Friday, September 23, 2011

Exposing And Expelling Heretics (Part 10)

Today we pick up from where we left off on our expository journey through the Epistle of Jude. Jude represents the first expository assignment I have been tasked with in our church plant in Denmark - Kristuskirken. Though short in length, Jude is a letter jam packed with information on why we should hunt down false teachers that conceal themselves in the church, how we should identify them, and that we as Christians should go to war against them secure in the knowledge of being kept in the safety of God's preserving grace. Much of the credit for this series must go to John MacArthur whose teaching on this Epistle has been my major source.

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day- 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1-7)

Knowing history can be a life and death issue as we learnt in the previous post when looking at the unfolding tragedy of the Book of Judges. Jude also recognizes the importance of history and gives a lesson on this subject in verses five to seven. But first, let’s take a quick look back at the first four verses of Jude to see the reason for this history lesson. As we learnt earlier Jude, who wrote this letter, was actually the Lord’s half brother (they shared the same mother). He was originally an unbeliever but was probably converted sometime after the resurrection. He now called himself a servant of the Lord Jesus but we also learnt that the correct translation of that word or servant, which is doulos in the Greek, should actually read “slave”. Jude’s life was no longer his own and his life was not his own, he was bought with a price and ready to die for the Lord. His devotion was so great that he needed to write this letter to warn the church about false teachers that were among them. We see in verse three that he wanted to write about their commen salvation but the dangerous situation made it necessary to write a letter warning the church about the false teachers and calling them to fight for the true Gospel with those words "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints".

Jude also wanted to comfort the church in the knowledge of God’s election as we see in verse 1. Those who are called are loved by God. And those who are loved by God are kept by God:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

We can enter the battlefield secure in the knowledge of God’s calling, loving, and keeping. And we are called to battle:

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

And who is the enemy in this war? Ultimately it is Satan who controls these false teachers that have sneaked into the church. Just as Jude comforts the Christians with the knowledge of God’s election, so he also assures them of the certain damnation of these false teachers or apostates.

Go On To Part 11
Go Back To Part 9
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great to be called to fight in a war where we already know the end result?