All right, good morning. Take your Bible and go to Jude verse five. Jude, verse five, and we’re going to look at verses five through 16 this morning. Jude 5-16.
Give you a chance to find your place there. In 1711, a poet named Alexander Pope pinned these famous words. He said, to err is human. The piece was called an essay on criticism, and in that essay he talks about the, the importance of showing grace to other writers and he says, if you’re a literary critic, you need to stop looking for the perfect piece of literature; quit looking for the perfect book; quit looking for the perfect poem because it doesn’t exist. Poems and books were written by humans, and to err is human. And what he was emphasizing in that piece was the truth that I think we can all relate to, and that’s that people make mistakes, right? We mess up. We make bad decisions. If you’re in here this morning, at some point in your life, you’ve made a bad decision. Maybe it was a small decision, maybe it was a big decision, but everybody’s made a bad decision.
That includes the youth leaders in the room. Maybe you were driving here and you got- you were exceeding the speed limit and got pulled over. There’s nothing more embarrassing than sitting on the side of the road with a state trooper behind you and waving as cars pass in a bus that says ‘First Baptist church,” right? So that, that’s not a fun experience. Maybe it was sending a text students: you meant to send a text to a friend about a girl that you liked and you accidentally sent the text right to that girl and you’ve got to do damage control there. All of us have made mistakes. I know that I’ve made mistakes. I was a student pastor for nine years and probably the, the biggest mistake in my life really involved multiple mistakes.
Mistake number one was having an activity with all high school guys, right, they were running around with their shirts off, doing stupid things. The second bad decision of the evening was playing a game- it’s this youth activity called Romans and Christians. So, silly game chasing a student. And the third decision I made that night, that was a poor decision, was that I didn’t take off my wedding. And so. I was chasing a student down a long hallway and he ran through a doorway. I ran through a doorway and lights are off. I can’t really see what’s happening, but I felt a jerk on my arm and I thought that I cut the corner too sharp and hit my collar bone. I’d never broken a bone, I couldn’t feel anything in my left arm. And so I thought I cut the corner too sharp, hit my collarbone on the door jam and broke my collarbone.
And so the kid I was chasing, his name was Reese and I said, “Reese, come in here and turn on the light. I think I broke my arm.” And he’s like, “I’m not coming in there man. You’re not tricking me.” I was like, “No, seriously, I think I broke my arm.” And he came in and he flipped on the light switch and I looked down at my hand and I was missing my finger. Okay. And so the room that I was in was was the nursery. There was- there were toys, a wedding ring, a finger and blood everywhere. It was, it was like a horror movie, you know. And so my hands bleeding, I tried to put pressure on my hand, I elevated it, bleeding everywhere. One of my adults, you know, walks up and is like, “are you okay?” “Does it look like I’m okay?”
And so I went to the hospital, they weren’t able to put my finger back on. And so, I can’t give high fives. I give high four point fives. When I was a student pastor, I’d walk up behind my students and go, guess who, you know, so you just kinda gotta roll with it. But it was definitely a bad decision. So we’ve all done that. We’ve made bad decisions. Not only is this true in general terms, but it’s true in spiritual terms, and yet to talk about sin as if it’s merely a mistake or an error or a bad decision is to cheapen what the Bible says about sin. The Bible never makes light of sin, doesn’t talk about it as a poor decision. It calls sin lawlessness, rebellion, [inaudible]. And when you and I decide to follow our hearts, right- the famous phrase, “follow your heart.”
Well, Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” And so the temptation to follow our hearts is a temptation that will lead to destruction because sin brings death. And so the Bible speaks strongly against sin. And here in Jude five through 16, Jude comes after these false teachers and he grabs him by the collar, and he identifies their sin, and he warns his readers that if they follow the false teachers- we heard it last night, these teachers have crept into the church that they’ve perverted or distorted the grace of God. They’ve denied the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And Jude tells his readers, if you follow them, if you engage in their sinful conduct, if you embrace their false doctrine, the end is destruction. And so I want to read this text together and look at what Jude has to say about sin, the warning it contains, and our need this morning for grace.
Jude, verse five, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Verse eight, “Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’ But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.”
Verse number 11, “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’ These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”
Let me pray for us this morning, and then we’ll dive in. God we thank you for your word. We thank you for the warning that it contains, a reminder of the seriousness of sin and our desperate need for grace. We thank you for Jesus who is full of grace and truth, who took on human flesh. And then on the cross he took our sin- he took the punishment for our sin- he experienced your wrath so that we may have life. We love him and we’re so grateful. I pray that this morning, as your word is preached at your spirit would work, and convict, and change, and save, and do what only the spirit can do. We love you, we ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
So this section is a pretty heavy section. You’ll notice the two guys that preached yesterday only had to preach two verses. I’ve got to preach 11 verses. So, we’re going to move through this. And this is a heavy text. Jude comes at these false teachers and he reminds his readers of the seriousness of sin. And the big idea here in this text is that God judges sin. That’s what Jude is emphasizing here, is that these false teachers are sinners and they will, unless they repent, they will experience the judgment of God. And Implicitly, there’s a warning for the readers because the readers are told- these false teachers, they’ve crept in, right? They’ve distorted grace, they’ve denied Christ. If you follow them, you will experience the same condemnation that awaits them. And to emphasize this, he goes to the past, he uses old Testament examples, he reminds them in the present of the danger that awaits these false teachers and then goes to the future and promises a certainty of judgment.
And I think this passage is still important and it’s still necessary today, right? So Jude’s letter’s not just some abstract letter written 2000 years ago. It’s still necessary today because sin is still serious. False teaching is still dangerous. God still judges unrepentant sinners. And yet at the same time, God still forgives sinners in Christ. God still keeps us for Jesus. Verse one and [inaudible] verse 24. God still uses warnings to remind us of the seriousness of sin, the certainty of judgment, and our constant need for Jesus and grace. And this passage teaches us these things. So the first thing that we want you to notice here is that Jude calls us to remember God’s judgment on sinners in the past.
Look at verse number five again, he says, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Sorry, that’s verse three. Verse four, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Then verse five, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” So verse five, there’s this reminder- Sam talked about this last night. He says, I want you to remember God’s action in the past. He says, Jesus saved the people out of Egypt. You see Jesus active in the old Testament. Jesus is a great savior and he says this though, don’t miss this. Jesus saved the people out of Egypt, but then those same unbelieving people who grumbled in the wilderness- they complained about lack of food and lack of water, they refused to believe the promises of God and enter the promised land, they received the report of the 10 spies who didn’t believe they could take the land.
It says that Jesus saved them, then he turns around and he destroys them. And so you see the seriousness of sin. Here are these unbelieving Israelites who don’t trust God, and then they experience the wrath and the judgment of God. And so he’s reminding them of the seriousness of sin. And we all need to be reminded. We tend to forget- in Mere Christianity, CS Lewis has this great statement where he writes, “We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief in Christian doctrine or any other, will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. Do not most people simply drift away?” And so there’s a need to be reminded, and Jude says, “I’m writing to remind you that God judges sin.” We’re prone to forget things. Many of you forgot things for this trip, right? You’re supposed to bring your Bible and you left it. You’re supposed to bring a notebook and you left it. You’re supposed to bring deodorant and I know for sure after last night and smelling the gym, some of you left it.
And so some of you know recently what it’s like to forget, and the same thing carries over spiritually. We have this tendency just to simply forget. And so Jude reminds them, “Hey, I want to remind you of your tendency to forget, and your tendency to forget specifically that sin is serious and God judges sin.” And so the first example is the unbelieving Israelites. He goes on in verse number six to talk about the angels, “the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—” And so he uses a rebellious angels. And so this is a contested text here. What is he talking about? I’m convinced, based on similar language and usage in second Peter, that he’s talking, or referring to Genesis six, where he says, the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were lovely. They went and married them, they had children who were giants.
And so he’s talking about rebellious angels who left their position that was designated to them and married the daughters of men. But the big point here is that the angels rebelled, and if the angels rebelled and experienced the judgment of God, how can these false teachers think that they’re not going to experience God’s judgment? How can they think that they’ll get away with sin if God even judges rebellious angels? Then he goes on in verse number seven- gives a third example, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” So the last example that he gives us, Sodom and Gomorrah, and so three major old Testament types that illustrate the seriousness of sin and the judgment of God.
The Israelites don’t believe the promises of God, and they die in the wilderness. Everybody over the age of 20 body, after body, after body hits the ground because they don’t believe God. They grumble, they complain, and they experience God’s judgment. The angels, they rebel and God locks them in eternal chains waiting the day of judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah, who commit sexual sin- they go after strange flesh- and they experienced the judgment of God. And he says at the end of verse number seven- this is what’s instructive. He says this, he says, “they,” Sodom and Gomorrah, “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, [they] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” He says that they’re an example. And so all three of these are meant to remind us- sin is serious, God judges sin. And then Jude moves from the past, right? He goes back to the present and he says, he says in verse number eight, “yet in like manner these people,” and he’s talking about the false teachers, “relying on their dreams,” which suggest that they’re indicating special revelation. He says, “[They] defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.” And so he says, these false teachers, I want to draw a line between what happens in the Old Testament and what’s going to happen to these false teachers. They sin, God judges sin- straight across- just like those people in the Old Testament, these people are defiling the flesh. They’re rejecting authority. They’re speaking evil of glorious ones, and God is going to judge their sin. Don’t follow them, don’t engage in sexual sin, don’t embrace their false teaching. Or you will experience the judgment of God.
And he gives an example here, and I have limited time so I don’t want to spend a bunch of time here, but he talks about Michael, the Archangel contending for the body of Moses. And the whole point he’s making in that story is that Michael is not so arrogant as to throw down with the devil. Not going to get into a dispute with the devil, and yet these false teachers are willing to blaspheme and speak things they don’t know, and the sinful things they know instinctively they’re willing to engage in. And so you have sinners in the Old Testament, then you have false teachers, and here’s the temptation students. You hear this text, and you hear me talking about sin in the past and judgment, and it’s easy for us to look at them and think, “Man, they were really bad. The Israelites in the wilderness, man they were they were jacked up. The angels who left their proper estate, they were messed up. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, they were wicked. These false teachers who are committing sexual sin and rejecting authority and speaking evil, they’re messed up.” But here’s the truth of scripture. The truth of scripture is that every one of us is messed up spiritually. Every one of us are sinners. Every one of us are rebels at heart, and every one of us desperately need King Jesus to rescue us.
And to make this even more pointed, you are not above sinning in the same exact way that the people in the Old Testament, and the false teachers in Jude engaged in sin. I mean, think about the sins that he’s talking about. He talks about defiling the flesh. He’s talking about sexual sin. Our culture is obsessed with sex. The movies, the TV shows, the commercials, the conversations, our culture is obsessed with sex. Pornography’s a billion dollar business. Many of you have smartphones in your pocket with no sort of filter and pornography is one app away. And so the temptation to engage in sexual sin, to sleep with your boyfriend, your girlfriend, to hook up with somebody, to look at pornography is always lurking in your heart. We’re not less sinful than they are.
And so the warning here is against sin, specifically first sexual sin. And none of us are above that. Some of you- I’m preaching and you’re feeling convicted and you’re feeling guilty and you’re saying, “I’m guilty of sexual sin. It’s not just that I’ve been tempted, I’ve given into sexual sin.” The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus Christ forgives sinners. The reason it’s important for us to feel the weight of this text in the sinfulness of our own heart is so that we can see the beauty of the gospel in the grace of Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ takes people who have sinned, who’ve rebelled and he loves them, he lavishes grace on them, he gives them- he robes them in his righteousness, he adopts them into his family, he gives them his Spirit, and he enables them to live the life that they were meant to live. But we can’t appreciate that- we can’t appreciate King Jesus, we can’t appreciate grace, we can’t appreciate the Gospel, until we see the sinfulness of our own hearts. And Jude is pushing them, “Hey, they sinned. Don’t follow them. Don’t engage in sexual sin.” He talks about rebelling against authority, rejecting authority. I said earlier, I’ll work with students for nine years. I know y’all are rebellious. You do not like to be told what to do.
I had a student, he was a six-seven high school football player. Big boy. Thought he was indestructible, macho man. Went to a gym- like one was American Ninja warrior type gyms, trampolines, foam pits- and they told us like 30 times in a, in a 15 minute segment, “Do not jump into the foam pit feet first.” Right? That’s the rule. Don’t do it. He’s the first one up. Six, seven macho man. What do you think he does? Feet first. First guy jumps in feet first. You know what else he does? He breaks his ankle. Okay and, again, I was not a great youth pastor. I have zero sympathy or compassion. He comes out, you know, as far as like sideways, I’m like, “That doesn’t look right. You should probably go sit against the wall and watch us for the next two hours.”
So, I didn’t call his mom, didn’t call an ambulance. It’s like, “Hey, you’re six, seven, you play football. Suck it up, buttercup.” Right? And so that, that was my lack of compassion. To my credit, I didn’t know it was broken, but not a lot of compassion. But what does that indicate? What does that illustrate? The rebelliousness in the human heart. We don’t like- and it’s not just students- we don’t like to be told what to do. We don’t like other people to boss us around, and at the root of that rebellion is a heart problem. It’s a spiritual problem. It stems from our rebellion against God. Our desire to be autonomous, to be our own Kings, to make our own decisions, and to live our own lives.
And then he talks about speaking evil of dignitaries. And again, I doubt many of you woke up and got into a battle with Satan this morning, a war of words. And yet we find ourselves struggling to control our tongue. We find ourselves struggling with pride. And so, the challenge here is for you not to take an arrogant position and think, “Man, they were bad in the past, but thank goodness I’m better than they are.” All of us are sinners. All of us are prone to sexual sin, to rejecting authority, to taking pride in who we are and what we can do, to failing to control our tongue. And all of us desperately need grace. And so he says, sin is serious. He also says that false teaching is dangerous. We need to move quickly here. But he says, false teaching is dangerous. In verse number 11 he says, “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.” So he comparison to three more Old Testament types, Cain, who God warns, “Sin is crouching at your door” and Cain doesn’t listen, murders his brother, and experiences God’s judgment. Balaam, who’s hired by Balak to curse God’s people. And he can’t curse God’s people, but he convinces Balak to get the people of God to disobey God’s commands, to intermarry so that the people of God will worship idols and they end up doing that. And so, Balaam leads the people of God into idolatry. And then the last example is Korah, who rejects Moses’ authority, leads a group of Israelites astray, and the earth swallows them up and God judges them. And again, examples of judgment.
And then he says, these are- and he gives five examples from nature- hidden reefs at your love feast. And the danger of hidden reefs is that they’re under the water. The ships don’t see them, they run into them and the ship is broken apart. And he’s highlighting the danger of false teachers. Then he talks about them being waterless clouds. In an agricultural region, you needed water to grow your crops. And yet, these clouds don’t bring any water. He says, they are, they are trees that don’t produce fruit. They are waves that are unstable, back and forth, that leave a layer of filth wherever they go. And they’re wandering stars that provide no direction. And so he says they’re dry, they’re fruitless, they’re unstable, and they provide no direction for your life. Why would you follow them? And again, we need to be reminded of the danger of sin and the temptation to listen to, to believe, and to follow the wrong people.
Students, who you follow matters. Who you follow on Instagram, who you follow on Twitter, that matters. The teachers that you listen to, the podcasts that you listen to, those things matter. The people in your life that are giving you spiritual suggestions. You know love is love, live your own life, follow your heart. The things that they say, if you listen to them, sink down into your soul, they affect your beliefs and ultimately they will affect your actions. And so who you follow matters. And I could give specific examples here of false teachers who are dangerous, people who talk about- it’s going to get real quiet here, isn’t it? What’s he going to say next? People who talk about God’s desire for you to be free of pain and suffering. That to be a Christian is to live a perfect life, to be healthy, to be happy, to never have any problems. And that’s just not true. That’s not what the Bible teaches. That the call to follow Christ is a call to die to yourself, to take up your cross, and to follow Jesus. Following Christ is impossible apart from Jesus and his grace, and his Spirit, and his power.
And even with those things, it’s hard to say no to the flesh. It’s hard to obey the word of God. It’s hard to be a Christian, and yet God has called us to be conformed to the image of his son. He’s given us his Spirit. He guides us with his word, and through Christ we have strength to be who God has called us to be. But, we have listen to him. Not to the guy on TBN. Not to the latest book that Joel Osteen’s written, but we listen to Him. And the last thing, and I’m done. It is, he says this in verse 14, ” It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his [angels], to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'” You know, it’s hard to catch it, but if you read real carefully, you kind of get the idea that God is going to judge the ungodly, right? I’m kidding, he says ungodly like 37 times in that one verse, right? So God is coming to judge the ungodly, but apart from Christ, that’s everyone in this room. Apart from Christ, you are the ungodly. You will experience the judgment of God
And there’s no way around that, God judges sin. And so, Jude is writing, and he’s hammering home- and all throughout this text, and again, I told you it’s a heavy text- over and over, sin is serious. He judged those people. These are false teachers. They’re sinning, he’s going to judge them. Judgment is certain. God is coming with 10,000 of his angels to execute judgment on all the ungodly. God will judge sin.
Over and over and over again. Now for the Christian, if you’re in here and you’re a believer, the beauty is that the gospel sandwiches, this sin text, this is a gospel sandwich. The first verse says, to those who are called, to those who are loved, and to those who are kept were kept for Jesus. If you’re a Christian, you are in the hand of Jesus Christ that he’s holding you, he’s preserving you, he’s protecting you. Then he comes back around in verse 24 and he says now to him who is able to keep you, there’s that word again, to keep you from stumbling, and so we’re reminded that our identity is in Christ, that he loves us, that he’s keeping us, he’s keeping us from stumbling. And so as a believer, you can take great joy in the fact that Jesus Christ is keeping you, that you’re in his hand. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have responsibility. We’ll see in the next section that believers are instructed to keep themselves in the love of God, but ultimately our confidence doesn’t rest in our ability to keep ourselves, but in God’s ability to keep those to whom he’s given to Christ.
And so believer, Christ is able to keep you. Christ, will keep you. Love him, cling to him every single day. Admit your desperate need for his grace, his forgiving grace, his empowering grace, his sustaining grace. Jesus will keep you. If you’re hear and you’re not a believer. The good news is that God saves sinners. Jesus saves sinners. Yes, you’re a sinner. Yes, if you don’t know Christ outside of Christ, you are a son of disobedience. You are a child of wrath, but in Christ there is grace, there is forgiveness, there is healing, there is wholeness in Christ. Christ took Sin on himself, he died in the place of ruined sinners, and then he raised from the dead to give life to dead men, and if you’re here and you don’t know Jesus- unless you repent, Jesus says, unless you repent, you all likewise perish. “But God, who is rich in mercy, with his great love in which he loved us, while we were dead in trespasses and sins, made us alive together in Christ.” I started with the line from Alexander Pope who said, to err is human, but I didn’t finish the second line. He finished that sentence by saying, “to err is human, to forgive divine.” He wrote better than he even knew, because there’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Student, if you’re here and you don’t know Christ, turn from sin and the destruction and pain that it brings, the judgment that Jude reminds us it brings, and cling to Christ.
Look to him for forgiveness and salvation. And if you’re here and you’re a Christian, Christ is holding you, cling to him. God thank you this morning for your word. We thank you even for difficult texts where we’re reminded of the seriousness of sin and the unavoidability of judgment- that every person outside of Christ will experience the judgment of God. But the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, on the cross, was our propitiation. He was our wrath bearing sacrifice. He took the judgment of God so that we can have life. I pray that every believer in here, God, would be reminded the seriousness of sin, and the need to pursue holiness and to seek to live a godly life through the power of Christ. And for every unbeliever here this morning, that they would see their need for Jesus and they would see that though their sin is great, his grace is greater still. We love you. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.