Summary: Rather than being diverted from their Christian mission by some divisive persons, Jude gave them FOUR JOBS to do in order to keep their focus.
Opening Statement: After receiving a nasty letter a preacher sent it back to the church member with this note attached: "The enclosed letter came to me a few days ago. I am sending it to you because I think you should know that some idiot is sending out letters with your signature on them." Jude faced a similar dilemma with problem people.
Key Word: Rather than being diverted from their Christian mission by some divisive persons, Jude gave them FOUR JOBS to do in order to keep their focus.
Title: One author calls this section of Jude “Final Instructions for the Troops.” I will borrow his thought today. The key call of the book of Jude is found in v.3 where it says “Contend for the faith that was once for all was entrusted to the saints.”
Question: What are these instructions? Remember the manual. Keep in shape. Show mercy on the war-torn. Save the defectors. We’ll deal with the first of these today – Remember the Manual.
Recitation/Text: Jude 17- 23 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you," In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
Background: Evidently, there were some people who were creating chaos and strife unnecessarily in the lives of Jude’s readers. It seems that they were leading some of the churches that Jude wrote to astray with their teaching and lifestyle. While the exact nature of this teaching is not spelled out for the reader, much is said regarding the false-teachers themselves. According to Jude (1-19), apparently they would assimilate into a religious community and then begin to create problems. They refused to submit to authority. They would find fault with others. They would contradict sound theology. And all of this combined served to divide the new community. They weren’t serious about being a fully devoted follower of Christ. They were all about getting an advantage within the new community in order to leverage relationships their way. Apparently, there was a fair amount of prestige and honor associated with being the spiritual leader of a church because they tried to move in on these positions so forcefully. Their objective, for whatever reason, was to move into the new community, challenge the leaders, and assemble a group of followers to help them instigate turmoil and to wrest the control of things away from the proper leaders. While I think the atmosphere and maturity and growth experienced in the lives of our people here at SCC would not allow this to happen, according to the apostles and Jude, it is within the realm of possibility that there may be those who infiltrate the new community and begin to ridicule and scoff at the Scriptures. There may be those who sow seeds of discord.
Transition: In order to combat this, Jude gives some “Instructions for the Troops” to help them stay the course. The first imperative in the entire letter appears in verse 17 – Remember. This one command heads a whole cluster of commands that will follow.
Remember the Manual
Recitation: Jude 17- 23 17 But you, beloved, [in contrast with the shallow people heretofore referenced] ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you," In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.
Exposition: Remember. What were they to remember? Three things in particular:
Remember who gave the Word – the Manual
Explanation: It was the apostles. The apostles were those few people that Christ selected to be with him and to be commissioned by him to share the Good News, even after he was gone. The requirement for being an apostle was that you had to be a witness to the resurrection (Acts 1:21,22; 1 Cor.9:1). Not long after the resurrection, false apostles and teachers began to appear, saying things that no one could really verify, and writing things that no one could really document, and so it became necessary to develop a system to protect the body of Christian truth. One of the main tests in the early church when they were deciding which books were truly inspired by God and deserved a place in the canon, was that the book had to be written by an apostle or by someone closely associated with an apostle and thus have access to eyewitnesses.