Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)
Jude spends the bulk of the letter describing and warning about false teachers. Rather than ending with comments on what to do with them, or how to do it, Jude instead gives us a rapid fire list of things WE should do, and be, that will equip and prepare us to deal with false teachers when they come into our midst:
Jude 20-25 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. (NKJV)
You could easily write a book or two about these five verses. I’ve highlighted some interesting points, let’s take a look:
- building yourself up: this is an ongoing process of learning, studying, praying and growing in your “most holy faith”, that is, the things of God. You don’t become a more discerning, more alert or more mature Christian by tenure, you have to work at it. To be ready for false teachers, you have to be actively engaged in learning and knowing Truth yourself
- keep yourselves… looking for: stay close to God so that false teachers cannot fool you or those around you. How do you stay close to God? It is a byproduct of building up your faith, studying, devotion and prayer. How do you look for the mercy of Jesus unto eternal life? It’s a mindset that understands these are eternal matters and false teaching is not something to take lightly or be dismissed in the name of tolerance or unity. We must believe false teaching can lead people away from eternal life. Christians are to embrace the truth, the mercy of Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
- have compassion, making a distinction: Jude write in “threes” and begins here listing three types of people. The first is a group of sincere doubters who deserve compassion. We are too reach out to them and teach them the truth, having compassion on their weakness, knowing they are sincere, but need direction.
- save with fear, pulling them out of the fire: the second group seems to be those who are much deeper in deception and in urgent need of rescuing before they are beyond reaching
- hating the garment: the third group seems to be those who are completely engulfed in the false teaching and yet still deserve compassion; however, we are to deal with them very carefully lest we be corrupted by them.
- keep you from stumbling… present you faultless: for the faithful sincere Believer, God will protect you from the false teaching. By turning to Christ and seeking God, the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth, and though the deception may be great and dangerous, in the end, Jesus will keep us from stumbling.
Jude warns us about false teachers then describes them to us. Finally, he tells us how to avoid falling to them, and reminds us of God’s promise to keep us until the very end.
Jude’s letter as much or more relevant today. False teaching not only abounds, it flourishes in a culture that has made the greatest sin one of “intolerance” or “judgmentalism”… in other words, anyone who points out false teaching has the greater sin. It is compounded by an alarming lack of Bible foundation and Scriptural courage. We are simply scared today to point out false teaching either because of not being able to defend ourselves, or because we have fallen for the brainwashing that it is “unloving” to point out false teachers.
The answer? Jude already said it: build yourselves up in the most holy faith, have compassion on the weak who are deceived, strive to rescue the deeply deceived from the fire, and be careful when you deal with those who have given themselves over fully to the false teaching, hating even the garment that has been touched by deception.
Lord God, Help us to be compassionate, brave and careful in the face of false teaching. Thank You for keeping us from stumbling and presenting us fautless in the end. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you think false teaching is a problem today? Do you think it is an issue for us to be concerned about? Do you know enough about your most holy faith that you would be able to recognize false teaching?
Application: False teaching is rampant today. It is aided by the false protection it gets in the name of tolerance, unity and non-judgmentalism. The Bible says that in the last days the deception would so strong that unless God protects us, even real Christians might be deceived. That should make us all realize how important it is combat false teachers.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?