Sermon #40 Jude Sermons
Title: “Kept for Jesus Christ”
Text: Jude 1:1-25
Subject: A Summary of Jude’s Epistle
Date: Tuesday Evening — September 13, 2005
Tape # Jude #40
Readings: Bobbie Estes and Bob Duff
Among the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, scattered among the ruins of lost humanity, there is a people in this world who are kept for Christ, a people who must and shall be saved because of Christ and for the glory of Christ. It is to and for these people that Jude wrote his magnificent, instructive Epistle.
Tonight, I want you to open your Bibles with me to the Book of Jude. I want us to look at these twenty-five verses together.
Before we do, let me briefly remind you of the background. The Apostles Paul, Peter and John had warned God’s people that the days would come when false prophets, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, would arise within the church, perverting the gospel and leading many astray. Jude lived to see those prophecies fulfilled. He wrote this Epistle to warn those saints in his day and us about these men and their doctrine, to identify them to us, to urge us to steadfastly cling to Christ and the gospel, and to assure of our safety and security in Christ.
Even in those early days, God’s church in this world was exposed to great trials. Perilous times had come. The love of many waxed cold. And heresies abounded on every side. In any of those churches established by the Apostles, where there had once been an unadulterated, unmingled preaching of the cross of Christ, there Gnosticism (and many other vain philosophies) prevailed. The preaching of Christ and him crucified had been replaced with another gospel, which was no gospel at all.
· Instead of free grace, men preached free will.
· Instead of salvation by the will of God, many preached salvation by the will of man.
· Instead of grace, they preached works.
· Instead of salvation by divine revelation, they preached salvation by knowledge.
· Instead of the new birth, they preached a moral, intellectual transition from one form of religion to another.
Yet, all pretended to be preaching the gospel. They preached another Christ, another spirit, another gospel, and another salvation; and multitudes were turn away from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” When Jude took up his pen to write this short Epistle, the times truly dark.
Now, be sure you get this. — When Jude was concerned about the best way to handle the difficulties, the heresies and the heretics of his day, he did not enter into debate with the wicked men who plagued the church. Rather, he wrote to the church itself, stirring God’s saints up to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints…looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” That is very much the same thing Paul told Timothy to do in dealing with “seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:16).
(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.”
Now, let’s look at Jude’s Epistle, beginning at verse 1. — “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ.” Jude identifies himself as the servant of Christ. What a humbling privilege! What a high honor. This man was “the servant of Jesus Christ.”
· He was the Lord’s physical brother (Matt. 13:55); but he wants us to understand that grace does not run in bloodlines. Being the Lord’s kinsman did not make him the recipient of God’s grace. But being saved by the grace of God made him “the servant of Jesus Christ.”
· Faith in Christ is nothing less than the surrender of our lives to the dominion and rule of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and King. Faith is losing our lives to Christ (Luke 14:25-33).
· He is particularly identifying himself to us as a man called and gifted of God as an Apostle, a messenger of Jesus Christ.
Read on. — “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, and brother of James. Jude did not identify his kinship with the Lord Jesus; but he did identify his kinship with James. Why? I can only guess. But I suspect that he wanted us to know that he counted it his high honor to have as his brother a man who faithfully preached the gospel.
God’s People Identified
Then, he gives us a threefold description of God’s elect. He identifies all God’s people in this world by three great works of grace. — “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” Jude did not write this Epistle to men and women in general, but “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” This first verse is bursting with sweet, instructive gospel truths.
Notice that Jude speaks of our salvation as the work of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14; 1 John 5:7).
When Jude says we “are sanctified by God the Father,” he is telling us that we were sanctified, set apart from all others, by God’s distinguishing grace in election, that we have been thus sanctified from eternity by the purpose and decree of God our Father (Rom. 8:28-31). What a blessed way to begin his Epistle. Jude begins by assuring all who trust Christ of our interest in God’s electing love.
(Romans 8:28-31) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Then Jude tells us that we are now, have been from eternity, and shall forever be “preserved in Jesus Christ.”
· Preserved in Christ because we are one with Christ.
· Preserved in Christ as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
· Preserved in Christ through all the ages of time.— “A blessing is in it!”
· Preserved in Christ unto the day of our calling, unto the appointed “time of love,” when Christ was revealed in us.
· And preserved in Christ forever. — “They shall never perish!” — “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance!”
Those words, “preserved in Jesus Christ,” might be translated, “kept for Jesus Christ.” What a delightful thought that is! It makes my eyes sparkle and my heart dance. I am “kept for Jesus Christ!” We are kept as jewels for Jesus Christ, as jewels that he alone must wear in his crown. It is as though God had said, “Let no one touch this treasure. It is set apart for my Son!”
Look at the last two words of verse 1. — “And called.” Being “sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ,” at the appointed time of love, we were “called” by the effectual power, omnipotent mercy, and irresistible grace of God the Holy Spirit, unto life and faith in Christ.
Am I called? And can it be!
Has my Savior chosen me?
Guilty wretched as I am,
Has He named my worthless name?
Here I lay me at Thy feet,
Clinging to the mercy-seat:
Thine I am, and Thine alone;
Lord with me Thy will be done.
Am I called? An heir of God!
Washed, redeemed by precious blood!
Father, lead me in Thy hand,
Guide me to that better land
Where my soul shall be at rest,
Pillowed on my Savior’s breast.
Look at verse 2. Here the Spirit of God assures us that being “sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called,” goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. — “Mercy unto you, and peace and love, be multiplied.” That is not a mere wish, or even a prayer. It is a divinely inspired assurance. Mercy, peace, and love shall be multiplied (never subtracted, never divided, but always multiplied), multiplied to us forever!
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation.” When Jude took up his pen, he had planned to write to God’s people about the common salvation that is ours in Christ. He is not telling us that salvation is a common thing, but that all who are saved are saved with a common salvation. All who are born of God…
· Have a common heavenly Father.
· Have been redeemed in common by the precious blood of a common Savior.
· Are called by a common Holy Spirit.
· Are saved by the same common grace.
· Are heirs of the same common inheritance of grace, being “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”
· And have a common hope of glory.
Jude wanted to write about the boundless blessings of grace bestowed upon us in this great “common salvation” that is ours in Christ. But, he says, “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
The faith of the gospel (Ruin by the Fall — Redemption by the Blood — Regeneration by the Holy Spirit) was delivered to us by God the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel in regeneration, when he revealed Christ in us.
· The faith of Christ is one.
· It has been revealed to all who are called by the Holy Spirit.
· We are here urged to earnestly contend for the faith. It is to be preached incessantly and defended zealously.
Beginning in verse four Jude describes all false prophets. His description goes all the way through verse 19. In these verses he pointedly and unmistakably identifies their principles, practices and dreadful end, so that we might know them, shun them, and avoid them.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares.” — All false prophets, like Satan himself, slither into the church in disguise, pretending to be ministers of righteousness. But what they preach is not the righteousness of God in Christ, but imaginary works of righteousness performed by men.
Immediately, he tells us that we must never imagine that the works of such wicked men is beyond God’s control. These work-mongers are all men “who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” Peter tells us the same thing.
(1 Peter 2:7-10) “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Jude goes on to tell us that all preachers of works righteousness are “ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice that no charges of immorality performed by these wicked men are mentioned in this Epistle. Had their lives been notorious, for any breaches of the moral law, surely Jude would have told us. Had their conduct been notoriously corrupt, in any flagrant acts of licentiousness, they would soon have been discovered and turned out of the churches. They are called “ungodly men” because their conduct was directly leveled against the truths of God, against the gospel of free grace in Christ. They are men who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness by asserting that if we preach salvation by grace alone, salvation through the blood and righteousness of Christ alone, such preaching will open the flood gates to sin and cause men to live in lasciviousness.
Those who teach such perverse doctrine, denying the gospel of Christ, “deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” To deny the efficacy of Christ’s finished work is to deny that Christ is God. To deny that Christ has, by his one great sacrifice, saved his people from their sins is to deny that Christ is come in the flesh. And all who do so, according to the Apostle John, are deceivers and antichrists (2 John 7).
Three Examples of Apostasy
In verses 5, 6, and 7 Jude shows us three well known examples of apostasy, examples of those who were deceived by a false hope and perished.
· Many of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb perished in the wilderness in unbelief (v. 5).
(Verse 5) “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.”
· One third of the angels of heaven left their first estate and perished (v. 6).
(Verse 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.”
· The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, after hearing righteous Lot preach the righteousness of God in Christ, despised Lot’s message and perished under the wrath of God (v. 7).
(Verse 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.”
Then, beginning at verse 8, Jude tells us that all preachers of another gospel are exactly like the inhabitants of Sodom, exactly like the angels that rebelled, and exactly like the Israelites who despised the grace of God. (Verse 8-10) “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh.” They are filthy dreamers because their religion (freewill/works religion) arises from the filth of their own hearts. It is a religion dreamed up by fallen man, not the gift and revelation of the holy God.
These “filthy dreamers despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” They despise authority. They despise the authority of God and speak evil of those men appointed by God as his messengers. They speak evil of gospel preachers. We know that gospel preachers are the “dignities” Jude is referring to here because he gives us examples of those against whom Satan and his slithering messengers bring railing accusations. Just as Satan did not hesitate to bring a railing accusation against Joshua the high priest as he stood to minister before the Lord (Zech. 3:1-5), those who oppose the gospel today never hesitate to slander faithful gospel preachers in their attempts to discredit the message of the gospel (v. 9; Zech. 3:1-5).
(Verse 9) “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
(Zechariah 3:1-5) “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. (4) And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (5) And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”
Just as Joshua stood in silence before his accusers, so God’s servants ought always to stand silent before those who slander them. We have a mighty Advocate and Defender who has undertaken our cause; and he will defend us. That Advocate and Defender is the Lord, our Redeemer. We have nothing to fear from our enemies, if Christ is our Defender! What Joshua and Caleb told Israel about the Canaanites is true of all who oppose God’s people today (Num. 14:9).
(Numbers 14:9) “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.”
Read on. — (Verse 10) “But these speak evil of those things which they know not.” — How can they do otherwise? Having never known and experienced the grace of God, trusting their own righteousness, being blinded by their religious experiences and knowledge, they are terrified by truth, terrified by free grace. And men always speak evil of things they do not know. — “But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” — Their religion is the religion of brute beasts, the religion of their own carnal devices. They are totally ignorant of all things spiritual. But even in those things they know naturally, they corrupt themselves. Acting from corrupt motives, they promote their religion by corrupt devices.
In verse 11 we read of their curse. — “Woe unto them!” Why are they cursed? What great evil have they done? The Holy Spirit tells us plainly. All false prophets are men who…
· Like Cain, presume that God will accept them for what they do. — “for they have gone in the way of Cain.”
· They are all men who, like Balaam, are motivate by greed and ambition. — “and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.”
· And they are all men who seek to overthrow the preaching of the gospel by faithful men. — “and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”
In the next two verses, Jude elaborates. It seems as though he cannot find words sufficient to describe the wickedness of those who, pretending to serve Christ, oppose him, his gospel and his people.
(Verses 12-13) “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; (13) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
· They are hidden spots of danger, hidden rocks upon which ships are wrecked.
· They feed themselves, not the sheep.
· They promise much, but give nothing, like “clouds without water.”
· They trees with withering fruit, twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.
· They are like raging waves of the troubled sea, foaming out the filth of their own shame.
· They are fickle, “wandering stars,” whose doctrine is ever changing and being refined.
· They shall be forever damned. To them “is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Way back before the flood, just seven generations after Adam, Enoch prophesied of these things and told his generation that Christ would come to forever destroy those who seek to destroy those who are “kept for Jesus Christ.”
(Verses 14-15) “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (15) To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
These murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts, do what they do, because of advantage. They brag on the people who listen to them and preach the things they preach for personal gain.
(Verse 16) “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”
We should never be surprised when we see the things here described by Jude happening.
(Verses 17-18) “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; (18) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”
(Verse 19) “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
These self-righteous, self-serving apostates, seeking to take you to hell with them, separate themselves from Christ, from God’s servants, from his people, and from the gospel (Isa. 65:5) because they think they are more righteous and have more knowledge than the rest of us ignorant, religious peons, who are so foolish as to simply trust Christ for the whole of our salvation.
Jude told us at the outset that we are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” Then, he identified false prophets and warned us of their evil motives and designs. Now, in verses 20-21, he tells us to keep ourselves in the love of God.
(Verses 20-21) “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Has the Apostle slipped works into the scheme of grace? Having assured us of eternal, free, immutable grace all along, does he now tell us that we are yet in danger? Of course not. He tells us plainly that we are keep ourselves in the love of God by continuing to look to Christ alone as our Savior. “Keep yourselves in the love of God” by…
· “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith,
· Praying in the Holy Ghost,
· And “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Robert Hawker wrote, “I admire the Apostle’s expression, when he calls it the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. For, surely, it can be nothing but mercy, it is a sure mercy. For a soul, truly regenerated, is truly justified, and truly sanctified in the Lord, and nothing remains doubtful as to the issue of that day (2 Pet. 1:3, 4; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Cor. 1:30; Isa. 45:24, 25).”
Keep One Another
Then he tells us to keep one another.
(Verses 22-23) “And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
(Galatians 6:1-2) “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. (2) Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
How are we to be compassionate to, keep and preserve our brethren who are influenced by such wicked men? — “Earnestly contend for the faith.” Point them to Christ. Preach Christ to them.
Jude brings his Epistle to its close by again setting our eyes and hearts upon the grace and glory of Christ, that we might stand on the tiptoe of faith and expectation, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life,” ascribing all glory, honor and praise to him both now and forever.
(Verses 24-25) “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.”
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, Who can be against us?” — “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” Hear this word from God and rejoice, my brother. Hear it and sing, my sister. — You and I, all God’s elect, all who “are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.”