Jude, like James was one of Jesus’ brothers. He is mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 James, Joseph (Joses) and Judas. And he didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah until after Jesus’ resurrection. (John7:1-9, Mark 3:21). This is all that we know about him, except that he wrote a letter to the church and since it’s considered scripture, we know he became an important figure in the early church.
It is really popular nowadays to say, “Do not judge.” Non-believers love to throw that phrase in believer’s faces as they call us hypocrites and hate us for being “haters.” It is true we are not supposed to judge those who don’t know Jesus. That is God’s job. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). But we are allowed and expected to judge some people. We are told to judge our fellow believers in love to help each other continue the walk. (Matthew 7:3-5). We are to judge ourselves using the word of God as our guide, stay mindful of our condition and strive toward the glory of God. (Hebrews 4:12). One of the most important judgements or discernments we make is to judge if someone is a false teacher, or person faking their Christianity for some gain.
Jude wrote this letter with the expectation of encouraging the church, but that purpose was sidelined because he had to warn the church about the frauds among them who could destroy the church by their actions. Verses 3-4 read,
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
God has never taken kindly to anyone or anything turning His people away from Him, especially toward their selfish sensual desires of the flesh. Jude reminded the church of that. Verses 5-7 read,
“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
If they’ve crept in, how do we know who they are? How can we recognize them? Verses 8-10 tell us,
“Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.”
First it says, they rely on their dreams. You’ve seen those people who have visions and dreams and hear from God, but somehow they never refer to scriptures. The things they say make often make sense but they aim at feeling good and experience over truth. They manipulate people to do things using, “God told me…” They have many spiritual experiences and make us think that knowing God is about feeling God.
They defile the flesh. Very often sexual purity and monogamy mean nothing to these people. They will even use that sensuality to influence and control others, make others think sensual sin doesn’t matter, or bring others to their thinking. It isn’t only sexual sensuality that they use, they may defile the flesh with drugs or food. The drugs or food do not necessarily have to be mind-altering or junk foods. A person can endorse health foods, vitamins, wonder-drugs, massage, or any number of seemingly good things and lead people away from Jesus.
They reject authority. This is a biggie. They disagree with the Pastors, they even challenge them. They might have a problem, with authority in many areas of their life. They don’t get along with the boss. They have problems with the government. If they are married there is no equality or give and take in their relationship. Hebrews 13:7-17 reads,
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
They blaspheme the glorious ones. What or who are the glorious ones? They are the heavenly creatures, angels and probably even demons. We know this because the verses go on to say Michael wouldn’t presume to rebuke Satan himself but said, “Lord, rebuke you.” Those people think pretty highly of themselves and give themselves credit for the Holy Spirit’s work, they leave Jesus out of their spiritual warfare. They don’t need Jesus, since they are helping the enemy.
Those are the characteristics of a person we all need to beware of. They don’t understand the profound truth of god, because they do not have the Holy Spirit. They look and act spiritual but it is a self-seeking carnal spirituality powered by the enemy. They do not edify the body of Christ. They serve no purpose in the body. But they act like they do. Verses 10-13 reads,
“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”
Since sin entered creation, we’ve had to keep our eyes open to people who use God to meet their own needs and who lead us away from The Lord. Don’t lose faith. God has a plan. Verses 14-16 read,
“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”
What do we do to protect ourselves, to keep ourselves from falling for the deceivers? We are together in this! We are here together, judging one another, keeping each other following the Lord. And we are diligent about following the Lord and knowing Him well enough not to be led astray. Verses 20-25 read,
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
We have to depend on the Lord. We have to remember it is Him with the righteousness, Him with the power. And guess what, He adores you! He loves you and wants you to succeed. The false teachers care about themselves. The body of Christ loves one another as Jesus loves us.