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Jude - The Acts Of The Apostates - Part 2

"The Creepers"

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

'Preach The Word'Now turn with me in your Bibles to that little epistle that we've been looking at, the epistle of Jude, and we looked at the first three to four verses last Lord's day morning. You'll remember that we looked at 'The letter that Jude did not intend to write' - and we'll read from verse 1 to get the context of our study this morning.

Outwardly they are members of the church, inwardly they are strangers to Jesus Christ. The creepers, who creep their way into the church!

Verse 1 of Jude: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God" - and you'll remember we saw that that word 'sanctified' would be better translated 'beloved of God' - "the Father, and preserved 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 [rather] to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for', or vigorously defend, 'the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 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 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. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 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. 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. 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. 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 are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage".

Let's take a moment's prayer, as we seek God's face, and as we come to His word this morning: Our Father, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit, who inspired these pages, we ask Thee - the Triune God - that Thou wilt come right now to our hearts by Thy word and minister to us. We live in terrible days, our Father, Thy word tells us that - we have been warned about it - and we ought not [to] be taken unawares by these things. We pray Thy help now, Lord, give us grace to understand - and more so, Lord, to put it into the practice of our lives - that we may live as He lived, and as He intended us to live, by His sacrificial death at Calvary. Fill me with the Holy Ghost, I pray, and meet us now in Jesus name, Amen.

Last week we looked at verses 1 to 3 and this week we're going to look at verses 4 to 16 - and we're going to probably take two weeks looking at these verses, and I'm not going to take them in the order that they're found, perhaps, in the book of Jude as you see it written down there in the chronological order of the verses. We'll be skipping through the verses one-by-one and skipping over some of them. Last week we looked at the title: 'The Letter that Jude didn't intend to write' - we saw how from verse 3, if you look at it, he didn't intend to write a letter about apostates. He said, 'I wanted to write to you about the common salvation', and you'll remember I put that little word 'but' in there: '[but] it was needful for me rather to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith'.

Those who are thrilled with that salvation could sit for hours, and hours, and in every meeting thinking of the common salvation!

You can see Jude - the half-brother, as we saw, of the Lord Jesus Christ - now a leader in the church of Jesus Christ, and sitting perhaps with a body of new lambs in the faith around him, and thinking of those who had just come to Christ across his whole county, if you like, across the land, and he thought to himself 'What could I include in a letter to write unto them, to encourage them? Surely it would be the great salvation that we all have, the common salvation that has brought us into the faith, the death of the Lord Jesus that makes us sit where we are sitting?'. And that's what we feel like, isn't it? We were sitting around the table this morning - and if you weren't there, why were you not there? - we were sitting there, thinking of the common salvation, how the Bible says Christ died for our sins. And what we were doing was obeying Him, to remember Him in His death, thinking of the common salvation - and you know, those who are thrilled with that salvation could sit for hours, and hours, and in every meeting thinking of the common salvation! That's why Jude wanted to write to believers about it - he was so thrilled by Christ and His gospel, that he wanted to talk about it and write about it all the time!

But, you know, God's Holy Spirit had something else in mind. Because that - although so important and intrinsic, and although they would do it week by week, Lord's Day, as they would remember the Lord in His death, and thinking of that common salvation - the Holy Ghost came to Jude and, you'll remember, impressed him: 'Jude, that's not what you're going to write about. It is needful...', or as we translated it last week, Jude 'got necessity' to write about apostasy. It's a scathing book, isn't it? You've read those words, and they're hard to digest for many of us - strong words, harsh words, words of condemnation, judgemental words. And as we read this book, such condemnatory language raises the question about what Christians are to do about judging. We're told today, over and over again, 'The Lord Jesus Christ said, Judge not that ye be not judged', and that is what He said. And as we read His words in the Gospels, and look at these words of Jude, it seems to be contradictory - the Lord Jesus, apparently, is telling us 'You're not allowed to judge anyone', but here Jude, His half-brother, is condemning those who are diluting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in language that could not be stronger! So is it right, or is it wrong for Christians to judge? What do we do about this awkward verse, 'Judge not that ye be not judged'? And then we see the Lord, in another place, also said, 'But judge righteous judgement', He also said 'Cast not your pearls before swine'. Now that presupposes, that in order to know the swine, you have to make a psychological judgement about who are the sheep, who are the goats, who are the swine and who are true believers in God. There is a process of mental and, perhaps, spiritual judgement there - to know who is the genuine article.

As we read this book, such condemnatory language raises the question about what Christians are to do about judging

Now I believe it is evident as you go through the whole New Testament, and indeed the Old Testament Scriptures, that when the Lord Jesus said 'Judge not that ye be not judged', He did not - categorically did not! - say, 'Do not judge between truth and error'. Indeed, when He speaks in Matthew chapter 7, 'Judge not that ye be not judged', He is speaking of those things - and look at the context - that we as human beings cannot judge, things that only God can judge - motives not actions. Do you understand what I'm saying? You can judge a man's actions - when you see a man lying drunk in the gutter, you know that he has been overwhelmed by the sin of drunkenness, but you as a human being cannot discern the motive that drove that man to do that. You can say an action is wrong, but you cannot discern or judge in your mind, or even condemn, what has driven a person to do a certain thing. But the Lord does say to 'judge righteous judgement' - you look at the book of Jude, you look at the first [chapter] of second Peter that mirrors the book of Jude in many ways, and there is such scathing language used concerning these things. You look in the Old Testament, look at the book of Deuteronomy, and Moses there says that you're not to exhort a false prophet, he doesn't say that you're to rebuke a false prophet, or admonish a false prophet - he said that you are to stone a false prophet! Now we are not in the business of stoning false prophets today - but you can understand how strong God's prophet, and God at that moment, felt about such false prophecy. You go into the New Testament, and the forerunner of the Lord Jesus, the one who prepared the way of the Lord is standing, and he is speaking, 'Generation of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?'. What language!

But I think it must be 'Gentle Jesus, meek and mild' who utters the strongest condemnatory language that you will find in the whole of the word of God - now we don't want take too much time to go into all of this, but let's look for a moment at Matthew chapter 23. And it baffles me, you know, how men and women read the word of God in these days and have such a mamby-pamby, softness towards false doctrine if they are reading about the Lord Jesus Christ - there's so much He says here, that we can't even take time to read it all. But in verse 13, we read this: 'But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in' - 'You're not saved, but you won't even preach the real way to be saved. You're shutting up heaven! You're leading men to hell!' - 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves'. Verse 27: 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are whited sepulchres, appear beautiful on the outside, but within - in the depths of who you really are - you're full of dead men's bones, and uncleanness' - and He goes on, and on, and on as you see, 'Woe unto you! Woe unto you! Woe unto you!'. And this, perhaps, is the greatest outpouring of anger against falsehood that we find in the whole of the word of God - and who is it from? The Lord Jesus Christ. Why does He speak in such scathing terms? Look at Jude.

They are good on the outside, they're maybe even godly and god-like on the outside, but within the inside they are as black as tar - dead!

We looked at the writer of the book last week, and we looked at the readers, we looked at the reason why he wrote - and the reason why he wrote were the rascals that you find in verse 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 hear the cry today, and always, 'Let's get back to the New Testament church!' - do you really want to? Do you want to get back to Corinthians, where there was incest in the church of Jesus Christ? Do you want to get back to it? All the problems that they had, because the early church was far from perfect! And from Simon Magis right to today, there is a cancer - and always will be, until we get to glory - be a cancer, just there, ready to awake and destroy. Where does it come from? Well, the verse tells us, '...certain men crept in unawares...', infiltrators, someone has called them the active members of the Senate of Satan. Men and women who hide under the cloak of Christianity, but deep down in their souls are godless! They are good on the outside, they're maybe even - in a worldly term - godly and god-like on the outside, but within the inside they are as black as tar - dead! The frightening thing that hits me, is that outwardly many of these people - in a religious sense - get everything right. They follow the practices, they walk the walk outwardly speaking, and talk the talk - but they had sneaked into the church, and were servants of Satan himself. Like the alligator, you see it - and they're going down the river, on the TV, in the boat - and all of a sudden you see this part of the green at the side of the river that's a bit darker, and then it starts to move - and very slowly, it just creeps in underneath. That's the sense that Jude is using here of these people, 'crept in unawares', they sneaked into the church of Jesus Christ - another translation says, 'they wormed their way in'!

Outwardly they are members of the church, inwardly they are strangers to Jesus Christ - I have called them, and entitled this message this morning, "The Creepers". The creepers, who creep their way into the church! It's the perfect description, here in Jude, of a spy. I'm led to believe that in the Cold War between Russia and America, indeed Russia and the whole of the West, there were Soviet spies in the highest echelons of British and American government. People right at the top who were spies! They had crept their way in. Now what does Jude say about these people? Look at verse 4, they are marked out by God, '...before of old ordained to this condemnation...' - that could be translated: 'long ago, beforehand they were marked out', or another translation says, 'their doom has been predicted long ago'. We shouldn't be surprised by all this stuff that's happening in the church today - why? Because not only Jude, but men before Jude - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself warned His own disciples, even in the Old Testament there are prophecies that indicate that these men are ordained for condemnation. That doesn't mean God didn't give these men a chance, or He had them marked for this one purpose, but it means this: that long ago they were prophesied to do such things - and of course, as always, God's word comes true. God had marked them out.

The grace of God is not just forgiveness, the grace of God is a change of a person, where their heart is changed, their life is changed, their desires are changed - everything about them is changed, so much so that Paul says they become 'new creatures, a new creation in Christ Jesus'

There are two features that show us these rascals. The first thing about them is: they lived lives of licence. '[They turned]', it says [in] verse 4, 'the grace of our God into lasciviousness' - there was an absence, in their personal walk and life, of moral restraints in their behaviour - they abused the liberty that they had in Christ. God had wiped the slate clean of their past, their present, and their future - and they thought that the slate wiped clean of their future was like a blank cheque, that they could fill in with sin for whatever they wanted. 'God's forgiven me! I can do what I like! I can live as I like! I can say what I like or go where like!' - but, of course, as Paul says 'Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?'. That's not what the grace of God is all about, the grace of God is not just forgiveness, the grace of God is a change of a person, where their heart is changed, their life is changed, their desires are changed - everything about them is changed, so much so that Paul says they become 'new creatures, a new creation in Christ Jesus'. And therefore the implication is that no man can have forgiveness if he lives a life of licence. These men had no shame, they were carnal, they flaunted their sin in a spirit of arrogance - and today we see people who take the name of Christ, churches and church leaders, who are sinning openly, and encouraging sin in the world around us. And what, perhaps, began with them as a lack of reverence for the word of God - they just didn't obey it - is now becoming an interpretation of Scripture that they take, that turns the word of God on its head and legitimises and legalises their sin. Oh, there are men who can get anything out of the word of God - using the word of God to justify their sinful lifestyle. And they were apostates that Jude is talking about - a man who thinks he's saved, but is not saved! The life of God is not in his soul, the grace of God has never reached his spirit or his conscience, and therefore Jude concludes that there is no place for such a man or a woman in the church of Jesus Christ. Oh, there are many confused, there are many who are true believers but they belong [to] churches that teach apostasy. And there is confusion about what they ought to do - 'Should I stay there and try and build the place up? Should I try and bring light into that place?' - and that is a very worthy, and noble motive. But, my friend, that is not what the word of God instructs of us, and indeed - I stand to be corrected - but I believe, studying church history, that there has been no church yet - no denomination now, I am talking about, or movement - that has ever apostasized [and then come] back, never. Martin Luther wanted to change the Roman Catholic Church from within, he didn't want to split - the word Reformation means 're-forming the church as it was' - he didn't want to leave, but he was driven out because of the truth of God! So the Holy Spirit gives us our instructions in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 5 - this is the word of God - from such turn away! 'Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away'.

There are those who name the name of Christ today, and don't know if there really is a God, there are those who name the name of Christ, and don't really know if the Son of God was the Son of God, if there is life after death, if miracles really happen, if infidels really can be saved!

Living lives of licence - and then the second thing that you see about their character is that they lived denying their Lord. 'Turning the grace of our God', verse 4, 'into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ' - their so-called Master and Messiah, they were denying Him by their actions! It could be said of many in the church of Jesus Christ today, as the Lord Jesus said, that the last state of the man is worse than the first. There are many who started out well, and showed promise. One man, Bishop Pike (sp?), was the leading light of his denomination in an evangelical sense - for the first few years he was preaching the doctrines of grace and salvation, but in his end years he began to talk about the Trinity, the Godhead, as - listen - 'excess baggage'. His famous quote was when he cried for 'more belief and fewer beliefs' - it doesn't matter what you believe, it's the fact that you have this sort of 'Father Christmas, fairytale' belief! My friends, there are those who have ceased praying in the Unitarians - do you know why? Because they began to pray to God, and then they realised that there wasn't a God; and then they began to pray to truth - because they believed, at least, in truth - and then they realised that truth wasn't a person, it was an ideal; so they stopped praying to truth, and they ceased praying at all, and now just have 'aspirations'! There are those who name the name of Christ today, and don't know if there really is a God, there are those who name the name of Christ, and don't really know if the Son of God was the Son of God, if there is life after death, if miracles really happen, if infidels really can be saved! There is one quite famous theologian who said, 'A corpse cannot come to life and climb out of the grave'. My friend, as one man put it, they have gone through the Bible and taken out its records; they have gone through the Nativity and taken out the virgin birth; they have gone through Christ's temptation and taken away His purity; they have gone through the miracles and taken out the miraculous; they have gone through Calvary and taken out the blood, they have gone through the tomb and taken away the bodily, literal resurrection; they have gone through heaven and taken out its riches; and they have gone through hell and taken out its fire!...and there is nothing left.

One of the greatest downfalls that has brought this within the church is that Christians forget to remember. You remember, when Peter was talking about these same things in his little epistle, he continually told those believers there, 'Finally...' - I beg your pardon, in Philippians 3 and verse 1, Paul - '...Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you', not something new, not some concocted new thing that God had revealed to them - it's better to say something true than something new! 'It's not grievous for me to write this unto you, but for you it is safe'. My friends, never get weary of hearing sound doctrine, never say 'Och, we've heard all that before', or, 'We know all that', or, 'We're sick hearing that' - because the moment you stop hearing it, and the moment you ignore error, as we said last week, that error and falsehood will become established! The Scripture teaches that there is no new thing under the sun, and these apostates weren't new, and their behaviour and their character weren't new at all - they haven't changed, in essence, from that day, in Jude's day, 'til today.

Now let's look, for a few moments, in more detail at their character. Verse 8 says this, 'Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities'. They rejected, first all, God's authority - they rejected God's authority to set up their own authority. We see it in the home, where the wife rejects the man's authority; we see it in the home, where the child rejects the parent's authority; we see it in the state, where loyalists reject the government's authority - doesn't mean you have to agree with them, but they reject the authority; we see it in the church, where members reject the oversight's authority - and the word of God teaches that that is a sign of apostasy. That is a sign of the age, and the spirit of the age, and this thing that the devil has dreamed up from all times, and we can see it in verse 8 that he calls them, literally, 'filthy dreamers'. They've been dreaming about themselves, to take away all God's ordained authorities and to set on the throne of their life: themselves! Isn't that it? It's the old lie of the devil right from the beginning - what did he say? 'Adam and Eve, come here...God didn't say that - ye shall be as gods!'.

Strange how we always get back to this problem of pride, isn't it?

Strange how we always get back to this problem of pride, isn't it? It's at the root of nearly every sin - in fact it's the greatest sin that God hates, if there is one - it is the mother of all sins because it was the one that spawned sin in the beginning! 'I shall be as God!', Lucifer said, and God tumbled him down! God will tumble down every man or woman that says, 'I shall be as God, I will rule my life, I will not let Him be Lord of my life, I will not be told what to do by the word of God or by those that believe it!'. As he will end in hell, so will you my friend, if you reject the authority of God's word and His salvation.

They rejected God's authority, they were physically immoral, as you see from verse 8. It says, 'filthy dreamers defiling the flesh', they lived lives of licence, they were ignorant people - look at verse 10: 'But these speak evil of those things which they know not' - they looked as if they knew everything, and they didn't know a thing! Ignorant, not knowing what they were talking about. 'What they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves', they don't use their minds, but they use their bodies, their natural instincts push them and drive them. Rather than using their minds, their feelings rule, rather than their facts. Oh, my friends, you can see it - can't you? I don't need to name anyone, I don't need to name any churches, or organisations, or practices - although there's so many that I would name, and we would be here all day. Those that let the feelings rule, rather than the facts. They let their mind run away with them and, as one said, 'Their conscience is seared and they wallow in a sewer of their selves'. 'I want to be richer! Health, wealth and prosperity! Me, me, me! I want to have perfect health! I want to do miracles! I want to see miracles!' - and they wallow in the well, and the hole, of their own self!

The media and the entertainment are full of humour about the things of God, and things that they should be showing reverence towards

'Brute beasts' describes the people of today, doesn't it? The people in our world, dead in trespasses and in sins, driven by natural affections rather than the mind and the spirit - sex mad, as someone has said, today there is a 'sexplosion'. Rules are made to be broken, the media and the entertainment are full of humour about the things of God, and things that they should be showing reverence towards. That's why Jude says that they have no respect for dignities, no respect for dominion - they despise dominion - it is an intellectual arrogance, 'I know better than that! You're not going to tell me there's a God, and He made the world, and there was Adam and Eve and they took a bit of fruit down, and sin came upon all men and death by sin? I don't want that! I've a degree, I'm a managing director in a company. I've no time for fairytales such as that!' - is that you my friend? If you have no time for that, God has no time for you, I'm afraid. Because the word of God is the truth of God revealed through the Christ of God - and we have among young people today in our society, it has now been etched in stone, a disrespect for authority and dominion - so much so that everything that is serious must have fun poked at it! There must be a joke about it, they've got to put it on the television set and make fun of it. Blasphemy, cynicism, no respect for God's appointed leaders, irreverence, and a lack of respect for dignities. Don't think that Jude is talking about the King or Queen when he talks about dignities - the word in verse 8, at the end of the verse, 'dignities' is the word for principalities and powers. It means those spiritual beings, angels and fallen angels, those authorities in the heavenly places. Listen to what Jude is saying here: that the church of Jesus Christ with the apostates in it, and those in the world who have the spirit of the age within them, don't believe in them! You know the people that go through heaven and say, 'Well, we can't believe all the measurements here', or, 'We don't know whether that's really going to be there', or, 'We're not sure about that, what that actually means'; and then they go through the miracles and they say, 'Well, Jonah couldn't be swallowed by a whale. And the Lord Jesus couldn't turn the water into wine, and He couldn't - with all those five loaves and two fishes - make all that big feed for everyone. That's not possible!'. Beware, my friend, of unbelief - because it is the spirit of apostasy.

There is so much that we could say upon this: how the angels are learning their theology from us here today, by our submission, by our headship of Jesus Christ as our Head and none other - how they are looking down, and seeing it, and learning the grace of God. And then in verse 9, look at it, he describes, he gives an illustration of what happened, how we can learn to respect these dignities, 'Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses' - now where is that? Well, you'll not find it in your Bible, because that story's not found in the Bible. And Jude obviously was reading another book as well - and it's alright to read other books, as long as you don't take them as the word of God. What was he reading about? It may have been the book "The Assumption Of Moses", but whether that book is true or not, I do not know - I have not read it - but I know this much, that this part of it is true, because God's Holy Spirit has put it into our word of God. And here it is: that when Moses died - and Deuteronomy tells us that no one knew were he was buried - when he died, obviously the devil, for some reason, I don't know what it was - it could have been to make some kind of a worshipful shrine, or high place to worship another god from - that's what he likes to do with truth, make it into something idolatrous. And that could be what he was doing - but whatever it was, it says here, verse 9, that even Michael the archangel, dared not to throw a railing accusation at the devil himself. Now that does not mean that he didn't know he was wrong - he judged him, yes, he judged him, he had discernment, but he knew it was not in his power to throw anything at the devil, but he simply said, 'The Lord rebuke thee'. Oh, we have so much in our world today, and in the church of Jesus Christ, there are those who believe that if they could face Satan, face-on, fisticuffs, they would beat him. My friends, beware of him, be sober, be vigilant for your adversary the devil is a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour, whom resist steadfast in the faith - and you could put that 'in Christ'!

You can see it here - the unconverted clergy, those standing in the pulpits talking of Christ and His word and the Gospel, and they don't know Him, they've never met Him, they've never been converted to Him!

You also see from their character that they adopted sinful hypocrisy - and we need to look at this in a week that is later, because we don't have time really. But let me look very quickly at these descriptions that are given in verse 12, 13 and 16 - Jude calls them, first of all, 'filthy spots'. You know, ladies, how you're maybe going out in the morning to church, maybe the roast is sitting out and you accidentally hit it as you're going out the door, and there's a filthy spot - and what does it do? It destroys the whole garment, wrecks it! Jude says that's what they're like in the church, they're wrecking it - it's like Judas at the Passover, there was one among them who would betray Him, a filthy spot. Some scholars say that that is better translated, not 'filthy spots', but 'hidden rocks' - and you know what hidden rocks do, you know what a hidden ice-rock did to the Titanic, don't you? Then it says they're 'selfish shepherds' - selfish shepherds exploiting God's people to look after number one - you could put it like this 'good living for a living'! You can see it in the United States, in many places - men who are in it for the money! You can see it here - the unconverted clergy, those standing in the pulpits talking of Christ and His word and the Gospel, and they don't know Him, they've never met Him, they've never been converted to Him! Even Ezekiel, the prophet, way back then said, 'Son of Man, prophesy against those shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds, woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?'.

Thirdly, Jude calls them 'empty clouds' - what's an empty cloud? Well, you can see them up there, they look as if they're going to rain, but they're not raining. These men have the promise of giving you something, but they've nothing to give. They're all words - all picture, but no sound! They don't have the life of God in them to impart it to your soul, or anyone else - as Proverbs says: 'Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like the clouds and the wind without rain' - they claim, but they can't produce! 'Dead trees', he says - he says 'twice dead', what does that mean? Well, he talks about them being fruitless, they have no fruit - but Jesus says 'By their fruit ye shall know them'. But how are they twice dead? They're dead at the roots as well! It's not simply that they can't produce fruit, but they don't even have life in their roots. 'Raging waves', the noise of raging waves, proud arrogant speech - and then, finally, he says they're like 'falling stars'. You've seen a falling star, haven't you? It's not a planet that goes round in its orbit, that's not what a falling star is - it's not even a comet. It's something that you see just for a moment, and then it vanishes. I'm sure many of you know a pulpit beacon that has become a falling star.

I will finish, but just to give you two illustrations of this fact. I read, and it was very impressive upon my life, the little book by R.A. Torrey "Why God Used D.L. Moody" - and it actually was a sermon* of his put into print. And under the chapter 'Humility' (which was one of the reasons why God used him) he says this, and I have it printed at the front of my Bible, listen: 'The entire shore of the history of Christian workers is strewn with the wrecks of gallant vessels that were full of promise a few years ago, but these men became puffed up and were driven on the rocks by the wild winds of their own raging self-esteem'. Oh, we can see it around us.
*A transcript of R.A. Torrey's sermon "Why God Used D.L. Moody" is available in our Book Store free of charge.

Charles Berry (sp?) was a liberal minister, and he was called to go to the home of a woman who was dying. And she pleaded with him, 'Reverend, tell me - lead me - to salvation!'. He said, 'You've lived a good life. You've done well, you've been a church member' - and that's what people are going to hell hearing today. She said, 'Sir, that won't do! Lead me to salvation', and he was at his wits end, he didn't know what to do, because he had nothing. So he wrecked his brains to try and remember a song that his mother had taught him at her knee, and he found the words:

'There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.'

And she said, 'That's it!'. The next Sunday he got up to his pulpit and he related that story - and do you know what he said? 'I had nothing to give that woman, and as I recited 'There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins' - she got in, and so did I!'. My friend, there's nothing else, this is the faith that we ought to contend for. Let us go and do it in the power of the Lord.

Now let us pray together, let's bow our heads and we'll finish our meeting now. But I'm conscious that some of you here may not know that true Gospel that we've been preaching about: that Christ died for the ungodly and it is only faith in Him that can save a man from hell. It's time for you to get saved, my friend, while you hear His voice - harden not your heart, but believe in Him now, and have everlasting life. Backslider, it's time to give up the spirit of apostasy, and turn to Christ again for the restoration of the joy of your salvation.

Our Father, we thank Thee for this time. We thank Thee for the truth of God that was delivered to us by holy men as they were moved and inspired of God. We pray in these days, as the Iron Hall, that we will not move nor be shifted but stand steadfastly in the faith - not in men's tradition - but in the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints. Help us in these days to fight for it and defend it, for we remember the words of the one who said to those believers, 'Ye have not resisted unto blood, yet'. Bless us now, we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Don't miss Part 3 of 'Jude - The Acts of the Apostates': "Remember, Remember"

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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 second tape in his 'Jude - The Acts Of The Apostates' series, titled "The Creepers" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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