This letter was written to the church for a warning, because there were some false teachers who crept into the church. The church was in its infancy and therefore was vulnerable to receive heresies. Heresies are doctrines, statements or philosophies that uses the Holy Scriptures to backup their ideas. When heresy or doctrinal error creeps into the church unaware then there can be a moment of apostasy (an abandoning of the faith) in the church. The above term is called Gnostic.
Gnosticism is taking the secular ideas mixing it with the gospel to support a claim. Presently, there are those who in an effort to draw our youth, have taken secular ideas and mixing it with the gospel. Through this effort, they comprised the gospel.
When we use worldly ideas into the church, we allow Satan to come in the front door. God gave Satan power over this world. Through the socialization process or through social concepts, we allow the method of Satan to mingle within the church. The Gnostic idea is that just because a born again believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside, it makes one co-equal with God and unwisely mockers of demonology. That is to say, we can do as God the Father and we are on the same level as God the Father.
Therefore, it put more emphasis on the believer and ones spirituality rather than emphasis on Christ Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. However, it does not make us co-equal with God the Father, but it makes us Sons of God and instruments of God to accomplish His plan and purpose for the Body of Christ. It is only threw the grace of God and the power of Christ’s resurrection, "we are who we are and whose we are".
The erroneous doctrinal teaching led to unethical and lasciviousness behavior in this church. They have taken the grace of God for granted. Therefore, Jude exhorts the church to remain faithful to the teaching of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The author Jude did not create or introduce any new doctrines. He reflected on and reminded the church of the established doctrine pertaining to Salvation. What the apostles had taught and explain to the church that is what Jude wanted the church to hold on to.
Analysis of the Epistle
Vs. 1, 2; Salutation
Vs. 3, 4; the purpose of the letter is revealing of the evil ones who has perverse the teaching of the gospel . It reveals those who had put on pseudo-Christianity to mislead the church.
Vs. 5-7; Caution against following such teaching and warning of those who follow them.
Vs. 8-13; the authors farther details the teaching of those in question and demanding respect for who are in authority both temporal and spiritual.
Vs. 14-16; the authors apocalyptic beliefs of the coming judgment
Vs. 17-19; he recalls what the apostle taught the church about false teachers
Vs. 20, 21; he exhort the believers to hold fast to the gospel truth
Vs. 22, 23; the author exhort to evangelize and restore those who had been led astray.
Vs. 24, 25; Doxology or a benediction praising God
Exposition of the Epistle of Jude
Vs. 1,2 Observe, Jude acknowledges being a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. He was a sincere and devoted follower of Christ. He was involved in the building of the Kingdom of God by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He could have made known his kindred to the Lord, but elected to be recognized as Christ’s servant. Jude and James were half brothers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus through his virgin mother Mary and His brothers and sister were conceived by their father Joseph. Jesus was the first-born, but there were others in His biological family (Matthew 12: 46-50; 13: 55, 56). Jude connected his relations with his brother James the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Neither Jude nor James believed that Jesus Christ was the messiah (Mark 6:4). They did not believe their brother Jesus was the messiah. It was not until after Jesus Christ resurrection that His brothers believed in Him (Acts 1:13). When we speak or witness to family members, it does not always mean they will receive you or the Word of God at that moment. They may not receive the Word of God until years later. The object is that we would tell them about the saving graces of God and let the Holy Spirit add to the church such should be added. Many of us try to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Our main task is to witness, let the Holy Spirit work and God do the drawing. There is no such thing as a failure in evangelism. The object is getting the word out about Jesus Christ. If they are not receptive right then thank God that you have had an opportunity to share His Word. Then we they come into the church, we can praise God because we help in building the Body of Christ.
This letter was address to those who were called to be Christian and sanctified or set apart by God. There were some in the church who were not called or sanctified by God. Not every one who was in the church was of God. Not every one who goes to church is of God. Every one comes to church is not born again. They may have been coming for 20 years, but is not a child of God. That is not to say that one should judge. There some who are quick to Judge. Jesus said, “Let the wheat and tare grow together”. The view in this letter was to bring awareness and the dangers of the false teaching to those who were trying to live according to the ethics and theology of the Gospel. They were trying to live by the teaching of Jesus Christ. They were at least trying to do what was right. They were preserved in Christ Jesus. Christ kept them in the midst of the adversity that was going on in the church. It is safe to say, we all are preserved in Christ. He keeps us, preserves us from being over-whelmed with the woes of this world. If it was not for the preservation of Christ, we all would fall away from the faith.
Vs. 3, 4 The author, after much thought and earnest consideration had the intent to write to the church concerning a “common salvation”, but felt a need to write concerning the condition of the church. The common salvation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in which Jude wanted to exhort the church, but here he exhorted the church to hold on to the faith. The issues of the church was hindering the grow of the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The issue was the false teachers.
The base of our faith is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Christian should be able to relate to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. If He had not been born of a virgin, died on the cross, buried, and rose early that third day morning, we all would be lost in our sins with no way back to God. God love us so much until He gave His only begotten Son. If we do not have anything to praise God about, we should praise Him for salvation. Some figured they need a large supernatural rescue from God to have a testimony. Just to know we have been rescued from the grips of sin and death, we should be able to praise God. Jude urged the church to hold fast to the faith, the gospel that the apostles had preached and built the church. He addressed the issue of false teachers, which is equally important because it can cause an apostasy in the infant church. Once we have a working knowledge of the Word of God, we are to hold fast to the truth. When the Word of God becomes a part of us and in us, the Holy Spirit can quicken our spirits and working knowledge of His Word to let us know what is of God and what is not of Him. There is not anything that needs to be added nor subtracted away from the Word of God. In so many cases, the some churches have added to and subtracted from the Word of God to suit their doctrines. We do not have to dress up the Word of God with worldly terminology to reach the youth. We are disciple of Christ. There ought to be something peculiar about His people. Many have lower the standards and the gospel to meet our need rather than maintaining the authenticity and of the truth of the gospel. If we do it God’s way, He will do the drawing. Jesus said, “No man come to the Father except He draws him” (John 6:44).
Jude warns the church of the false teachers who has entered the ranks of the church. They crept in under cover. They did not come boldly but subtle. They used the method of deception by saying “We are Christians.” They were professional pseudo-Christians. They knew the Scriptures. They knew how to sing, shout, praised God and dance when the music plays. They were convincing in their endeavors, but their motives were destructive. Jesus said, “Beware of wolves in sheep clothing” (Matthew 7:15).
(2 Peter 2:1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Jude warns the church that there were men long ago condemned for the same practices. He made note that they were ungodly men taking advantage of the grace of God. The doctrine they presented was abusive to the doctrine of Grace. They indulge in corruption because they were release from the obligation of the Law and now they are under grace. They exploited the Word and the grace of God by practicing sin (Romans 6:1, 2, 15). What is being said? When one premeditate to sin or sin on a consistence bases because they know God’s grace is sufficient, then that is where God’s grace is exploited. On the contrary, when a believer is making an effort to do what pleases God and fall short, then there is where the grace of God is applicable. The author reflected on the past and how God the Father dealt with such behavior.
Vs. 5-7 Jude inserts the following Scriptural situations for the recollection of the church. These biblical narratives were familiar to the church. The church knew what the out come would be if they would carry on such practices in the church. He brought to their remembrance the truth of the Word of God. In so many cases, people have smothered the gospel of Jesus Christ with a comprising, liberal gospel. Sometimes, we need to be reminded what the Word of God has to say, rather than what our ideas are about the Holy Scriptures.
The author brought to the remembrance of the judgment that took place in the Old Testament: the unbelief Israelites (Numbers 14:29), the fallen angels (John 8:44), also Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24). With these illustrations and examples, Jude drives home the seriousness of the false teaching. He recalls the destruction of a generation of Israel because of their unbelief. They murmured and complained against Moses and God. They did not trust God. Therefore, those who were older than 20 was not allowed to cross over into the promise land. Many people miss their blessing because they fail to trust God. He recalls when Lucifer, the son of the morning, was thrown out of Heaven, some angels went with him. Now they are chains in everlasting darkness of Shoel waiting judgment day.
Jude recalls the ethical corruption of Sodom and Gomorrah. The open immoral conduct of these cities provoked God’s judgment. Therefore, perhaps the immoral conduct was a problem with these false instructors in the church. These illustrations cover unbelief, the angelic world and the works of the flesh. These are main drivers that can cause apostasy in the church. The dangers of the doctrine of the false teachers are that they use the Scriptures and the grace of God to justify their actions (Romans 6:1 “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”)
(Vs. 8-13) They claim to have been given revelations in their dreams. These people’s doctrines and opinions are full of imaginations and fantasies. They related them to the Scriptures and it made sense, but it was fruitless. They took the Scripture to support their motives. Because Scriptures are used in particular situations, it does not mean that it is from God. Jesus in the wilderness, Satan said it is written. He knows the Word of God and he will use it against you. If you hear a Scripture taken out of context, if does not bare witness with your spirit and applied within the context in which it was taken, then it is subject to be questioned. We have to be careful of Scriptures taken out of context. They despised dominion (governments) and spoke evil of dignities (Authority). They spoke evil of, mocked angelic beings rather good or bad, and denied the power of God. They had no regard for the one who was appointed over the congregation. When the Lord set one over His Church, is it a dangerous thing to speak evil or rise against whom He had anointed. “For the Lord said touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.” Furthermore, they rejected Christ’s authority by ignoring the teachings of His Word. The author recorded a dispute between the archangel Michael and the devil. This dispute was about the body of Moses. What the dispute entails the Scriptures gives no indication.
The principal of this situation is how the archangel Michael handled the situation. When do know that the archangel Michael is the highest-ranking war angel. He is the angel that gets his host of angels and authority from God to fight the angelic battle against angelic forces of evil (Daniel 10:13). He handled this situation neither by railing accusations nor by celestial warfare, but he turns it over into the hands of the Lord. The archangel Michael knew that it would take the Lord Jesus to put Satan out of commission. He did not use railing accusations (cp. 2 Peter 2:11). That is to say, he did not use slander, harsh, abusive language, or try sentencing him to his doom. He did not step beyond his authority or disregard the authority that God gave to the Devil. He did not call him stupid, ignorant, or any such names. He did not try to sentence the devil by saying, “You are a defeated foe” or “I will cancel you out of my life”. The Lord God has a purpose for everything and everybody good, bad, saved or unsaved. He uses Satan and his evil forces to fulfill his plan and his purpose. We have to remember, if the devil does anything, it is only by the permission of our Lord (Job 1:6-12). It is not for our bad, but it is for our good. The archangel Michael and the devil know that he is defeated and his time is limited. This is why Satan is raising all of this havoc in the world and the church. Therefore, Michael said, “The Lord rebuke thee” (cp. Zechariah 3:1,2). In saying, the Lord Jesus Christ will do the cancellation or sentencing of Satan (Revelation 20:10).
Jude goes on to say, these false teachers speak evil of things they know not. They speak evil of the spiritual things in which they do not have the understanding. They were limited to their own natural realm of thought, their natural instincts, passions, and their own lust. They could not acknowledge the higher power or movement of the Holy Spirit, because of their carnality. They only knew what was in the natural realm by way of rationalizing and by psychoanalysis (mental process or dream interpretations). They called that which was good evil and that which was evil they called good. The things of the Spirit must be understood spiritually.
Woe or trouble will come to them, because the wrath of God was pertinent for their misbehavior. They went by the way of Cain. That is, they were rebellious and disobedient. They embodied violence, lust, and greed (Genesis 4: 5-12). They went by the way of the error of Balaam. That is, Balaam tried to get Israel to sin and used his prophetic gift for profit (Numbers 22-24:17). These false teachers did whatever it took for profitable gains. They gainsaid or spoke evil against those who were called of God, because they had a dissatisfied spirit and wanting to be in charge. These pseudo teachers care nothing about anyone or anything but themselves.
They were spots in the feast of love. They had the potential to corrupt the rest of the believers. They were empty vessels with destructive motives. The author said they were as clouds without water carried with the wind, trees whose fruit withered, without bearing more fruit and ultimately was plucked up, raging waves, wandering stars. They have the appearance of godliness, but there are far from God. Jesus said, “They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me (Matthew 15:8).” Their reservations are in everlasting darkness (cp. 2 Peter 2:17).
Vs. 14-16 The author apocalyptic or end times beliefs was based upon the prophecy of Enoch. He recalls the second coming of Christ with his saints and the judgment of these ungodly teachers and all ungodly sinners. God at the Great White Throne will judge their deeds, what they have said, and what they have spoken against Him. These instructors complained about what God was doing in their lives and the lives of others. They measure God’s competency base upon their own lust and idea. They come expecting God to do this or the other base upon their own will and not God’s will. It was murmuring that a generation of the Children of Israel did not go into the land of Canaan. They spoke well of others for the purpose of selfish gains. They spoke liberty among themselves, while putting others in bondage (cp. 2 Peter 2:19). They held themselves and certain persons (cliques) in high esteem and turned their nose at those who were less fortunate.
Vs. 17-19 Jude induced the church to remember what the apostle taught them about false teachers. They will be mockers or scoffers (cp. 2 Peter 3:3). They walk after their own desires or lust. As earlier in the book, we discover they claimed to be spiritual and receive dreams and revelations, but they are on a worldly level, ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit, conveniently apply the Scriptures and try ultimately to divide the Church. They separate themselves from the church and the work of the church. It is a sad commentary, when one is so high-minded or spiritual that the hungry go unfed, prisoners go unvisited, the sick get lonely, and the naked remain unclothed. The church does not have to wait until the Holy Spirit say to do these things when it is written and it is what Jesus says to do.
Vs. 20-21 The faithful believers must remain in the love of God showing forth the love of God. They must not get caught up in the rebellious nature of the heretics. How is this done? The author says to the church, build yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. It takes a building up and prayer. Jude in vs. 5 and 17 induce he church to remember. In essence, he told them to remember the Scripture of the aforetime and what was taught to them by the apostles. They would continue to build themselves up by the Word of God. One Psalmist said, “He meditate day and night on His Word.” The faith of the believing can build themselves up first by the reading and studying the Holy Bible and secondly through sincere prayer. Prayer of this sort is that private moment we spend talking with God (cp. Ephesians 6:18). In this, the church shows their love toward God and seeking out the mercy and direction from God.
Vs. 22,23 The faithful must not only pray for themselves, but also seek out and restore those who have been injured by the false teachers. Jude exhorted them to do it with compassion making a difference in the lives of those who have been influence and fallen away (cp. Galatians 6:1). They were to allow the fruit of the Spirit to manifest in the restoration process. As Jesus has shown compassion in all of His teaching, preaching and evangelism work, so must the church.
Vs. 24,25 This ascription to the one (Christ who is able to you from falling) is the source or foundation for a stable and productive church. Jude concluded with this type of benediction to let the church know the dangers of straying away from Christ. He is the one who will keep the church from the influence of false teachers, falling into sin and yielding to temptation. It is only Christ who can hold us with the power of His hand. If or when we do fall it is Jesus Christ who present us faultless by the shedding of His blood. Not only is He glad to do it, but also He is exceedingly joyful. He is wise, majestic, powerful and glorious forever.