The Second in a Two-Part Series on the Epistle of Jude
Have you ever wondered what a sermon would be like in one of the churches founded during the time of the apostles? How did those in the apostolic circle preach? Since the New Testament was not yet completed, how did they utilize the Old Testament, so as to show forth Christ? Well, in verses 5-16 of the Epistle of Jude we find such a sermon (or at least a portion of such a sermon) which serves as the main body of Jude’s epistle. Citing from both the Old Testament as well as apocryphal Jewish writings, Jude is able to remind his readers that God has a long history of dealing with false teachers and apostates, and those men who were currently troubling the churches to which Jude is writing face certain judgment. Even as Jude’s readers are to earnestly contend for that faith “once for all delivered to the saints,” they are to also build themselves up in the most Holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Spirit.
We wrap up our short series (two Sundays) on the Epistle of Jude. Last time, I dealt with introductory matters and the first four verses. Recall that this epistle was written by Jude–the brother of James and Jesus–as early as the mid-fifties of the first century. While Jude doesn’t give us any of the specifics about the churches to which he is writing, there is enough information here to gather that Jude is writing to a church (or churches) which was composed largely of Jewish converts to Christianity. The members of these church were steeped in Jewish mysticism and end-time speculation–we’ll see why that is important momentarily. Jude has learned that these unnamed churches were facing a very serious internal crisis, prompting Jude to write this epistle which is an urgent warning to his brethren.
Apparently, Jude was planning on a writing a letter to these churches about “our common salvation,” when word reached him that a group of traveling prophets and teachers had crept into these churches, introducing the dangerous heresy of antinomianism. Antinomianism is the notion that since we are saved by God’s grace and not by our works, Christians are not in any sense bound to keep the law. This particular group of false teachers had infiltrated their ranks, and were men who were using the grace of God as an excuse to engage in all kinds of sexual immorality. Furthermore, these men were claiming that God was revealing himself to them through dreams and visions, which, supposedly gave great credibility to their deceptive message. Upon learning that this was indeed going on, Jude sends this epistle to these churches exhorting them to deal with these men before they can do any more damage.
To read the rest of this sermon, click here