Thursday, August 27, 2015

Reading Through Jude

51wtZdiia5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I am continuing to read through the New Testament accompanied by the commentary series The Bible Speaks Today, edited by John R. W. Stott. This post quotes from the book The Message of 2 Peter and Jude: The Promise of His Coming, written by R. C. Lucas and Christopher Green. My analysis of the letter by Jude is in black below. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I post quotes from these commentaries on my Facebook page and periodic summaries of the commentary here on my blog. I welcome discussion on these post on my Facebook page. As always, quotes from the author are in blue font.

The traditional author of the Epistle of Jude is Jude the brother of Jesus. Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 name Judas (Jude) and James as brothers of Jesus. The simple identification of Jude in the letter is appropriate for Jesus' brother. The recipients of the letter were possibly Christian Jews in Palestine. There are several references to the Old Testament and other Jewish literature. It was probably written around 67-80 AD. The references to false teachers would indicate a date several years after the beginning of the church and the Jewish revolts of 66-70 that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jude chartJude wrote to urge believers to see the urgency of opposing false teaching and to fight against apostasy and to preserve the apostolic faith. The message of Jude is that "God condemns the ungodly and apostates but preserves the righteous who hold on to the truth. Therefore we need to recognize that there are people in the church who are trying to destroy the faith, and prepare ourselves to rescue the church from them in God's strength."

Believers are called, loved and kept safe in the faith by God's mercy, peace and love. Leaders should “slaves” of Jesus Christ. True believers are called into and kept in the faith by the love of God and need the continuing work of God in their lives. 1-2

It is urgent that true believers defend the apostolic (scriptural) faith because false teachers have infiltrated the church to corrupt and destroy it. It is important to defend the faith because God has entrusted us with the special revelation of God contained in scripture and, thus, we must work hard to make sure truth continues in the church and overcomes falsehood. False teaching comes from ungodly, immoral people who deny the Deity and authority of Christ. Defending the truth is critical because those who deny it will be condemned. 3-4

To be rescued from that, and to be allowed to change from having ‘clothing stained by corrupted flesh’ (23) into being ‘without fault’ (24), is to experience the full scope of God’s rescue plan. Until we are in ‘his glorious presence’ (24), we can only wait for his mercy (21). Jude 3, 172

We need to be able to recognize false teachers so that we can oppose them and avoid their judgment. Examples of apostasy from the past are warnings of the danger of rejecting the truth. A chief characteristic of false teachers is lack of submission to God and overreaching, abusive authority. Because they act in only their own interests, they will be destroyed. False teachers are seductive dangers that do not deliver what they promise and they will be severely judged for their prideful words and deeds. 5-16

But there are people in our churches who look and sound like the people of God, but who will not be saved on the last day, because they rebel against God’s promises and rule. Like the Israelites in the desert, they do not believe, and in consequence they will face the Judge. That was the case in the wilderness, it was the case in Jude’s day, and it will be the case in ours. Jude 5, 184

The lessons we have learned from Cain and Balaam are still in place. Once again, in Korah we have a man who ruminates over God’s order of things and decides that God cannot have meant what he said. So, for reasons of greed, an attempt is made to replace God’s laws with another set dreamed up by a man. The new element in Korah’s case was the way the rebellion ended. Jude 11, 200–201.

But the position that faith takes is that God is God even over rebels, and if he knew how to judge Cain, Korah and Balaam, he will be able to judge any who oppose him. Jude 12-13, 204

Believers must remember that this was predicted and God is in control of the situation, and then take action to defend the church from false teachers. Scriptures predicted that there would be false teachers who lack the Spirit and would try to divide and deceive the church. We must take preemptive action to keep people in the faith by building each other up, praying, and focusing on the hope of the return of Christ. We must help those being deceived by mercifully confronting them with their errors and leading them back to the truth. We need to hate the error but love the deceived person. God is the one who will ultimately preserve the truth, grow believers into maturity and keep believers safe in judgment. 17-25

But when people want to set up smaller, ‘truer’ churches within other churches, using those churches as recruiting-grounds rather than bringing non-Christians to Christ, we can be sure that something is very wrong. Jude 19, 216

As we pray for and talk to our friends who think like that, we must keep before ourselves the fact that, without being offensive or insensitive, we are instructed by Jude to save them; the fire is near and coming closer, and we must watch that we are not sucked into its path as well. Snatch them, says Jude. Jude 23, 228

Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?’ The correct answer is that no-one is able to stand on the basis of the lives we have lived. Yet Jude has seen that a wonderful transformation will have occurred, enabling Christians to face that holiness without flinching. Jude 24, 232

It is our responsibility to preserve the truth of the Word and pass it on to the next generation

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