By Nathan Jones
What warning does Jude give concerning ungodly men?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the little book of Jude from a prophetic perspective.
Jude, Warning About the Ungodly Men (Verse 4)
Vic Batista: As we continue to look at Jude verses 3-4, these verses just amaze me with the encouragement they provide:
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
In verse 4 we read that certain men have crept in unnoticed. What is going on with that?
Nathan Jones: That is how Satan infiltrates our churches. What he does is he brings unbelieving people into our churches. They could be new visitors. Maybe we invite them in and have them join our Bible study, and then give them a position in the Church. Eventually these people who've never accepted Christ as Savior work their way up to becoming elders, or even the pastor! You eventually find out that they were never really born again believers. They've come in with a different, unbiblical doctrine. Usually they come in with an agenda, and that agenda is to turn the churches over to Satan.
We live in a time period when the wolves have crept in among the sheep. So many false shepherds have taken over our churches left and right. When you've got people like that in positions of authority in your churches, you get all sorts of church doctrines and church teachings that are nothing like what Jesus taught in the Bible.
Vic Batista: That reminds me of what Paul said in Acts 20:28 regarding what would happen with unscrupulous people creeping into our churches. Paul puts it this way in Acts 20:28, "Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this that after my departure savage wolves will come among you not sparing the flock." Then Paul warns, "Also from among yourself men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."
Nathan Jones: Yes, indeed, obviously Paul and all the other Church leaders during that time period, that is what they experienced. There is no church that hasn't been affected by somebody coming in trying to distract people away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It's just a shame. Jude was written probably around the 60 AD, so the Church was very young, only a few decades old. And here it is already riddled with dissenting people having crept in.
No one notices these false Christians because they look like Christians. They have the smile and the family, they say the right spiritual things, they help people out, but they really don't believe in Jesus as their Savior. What they want to do, usually knowingly though some possibly not unknowingly, is to creep into our congregations unnoticed, because they are as Jude said in verse 4: "ungodly men." They are not godly. They haven't accepted Jesus as Savior. They are ungodly men who have come for the purpose of distorting the Gospel. They are like secret agents for Satan.
For those coming into our church congregations in order to distort the Gospel and lead people away from Christ, they are already condemned by God. They are just waiting for their day of judgment, for Jude said, "For what they do long ago they were marked out for this condemnation."
Vic Batista: The stealthy are trying to sneak in, so Jesus also warns us in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." These false teachers and prophets creep in unnoticed. The Enemy plants these false Christians in ministries and churches, and when not everybody in church leaderships is a Christian, the church has a major problem.
Nathan Jones: We live in a time period when we are seeing many old denominations collapse. They are losing members and sinking like a boat leaking water. They are collapsing because they have replaced the true Gospel of Jesus Christ which saves with man-made philosophies. That's when you see all sorts of abuses, such as pastors having affairs. You see people being put in charge of churches that are totally unbiblical, like gay pastors, or pastors involved in adulterous relationships. We see churches that are focused so much on a Social Gospel that they forget the spiritual lives of people and why we are here as Christians, which is to fulfill the Great Commission to lead people to Jesus Christ. We are seeing churches, especially in the West, falling apart because they let these false converts creep into leadership. These ungodly people are put into positions of authority, and they will eventually lead the church away from Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: There are so many individuals who are being put into positions of church leadership and pastoral ministries that really should never have been put into those pulpits. Revelation 3:8 has a message to the Church of Philadelphia: "I know your works. See that I have before you an open door no one can shut, for you have little strength, but I kept my word and I am not denying my name." The key counter is about being faithful to God, right?
Nathan Jones: Vic, you bring up a good point. We can recognize these wolves in sheep's clothing by looking at their works. Jude here says that they, "turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
We can recognize these wolves pretty quickly by how they abuse the grace of God. In other words, they abuse the freedoms we have in Jesus Christ by living outside of God's morality. They say with grace you can live in whatever way you like and you can do whatever you want to do. It doesn't matter to them. That is the first method.
The second method used in identifying a false Christians is that they deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They will get up into the pulpit and claim that Jesus was just a good teacher, or that he was merely a prophet. Jesus wasn't really the Son of God. He wasn't born of a virgin birth. He wasn't resurrected from the dead. He's not the only way to God, as the Universal Unitarians teach.
Pulling people away from who God truly is as described in the Bible is satanic. That is why Jude is so concerned in his writings here, because he's seeing his people being led away from Jesus and into lewdness. People are easily attracted by sin, especially by lewdness, and Jude doesn't want the sheep stolen by the wolves.
Jude, Calling You to Be Made Holy
Vic Batista: Jesus Christ's offer of grace is available to anyone who calls on His name. What an awesome salvation that we can have when in repentance we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Salvation is something that is available for all those who want it.
Nathan, could you offer an invitation to those who don't have a relationship with the Lord? Tell us how they can grab hold of the grace of God. How someone can start a relationship with Jesus. Maybe a prayer they can pray today to come to Jesus?
Nathan Jones: Jude calls those who are believers in Jesus Christ sanctified. In other words, believers are cleansed of their sins and therefore are preserved by Jesus Christ for all of eternity. They are protected by Jesus from the wrath of God against our sins.
Isn't salvation then something that everyone should want? Isn't it awesome to think that God has called you?
God wants to cleanse you of your sins. He made that possible by giving His own Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice in your place. Once we have accepted in repentance Jesus as Savior, we are preserved in Him. No one can snatch us out of His hands, not even Satan. We know we have a great future with Jesus Christ forever in His home — Heaven.
For those who haven't accepted Christ's salvation yet, and who are ready to surrender to the calling of God's Spirit, pray in your heart something like, "Please, dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." Jesus promises that He will cleanse you of your sins. He will sanctify you in your walk towards becoming more Christ-like, and He will give you a bright hope for the future.
In the fourth segment of our study of the book of Jude, we'll continue to explore the book's prophetic implications in verse 5-8.