Summary: Jude speaks about the coming Judgment and how it's only by God's mercy that we are considered saints, or holy ones.
“Oh, when the saints go marching in Oh, when the saints go marching in Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in.” Do you know what that song is about? Here’s a clue: it wasn’t originally a pep song for sports teams called the “Saints.” Listen to another verse of that song. “Oh, when the moon turns red with blood Oh, when the moon turns red with blood I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in.” This song is an old gospel spiritual about Judgment Day. The Bible tells us that on that day the moon will turn to blood, the sun will stop shining, and this world will be engulfed in fire. Believers in Jesus, the saints, do not have to fear this day, however, because they will be ushered into the everlasting joys of heaven. So yes, when the saints go marching into heaven, I want to be in that number and you do too. So listen carefully to Jude’s “Tweet from Heaven” today. He will speak about the saints, or holy ones, defining who they are and what challenges they must endure before entering into glory. (Read Jude 14-21.)
Our text is a continuation from last week’s reading where Jude spoke about the false teachers in the midst of his listeners. He compared those false teachers to wild waves that should be avoided. Today Jude tells us that the existence of such false teachers shouldn’t be a surprise. An early believer named Enoch prophesied about such people. Enoch was only seven generations removed from Adam, the first human to ever live. What Enoch is best known for is that he was taken to heaven while still alive (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). What you may not know about Enoch is that he was also a prophet. In one of his sermons he prophesied how the Lord would return with a “myriad” of holy ones. Enoch probably had in mind the countless angels that will attend Jesus when he returns to judge the word. But we also know that with the angels will return the believers who had died and gone to heaven. These saints can also be described as “holy ones.” Enoch said: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14b, 15).
When Jesus returns, his purpose will be to judge all people and to condemn to hell those who have spoken defiant words against him. That makes it sound like Jesus is only going to condemn those who actively blasphemed him like the hardened atheist who goes on the airwaves to make fun of the Christian faith, or the terrorist who actively persecutes Christians. But listen to how Jude describes people who speak defiantly against the Lord. “These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage” (Jude 16). Grumblers. Faultfinders. Flatterers. Yikes! We’re good at doing all three aren’t we? When we grumble about what God has done or not done for us, we’re speaking defiant words against his plans for us. But grumbling is so easy to do! It seems only human and natural. Well it is natural for our sinful nature to do, but that does not excuse the sin. So watch yourself when you’re tempted to grumble about those leftovers, or grumble about the cold. Don’t speak defiantly against God in that way!
We also speak defiantly against God when we find fault with others. Jesus has urged us to love one another. In fact he said that it is by our love that the unbelievers of this world will know that we are his disciples. Ah, but this is a tough one isn’t it? It’s hard not to find fault with those who don’t quite clean the kitchen floor like we do, or handle customers like we think they should be handled. It’s hard not to find fault with those who ignore our suggestions for how something could be done better at church, or at home, or at work. But refusing to find fault and gladly accepting the way someone else has chosen to handle a job shows Christ-like humility. You’re also putting your trust in the Lord to take care of the matter. If what the other person is doing is really that harmful and unwise, God will intervene. Of course when someone calls us to repent of a sin, we should not call that individual a faultfinder - not if their motivation is love and concern for our eternal wellbeing. To such a person we owe our thanks and we will want to take to heart their call to turn from our sin.