Glory to God!
“And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy. All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen.“ – Vs 24-25 NLT
Jude may be a short letter, but it is long enough to be a little bit depressing. In it, Jude, the brother of James, is attempting to defend the faith against false teaching that was popping up in the churches of his day. This was a dangerous time for the church. Gnostic teaching, which basically glorified the spiritual and diminished the material, was encouraging believers to cultivate their “spiritual” lives, while at the same time doing whatever they wanted to do with their bodies – because it really didn’t matter. So the result was an increasing amount of immorality. The bottom line was that Christians were being tempted to believe one way and act another. So Jude felt a responsibility to address these issues. He warns them of “certain persons who have crept in unnoticed” (Vs 4 NASB). He describes these false teachers as “dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvesttime. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness” (Vs 12-13 NLT).
Hidden reefs – destructive, but out of sight where you can’t see them
Waterless clouds – promising, but never deliver on their promise
Fruitless trees – seemingly healthy, but as good as dead because they have nothing to offer
Wild waves – directionless, dangerous, and destructive
Wandering stars – you can’t count on them to be there, so you can’t navigate your life by them
These “teachers” were not just a nuisance, they were a danger and Jude warns his readers to watch out for them. These same kinds of individuals exist in and around the church today. They write books, produce TV shows, pastor churches, fill up the Internet with their thoughts, and even write blogs. But we must be careful. Jude calls them as “people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts. These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit! (Vs 18-19 MSG). Sounds a lot like today doesn’t it? Which means we have to be just as careful in 21st-Century America. So what are we supposed to do?
Jude says to “continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit. Live in such a way that God’s love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren’t contaminated by their sins” (Vs 20-23 NLT). Grow spiritually. Pray fervently. Live righteously. Show mercy constantly. Rescue the wavering. Stay pure! Then he gives us his incredible benediction. Remember that it is God who is able to keep you from stumbling. He is the one who will protect you and keep you strong until the end. Rely on Him. Lean on Him. Give Him the glory He deserves. He is in control even when things appear to be completely out of control. He is our hope, our help, and our security in the storm.
Father, to You be all the glory, majesty, dominion and authority. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men