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Last time we were in Jude, he urged his readers to remember the words of the Apostles of Christ. They warned us that mockers would come following after their own ungodly lusts. These are signs that the last days are upon us. Jude, in his love for things of three, gives is the triple edged dagger of death in verse 19.
Jude 19 says, “These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit.”
Jude shifts again, but remember this short letter, like other letters in scripture are meant to be read in one sitting. It only seems like he’s jumping back and forth because we’re looking at a snippet of the letter each week. There’s so much here that we have to carefully march through it. I encourage you to start or continue a personal study into this letter.
What Jude says comes as no surprise. We should not be alarmed when people rebel against God. While it’s more surprising when it happens in church, it still should not freak us out. Rebellion has been happening since time began and it will continue until Jesus returns. Look at the three things they do in v. 19. They, “Cause divisions.” They are, “worldly-minded.” They are, “devoid of the Spirit.” Each one of those are pretty self explanatory, but what I have a hard time getting past is that these people are in the church and are even in leadership positions. Let’s look at each one.
First, the creepers cause division. It would be easy to pounce on this verse and conclude that’s why we have all the denominations and churches. We look back to 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany ushering in the Protestant Reformation where we saw the Catholic Church challenged on doctrine, theology, and tradition. What led Luther? Much of this was sparked by the church’s practice of selling indulgences – the practice of doing good works in order to speed entry into heaven following death. He questioned salvation by works after reading and studying Paul’s letter to the Galatians that emphasized salvation by grace through faith. Luther desired to return to the biblical fundamentals of the faith. Keeping it in context, Jude is talking about division with one another in the church. You don’t have to look hard to see this happening. In the church, personal agendas can sometimes be difficult to discern because they’re typically veiled in false spirituality. Individual agendas are pushed and if they’re not acted upon, the people either leave or make life difficult for others. I have seen this at other ministries and we’ve experienced this here. There doesn’t seem to be a spirit of cooperation or unity or putting others first. The application can be made in a broader sense as well.
Second they are, “worldly minded.” This phrase has been tossed around in the church as something we are not to be in accordance to what Paul wrote in Rom. 12:2 and what Jesus Himself said in Jo. 17. Ja. 3:15 compares earthly wisdom verses wisdom from above. This is more of an attitude or mindset and it is somewhat difficult to define if taken on its own. So let’s handle it properly by connecting it with that last phrase that will help us understand. “Worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit.” The creepers have an earthly mindset, an earthly bent, earthly desires and passions because they are entirely lacking the Spirit of God. That’s why they are the way they are. The ungodly man lives according to his own desires. There is no concern or thought to what is godly or pure or holy. It should not disturb you that people who do not know God have a bent toward earthly things. How else do you expect someone who has no influence from the Spirit of God to act? Why do we whine and complain when lost people think, act, behave, or say things that are ungodly? The desires of the ungodly are naturally bent away from God. The difference with Christians is we have a supernatural bent to God that should supersede our sin nature because we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. We must remember the context of this letter. The people Jude is condemning as ungodly are in the church in leadership positions serving themselves and their own ungodly desires.
1 Tim. 4:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” 2 Tim. 3:1, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” We are in difficult days, but not impossible days. The Word of God is maligned and impugned by these creepers, by the false teachers of today, but that doesn’t mean you have to. We can still demonstrate the incredible love of Christ and we can still live authentically for Jesus.