We are continuing in our study of the Book of Jude. This letter of Jude was written nearly 2,000 years ago, but it is still relevant today. We live amidst false teachers who propagate all kinds of counterfeit "Christian" ideologies, philosophies, and every "ism" and "schism" imaginable!
Jude has warned the church about apostates who have crept into the church unnoticed. He reminds them of Yahweh's past judgment of apostates. He talks about the characteristics of apostates and reminds them of Yahweh's future, to them, judgment of apostates.
Then in verse 17 he exhorts the believers to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles about end time mockers. These ungodly men were in the church now just as the apostles warned they would be. We ended our study last time with verse 19:
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. Jude 1:19 NASB
Apostates always cause divisions in the Church because there will always be a division between truth and error. This word "worldly-minded" is from the Greek psuchikos, which means: "soulish or natural." These apostates are natural men; they do not have the Spirit.
Psuchikos is only used five times in the New Testament. Paul uses it three times in 1 Corinthians. We looked at 2:14 last time, but today let's look at how Paul uses it in chapter 15 to compare the natural to the spiritual:
it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:44 NASB
"Natural" here in both places is psuchikos, and he compares it to the spiritual (pneumatikos) body:
So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:45-46 NASB
So Paul uses these same words that Jude uses to contrast the two bodies of Adam and Christ. Paul uses these words to speak of the two corporate bodies of death and life in Adam and Christ. There was a natural body of Adam without the life of the Spirit; it was a spiritually dead body, and there was the body of Christ, which is made alive by the Spirit.
So Jude is telling us that the apostates had no spiritual life in them; they were simply natural ungodly men. Then in verses 20-23 we have Jude's response to the problem of false teachers in the Church. Jude instructs the beloved, that is believers, on how to survive in a time of apostasy; how we can stand against apostasy:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 1:20 NASB
"But you, beloved"—draws a clear distinction between his readers and the apostates who had crept into the local body. Jude contrasts his readers, who do possess the Spirit, with the apostates who do not possess the Spirit. He is no longer speaking to those men who have crept in unawares. He is no longer focusing on the ungodly sinners who have committed ungodly offenses against the Law of God, but He is making a change in focus as to whom He is now addressing.
This is the same Greek construction that is found in verse 17. The Greek word agapetos means: "beloved or dearly beloved." This refers to all believers in Yeshua. I said last week that this term "beloved" is the Greek word agapetos. It is used sixty times in the New Testament—the first nine times by Yahweh to Christ, His beloved Son:
Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" Mark 9:7 NASB
The other 51 uses are ONLY of believers. Commenting on the phrase, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" Michael S. Heiser, in his new book, The Unseen Realm, writes, "We tend to think of this declaration as a sentimental one, or perhaps some verbal token of affection. It is far more than that. When God refers to Jesus as His "beloved" He is affirming the Kingship of Jesus—His legitimate status as the heir to David's throne."
This term "beloved" was used of Solomon, the original heir to David's throne. Heiser goes on to say on beloved, "Used of Solomon, the term amounts to a title that marked Solomon as the legitimate heir to the Davidic covenantal throne. The same message is telegraphed with respect to Jesus. God's own voice announces, 'This is the King, the legitimate heir to David's throne.'"
So "beloved" is used of Solomon and Yeshua to designate them as legitimate heirs to David's throne. And I would like you to realize that by calling believers, "beloved," the Scripture is saying that we are legitimate heirs to David's throne. Yeshua said:
'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21 NASB
Yeshua is King, and we are reigning with Him, we are "beloved" heirs to the throne.
Jude goes on to say, "Building yourselves up on your most holy faith"—this is our first line of defense against apostasy. This is how we protect ourselves from defection from the faith.
The Greek word for "building" here is epoikodomeo, which is a compound word from epí, meaning: "upon" and oikos, meaning: "house", and domeo, meaning: "to build." So the compound word means: "to build up, to build upon, " and refers to a spiritual structure. Literally, it means: "to build upon something already built, adding to the foundation of a building." The "building up" spoken of here refers to spiritual edification and/or spiritual growth. The verb for "building" is in the active voice telling us that we as believers must produce the action of building up ourselves. The present tense calls for continual building on the superstructure of our faith. While the apostates majored on tearing down the faith, Jude encourages the saints to be zealous to build up the faith.
Paul used the root verb oikodomeo in his letter to the Thessalonians, exhorting them to "encourage one another and build up one another":
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB
Back to Jude. "on your most holy faith"—the word for "holy" is hagios meaning: "to be separated unto God for His use." The verb form of this word means: "sanctified," and the noun form means: "saint." Here we have the adjective meaning: "holy."
The Greek word for "faith" is pistis, and it not only means: "faith," but it also means: "that which is believed in." This isn't necessarily the faith that we exercise when we believe, but he's talking about what we read about in verse 3: "The faith once and for all delivered to the saints" ; the substance of what is believed. This is talking about the Doctrines of the Word of God. In other words, this phrase is telling us that the basis for all spiritual advancement and growth is the continual learning and application of Bible Doctrine. The faith here is called, "most holy," because it comes to us from Yahweh, and reveals Him to us.
So Jude is telling the believers that they have a responsibility to be constantly building themselves up in the faith. This doesn't sit too well with the coach potato mentality we have today in Christianity; we don't want to put too much effort into learning. But we are in a battle for truth, and we must be doctrinally strong. And we must work to bring the Church back to the priority of sound Doctrine, the priority of the truth. Sadly, the Church today is offering Bible studies that focus on "how you feel about the passage," or "what it means to you" instead of on what the Word of God authored by the Spirit of Truth actually teaches.
If believers aren't strong in the faith, they will be drawn into apostasy. Do you realize that you can be saved by the grace of God, but by your actions, your words, and your thoughts you can be moving slowly away, falling away from the grace of God and the truth of God. Notice what Paul said to the Galatians:
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4 NASB
"You have fallen from grace"—what exactly does this mean? Before we can understand that, we need to ask a few questions. Would you agree that this book is addressed to Christians (Galatians 1:6, 9; 5:1)? Paul said to them:
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! Galatians 1:9 NASB
They had received the Gospel. And they were to "keep standing firm" in it. Does Galatians 5:4 clearly say that some of the readers have "fallen from the grace," and that some of them were on the verge of doing so (5:2)? Yes, that is indisputable. So, it is possible for believers to fall from grace. The text clearly does not limit this falling to the Galatian Christians only. Any Christian can fall from grace.
The whole issue here is what falling from grace means. Does it mean that the believers in question have fallen from their positional standing in grace? If it does, then Paul contradicts himself, because in other passages he clearly states that is impossible. Since Scripture is God's Word, it cannot contradict itself. Thus, whatever Paul meant by falling from grace, he did not mean falling from one's position as a child of God.
Falling from grace means that a believer who reverts to "human effort to earn God's favor" has fallen from a present experience of grace. While our position in the grace of God is secure, our experience of His grace is not.
The word translated: "you have fallen" (ekpipto) means: "to fall (as in withered flowers that fall to the ground)." In this context, it is used figuratively and refers to the loss of one's grip on grace as a principle to live by. When we hear the word, "grace," we most likely think of it as: "Free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgement." That is a meaning of grace, but it's not its only meaning. Grace is also used in the Bible to mean: "God's power that enables us to deal with life's circumstances." We can fall from grace when we stop trusting Christ and start trusting in ourselves to live the Christian life. When you operate in the flesh, you fall from grace.
Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Yeshua whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 NASB
So Paul's concern is that having begun with a ground that is solid in the truth, people begin to wander away, sort of not on their own, but having been led astray in their minds by the enemy and his deceivers.
Paul told the Thessalonians:
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB
Jude tells us if we're going to be protected in a time of apostasy from the subtleties of the deceivers that are all around us, we're going to have to be building ourselves up in the most holy faith; and essentially he is saying what Paul is saying, "We have to guard ourselves against deception." And here Paul says to do that you have to examine everything carefully. You cannot be gullible. You cannot accept everything. You cannot take everything in. Now this basically comes down to studying the Word of God:
"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:29-32 NASB
Paul had most likely led these men to Christ and discipled them for three years. And now, he is saying, "I'm leaving." I can just imagine how people would feel. Paul's leaving. What are we going to do? And so Paul says, "I commend you to God." Now, that's a tremendous statement; "God will take care of you."
It is the Word of God, "which is able to build you up"—the Bible is alive, and it has the power to address the deepest needs of your soul and change your life for the better. It has the power to save the sinner, sanctify the saint, soothe the sufferer, and satisfy the scholar.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 NASB
According to Hebrews 11, what is it that pleases God? Faith! And where does faith come from? It comes from hearing the Word of God! This implies that the Bible will transform your life by strengthening your faith. It is the Word that builds you up. And so if you're going to build yourself up, you must do so by means of the Word. I'm not talking about a casual reading of God's Word; I'm talking about digging into the Scripture to perceive the deep things of God. And so, the New Testament calls us repeatedly to this discipline of the study of the Word of God. We are all called to be like the Bereans:
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:10-11 NASB
Luke tells us that these Jews at Berea were, "Examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." The word "examining" comes from the Greek anakrino, and means: "to investigate." The word is used in the New Testament of judicial investigations.
The Scriptures, which the Bereans were investigating so diligently, were the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanakh. Paul's preaching about Yeshua had to harmonize with the predictions of the Old Covenant prophets. The Bereans wanted to make sure that what Paul was preaching was indeed the truth of God's Word. So they examined the Scriptures daily. We all need to be following the example of the Bereans and search the Scriptures daily.
Think about this: the Bereans were taught by the most famous apostle and theologian of the early church, and the human author of at least 13 New Testament Books. They may have heard about him casting the demon out of the slave girl, and the prison being destroyed as they sang praises to God. Yet, they searched the Scriptures when Paul taught, to see if his teaching was truly biblical! They would not accept Paul's word at face value, but wanted to know if these things were so. When they heard Paul teach, their settled reaction wasn't, "This guy has lost his mind." It wasn't, "This is a heretical doctrine, a suffering Messiah." Instead, the Bereans wanted to know, "Are these things so? Is this man teaching us the truth? Let's search the Scriptures to find out whether these things are so."
Notice that the Bereans response to this strange teaching was to examine the Scriptures. It doesn't say they asked their rabbi, or discussed it with their friend who is an expert on the Messiah. They went to the Bible, which is the only inspired document there is. They searched the Scriptures, i.e. of the Tanakh, to see whether these thing were so; to see whether the promises and types corresponded with the alleged fulfilment in the Person, works, and sufferings of Yeshua of Nazareth.
We do not know that a man's teaching is correct just because he is on the radio or television, or because of where and how much he has studied, or any other factor, until he has spoken, and we have examined the Scriptures for ourselves to see if his teaching squares with the Word of God as a whole.
It is the Scripture, and Scripture alone, that is the final judge of all teaching. This is the principle taught by the reformers as "Sola Scriptura." This is the idea that the Scriptures are the only authority for sinful man in seeking truth about God. "Sola Scriptura" is foundational to Christianity. In the words of reformer, Martin Luther, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura means: "What is asserted without the Scriptures or proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but need not be believed."
One of the major differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestants pertains to their views of Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church has believed and taught for centuries that only the Pope and other Scripture specialists can reliably interpret the Bible. Such an attitude led the Catholic Church to restrict the Bible's access to common people—including the so-called "lay members" of their own fellowship. For example, Martin Luther was trained as a Catholic priest, but had never seen a complete copy of the Bible until he had earned a doctorate and was teaching at the University of Wittenberg. When he discovered a copy of the whole Bible in the university library, he was enthralled and declared: "If I could have a Bible for my own, I would desire no other earthly treasure."
The Bibles in early Catholicism were in Latin—a language the common man could not read. Luther brought down on his head the wrath of the powerful and politically motivated Catholic Church by translating the Bible into German. Some men, such as, John Wycliffe, who wanted the Bible in the language of their own people—whether German, English, Dutch, or French—had to pay with their lives for translating or attempting to translate God's Word.
The Catholic Church would still prefer their people to allow the Pope and his official representatives to interpret the Bible. Roman Catholicism cannot survive the test of Scripture.
The Bereans were characterized by a great confidence in the Word of God, as God's authoritative source of revelation and as the standard by which all teaching and conduct should be appraised.
Sadly, in our day, not many believers have the Berean spirit. George Gallup contends that fewer than 10 percent of evangelical Christians could be called deeply committed. He says that the majority that profess Christianity don't know basic teachings and don't act differently because of their Christian experience.
Most Christians today don't know their Bibles, they don't examine them daily or even weekly. They hear things taught, and they believe them without ever searching the Scriptures. Believers, if we are going to know the God of the Bible, we must read the Bible. We have to spend time in it to learn of our God. Don't believe everything that you hear, examine the Scripture. Knowing the truth saves us from error like this:
Chris McCann of eBible Fellowship, writes, Upon saving the last one of His elect, God ended the possibility of salvation for the unsaved people of the world by shutting the door of heaven on May 21, 2011. From that point forward, not one person anywhere in the world has become saved. Once God shut the door of heaven (a spiritual door that no man could ever see while it was open: nor could they see once it was shut) each person's spiritual condition was permanently fixed and established. The following Scriptures have now taken effect:
Revelation 22:10-11 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Never again will a sinner be taken out of a life of spiritual darkness and be translated into God's kingdom of light. After thousands of years of sending forth the Gospel into the world to find and save lost sinners, God's plan was now finally accomplished. The time of judgment had now come upon the world. And the judgment was that there would be no more salvation for mankind. Throughout the Day of Judgment (which is a prolonged period of time beginning on May 21, 2011, and in all likelihood concluding 1600 days later on October 7, 2015) the unsaved will remain unsaved, and the saved will remain saved. No one's spiritual condition can be altered."
There is a series of five messages on the site titled, Why October 7, 2015 is the Likely End of the World. These messages were done in March and April of this year. In the end of the last message, he says, "We can say this absolutely when we say there is a strong likelihood that it will be the end, and this means that, perhaps, we are wrong, and it will not be the end of the world, but we can say some things in an absolute way in regard to October 7, 2015:
It absolutely is the 10,000th day of judgment since May 21, 1988;
It absolutely is the 1,600th day (or the 40th "forty) since May 21, 2011;
It absolutely is "the last day" of harvest in 2015;
It absolutely is "the last day" of the Feast of Tabernacles in 2015.
All these things are coming together to fall on that particular day. It is the 10,000th day, the 1,600th day, the final day of harvest and the final day of Tabernacles. Will it be "the last day" of this world's existence?"
The last message posted on the site was on the 6th of October 2015. Because of apostates like this we need to know the Word of God. Imagine what this kind of teaching would do to a young believer who is praying for the salvation of his family and loved ones. Imagine what this teaching would do to a believer who had trusted Christ since May 21, 2011. They would think that they weren't saved and could never be saved. This kind of teaching can devastate believes who are not taught in the Word.
Believers, do you know that it takes 72 hours to read the whole Bible, at reading speed. Some believers say, "Oh, it's too much for me to read through the Bible in a year! I couldn't possibly do that!" You have 8,760 hours in a year, could you afford to spend 72 of them reading the Word of the God you claim to love?
Spurgeon said, "Edification is a grand defense against the assaults of skeptics and heretics. These prey upon the ignorant and unestablished, but fail to overthrow those who are rooted and grounded in the truth."
The end of verse 20 contains a second faith builder: "praying in the Holy Spirit"—this is the only occurrence of this exact phrase in Scripture. Wuest explains that "in the Holy Spirit "is locative of sphere. That is, all true prayer is exercised in the sphere of the Holy Spirit, motivated and empowered by Him.
What is prayer? The bottom line is: Prayer is asking God for things. I know that we should come to God with more than asking. We should come with confession, thanksgiving, and praise. In a broad sense, prayer includes all that. But, speaking precisely, prayer is asking God for something. God's will is that we, His creatures, ask Him for things. And it is not just His will, it is His delight:
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. Proverbs 15:8 NASB
If prayer is asking God for things, and He delights in our prayer, then God loves to be asked for things. But why does Yahweh delight in our prayers? I think that it is because prayer is an act of dependence. It is an opportunity to express our devotion to Yahweh and our dependence upon Him. It is an act of dedicating ourselves, saying, "Yahweh, I need You." The biggest reason we don't pray is that we don't feel a dependence upon God. We think we can do it ourselves. Ever since Adam and Eve, man has vastly overestimated his ability. So we think, "I don't need to pray, because this is something I just do." Our biggest problem is admitting we need God's help. You have to be honest to God, "I admit I am inadequate. I am helpless. I need Your help in this situation."
As long as you think you're self sufficient, prayer can have no meaning for you. You think you've got it all together. Prayer is an act of dependence: "Yahweh, I admit I have a need. I need Your help in my life." Prayer is a declaration of dependence upon Yahweh. It's our way of saying to Elohim, "I need your help, I can't do this myself." And Yahweh is glorified in man's dependence.
This means that while I'm working on building myself up in the faith, I'm doing it in dependence upon Yahweh. I'm dependant upon Him to teach me as I study His Word.
What does it mean "praying in the Holy Spirit"? There are some people who would jump on this and say it means speaking in tongues. It doesn't mean that at all. It doesn't have anything to do with that. If you were to examine every prayer prayed in the Bible, and if you were to study every passage in the Bible which taught about prayer, you would not find anything, anywhere, anytime, that even suggests that prayer should ever be unintelligible:
"And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7 NASB
The word "repetitions" is the Greek word battologeo, which comes from the verb, legeo, (to speak) and the prefix batta. Batta is a figure of speech that in English we call an "onomatopoeia," which is a word that sounds like what it is,(buzz, zip, zing, rip). Yeshua was literally saying, "When you pray don't say, "Batta, batta, batta," the gibberish that the pagans offer to their gods.
Praying in the Spirit is to pray in dependence on the Spirit, in accordance with God's Word. The Spirit will never lead us to pray contrary to the will of God as revealed in the Word of God. To pray in the Spirit is to pray according to God's revealed will in His Word. We are praying not that our will be done, but, "Thy will be done":
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39 NASB
When we pray for Yahweh's will we are praying in the Spirit. Our prayer should be like this, "We know that Your will is perfect. We know that You have given us this situation, this problem; You have presented this difficulty before us. You are the One who has brought about our physical ailment or these developments that have cost us financially. You are the One, Father, who has brought this person into my life that is so much of a thorn in my flesh. You are the One who is bringing this situation and has allowed these things to occur, so I must pray, 'not my will, but Thine be done.'" This is praying in the Spirit.
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