Sermon #12 Jude Sermons
Title: Understanding God’s Judgments
Text: Jude 1:5-7
Subject: Divine Judgment
Date: Tuesday Evening — December 7, 2004
Tape # Jude #12
Readings: Larry Brown & Bob Duff
(Jude 1:5-7) I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jude has just declared that God will judge the ungodly. And God the Holy Spirit tells us in Romans 3:8 that their “damnation is just.” Jude is specifically talking about the judgment of God that falls upon those who having once professed faith in Christ depart from the faith. These are the people Paul describes in Hebrews 6:4-6, the people whose apostasy he urges us not to follow in Hebrews 10 and Galatians 5.
(Hebrews 6:4-6) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
(Hebrews 10:23-27) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
(Galatians 5:1-4) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
In our text Jude gives us three well-known examples of apostasy, three well-known examples of people who perished under the wrath of God, people who are held forth in the Scriptures as beacons to warn us, lest we also perish.
· The Murmuring Israelites (v. 5)
· The Apostate Angels (v. 6)
· And the Beastly Sodomites (v. 7)
Jude says, in verse 5, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this.” When he says, “though ye once knew this,” Jude is not saying “You use to know this, but now have forgotten it.” Remember, Jude is writing to believers, to men and women who were born of God. This is what he is saying, “Being constrained by God the Holy Spirit to write unto you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, and knowing that there are among you these ungodly apostates who would turn you from Christ to follow their pernicious ways, I will therefore put you in remembrance of that which you already know, that which you have known once and for all.”
It is as though he were saying, as we often do, “I know that you know this; but you need to hear it again.” He was reminding these saints (and us) of things about which they were well acquainted, because we need to be reminded of these things frequently.
Gospel preachers are as described throughout this Book as his remembrancers. Faithful gospel preachers remember the Lord’s people to him, as Moses reminded him often that the children of Israel whom he led through the wilderness, sinful though they were, were his people still, the people of his choice, whom he had redeemed with a mighty hand and his outstretched arm. The prophet Samuel was a great remembrancer (1 Sam. 12:20-24).
(1 Samuel 12:20-24) And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; (21) And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. (22) For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. (23) Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (24) Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.
I want to be that kind of preacher, one who ever remembers God’s people before his throne! Faithful preachers pray for the people whose souls they serve, remembering them before the throne of grace.
God’s servants are also remembrancers of the Lord God to his people. One of the most important things for a preacher to do is remind God’s saints of things they already know. A faithful preachers does not seek something new, clever or unusual, though our carnal ears constantly itch for some new thing. Faithful men put you in remembrance of that which you already know.
· The Persons of the Godhead
· The Glory of Christ in Redemption
· The Wonders of Redemption and Grace
· The Riches of Mercy
· The Length, and Breadth, and Height of the Love of God in Christ
· The Blessedness of Salvation
· The Precious Things of Heaven
· The Glorious Inheritance of the Saints in Light
· And the Dangers that Lie in Our Way
(1 Timothy 4:16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
(2 Peter 1:12-14) Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. (13) Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; (14) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.
(2 Peter 3:1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
Two of David’s psalms are specifically called psalms “to bring to remembrance” (Ps. 38 and 70). We observe the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ and the redemption of our souls by him (1 Cor. 11:24). Indeed, one of the great works of God the Holy Spirit by which he comes to us as our Divine Comforter is to bring to our remembrance the things of Christ (John 14:26).
Why do we need gospel preachers and gospel ordinances, the Word of God and the Spirit of God to remind us of things once for all known by us?
We need constant reminders of these things because we are all apt to forget them, to put them out of our minds very quickly. Carnal knowledge is easily retained. Evil knowledge is impossible to forget. But spiritual knowledge needs constant reviving (1 Cor. 15:2; Heb. 12:5).
(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
(Hebrews 12:5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
The best preachers are those who tell the old, old story again and again, constantly feeding our souls with heaven’s manna. A good wife puts meat and bread on the table at every meal. Stuffed mushrooms, exotic desserts, and silver chargers are nice ways to impress strangers; but the family needs meat and bread. And the man who cares for your souls will incessantly feed you with the milk of God’s everlasting love, the bread of his tender mercy, and the strong meat of his redeeming grace.
Here is one of the great needs and blessings of the preaching of the gospel and one of the great advantages you have by availing yourself of it. Faithful gospel preaching keeps gospel truth fresh in your mind and revives your soul day by day, arming you for the conflicts you must face day by day within and without. As the sound of the trumpet rallies the troops, so the blowing of the gospel trumpet rallies our spirits. It takes but a little blowing to revive dying embers. How quickly the embers of our hearts seem to die! How blessed to come into the house of God and have the Spirit of God blow upon them.
(Psalms 89:15) Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
(Isaiah 52:7) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Now, let me talk to you for a few minutes about God’s judgments. That is really the subject of our text. It is always sweet to be reminded, to be put in remembrance of Christ’s perfect righteousness, his precious blood, and his heavenly intercessions as our Mediator. It is always delightful to put you in remembrance of God’s electing love, saving grace, and adorable providence. It is always beneficial to put you in remembrance of the Holy Spirit’s infallible mercy, efficacious grace, and indestructible seal. But it is needful in these days of swelling apostasy and ungodliness among those who profess to know God of his sure judgment and the daily displays of it.
These are things the wicked and unbelieving simply cannot understand. And these are things that, though we know them, we need to be reminded of frequently.
(Hosea 14:9) Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
(2 Peter 2:12) But 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.
(Proverbs 28:5) Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
(Jeremiah 5:4-5) Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. (5) I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
(Ezekiel 18:25-29) Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? (26) When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. (27) Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. (28) Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. (29) Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
(1 Corinthians 2:14-16) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
I want to show you four things about the judgments of God, those judgments we have seen, those we now see, and those we shall yet see.
1st — The judgments of God in ancient times, particularly those recorded in the pages of Holy Scripture are intended by God to be warnings to us (1 Cor. 10:1-11).
(1 Corinthians 10:1-11) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (7) Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. (8) Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. (9) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. (10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
When we read in the Word of God about the destruction of the wicked, we ought to pay attention to what we read. The fallen Israelites in the wilderness, the fallen angels reserved in chains of darkness, the Sodomites cast into hell are not fairy tales and religious ghost stories, but verified facts. They tell us that the way of the wicked “he turneth upside down!”
God has not changed. His justice is the same to day as it was of old. His power is the same. His truth is the same. In al the changes of the world, our God does not change. He is exactly the same.
· In Mercy and in Wrath
· In Grace and in Judgment
· In Goodness and in Terror
He who struck Ananias and Sapphira dead for lying to the Holy Ghost, he who struck Zacharias dumb for unbelief, he who killed Moses because he sanctified him not before the people, he who turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt for looking back has not changed. — His judgments may be more spiritual, but not less sure, — more secret, but not less terrible.
When the ungodly flourish in this world, we must neither envy them nor be disheartened by them. Rather, let us come into the house of God and read in the Book of God, and understand the judgment of God (Ps. 73:18-20; Ps. 92:1-15).
(Psalms 73:18-20) Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. (19) How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. (20) As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
(Psalms 92) A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. — Here is a Psalm for the Day of Rest! — It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: (2) To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, (3) Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. (4) For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. (5) O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. (6) A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. (7) When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: (8) But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. (9) For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. (10) But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. (11) Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me. (12) The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. (13) Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (14) They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; (15) To show that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
I repeat, God’s judgments today are more spiritual than those recorded in the Old Testament, but oh how severe! — In ancient times Nadab and Abihu were slain in the house of the Lord. Today, they might just be left to offer strange fire for many years, but just as dead. — In ancient times God sent bears to devour children who mocked his prophet. Today people sitting within Zion’s gates, mocking his prophets are devoured in their souls, only to be devoured forever in hell! — Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who divided Israel, had the earth divided beneath their feet to swallow them up into hell. Today their followers are swallowed up into hell while they walk upon the earth. — Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. Today those who profess to follow Christ while looking back have Lot’s wife to remind them that their damnation is both sure and just.
2nd — God’s judgment is impartial. Justice is blind to those things that impress men. Remember, again, the Israelites who perished in the wilderness and know that a mere profession of religion is no security from the wrath of God. As their circumcision was made uncircumcision, so being baptized in water if you are not baptized into Christ, will turn your baptism into blasphemy. — Remember, again, the angels that fell. If their privileges did not save them, the highest privileges of men today, without grace, will never shield them from the wrath of God. — Remember, again, the Sodomites. If the riches of their land, the envy of the world, did not save them, all the wealth and high honor of the world that you possess, if you do not possess Christ, will be but a weight to drag you down forever in hell.
3rd — In all the judgments mentioned in our text, there was one common thing for which these multitudes perished, for which they suffered greater wrath and judgment than might have been the case. — Mercy given them was despised!
· The angels that fell despised their first estate.
· The Israelites that perished despised the revelation of God.
· The Sodomites despised the preaching of Lot.
Their ruin is sad, but well-deserved!
4th — Let me end my message with good news. How I hate to talk about wrath and judgment! In all these illustrations of God’s fierce anger poured out in wrath upon countless multitudes who deserve it, the Lord God always had a remnant according to election to whom he was merciful! Judgment is his strange work. “He delighteth in mercy!”
· There were some Israelites who did not perish in the wilderness! — They never turned back to Egypt! — The Lord God kept their hearts upon a better land; and they kept their hearts upon a better land!
· There were some elect angels who left not their first estate. Election saved them!
· Lot did not perish with Sodom. — God chose him! — God made him righteous! — God delivered him!
Now hear this and go home singing the high praise of our God, my tempted, tried, troubled, tempest tossed brothers and sisters. — “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9). So gracious, wise and good is our great God that even the ungodly and the judgments that he brings upon them are designed and brought to pass for the salvation of his elect!
(Romans 11:33-36) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Hear this and hope, you who are yet under the wrath of God. — “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace”(Romans 11:5). If there is a remnant who must be saved, Why not me? Why not you?
Hear this again and patiently serve him, you who seek the salvation of God’s elect. — “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace”(Romans 11:5). — There are yet some who must be saved (John 10:16).
· Pray on! God will save his own!
· Preach on! Christ will save his redeemed!
· Labor on! The Holy Spirit will call out lost sinners!
“Then cometh the end,” when Christ shall say, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me” (Heb. 2:13).
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.