To protect from harm, to guard from attack, to repulse enemies—for centuries rugged defenders have built walls, launched missiles, and waged wars, expending material and human resources in the battle to save nations and cities. And with total commitment and courageous abandon, individuals have fought for their families. It is a rule of life that we fight for survival, defending with all our strength what is most precious to us, from every real or imagined attack. God’s Word and the gift of eternal life have infinite value and have been entrusted to Christ’s faithful followers. Many people live in opposition to God and his followers. They twist God’s words, seeking to deceive and destroy the unwary. But God’s truth must go forth, carried and defended by those who have committed their lives to his Son. It is an important task, an awesome responsibility, and a profound privilege to have this commission.
This was Jude’s message to Christians everywhere. Opposition would come and godless teachers would arise, but Christians should “defend the faith” (1:3) by rejecting all falsehood and immorality (1:4-19), remembering God’s mighty acts of rescue and punishment (1:5-11, 14-16) and the warnings of the apostles (1:17-19). His readers are to build up their own faith through prayer (1:20), keeping close to Christ (1:21), helping others (1:22, 23), and hating sin (1:23). Then Jude concludes with a glorious benediction of praise to God (1:24, 25).
How much do you value God’s Word, the fellowship of the church, and obedience to Jesus Christ? Many false teachers are waiting to destroy your Christ-centered life, the credibility of God’s Word, and the unity of the body of Christ. Read Jude and determine to stand firm in your faith and defend God’s truth at all costs. Nothing is more valuable.
Purpose: To remind the church of the need for constant vigilance—to keep strong in the faith and to oppose heresy
Author: Jude, brother of Jesus and James
Original Audience: Jewish Christians
Date Written: Approximately A.D. 65
Setting: From the first century on, the church has been threatened by heresy and false teaching; we must always be on our guard.
Key Verse: “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people” (1:3).
Key People: Jude, James, Jesus
- The danger of false teachers (1:1-16)
- The duty to fight for God’s truth (1:17-25)
Jude wrote to motivate Christians everywhere to action. He wanted them to recognize the dangers of false teaching, to protect themselves and other believers, and to win back those who had already been deceived. Jude was writing against godless teachers who were saying that Christians could do as they pleased without fear of God’s punishment. While few teach this heresy openly in the church today, many in the church act as though this were true. This letter contains a warning against living a nominal Christian life.
|False Teachers||Jude warns against false teachers and leaders who reject the lordship of Christ, undermine the faith of others, and lead them astray. These leaders and any who follow them will be punished.||We must staunchly defend Christian truth. Make sure that you avoid leaders and teachers who distort the Bible to suit their own purposes. Genuine servants of God will faithfully portray Christ in their words and conduct.|
|Apostasy||Jude also warns against apostasy—turning away from Christ. We are to remember that God punishes rebellion against him. We must be careful not to drift away from a faithful commitment to Christ.||Those who do not seek to know the truth in God’s Word are susceptible to apostasy. Christians must guard against any false teachings that would distract them from the truth preached by the apostles and written in God’s Word.|
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Source: Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 2161-2162.