This morning at the Legacy Builders Men’s Bible study in town we learned about Jude, Jesus’ brother. Mr. Billy Coleman shared with us a more in-depth look into what Jude, or Judas (No, not that one), was trying to tell the early church and how it is still a very relevant piece of advice today. Though the epistle of Jude is only 25 verses long, the importance of the information it gives is immeasurable.
Jude was written sometime between 65 and 80 AD and directed at the Church in general as a warning against apostates who have either heard the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and denied it, or who have twisted the disciples’ words into a worldly version of the gospel. His warning is to the devout Christians and current leaders within the Church to beware of “certain individuals…[who] secretly slipped in among you” (Jude 4). These people have integrated themselves into the Church as it has grown and now are “perverting the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ [is] our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4). I don’t know about the rest of you but those words sound like they could have been spoken in my church last Sunday. And it wasn’t just Jude who saw this problem…Peter also writes to the Church, “…there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who brought them…” (2 Peter 2:1) False teachers are all around us today, not just in the pulpit but also on TV, leading small groups, and teaching our children. The only way that we can be assured of what we are hearing is by reading our Bible and praying; spending time with God and asking Him for guidance. Only in this way can we receive the true Word of God and not the distorted truth of Satan. Because at the end of the day the force behind these false teachers is just that, the Devil.
Jude’s last few words are of the most importance to Christian leaders. He says in verse 22-23, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupt flesh”. Jude’s letter to the Church is not just a warning, it is instructions to us as Christians. Our number one responsibility is to create new disciples of Jesus Christ, but we must also protect each other, especially new Christians, from false teachings. Discuss among yourselves and make sure that there is someone among you who is knowledgeable in the Word and a trustworthy, Godly person. In doing this we can test and try the words of man to ensure that they follow the true Word of God.