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False Teachers In The Churches

False Teachers In The Churches

Since the 20th Century, “the church” is troubled with false teachers who show similar characteristics, not unlike those of the 1st Century or the Old Testament days; therefore, they have similar solutions.

Jude issued a call for Christian stability because of changes which false teachers were advocating in doctrine and practice. Today’s lesson deals with these problems and their solutions.

Jude is a half-brother of Jesus, (Jude 1), as is James. After Jesus’ crucifixion James became a believer. James was a leader in the church at Jerusalem.

Matthew 13:55 (Jude is an English form of the name Judas.)

Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Mark 6:3

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

The Book of Jude is much like 2nd Peter 2. Jesus taught humility. A very similar background is indicated. Peter warned of an approaching storm of false teaching. Jude said the storm had already broken upon them. Both writers drew from the same Old Testament background and from the same body of Apostles’ teachings.

2 Peter 2

1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

The text from Jude contains some rather strong words denouncing false teachers who come among the churches. Jude had learned of a condition that needed attention. This emergency letter might be rough and sharp but it would serve the purpose of Christian love: to protect the people and the principles he held most dear. Jude identifies himself as the servant of Jesus Christ. Before that letter was concluded, it would plead for the rescue of the very offenders against whom his sharpest judgment was intended.

The Lord had said that the relationship of faith in Him was more important than blood relationship to Jesus. He did refer to his brother James who was also well-known in the church.

Jude seemed to have been engaged in preparing a pastoral letter of encouragement and instruction but was compelled by the circumstances to substitute a hurried note of warning against false teachers who had come among the churches. The Holy Spirit brought him under a divine compulsion to write, urging believers to maintain their stability and contend for the faith against the false teaching and loose living that was creeping into the church.

There was the utmost urgency in Jude’s exhortation: “Earnestly contend.” It describes an all out serious and purposeful living by showing in our lives that we believe what the Bible says and demonstrating the forgiveness, love, grace, mercy and peace of Christ to others and to the world around us.

Jude 1:4

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Persons who seek to change and destroy a community do not announce their intentions. Instead, they infiltrate its ranks, pretending to support its principles. Afterward, when they have gained the confidence of the group and have perhaps worked their way into its leadership, then, more gradually, they work in their teaching of strong doctrines.

Ephesians 4:14

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

As protection, Paul warned the church against haste in making leaders out of new converts.

Acts 20:29, 30

29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

One of the chief arguments of those who turned the grace of God into an excuse for sensuality and debauchery was that they could not lose their salvation. Jude reminded them that it was the Lord who saved His people out of Egypt, not their works. Mercy is God’s gift beyond our deserving.

Even though God delivered the Jews from Egypt, yet when they fell into unbelief, God destroyed them. Every angel (holy being) when they rebelled and abandoned their proper habitation, they were cast out of Heaven along with their leader.

To reinforce this further, Jude used Sodom and Gomorrah to remind us of God’s attitude toward sin. When they indulged in immorality and practiced homosexuality, God made them an example to show that all who do so will undergo the punishment of eternal fire.

God is holy and He cannot take a light or careless attitude toward sin. Those who follow Sodom’s example and indulge in sin places themselves outside the mercy and grace of God. They will be judged for their sins, regardless of whether they were ever saved or not.

So thorough was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah that the ruins of those cities remain undiscovered to this day.

We are told Jude’s readers are not to be upset by the fact that false teachings appeared among them. Jesus had warned of this.

Matthew 7:15-21 (Jesus speaking)

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Reread verses 20 and 21. Be reminded! Jude sets forth three activities needed to keep believers in God’s love: growing, praying and hoping.

It is that joyful expectation of eternal life with Christ that keeps one’s steps firm and his face forward in following the Lord.

Matthew 7:22, 23 (Jesus speaking)

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The “threatened believer” is to have a concern, not only for others like himself, but also for unbelievers or anyone whom false teachings have threatened.

In this matter, Jude recognized the difference between the weak and willful. The ones whose error is due to ignorance and lack of understanding are most likely to be teachable. This is in harmony with

Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Through the available power of God, the believer need not fall or even stumble, but may stand in His presence. As Paul said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. “

2 Timothy 1:12

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

That any person should appear faultless or blameless before the Holy God is a major miracle, possible only by divine grace. Since the Christian faith comes from God by revelation, any challenge or threat to that faith must be met in His power.

Psalms 121:2

My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Romans 8:31, 32

31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

God has proved Himself faithful and can be depended upon to keep His promises. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that He has the power to provide us eternal life. He has the desire to do so and He has provided the means for us to qualify through the sacrifice of His Son on Calvary’s cross.

The only weak link here is ourselves. Jude warns that through disbelieve or disobedience we may lose our hope. To illustrate this with the example of the Israelites, God was willing to give them the homeland He had promised Abraham, but because of their disbelief on their journey toward it, a whole generation died in the wilderness.


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