By Nathan Jones
Why do the haters hate?
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, Uncovering the Machinations of the Mockers (Verse 16)
Vic Batista: In Jude verse 16, he continues to unravel the true character of the mockers of God who are showing up at our churches in order to cause division and discontent. Let's read verses 16-19 in the NKJV.
Nathan Jones: Jude is opening up both barrels on these divisive, false, counterfeit Christians. Here is how he describes them:
"These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit."
Vic Batista: Wow! That's definitely descriptive. Another attribute that we learn about these mockers from this passage is that it says they are grumblers and complainers. We don't find that today, right, Nathan? That was for people of another time?
Nathan Jones: Sadly, even Christians can fall into this habit of grumbling and complaining. I worked at a nursing home throughout my college years. My co-workers were a bunch of older women actually. You had street gangs influencing you, Vic, and I had older ladies influencing me. These ladies complained about everything non-stop. I felt that I too was becoming a complainer and a grumbler. That's not a good thing for Christians, because how can you show the joy of the Lord when you are always grumbling and complaining all the time? That is the opposite attitude of what the Lord wants.
So, we have different backgrounds in bad influences, Vic, but I had to get over that bad habit as much as any gang-banger has to get over their bad influences. I realized that if I was going to show the joy of the Lord that I could not be a grumbler and complainer. That type of behavior is what defines the apostates. They are grumbling and complaining all of the time.
These false Christians Jude is warning the churches about also walk according to their own lusts. In other words, they are totally self-centered. Life's all about them and all about what they can get out of life. They exist for whatever can appease and titillate them. The world's all about them, and it's never about God.
I think what Jude says here about the ungodly walking after their own lusts is why so many people rebel against God. When God is all about loving and giving outside of oneself, and for people who rebel against God life's all about selfishness and what they can do to gain for themselves, well that's a totally opposite view of how God wants us to exist.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! It is so sad that people live that way, so self-absorbed. Christians instead are called to be different than the world.
Jude, Deflating the Flatterers (Verse 16-19)
Vic Batista: Another behavior we discover here in Jude concerning false prophets and false teachers and mockers can be found in verse 16. It says "With their mouth they speak great swelling words, flattering people," and notice "in order to gain advantage." The False Prophet of the Tribulation will come also using flattering words, or swelling words, to gain power, correct?
Nathan Jones: Correct. Revelation 13 foretells of sort of a side-kick to the coming one-world leader, known as the Antichrist. The Antichrist will become the emperor over the entire world at one point in the future. The Antichrist will have a PR man whom the Bible calls the False Prophet. When he comes on the scene he will get the people of the world excited about worshiping Satan through the Antichrist.
Revelation portrays the False Prophet as a gentle lamb. He will come peacefully and loving. Everyone will love him, but really his words are deceitful, for he is boastful and flatters people for his own gain. He will be like the best used car salesman ever. He will smile broadly, and with a glint in his eye, he will convince the people of the world that the Antichrist is the Messiah the world has been waiting for to fix all of the world's problems. Therefore, you've got to worship the Antichrist. And, that is exactly what the ungodly people of the Tribulation do.
A modern-day example I would use is this. If you follow the Atheistic movement, then you know who Richard Dawkins is. He's probably one of the most outspoken Atheists out there, railing at a God he supposedly doesn't even believe exists. He encourages his fellow Atheists by calling them "Brights." In other words, if you're an Evolutionist and you reject God, then you are "Bright." You are smarter then everybody else. That would logically make the rest of us "Dims." You don't want to be a "Dim," you want to be a "Bright." Dawkins flatters the people that follow all of his teachings about Evolution, and with that he gains an advantage. He's like the pope of Evolution, and treated with a similar reverence by his followers.
But, as Jude reveals, Dawkins is acting in selfishness. His loud and frequent denials of God are really all about his own lusts and passions.
Vic Batista: We find in Jude that the reason these false teachers flatter in this way is to gain an advantage. False prophets often times try to fleece the flock. We have this whole Prosperity Gospel movement as the perfect example. What's sad is that there are so many good Christians who are falling for these lies. These counterfeit Christians are even on the airwaves spreading their false teachings and false doctrines to the point that we see people actually selling "anointed handkerchiefs" right on Christian television!
Nathan Jones: That reminds me of Creflo Dollar. He's one of the biggest Health and Wealth Gospel prosperity preachers out there. He told his followers that God wanted him to own a $64 million jet. I was like, "Really?! He can't fly coach? He needs his own $64 million jet on top of all the other jets, cars and planes that he already possesses?"
That is not want humble ministers of God are supposed to go out and ask for. Jesus wants His servants to bring people to Himself in order that they may be free of their sins. These false teachers, these false prophets, are out there asking for more than their daily needs in order to fleece the flock, and all for their own lusts.
Vic Batista: When Jude shared this message warning about counterfeit Christians, to me he approached the subject like a shotgun blast, awakening true believers in Christ so they'd recognize that this problem is going to just get worse and worse. In Matthew 24, Jesus had previously warned that in the Last Days there will be many false prophets who will deceive many. Here again in Jude, the book is warning against these grumblers, complainers, and those who are flatter people in order to gain an advantage.
Jude goes on to further describe these conterfeits and their motives in verses 17-19:
"But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit."
Jude calls the entire Church Age the "last time," meaning the last days or end times. The mockers of God would be busy at their master's, Satan's, work of causing divisions among the Body of Christ. The reason they behave like this is because they are ungodly people who live selfishly and only for their own sensuality and lusts. The Church represents the moral law of God, and so these ungodly people in order to engage in their lusts work hard at removing any social conscience and moral constraints. What Jude's talking about here essentially is Evil.
Jude, Loving on the Beloved (Verse 17)
Vic Batista: In verse 17, Jude talks directly to the true believers in Jesus Christ: "But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:" It is almost like a reminder, "Don't forget what was taught you in the beginning!"
Nathan Jones: Jude calls his church or churches beloved. Isn't that wonderful? That outward, unconditional love of Jesus just shines through Jude and onto his cherished people.
Apostates don't exude unconditional love. To them, they want the love flowing their way, and they want the money and the prestige flowing to themselves, but never back to the people following them. Here Jude is loving on his church. He is trying to protect his church, and the love flows out of him and onto them. That is the huge difference between those who have accepted God and those who are rebelling against God.
Vic Batista: I love that term of endearment — "beloved." God talks to His people that way. He loves those that are His. He calls them "beloved."
In Spanish the word for beloved is amado, or "dearly loved." That was my dad's name — Amado.
Every time I see this portion of Scripture, it reminds me of how God thinks of me. He's not a judgmental God looking to see who He's going to beat over the head. No, he calls us "beloved." Those who have a relationship with Him are loved.
If you would like to be loved by God, then make sure you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Accept in repentance Jesus as your Savior, then you too will become part of God's family.
In the sixteenth segment of our study of the book of Jude, he'll train us in spiritual bodybuilding.