Today, we introduce the little epistle of Jude and take a closer look at verse 1.
The purpose of Jude can be summed up in the words, fight, contend, and do battle. It encourages the church to counter the apostasy that arises and the false teachers who creep into the church to attack the Word of God and turn God’s grace into a license to do as they please. It furthermore exhorts believers to be spiritually “in shape” to answer this call to arms, because the danger is very real.
To bring this point home and to show his readers how God has responded to these types in time past, Jude reminds his readers of how God dealt with unbelieving Israel in the desert, the disobedient angels, and wicked Sodom and Gomorrah. This is the message of Jude.
Verse 1: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:” The author of this book was none other the Jude the brother of Jesus. You mean Jesus had brothers? Yes! And sisters too!
This verse brings up a very good and controversial point about the perpetual virginity of Mary. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus had no brothers and sisters and that Mary and Joseph had no children after our Lord Jesus. However, the preponderance of Scripture does not bear this out. Matthew 13:55-56 says, “Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" So, the Bible does teach that Jesus had brothers and sisters and one of them was Jude.
However, there was one major difference between Jesus and his brothers and sisters. While they all had the same mother, they had two different fathers. Jesus’ father was God and Jude and his other siblings’ father was Joseph the Carpenter. We also see mentioned here, James the brother of Jude, half brother of Jesus. He was the famous pastor of the church in Jerusalem who spoke up at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15.
Another point worth bearing out at this time is that Jude like his brothers probably did not believe that Jesus was who he said to be until sometime after his resurrection. John said in John 7:5, “even His brothers did not believe in Him.” But then we see in Acts 1:14 that they were all with Mary and the disciples in the upper room waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit!
Also, notice the three characteristics of Christians found in this verse. They are “sanctified,” “preserved,” and “called.” First, the word “sanctified” means to be “set apart” or “consecrated for God’s purposes.” That begs the question, “How are we then sanctified?” The answer is, “by the truth.” Jesus said in John 17:17-19, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me 2 into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” What we see in this verse is that as we begin to know and understand the Bible, we become sanctified, set apart, and consecrated.
Paul while speaking to the men of Ephesus said “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” That is why I place so much emphasizes on the teaching of the Bible. It’s only when we sit under the teaching of the Word of God week after week that we are cleansed. In essence, sitting under the teaching of the Word is like taking a shower. How long has it been since you had a good shower? I’m afraid that for many Christians, it’s been too long and they are beginning to smell. Why is this? – Because too many are settling for children’s programs, youth gatherings, worship bands and warm-fuzzies. Christians are looking for all of the wrong things in the modern church today. Show me a youth program, children’s ministry or worship band in the Bible. They simply are not there. Then pray tell me why so many go looking for something that is not in the Bible. I believe that the Devil is using these extracurricular activities to distract the church from its main objective – “the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
Listen mom and dad – it’s all well and good that little Johnny is enjoying the youth group and little Suzie is having a great time running around in the children’s ministry, but what about you? Are you getting fed? Are you growing in your walk with the Lord? Are you any closer to God today than you were yesterday? If you are not growing in your walk with the Lord, you cannot lead your children in their walks with the Lord either. For the love of God, find a church that teaches the Bible and stop looking to be entertained. Entertain your children at home. That is not the church’s job.
Second, also notice that Christians are preserved. “Preserved” means to be “saved from injury, destruction or decay.” Paul said in Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” As God spoke to Abraham he said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." In other words, don’t worry Abram, I am going to take care of you. Also, David cried out, “Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.” (Psalm 3:2-3). The bottom line is that God keeps them “in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3).
Here is another distraction in the church today – eternal security of the believer or what some would rather call the perseverance of the saints. Whatever you chose to call it, it’s a bait and switch from the enemy. It’s taking our eyes off of the cross. It’s majoring in the minors. Yes, if you’re truly saved you’re always saved. Yes, if you persevere, than that means you’re saved. Yes, if you don’t persevere then you never were saved to begin with. My goodness, we’re saying the same thing. Let me ask you this while you’re arguing among yourselves, 3 “When was the last time you personally led someone to Jesus?” I believe that all of our bickering breaks the heart of God because it takes our eyes off of him. Leave that stuff to the little professors to discuss over donuts in the teacher’s lounge at the college down the street. Lead people to Jesus!