Summary: In today's text, Jude describes God's attitude towards false teachers.
The brief but important letter of Jude deals with the subject of false teaching, which is the greatest danger to the Church of Jesus Christ today.
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 5-7)
Throughout recorded history the Church has always had to deal with false teaching and apostasy. Every generation has had to contend for the faith. And our generation is no different.
A. The Characteristics of False Teaching
But what are the characteristics of false teaching? The Scriptures teach us that false teaching is essentially a series of denials.
1. False Teaching Is a Denial of Divine Power
Second Timothy 3:4-5 says that people will be “treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. . . .”
2. False Teaching Is a Denial of Christ
Second Peter 2:1 says that false prophets will even be “denying the Master who bought them. . . .”
3. False Teaching Is a Denial of Christ’s Return
Second Peter 3:3-4 says that “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”
4. False Teaching Is a Denial of the Faith
First Timothy 4:1 says that “in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”
5. False Teaching Is a Denial of Sound Teaching
Second Timothy 4:3-4 says that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
6. False Teaching Is a Denial of Sanctification
Second Timothy 3:1-2 says that “in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy. . . .”
7. False Teaching Is a Denial of Christian Liberty
First Timothy 4:3 teaches that Christian liberty will be turned into legalism. False teachers will “forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving. . . .”
8. False Teaching Is a Denial of Morals
Jude 18-19 says that “in the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
9. False Teaching Is a Denial of Biblical Authority
Second Timothy 3:8 says that false teachers “also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”
Remarkably, these denials come from those who profess to be Christian teachers. And there are already many so-called Christian churches that exhibit these denials in their teaching.
B. The Cautions against False Teaching
Jude’s entire letter is a warning against false teaching. Jude wanted to write a letter “about our common salvation” (v. 3a). However, word reached him about false teaching that was already creeping in to the church—and that within one generation after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, Jude “found it necessary to write appealing to [believers] to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3b).
After stating the purpose for his letter (v.3), Jude gave a description of false teachers in verse 4.
Now, in verses 5-7, Jude described God’s attitude towards false teachers. He used three illustrations to show God’s judgment on false teachers.
I. God Judges Unbelieving Individuals (5)
First, God judges unbelieving individuals.
Jude said in verse 5, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
Jude’s illustration of God’s judgment on the Israelites was something that was very familiar to the Christians to whom he wrote. Perhaps you remember the story too.
God’s people were in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. At the end of that time God raised up Moses. He delivered the people of God out of the land of Egypt through a series of miraculous plagues. The Israelites left Egypt and God led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to the Promised Land. Eventually, they came to the Red Sea and the Israelites realized that Pharaoh’s army was pursuing them. They felt trapped. The Red Sea was before them, and the Egyptians were behind them. But God miraculously parted the Red Sea before them so that they were able to pass through on dry ground. And after the Israelites had safely crossed over, God let the Red Sea return to its normal levels, thereby drowning the entire Egyptian army. A short while later God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. God ensured that the Israelites had food and water on their trip.