as the Spirit leads, see Rom. 8:26-27), obeying the Word and thus abiding in God’s love, and watching for Christ’s return. What a combination for a victorious Christian life:  praying, learning and living the Bible, and expecting Christ’s return. (Warren Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, 786)

 

This sudden and hastily prepared letter was not intended to alarm the church as though some new, surprising, and deadly problem were threatening the very purpose of God. People such as these intruders appeared in prophecies long before they appeared in church. The writer will soon cite a prophecy in 1 Enoch (vv. 14-15) and subsequently predictions by the apostles (vv. 17-18). What is important at this point in the letter is to say to the readers, “Be on guard, but do not panic. Take the long view. Prophecy and fulfillment enable you to do that. In addition, prophecy and fulfillment mean things are not totally out of control. God’s knowledge and purpose are still in place.” This is not an uncommon view of life and God. A person in the middle of a terrible storm finds some peace in the assertion, “The Bible said things like this would happen.” One can hardly imagine a disturbance greater than that created by Jesus’ betrayal by a follower and friend. But the writer of the Fourth Gospel restores some order and sense by saying Judas’s act fulfilled prophecy: “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me” (John 13:18; Psalm 41:9). A similar effect follows from Jude’s identifying the intruders as “people who long ago were designated for this condemnation (v. 41). (Fred B. Craddock, First and Second Peter and Jude, 136)

 

The work of the Holy Spirit in the process of interpretation is not to add information, but to give to us the discipline to study and the humility to accept the truth we find without twisting it. (John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching, 42)

 

Humor aside, I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him. (Ravi Zacharias, Has Christianity Failed You?, 157)

 

 

For additional sermon notes, visit our website:  www.hillsdalefmc.net

 

 

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