Summary: In this sermon Jude describes the characteristics of past heretics.
The Letter of Jude deals with the subject of false teaching, which is the greatest danger to the Church of Jesus Christ today.
11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. (Jude 11)
We live in a culture that for the most part does not believe that truth can be known. For many, truth—if it exists at all—is relative. There is “your truth.” And there is “my truth.” The dictum of our age is: “True for you but not for me.”
But what is “truth”? One definition of truth is “that which corresponds to reality.” This is sometimes known as the correspondence view of truth. And I believe it is a valid definition.
But I like John MacArthur’s definition of truth: “Truth is what God decrees.” Thus, truth is not any individual’s opinion or imagination. Truth is what God declares. And God has given us an infallible source of saving truth in his revealed Word, the Bible.
Pastors should preach and teach the infallible, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God.
And Christians should read the Word, study the Word, meditate on the Word, memorize the Word, and apply the Word.
Are there difficult parts in the Word of God? Absolutely! God himself said, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).
In 1 Corinthians 2:16, the apostle Paul paraphrased Isaiah 40:13-14, when he said, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” To which Paul immediately added, “But we have the mind of Christ.” In other words, Christ gives Christians the ability to know, understand, and apply the truth so as to know and serve God rightly.
Although we do not know the mind of God exhaustively, we can certainly know it sufficiently to respond correctly to his truth.
And so God calls us to fight for the truth. Or, as he put it in the words of Jude, “to contend for the faith” (v. 3).
You recall that Jude began to write this marvelous letter to believers to encourage them with the wonderful truths “about our common salvation” (v. 3a). However, he “found it necessary to write appealing to [the believers] to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3b).
Why? Because word had reached Jude that false teachers had “crept in unnoticed.” They perverted the grace of God into sensuality and denied the deity of Jesus by their character, their conduct, and their creed (v. 4).
Jude said that God’s attitude toward false teachers was displayed in implacable judgment. He pointed to God’s attitude in his judgment of unbelieving individuals, rebellious angels, and sinful communities (vv. 5-7).