Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)
In stark contrast to the final book of the Bible – The Revelation of Jesus Christ, a lengthy book full of apocalyptic imagery and explosive drama – the next to last book of the Bible is brief, matter-of-fact and easily overlooked.
Just twenty five verses long – not chapters, verses – it nevertheless contains a wealth of instruction, insight and history. Written by Jude, the half brother of our Savior, this letter was written specifically to Believers and addresses something that is quite astounding when you stop and think about it:
Before the New Testament had even been completed (only about 30 years or so after Jesus’s ascension to heaven), the Holy Spirit inspired Jude to write and confront apostasy, false teachers and corrupted doctrine that was already prevalent in the Church.
Sometimes we mistakenly have this pristine view of the early church, thinking that false teachers and doctrinal foolishness is something that came about slowly over long periods of church history. Not so. Satan began his attack on the Truth from day one of the church’s beginning. Within one short generation, apostasy and false teachers were such a problem, that Peter, Paul and Jude were already writing inspired Scripture to confront it.
The most dangerous and destructive attacks
on Truth come from WITHIN the Church.
This brings to bear a few points that we would do well to embrace:
- Despite today’s dismissal of doctrine as “legalistic” and “divisive”, apparently the Apostles (via the Holy Spirit) thought that TRUTH and correct doctrine were important enough to write very direct, and at times hard, commentary and instruction concerning the preservation and correct presentation of it.
- The most destructive attacks on the Church, and Truth, come from WITHIN the Church. Antagonists outside the church are easily identified and shunned but within the church, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15)
- Truth is ultimately important because by definition, whatever is not Truth, is a lie. We should strive to base our life, and our eternal future on that Truth and refute the hellish idea that each man can determine their own truth. There is ONE Truth, that is God’s Truth. All other “truth” is a deceptive, damnable lie.
- Truth is worth protecting, defending, and YES, FIGHTING FOR! We’re not talking about winning an argument, or being “right”… we’re talking about men’s souls and eternity. Political correctness be gone. Religious tolerance, be gone. Truth is truth, and there is only one truth that matters. Given that, we should find it a battle worth fighting for at any cost.
Over the next few days, we are going to take a journey through the book of Jude, but first I wanted you to get a good overview of it so that you can understand the context. Here’s a few facts about the Epistle of Jude:
- Jude (Judah, Hebrew; Judas, Greek) was a common name in that time and location.
- Jude was the half-brother of Christ, not to be confused with the Apostle Judas, son of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13)
- Jude was most likely written after Peter’s Epistles since he speaks of the false teachers and apostasy in present tense, where Peter spoke of them as a future occurrence.
- Jude was most likely written before A.D. 70 since he does not mention the destruction of Jerusalem.
- Jude, along with all of Christ’s family, had earlier in his life rejected Jesus as the Messiah (John 7:1-9)
- Jude, being Jesus’s earthly brother, was a direct eye witness of His life.
- During Jude’s lifetime, the church was under very severe persecution from the Romans, and the Jews. Satan had already infiltrated the early Church with several forms of heresy and false doctrine.
- The book of Jude is exclusively written to combat apostasy and protect the Truth. Jude calls us to spiritual warfare to aggressively fight to preserve sound doctrine and truth, and shun false teachers.
- Jude pulls no punches describing false teachers and what the future holds for them unlike our timidness today in doing the same.
As we study Jude, keep one major thought in mind: the BATTLE FOR TRUTH. In an age where we hear calls of “judgmentalism” and “legalism” every time a defense of sound doctrine is issued, we need to be reminded that God thinks the battle for Truth is of the greatest importance.
This is true not only Biblically, but logically. Truth by its own definition, is the only thing we can trust our lives and eternity with. If there is not ONE definable truth, then there is no truth. Truth is true, and by default, all other is false. Everywhere today we see conflicting “truth” in religion and worldview, and yet, the common pronouncement is that they are ALL TRUE for each individual who sincerely believes it. FOOLISHNESS!
Only in religion and philosophy can mankind state with a straight face that two conflicting and imcompatible ideas can both be “truth”. If one is truth, then by definition, the conflicting idea is not. Yesterday I was reading some brief notes from a fairly well known Mormon writer, who was mixing together in one commentary certain orthodox Christian doctrines that were completely incompatible with the official published doctrines of the Mormon church. Then, for good measure, he supported some of his commentary with a blabbering splash of evolutionary ideas, which are wholly incompatible with both Christian orthodoxy AND Mormon doctrine. Yet, this was all presented to an audience who for the most part will have no measurable ability to discern not only the contradiction, but will completely accept (even if only as “his truth for him personally”) the incompatible mish-mash of “truth” he presented. Welcome to modern times (not so modern at all if you have a grasp of human history).
It reminds me of what Paul wrote:
Acts 17:21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. (NKJV)
We have the same thing on mass scale today – entire populations just waiting for the next spiritual fad, the next “Secret”. Even the evangelical Church is swept routinely by fads, trends and waves of popular new teaching (good or bad). Take a personal poll of Christians and non-Christians, it doesn’t matter, and you will find virtually the same thing: people primarily believe in a melting pot of ideas from various religions, humanism and pragmatism which, when analyzed, will be a set of conflicting and ultimately incompatible ideas.
Most people, Christians included, hold to a mixture of
incompatible religious and worldview concepts
that make up their personal “truth”.
Personal truth… that’s a contradiction in and of itself. Why do people, even Christians, develop this incompatible stew of ideas? A couple of reasons in my opinion:
- A lack of serious Bible foundation
- A poor or missing understanding of the nature of Truth
- Pressure from society, political correctness, and worldliness
- An obliviousness to the whole issue of doctrine, defense of the faith, and the importance of battling for Truth
All this background today is so that you can be thinking and praying about our study in Jude and whether or not the Battle For Truth is a battle you want to join.
Lord God, Help us to understand the battle for Truth. Help us to learn how important defending the Truth is. Help us to learn to be discerning, and be able to rightly recognize and defend Truth, and rightly recognize and rebuke false teaching. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Is Truth important to you? I don’t mean emotionally, I mean important enough to take a stand against false teaching, and false teachers? Do you think there is only one truth? Do you think that Truth can be known? Do you think it is important, or even necessary to point out and confront non-truth? What is your own idea of truth? What do you base your idea on?
Application: Truth is important because by definition, there is only one, and all other is false. Only in religion can mankind live with the foolish idea that we can all have our own truth, and that all “truths” are equally truthful, valid and valuable. This is, and rightly so, utter foolishness in any other arena (medicine, technology, business, etc). The battle for Truth is a battle for the eternal destination of men’s souls. Should we haphazardly or casually accept the idea that each man gets to pick and choose their own truth? Or do we discover the real Truth, and defend it with all our heart and soul?
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?