Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jude, Part 12

In today’s study, we find out why Jude compared the rebellion of false teachers with that of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in the Old Testament.

What is the “rebellion of Korah”? This account is in Numbers 16:1-35 in the Old Testament. Core, along with Dathan and Abiram took two-hundred and fifty leaders and rebelled against Moses and Aaron; their God-given appointed leaders. They insisted that Moses and Aaron were taking too much authority upon themselves. Of course, the heart of the matter was that they did not want to be submissive to the divine authority that God has set up over them. Today, it’s no different, instead of standing with censors, like these guys ended up doing, to see who God had really put in charge, they have secretive and called business 10 meetings to get the job done. It’s just as unscriptural and evil. Of course, in the end, God’s men were vindicated and the earth opened up and swallowed all who were involved in the rebellion who had murmured against God’s appointed leaders. I’ve been in a few meetings in which I’ve half-expected that same thing to happen at any moment! 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jude, Part 11

In today's study, we conclude our look at the "Error of Balaam" as mentioned in Jude 11.

Eventually, the Lord allowed Balaam to go, but he was to only speak what God told him to (Num. 22:20). Along the way, a strange thing happened. The donkey upon which Balaam was riding began to act strange (Num. 22:22-35). It was at this point that Balaam look up and saw the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword. I believe that the donkey saved Balaam’s life. God was going to kill him because of his motives. Make no mistake about, God knows our motives (Hebrews 4:12). When he finally arrived and met Balak, he received his instructions which were to curse the children of Israel. Of course, God would not allow this, so every time Balaam opened his mouth to curse the Israelites, he could only bless them. Naturally, that did not sit too well with Balak as that he wanted them cursed and not blessed (Numbers 23:7-11, 18-26, 24:3-11).

However, a closer look at Scripture confirms that Balak found a way around this to make his money. Revelation 2:14 and Numbers 31:15-16 make it clear what Balaam’s bright idea was. He couldn't curse God's people if God wouldn't let him, but he could help Balak bring God's curse upon them by getting them to sin. So, he told Balak, "Look, if you have your prettiest women camp out by the Israelite camp, then they'll fall in love, intermarry, fall into idolatry, and then the Lord will have to curse them." Amazing, isn't it? That someone who can have spiritual gifts and say spiritual things, can be sucked into sin so easily by compromise and greed?

Of course, God remembered Balaam’s actions and rewarded him accordingly. It says in Numbers 31:8 that the Children of Israel afterward armed themselves against the Midianites and “…they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jude, Part 10

Today we take a look at what Jude calls the "Error of Balaam" as found in Jude 5.

The “error of Balaam” is the motivation for gain in ministry. In other words, ministry is a means to an end. By the way, Balaam is never spoken of positively in the New Testament. 2 Peter 2:15 says that they “…have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” Again, we see his name in Revelation 2:14-15 which says, “…I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Now, hate is a very strong word, but that is exactly how God feels about the “error” or “doctrine” Balaam.

The first time that we meet Balaam in Scripture is in Numbers 22-24. The Israelites were camped in the plains of Moab and after seeing what they had done to the Amorites, Balak sent for a prophet named Balaam to curse them (Num.22:1-6). Balaam asked the Lord about the request and the Lord said, "No” (Num. 22:9-12), but then Balak sent more guys and more money (Numbers 22:15-18). God had already said no, but Balaam felt it necessary to ask the Lord again, which was his first mistake, and the Lord permissively allowed Balaam to compromise and go. God knew Balaam’s heart. He wanted the money.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jude, Part 9

In today's study we take a closer look at what Jude is referring to in regards to the accusation that false teachers, and those who follow them, have gone the "Way of Cain."

The scripture is our authority. Where and when we come into conflict with it – we are wrong and must make the necessary adjustments. An old preacher said one time, “Where God puts periods, don’t you go putting question marks.” We do not stand in judgment of the Bible. The Bible stands in judgment of us.

Fourth, they not only reject authority, but “they speak evil of dignitaries.” When men speak evil of God, His Son, the prophets, or of God’s men, they speak evil of dignities. We are to esteem God, His Son Jesus, and His Church in holy awe! Peter made this abundantly clear when he penned 2 Peter 2. The bottom line is that all of this comes about as a result of rejecting authority.

I’m amazed at some of the things that I’ve heard people say about other pastors, let alone myself. We live in a day in which men have no respect for authority at all. We will see in the next verse that Michael the archangel when contending with the devil over the body of Moses would not dare to make a “railing accusation” against him. And yet, church members will go out to lunch after a service and chew their pastors up and spit them out like it is nothing at all. They have no fear of God. They are rejecting authority and in so doing, they are rejecting the ultimate Authority who placed that pastor over them. The problem in our culture today is that everybody thinks that they have a right to be right and to be heard. Not according to the Bible my dear friend. You gave up that right when you came to the cross.

Verse 9: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” We must remember that the context of this verse is rejection of authority and speaking evil of those whom God has placed over us. The point is that if Michael, an archangel, would not dare speak evil of Satan himself, then who are we to speak evil of those around us who are in positions of authority?

After being in the ministry for a few years and ministering with several churches in different staff positions, I’m amazed at how many in the congregation honestly think that it is their divine calling to keep the man of God in check. Watch out! God doesn’t need your help. Trust me, God will police that man in his own time and in his own way and He doesn’t need your help to do it. If He brought him in, He can take him out. You better worry about the speck that is in your own eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

Verse 10: “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” Again, this is referring to these apostate teachers that had crept into the church. Notice it says that they speak evil of “things which they know not.” In other words, they don’t have a clue about the true things of God. Instead, they are like “brute beasts”. It’s essentially the same thing that the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." These men are natural in that they have not truly given their lives to Christ and are therefore incapable to truly understanding and appreciating the things of God. 

Verses 11-13: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” This is the judgment of God that is surely to fall upon these natural brute beasts or filthy dreamers. Notice that he compares them to Cain, Balaam, and Core. What is the “way of Cain?” They way of Cain, is a bloodless religion of works. If you will remember that when man first sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3; God immediately made them “coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Now, in order for God to make coats of skins for Adam and Eve, something had to die. Blood had to be shed so that their nakedness could be covered. God clearly demonstrated to them how a sacrifice had to be made for the atonement (covering) of their sins.

Later in Genesis 4:1-8 we find their children Cain and Abel bringing their sacrifices to God just as they had been taught by their mother and father. However, Cain chose to do something different. Instead of bringing a blood sacrifice as he had been taught by his parents like his brother Abel, he chose to bring the works of his own hands. In other words, he brought a bloodless sacrifice. This event is spoken in both Hebrews 11:4 where it says, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Also, it is spoken of in 1 John 3:12, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” So too, these apostates that Jude is speaking of have denied the power of the blood.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jude, Part 8

In today's study we find that men who reject authority reject God.

The conclusion of the matter is this. The commonality that I see with these three is that while God offered them all life, they chose death. They chose to “do it” their way instead of God’s. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” The sad thing is that God does not desire that anyone should go to Hell. The Bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” It is not the will of God that any should go through the punishment that Israel, the fallen angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah went through. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is  longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It is the desire of God that everyone should go to heaven. No one has to make the bad decisions that Israel, the angles, and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah made.

I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” He again said in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” God loves people and desires that they should all be saved and not one perish.

Verse 8: “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” In other words, these men resemble rebellious Israel, the fallen angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Their sins are the same. Paul also tells us four things about these guys. First, they are “filthy dreamers”. In other words, they dream things up as they go along. They are not grounded in the Word of God. I believe that a call to ministry is a call to prepare. Too many people run headlong into ministry unprepared. I know 1 John 2:27 about not needing anyone to teach us, but still we also have so many around us who have been there, done that, walked in ministry for a few years. The Bible also says that there is “wisdom in a multitude of counselors” and to “study to shew thyself approved unto God” as well.

I’m afraid that too many in ministry take pride in their lack of education. It’s like they think that their ignorance makes them more dependent upon God and therefore more usable for His service. My friend, the pride of the uneducated is no better than the pride of the educated. God looks at the heart and not what’s in the frame on your office wall. God will use any man or woman who has a desire to serve Him with a whole heart.

If you are going to be a good Bible teacher, you must sit at someone’s feet. It may be a
man of God that you respect tremendously or a professor at a Bible college or seminary. Still,
the end result is an education from somewhere. I personally think that the days of guarding the
“ivy walls” of the colleges are over. Internet has introduced an entirely new, effective, convenient and cheaper way to educate men and women for the ministry. Use it to your advantage.

Second, they “defile the flesh.” They pollute themselves with sin because of their corrupt passions and evil desires. The end result is that they do not live holy and separated lives. They is no doubt that this issue is becoming more and more of a problem as the end draws near. I believe that even the church is for the most part, worldly. Why? – Because we have allowed so much of the world into the church in the name of trying to reach the world. We have become so relevant that we are no longer relevant. Oh, I know, I’ve heard every argument under the sun about how the only way to reach them today is by changing the methods, etc…, but sadly the end result is that there are fewer people in the church today than there was yesterday. The methods are not working. I believe that they are simply confusing the issue. We have churches full of people today who do not know their right hand from their left when it comes to spiritual matters. They proof is the worldly lives that they live both inside
and outside of the church house.

Third, they “reject authority.” Men who despise authority despise the Bible…because the Bible regiments and regulates and exhorts a man and a woman to walk in holiness. Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them. It goes against what they want. However, the writer of Proverbs wrote, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1). Sure, the Bible is going to rub us the wrong way from time to time. What’s wrong with that? Jesus did say in Matthew 10:34-36, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” Also, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The scripture is our authority. Where and when we come into conflict with it – we are wrong and must make the necessary adjustments. An old preacher said one time, “Where God puts periods, don’t you go putting question marks.” We do not stand in judgment of the Bible. The Bible stands in judgment of us.