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Jude - The Acts Of The Apostates - Part 1

"The Unintentional Letter"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2000 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'I want to begin a new series with you, it's a short series, just looking at the shortest book of the Bible, or the New Testament - I beg your pardon - the little book of Jude. I feel that Jude has a great deal to say to us in these days.

Apostasy is a word that has been misused, misrepresented but a word, perhaps today more than ever, that is not used at all!

Now we're turning in our Bibles, first of all, to the Acts of the Apostles and chapter 20 - and as I said to you earlier, we want to begin a study in the book of Jude today, perhaps four studies, possibly five, and I want to entitle it: 'The Acts Of The Apostates'. The Acts of the Apostates, and we're going to look this morning at our first study, which I've entitled: 'The Letter That Jude Didn't Intend To Write' - the letter that Jude didn't intend to write.

But we're reading, first of all, from Acts chapter 20 and verse 28 - now as you read here, in this chapter, cutting into the middle of it, Paul is on his travels and he has called for the Ephesian elders to come to him, for he wants to warn them of something that was beginning to happen at that moment, and was going to come into more fruition in the future. We're going to read from verse 28, and Paul tells them: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers". Now, he has called the elders to himself and he tells them that the Holy Ghost has made them overseers over the flock - now there's a lot of confusion in these days about who are overseers. Are deacons? Are elders? What is an overseer? Is it a committee member? It's clearly stated, here in this verse, that an overseer is an elder, and an elder is not appointed by men, but appointed by God. Look at the verse: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears".

Now keep your finger in that passage of scripture, and turn with me to the little book of Jude - it's the penultimate book of the New Testament, just before the book of the Revelation. One of the smallest books in the Bible and, indeed, the New Testament - not quite the smallest, but only 25 verses - and we're going to take the first four verses this morning as our meditation. Beginning at verse 1: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified" - that word literally means, or is better translated 'beloved' - "by God the Father, and preserved", or kept, "in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men" - now look at the familiarity of this verse, with what we read in Acts 20 - "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".

We'll not read the whole book, we'll be looking at more verses in the days that lie ahead - but let's just come before the Lord and ask His help as we come to His word, and let's all pray together that God will speak to us in a real and living way. Our Father, we thank Thee for the word of God. We do not know what we would do without it, it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway - and when we forget it, we forget God. Lord, this is Thy revelation of who Thou art, of Thy directives to Thy church and Thy people - and Lord, it behoves us to study it, and to dig deep, and to find out what the Lord God Almighty is saying to us. Help us today, Lord, we want to be spoken to by the Holy Ghost. We are trusting, we are praying in the Holy Ghost, and we ask in Jesus name, that He would come and illumine these pages - that He would fill the preacher, and the listener alike - and that we may know that today we have met with the living God. For we pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

This little book - perhaps you could use as strong a word to say - is hated by many. What is it? It is a call to arms!

This little letter is, perhaps, one of the most unpopular letters in the New Testament. It's important that we note as we look at it, first of all, that it is a letter - just as we would write a letter to someone we love, or know, an acquaintance far away, Jude was writing this little letter to the church of Jesus Christ. What is it about? As you read the first four verses of the book - and if you take time when you go home today, or at least in the week that lies ahead, to read all 25 verses - you could sum it all up with one word: Jude is shouting, 'Beware! Beware!'. There is something that the apostle here wants these people to know! He wants them to know that Satan, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, the Angel of Light, is alive and well! Now, that is a frightening thing. It is a frightening thing, when we think that this little book is so neglected within the church of Jesus Christ today. Indeed, this little book - perhaps you could use as strong a word to say - is hated by many. What is it? It is a call to arms! As you read the book, and read the language, the language is strong, it is harsh, it is scalding, it is severe - and perhaps that's why it's not popular because, in the politically correct age in which we live, strong language is not palatable. People don't like it, people don't like straight talking - we live in the age of 'spin' and 'spin doctors', moulding and being 'economic' with the truth. Something that is black-and-white, something that is absolute, something that is strong and harsh and scalding and severe is not popular! And in a 'mamby-pamby' church of Jesus Christ today, a cry for militant Christianity that we find within this book is not popular!

You could sum it all up with one word: Jude is shouting, 'Beware! Beware!'

Now, of course, I'm not calling upon you all to go onto the streets and to throw stones and to shoot - that's not what militant Christianity is, that's not the call to arms that Jude is giving here. For our weapons of warfare, as the word of God says, are not carnal - we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. And we, as those who wrestle in that realm - and, may I say it, as the only ones in the world today who can wrestle in that realm! - Jude is a cry, a call to arms. Get up! Get doing! Be militant! Get fighting! Now why is Jude using such strong, severe and rousing language? Well, it's simple: the themes that Jude is taking within this book are issues of life and death. As you read the book, and as we study it in the next few weeks, you will see that what Jude is lambasting in this book is, first of all: a dishonouring attitude of Christ. Secondly: it is the deceiving of souls. I vouch to say, that there are no more things, in the eyes of God, in this day that we live more heinous than those two things. A dishonouring attitude, or regard, or view of the Lord Jesus Christ - and men and women, churches and movements around our world that are deceiving souls by the millions and leading them into an eternal hell!

We have the sentiment that Jude is expressing in Ephesians 5, if you want to turn to it - if you don't, listen as I read it. Ephesians 5:14, where he says to the Ephesians: 'Wherefore...Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light'. Waken up church! That's what Jude is saying! It's time to get your arms, it's time to get back to basics, it's time to start fighting again as the people of God. It's a bit like what Paul was saying in the book of Galatians chapter 3 and verse 1, where he exclaimed: 'O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?' - and the meaning there is, 'You would nearly think someone had cast a spell over you! I can't believe what I'm seeing, and what I'm hearing from your [lips]!' - 'that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?'. 'You've seen Christ crucified! You've been to Calvary, you've gazed on the altar and seen the blood, you've been born again by the Spirit of God - and as I am looking at you, as you spiritual father, Paul - I can't believe what's happening to you!'. Like today, Satan is loose in the church.

A few months ago there was a computer virus that went across almost the whole world, I think. I think, if memory serves me right, it started in Cuba, or somewhere around there - and it was called the 'I Love You' virus. (Now, some of you young people have that anyway - but this was on the computer!). And what happened was, when you go into it (now, I know nothing about this) but I'm told when you go into your computer, and you look at the e-mail that you have, there was a little sign that said 'I love you'. And everybody that was single, or maybe wanting a new boy- or girl-friend, switched on to it - and it was enticing, and it was a message, it was a virus and it went right throughout the whole computer, and anything that you had on the computer was probably messed up because of it. And it went right across Europe, right across the world and created havoc! Now that is the sense of what Jude is speaking about here: havoc caused! And it might be appealing at the first glance, it might be something that is wooing and attracting, but it spells trouble!

Young person, put the best that you have into your church, put the best time that you have into your church, put your money into the church...because this is the way God has ordained that the Gospel should be spread to this town and this country

The thoughts of many Christian leaders today are that there are certain things that are evident, and observed, that are very troubling. Within the church of Jesus Christ - and I would agree with these - first of all: there is a lack of serious theology. Serious theology, and a lack of serious exegetical - that means verse by verse, word by word - study of the living God's word. There is a lack of it! And what inevitably comes from a lack of theology, and a lack of an understanding, systematic, book by book, verse by verse knowledge of the word of God is that, after a period of time, the church will be in problems! That's the first problem. The second problem is the condition of the church. Now I'm not talking about what's happening within the church. In the last century we have seen the rise of many para-church organisations - and I do not despise them, because I'm involved within some of them - but because of the failure of the church, the local church, that organism that God created and that we've been studying about in the book of Ephesians - because it has failed, in a number of fronts, to reach the lost, to go to the mission field and so forth - these little para-church organisations have sprung up, and many people have thrown all their money, all their energies, all their time into those organisations. That is the second problem of the church of Jesus Christ, because we can see clearly, from Ephesians as we've been studying it, that the church of Jesus Christ is God's ordained means to take the Gospel to the world. Young person, put the best that you have into your church, put the best time that you have into your church, put your money into the church - that doesn't mean you can't give your money elsewhere - but come to this place, because this is the way God has ordained that the Gospel should be spread to this town and this country.

That's the first thing: lack of serious theology. Secondly: the condition of the local church. Thirdly: a lack of general vigilance at the rise and the spread of apostasy. Now even to mention that word today sends the little hairs up our neck - isn't that right? Because we live in a tolerant age, we live in an age that does not use harsh words - except for those in Christ of course. Apostasy is a word that has been misused, misrepresented but a word, perhaps today more than ever, that is not used at all! Now turn with me to Acts 20 that we read, I want you to see this, because we must be men and women of the word of God, and we need to see the blueprint that the apostle used as he exhorted these elders and overseers in this church: 'Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of

Day, after day, after day, night after night he warned them with tears, with tears, with tears

God, which he hath purchased with his own blood', verse 31, 'Therefore watch' - that is the third failure: not seeing the apostasy. Watch, secondly: remember - a lack of knowledge, exegetically, of the word of God, not knowing the things that have happened in the past. 'Three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears' - I think if I did that for three years I would get the baggage, I'd get thrown out the door, 'Long-playing record, has he not another message?'. Night and day! Day, after day, after day, night after night he warned them with tears, with tears, with tears! He was trying to impress upon them the need for them to be warned! The trouble there was ahead, if they were not vigilant about the false teaching, and doctrines, and the false pressures of everything around them that's said to come from the church of Jesus Christ. Do we do that? Do we warn night and day?

Now notice, there is a lot of censoriousness about, in other words legalism - and I hate legalism! Because God hates legalism! And this awareness of apostasy is not a bitter awareness - you see that Paul wasn't standing up lambasting these other people, and these other places in a critical, legalistic spirit, but he was doing it with tears, because he loved the church so much that he hated to see what was happening to it. That is the way we must see it, with tears, with a soft heart - but nevertheless, although it was with tears, it was constant: day and night, day and night. Now I want you to notice, look at this book Jude - first four verses, and especially verse 4, as you read it you will see that Jude is not talking about the evils of the world, this is not 1 John: 'Love not the world. If any man sin he is not of God'. This is not 1 John, this is Jude - he's not talking about those evils, but he is speaking about those who are in the church and claiming to be of Christ. It's not like Corinthians, it's not speaking of church discipline, it's not talking about reprimanding a person and disciplining them to bring them back into the church - as far as Jude is concerned, these people aren't even in the church. They're there, but they shouldn't be there, they are false brethren, they are apostates, they are the tares among the wheat, the weeds among God's people, they are the infiltrators of the church - distinct from true Christians, yet taking and claiming the name of Christ. They are seeking to destroy! Imposters! Synthetic, cosmetic Christians! People dressed up in 'Gospel-garb' that is only skin deep!

You see it, don't you? Superficial believers. Apostates! The great pretenders of the church of Jesus Christ today. The ministers, the movements, the denominations that contain abomination! People, places, things wearing the name of Christ! - and Christ hasn't anything in them

You see it, don't you? Superficial believers. Apostates! The great pretenders of the church of Jesus Christ today. The ministers, the movements, the denominations that contain abomination! People, places, things wearing the name of Christ! - and Christ hasn't anything in them. Believer, we are in a battle, and that is what the book of Jude is about - a battle cry. That great old modern puritan, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, was once interviewed in Westminster Theological Seminary, in America, about his life. And he quoted another great old divine who said - this is what he said, listen: 'My life's work, but now in blood and battles was my youth, and full of blood and battles is my age, and I shall never end this life of blood' - hear it again - 'Now in blood and battles was my youth, and full of blood and battles is my age, and I shall never end this life of blood'! His life was a battle for the Bible, his life was a crusade for the cross, for the Gospel, for Christ and His words - and we, if we are true to the word of God and true to the Gospel deposit as it has been trusted to us by the word of God and our forefathers, we will have a fight on our hands, and it will be a permanent lifetime task. Our youth, our middle-age, our old-age, you will never be free from this life of blood! That's why Paul warned them with tears, night and day.

This was the truth for Jude's time, this was a tract for his times - indeed, Moffat says: 'It was a fiery cross to rouse the churches'. A banner - come on! And perhaps that's why some New Testament scholars today don't even believe it should be in the New Testament - they don't like it! It doesn't fit in with their mindset and their philosophy. These apostates that Jude is speaking of were probably the Gnostics. The Gnostics were a group of people - 'gnosis' is the Greek word for knowledge - who believed that you knew God by a special knowledge, in other words there was this 'elite' type of people, that when they got to a certain sphere of knowledge and intelligence, and able to grasp the great things of eternity and life, God would reveal Himself to them. Gnostics - the people of knowledge. They believed antinomianism - the word 'Deuteronomy' has that little word in it 'nomi' (sp?), it's the Latin word for law - antinomianism, anti-law-ism. In other words they said: 'We are people of the grace of God. We have the grace of God, we've been set free, therefore we don't need to obey any laws at all, we can do what we like and go where we like'.

Antinomianism, it's about with us today. That's what Jude means in verse 4, they turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. They said, 'Because we are saved, and God has wiped the slate clean I can do as I please'. They denied the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ, they denied that He was God, and some of them denied that He was human - He was like a ghost. Verse 4 says they denied Him not only in their words, but in their actions and in their theological viewpoints. They also, as we begin to read this book, [we] find out that they had an arrogant attitude to supernaturalism - they just didn't believe it any more! I find that among Christians today, and as J. B. Phillips put it in his title of his book: 'Your God Is Too Small' - isn't that right? For so many of us, we just can't grasp - we live in a rational age - we can't grasp that God could do the things that He said He did in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and we find it absolutely impossible to believe that God can do it again!

Now let's look at this letter as a letter. If you were looking at a letter, you would look at who's writing to you - most of us look at the bottom of the page before the top, to see who the letter's from. And if you were looking at this as a letter you would find, first of all - this is my first point: the writer. And the writer is found in verse 1, look at it: 'Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ and called'. Jude: now what was Jude, and who was he? The first thing that Jude was, was a sibling, a brother - 'Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James'. Now that's right, but if you go to Mark chapter 6 and verse 3 you find that James was the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ - the half-brother, the same mother. So if James was the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, that makes Jude the brother of the Lord Jesus also. If you go to John 7 and verse 5 you find that none of his brothers, 'His brethren did not believe in him' - now think of that! Jesus coming from this family, and the family, His siblings, brothers and sisters perhaps, did not believe He was who He said He was. James and Jude will be included in that - and therefore, you follow the story further and you find that after the resurrection these two were converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. You find them among the company, who were there and saw the Lord Jesus Christ. Then you find in Acts chapter 1 and verse 14, that they're in the Upper Room and they're part of the company, the apostles, kneeling on the ground and waiting, and waiting, and waiting until the Holy Ghost who was promised them by Jesus would come to them - they were among that number. They are called in 1 Corinthians 9 verse 5, 'The brethren of the Lord'.

Now let me ask you a question: if you were the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, how would you begin this letter? 'David, the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ'? Isn't that what we would do? He says: 'Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, the brother of James' - why does he do that? Well, if you listen to his half-brother, the Lord Jesus, in the Gospels, He was the one who said, 'These are my sisters and my brothers, my mother and my father' - who was He talking about? He was talking about His brothers and sisters in Christ. Isn't it wonderful to think that the Lord had that idea that we have in the word of God, and spawned that idea, that that bond of the blood of Christ is greater than any blood bond that we can have in a family.

Just 'Jude', not the 'Reverend Jude', not 'Pastor Jude', not 'Jude B.D. N.T.H. PhD', not 'Professor Jude' - just 'Jude'!

He is the sibling, but secondly he describes himself as a slave: 'the servant of Jesus Christ, the brother of James'. Someone has rightly said, 'Few things tell more of a man than the way he speaks about himself'. Jude, I love this in the New Testament, Jude - see the simplicity of it? Just 'Jude', not the 'Reverend Jude', not 'Pastor Jude', not 'Jude B.D. N.T.H. PhD', not 'Professor Jude' - just 'Jude'! To quote one man today, 'The church is being destroyed by degrees'. There's no pomp, there's no ceremony, there's nothing special about the way he tarts his name up - it's not a clergy or laity system - just 'Jude'! And the surprising thing about it is this: do you know what Jude is? It's the same name as 'Judas'! Huh! I wonder does the Lord have a sense of humour? Who was the greatest apostate of all time? Judas. And who does the Lord pick to write a treatise on apostasy? A 'Judas' - isn't that lovely? He is able - and you read this little book and you will find in verse 1, look at the verse, that he refers to himself as the brother of James. He's talking about himself - not 'the brother of Jesus', he doesn't believe in name-dropping, he avoids all familiarity and irreverence towards the Lord Jesus Christ! - sadly absent today. He speaks of himself as the servant, and it literally means the 'bondservant' - it's the same word in Exodus 21, the 'bond slave'. He didn't look at the Lord Jesus Christ, primarily, as his half-brother - he looked at Him as his Lord! And you remember when the Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, 'Ye call me Master and Lord' - did He refute it? - 'Ye say well, for so I am'.

He goes further, and I go further today, being the half-brother of Jesus Christ the Son of God didn't save him. Think about that - it didn't save him! He had to have a personal experience of salvation in his life, as you do! Young person, born in a Christian home, brought up in the church, taught the word of God - and perhaps you've gone along all your life, just blown along by your experience and your family history - and if you look back today, was there an experience with God? For you need it. For he needed it.

But secondly, if you were looking at a letter, you see the writer and then, because this isn't a letter that was primarily sent to us, we have to look to see who the reader is. It was sent to these first century Christians, and if you look at it you find something about the reader in the second half of verse 1, they're described as - as I've said - not sanctified by God, but 'beloved of God the Father, and kept in Jesus Christ and called', they were called of Jesus Christ. They had a wonderful relationship to Christ! Now as you look through this epistle, you will find that Jude is fond of threes - he clubs these clusters together in three: called, loved, kept. Now that word 'called' simply means 'an official summons'. We were thinking about it last week, where you are walking along life's pathway dead in trespasses and in sins, and then God's Holy Spirit comes and makes you unhappy in your sin. And then He gets you to such a low point in your sin, that He begins to take you to places, and crosses your path with people who are able to reveal to you the remedy for sin - the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified - and He enables you, by faith, to cry upon the name of the Lord and you're saved. You're called - isn't that what the church is? 'Ecclesia', the 'called-out-ones'. He calls them the loved, the beloved as it says - sanctified here - and you're not called because you look well, or because you talk well, or because you think Christian things well, or because you're good living, or because your parents were Christians - we all know that, that we're called because we're loved. Loved of God! 'For God so loved the world that He gave' - we are precious in His eyes. Now, I think this is lovely, we are loved of God the Father - we live in an age of a world of insecurity, a world where children are born into homes without a mother or without a father. And there are children that grow up with a complex, because they don't have a Daddy and all those at school do have a Daddy - but what a great delight to be able to sit down with those people, with the open word of God, and to show them that they have an eternal love of an Eternal Father!

We live in an age of a world of insecurity, a world where children are born into homes without a mother or without a father...but what a great delight to be able to sit down with those people, with the open word of God, and to show them that they have an eternal love of an Eternal Father!

You see, this book is enough for all. We're called, we're loved - and this is the seal on it - we're kept. 'Preserved', look at the verse, 'in Jesus Christ' - He hasn't bought us with His own blood to leave us, or to lose us. And I say, God help those who believe that you can be saved at this moment, and damned the next! But can you see the context of it, how relevant in the midst of apostasy - and he's talking about falling away - that he first of all reassures these believers: 'We're talking about those around you that are falling away. Those within you that are falling away, but if you're of God, if you're called, loved - you're kept! Because He is able to save to the uttermost!'.

And then - there's the writer, the reader - and then there's the request that he has for them, and it's found in verse 2. He prays to God that they would know mercy, that they would know peace and that they would know love. Now I'm not going to spend much time on that, just to say that his prayer is that they would know that more and more, in abundance in their lives. It is ours, by right in Jesus Christ, to know the mercy of God, to know the peace of God in our mind and in our heart, and to have the love of God multiplied in us, toward us - and us [enabled] to multiply it to those around us.

And then fourthly, he talks about the reason why he wrote. Look at verse 3: 'Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation [but]', I'll put that little word 'but', 'it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith'. I've called this study, 'The Letter That Jude Didn't Intend to Write'. He calls them beloved, that's the voice of a shepherd, an overseer, one who cares and loves the flock - but notice, that love for the flock [wasn't] a spineless love, it wasn't a sentimental love that wouldn't say any harsh words or anything strong towards them that needed to be said. It was not a love that sees a child with a serpent wielding its way around them, ready to crush them and says nothing! This was a love that was willing to warn them.

Now I want you to see what this is like, I don't know where Jude was when he was writing this little book - but imagine him, perhaps, in Joseph's carpenter's shop, or in his own home, upstairs, or wherever, maybe outside, and he's sitting with his little parchment. And there he has his quill, and he probably has a copy of the second epistle of Peter, because it mirrors that little book, and perhaps some of Paul's letters that were around at this time - and he's thinking about those who have just come to Christ. Babes in Christ, the called, the loved, the kept - and he thinks, 'What ought I to write unto them?'. And he's just about to write, put pen to paper, about the great things that God has done in salvation, and God says, 'No! That's not what I want you to write'. Indeed the sense of what it says here, that he was compelled - it was needful for me to write unto you. It literally means, 'I got necessity! I got necessity to write to you! I was compelled by God to write about something different!'.

Now can I say this to preachers, and Sunday school teachers, and children's workers here today: we need men and women that can feel the touch of God. We need people that are conscious that God is speaking to them, are able to change their walk and their ways, are being led and guided by the Holy Ghost of God, who are able to say, 'I got necessity! I was going to do this, but God pointed me in this direction!'. Now, what does he tell them? What does he write to them? Look at the verse: 'I got necessity to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend', vigorously defend, 'for the faith'. The sense of 'earnestly contending' is of agonising, of battling, of raging, of fighting for - it's a strong word, but what's it talking about? 'Fighting for the faith', what's that? You'll know that faith is believing, believing, having faith - you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and you were saved. But 'the faith' is the thing believed, it is the truth of what God has revealed to us, that we have believed in. Jude calls it, in verse three, 'the faith once delivered to the saints' - it literally means, 'once and for all delivered to the saints'. It's something that can't be added to, something that can't be taken away from, it is the Christian faith - Old Testament and New Testament revealed - and it cannot be changed! If you change it, or you tamper [with] it, you're guilty of theft - it's not yours to change! It's not mine to change! It is God's infallible word - once and for all delivered, not to be added to or taken away from.

A cult - one of the biggest signs of a cult - is that they have a 'prophet', someone who they say adds to the revelation of who God is

You see, that's the problem with many cults and religions in our world today. A cult - one of the biggest signs of a cult - is that they have a 'prophet', someone who they say adds to the revelation of who God is. 'We have a special knowledge', like the Gnostics in this book, 'We know God in a better way than all the rest of you, because our prophet has revealed to [us]'. The charismatic movement is the same, the Roman Catholic church - they have to have the priest. The Muslims have Mohammed - and they all have their prophet that adds to the word of God. Now let me say this: theology, within the word of God, may evolve - it can evolve, for theology is our understanding of the word of God - but the word of God, itself, never changes! It is sealed in its contents, it is sealed in its Authorship, it is sealed in its historical setting, because in the fullness of time God sent forth His own Son - and whether an angel, a prophet, a priest or a patriarch preaches another gospel unto you, let him be anathema!

It's easy to be pleasant and tolerant, in small matters, in the day in which we live in this age - but do you know what toleration of wrong leads to? Its establishment. If you tolerate wrong, it will become established. As Harry Ironside said: 'Had men stood faithfully for the truth of the Gospel, the Dark Ages would never have been known'. My prayer for us today, as we close - I've more to say - but as we close here today, this is my prayer - grasp this, and in the week that lies ahead get to grips with this little book! Do you know what John Wesley said? 'God, make me a man of this book!'. Do you contend for the faith? Do you know the faith? Do you take your stand for the Lord and His word? For my friend today, if we don't know it we'll fall for anything.

May God bless His word to our hearts. Let us bow in prayer - and as we bow in prayer, let us consider the word of God. Do we neglect the word of God in our private lives? Do we read it, do we study it? Do we contend for it, no matter the cost? Standing up for Jesus, as soldiers of the cross. Our Father, help us to know deep in our souls that Thou art the one who is able to keep us from falling. Thou art the one who is able to shelter us from the avalanche of apostasy that we see around us in our world. And Lord, we pray in Jesus name, that we as Thy people - not in a legalistic way, but in a knowledgeable way - may be aware of the pitfalls and the strongholds of the evil one. And, as the Lord has taught us to pray, we pray: deliver us from the evil one, lead us not into temptation and help us in these awful days to stand for truth, to stand for right and to stand for Christ like those of old who shed their blood, because what their Lord did for them, they would not refuse for Him. Hear us Lord, and bless this word to our hearts and take us home in safety, in Jesus name. Amen.

Don't miss Part 2 of 'Jude - The Acts of the Apostates': "The Creepers"

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
September 2000
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the first tape in his 'Jude - The Acts Of The Apostates' series, titled "The Unintentional Letter" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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