Monday, December 29, 2014


In this post we learn that Jude is talking about the world in which we live today.  (This will be a long post, but there was no good point at which to make a break.)

Jude 1:17-18 “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Jude reminds his audience that the apostles said that Jesus told them that in the “last times” there would be “mockers”; the Greek defines this as false teachers.  I think every generation of believers since the time of Christ has felt they were in the “last times” and that Christ would return in their day.  Christ said that He could come at any time and it would be soon.  Soon, of course, is a relative term. 

The key factor in defining that time as now is the fact that Israel has reemerged as a nation on the world scene.  Daniel’s prophecy specified that the last seven years on planet earth would be a time during which, among other things, God would purify Jerusalem and a remnant of the Jewish people.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

The prophet Zechariah declared that Jerusalem would become a burdensome stone for all people.

Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

No one can honestly deny that this is a unique description of the truth of our day.

Because Satan is the god of this world and the sin nature is in all of us, there have always been and will continue to be scoffers and people who follow their ungodly desires.  I think that as the time nears, these characteristics will become more predominant throughout the world.  Paul warned Timothy of this very truth.

2 Timothy 3:1–5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

“Lovers of their own selves” speaks of selfishness.  Who can deny that today the focus is on the right to please self without regard as to how it may impact others.  Marketing is based on presenting products based on fulfilling the desires and needs of the flesh in support of this love of self.  The primary motivating factor for most people today—What’s in it for me?

The Greek for “covetous” is connected to avarice, the love of money and greed for wealth.  Again, can we deny that the desire for more money as evidence of one’s success and to provide the ability to fulfill selfish desires is an apt description of the overall culture of today?

A “boaster” is a braggart, someone who shows excessive pride in his/her accomplishments, possessions, or abilities.  This type of unhealthy pride is evidenced by basking in recognition of one’s accomplishments, possessions and abilities without regard to God and thinking that this places you in an elite status compared to others.  In Christendom it would be evidenced by an attitude analogous to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.

Being “proud” is a reference to haughtiness, considering oneself as superior to others and looking down with contempt on those you consider unworthy of your attention.

“Blasphemers” are those who speak out with slander and disrespect against God.  This is especially obvious among the new atheists of today.  It is also prevalent in so-called art and entertainment today in America and other parts of the world.  Sadly, however, it is also true of many who profess themselves to be Christian, but call God’s word a lie and/or twist or manipulate its truth to support their own objectives.  

“Disobedience to parents” means what it says.  The Greek included the idea of being unpersuadable.  This seems to reference having a stubborn heart that is not teachable or open to reasoning. The youth of today are more likely to respond to their peers and/or be led by the example and/or expressed beliefs of popular cultural figures than to parents.       

“Unthankful” is the equivalent of ingratitude and, I believe, again ties directly to selfishness.  Kids today are growing up with an attitude that indicates they feel they are deserving without regard to their treatment of others or their own work ethic.

To be “unholy” is to be wicked (from the Greek).  Webster states that to be wicked is to act contrary to the moral or divine law.  One only has to look at the Ten Commandments to conclude that unholiness is an apt description of the culture in most of the world today.  God is certainly not acknowledged as Lord.  Taking God’s name in vain has become part of everyday speech—at least in America.  Killing the unborn is excused as the woman’s right to choose.  Sexual immorality is an accepted lifestyle.  There is a growing attitude of “the ends justifies the means” when it comes getting what we want.

The Greek defines being without natural affection as being hard-hearted towards your relatives; it is showing cruelty and lack of pity (from the Greek).  Again, this falls right in line with being “lovers of self.” Parents and relatives are often placed in nursing homes and then forgotten or pitifully neglected by their “loved ones.”  I also believe this attitude is manifest by most women that choose abortion; relatively speaking, very few women choose abortion for life-threatening medical considerations.  These women do not have the “natural affection” you would expect to go with expectant motherhood.

The Greek for “trucebreakers” stated “literally, without libation….”  When I looked up the root word, this was a reference to devoting one’s life as a sacrifice.  My definition:  Making a deal or promise without true commitment to fulfill it at point of sacrifice to self.  Scripture is clear in stating that we should honor our word.

“False accusers” are those that tell lies about someone to destroy their reputation.  I think that the media in general in America today is full of people who are willing false accusers in pursuit of promoting their own agendas, and the public as a whole seems to be willing to believe their lies.  In politics it has become the norm for candidates to lie about their opponents in order to gain a political advantage.  These are but a couple of examples that evidence a growing lack of integrity that permeates our culture today.

“Incontinence” is a reference to lack of self-control.  Again, this is an outworking of selfishness.  One who lacks self-control is obviously not concerned about how his/her actions may affect others.  The growing lack of self-control goes hand-in-hand with the use of drugs and alcohol and is the foundation for the success of the porn industry.  Sadly, this lack is also the motivating factor behind the horrendous crimes of rape, sexual abuse of children and human trafficking, among others.

One who is “fierce” is aggressive and characterized by uncontrolled violence. Frankly, I believe the great increase in aggressive and violent behavior evidenced in society today is spawned by the entertainment industry.  Movies and video games have caused people to become desensitized to aggression and violence and made them much more likely to emulate such actions without feeling guilt.  This type of behavior is also directly connected to lack of self-control.

The phrase “despisers of those that are good” is basically self-explanatory.  This too is becoming more dominant in the news today.  The persecution of Christians is growing throughout the world.  Christians in America are being categorized by public officials with radical terrorists and characterized as intolerant (implied—and therefore dangerous).  Those who live in disobedience to God’s word are always going to despise those that are obedient to God’s word.  Jesus predicted this hatred.

Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake….”

John 15:18–19 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

A “traitor” is one who betrays or violates the confidence or trust of another.  In today’s society this often goes hand-in-hand with the love of money.  The tabloids and increasingly the mainstream media produce headlines and make profit by seeking out people who are willing to betray friends, lovers, bosses, etc.   A traitor is almost always motivated by selfish purposes of some type.

One who is “heady” is rash; he/she is prone to acting before thinking.  Sometimes I think that must be an unwritten qualification for running for office in Washington D.C.  I was totally appalled to learn that our congressional leaders think it is normal and reasonable to pass legislation that they have not read.  How can we possibly expect the people to be careful, deliberate and reasonable in making decisions when those who lead us operate with such rashness.  Webster adds that “heady” actions affect the head and are intoxicating.  I believe that is what affects those in leadership in our government today.  They become intoxicated with power and lose all sense of reason.

One who is “highminded” is inflated with self-conceit and lifted up in pride (from the Greek). 

As Paul gets to the end of his list, he gets to the main problem in the lives of the types of people being referenced in this list—they love pleasure more than God.  Scripture acknowledges that sin results in pleasure—but only for a season.

Hebrews 11:24–25 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….”

Scripture is also clear in declaring that those who love God will suffer in this world, but it also declares that our obedience will be well rewarded in eternity.

John 16:33 “….In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Matthew 5:10–12 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

Those that “have a form of godliness” appear to be Christians; they are professors of faith but not possessors of faith; they are hypocrites.  These people deny the power of God to save souls and change lives.   This is the most discouraging aspect of the “church” today.  It is the most telling trait on this list in my opinion regarding the “last days.”   The “church” today is in the process of “emerging” and morphing into the ecumenical church of the end times.  The word of God is being misused.  The focus of the church is more on social work than on spreading the gospel and equipping believers.  Pagan practices are being incorporated into worship.  Tolerance and unity among faiths are being promoted in disregard of the exclusive truth of scripture.

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The power of God is being disregarded for the power of men and evil spirits.  Many popular “Christian” books promote the wisdom of the author—not the wisdom of God as revealed in scripture.  Others present God and/or spiritual teaching according to their own imagination and desires rather than as instructed and defined in scripture.  Many  “new age” beliefs are being promoted and marketed in writings openly identified as revelations from spirit guides.  Visions of the Virgin Mary and mysterious phenomena are identified as “from God” when it is obvious that they are contrary to scripture and, therefore, are occurring according to the powers of the “god of this world”—Satan.  I am reminded that scripture warns us that our fight is with evil spirits and that Satan has the ability to work lying wonders within the parameters that God allows him (as evidenced by Job).

Ephesians 6:11–12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

2 Thessalonians 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders….” [speaking in context of the Antichrist]

Deuteronomy 13:1–3 “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Matthew 7:22–23 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [“wonderful works” = miracles in the Greek]

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A scripture meditation on God's gift:

Isaiah 9:6–7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Galatians 1:3–5 “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

John 3:16–19 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

John 14:1–6 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also....Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Continuing our look at insights from Jude regarding the false teachers that infiltrate the church…

Jude 1:12 “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; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

The “feasts of charity” are a reference to meals at which those in the early church gathered together and participated in the Lord’s Supper—a time of reflection and reminder of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that also encourages us to look forward to His return.  

These men weren’t fellowshipping with sincere hearts before the Lord; and sadly, their lack of respect and reverence before God caused them no fear.  They were totally self-centered.  The Greek for “spot” actually makes reference to a reef of rock in the sea that poses hidden danger to the unsuspecting.  False teachers can only be a danger to the church when they are allowed to continue to function because of lack of discernment and lack of exposure for who and what they really are.

They are individuals operating outside of God’s purpose like rain clouds without rain and outside of God’s direction (carried about by winds). Being described as trees with withered fruit and without fruit is basically saying that they are spiritually dead and of no benefit to the body of believers.  What they teach has no solid foundation in the word of God so Jude compares them to plants that have been plucked up by the roots. 

“twice dead” – I assume this is saying that their physical death and spiritual death are both certain.  J. Vernon McGee shared a quote from Moody that applies here:  “Those who are born once will die twice.  Those who are born twice will die only once—if at all.”

“raging waves of the sea” – They are uncontrolled, but have a definite negative impact on others (foaming out their own shame). 

“wandering stars” – I think of stars as having a specific position in the heavens that provides direction and gives forth light.  These men have claimed a position in the church and then gone astray leading others with them.  Instead of giving the light of truth, they have strayed/wandered and are distorting or perverting the truth.  Their punishment will be eternal darkness—total separation from God (The Light) forever.

Jude 1:14 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 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 men form a part of the throng of the ungodly about whom Enoch (the 7th from Adam) prophesied. 

Note:  This prophecy comes from the book of Enoch.  Although not a part of the inspired canon of scripture, this statement represents truth since the Holy Spirit inspired Jude to use this quote. 

John Trapp noted:  “Tertullian tells us that the book of Enoch’s prophecies were preserved by Noah in the ark, and that they continued and were read until the times of the apostles. But because they contained many famous testimonies concerning Jesus Christ, the Jews out of malice suppressed and abolished the whole book.”

He foretold that the Lord would come with “ten thousands of His saints” (holy ones) to judge ALL (those not saints, unbelievers) and to convince/convict ALL the ungodly of ALL their ungodly deeds done in an ungodly way and of ALL the harsh words they have spoken against Him.  (The impact words here are all and ungodly.  You can’t be godly without the love of God in your life.)

Jude 1:16 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.

These men are murmurers (grumblers) and complainers (finding fault).  Many Christians struggle in this area.  I know I tend in that direction myself when dealing with “other Christians.”  They don’t meet my expectations of how a Christian should act, so it’s easy to find fault and complain rather than respond with love and prayer and an effort to help make things right.  I think I have grown much in this area, but the tendency is still there.  I pray God’s continued work in my life to be more Christ-like in my responses.

Back to these godless men—grumbling and faultfinding are a way of life for them.  They “walk after their own lusts.”  They are boasters (speak great swelling words) and full of pride.  They flatter others to their own advantage; their motives are selfish.

(to be continued…)

Saturday, December 13, 2014


As Jude continues his warnings against false teachers, he continues to use examples from the Old Testament.

Jude 1:10-11 “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.  Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”

I think the New Living Translation makes the point of verse 10 in a way that is easier to understand:  “But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction.”

In context from the previous post, I think the things “they know not,” or don’t understand, are the things of the spiritual world, the dimension of the angels.  I think that is especially true of Christians today; very few even take the time to consider the spiritual realm that is part of our reality.  They don’t realize how dangerous it is to credit these spiritual beings with more power than they actually possess or to discount the power they have to deceive us and lead us away from the truth.

False teachers place a lot of value on the things they know naturally from experience.  They operate from the position that “seeing is believing” and from feelings.  In truth, what we see can be deceiving and feelings are rooted in the flesh, from the heart.  Jeremiah warns us about the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

This mindset always leads to involvement in things that eventually result in death.  Jude gives us three examples from scripture.

“the way of Cain” -  In Genesis 4 is the record of Cain killing his brother Abel out of jealousy that turned into anger.  God had accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s because Cain had decided to do things his way instead of God’s way.  Though only implied in the context in Genesis, we know that Cain was aware of what was an acceptable sacrifice to God.  Hebrews 11 provides more insight.

Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

Note that it says that “by faith Abel offered….”  From where does faith come?  By hearing.  Hearing what?  The Word of God.

Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

So, going in the way of Cain is another way of saying I am going to reject God’s word and do things my way.

The next example noted by Jude is running “greedily after the error of Balaam for reward” (found in Numbers 22-24).  Balaam’s error was greed.  He was a person who practiced the art of divination—being able to reveal secrets and tell the future.  False teachers make their profit from gullible people using the same methods as Balaam, and there are many who choose ministry in the church today because of the profit it affords them.

The last example Jude notes is “the gainsaying of Core.”  The Hebrew for “gainsaying” refers to disobedience and contradiction.  “Core” is the Greek spelling of Korah, and the corresponding scripture to this reference is in Numbers 16.  Korah was a son of Levi who resented the fact that Aaron and his sons were given the priesthood.  He thought Moses was playing favorites (practicing nepotism) by appointing Aaron to this position.  By questioning Moses he was questioning God’s authority in appointing him as their leader.  God became so angry that He caused the earth to open up and swallow Korah and his two friends and all their possessions.  Like Cain, they didn’t like God’s direction/instruction. 

False teachers are like Korah and his friends.  They desire positions of prominence and leadership.  They seek to achieve these positions through calling into question and contradicting the truth of God’s word as proclaimed by true servants of God.  They are not content to follow God in obedience and trust Him to lead them into the place they can best serve Him.  Men who deny God and the truth of His word are essentially already doomed; their destruction is as sure as what happened to Korah.

(to be continued…)

Saturday, December 6, 2014


As we continue looking at the spiritual insight Jude shares, he begins to further identify characteristics of the false teachers that will seek to destroy the church and lead believers to turn away from the truth of God’s word.  

Jude 1:8 “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.”

It is very interesting to me that Jude makes a point of the fact that these false teachers are led by their dreams.  The implication is that in light of these dreams they justify immorality and easily set aside or reject the truth of God’s word.  Both Islam and Mormonism originated from the dreams of men.  There are books on the bestseller lists that claim to reveal what heaven is like based on dreams or visions.  The fact we need to embrace is that anything that goes against or is not founded in God’s word is not truth.

The first two seem quite obvious, but the third gave me pause—How can we “slander celestial beings?”  Actually, when I looked at the Greek for “dignities,” the KJV made the best sense.  The word is “doxa” and means “dignity, glory, honor, praise and worship.”  In my mind this means that they spoke evil of good things—things deserving of honor, praise, and worship—the things of God.  That’s what godless men do.

One of my former pastors, Bruce Lackey, once wisely observed:  “Rejection of authority in one area will lead to the same thing in all areas of life.”

Mark Hitchcock teaches that the reference to “dignities” is to fallen angels, and this makes even better sense to me.  Even fallen angels still occupy a higher position in the creative order than man.  He pointed out how so much of false teaching today is directed toward assuming authority over spiritual powers that only God possesses.  Paul understood this truth as recorded in his letter to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

He knew that he had no authority over this emissary of Satan and that it was to God’s authority that he must appeal for release—and eventually yield for strength to endure.  Even the archangel Michael was careful in how he rebuked the devil when guarding the body of Moses.

Jude 1:9 “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.”

This would have been important to prevent the people from making his body an object of honor that in human weakness would have developed into worship and who knows what after that.  Satan will use anything to take our focus off God. 

David Guzik had an interesting thought:  It is more likely to consider that the devil anticipated a purpose God had for Moses’ body, and he tried to defeat that plan. We know that after his death, Moses appeared in bodily form at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3) with Elijah (whose body was caught up to heaven in 2 Kings 2).  Perhaps also Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses of Revelation 11, and God needed Moses’ body for that future plan.”

Michael was careful not to make his own accusation regarding Satan’s purpose; he knew that to be God’s prerogative and said so—“The Lord rebuke thee.” 

Michael was also giving deference to Satan’s position in creation as indicated by the following verses from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 28:12-14 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

He respected the position without being deterred from right action.  He determined to do God’s will and leave it to God to rebuke and punish the one seeking to abuse his position of authority.  This is a very important principle for every Christian to understand when responding to ungodly authorities in our own lives.

(to be continued…)

Monday, December 1, 2014


The book of Jude was written by the half-brother of Jesus, but he didn’t emphasize that connection; he wanted to be recognized as “the servant of Jesus Christ.”  Jude had originally intended to write about our “common salvation”—a reference to the fact that there isn’t one way to be saved for some people and another way for others.  However, he realized that there was a greater need to exhort the body of believers to “earnestly contend for the faith.”

To contend is to “agonize earnestly in defense of.”  This is a call to be continually active in defensive of our faith.  It’s when we get lazy that we become more susceptible to false teaching.  When you are in the Word and actively using the truths of the scripture to guide you in life, you are most prepared to recognize the truth and discern deception. 

Jude describes our faith as having been “once delivered unto the saints.”  The word “once” is a reference to a single time or once for all time.  Saving faith is founded on the fact that when Jesus died, was buried and resurrected, He conquered sin for eternity in that one series of events.  The truth that was entrusted to the believers then is the same truth entrusted to believers now. God’s truth will always be the same. 

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Psalms 119:89 “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.”

Jude felt that he needed to urge the believers to stay active in defending their faith because “ungodly men” were infiltrating communities of believers. 

Jude 1:4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I liked the way J. Vernon McGee described this as “creeps who crept in.”  This infiltration was not unexpected; God knew they would come and His judgment was certain.  They were manipulators of the truth regarding God’s grace.  They were proponents of immorality that deny Jesus as the Christ.  

Personally, I believe this is a very great danger to the true church today, but the difference is that these false teachers are more and more often coming from within the ranks of leadership in our churches.  It’s our very leaders who are falling for the deceit of the enemy and encouraging their people to embrace the same false teaching that has deceived them.

It is more important than ever that the body of believers be immersed in the word of God so that they can identify false teaching as did the Bereans whom Paul commended.

Acts 17:10–11 “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Jude then goes on to remind his audience of God’s judgment against those that had rejected His truth in the past. 

Jude 1:5–7 “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. 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. 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.”

Although He delivered all of the people of Israel from Egypt, He destroyed those who were unbelievers before taking His people into the promised land.  Although all the angels had been created perfect, some chose to rebel against their assigned place and order and are now bound in darkness awaiting the final judgment.  “Even as” connects the sin of the angels to the sin of the people of Sodom and Gomorrha who gave themselves over to “fornication and going after strange flesh” and will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire—hell.  “Strange flesh” is a reference to going against their natural created order.  I believe this supports the fact that the angels procreated with the women of earth to produce a race of beings that were hybrids just as the people of Sodom and Gomorrha practiced fornication between members of the same sex.  Both the angels and the people of Sodom and Gomorrha rebelled against the nature God had given them.

This is quite a hot button issue in our culture today.  Sadly, many in professing Christendom are all too ready to compromise their convictions in support of behavior that God has condemned.  They are eager to stay culturally relevant even if it means ignoring God’s word to do so.   God has declared very clearly in His word that marriage is to be between a man and a woman and that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful. 

Mark 10:5–9 “And Jesus answered and said unto them….But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Romans 1:19–27 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened….Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

In the excerpt from Romans, Paul makes it clear that homosexuality is against God’s natural order and will result in physical consequences (e.g., AIDS, etc.) and eternal condemnation if such sin keeps one from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.

(to be continued…)

Monday, November 24, 2014


As I was contemplating what to share with you, I found myself thinking about one of my favorite psalms—Psalm 19.  As the world continues to grow darker with the spread of evil and rejection of God and His word, I believe the message of this psalm is one worth hiding in our hearts.

Psalm 19:1–3 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

The heavens sparkle in declaration of the magnificent glory of God.  From sunset to sunset, the heavens shout of His majesty and the knowledge that HE IS.  The word for knowledge includes more than just knowing facts; it includes the power to instruct, to make known, and to give understanding.  In reference to verse one, the instruction and revelation being given is about Almighty God.  Whereas we humans communicate through the language of words, the Almighty can reveal Himself to us by the wonder, majesty and amazing design of His creation.  God declares Himself through His creation in a way that can be understood by everyone.

In my study of Genesis I ran across an article by Wayne Walter in which he made a beautiful observation concerning God’s placement of the sun, moon and stars.

Genesis 1:16–17 “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth….”

The Hebrew word for set means enhance, show off as a jeweler might magnify the brilliance of his diamond by placing it in a case of black velvet.  The firmament surrounding the earth enhanced the beauty of the luminaries even as a magnifying glass.”

Psalm 19:4–6 “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

The word for line includes the idea of being measured and connected.  I think David is saying that the heavens have been designed with purpose for the good of planet earth and its inhabitants.  The dominant body of the heavens is the sun, and it rises in the morning with a brilliance that David compares to the joy reflected in the face of a bridegroom on his wedding day and to a runner who is strong and confident in his ability to win the race.  The rising and setting of the sun are continual and dependable from day to day, and all of planet earth is affected by its light and heat.

Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”

As David contemplates the heavens and how they are a reflection of the wisdom and design of their Creator, he automatically makes a jump to the wisdom and dependability of God’s purposes for man.  God gives us His law, His commandments, for a purpose—to bring man back into fellowship with Him.  Everything contained in the law represents truth.  The Hebrew for the word sure included the idea of a parent nurturing and building up a child.  God’s word is meant to nurture us and build us up to be wise in mind, word, and action—a people who are no longer deceived by the enemy and slaves to our sin nature.

Psalm 19:8 “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

The word of God provides guidelines for living that are right and just; they are intended to bring us joy and pleasure.  God isn’t sitting up in the heavens trying to think of ways to make our life miserable; He takes pleasure in our happiness.  His commands are meant to protect us and enrich our enjoyment of life.  Every command of God is intended for our well-being and to bring a shine of joy to our eyes.

Psalm 19:9 “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”

The fear of the Lord is reflected in our attitude and actions; the reveal whether or not we recognize God for Who He Is—all-powerful, seeing everything, knowing everything, worthy of our praise and worship.  When we fear the Lord, we will choose to be morally clean and pure in our thoughts, words, and deeds—a mindset that will extend into eternity. 

Every decree or judgment of God is certain, trustworthy, and morally right.

Psalm 19:10–11 “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”

David is saying that we should desire to know God’s word and live by His laws more than we desire earthly treasure or delights.  Why?  Because they provide enlightenment and teaching and result in great reward from God. This implies a reward of greater treasure and greater delight than those available to us now on planet earth.

Psalm 19:12–13 “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”

As David continues to meditate, his thoughts turn back to himself.  He doesn’t want his life to be full of mistakes.  He wants God to forgive him and wash him clean from the sins in his life of which he is ignorant—or maybe this is a reference to sins that he has tried to hide from everyone else, but he knows that they are not hidden from God.  David also recognizes that he needs God’s help to keep him from sins rooted in pride; pride is a powerful influence in our lives.  He doesn’t want pride to rule his choices and actions.  With God’s enablement David knows that he can live a life that is pleasing to God—a life that is free of rebellion and sinful practices. 

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

David closes by expressing a desire for the words of his mouth and the meditation or thoughts of his heart to delight and bring pleasure to God.  David claims YHWH, the God of Israel, as his strength and his redeemer or deliverer.

I can’t help but think of the words of an old hymn:

O Lord my god!   When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.  I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!  Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!                               --Carl Boberg