But, Dear Friends (Jude 14-19)August 21, 2022 | Meritt Raup
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It is great to be with you all today as we open God’s Word together. And it’s great to sing together and to see some of our kids growing in their faith. And I hope it’s been an encouragement to you so far. And I’d like to invite you now to turn to the book of Jude. As we continue in our series, Jude is the second to last book in the Bible right before revelation, and you can find it on page 990. If you’re using one of the church Bibles, and today we’ll be looking at verses 14 through 19. And a few years ago, author and apologist Lee Strobel, he conducted a nationwide survey in partnership with the Barna Group, which is a polling organization and they asked people from various religious backgrounds, a set of hypothetical questions. And one of those questions was, if you could ask God, anything, what would you ask him? Can you guess what the most common response was? To that question? Why is there pain and suffering in the world? was the most common answer that they received from that survey? So number one thing people wish they could ask God. And the reality is, all of us have experienced that question before. We thought about it. When you are someone you love goes through terrible suffering. And you wonder why? Why didn’t God prevent this? But more specifically, when we read in the news, seemingly almost every day, or some act of terrible injustice happens? And we wonder, Where was God? Why didn’t he stop that? Or some act of terrible evil that we think should happen? Only somewhere else in the world happens in one of our nice well off suburban communities? Is God going to do anything about the evil in our world? Why doesn’t he prevent people from doing these things? So today, I’m not going to promise that we’ll answer that question completely, because people have been asking that for years. But our passage helps us understand how we should approach that question as believers. And it’s not an easy passage. I’m just going to warn you up front here. It has some difficulties that we’ll have to work through. So I hope you’re prepared to dig into it. And I hope that today you’ll find nourishment, to take with you to face our troubled world, the deeper faith in Jesus. So let’s begin by reading verses 14 through 16. Together look with me, says Enoch, the seventh from Adam prophesied about them. See, the Lord is coming with 1000s upon 1000s of His holy ones, to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness. And of all the defiant words, ungodly sinners have spoken against him. The first thing that we learned today is that judgment is coming. Judgment is coming. Notice some of the keywords throughout these verses, says ungodly, uses that four times throughout the verse, did you notice that in the word all or everyone uses that four times as well. The point is clear, God will judge the ungodly. Now remember, Jude is speaking here to the church where ungodly false teachers have snuck in there practicing immorality, and they’re teaching others to do the same. So as a result, they will surely face God’s judgment. And when we look at the world around us today, it’s full of ungodliness. We must trust that God will not let the ungodly go unpunished. He is the perfect judge who will bring just this.
Now, you might notice that Jude begins this section with a mention of a guy named Enoch. Before we go any further, let’s pause for a second understand who Enoch is and why Jude makes reference to him. So Enoch is described as being the seventh from Adam. If we read the book of Genesis, we’ll find that Enoch was, in fact the seventh generation of humanity. You know, he was the great, great, great, great grandson of Adam. His story is told and only four verses in the book of Genesis Genesis 521 through 24, where it says about Enoch It says, When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God, then He was no more because God took him away. We don’t know much about Enoch. But there is one thing that makes him unique. Enoch walked faithfully with God. And because he walked faithfully with God, it says that he was no more because God took him away. See, Enoch didn’t die. He was taken straight up into heaven. Isn’t that fascinating? Imagine what that would have been like for Enoch, left behind in real life. Even more than this, Enoch was a Hall of Famer, you know, the special club that only the best of the best get into only the athletes who have a particularly noteworthy career make it into the Hall of Fame. Well, Hebrews chapter 11, is often called the hall of faith, or the faith hall of fame, so to speak. So this chapter recognizes people in the Old Testament who showed extraordinary faith. So Enoch is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, as an example of faith, it says, By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Wouldn’t you want to have that written on your tombstone? So and So commended as one who pleased God, tie praise for Enoch. If you want an example of someone who is faithful to God, look at Enoch. What a unique story that he has. And if you knock around today, there’s no doubt that it would have been made into a movie already. See, as unique and interesting as Enoch story is, that’s about all we know about him. There are very few passages where he’s mentioned in Scripture. So you can imagine all the speculation surrounding his life. People wanted to fill in the details. We always want to do that, don’t we? What else about him? Do we not know? What did he What did he look like? What was his life like? So here in our passage, today, we read that Enoch prophesied, he prophesied. So is this a quote from the remarkable character Enoch that we read about in the Bible? Not quite. See, you won’t find this quote from Enoch anywhere in the Bible. Rather this quote, that Jude references is from a book titled First Enoch.
It’s a book that was written in the first or second century BCE, where it was named after the biblical character of Enoch. See, the writers back then were looking for ways to increase their notoriety, right? It’s not too different than today is it? So they would try to attach someone’s name to their writings? somewhat important, they’re significant, so other people would read it. So think about all the speculation surrounding his life. Think about an author wanting to get people to read their book. And so what happened was, someone wrote the book of First Enoch. So that’s how Enoch or first Enoch happened. And this is one of the reasons why first Enoch isn’t in our Bibles today, because we know he didn’t actually write it. This was one of the criteria that the Church Fathers used to determine and confirm which books were going to be in our Bibles did one of the apostles or someone who was close to Jesus who was able to to have an eyewitness account, actually write it? So we know this wasn’t the case for first Enoch, which is why it’s not in our Bibles. But nevertheless, during Jude’s time, it was a popular story among the Jewish community. So according to tradition, Enoch, supposedly received direct revelation from God after he was taken up into heaven. This is significant because it’s the very same thing that these false teachers are claiming for themselves. Remember, a few weeks ago, we talked about how these ungodly teachers these wolves are basing their authority on their dreams, these visions they were claiming from God. So it’s very likely that they were even using the book of First Enoch to support their false teaching. If you read through first Enoch, you’ll recognize that Jude has actually been alluding to it several times throughout his letter. The image last week in verse 13, about the wandering stars for for whom the blackest darkness is reserved forever. That for raises borrowed from the book of First Enoch. And a few weeks before that, in verse six, we saw how the angels who they committed immorality, they’re being kept in darkness in everlasting chains for judgment on the great day. See that phrase to is borrowed from first Enoch. So here, what Jude is doing is he’s not making a statement on whether or not the historical Enoch actually said this. He’s not claiming that the book of First Enoch should be in our Bibles. What he’s doing is he’s quoting a popular story to illustrate a point. It’s similar to how we talked about a few weeks ago with the Archangel Michael, fighting with Satan over the body of Moses. He’s simply using the story as an illustration. And this one line from first Enoch helps us see something true about who God is, that’s consistent with the rest of Scripture. And Jude considers it important for us to hear, you know, he, he could have used the Bible to condemn these false teachers. But he’s already done that several times. So he’s taking his argument a step further, it’d be too easy to go back to the Bible. Again. He’s taking his argument a step further. And he’s basically saying, like, even the popular books of the day are condemning these false teachers, the very books that they think are consistent with their false teaching. And it’s sort of like, sort of like today when a news organization runs a story on a televangelists? Have you seen one of those, and the televangelists thinks the news organization is on their side. And they’re gonna run a story about how all these people are being healed at their crusades and their meetings. But actually, it’s an expo say on how the healings are fake. And they’re evading taxes. And now he wants another millions of dollars for another private jet. So even Dateline exposes them. You know, 60 minutes is condemning these guys. That’s what Jude is doing here. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think we can understand the point. So it took a little while to unpack all of that, but it’s important that we do, because this helps us see the way this this quote, affects our lives today in our faith. That’s why he quotes from Enoch. But what is Enoch actually saying? And how is it reinforce what God is saying to us today through the book of Jude? Well, verses 14 and 15 that we read, talk about God’s judgment on the ungodly. Remember, that’s how we started judgment is coming. And we read here that Jesus will return with the armies of heaven to judge. No one is exempt from this judgment. believers and unbelievers alike will face the throne and give an account for everything that we’ve ever done. But the good news for us as believers is that only the ungodly will get convicted.
See, every person will stand before God on trial. And for every believer, our plea will be the blood of Jesus Christ, and the verdict will return paid in full. Jesus has freed us from our sin by his blood, and praise God for the salvation we have received. That will not be the fate of the ungodly. When they stand before the throne and present their case, the verdict will return. Guilty. They’ll be convicted for their ungodly actions. And these false teachers here are so bad that even their ungodly actions they do in an ungodly way. But not only were their ungodly actions convict them, but so will their ungodly words. These people are teaching others to do the same. This quote from first Enoch captures their fate accurately, they’ll be judged for their actions and for their teaching. Judgment is coming. Let me pause here in an offer to brief applications for us. First, for the believer. Rejoice and look forward to that day, when Christ returns. If I can use a use a familiar phrase, set your hope on Jesus, because that day will result in your vindication when all of God’s promises will be fully realized. Remember Enoch he walked faithfully with God, and He entered into the joy of God’s presence. That’s our destiny to for all those who live by faith. So I hope you have a vision for that day as a believer. Rejoice and look forward to that. But also look forward to that day because justice will be done. You know, we want justice in our world, don’t we? And that’s the question we started with, where injustice seems to triumph. Where is God in the midst of this evil? Just wait. He’s coming. He’s coming. He on that day God will finally in ultimately deal with sin. We don’t seek vengeance for ourselves. But we trust that God will in his due time. You know, I think of Elizabeth Elliott. She, she met her husband, Jim. While they’re both studying at Wheaton College just down the road, both of them with a passion for world missions, and only three years into their marriage. Jim Elliot, along with four other missionaries, attempted to contact a remote tribe in South America with the hopes of sharing gospel with them. Upon arriving, Jim, and the four other missionaries were quickly killed by the very tribe they were trying to reach with the gospel. Can you imagine what Elizabeth felt in that moment? A young wife with a 10 month old baby, and your husband is killed trying to reach a remote tribe with the gospel? She almost certainly faced those questions. Why did God let this happen? Why didn’t he stop that? They were trying to do something good. Are these people gonna get away with it? Well, if anyone had a right to be angry about a lack of justice, it was her. But she remained faithful. See, she she also had a heart for missions. And she was working with a neighboring tribe, at the time when her husband was killed. And a few years later, by God’s providence, she was able to actually go to the tribe that had killed her husband. And over time, people from that tribe came to Christ. And Elizabeth returned to the US years later and lived a long life as a writer, teacher and an encouragement to many Christians over the years. She could have been bitter at God, for what had happened. She almost certainly long for justice. But her job was to remain faithful, and to look forward to the day when God would set everything right. So brothers and sisters longing for justice, but trust that God will take care of it in due time.
That’s a brief application for us believers. But what if you’re listening and you’re not sure about Jesus yet? You wouldn’t consider yourself a believer? Well, I lovingly hope from this passage, that you see, that judgment is coming. There’s no avoiding it. See, God always keeps His promises. His Word is true. So when you come face to face with God, on that day, you’ll have to give an account for your life. Being a good person isn’t good enough. The only play that you can enter that leads to a verdict of paid in full is the blood of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross and rose again three days later so that anyone who turns from their sin and puts their faith in Him would have eternal life. Now the verse that we read earlier in the service, from Second Peter three nine says, The Lord is not slow and keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. So I hope you consider that today. So those are the first two verses judgment is coming. On verse 16, we learn why ungodliness is so sinister, and why the ungodly will experience such a fate. So read with me verse 16, says these people are grumblers and fault finders, they follow their own evil desires. They boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. So here we have five descriptions of these ungodly teachers, these wolves and these descriptions help us understand why they’re so sinister. But these things are not only true, the false teachers that we see seeds of these things in our world today, and even in our own hearts at times. So if we were to summarize these five descriptions, they show us that people are self centered. Is that a surprise to people are self centered? Consider the first description grumbling. See these people complain about their situation in life. Sort of like how the Israelites responded. After coming out of Egypt. Remember that? God delivered them he did this mighty acts to save them from the Egyptians and they complained about the desert. Did God bring us out into the desert to die? It probably would be better if we were back in Egypt as slaves. That’s what they said. grumbling is a self centeredness that basically says, I deserve better. See at its core grumbling is a self centeredness that that rejects God’s sovereignty. But consider the second description faultfinding. See, these people are never responsible for their own actions, there’s always a reason someone else is to blame. So the full full finding is a self centeredness that, that basically says, I’m not responsible. So God can’t hold me accountable. It’s someone else’s fault. You know, when I was a toddler, I got in trouble one day. And so my parents told me the story. So it may or may not be true. But one day, I knocked over a plant in our dining room. And when confronted by my parents, who had knocked over the plant, I replied and said, Jesus had knocked over the plant. And so my parents were aware of my sinful hearts at a very young age. Like I said, I don’t remember it. So it may or may not have been my fault. But you can see how we’re always looking to shift the blame onto someone else. Maybe you reply with. I know I did something wrong. But did you see the other guy see what they did? I know I did something wrong. But someone so made me do it. Or one of my favorites. I know I did something wrong. But I was hungry. So can you see how we often like to shift the blame onto other people? fault finding is worthy of God’s judgment because it reveals our self centeredness. Consider the third description, following sinful desires. See, these people make decisions on based on what makes them feel good. We’ve already seen earlier in Jude how these these false teachers, they, they are rejecting God’s authority to justify their sexual immorality. In other words, it’s a self centeredness that basically says, I know what’s best, whatever makes me feel good.
their passions are the motivating factor in their life. But consider the fourth description, boasting about themselves. See, these people not only participate in these self centered actions, but they boast about how good they are at doing that. Do you know someone’s who’s arrogant in their boasting? They always make sure everyone knows how impressive they are. Whether it’s money, fashion, influence, talent, power, you know, we always get annoyed with the one upper. Do you know someone who’s a one upper? When you tell a story? And then they respond with? Oh, well, as a matter of fact, I did something better than that once. You went on vacation to Europe for one week? Well, as a matter of fact, I just got back from Europe for two weeks. And they want up you it’s a boasting. Except here, it’s not even the good things they’re boasting about. They’re boasting about how they’re doing immoral things are arrogant. Boasting is a self centeredness, that basically says I’m most important. When Finally, consider the fifth description, flattering others for your own advantage is people not only participate in these things, but they try to get others to go along with them. They try to use others to further their own cause. It’s not enough to do these things on their own. They need others to join in to the flattery is a self centeredness, that that basically says, I want to use you. Can you see the progression here? It starts with starts with grumbling, you know, being discontent about a situation in your life. And after we start grumbling, it’s it’s not long before we start full finding, or blaming others for things that go wrong. And after we fail to take responsibility, we end up following our own sinful desires, and indulging in immorality. And after falling into our sinful desires, eventually will become heart into it, and then boast about how sinful we are. And finally, once we’ve done all that we can ourselves, we flatter others to try to get them to go along with us. Can you see the danger of self centeredness? This is the reason why God will come to judge the ungodly because they’ve taken God who is rightly worthy of our worship to be If the center of our lives, and they’ve replaced him with themselves, they’re at the center of their own universe. What if instead of self centeredness, we kept God at the center in place of grumbling? Instead, we say I’m thankful. I’m content. In place of faultfinding, we say, I take ownership and place of following our sinful desires, we say, I do what’s right, not according to my own desires, but according to God’s word. What if in place of obnoxious boasting, we say Christ is most important? So I’m humble. And what if in place of flattery, for selfish gain, we say, I want to serve others not use them. We can only do this by faith. This is what separates us from these false teachers. They willingly and gladly participate in these things. And they teach others to do the same. But but as believers, when we experience these the seeds of self centeredness in our own hearts, we respond with repentance and faith. See, our lives are rightly brought back with the reality of God at the center. So which of these signs of self centeredness do you see in your own heart today? Be honest with yourself this week, in fighting against these things, and pursue God centeredness by faith in Jesus Christ. Well, so far, things have not been easy. judgment on the ungodly, people are self centered. Well, the second half of our passage offers us a small transition. It helps us understand how we should respond as believers to the troubled world that we live in with all this ungodliness. See, up until, until this point, in the letter, Jude has mostly been calling out the false teachers. He hasn’t really given much by way of practical instruction. But starting in verse 17, there’s there’s a little bit of a shift that happens. See, Jude begins to address his readers directly. And he won’t get fully into the application until verse 20. So so come next week to hear more. But we get a little bit of it this week. So let’s read together verses 17 through 19. Our final section
says, But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold, they said to you, in the last times, there will be scoffers who follow their ungodly desires. These are the people who will who divide you who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. I love how he starts verse 17. But dear friends, that term of endearment, he he cares about these people. He doesn’t want them to be led astray by these false teachers. What does he say to them? says, Remember, remember what the Apostle said. So finally, number three, we see that God’s word is the key. God’s word is the key. If we’re going to persevere in the face of ungodliness, in our world, we must remember God’s Word does this. He says this, by way of a quote from the apostles says they foretold the presence of scoffers and people who would follow their ungodly desires. The apostles predicted that these false teachers would try to infiltrate the church. So don’t be surprised. Now, if you’re looking for the reference from where the Apostle said this in the Bible, you won’t find it. There’s nowhere in the Bible that contains this exact quote from the apostles. So I said, it’d be a difficult passage today. And again, we see so so what do we do with this, this quote from the apostles, it’s very similar to in the book of Acts, Acts 242, when the church was gathered together after Pentecost, and it says, They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. See, the apostles certainly taught more than just what we have in the Bible. Like they had a whole career of ministry after Jesus had left. So this quote, must have come from some teaching that Jude’s audience was familiar with, that the apostles gave, and they needed to be reminded of it sort of like, like, oh, remember a couple of weeks ago when when the apostles were here. Remember what they said back then, be reminded of that. That’s a sort of a Jude saying here. So what is the dude want them to be reminded of what What do they need to remember? Well, he wants them to remember that ungodly people are not new. History repeats itself. They said in the last times there will be ungodliness. That phrase the the last times it doesn’t refer to the the apocalypse when the world is falling apart like the movies portray, but the last times refers to the period between Christ’s first coming and his second coming so so Jude’s audience was living in the last times. And us today we are living in the last times two. So if there were there ungodly people in the Old Testament, there’s ungodly people in Jude’s time in the New Testament. We shouldn’t be surprised when there’s ungodliness in our world today. But just as this reality is true, so the remedy also holds true, just as Jude called his audience, to remember faithful teaching, so our call today is to remember faithful teaching. This faithful teaching from the apostles has been preserved for us in the Bible. We have everything we need right here. Matthew Henry, a pastor from the 1600s, he, he commented on this passage, and he said this, he said, The words which inspired persons have spoken, or written, duly remembered and reflected on are the best preservative against dangerous errors. This will always be so if we want to be preserved against dangerous errors, we must remember God’s Word we must duly remember and reflect on faithful teaching, because this is what will keep us till the end. And it will always be so it was true in Jude’s time. It’s true for us today. The irregular diet of God’s word will preserve us from the things these ungodly teachers have become. No, we get a further description here of their lifestyle that simply reinforces what we already know about them. They’re scoffers they follow their ungodly desires, they divide, they follow mere natural instincts, they do not have the Spirit. We already know these things, but Jude tells us them again, because we need to be reminded of them. If you simply read your Bible, you’ll be able to tell these guys are a phony. Look at the truth. And you’ll see these guys for who they truly are.
You know, think back to a few weeks ago, when Kyle had the kids corner up here with with all the young kids. What was the the illustration that he had them do? The little activity it was spot the fake, you remember that? One of the examples was was Monopoly money versus real money. You don’t spot the fake by studying the fake, you spot the fake by studying the real thing? Well, it just so happens that I used to work for a bank as a teller for a short time. And so every day I’ll be handling cash. And so after after a while, you’d be able to tell when a counterfeit bill would come through counting stacks of money. You just like pick one up and it felt different had a different texture, or the paper was a little thicker than normal. are. And then you look down and one of the numbers isn’t is in the wrong spot. And you realize that one time someone tried to pass off a $20. Bill with with Alexander Hamilton on the bill. We all know that Alexander Hamilton is on the $5 bill, right? No, that was a test. He’s on the $10 bill, just making sure you’re awake. You would think that if someone was trying to counterfeit money, they would at least Google to make sure they got the right face. But anyway, you get the point. We must be careful to fill ourselves with the truth so that when the fake comes along, we’ll be able to spot it. We must duly remember and reflect on God’s word. So that when the false teacher says something to tickle our ears, it doesn’t sound right. Something doesn’t sound right about that. It’s different than what God’s Word says. Let me double check that from what I know to be true. You know, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young pastor named Timothy, who faced a similar situation as those in Jude’s case. There were false teachers trying to undermine his church. So Paul writes to Timothy and he encourages him with this says, But as for you, Timothy, continue in what you have learned, and have become convinced of because you know, those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. So in other words, Timothy, you’re facing the situation with these false teachers. Were trying to sneak into your church Here’s what you should do. Remember God’s word. Continue in what you have learned, because that will make you wise for salvation. It’s the same for us today. God’s word is the key to making us wise in the face of ungodliness. We’ll be able to spot the fake when we remember what God has said. So, that’s our passage for today. God’s word is the key. God’s word is the key. Started with judgment is coming. People are self centered. Finally, God’s word is the key. When we face a troubled world, where it can sometimes seem like God is absent, we must trust that judgment is coming. God will not let the guilty go on punished. And we can look forward to that day, because that will mean our vindication as believers. And we’ll see final justice done for every act of ungodliness in the world. And we must consider the effect of self centeredness on our own lives. The deadly poison that creeps in, it leads to terrible destruction. And in the meantime, we must remember that God’s word is key. This is what will preserve us till the end. We shouldn’t be surprised when there’s ungodliness in the world today, the Old Testament had it. The New Testament had it and our day has it as well. You parcels for toilet. So our response must be to remember God’s word. This is what will keep us for Jesus. Would you pray with me now? Our Father, we we come to you today and we echo what the psalmist said. He says how long Oh Lord, how long will the ungodly go unpunished?
Father, we long for true justice to be done. In our troubled world. We lacked peace, overseeing evil and ungodly people. Father, we trust that you will not reject your people.
We trust that Blessed is the one who is taught by your word. Father This week, we ask that You would help us to remember your word. It’s the key to remaining faithful in the face of ungodliness. Father, we trust that you will preserve us. You will encourage us by your word. So we ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.Amen.
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