Daily Archives: May 1, 2009

The Beach of Bandar al Jissah near Qantab

boy boat guide  A young Omani man deep in thought as he waits for his next passengers out to the sea arch at Bandar Al Jissahsea sky and cloudsboats and ches lipsants on rock  The people walking along the rock cliff of Bandar Al Jissah looked like little ants from the beachOmani mother and child  A quiet moment between mother and childQuantab beach scene

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A Study of the Epistle of Jude: The Purity of the Church

epistle of Jude  During the past 5 weeks, Pastor Michael Peppin has been leading a small group Bible study on the book of Jude. It has been an incredible study that is relevant to the situation in which the church finds herself today. Here are a few things that we’ve looked at during this study:

Study 1: The Epistle of Jude is largely unknown and seldom read. Only the last 2 verses are used as a benediction. Jude had originally intended to write a doctrinal treatise dwelling on the grand subject of SALVATION but the infiltration of false teachers and immoral persons into Christian circles had become widespread. Jude was constrained by the Holy Spirit to write this letter to warn fellow-believers about this serious threat. Jude’s letter is a call to “CONTEND FOR THE FAITH”. He wants nothing less than purity in the church. So aware of the danger before the church, he offers this warning and that’s why this epistle is called by some as “The Acts of the Apostates”. DATE: Jude is not an early letter. The atmosphere of Jude suggests that it is looking back. So it could have been written around AD67-68, shortly before the fall of Jerusalem. THE AUTHOR: His name is JUDE (or JUDAS). Who is this Jude or Judas? In the New Testament, there are 5 people called Judas: 1)Judas of Damascus (Acts 9:11), 2)Judas Barsabbas (son of encouragement) (Acts 15), 3)Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus), 4)Judas (not Iscariot) son of Alphaeus-John 14:22, Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13 and 5)this Jude; the brother of Jesus and James (the one writing this epistle) Matt:13:55, Matt 6:3, John 7. He is a “servant” and the “brother of James”. His readers: They are called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. The Characteristics of the false teachers: Gained admission secretly, designated, ungodly, pervert “the grace of God” and they deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.

Study 2: This study focused on The Men Concerned . Jude constantly refers to them as “these men” (verses 8,10,12,16 and 19). And because he does not mention names, “these men” appear in all ages of the church. These men are very bold along 2 lines: i) in their “dreaming”, which are often contrary to the Word of God and ii) they defile the flesh. They reject authority (rebellious at heart) and “revile the glorious ones”. There are 3 sins which characterize “these men”: 1)lust, 2)rebelliousness, and 3) irreverence. Anything which is beyond their understanding and experience they disregard as worthless and irrelevant. They allow themselves to be corrupted by the things they do understand. Jude is sarcastic here when he says-“the things they understand are the things that animals understand.” Physically, they became immoral. Intellectually, they became arrogant. Spiritually, they became disobedient to God. 3 Old Testament characters are highlighted (which are in the church today):

1st OT Character: Cain-who was not a man of faith nor a man of love (1 John 3:11-12). John contrasts Cain with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ laid down His life for other people-Cain lays down other peoples’ lives for the sake of himself. Christ is willing to serve others-Cain wants to be served. Christ sacrificed himself for our good-Cain sacrifices us for his good. The way of Cain then is the way of the world. Cain is the man without true faith and true love.

Study 3: The Men Concerned (Continued). These are “blemishes” (or “spots”). Some versions say “reefs” and this is probably right. They are “hidden reefs”. The love feast was one of the earliest features of the Christian church. It was a fellowship meal held on the Lord’s Day. II Peter 2:13 tells us that some were using the love feast to “feed themselves” or “look after themselves”. They are “waterless clouds”. They are empty and an example of useless teaching. “Fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted”. Twice dead-once in trespasses and sins, now dead again, in being cut off from the life-giving root-Jesus Christ. “Wild waves of the sea, casting out the foam of their own shame”. They are “wandering stars”-like shooting stars on a dark night People follow them and then they are suddenly plunged into darkness. These wandering stars have a doom reserved for them. They pretend to be lights, but have gone astray and doom awaits them. So, again, these men are: as dangerous as sunken reefs, selfish as perverted shepherds, useless as rainless clouds, dead as barren trees, dirty as the foaming sea, and doomed as the fallen angels.

The 2nd OT Character: Balaam-Balaam’s error was covetousness. He was warned, yet he ran riotously into the error. (See Numbers 22-24, 31:8,16-17) These are grumblers and malcontents. A grumbler is a dis-satisfied person and gives vent to this by grumbling. Following their own passions, self is all that matters. They are loud-mouthed boasters. “To gain advantage”-their praise of people is not because they are really interested in these peoples’ welfare. It is to exploit them and so they flatter them to gain advantage.

Study 4: The Men Concerned (Continued).

The 3rd OT Character: Korah-Korah was responsible with others for a rebellion against Moses. (Numbers 16:1-35) Korah turned against Moses and Aaron. Korah was a Levite and he stands for the man who refuses to submit to authority. “Remember” is an important word in this epistle as forgetfulness causes spiritual deterioration. “There will be scoffers”-Scoffers are those who see no connection between spirituality and morality. They are devoid of the Spirit. Our faith comes from hearing the truth of God’s Word (Romans 10:17). It is impossible to grow into holiness or Christlikeness without a knowledge of God. So, truth and life always tie up in the Scriptures. There are 2 things we as Christians must do: Battle (vs 3) and Build (vs 20). Not one without the other. How do we build ourselves up in “the most holy faith”? vs 21-“Keep yourselves”-“keep” is the key verb. The other verbs-build, pray and wait-describe or clarify the “keeping”. Jude gives 3 points: 1) Pray in the Holy Spirit (v20). Our warfare is not physical but spiritual and prayer is essential to victory. 2) Keep yourself in the love of God (v21). Jude said that Christians are “kept by Jesus Christ”. That’s the mark of the Christian-You are kept in the hands of God. But here’s the biblical balance-we must “keep ourselves”. How can we keep ourselves in the love of God? That is such an important secret of the Christian life. God’s love is always there-but I am to keep myself in it. 3) Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (v21). It’s waiting anxiously-to live in eager expectation of Christ’s return. Though we experience mercy now, we are to wait for it to come. Note that all 3 of these verbs are present participles-indicating that these are things that must continuously characterize our lives: Continually building ourselves up in the Scriptures, continually praying in the Spirit and expectantly looking for the return of Christ. jude chart  Study 5: Jude’s Compassion (verses 22-25) First, there are those who doubt. Show mercy or compassion and reach out to them. Compassion does not lead to compromise. Second, snatch others from the fire. Third, there are those to whom we must show “mercy mixed with fear” (v23). The focus here is more on the rescuer than the rescued. Jude says to even hate the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Garments in the Bible often represent spiritual conditions. Here’s the warning-when we go out to reach such people, we need to be strong, have our minds alert and have our hearts clean. We are entering Satan’s domain.

Jude’s Confidence: Here’s the confidence-As you look at this world and see it become more and more corrupt, here’s the promise to hold on to. He will keep you from falling and will present you faultless one day. We must watch that we stay close to Him. He can guard us so that we do not stumble. “And to present you”-This is an Old Testament picture of a perfect sacrifice. A sacrifice without blemish. When Jude looks at the church-there is so much to cause fear. Now to them he says, never fear, the battle is won! To God alone be the glory-there is One God and he is Savior. 4 words are used to denote God’s greatness: glory (spendor), majesty (kingly majesty), dominion (control, which God has over the world) and power (His ability to do anything whatsoever). I hope this was a blessing to someone out there. We will continue our next Bible Study on “signs of the times” from Matthew 24-25. With all that’s going on in the world, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate topic! Blessings!!!