The General Epistle of Jude: as taught by Reverend Daniel G. Caram, *M. Div., at ZMI (Feb 12-13, 2009).
The following transcript was taken from a six-hour recording. This transcript has been edited in order
to make it more palatable for the reader. (The class discussion has been edited out.)
Note: You will find redundancy in this study: There is purposeful repetition as the accepted maxim
states that the student must hear something three times before it is retained.
Please feel free to copy or promulgate
The Enemies of the Cross
In reflection: Paul was recounting those who were once with him but now are enemies of the cross. We also considered Hebrew 6, concerning those who had apostatized. If you look for the word apostasy in the New Testament you won’t find it in English. You will find it in Greek, but you only find it several times. It means: "to fall away" as in 2 Thessalonians where it speaks of the falling away. In Hebrew 6, the word isn’t apostasy, but it means to apostatize – same idea here. This is somebody who knew, who tasted of the powers to come: Hebrews 6:6, "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." There is no way to renew them again to repentance. The word fall away means to apostatize, but it is not the same word as apostasia. "Apostasia" is used only twice in the New Testament in Greek, and one of them is in 2 Thessalonians.
The point is that it is impossible to restore an apostate – one that has tasted of the power of God. Judas healed people and cast out devils. He tasted of the powers of God and then rejected it. A backslider doesn’t deny the faith. Most backsliders know they are backslidden. But as we said, there is hope for a repentant backslider. In fact, many parables of Christ tell us that the Lord wants to restore the lost sheep. The one who wanders away is a backslider – not an apostate. Peter was a backslider. In fact, Peter talks a little bit about it; he knew what it was like to wander away. Peter was restored and Judas went to hell. Judas was called the son of perdition, the son of hell. He was blotted out of the book, as it says in the Psalms.
Let us look at 2 Peter 2:1 for a moment: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you." Peter is talking about something that is coming, whereas Jude is talking more in the present tense – it was happening at the moment. Jude had to be after Peter, even though we don’t have an absolute date. It could have been written after the fall of Jerusalem. Peter says: "…There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." Note: "…Even denying the Lord that bought them."
These are people that were saved. "…And shall bring in damnable heresies." There is a difference between heresy and heresy. For example; if I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, that is a heretical view, but it is not a damnable doctrine. One could teach that Christ is coming before or in the middle or at the end… the point is, your eschatological views could be erroneous but they are not going to damn your soul (unless there is more to it than just timing). The church has a lot of heresies that don’t affect their salvation. They might affect the way you live; the way you dress, the way you eat; they could affect a lot of the way you live your life. But what you eat and what you wear isn’t going to affect your salvation.
Are you with me here? There is a difference between a heresy and a damnable heresy. To teach people that they can sin and they are still going to make it to heaven is a damnable heresy. Some of the Calvinistic teaching promotes this line. In fact, I heard one of the more renowned Calvinistic preachers preaching on radio several years ago. His preaching came across like this: When we are saved, we are saved to the uttermost; nothing can take away that salvation from us. It was almost as if you could say to the Lord: "Lord, I don’t want to go to heaven now; I don’t want to serve you any more; I want to go to hell." The Lord replies: "I’m sorry, but you’re going to heaven anyway. You are saved no matter what…you are going to heaven whether you like it or not." That was the way it was coming across. To me, only people that love delusion can buy that kind of line. It doesn’t mesh anywhere in Scripture.
"Denying the Lord that bought them…" That sounds like a traitor – denying one’s own experience. Denying the Christ that saved them; denying His divinity, the virgin birth and etc. These are anti-Christ doctrines. When a person denies the virgin birth – and every cult pretty much denies the virgin birth – that is the spirit of antichrist. The teaching of the virgin birth is that God became a man through a woman. God had to become man so that he could die in order to atone for the sins of mankind. To deny the virgin birth is to say that Christ was not Divine.
Other doctrines teach that Christ was just a phantasm or that it was some spirit that took on the form of flesh. All of these doctrines tell us (in effect) that Christ was not Divine. We are saved because it was Divine Blood that redeemed us. God had to become a man so that he could bleed and die – God cannot die. Christ had to put on flesh and blood in order to pay the penalty. (There is no human being worthy enough to atone for the sins of the human race.) Christ also had to resurrect in order to break the curse. To deny the virgin birth and the resurrection is to deny your salvation.
Remember, the church started with the Acts of the Apostles, it ends with the acts of the apostates. Apostasy means to defect from the truth. For example in 2 Thessalonians 2:3: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come…" (This is in reference to the second coming.) "…Except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
The Second Coming is preceded by a great sifting out of the church. We are being a bit redundant on this point, but the word falling away in the Greek translation is G646: which is "apostasia." That word is only used twice in scripture. Falling away means to apostatize. It means to defect from the truth. Interestingly, if you look at the Greek translation of that word G647, it also means to divorce. Interesting isn’t it? Divorce is a kind of an apostasy, isn’t it? Not being true to the pledge made to your mate – it is a type of apostasy.
*Also note the phrase, son of perdition. There are only two people in Scripture that are called the son of perdition. One of them is Judas and the other one is the antichrist.
Why do people defect from God’s truth? The reason is because they do not love the truth. While we are in 2 Thessalonians 2:10, it speaks about the power of the antichrist, coming with all signs and lying wonders, "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them…" Who shall send delusion? God shall send delusion! "….Strong delusion that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Because they did not love the truth; because they did not love righteousness, God allows them to be taken with error and to believe a lie and to be damned.
I don’t think Christians realize the state of the church today. When you consider that 1/3 of Christian young people voted for Barack Obama; they could as well have voted for the anti-Christ. It has nothing to do with race – it has to do with character and the substance of the man.
Coming back to 2 Thessalonians 2:10, "Those that do not love the truth..." If you check out the word love in your concordance, it is translated "agape." Now that puts things into another perspective doesn’t it? Who dearly love the truth… supreme love, who supremely loves the truth. There are 3, even 4 forms of the word love in Greek. Agape is supreme love. That means that we love truth – above life itself. We are willing to give our life for the truth. I like to do word studies as I am studying; especially when I have access to a computer. It is so easy to stop at a little phrase or a word and click on the Greek or the Hebrew. It gives you a better sense of what is being said. Sometimes it can open up a message to you. If you don’t have a computer, you can use the old fashion book. But it is far easier to do it on the computer.
(See the deceitfulness of sin - Hebrews 3:13). They had pleasure in unrighteousness. The Christian life is a fight to the end – he that endures to the end. It’s a fight to be right. Don’t ever get too comfortable, where you say, "Well, we’re here, not to worry…." Or, "We are above temptation, etc, etc." It is how we finish the race. Jesus made this very clear in Matthew 10:22, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved." For my name sake – for Christianity sake… he that endures to the end shall be saved.
We must dearly love the truth and (in time) be even willing to die for the truth. I don’t think that we fully appreciate the concept of truth when we are first born again. Peter thought he was ready to die for truth – but was he? No. There really needs to be a work of grace in a person’s heart before they come to this place. I don’t want to put anybody under condemnation about something like this. Being a martyr is not something that God requires of a new babe – although in some countries that has been the case – to accept Christ means ‘your life.’ That is why we are told in Jude 1:3, to: "Contend for the faith." There is a battle to be right.
Sometimes the battle can be over doctrine or moral convictions. But, what ever form it takes, the enemy tries to undermine what God has said. One of the first things that we learn about our ancient foe in Scripture is that he is a fallen star. In fact, he pulled out 1/3 of the stars of heaven. The book of Judges (chap 5), speaks about the stars fighting in the heavens. So, you have the good stars and the bad stars in combat.
The first thing that the "fallen" star said to Eve was: "Yea hath God said?" Did God say that? What our ancient foe seeks to do is to challenge truth. He wants to challenge everything that God has said. This is the tactic of the enemy; to try to undermine or weaken or disestablish truth.
Considering the Author – Jude
Let us look at Jude 1:1: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father…" Jude is addressing the church. "…And preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:" Jude first identifies himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. So, who was this Jude? He was a half brother of Jesus Christ. There is only one Jude mentioned in scripture who has a brother by the name of James and that is Jesus’ half brother.
Jesus had four brothers mentioned by name. The Scripture also mentions sisters (Matt. 13:55-56). It doesn’t give any names of the sisters. But we must note the humility of the man (Jude) – One could easily be tempted to say: "Jude the half brother of Christ", however, reflecting upon Jude’s past, he had been agnostic himself – that is, in the sense of not being a believer. Jude grew up in the same house as Jesus. How would you like to grow up in the same house as Jesus and see the model brother; hear the stories your mother would tell you about his birth and you still don’t believe in him. Jude had rejected his brother as well as James (John 7:5).
Let us consider to whom Jude is writing: It is a general epistle, but it is to the saved. To the sanctified and preserved. And of course, we are preserved by the grace of God; however, this word preserved has the sense of being in a fort. The enemy cannot come in, nor can he get to you. Yet, we can easily leave the fort. I know that some of the Calvinistic brethren like to talk about being in God’s hands and that no man can pluck us out. This is true; however, there is nothing that prevents us from leaving God’s hand either. We can walk out of our own free volition. The enemy can’t walk in and drag you out, but we can walk out ourselves. We are preserved by grace, but grace only works as we continue to walk in obedience.
Jude knew what it was like to be apostate in the sense that he had rejected the elder brother. The Scripture says that a prophet is not accepted in his own house – Christ said that of Himself. Christ was the prophet of all prophets and he was rejected by his own brethren. In fact, it says that his brethren did not believe in him.
*There are a few verses that mention Jude:
Of course, Jude is the same as Judas, but we don’t like to use that name do we? Jude is also a derivative of Judah. In Mark 6, his brethren are mentioned. Mark 6:3-4, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?" Juda of course is Jude. "And are not his sisters here with us?" And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them: "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." Jesus is relating His own experience. It also says that in Matthew’s gospel.
The Catholics do not accept that Mary had other children. I remember once sitting with some of my Lebanese cousins out in Boston. They are Maronite Catholics. Maronite Catholics do not take their orders from Rome. They claim to be the true Christians, tracing their origin to Antioch, Syria, where they were first called Christians. The Maronite Catholics have a different rulebook. For instance, their priests can marry. However, they believe in the Virgin Mary as the Virgin Mary. They believe that she retained her virginity even after Jesus was born. I once mentioned to them that Mary had other children. They said, no! So, I told them to open up their Bible and I would show them where it says that she had other children. They were awe-struck by the fact the Jesus had brothers and sisters. They said, "How come no one ever told us this?" I said I don’t know, but there it is.
In Acts 1:13-14, "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." Interestingly, in the upper room, after the resurrection, for some strange reason, His brethren believed in Him. Here they are in the upper room – they didn’t believe in him before. But now they believe in Him.
Jude 1:2, "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied." We are kept by the mercy of God. The Lord said: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." I believe that one of the reasons; (if not the foremost reason) that God has mercy on us is because he knows what we are going to do. This is one of the cardinal doctrines of Romans – Predestination: God predestines according to His foreknowledge. He also keeps them by the same precept. He knows who are going to be true…who will be faithful; who will cry out for grace.
"…And peace." Never underestimate the anointing of peace. Few people really have it. It is a wonderful thing to have peace. Peace sounds so mundane, lackluster or un-inspiring. Yet, peace is (perhaps) one of the most powerful anointings in the Christian arsenal. Peace is very destructive to the enemy. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet" (Rom. 16:20). The peace of God keeps us from going into the panic mode, or from doing something foolish.
Reflecting back to the 70’s when our troops were pulling out of Vietnam; there was a panic. The nationals where hanging on to plane wings, they were trying everything to escape S. Vietnam before the communists moved in. It was utter pandemonium. The peace of God keeps people from that kind of panic and hysteria. We can be at our best in the pulpit or under any circumstance when we have the peace of God. It is beautiful how the anointing can flow through a person who has peace. It is wonderful to have the peace of God because you are uninhibited; you are not bogged down by mental blurriness or anything else. The word can flow through you. And, of course when you have peace you can bring peace and that anointing has a wonderful affect.
Paul speaks of the gospel of peace – the shoes, which speak of the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15). Where our feet go, we should bring peace. Amen! The gospel of peace is not a gospel of the crusader; it is not a gospel of politics, or much of anything that you see portrayed today under the banner of the gospel.
Jude 1:3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation…" There is only one salvation. We all come in the same way, through the same door. There are not two ways to be saved, there is only one way. "…It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith." There is a spiritual struggle against an ancient foe that seeks to challenge our faith. We are going to be challenged on our doctrine and our walk. Contending for the faith is essentially standing for the truth, standing for what you believe.
There is a legitimate ministry of apologetics. I do not recommend that people get into apologetics as a ministry. There are some very well known apologists. Probably the most renowned apologist is an Indian brother (from India); Ravy Zacharias by name. He has a radio program entitled: "Let my people think." He is quite an intellectual. He goes to colleges and universities and debates with the evolutionist or the existentialist or the atheist. He often uses terms and words that lose the ordinary lay person. He quotes the philosophers, the theorists and the free-thinkers. But in truth there is very little fruit that is gained from philosophical argument.
Here is what it comes down to most of the time: It is intellect fighting intellect, and that is what we want to avoid. And, truth be known; the intellect of the atheist is a mind blinded by another spirit. One of the first pseudo (so-called) Christian apologists was Justin Martyr. We are going back to the second century. He is called the first Christian apologist. He tried to sell Christianity through philosophical debate. Greek philosophy was one of the plagues of the early church; however, his ploy was to try to win people through philosophical debate. This is intellect fighting with intellect. Or, as I have already said; what this really amounts to is intellect fighting against spirit.
It is the god of this world that has blinded the minds of people so they cannot see (2 Cor 4:4). So, (in effect) we are trying to fight with a spirit with our intellect… it just doesn’t work. We want to be armed with the Spirit and the truth of God’s Word. We want to be able to give answers to those who ask us. We want to be able to defend our faith from proven Scripture – the doctrine of Christ. We will produce a lot more spiritual fruit by simply expounding and reasoning our faith from the Scripture.
The Early Church Leaves the Pattern
Here is where the early church lost it. If you study church history, you will discover that they departed from the original pattern laid down by the apostles. Doctor Bailey once made a point concerning a Gothic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. This cathedral is the largest Gothic structure on the face of the earth today. It is 550 feet high. It is an enormous structure that was built over a period of 6-700 years. It began in the 12th century and it continued on for the next six to seven centuries. The point that Dr Bailey made was this: The cathedral was built in increments. They would build and then stop. However, every time they were going to continue, they had to come back to the original pattern. They had to come back to the original pattern before they could proceed.
The problem with the early church was that they departed from the original pattern. When we consider the reformation, we see that they had to return to the original pattern. The church went down hill until Luther who then returned to square one – the original pattern: Justification by faith was Luther’s revelation and on that precept the church began to rise again.
To "earnestly contend" means that we cannot be passive about our faith. We must stay on the cutting edge and to do that we must continually study the scripture. Continually study and continually add to your knowledge of the scripture. When Jesus was in combat with the enemy, what did He do? He quoted Scripture. We must have a nice resource of Scripture in our heart and in our mind. Not just in your head – but in your heart.
Reflecting upon years past; whilst my brother Paul was attending Elim Bible Institute; he would type out his notes word for word from class. Then, he would send his notes to me. So I had an advantage because I didn’t have to sit in class and take notes. They were already taken for me. I could sit down and I could meditate and weep over the word. I could let the Word get into my heart. I could digest it as I was taking it in. This is how we get it into our heart – by meditating upon it. The most important thing is that we get the Word into our heart – not just into our head.
As we examine the lives of some of the luminaries of the early centuries – men like Origen. I am referencing Origen because he fits the sum of many: He was a mixture of Greek philosophy and asceticism (extreme self denial) – things that Jesus never taught. Origen’s disciples also imitated him. For example, if the Scripture said: "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out." Thus they would do: Origen’s disciples dismembered themselves… some had no eyes, no hands. He even had disciples that had neutered themselves.
This was all in the attempt to be holy. Origen held all kinds of ridiculous doctrines such as ultimate reconciliation. The Doctrine of ultimate reconciliation says that God is going to restore everything in the end…including the devil. One of my good friends; Daniel Kropf, who is in Africa, challenges whether Origen was even saved. Origen believed that some of the Greek philosophers were saved. On what grounds…who knows? These were the kinds of people that were leading the church in the beginning.
We are warned about getting into philosophy. Paul warns the Colossians against the dangers of philosophy – and essentially we are talking about psychology and humanism – (human wisdom and rationale). As mentioned previously, this is how Charles Templeton (one of the Billy Graham associates) lost his faith. He went to Princeton, sat under the atheistic professors who rationalized away his faith. Perhaps he might have stood his ground had he understood the gap theory.
Losing the Crown…Losing Eternal Life
The letters to the seven churches recorded in the book revelation give us a picture of how things were deteriorating by the end of the first century. John’s revelation also gives us a picture of the last days as well. When we consider everything that is said concerning the last days, we realize why we need to be equipped and why we need to let these truths get into our heart. Jesus said that in the last days there would be false prophets who could deceive (if it were possible) the very elect. We are talking about people whose names are in the book of life.
In 1 Timothy 4:1, it says: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." As we read earlier from 2 Thessalonians & 2 Peter: strong delusion and damnable heresies will be the plague of the church finale. As mentioned, not all heresy is damnable, however it can rob you of a crown - it can take your crown. In Colossians 2:18: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
Christians can be seduced by another spirit into a false worship. We can lose our reward in being duped into worshipping another spirit. This is why music in the church needs to be guarded. Music today is so corrupted by Satan that people actually get caught up into a worship and they are worshipping another spirit.
David Wilkerson relates how he was invited to a "Christian" rock concert. He was always against "Christian" rock and he believed that it was another spirit. However, he was challenged to attend and his friend encouraged him to be objective: Just come and listen and be opened minded. So, he went to the concert and one of the long-haired singers came out and began to talk about the blood of Jesus and salvation. Wilkerson’s heart began to melt a little and he began to feel convicted. He thought maybe he had been a little too hard on these people, and maybe he should ease up a little bit… But then the music started accompanied by puffs of smoke which came out of the stage and etc.
Wilkerson said he could literally see demon spirits coming up in these puffs of smoke. This was what they were worshipping. That is why we have to warn our people about contaminated worship. Christians can be duped out of their reward by alien worship or even worse, they could receive bondages that could eventually take them out of the kingdom.
New converts might not know the difference. However, when established Christians leave a stable church to go to a church that tolerates or promotes this type of worship; it is a revelation of an uncircumcised heart. Many attach to such churches to accommodate their teenagers – whom are also in rebellion. Alien music in the church is like a rerun of the golden calf, and such idolatry associates itself with immorality.
Defining the Antichrist Spirit
Jude 1:4: "For there are certain men crept in unaware…" This is present tense. There are certain men crept in unawares – tares. Who can spot the tare? A tare can look so authentic that (naturally speaking) you can’t sort them out. Verse 4 continues: "…Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." So we are now talking about present tense heresy. Note the last part of this verse: "Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." These are people that are in the church, yet somehow have turned to the place where they are now denying the faith that they once embraced. The Weymouth translation reads like this – (the last part of that verse): "And disowned Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord." They disown Him.
What is an antichrist? John defines the antichrist for us in 1 John 2:22: "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son." So, the antichrist denies the Son and if he denies the son, he denies the Father also. Also, in 1 John 4:3, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." An antichrist denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh – denies the virgin birth.
John actually was dealing with a few sects at the end of the first century. The leader of one of the sects was a man by the name of Cerinthus. This man started the Docetist movement. Their assertion was that Christ did not really come in the flesh. He appeared in flesh, but He really was not flesh and blood. John literally confronted this man in Ephesus.
If Christ did not take on flesh and blood, then he really did not die either; nor did He literally resurrect. The Docetists were denying that Christ came in the flesh. The whole concept of Emmanuel is: "God with us." God came in the flesh. God became man so that he could die and break the curse of death through His resurrection. To deny this doctrine is antichrist. Every cult denies the virgin birth. Just like the Jehovah witnesses; they deny the virgin birth because they don’t believe that Jesus Christ was literally God. They believe like the Arians; (another sect), that Christ was a super-being – a super-man, but not really God. We must realize that Christ was God; He was with Father from the beginning; He stepped out of the bosom of the Father from the beginning of time (Prov. 8:22-30). There was not anything made that He did not make (Heb. 1:2, John 1:3).
There was another movement in the second century that denigrated the God of the Old Testament – the Marcionites. Marcion tried to disconnect the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament. In fact, Marcion re-edited ten New Testament books. He edited out every reference that would link the God of the Old Testament to the God of the New Testament. When Marcion first came on the scene, he sounded real good. He spoke about the love of Jesus…the God of love, etc. But after a time, the true Christian community began to pick up certain betraying signs in his message. Marcion had edited any connection of the Christ of the New Testament to the Christ of the Old Testament. He pictured the God of the OT as a God of wrath. It was as though Christ was another God.
If you study the early church, you will find that there were certain movements that were corrupting the church. You will also glean from John’s writings that he was actually refuting certain prevailing heretical winds. The Gnostics (for example), promoted a doctrine that said that the sins of the flesh did not matter… God only condemned the sins of the spirit. The Gnostic scorned the keeping of the Ten Commandments. If we could understand some of the antichrist movements of the day, then we could understand what John was contending with.
Those Who Once Knew – Later Destroyed
Jude 1:5, "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this…" Are we getting the point here? The church was losing the grasp on some of the elementary doctrines. They were forgetting that one can begin and not finish. "…How that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." The Lord brought them out; He saved them and then later destroyed them for their rebellion. What is Jude telling us? He is saying: "Listen, we can lose our salvation" – that is the point.
In Numbers 16, we find a vivid example of this verse. Here is a group, delivered from Egypt who later rebelled and were taken down into hell alive. They never died. The earth opened up and they went down alive into the pit.
Let us talk a little bit about "eternal security." You would be surprised how many people actually embrace the message of eternal security. In Brazil, even the Pentecostal churches embrace the eternal security doctrine. In Matthew 6:23, Jesus said this: "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" When we are saved, the candle of the Lord is lit within our being. There is a light within us and yet Jesus said that if the light that is in us becomes darkness, how great is that darkness. When God snuffs out that candle, it becomes gross darkness.
We are talking about those that knew God, but for one reason or another God put out their candle. When light becomes gross darkness I seriously doubt that the light will be restored. It can be flickering in a backslider, but when it is gone, it becomes gross darkness – and that puts them into a worse state then they ever were before. We will find those who will argue the Calvinist view of eternal security; however, it is a very difficult view to support from Scripture.
Let us look at Hebrews 10:26, 27 - "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" In other words, the blood of Christ does not cover willful sin. Verse 27 makes it very clear--there is somebody that has been set apart, (sanctified by the Blood), yet, he willfully continues to sin. Sinning willfully…no repentance, no remorse is like trampling upon the blood of Christ. God’s grace only extends so far. God does not just let people go. He entreats them; He deals with them; He gives them every opportunity to get straightened out. But if they yet despise His correction, then they are judging themselves unworthy of eternal life.
2 Peter 2:20, 21, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Now here is an example of one who fully knew; who had escaped the pollution of the world and then gone back. Peter said, it would be better for them had they never known than to have known and turned from it. Peter compares this to a washed pig returning to the mire. Clearly, what these verses tell us is that people can lose their salvation. Never let anybody deceive you on this. Romans chapter eleven dissolves all doubt. Paul’s illustration of the olive tree tells us that if God did not spare natural Israel because of sin and unbelief, neither would he spare spiritual Israel because of sin and unbelief: "For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee" (Rom 11:21).
*As ministers, make sure to emphasize a present tense – good relationship with heaven.
Jude’s main exhortation to the saints was to contend for the faith because there was going to be sifting. One of the big problems in the late (first century) church was the lack of ready scripture. That is why there was an emphasis on hearing the word. They did not have access to the Bible – or very few had access to it. The emphasis was to hear what God was saying and get it into their hearts – thus the enemy would be prevented from picking it away. We have privileges that they did not have. However, we still want to get the Word into our heart, we want to love the truth.
The reason that the early church was deteriorating was because they were departing from the original pattern that the apostles had taught. The church was going down for about 15 centuries until Luther; then it started to rise again.
Another big problem in the early church (as previously mentioned) was the taint from the Greek philosophy. There were many schools of Greek philosophy in the empire and many of the early luminaries were alumni from these institutions. Justin Martyr tried to win his opponents to Christ through intellectual debate. We cannot deal with spirits through the intellect – it can only be through the anointing. Mars’ Hill gives us a good picture of this concept. Paul is reasoning (under the anointing) with these blinded philosophers on Mars’ Hill in Acts 17. Yet, how many of them really heard what he was saying? How much fruit did he glean from Athens?
Athens was the cultural/intellectual center of the empire, yet Paul had had very little fruit there. When Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead, they mocked. Human rational; worldly wisdom rejects the resurrection. Worldly wisdom/philosophy is governed by the god of this world: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4).
Be Careful What You Study
I do not recommend that you study what these luminaries wrote. It is just a mixture (a drain) and it is quite demoralizing as well. As I have previously stated, I do not advocate getting into apologetics as a ministry. In fact, I had a nephew who wanted to immerse himself in this field of ministry. Well, he got into an argument, which is what apologetics is really about – and he lost. He not only lost the argument but he lost his faith too. At this present time he is not serving the Lord. We cannot argue with the devil and win – not with the human intellect.
Just quote the word and do not argue with the enemy. If you examine the lives of the early luminaries such as Martyr or Origen or Augustine; they were all steeped in Greek philosophy. They had all attended these philosophical schools where they studied the works of men who were reprobate. Many of them were homosexual; many were ascetic – such as the stoics (see Acts 17). When you sit under the teachings of such men, you will naturally absorb some of their spirit. That is why you do not want to study the philosophers.
Study the pure word, and commentaries of men that you respect – men such as Pastor Bailey and even some of the commentators on e-sword are very good when it comes to facts and figures. They have researched things out and they can give you good interpretations of words or historical events, although some of their spiritual input is not clear. They might interpret the third heaven as different spheres of the physical heaven. You would also be surprised how many of these renowned commentators are a millenialist. That means they do not believe there is going to be a millennium – a thousand year reign.
Many of the commentators on the radio are cessationist. They believe that the day of miracles or that the supernatural power of Pentecost ended in the first century. Well, that is not a damnable heresy; however it keeps people in the outer court. It keeps people from the full reward. It will keep them reigning in the millennium. Of all generations we are the most accountable because we have more light in our generation.
Augustine was of the cessationist mentality. His assertion was that all the miracles had ceased in the first century. However, he had to change his position when he saw some very real healings take place. Thus he revised some of his doctrine on that score. Actually, there are many accounts of miracles in later centuries and there are still miracles taking place.
I want to look at a few more points before we move on: Pure doctrine (for example) is possible if we do the will of God. God gives good doctrine to those who obey Him, to those who do His will (John 7:17). If you want your doctrine to be pure, then you have to be willing to obey what He says. Some people do not want truth, because they are not willing to obey it. They hear what they want to hear and that is it. A person who really wants the truth is willing to suffer the consequences of that truth. There can be consequences….
In our introduction we talked about turning grace into lasciviousness. (Some interpret grace to be tolerance). But in Romans 6:1, Paul says this: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Grace does not tolerate sin. In fact, in Romans 5:20 it says, "…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." So grace is the power to have victory over sin. We want to get things correct here. Where sin abounded… grace more abounded. That means that I can now have victory over sin.
Now, let us go back to the latter part of verse 4 (Jude). "…And denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Who would ever deny the Lord God or Jesus Christ that claim the banner of Christendom? Who could do that and not be immediately recognized as an enemy to Christianity? I want to give you a verse from Titus 1:16 so we can get another slant on this. Scriptures are like gems, there are many different slants to them. You can never limit a scripture verse to mean just one thing. There may be a literal meaning and a general meaning to it, but you can spiritualize many times on the same verse. Titus 1:16: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
So a person does not have to come out and say I deny God the Father and the Son. Their works tell you that they deny Him. They are not imitating Him; there is no reflection of Christ in their walk. In short, they are not living up to His standard; they are not keeping His commandments. Their works deny Him. So – that puts denial into another light.
In verse 5 of Jude, Jude tells us about those whom the Lord saved and then afterward destroyed. As we contemplate the ministry of Judas, there must have been a time in his life where he crossed the line – where light turned into darkness. His denial was very subtle. He was the hypocrite (play-actor) described in Proverbs (26:24-26), that has seven abominations in his heart. Proverbs uses the word dissembler – it means hypocrite. Judas was a play actor. He was denying the Lord in his heart and miming out the rest.
Calvinists believe they might lose their reward but not their soul. But listen, even the typology of the OT disproves that idea. For example: the incident in Numbers 21, where Israel was being bitten of serpents. This account is toward the end of their journey. Israel was complaining and in Numbers 21:6 it says, "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died." Moses was then told to erect a pole with a serpent upon it and all Israel had to do was to look upon that serpent… John gives us the significance of that pole: In John 3:14, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."
Even as the sting of death was transmitted to the pole in the wilderness, Christ also took the sting upon Himself so that we could live. All they had to do was to look at the pole... Did you ever sing that old hymn: "Look and Live"? Look and live, my brother live, look to Jesus now and live…. All they had to do was look at that pole with the brass serpent on it and they would live. Yet, thousands of them died there, which tells you that they refused God’s provision to be restored. They refused to look and live. "Look to Jesus now and live…" If we refuse to look to Jesus for our repentance and restoration, we too shall perish.