Part 1 – The Acts of the Apostates
The Book of Jude was written by Judas/Jude, the younger brother of the apostle James and Jesus Christ, sometime after AD60. Jude’s original intention (which will be examined in a couple of weeks) was to write a letter of encouragement regarding the salvation that he shared with those he was writing to, but felt compelled to address the issue of false teachers/teaching that had infiltrated the church.
Jude had two purposes in writing this letter:
1. To remind the saints that the Lord would not neglect to deal justly and righteously against any false teachers (and all unbelievers) and as proof of that justice, Jude will remind the church of how the Lord consistently dealt with sin in the past (Old Testament).
2. To encourage the saints that despite the influence of the false teachers/teachings the Lord is faithful to complete the work of salvation that He began in their hearts. They as believers need to be warned and guard against false teaching, but the Lord will ‘keep them from falling’.
One of the major issues that the false teachers were propagating is the idea that Jesus Christ was not both God and man, so it is essential for all true believers to be grounded deeply in the biblical truth of the nature and character of Jesus the Christ – as both God and man.
The message was concluded with a two-point challenge that would help guard the church against false teaching:
1. Know the Truth – it is paramount for believers to take very serious the Lord’s command to ‘study to show one’s self approved’. We should be listening to sermons that ‘preach the Word’; we should be reading, mediating upon, and memorizing God’s Word on our own – hiding the Truth in our hearts – so that when false teaching is spoken or read, the solid child of God – well equipped – will be able to quickly identify the lies of the enemy.
2. Is the teacher ‘bearing fruit’? Jesus said that we would be known by our fruit, so a true preacher of the Truth can be identified by the answers of these two questions:
a. What does the teacher say about Jesus? Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian faith, and right teaching about Jesus will include His complete deity, as well as His complete humanity; along with the view that Jesus is the only source of salvation, which leads to the second question….
b. Is the teacher preaching the Gospel, and by Gospel I don’t mean Bible stories that are talked about for their social and interpersonal purposes; or the health and wealth teaching; or preaching that just deals with the social issues of the culture; generic messages about the universal love of God; or a works/good deed salvation. But rather the Gospel that teaches the depravity of man, thus fallen man’s complete dependence on the grace and mercy of God in redeeming man through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Essentially, the Gospel declares that sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone so that God alone would receive all the glory, and that Gospel is found – not in the newspapers – but in God’s Word alone.