Year 2 Day 327
Read - Jude 1v11-13
Message - Scott Woodburn
We could all probably recount a story about a tragic situation in a local church. Usually there has been a problem of some description, awful things have been said and wicked actions have been taken. Situations have grown arms and legs and caused great pain and division among those who profess faith. These incidents are never pleasant but we should always remember that the Lord knows the truth about every difficulty in every church. He sees through the lies. He understands the attack and strategy of the enemy and He will certainly move against those who have treated His Bride with contempt.
Jude knew this and pronounced “woe” to the false teachers of his day (v11). The enemies of Christ may seem to be winning and at times it appears they have destroyed fellowships and reputations but when it is all said and done their end is only woe upon woe.
Jude compared the false teachers to several well known figures from the Old Testament. They were like Cain who filled with bitterness and envy took the life of his own brother (Genesis 4v1-16). They were like Balaam who sought financial gain from cursing the Israelites (Numbers 22-24). They were like Korah who rebelled against the spiritual authority and leadership of Moses (Numbers 14). All of this was bad enough but Jude hadn’t finished.
The false teachers were like hidden reefs of coral which could shipwreck a Christian (v12a). They attended fellowship meals (love feasts) without any fear - we might say they had no shame (v12b). They were shepherds who fed themselves and let the sheep starve (v12c). They were like clouds which promised water for the thirsty but were soon blown away without rain (v12d). They were like uprooted trees which provided no fruit in late autumn, twice dead - dead because they gave no harvest and dead because they had no root (v12e). They were like a restless wild wave of the sea which only produced the foam of their own shame (v13). They were like wandering stars who followed their own course and could not be trusted to lead (v13b).
In the heat of the moment we may struggle to believe it, but those who oppose Christ will not win. Jude says that the Lord has reserved “the gloom of utter darkness” for those who seek to harm and destroy His church (v13c).
What should we make of this? A couple of things. Firstly, we do not receive this teaching with arrogance. We do not point and sneer at the false teachers. If we have escaped hell it is only by the grace of God and by the blood of Christ. Secondly, if our fellowships go through times of trouble and disruption caused by those who oppose Christ, we have absolutely no mandate to “fight fire with fire”. If someone lies about you, you do not lie in return. If someone seeks to destroy your reputation, you may speak only truth about them. If your fellowship is disturbed by a wolf among the sheep, trust the Lord to fight the battle.
Finally, be confident that evil will not win. Jude pronounces woe upon the false teachers and it will surely be woe upon woe for the opponents of Christ. The Lord will keep His church to the end, she will persevere and not one of Christ’s people will be lost. Today we may face the lies of the enemy and weep when those whom we love turn against us, but sleep in the comfort that Christ knows the truth. In this world we will have trouble, but we keep walking safe in the knowledge that Christ Himself will acknowledge us before the Father. Stand firm for Jesus is coming soon.
Q83 Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.