A Study Of Jude
James A. Gunn
Copyright © 2005 James A. Gunn
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This Bible Study is part of a 10-year program to study the entire Bible.

Much of this outline was developed from:

Beware The Pretenders, John MacAuthur, Jr.
Westminster Record, R. T. Kendall
Peter and Jude, Simon J. Kistemaker
Be Alert, Beware of Religious Imposters, Warren W. Wiersbe

Following our study of John’s Epistles, which warned of the dangers of the heresies of the Gnostics, who were wicked men mostly from outside the church family, we come to study Jude. Jude is warning the church from the dangers from within the church.

Dr. R.T. Kendall, pastor of Westminster Chapel, London, England in his commentary on Jude says it is the most contemporary book of the Bible.

A Short Outline:

Jude, unlike John, uses the term "faith" in the place of "truth."  Jude and John are both insisting on the same thing.  The truth was under attack.  In the case of John, it was mostly from outside the church in the form of false prophets.  In Jude's case it was "certain men" (4) who had crept in unawares.

1. SALUTATION   {1-2}
Jude (a common name ) was the brother of James, and the half brother of Jesus.
None of Jesus’ half-brothers believed in Him (John 7:5) until after His resurrection.   Now they are His servants. (James 1:1; Jude 1)

The truth is under attack, and we have a fight on our hands.

This letter is difficult to outline by subject.  We may take a topic and look at the various mentions made to it by Jude. These are some of the main characteristics of unbelievers:

a) They are godless (4b); they do not have the Spirit (19c); they deny the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ in One Person, (4d); they mock (8c); they would argue with the devil (9).
b) These false teachers are deceptive (4a;12)
c) They are sensual (4c), they use the grace of God as an excuse for sin. They are like brute animals (10b; 19a).
d) They are self-centered, complaining when things don't go their way (16).

Jude is saying, don't be disheartened, God has always dealt with rebellion in His own way.

God will yet deal with unfaithfulness.

Six ways that believers can show loyalty to the faith:

* build yourself up  [how?]
* pray in the Holy Spirit
* keep in God's love
* show mercy
* act vigorously to help another believer
* be compassionate toward those who have succumbed to false teaching and immorality

One of the great doxologies in the Bible.


1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Beware the apostates!

In verses 1 & 2 we see the believer’s security in Jesus Christ.

In verse 3, what did Jude intend to write about?

What is our “common salvation?”

What changed Jude’s mind {4}?

“Sometimes error will be used by God to help the church refine the truth.”

For example, Arius, the trendy man of his day, taught that Jesus is the highest creation of God.  This heresy became popular and still exists in the Jehovah’s Witness cult.  Only Athanasis stood and defended the truth that Jesus is co-equal, co-eternal, and God indeed!

We may have never had a John Calvin unless the king of France had not accused the French Protestants of anarchy.  Calvin wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion and changed western civilization.

Another example: We are continually enticed by the advertisements of the Mormons who want people to believe that they are Christians.  They lure simple people to their cult by using terms that sound Christian.  They offer you a “free” Bible, but will insist that you must read the Book of Mormon in order to understand the Bible.  They teach a very different “Christ” than the true Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who is God in the flesh!

Other modern manifestations of verse 4 include a popular “seeker-sensitive” approach that apologizes for sin rather than condemning it.  Some preachers won’t even mention hell, much less preach on it.  We have “Christian homosexuals!”  Why not have “Christian wife beaters?”, “Christian child molesters?”, and “Christian adulterers?”

Cf. Luke 8: 11-15, The “rocky soil” are those not firmly grounded, who superficially believe and fall away.  An apostate is someone who receives the Word of the Gospel with head knowledge.  He knows the truth but never applies it; he never makes a genuine commitment to Christ.

Cf. Acts 8: 9-24 Simon was a pretender; he needed to pray that God would change his heart.
Cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 Hypocritical preachers who God calls liars.
Cf. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4 Hypocritical people. Cf. Jeremiah 5:31

Jude 3 may be the key verse. “… contend earnestly for the faith...”

What is the “faith?”  Jude doesn’t tell us what it is, but he certainly tells us what it is not!

It does not lead to licentiousness or lasciviousness {4, 7}.

It is not a faith that prevents repentance; lit. “believed not the second time” {5}.

It is not a faith that ventures where angels fear to tread {8}.

There is a “knowing” that believers have that is not mysticism, because it is “common,”  i.e., all believers have the same knowledge.
(Cf. Psalm 25:14; Matthew 13:44; 1 John 2: 20, 27; John 10:27)

It derives from regeneration, apart from which you are a pretender. The fatal error of the “certain men” in verse 4 is that they were teaching a “Christianity,” that did not change hearts and lives. Jude is saying that apart from regeneration there is no Christianity at all. The faith “once delivered...” doesn’t change, therefore it is the “common salvation.”

If Jude had spelled it out, the enemy would try to fake that as well!

For example:

The Lord’s Supper is a simple remembrance.  But the Roman Church has made it a “Mass” in which, according to their teaching, Christ is crucified each time it is performed

Or, the Virgin Mary, who by the 5th century is called the “Mother of God,” and by the 6th century, people are praying to Mary.

These errors are very different from the faith that was once delivered to all, and shows what tradition and superstition will deliver.

Ordained to condemnation!?

“For certain men have crept in unawares.” Lit. “wormed their way in.” Watch out for those who from inside the church promote teaching that leads to licentiousness.  Paul Tillich wrote that faith is defined as the “ultimate concern” and that an atheist could have faith.  Jude’s faith opposes a wicked life and does not excuse sin. 

Peter warns {2 Peter 2:1} about false prophets among you who “secretly bring in destructive heresies....” Paul, likewise, warns of “false brethren secretly brought in....”  {Galatians 2:4}

Paul condemned those who would add works {law} to faith {legalism}.
Peter and Jude condemn those who promote antinomianism.

Augustus Toplady {Rock of Ages, said Christ is still being crucified between these two thieves.

There are at least two kinds of false conversions:

1.A sincere confession, but confessing what they don’t know. 

a.They come out of a troubled conscience, personal tragedy, financial troubles,    sickness and turn to religion.  They will try to be good and see if that helps. They become “Christian” for the wrong reason and they don’t know Christ.

b.A false ministry. They obey what they are taught but they have been taught error.
(E.g., “baptismal regeneration” says that Regeneration is secured in baptism.)

c.“Revival.” Swept in through the emotions of others whose conversions may be genuine. In every revival there are false confessions along with true ones.

How can you be sure?  Test it.  What is your view of Christ.
Are you trusting only the righteousness of Jesus Christ?

2.Those who “worm their way in.”

a. They see Christianity as a “good deal,” and decide to enter the ministry, e.g.,
Simon Magus. He was “saved,” and baptized, but something was wrong.  He wanted to buy the Holy Spirit {Acts 8:5-25}.

b. A politician, especially in the rural south, has to be a “Christian” in order to get elected.  This is not as true today as it was 30 years ago.

In Jude’s day there were the Gnostics who assimilated Christianity into their beliefs and would redefine Christianity to suit their agenda.  So Jude warns the church: he knows who they are and how they got in the church; AND Lit. “previously clearly designated for condemnation.”

What is your reaction to that?  You mean that God predetermined their condemnation?
Do you mean that God doesn’t intend to save everyone?

This is one of those “hard doctrines”   Let’s review Romans 9.

Be very careful how you approach this great truth. Calvinists are accused of teaching that God chose to save some by election and chose to condemn some by reprobation. As though God looked out at all humanity and thought: “Well, I will choose this one and I will damn this one.”

This misses the point that all mankind was represented in Adam and all are condemned!

B.B. Warfield: “We must remember that the human race is not a restored race out of which some will be lost, but the human race is a fallen race out of which some will be saved.”

The Bible teaches the election by God of a fixed number who are known to God from before the foundation of the world. {Ephesians 1:3-12}  Election is always positive. {Exodus 33:19}

These men in Jude 4 are simply acting out their condemnation rather than contending for the faith.

Please don’t resist these teachings about the sovereignty of God.  We don’t have to understand a truth to accept it.  We don’t “understand” the virgin birth, but we must accept it as the truth.

God is just, and what He does is right.  Hell is pure justice!

Saved people will agree with God’s condemnation of the ungodly because they will know that they too deserve to be in hell.  Only an unsaved person will argue with the justice of God in sending people to hell.  {Too strong?}

Read 1-4 again and ask: Did Jude make a mistake here?  Jude says these men are condemned “long ago.”  But in John 3:18, Jesus says men are condemned because they did not believe.

These men were church members, they were baptized, accepted into fellowship, and respected - how else could they lead anyone astray?  How can they be condemned?

That’s what verses 5-7 explains. 

The practice of the apostates.

5But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude says, “I want to remind you,” and backs it up with examples from Scripture.
We need to remember what we know, e.g., the Lord’s Supper, the Gospel.

It is interesting to see that the faith “once for all delivered to the saints...” was what Old Testament believers believed.  What is that?  Regeneration and Substitution!  How else could Jesus rebuke Nicodemus as “the master in Israel” for not understanding the essential fact that “You must be born again.”

Note that in John 3:16, “believe” is a present participle, lit. “whoever is believing on Him...”

Ephesians 2:8, “...by grace are you being saved.”

The genuine believer keeps on believing and trusting.
If you can stop believing, you never really believed

How can there be 13 + million Southern Baptists and we don’t know where 5 + million of them are because they “quit church?”

So Jude says, “I want to remind you...,” there were those who were “saved,” and could talk of their “experience,” but they did not keep on believing, and they perished in the wilderness.  It was evidence that they simply did not believe.

“And the angels...” Why angels? Can angels believe? The answer is not that they believe, but they are the first to set the pattern of how God deals with fallen creatures.

There is much speculation about the angels in verse 6.  There are three opinions commonly held to explain these angels.  One view says these are the fallen angels about which we have no information.  But Jude says we should remember them.  A second view links these angels with Genesis 6 as the “sons of God” who cohabited with the “daughters of men.”  But I can’t in good conscience reconcile this view with what Jesus taught in Matthew 22:30 regarding the procreative power of angels.  A third view is that these are the angels who followed Satan {Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-9; 2 Peter 2:4; Rev 12:4

“in chains?” same as Satan, bound, limited, already judged, but not powerless {John 18:8-11}

Some advice...don’t get carried away with sensational interpretations of Scripture.
The most current example is the “Left Behind” series. These popular novels are based on dispensational eschatology.  My problem with them is that they take a highly doubtful view of eschatology and add page after page of fiction. The reader, in most cases, thinks that he or she now has some understanding of what is to happen at the “rapture.” If these same people would spend a third of the time they spend reading this fiction in reading God’s Word, they would be protected from such deception.

Also keep in mind {verse 7} that Jude is proving that, based on Scripture, these “certain men” {4} are condemned.  There is a problem with Sodom and Gomorrah because with the exception of Lot, there is no evidence of genuine faith.
(Cf Genesis 18, Abraham’s plea)

But Jude may well be pointing out that hell will have three kinds of inhabitants:

Certain men who will not believe - having rejected Christ;
Fallen angels who are never offered salvation;
Heathen those who never hear of Christ, but are condemned on the basis of natural revelation, Romans 1.

My Greek authority says “in like manner” KJV, “as” NKJV does not refer to verse 6, but rather to verse 4.  As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, so in like manner {do these men of verse 4} give themselves over to sexual immorality.  Jude continues to refer to verse 4.

These men were committing the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, sexual immorality.  This is the only New Testament usage of ekporneuo.  ek means “outside.”  The common word translated sexual immorality is porneuo from which we get the word “pornography,”  and is translated fornication. Fornication, while immoral, is nevertheless natural.  But here the word means an unnatural and sexually immoral practice, namely, homosexual behavior.

Finally, just as these men of verse 4, Jude gives examples of living proof of the wrath of God; condemned already, only awaiting the punishment of hell.

Jude made a claim in verse 4 that certain men were “ordained to condemnation,” or “marked out for this condemnation.”  Then he uses examples from the Scripture to illustrate his point: the Israelites in the wilderness; fallen angels; Sodom and Gomorrah.

Paul, in Romans 1, gives the downward progression of sin.  Rejection of natural revelation in the created universe, idolatry, and finally rebellion against his or her own nature in homosexual practice.  If a person persists in such rebellion the end result is reprobation.  A reprobate is a person who while he yet lives has no hope of being saved.  God has “given them up!”  They have a mind void of judgment, no conscience for wickedness, therefore in verse 7, there is a display of the wrath of God as opposed to those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

All three cases prove God’s righteous judgment on wickedness.  If a man is rightly condemned by the rejection of natural revelation, how much more are they justly condemned who reject the blood of Jesus Christ {Hebrews 10:29}?  And, what about those who make merchandise of the Gospel {Matthew 6:23}?

Further conduct of the apostates.

8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Now Jude is going to tell us how reprobates think and act.

Being dreamers, they defile the flesh, reject authority, blaspheme dignitaries.

Dreams are fantasy. These men act out their dreams.

1.They defile the flesh. Cf. Titus 1:15. They pervert even nature. The Christian wars against the flesh. These men go beyond nature.

2. They reject all authority. The Greek word is singular indicating the principle of authority. Do you know why so-called Bible scholars such as the “Jesus Seminar” undermine the Scripture?  If they can discount the Bible, therefore they reject its authority!

3. They blaspheme dignitaries.  Personal mockery, abusive speech, treat with contempt.  Men can blaspheme when they are in unbelief.  This is more than that.  They don’t just disbelieve, they mock what they don’t believe: an infallible Bible, the Virgin Birth, the deity of Christ, blood atonement, the bodily resurrection of  Jesus.

But what is it these men speak evil of?  doxas, glories, glorious ones.  A mode of beings beyond men and angels.  Not sure exactly to what he refers, but these men deny anything supernatural.  They wormed their way in, pervert the Gospel, turn grace into licentiousness, practice the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, they lost touch with reality, became dreamers, and now have a reprobate mind, denying anything supernatural.

Jude is an exciting Book!  Out of nowhere he brings in Michael.  We know very little about Michael.  Michael is one of two angels in the Bible who are named.  The other one is Gabriel.  Raphael is from the Apocrypha which we do accept as part of the Bible.

Such a contrast.  Certain men who are apostates, mocking the supernatural versus angels who are superior beings.  Yet Michael would not presume to rebuke the devil!

Where does Jude find this?  Yes, the Holy Spirit inspired Jude’s Book, but even Paul had the Scriptures {Old Testament} when he was taught three years by the Lord.  Perhaps Jude used some apocryphal writings that were factually true without them being inspired.

The devil is the “accuser of the brethren,” so when Michael came to take Moses’ body, Satan brings up past sin {remember Moses was a murderer}.  The devil’s accusations are based on the truth, but overlook the main fact, the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.  Here is a great subtlety.  Those men denied the spirit world, but Jude pulls back the curtain a little for believers.  Imagine the activity in the spirit world, that these men don’t believe in at all.

Who won the dispute?  Michael or Satan?  We all know that the Lord allowed Peter, James, and John see Moses and Elijah.

These men speak evil, third time in three verses Jude uses “blaspheme.”  Now Jude says plainly that these men don’t know what they are talking about.  They have had enough illumination by the Holy Spirit to know what they blaspheme and therefore are blaspheming the Holy Spirit and will not be forgiven.  They continually reject the Gospel until they are reprobate.

There are two Greek words translated “know” in verse 10.  The first “know,” oidasin, is knowledge of a well-known fact, everyday knowledge, and what they don’t know is in fact well-known.  They do not grasp anything beyond their senses so they do not comprehend the unseen world.  These men blaspheme things that Christians clearly know.  Now even ignorance has become natural to these men.  They have rejected two ways of knowing: the Gospel and nature, so they have become like brute beasts, alogia “without reason,” or “against reason.”

The second “know, “ is epistani.  Their epistemology {how you know what you know} is subhuman.  Three epistemologies:  natural, revealed, subhuman {called humanism today, no knowledge apart from self - no God.}.

These men talk about what they do not know.  If we are to “contend earnestly for the faith,” we must know what we are talking about.

What is to become of these men of verse 4?  In verse 11,  Jude gives three examples:

The way of Cain, the error of Balaam, the rebellion of Korah.
Jude tells us of their destiny and that what they are teaching is not new.

Hegel: “The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

Satan will take an old lie and make it sound new.

E.g., Bultmann: The Gospel emerged in a superstitious age, therefore men needed to believe in miracles.  So Bultmann “demythed” the Bible.  But Bultmann only copied Heidegger.  Both are only Gnostics in a new time.

How old is the Gospel?  All the way back to Genesis 3.  God gave the prototype to Eve.
Cain was the first child born of a woman; in the likeness of Adam {sinful}.  There is no doubt that Adam instructed his two boys on the way to worship God, in the symbolic shedding of the blood of an innocent sacrifice.  What is “the way of Cain?”

1) Cain offered a righteousness of his own hands.
2) Cain rejected revealed knowledge.
3) Cain did not heed the warning and insisted his way was right. Therefore, he killed his brother.

And so today we have the “intellectuals” that scoff at an infallible Bible.
There is still only one remedy for sin.  The blood of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is an offense to the self-righteous person.

In verse 4, Jude pronounced condemnation and revealed how a person who had professed faith could still be lost {Cf. 5, 6, 7}.  Then he again pronounces their condemnation by showing what these men say and do is not new, just old errors dressed up.  Errors as old as Cain.

Next Jude gives the example of Balaam.

Many people cannot discern error. They can read Numbers 21-24 and not see the error of Balaam. Even some commentaries say that Balaam was a man of integrity? 
(Cf. 2 Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:14)

Jude says the men “run greedily in the error of Balaam.”
They tried to outdo Balaam in his sin.

Balaam lived when Moses was still leading the Israelites in the desert.  The people were camped near Moab.  The people who lived in the territory had heard of the supernatural power helping the Israelites, crossing the Red Sea, etc.  Rahab the harlot had heard about their God and had believed in Him.  Balak, king of Moab, sent messengers to Balaam who was regarded as having power.  Balaam was asked to curse the Israelites so Balak would be sure of victory over them.  The messengers brought a “fee.”  Balaam wanted to accommodate King Balak, but asked the messengers to wait until morning so he could “pray about it.”  Why did Balaam want to help Balak?  Money, prestige, power, and the favor of King Balak.  Balaam clearly knew the will of God in this matter.  When Balak sent messengers a second time they offered “very great honor and anything he asked.”  Balaam sounded great, he said, “No!”  He couldn’t do anything the Lord was against {Numbers 22:18}.  But Balaam wanted to please God and man.  He already knew God’s will {Numbers 22:12}, but he told the second group to spend the night, he would ask God again!  Balaam entertained God’s enemies and thought to get God to contradict Himself!

Modern “Balaam” is a nice preacher that sounds so theologically correct and everybody loves him.  Read the letters to the editor to The Alabama Baptist which defend a nice preacher but who denies the teaching of the Bible.  Study Balaam, he is as modern as today.  These men {4} “rushed greedily after the error of Balaam for profit.”

“...and perished in the rebellion {gainsaying} of Korah {Numbers 16:1-35}.
Korah was Moses’ first cousin, Moses’ father and Korah’s father were brothers.  So Korah had access to Moses on a personal level and he presumed too much.  Korah’s great grandfather was Levi, so Korah thought he knew as much about the ministry as anyone.  Korah gets some people to take his side {schism}{Numbers 16:3}, and told Moses and Aaron that they took too much on themselves.  Moses immediately saw their mistake - they were challenging God Himself!  Their motive was jealousy.  Moses fell on his face - let God handle the matter.

The next day God dealt with the rebellion.  If Korah had just died there may be a question about God’s direct action.  But God opened up the earth, an act never to be forgotten!  Remember, alogia, without reason, “brute beasts,” in verse 10.  Here Jude uses antilogia, against the word, rebellion, gainsaying.

So we have the comparison of these “certain men” of verse 4 with the entire scope of rebellion in the Old Testament.

Do we have church leaders today who are antilogia?

Bishop Sprong was on “Fox News Sunday,” May 28, 2000 and openly denied the virgin birth of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, the authority of the Bible, quoting modern “scholarship” as having disproved these old “myths.”

Recognizing False Teachers

12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." 
16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.

Jude began with “certain men,” without naming them, although he knew who they were.
Now, lit. “they are they....” you can easily pick them out.  They are not some remote men of history, but are now in your love feasts.

We know very little about the agape meals, love feasts.  First century worship was in homes on the first day of the week. They read the Scripture, prayed, listened to expositions of Scripture, brought their offerings, sang psalms and hymns, ate fellowship meals and observed the Lord’s Supper.  The record of the church in Corinth reflects the abuse of the love feasts by cliques, rich not sharing with the poor, and drunkenness.

These men are “blemishes,” or “jagged rocks.”  The purpose of the love feasts was to escape the hypocrisy of the world outside the church.  Everyone sharing together with common love for Jesus Christ.  Then these pretenders “worm their way in” and are stains, spots, rocks in the way.  The danger of a “hidden reef” is that its damage is done before you see it.

“Serving only themselves,” {pampering themselves} is a Greek word picture of sheep grazing without the slightest awareness of anything around them, i.e., “brute beasts.”  These men came to the love feasts, not for fellowship, but because their god was their belly.

Jude is giving the effects of these certain men who wormed their way in.  First, they are like jagged rocks that cause shipwreck.  Next, their usefulness, we will see is nothing!  Clouds without water, trees without fruit.  A third effect, which we will deal with later: having twisted the Gospel -  the effect on themselves is the judgment of hell!

Clouds without water, trees without fruit: they make great promises but are unable to deliver what they promise.  Real Christianity can be tested.  How?  By its fruit!

What is worse?  False teachers or people who can’t discern them”

How relevant is Jude to our time?  The early Christians were “simple,” they just believed that the Bible was true.  Now we “know” that “science” has proved evolution.  Sigmon Freud explains man’s true nature: man is not guilty because of Adam’s sin.  Some have redirected the mission of the church to correcting social ills.

R. T. Kendall gives four tests of a preacher: not what they say about themselves, but what they do.

1.  Do they bring you a knowledge of God?
2.  Do they help you live day by day?
3.  Do they offer you consolation in time of need?
4.  Do they tell you how to die?

“Twice dead?”  But the are still alive.  But to God they are dead and condemned to hell!
It doesn’t matter that they may live a little longer.

To be “once dead,” is to be born by nature, children of wrath, even as others.

Unbelievers are born once and they die twice.
Believers are born twice and die once.
Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:12-14

What do you do with a fruit tree that promise fruit and fails to produce fruit?
Pull it up by the roots, so it is twice dead while it still lives.

These men were failures: great words and promises, but they twisted the Gospel {4} and practiced ekporneo.

“...raging waves of the sea,” noise and commotion and no usefulness.

“...wandering stars,”  not to be followed.  “Deluded,” they don’t know where they are going, like a “falling star,” brilliant, but destined to fizzle out, burn up.

These men are failures at living and at dying.

“Now Enoch....” again to show that these men were not teaching anything new, Jude refers to Enoch.  The Gnostics said they had a new way of knowing.

Jude gives us more information on Enoch than the Old Testament reference to him.
Genesis 5: 24; Hebrews 11:5

Jude tells us Enoch was a prophet and that Enoch knew about men like the ones Jude is dealing with.  Enoch prophesied about the Second Coming of Christ!  Enoch uses the past tense, “...the Lord came....”  Do you suppose Enoch also preached the Gospel?  He preached judgment {15}!  It is my contention that Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc., knew far more about the Gospel than we may think they knew.

Was Jude quoting an apocryphal book?  Jude is probably quoting the same source as the writer of the apocryphal book, but Jude has authenticated Enoch’s prophecy as he was led by the Holy Spirit.

Jude, still “contending for the faith,” shows that the heresy of these men who “crept in” was not a new thing, but as old as time.  The essential truth is regeneration!

These men could articulate doctrine: justification by faith, predestination, election - and still be condemned.  Regeneration is the key!  Without it a man is as useless as clouds without water and trees without fruit - twice dead.

Enoch’s eschatology?  Christ returns with the “holy ones” {saints and angels} and then the judgment.  No “secret rapture,” no “second chance.”  These men about whom Enoch prophesied will be judged and will convict all the ungodly that they deserve judgment {the saved already are convicted of their righteous judgment}.  All will agree with the righteous judgment of Christ.

Verse 15 shows us that opposition to the kingdom of God is as old as history.  Enoch is the seventh from Adam and Adam is still living at this time.  Jude faced the same spirit of ungodliness that Enoch had to contend with and it is no different today.

Notice that “the faith which was “once delivered to the saints,” involves the truth of Adam and Enoch, i.e., the historical truth of Genesis.

Jude uses “ungodly” four times!  The Greek root word means “to worship,” “to reverence,” but here it indicates the very opposite.  So these men, instead of fearing God, defile the flesh, despise authority, speak evil of dignitaries {glories}.  The essential characteristic of the ungodly is no fear {reverence} of God.  The common denominator of these men is they are not regenerate.  Christianity is not an ethic or way of life, it is the new birth {John 3:7}.  Regeneration creates faith and produces repentance which results in fear of God.

Men will go to hell basically for one reason - ungodliness {John 3:19; Romans 1:18}.
People don’t go to hell simply because the reject Christ; they reject Christ because they are ungodly.  Many who never heard of the Gospel, rejected the revelation of God in creation.

These men are ungodly {unregenerate} men who commit ungodly acts, in an ungodly way {no fear of God}, and speak against Christ.

Commentary on “Loved Ones in Hell”

The Westminster Record, September 1980, page 322.
R. T. Kendall, pastor, Westminster Chapel, London.

“But there is another thing we need to see about this which Jude makes quite clear. Not only will the saints be with Christ in person but the saints will be with Christ in thought. A most sobering thought this is. You see, we are going to be utterly on the Lord’s side now and we are going to think as He thinks. We can’t know really what that is right now. We know the warfare between the flesh and the Spirit; the lusts of the flesh against the Spirit so that we don’t always think the way God thinks. We are torn between sentiment and human affection and we have temptations from all sides. And so when we think naturally, we begin to think of our loved ones, our friends. And so when we begin to think of soul-winning, we normally think at once of our own loved ones. I can think of nothing more tragic, nothing more painful to me, than that my friends and loved ones should spend eternity in hell.

“And so when we begin to think of soul-winning, we immediately think of those we know who are close to us, our loved ones. But listen. Here is the most awesome thought. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will cease to think at the level of nature and we will not see our friends and our loved ones as beloved, but if we see them who are not ready, they will cease to be beloved in our eyes, but we will see them as haters of God so that we will see them rather as worthy of doom. We will be utterly upon the side of Christ. And so if you have ever had the thought — and we have all had this thought — ‘How could heaven be heaven knowing we have loved ones in hell?’ I want you to know God has already thought of that. It will not enter your mind to think like that because you will be utterly with God. You will come with Christ and you will think as He thinks and you will see all men as haters of God. And not only that, you are going to participate in the carrying out of justice, ‘For the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all.’ And so we shall judge the world, said Paul. We shall even judge angels (I Cor. 6:2-3). And best of all, do you know we are going to have the unimaginable joy of participating in the sending of Satan to his everlasting doom? We shall participate in that.  Well then, all this Enoch, the seventh from Adam, saw.

“Now it is the Lord that comes and — are we clear about this? It is Christ who will be the Judge. Now. this coheres with everything Jesus has said. Paul said it — ‘Because he (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained’ (Acts 17:31).    So Jesus put it like this to the Pharisees, ‘He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). And so what we have here in the New Testament — if you have never heard this before, if you are a new Christian or if you are outside the faith — when it comes to God’s plan of redemption, we have two comings of Jesus. The first coming, when He came as a babe in Bethlehem; the second coming, when He comes as Judge. The first time He came it was a secret event. Herod wasn’t in on it; Caesar wasn’t in on it; the Sanhedrin weren’t in on it. The angel appeared to Mary, a Jewish virgin in Nazareth, and then after the event God let some shepherds abiding in the field in on it. But the second time He comes He is coming with clouds and every eye shall see Him. Herod will be there and they also who pierced Him; Pilate will be there; the Sanhedrin will be there; Caesar will be there.

“As a matter of fact, said John on the Isle of Patmos, ‘the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ (Rev. 6:15-17).”
Verse 16: Jude calls them “murmurers.”  To speak in a low voice.  E.g., correct a child and the child knows what is to be; he knows it, but still has to register a complaint, so he grumbles not quite loud enough to be clearly heard.

These men were angry - primarily at the authority and unchanging will  of God.

Murmuring was the sin of the Israelites after they left Egypt and did not believe {continually}; they were unthankful, complainers, fault-finders.  The opposite of complaining is contentment, keeping quiet and peaceful.

Jude tells us the source of their murmuring and complaining: “walking according to their own lusts....”  When we walk in the Spirit of God we won’t murmur and complain against the truth of God.  “...lusts”  is strong desire, so these men were caught up in their rebellion, greed, error, and they murmur and complain.

Another effect of “walking according to their own lusts....” is insecurity.  The need for flattery and the need to flatter others.  These men rejected the Gospel, turned the grace of God into licentiousness, embraced the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, followed the way of Cain, Balaam, and Korah.  No doubt they are insecure and needed to boost each other with flattery.

Encouragement, one of the reasons for the church to meet together, is not flattery.  Why?

Encouragement is based in truth, not “great swelling words...”

Three kinds of flattery:

Intellectual - Satan with Eve, You will be as God, knowing....

Gifts - Natural ability, talent - but boasts and flaunts it.

Physical - Attractive women and men, being influenced by people who notice.

Recognizing the truth.

17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:
18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

Jude has been citing Old Testament examples and now quotes the apostles.  Notice the continuity from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  The New Testament writers emphasized that there was nothing about Jesus Christ that should have surprised anyone.  The Old Testament had clearly predicted His person and work.  Jude has shown that the heresy of “certain men” was not new, but as old as time.

Why would Jude choose to quote what he did out of all the apostles had said?

Notice the “But...”  These men were murmurers, complainers, flatterers, BUT consider what a contrast they are to the apostles.  Arrogance as opposed to humility.  Frauds and failures as opposed to genuinely godly men.  Insecure, needing flattery, and secure in the faith.

Christianity is grounded in Jesus Christ and testified to by the apostles.  Apart from the Holy Spirit and the apostles there would be no Christianity!  {Ephesians 4:8, 11}  The church is built upon the apostles’ doctrine.  The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints - Holy Spirit regeneration and continuing in the apostles’ doctrine.  Christianity is not “to each his own.”  E.g., an article in the paper on a pro-abortion aggressive movement to combat the advances of the anti-abortion efforts.  The pro-abortionist have given up the argument over whether the unborn child is a human life.  They realize they have lost that argument.  Now they run TV spots with famous people who are willing to say, “I am famous and I have had an abortion so you can too.”  There was a “Christian” woman in one spot.  This poor soul will not find any apostle to back her “choice” to kill her baby!

There are people who say, “I follow the words of Jesus,” with the implication that the apostles’ words are not equally from Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  But Jude contends for the faith against these certain men and grounds it in the apostles’ doctrine.  It is not some new thing we believe, we are to remember what the apostles taught.

There are several approaches to Bible study.  Many teachers / preachers just gather some thoughts and try to cover John’s Gospel in a couple of hours.  It is this teacher’s conviction that proper Bible study is a verse -by - verse exposition.  When we get through a book and you have read it, studied it, paid close attention, attended regularly, you will have a grasp on the book we have studied.  A preacher in Tennessee dropped in on a home Bible study I was leading and was amazed that we had been in John’s Gospel for over three years and were only about two-thirds through it.

In verse 18 Jude reminds his readers of some things the apostles taught for which we don’t have the chapter and verse.  Jude told us some things about Michael and Enoch and now some things that were said by Paul, Peter, or James that were not preserved in Scripture.

Jude says that the prophecy of the apostles is happening, there are mockers in the “last time.”

They would rather “walk according to their own lusts.”

In verse 19, Jude continues to contrast the sensual lives of these ungodly men who “cause divisions.”  Here is another word used only by Jude, lit. drawing a boundary, making a separation, creating a division.  These men were trying to form a new kind of Christianity which was sensual and licentious.  Jude says, “No!  Contend earnestly for the faith....”

Interestingly, these men who claimed to know, the Gnostics, were without the Holy Spirit.  They only have animal life.  This is the final thing Jude says about these men.  They do not have the Spirit, they are unregenerate.

Most of Jude is a description of “certain men,” The purpose of the epistle is to urge all believers to “earnestly contend....”  Ironically, Jude never tells us precisely what that faith is.  Surely it involves essential doctrine of the apostles, especially regeneration.

20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Now in verse 20, Jude turns to the saints, “But you beloved...”  Why “But?”
Contrast counterfeit Christianity and genuine Christianity.
They “wormed their way in,”  not by regeneration.
Blatant outward sensual behavior - homosexuality.
Blasphemed “glories,” the supernatural with thoughts at the level of brute beasts.
Insecure, needed flattery.

“But you, beloved ... have the most holy faith...the Holy Spirit.”

What credentials did the apostles have?  Peter, a fisherman; Matthew, a tax collector; Paul, a proud Pharisee: All they had was the Holy Spirit.

Jude says to build upon what you already have {1 Corinthians 3:9-14}.  This is a major point of Jude to second generation Christians: build upon the most holy faith and earnestly contend....

E.g., Calvin did not build upon Luther, he went to the Scriptures.
“Praying in the Holy Spirit.”  is perhaps the greatest contrast between these men and the saints.

Jude suggests a balance of objectivity and subjectivity.

Subjectivism without objectivity leads to all manner of fanciful “experiences.”  Unbounded by the Bible, a person can say they are “led by God,” to do something inconsistent with the Bible.

But objectivity without subjectivity destroys freedom and personality.

So each believer objectively “builds upon ....” and subjectively “prays in the Holy Spirit.”

The order is important: first build and then pray; commitment to obedience and pray for strength to obey.  Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” {Matthew 26:41}

What is prayer?  Calling upon God.  The daily exercise of the regenerate.

Don’t the unregenerate pray? Yes, but not in the Holy Spirit.

Prayer books have some beautiful words, but some call them “warmed up religion.”

Public prayer is difficult because it is nearly impossible not to be aware of the public.
Praying in the Holy Spirit is not so-called ecstatic utterances {tongues}
Verse 21, back to objectivity and subjectivity.  Subjectivity is what I feel is true; objectivity is what is true.  No matter how I feel, keeping ourselves is subjective.  The love of God is objective. The atonement of Christ is objective.

Following “praying in the Holy Spirit,” comes the injunction to “keep yourselves.”

“Keep yourselves in the love of God.”

How does the devil work?  If you want to understand yourself better, look where Satan is attacking you.  That is your weakness.  Then Satan will try to discourage you with the idea that with sin like that you can’t possibly be of any use to God.  And you may agree!  Unless you “keep yourself in the love of God.”  When God saved you it wasn’t because of any personal goodness.  And your continued salvation isn’t based on your works either.  Keep looking to Jesus Christ.  If we remember this it will keep us in humility - the opposite of pride.  We know what we are and what we are capable of and where our strength comes from.

All of us need mercy.  We know what we are and who God is.  Therefore, we need mercy.

How long will we need mercy?  Unto eternal life.

These men could only look to condemnation.  The essence of Christianity is eternal life in Jesus Christ  {John 17:3}.

Many people emphasize the here and now.  Listen to the appeal of the religious TV hucksters.

Health and wealth if only you have enough faith.  Where do you get that “faith?”
Send them money!

What if you knew that you had exactly 30 days left on this earth?  Either Jesus returns or you die.

How would you live these 30 days?  Would you hold that grudge you are enjoying?
What would be different?

Jude says to live like eternal life is the next thing we face.

In verses 22-23, we have more instruction.  If the church is to be useful it must follow Jesus who, “Seeing the multitudes, He had compassion on them.”  So we must help others, i.e., have compassion.  But we will be of little use unless we are built up on the most holy faith.

Then, we must use discernment and make distinctions as to what help is needed.  Jude is concerned about weak Christians who like Lot have pitched their tents towards Sodom.  They have been affected by these “certain men.”  Although they were failures themselves, and condemned, they may hurt others.

How do we view ourselves?
I suspect the more we think we are strong, the more likely we are to be weak.

What kind of problems can weak Christians have?  Intellectual doubts: after listening to certain men, some have fallen into gross sin, adopting a lifestyle after the example of these certain men.  Intellectual doubts lead to moral lapses.

Now these weak Christians are not going to welcome your efforts to help them.
So have compassion.

Because they are weak, they will not immediately respond to love and may be hostile toward you.

A modern example of intellectual doubt: I believe the Bible is true.  Yet “science” has “proved” evolution?  A believer may have honest doubts.  Thank God for men like John Whitcomb.  He is what Jude has in mind.  Help those who are in doubt, those who have been influenced by liberals who say that the first eleven chapters of Genesis is a myth.

Don’t be argumentative. Don’t dismiss people off-hand as unbelievers who have doubts; we must have compassion.

What about another kind of weak Christian?  Some had let the “jagged rocks” hurt them.  the Gnostics taught that what you do in the body doesn’t matter, it is what you “know.”  And so some weak believers followed after them.  Jude says “snatch them from the fire....”  This takes us back to Lot who was taken out of Sodom by the two angels just in time.  No time for farewells, the garments are spotted.

Two kinds of weakness and different ways of dealing with them. 
Slowly, with mercy; quickly, with firmness and fear.

End of the epistle.

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

One of the great benedictions of the Bible.
Cf. Numbers 6:24-26; Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 13:20-21

Verse 24 is the perseverance of the saints.
Verse 25 is the glory of God.

Perseverance of the saints means what?  “Once saved always saved.”

This is better stated:

The regenerate cannot fall away from the state of grace but will necessarily be eternally saved.

Look at perseverance objectively and subjectively, going back to verses 17, 20, 21.
The doctrine of perseverance is true.  But it is not only objectively true.  That is why this truth, when used as a slogan, will be the condemnation of many Baptists.  Many have made a “decision,” and have been baptized, but their life is not consistent with their profession.  We should not go to a text such as verse 24 for comfort to excuse an unholy life when there is little or no evidence of having been born again.

Are we all aware that God is able to keep us from sinning?  When we are saved, redeemed, born again, it is God who has the power {ability}.  And better still, God is able to keep you from falling into sin in the first place.

Spurgeon has an illustration: You are on a ship in a storm, you hit the rocks and the ship lunges, you stumble, but you fall on the deck, not into the sea.  And God can keep you from stumbling at all.  When we are troubled and in danger - God is able!

Jude acknowledges that these certain men who crept in unawares had done their damage.  Some weaker saints were shaken intellectually, some in terms of how the Christian life should be lived. 

Jude counsels the mature Christian on how to deal with the weaker saints.  How?
Compassion: some tenderly; some with urgency.
Don’t expect not to regret sin: “...the garment defiled by the flesh.”
But best of all, God is able to keep us from stumbling in the first place.

Then Jude comes to our glorification - something utterly beyond our comprehension.
Glorification is utterly objective!  We are subjectively involved in resisting sin.

Jude began with the doctrine of election, “To those who are called ....” and ends with the doctrine of  perseverance.  Cf. John 3:16; 6:37, 44; Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 2:3

Salvation is in Jesus Christ.  These verses simply state what is true. God the Father gave to the Son a people.  The Holy Spirit quickens the spiritually dead sinner through the Gospel.  Belief of the truth when enabled by the Holy Spirit through regeneration, being born again.

Belief of the truth necessarily produces perseverance and the final result is glorification.

There is a question about who is experiencing the joy in verse 24.  The saints or God.
That may be like asking who is happy, the bride or the bridegroom.
The Greek word means “to be proud of.” God the Father is proud because of what Christ has done. And so will be the glorified saint.

Verse 25 gives all the glory for salvation to God.  No matter what has been your experience, or how hard you have had to struggle, God gets the glory.

There is One God, “Who alone is wise....”   He is wise and He is our Savior.
What is glory?  Cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Glory, doxa, primarily signifies an opinion, estimate, and hence, the honor resulting from a good opinion.

Majesty. Mighty, greatness.

Dominion. Display of power in terms of superiority.

Power Authority {not ability}, He has the “right” to do as He does.

And for how long? Both now and forever!

Amen. Let it be! So be it!