Jude is Jesus’ half brother. He got right to the point in this brief letter. People in the church were rejecting authority and self-absorbed. False teachers were leading the people astray. Jude wanted to encourage Christians to stand firm in the faith and fight for the truth. Jude’s declaration was to stand strong and let God’s goodness in your life be the prevailing story of encouragement to others.
Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. NIV
If you’ve ever stumbled you know what it is to be embarrassed from something unexpected. God is so amazing he turns the times you stumble into a beautiful dance to inspire others! It is hard to imagine but He can do it every single time taking any situation we surrender to him and uses it beautifully if we allow him to do so.
When I traveled to Africa I had to get various shots. One of those vaccines was yellow fever. I actually had the fever briefly as a result of the vaccine. You know why? A brief exposure to what would normally kill you creates strength within you to conquer that sickness.
The devil wants to bite you and take control of your life. But Jesus, who knew no sin became sin, 2 Cor 5:21, so he could become the anti-venom to cure you from the venom of the devil!
We follow the example of Jesus when we embrace our past as part of his plan to produce an anti-venom in our lives that can cure the lives of others. The problems and the pain of your past become purposed when you place them in the hands of your God!
Sometimes God redeems our past by surrounding us with people who need to hear our story so our past never becomes their future. We can find encouragement and strength even in our failure and in our weakness. In our weakness we become strong and it is not merely strong enough to be victorious but strong enough to help others!
Jonah was sent to deal with disobedience in Nineveh. How could God send Jonah to deal with disobedience when he was being disobedient right before he went? He became God’s strategic cure for disobedience.
Jesus was suffering and dying while Peter was denying him, cussing to prove it and the cock began to crow but God’s eye never left him. His mistake did not change the fact that God had chosen him to be the one who would give the inaugural address at the birth of the New Testament church. Why would God do that? Because the venom produces anti-venom in the kingdom of God.
Have you been bitten by the devil? We tend to look at our past incorrectly. God wants to redeem our past by surrounding us with people who need to hear our history so it never becomes their destiny! All of your suffering and all of your pain almost killed you knocking you to your knees making you secretly feel worthless – God wasn’t trying to kill you. He was making a cure out of you!
Because you survived you built up an immunity to whatever others need from you right now! If you survived abuse, willful sin, mistakes, rape, betrayal and even pain beyond comprehension. God left you in the earth to be a cure for somebody else!
Stop viewing your past as a reason why you can’t be used by God. It’s the reason you can be used by God in exactly the way He’s purposing to use you!
GP4RL: Make it a point to share your story with somebody this week.
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
1. Share a time when somebody’s kindness made an impact in your life.
Jude is Jesus’ half brother. He got right to the point in this brief letter. People in the church were rejecting authority and had become self-absorbed. False teachers were leading the people astray. Jude wanted to encourage Christians to stand firm in the faith and fight for the truth. Jude’s declaration was to stand strong and let God’s goodness in your life be the prevailing story of encouragement to others.
Jude 1:1 From: Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James. To: Christians everywhere—beloved of God and chosen by him. May you be given more and more of God’s kindness, peace, and love. TLB
Following this encouragement to embrace God’s kindness, peace and love Jude then makes it clear that false teachers were throwing people into confusion about God’s grace.
In verse 4 we read how the false teaching was that Christians could disobey God without any concern of consequences that result from sin and disobedience.
2. Share some time in your life when you chose to do what was right because you didn’t want to suffer the consequences.
Jude goes right into the explanation of how many Israelites suffered terrible consequences after being delivered from Egypt because they wondered into the wilderness carrying attitudes of complaining and disobedience. He goes on to reference the angels who fell from heaven because they revolted against God as well as speaking of Sodom and Gomorrah who suffered consequences because of lust and sexual sin.
Jude 1:8 Yet these false teachers carelessly go right on living their evil, immoral lives, degrading their bodies and laughing at those in authority over them… TLB
Clearly Jude was of the opinion that when we respond to the love and the life of Jesus our lives will change.
3. What changed about your life when you became a Christian?
4. Have you ever observed somebody you know experiencing the transforming power of Jesus?
If so, explain.
Jude 1:21 Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. TLB
5. What are some of the ways God’s boundaries protect us?
Conclude by making the time to pray for friends and family members who need to know the love of Jesus in their lives. Ask God to awaken their lives to his purposes.
MESSAGE BIBLE INTRODUCTIONS:
Our spiritual communities are as susceptible to disease as our physical bodies. But it is easier to detect whatever is wrong in our stomachs and lungs than in our worship and witness. When our physical bodies are sick or damaged, the pain calls our attention to it, and we do something quick. But a dangerous, even deadly, virus in our spiritual communities can go undetected for a long time. As much as we need physicians for our bodies, we have even greater need for diagnosticians and healers of the spirit.
Jude’s letter to an early community of Christians is just such a diagnosis. It is all the more necessary in that those believers apparently didn’t know anything was wrong, or at least not as desperately wrong as Jude points out.
There is far more, of course, to living in Christian community than protecting the faith against assault or subversion. Paranoia is as unhealthy spiritually as it is mentally. The primary Christian posture is, in Jude’s words, “keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ.” All the same, energetic watchfulness is required. Jude’s whistle-blowing has prevented many a disaster.
CHUCK SWINDOLL EXPLANATION:
JUDE: Who wrote the book?
Like most of the other general epistles, the title of this little book takes its name from its author. Most scholars identify the writer as Jude the half-brother of Jesus for at least two reasons. First, he identified himself as the “brother of James” (Jude 1:1), meaning he was probably not the apostle named Jude, a man who was called “the son of James” (Luke 6:16). That the author of the book of Jude identified himself as the brother of James likely aligns him with the family of Jesus. (See “Who Wrote the Book” on the page about James for more information.) Second, Matthew 13:55 records the names of the brothers of Jesus as James and Judas. Whereas the gospels record his name as Judas, English translations shorten it to Jude—probably for the same reason no one in the present day wants to name a child Judas, because of the association it has with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
Like his older brother James, Jude did not place his faith in Jesus while the Lord was still alive. Only after the crucifixion and resurrection did the scales fall from Jude’s eyes and he become a follower of his half-brother, Jesus. First Corinthians 9:5 offers a tantalizing piece of information, noting that the Lord’s brothers and their wives took missionary journeys. From this scant portrait, we begin to picture Jude as a man who lived in skepticism for a time but eventually came to a powerful faith in Jesus. And as he traveled on behalf of the gospel—telling the story in city after city with his name Judas butting up against that of Judas Iscariot—he would stand as a living example of faithfulness, a stark contrast to the betrayer.
Where are we?
The book of Jude is notoriously difficult to date, primarily because the Bible and tradition reveal so little about the personal details of its author while the book itself refrains from naming any particular individuals or places. The one clue available to present-day readers is the striking similarity between the books of Jude and 2 Peter. Assuming Peter wrote his letter first (AD 64–66), Jude probably wrote his epistle sometime between AD 67 and 80.
Why is Jude so important?
Jude’s edgy brevity communicates the urgency of his notion that false teachers needed to be condemned and removed from the church. Few words meant that Jude would not waste space dancing around the issue. He saw within the church people and practices that were worthy of condemnation, including rejecting authority and seeking to please themselves. In response to these errors, Jude marshaled much biblical imagery to make clear what he thought of it all—anything from Cain killing his brother Abel to the punishment of the sinful people who populated Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 1:7, 11).
What's the big idea?
Jude’s purpose in his letter was twofold: he wanted to expose the false teachers that had infiltrated the Christian community, and he wanted to encourage Christians to stand firm in the faith and fight for the truth. Jude recognized that false teachers often peddled their wares unnoticed by the faithful, so he worked to heighten the awareness of the believers by describing in vivid detail how terrible dissenters actually were. But more than simply raising awareness, Jude thought it important that believers stand against those working against Jesus Christ. Believers were to do this by remembering the teaching of the apostles, building each other up in the faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and keeping themselves in the love of God (Jude 1:17, 20–21).
How do I apply this?
Fight for the truth! Stand up against error! The book of Jude is the very definition of punchy and pithy proclamations—with its short commands and statements popping off the page like machine-gun fire. But in our day and age, punchy has become rude or unacceptable. In many circles the forcefulness of Jude will not be tolerated, the crowds preferring a softer and gentler side of the Christian faith. But Jude reminds us that there is a time and a place for the aggressive protection of the truth from those who would seek to tear it down.
How can you participate in defending the truth from error?