Reading Plan – Day 3
Read Jude verses 11-16
As you read Jude’s letter you might find it hard to be encouraged. It certainly isn’t as hopeful as the Gospels or as grace-filled as some of the writings of Paul. It is harsh, condemning, and exhortative. Jude has little patience for the people who are denying Christ and promoting immorality. In Old Testament Biblical fashion, he says, “Woe to them.” But it’s not just Old Testament words that Jude uses. Sure, his words sound like those of the prophets. But Jesus used the same kind of language against the religious leaders of Israel. His seven woes were directed toward the hardest hearts of his day (Luke 11:37-54, Matthew 23:1-39). The Prophets, Jesus, and now Jude have nothing good to say to those who promote their own authority over God’s and indulge in sin which they justify in various ways.
Jude compares these people to Cain. Remember Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and anger. These people are preying on the church.
Jude also says these people have committed the error of Balaam (Numbers 22). Balaam was a seer from Aram, a soothsayer who practiced divination. He was hired by Balak, King of Moab to curse Israel. Balaam told Balak, that the way to defeat Israel was to entice the Israelites into sexual immorality and idol worship (Revelation 2:14). Obviously, Balaam’s teachings were infecting the New Testament church. We know this because the Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, accused the Church of Pergamum of allowing people who hold to the teaching of Balaam to continue in the church.
Jude also cites Korah’s rebellion as an example of the error these people were making. Numbers 16 tells us that Korah along with allies, 250 well-known leaders, rose up against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:2-3). They laid claim to being holy enough to challenge Moses and Aaron. The rest of the chapter tells us of their terrible fate as Korah. Korah and his family were swallowed up by the earth. His 250 allies were consumed by fire. Jude indicates that the fate of those who promote immorality in the church and deny Christ is the same as Korah’s.
Enemies of the Truth
Jude compares these people to blemishes, selfish shepherds, clouds without rain, and trees without fruit. He calls them “twice dead” (Jude 12). In verses 14-16 Jude again quotes an external Jewish source to make a point which essentially is that the judgment of the Lord is coming. His final accusation against them is that they are “grumblers and faultfinders, they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage” (Jude 16).
It might be hard for us to see how this is relevant for us today. At the same time, it’s important to remember that sin is deceitful and our tendency to hide it and cloak in nice clothes is strong. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” He continues saying that “servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” But he reminds us that “Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:15).
It’s not always easy to discern our own sin or the sinful intentions of others. It’s important for us to root out the sin in our own lives. It’s also important for us to be discerning because other people are sometimes leading us into sin. Anytime someone justifies sin using the Bible or claiming their own sources of authority, a red flag should go up in our mind. Remember, even Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus.
One of my professors, Howard Hendricks, used to say “Sin will either lead you to the Bible, or sin will lead you away from the Bible. He also said, “Dusty Bible’s lead to dirty lives.” It’s important for us to know scripture to the extent that we can see our own sin clearly and understand God’s calling on our lives. Seeing our own lives clearly will also help us to see false teaching
- What has today’s reading taught you?
- Can you think of 2-3 ways this passage is relevant today?
- How does sin hide and why do you think it slips in, even the church, so easily?
Consider writing down a key verse or verses from today on an index card or small piece of paper and carry it with you today. Look at it as often as you can as a reminder of what you learned today.
Possible Verse: Jude 11