By Nathan Jones
Is it okay for churches to kick people out of their congregations?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our study of the little book of Jude from a prophetic perspective.
Jude, Bleaching Out the Spots (Verses 12-13)
Nathan Jones: Jude starts this next section in verses 12-13 by really getting poetic. I don't know if Jude had a literary bent, but he kind of reminds me here of King David.
"There are spots in your love feast, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit twice dead pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the seas, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackest of darkness."
Vic Batista: Each one of his points is a sermon in and of itself. Poetically Jude says in these verses that the false teachers infiltrating our churches are spots in our love feasts. As I look at the word there — spots — it makes me think of when you wear a nice white shirt but then you get a little ink on it. You get a spot that ruins the whole shirt. Here I look at these churches who are engaged in having a beautiful fellowship and they are having a time of feasting, but here comes one of these false Christians who just ruins the party.
Nathan Jones: This reference to love feasts is a reference to Communion. The Church is following what the Lord had told them to do, and that is to observe Christ's sacrificial death by drinking from the cup that commemorates His shed blood and eating the bread wafer to remember Jesus Christ's broken body on the cross. Doing so was called a love feast, and then usually churches have fellowships afterwards. Some of them even hold foot washings. These love feasts commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.
So, here our churches are, allowing in these people who are false teachers and false prophets. They hate Jesus Christ, and yet we are allowing them into our communion services. And, like you said, Vic, they are spots, they are blemishes, on what is supposed to be a perfect and holy sacrament.
Vic Batista: Purity is so important among God's people, both spiritual purity and doctrinal purity. But, what Jude is warning about is that there are a lot of heresies being allowed into our churches. They come in as seekers, and the congregation wants to be hospitable, but they're not really seeking. Also, a lot of guest speakers are being invited into our churches who really come in with messages that are contrary to the Word of God. We need to be careful.
Nathan Jones: I've got to wonder about some pastors. What are they thinking when they bring in New Age gurus?! Yoga is a Hindu teaching. It is pure Hinduism. There is nothing good about yoga for Christians. Now our churches offer Christian Yoga. We've got Islamic clerics being brought into our services in order to understand their point of view, with some pastors going as far as trying to merge Christianity and Islam into Chrislam!
Pastors need to stick to the Word of God. Why do they need to delve into extra-biblical teachings? They need to stick solely to the Word of God. The Word of God has everything we Christians need. When you stick to the Word of God, you don't have to go to man to find truth, for God alone holds all truth.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! That is a question we need to put out there for those Christian leaders who might be dabbling with apostate teachers. That is a very valid question. We cannot compromise. Do not compromise the truth!
When you encounter good Bible teachers who have strayed a little bit, confront them and correct them lovingly. I think from time to time we need to do that with one another when we're not seeing clearly through the lens of the Bible.
Nathan Jones: It's great and all to have unity and love within the Body, but at the same time Jesus didn't put up with doctrinal impurity. He didn't put up with falsehood. Why then would our churches want to put up with false teachings? Instead, stick to the Bible! Don't be bringing into your churches false teachers and false prophets as if you're going to glean anything of value from them. More than likely, it is almost inevitable that they are going to dilute and blemish the Body of Christ. They are going to hurt your church and it will become a mess. So, don't do it.
I think the Jesus Christ and the Apostles were very clear on taking such a stand.
Vic Batista: Let's look again at Jude verse 12: "These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots..."
"Serving only themselves." That is what these false teachers are really all about, right, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: I'm reminded of the Corinthian Church. They were actually celebrating communion by getting drunk. They were taking something that was supposed to be holy and pure and turned it into a wild binge party. That is not what being a servant of Jesus Christ is about!
Our love feasts don't have to be all formal and serious, but they do have to be reverent. It is very important that we keep reverence in the Church. And, when we bring these false teachers Jude is warning us about, they are only coming because they are thinking about themselves and what their true master, Satan, wants. Therefore, we need to cast them out of our churches.
It is interesting how Jude compares these false Christians to something that looks good on the outside. They are like beautiful clouds, but they don't have any water and are swiftly carried away. They are like trees with beautiful fall leaves, but these trees are dead. Therefore, they need to be pulled up by their roots.
In the twelfth segment of our study of the book of Jude, we'll look at how our churches can determine who a real Christians is.