David Pawson - The Letter of Jude
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Thoughtful Thoughts 15.10.21 by John Dunning. “The letter of Jude”
Introduction: Who was Jude?
Well, apart from Judas Iscariot, there was another disciple also called Judas, (John 14:22). He changed his name from Judas to Jude for obvious reasons! In that passage, Jesus had just been teaching that the Holy Spirit would later come upon His disciples, and Judas asked a question, resulting in us now having John 14:22-30 in our Bibles.
Why did Jude write this letter which God had put into the Bible?
Well, it was an emergency letter. Jude saw that an emergency situation had arisen. Church leaders were teaching heresy. Like an umpire, Judas blew the whistle on them. It is what we might call, a red flag, or in football, a red card. Jude was so shocked at the heresy, that he stopped what he was doing to scratch on parchment this letter that he would then have to pay a courier to take to the church!
Part 1). The Dangers…
Two basic dangers faced the church then, as now... which are;-
a). The External dangers. (ie ‘persecution’). Members were being persecuted and killed. They just went to be with their Lord and the result was that the church grew even faster. That danger failed to destroy the church then, just as it does now. That is not the subject for this week’s blog, so we move on to the purpose of Jude being in our Bible, which is the subject of this week’s message, which covers the danger highlighted by Jude, which was;-
b). The Internal dangers.
Jude is blowing the whistle on the “Fifth Columnists” poisoning the church from within, operating as leaders. This is the greater danger of the two dangers. Jude writes to have the leaders “sent off”, as their heresies were poisoning the church.
What was the heresy that needed such a letter?
A church was allowing someone to teach that “Grace” meant that it is OK to carry on sinning after coming to the cross in repentance and faith because God will just continue to forgive anyway, and therefore you won’t lose your salvation anyway, (v.3-4).
Jude wrote this emergency letter to the church to say that what they were teaching was shocking. They were teaching and allowing others to teach a heresy that they could carry on living in sin and God would save them regardless.
Rather, they should have been standing up for the truth, (lit. “contending for the faith”).
Jude’s emergency letter tells the church off for allowing “…ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into licentiousness…”, 1:4.
Today, Jude’s emergency warning is needed more than ever, but who will listen or even preach from this letter? Today this heresy is called “Unconditional Grace” or “Unconditional Forgiveness”. It is just a development of the teaching that Jude was shocked at. Today we might call it “Once Saved, Always Saved”, which sounds nice but the important thing is the meaning behind it! The doctrine today uses nice language, which hides the true meaning, that we can continue to live in sin and God will continue to save us anyway. That was what Jude was saying was heretical. This heresy was also condemned by Jesus in Revelation 22:18-19, when He said He will take certain names out of His ‘Book of Life’, for those taking words out of His book. That means their names had once been IN the Book.
Now it wasn’t just Jude who wrote against this but Paul did too, (e.g. Romans 6:1). Jude also says that such men are false teachers. Jude says that the men who were teaching heresy were undermining the truth. These false teachers were living off believers, who fed and watered them. These gullible believers should have known better.
Those who follow these blogs regularly may remember that Paul left Timothy behind in Ephesus to sort out a problem created by the leadership there. Paul wrote to advise Timothy on how to go about sorting the problem out, (1 Timothy).
In this letter, Jude says these leaders should have been kicked out of the church; (cf. what Jesus said in Rev.22:18-21).
Next time we will look at the application for us of Jude’s letter, whilst looking at David Pawson’s video ‘Why read the Bible?’
Meantime, here is a link to the audio of this letter being read aloud. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUHO4j67vhE
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.
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