The Holy Spirit Speaking Through Jude


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The Book of Jude is a wonderful but greatly neglected part of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit wishes to teach us many things through Jude. Jude 4-19 refers to certain liberal compromising people who were attending the meetings of the Early Church and influencing others badly. Here is a summary of their characteristics:


·                They crept into the church unnoticed at first (verse 4).

·                They emphasised God’s grace. But they used His grace and their associated position in Christ as a convenient excuse to compromise with and be tolerant of known sin in their own lives and in the lives they were trying to influence. Verse 4 says these men “turn the grace of our Lord into lewdness.” In Greek, the word “lewdness” here is a form of the word “alselgeia”. “Alselgeia” refers to “licentiousness, debauchery…Especially of sexual excesses”. [1]

·                They did not want Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Master. The New American Standard Bible says in verse 4 that they “deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.” In Greek, the word “Master” here is a form of the word “despotes” which means “one who owns and/or controls the activities of slaves, servants or subjects, with the implication of absolute jurisdiction”. [2] “Absolute jurisdiction” means “unlimited legal and other authority over someone”.

These hypocrites wanted God’s grace but did not want Christ to be their Master and Lord. Note Jude 8 says these people “reject authority”. In Greek, the word “authority” here is a form of the word “kuriotes” which means “ruling power, lordship…” [3] “Kuriotes” is derived from the Greek word “kurios” which means “Lord” used in the expression “Lord Jesus Christ” in Jude 4. Therefore these people had a rebellious attitude to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and God-appointed authority in general.


They used false dreams to gain followers among believers


Verse 8 calls these churchgoers “dreamers”. In Greek, the word “dreamers” here is a form of the word “enupniazo” which means “to experience dreams having the significance of visions”. [4] A form of the same word “enupniazo” is used in Acts 2:17 when on the Day of Pentecost Peter spoke of believers having supernatural dreams from God.

Jude 8 reveals these religious churchgoing hypocrites were claiming to have dreams from God. Either they were lying or they were interpreting their natural dreams to be supernatural revelations from Him.

Because real Christians had been taught about the glorious Day of Pentecost and Peter’s preaching about believers having true dreams and visions from God, believers were open to such supernatural manifestations. But these religious hypocrites were using their false dreams to gain followers among God’s people for their false doctrines and sin-compromising attitudes.


They were greedy about money and rebellious towards godly leaders


Verse 11 says they “they run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit.” They did not just trust God to prosper them by His grace according to His definition of prosperity. Instead they were constantly talking about and focussing on money and prosperity. Like the backslidden prophet Balaam they were willing to compromise with sin and questionable money-raising practices in order to obtain prosperity (see Numbers 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15 and Revelation 2:14).

Verse 11 states they “perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Numbers 16:1-40 refers to the rebellion of Korah and some other Israelite leaders against the higher leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses was a godly man of integrity and holiness. But for selfish reasons, Korah and others rebelled against him. So Jude 11 refers to these religious hypocrites in Jude’s time rebelling against godly types of Church leaders.


They did not fear God nor have good fruit


Jude 12 says “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds, late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots.” Here we see these religious hypocrites attended church meetings but did not like any emphasis on the fear of the Lord. Jude says they were “without fear”. Philippians 2:12 and 1 Peter 1:17 refer to “fear” without using the full expression “the fear of the Lord”. But in context, the word “fear” in these two verses also refer to the fear of the Lord.

Jude 4 says these false teachers were “ungodly men”. In Greek, the word “ungodly” in this verse means “without reverence for God, not merely irreligious, but acting in contravention of God’s demands”. [5] They were religious but had no fear of God.

Jude 12 says these compromises were “trees without fruit”. They had no real fruits of repentance and righteousness in their lives. The New Testament teaches true believers will have real fruits of repentance (see Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8) and fruits of righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 9:10, Philippians 1:11, Hebrews 12:11 and James 3:18).

Matthew 13:24-30 compares true believers (symbolised as wheat plants) to false believers (symbolised by tares – a type of weed which in the early stages looks like wheat). Tares have fruit but it is not good fruit like wheat. False believers have the fruit of religiosity. To the undiscerning eye, false believers can appear to be true believers.


They were possibly carried by winds of doctrine and fads


            Jude 12 declares these compromisers were “carried about by the winds.” This sounds very similar to Paul’s expression in Ephesians 4:14 when he referred to immature true believers being “carried about by every wind of doctrine.” Jude 12 is possibly meaning these religious compromisers were the avid followers of every new unbiblical doctrine and fad which blew through the Church.


They served themselves and flattered believers to gain influence


                Jude 12 says these hypocrites were “serving only themselves”. Jude 16 says these religious compromisers were “walking according to their own lusts”. Their primary motivation was not to glorify God in everything and to love Him and others. Instead they used Christianity as a means of serving their own fleshly goals, desires and dreams.

            Their talk about God and Jesus Christ was a cloak and a useful convenience for achieving self-fulfillment. These people were motivated primarily by lustful desires for power, money, popularity and so on.

            Jude 16 states these compromisers were “flattering people to gain advantage.” This could have meant they were flattering the church leaders in public in order to gain more power and influence in the church. Or it could mean they were flattering the church members about how wonderful the latter were spiritually and/or in terms of their natural gifts. These liberal compromisers would have been done this in order to gain followers in the church. Some types of motivation of others are not God-inspired but are mere worldly flattery.


We must lovingly fight for the true faith


Jude 3 commands true believers to contend earnestly for the true faith in Jesus Christ. Jude said this because he knew compromisers would try to undermine in various ways our relationship to the Lord Jesus.

In Jude 3 in Greek, the expression “contend earnestly” is a form of the word “epagonizomai” which means “exert intense effort on behalf of something”. [6] So the question is, “Are you exerting intense effort for the true faith of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or do you lean towards the teachings and practices of present day preachers and teachers who are similar to the compromisers Jude challenges?” God will hold you responsible for what you choose.


Bible Study Questions


1.         What does Jude 4 mean when it says that certain men “turn the grace of our Lord into lewdness”?

2.         Explain what Jude 4 refers to when it states these men “deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ”?

3.         What does the expression “they run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit” in Jude 11 mean?

4.         Explain what Jude 12 refers to when it says these religious hypocrites in the church were “without fear” and “without fruit”?

5.         When Jude 16 says these hypocrites were “walking according to their own lusts” and were “flattering people to gain advantage”, what does this mean?


[1] Bauer, page 114.

[2] Louw and Nida, page 559.

[3] Bauer, page 460.

[4] Louw and Nida, page 445.

[5] Vine, page 651.

[6] Louw and Nida, page 496.

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