Don’t Be Fooled!
Thank God for the privilege of being able to read his Word yourself. Ask for his help to understand it.
Read Jude 1-25
 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:  Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.  Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.  For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.  And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.  In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.  In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.  But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct-as irrational animals do-will destroy them.  Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.  These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm-shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted-twice dead.  They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.  Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones  to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.  But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.  They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”  These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.  But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt;  save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.  To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the danger posed by these "godless men" (4)?
To be completely honest, my first question on reading Jude is: how did this make it into the Bible? The answers to that are many and varied, starting with the fact that Jude was probably Jesus’ half-brother. If we put aside all the strange stuff (based on other Jewish writings) about angels and Moses’ body, perhaps we can find what Jude really wants to say to his readers. After all, those are really only illustrations of Jude’s main purpose in writing, which is to warn Christians to beware of false teachers who say that the grace of God means it’s alright for you to sin (4). What was true in the church’s earliest days is still true now: there will always be people who excuse sin by saying that God will forgive you anyway. How can we prevent ourselves being taken in by such false teaching? Jude suggests that we build ourselves up in faith (20), pray (20), remain in the love of God (21) and keep focused on the promise of eternal life (21). Jude encourages us to get closer to God, getting to know him better through his Word and through prayer.
Pray for anyone (yourself included!) who is tempted to sin, arguing that they can repent later and receive forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, You paid an infinitely high price for my forgiveness. Help me never to take my sin or Your forgiveness lightly.
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