David Pawson - How to Study a book of Bible: JUDE
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Thoughtful Thoughts 22.10.21 by John Dunning. The letter of Jude - Part 2
Catch-up from Part 1; What the heresy was.
Some were teaching that the grace of God meant that you can continue living in sin after accepting the grace of God, because you will just keep on being forgiven anyway, whatever you do; (1:1-4). This heresy resulted in Jude writing this letter.
Once the teaching becomes, “you can’t lose your salvation, but maybe just a reward”, sin is minimized. It was the last straw for Martin Luther, when he nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of All Saints church in Wittenburg on 31 October 1517 when he saw the Popes representative, Tetzel, teaching that sin can be dealt with by getting indulgences from the church. The current Pope is still giving away indulgences.
Part 2. It’s relevance today.
The church’s heresis that minimises sin today has permeated its way all the way down to the grass roots. General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said the same thing but like this; “I consider that the chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, politics without God, and heaven without hell”.
- Example 1).
After an evangelistic crusade in New Zealand, I was asked to follow-up two students who had ‘gone forward’ at the rally to ‘make a decision’. During the follow-up weekly Bible studies, it transpired that one had not been told that asking for forgiveness from God meant repenting of sin, and she was not sorry enough to stop living in sin. After it dawned on her what repentance meant, she stopped coming to the Bible Studies.
However, the other student went on to become a leader within the international group.
- Example 2).
Someone I knew who worked as a news co-ordinator in Christian radio quoted the saying (off air) that says, “It’s easier to get forgiveness afterward than to ask permission first”, as a way to justify doing what he knew was wrong.
- Example 3).
Another radio presenter mis-quoted the Bible verse ‘on-air’ that says ‘none shall pluck them from my hand’, to justify his belief in ‘once saved always saved’. The sentiment he was expressing was that God will just keep on forgiving, regardless, so why worry about sin? This minimises sin to the point where people will just continue to do what they know is wrong anyway.
What the Bible says…
- i). Jude reminded them that after the Israelites escaped from Egypt, it didn’t help that generation as they continued on in their sin in the desert. That continued disobedience resulted in God not allowing them to enter the promised land, (except Joshua and Caleb, as they were obedient).
(Paul, and the writer of ‘Hebrews’, both used this same illustration to make the same point that starting out without finishing didn’t help them. Just escaping Egypt but without entering the Promised Land meant they never inherited what was promised. It went to the next generation.)
- ii). By way of another example, Jude reminded them of what happened to the disobedient angels, v.6.
- iii). Jude also reminded them of what happened to the disobedient people of Sodom & Gomorrah; v.10-13; 15-16; 18-18; (Cf with 2 Peter 2:15).
- iv). Jude went on to compare these false teachers with Cain, who murdered Abel.
- v). Jude then compared the false teachers to Balaam, who pretended at first to refuse a bribe, to undermine God’s people, but he thought of a way around God’s command;- by telling Israel’s enemy how to make God so angry with the Israelites, that He would abandon His people. He told Israel’s enemy to use their women to tempt the men to sin against God. The Bible says that Balaam’s act was treasonous, because he used sin to turned God away from Israel.
- vi). Jude reminded the church of Korah, who was a disobedient cousin of Moses. He tried to replace Moses as the leader, and the ground opened up and swallowed him.
–Jude compares the heretics who had infiltrated their church, with the people the Bible warned us about, who discovered that the wages of sin really was death, just as prophecied. Jude called these teachers ‘godless’ and quoted Enoch, who warned them that the Lord is coming to judge, v.14-15.
–Jude warned believers to avoid having fellowship with those who had not received the Holy Spirit because they were the ones causing division in the church, v. 19.
–Jude tells them to pray in the Spirit, v. 20, and stay in God’s love.
–The merciful response to the heretics was to try to snatch them from the immediate danger they are in, which was, hellfire, v. 23. At the same time, Jude warns them to be careful not to also fall into their sins, (v. 22). That shows us how serious heresies are.
Jude writes this short letter by way of an emergency warning. He argues against the heresy of teaching that sin doesn’t matter as it will automatically be forgiven. He argues against those saying, “don’t worry about eternal security, because if you go on sinning, it won’t affect your eternal salvation, just rewards.” Jude used examples to show that when others were disobedient, they died. Minimizing sin corrupted the creed, which led to corrupt conduct, which led to the character becoming corrupt. An old saying goes like this;- “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
If you are a child of God, remember that when temptation comes, you are making choices as to whose side you are on. Being in God’s family means there is a destiny available if you just keep on, going on. We may not like the requirement to obey Jesus, but at the end of the day, whose side are we on? Don’t endanger the destiny which is there for all who are “overcomers” as Jesus calls them.
However, if we do stumble and fall, then repent as there is forgiveness available;- but repentance means being sorry enough to stop doing whatever it is that we do which is an offence God. Instead, let’s build ourselves up in faith, hope, and agape.
This is John Dunning signing off from “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.
Next week we will look at how to get the most out of reading the Bible.
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