This morning as I reread the book of Jude, I was once again reminded that not only are we living in the Last Days, we’re living in days of incredible deception within the “church” especially as it relates to those who call themselves “Christian.” In a recent article I mentioned a Barna research study which stated that 85% of people in America identified themselves as “Christian.” However when asked a series of questions about what they believed to be True or Truth regarding the Deity of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, or the Biblical truth that through the completed work of Jesus Christ at Calvary lies the only pathway to eternal life, only 9% could affirm a true Biblical Christianity. Understanding this, it is quite apparent to me that in the world today, the majority of “Christians” aren’t and the “church” they may or may not attend isn’t. This comes as no surprise because even from the time of the inception of the Church, Jude warned of this very condition.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:3-4
Jude’s warning here is that certain men have crept in unnoticed and corrupted the “church.” Who are these men? Unfortunately they are men (and women) who purport themselves to be ministers of the gospel. They hold positions of leadership in churches, denominations, and seminaries with titles such as “bishop,” “apostle,” “pastor,” “evangelist,” “doctor,” or simply “minister.” Nevertheless, the one thing they all have in common is that they have corrupted the Truth of Scripture and have invented a liberal theology and a liberal “Christ” denying His authority, deity, dominion, and power.
These false teachers and preachers who have “crept in unnoticed” are no more than self-serving charlatans who use the name of Jesus for self-glorification, and to line their own pockets with what the Scripture calls filthy lucre, by promoting their own agendas and encouraging their faithful to give sacrificially to build their “church.” This is what Jude meant in verse 4 when he said they “turn the grace of God into lewdness.” The “church” of these false prophets and false teachers has no resemblance to the Church in Acts 2:42-47, and they seem only to exist for the purpose of “doing church.” Emotion has replaced Doctrine, Function has replaced Fellowship, Programs have replaced Discipleship, and sadly what passes for Prayer these days sounds more like a “give me” list to God rather than adoration, thanksgiving, and supplication. No longer do they point people to the Cross of Christ where His blood was shed for the remission of sins, but instead teach a false Christ whose inclusive love places no emphasis on their need for repentance. The Cross of Christ has become an ornament to wear rather than a symbol of the pain, suffering, and death which accomplished our Salvation. Again, Jude describes this in verse 4; they “deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Most “churches” today celebrate the humanity of men, pointing to the man (or woman) who leads them, rather than recognizing the sovereignty of God. “Christians” are no longer Christ’s ones as they were so designated in Antioch because of their desire to be like Christ, but instead today the name seems to apply to just about everyone. The name “Christian” has been opened up to so much deception that it is absolutely astounding to me. Many consider themselves “Christian” because America is supposedly a “Christian” nation, there are a plethora of cults that call themselves “Christians” and the majority of institutional and denominational “churches” as well as “Emergent” and “Mega-Churches” are dead or corrupt in their religiosity while still calling themselves “Christians,” yet they do not truly follow Christ!
In the little book of Jude, verses 5-15, God’s attitude toward these apostates who call themselves “Christians” or the “church” today is described. Their sin is defined in verse 8; because they “defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” And in verse 10; they “speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” Verse 11 summarizes their sin in examples from the Old Testament with a stinging indictment; “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Very simply stated, the way of Cain is the rejection of a blood sacrifice, in other words, they reject the blood of Christ in favor of self-improvement. The error of Balaam is the desire to attain personal wealth by making a business or profit out of the service of God. And those who perished in the rebellion of Korah did so because they rebelled against the leadership of the Lord. Verses 14-16 tell us that God will enact judgment on these false prophets, teachers, and preachers.
Friends, verses 17-23 of this wonderful little book tell us what the believer’s role is in the midst of all of this End Time apostasy. Jude instructs us to be; “building yourselves up on your most holy faith” we do this through being people of the book, studying and obeying the Word of God. He then instructs us to be “praying in the Holy Spirit” which means to be guided by the Spirit in our prayers seeking the Will of God for our lives, And then we are to; “keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” and we do this by living lives of holiness and godliness before Him as we look for and anticipate the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His True Church, those of us who really are “Christ ones” True Christians.
In the darkness of these Last Days where Satan, the ruler of this world, has taken control of so much, having invaded the “church” and its leadership, we True followers of Christ must heed the warning of the Apostle Paul and “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18). We must Watch, Stand Fast, and be Strong (1 Corinthians 16:13) until we see Christ. It is our responsibility to be light in this world of darkness (Ephesians 5:8), and we must Watch and Pray (1 Peter 4:7), because;
Jesus is coming soon!