Sermon – February 12, 2017
Jude – Grace and Judgment (mp3)
Jude, who wants to write a letter of encouragement, must instead write a strong letter of warning, because some false-teachers are “perverting the grace of our God into sensuality.” These teachers have made grace into a non-stop party for the flesh. Such teaching has threatened the hold that the gospel once had on these believers. To stop the tide, Jude forcefully asks these brothers and sisters to remember:
1. Jesus is Judge
Jude ascribes to Jesus the judgment of the Israelites in the desert, as well as the continual judgment which hangs over the angels. Do not be deceived, friends. It is well and good to affirm that Jesus has come to save sinners, and we do so wholeheartedly. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that Jesus has also come to judge sin.
2. Enemies are Ever-Present
Do not think that we are heading into unprecedented waters of a great uprising of false teachers. These sinners act like the fallen of old; they are impulsive and speak about things they don’t understand, murder like Cain, lust for money like Balaam, and rebel against the authority of the appointed one like Korah. Such false teachers do not present anything new, but simply recycle old errors and deceptions. Know your bible, and do not get suckered in!
3. Ugliness of the Ungodly
Jude unleashes 6 rapid fire metaphors for such teachers. The end result is a picture of people who are ugly: dangerous, selfish, lying, useless, untamed, unpredictable, all of which is reaffirmed in v. 16. Such people will not be tolerated by King Jesus, but will suffer under the punishment known from the very beginning.
4. Faithfulness with Fear
Jude, finally returning to the believers that he was originally writing to, reminds us that not only has Jesus predicted such things, he has given us a way out. Keep yourself in God’s love, show mercy, save whomever you can. We must, at both times, affirm that God judges sin in his wrath and has also provided a path for us to find relief in him. But we may never lose our fear of God.
We often do not put together judgment with grace. We think of grace as something that justifies us, and changes forever our relationship with God. While true, on the human side of things, we must never forget that while God’s relationship with us might change, he never does. It is a frightful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, friend, so walk in his grace!