Summary: A sermon examining the Old Testament examples of apostasy that are referenced in the Book of Jude.
Jude: A Letter For The Last Days
THE ILLUSTRATION IN JUDE'S LETTER (PART 1)
Most sermons have 3 different parts: explanation, illustration and application. Explanation is presenting the meaning of a specific biblical text, application shows how to put the principles of Scripture to work in our lives, and illustration is a reference, a quote or a short story that is intended to help people to better understand the text.
Jesus used many illustrations in His preaching and teaching. He often used Parables to help His audience better understand His message. I have heard it said that a sermon illustration is “a window that lets the light in on the truth of the Word.” In his Epistle, Jude used several illustrations to help us better understand the issue of apostasy in the church. In our selected text he gives 6 examples of apostasy in the past. (Remember, apostasy speaks of a departure from the faith.)
The 3 groups that Jude mentions are: The Children of Israel, The Fallen Angels and The People Of Sodom and Gomorrah. The 3 people that Jude mentions are: Cain, Korah and Balaam. This week we will focus on the 3 groups that are mentioned and we will consider the 3 individuals in a later message. Let's look to verses 5-7 and examine:
I. THE ILLUSTRATION IN JUDE'S LETTER
Jude's goal in these verses is to paint a picture of apostasy. In doing so he refers to 3 cases of rebellion.
A. JUDE REFERS TO 3 CASES OF REBELLION
The first illustration that he uses is that of:
1) THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL - v5 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.
Notice that Jude says "I will therefore put you in remembrance", he is referring to a truth that they all knew about. Here he uses a history lesson as an illustration. God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt. He gave them the Law at Mt. Sinai and they traveled through the wilderness to Kadeshbarnea. There they stood at the very border of the promised land. (Deuteronomy 1:19-20) The Lord had Moses send spies to survey the land that God would give the Israelites.
The spies return with a good concerning this land but the Israelites refused to go forward. Listen to what Moses said in Deuteronomy 1:25 And they (the spies) took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. 26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: They said that "The people are stronger and taller than we are; and the cities are large and fortified up to heaven, and "our hearts melt". (Deuteronomy 1:28)
Moses assured them that God would fight for them just as He had done in Egypt but they did not trust God to deliver them. They reached a place where they did not believe God and they turned from Him. What is apostasy? It is a departure from the faith... it is a departure from God!
Jude goes on to give another illustration of apostasy in the story of the rebellious angels.
2) THE REBELLIOUS ANGELS - v6 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.
Jude states that there were certain angels that "did not keep their first estate". This means that they were caught up in a rebellion against God. As a result of their rebellion they have been bound and are currently "reserved (or kept) in chains". The "chains" that Jude speaks of are not literal chains. Angels are spiritual creatures so a literal chain would not matter hold them. The idea here is that they are kept in bonds ... they are guarded and awaiting judgment. These angels rebelled, they departed from God. Again this is the very definition of apostasy.
Consider the fact that these angels lived in the very presence of God, they spent countless ages ministering before Him, they experienced His glory and majesty, but they followed Satan in his rebellion! Pride and lust caused them to turn away from God, and you can be certain that the apostates that have infiltrated the church, that turn the grace of God into lasciviousness and deny the Lord Jesus Christ are filled with pride and lust.
These apostates have crept into the church....they have infiltrated the company believers. On the outside they appear to be godly, but they are actually servants of the Devil! They come in to the church wearing sheep's clothing "but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Eventually these apostates were revealed because they were turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and because they denied the Lord Christ. And the apostates who are present in the church today will be revealed for the same reasons!