David Pawson "Unlocking the Bible" --- Jude
Thoughtful Thoughts 24.3.2017
The Letter of Jude
Jude’s letter is such a small letter that David Pawson reads it to us first before starting his message. It is placed after the other letters just because it is the smallest letter. Jude was one of Jesus’ half brothers. (As Jesus was from eternity, Joseph was not his father).
The church faces two dangers. One is by being attacked from the outside, (for example by persecution), but this has failed to destroy the church. All it achieved was to make the church grow much faster, whilst directing believers to be with their Lord much sooner. The Kingdom of God never gets smaller through death!
The much bigger danger to the church was and still is from the inside, and that has often succeeded to undermine the church and Jude is writing to warn a church of this second danger. What had happened was, that men had come into the church who were parasites living off the fellowship, whilst undermining the spiritual side of it. They ate the food of those they were destroying. The people of the church were allowing them to continue being part of the fellowship, when they should have been kicked out.
Jude compares the people he is talking about to characters in the Old Testament.
Firstly he reminded the church members of the problems caused by the stiff necked Israelites in the wilderness and what that all led to. Paul, Hebrews and Jude all tell us that getting out of Egypt didn’t help the Israelites, because their disobedient actions led to God punishing them by not allowing that generation to enter the promised land.
Jude also reminds them of what happened to disobedient angels, and then of what happened to the disobedient people of Sodom & Gomorrah. He compares them to Cain whose jealousy of Abel led him to becoming a murderer. Then there was Balaam whose accepted a bribe to try to undermine God’s people – which didn’t work until he advised Israel’s enemy on how to separate them from God’s protection, by tempting them with pagan women. Balaam was recorded in the Bible as an enemy. Then there was Korah another disobedient insider, who was a cousin of Moses, who tried to replace Moses as leader with the support of his friends, and who consequently was also punished by God.
Well, Jude uses a prophecy in the Old Testament by Enoch to refer to people such as these who try to undermine the relationship between God and his people. In the Old Testament God punished them. Now similar types of people had succeeded in infiltrating the people of God in the New Testament church, who claimed to be one of them, but who Jude called ‘godless’.
The fact that Jude recognises the literal interpretation here of Adam by saying that Enoch was the 7th generation from Adam, shows us that he recognised Enoch and Adam as being literal figures, just as Jesus did. Enoch’s prophecy is used by Jude to describe these people he is talking about here. These people corrupted their creed leading to their conduct being corrupted. Then, corrupt conduct leads to corrupt character. When temptation comes, remember that if you a child of God, you are in the royal family… so don’t endanger your destiny. The positive thought I want to leave you with, which is; “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.