As I am studying Jude, I am reminded how the New Testament predicts the coming of false teachers within the church who will divide churches. God promises that these men and women will be judged so we must make sure we know the Bible for ourselves so that we can discern truth from error.
These false teachers are:
- lewd and immoral
- deny the truths of God and Jesus Christ
Pay attention to the fact that they have “crept in unnoticed.” Jude says a little later:
17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
We have been warned that these people are mockers, walk according “what is good in their own eyes,” are sensual, cause divisions, and DO NOT have the Holy Spirit.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain…13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,…16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Many idle talkers and deceivers and those who are legalists (those of the circumcision.) Notice here that these people cause harm to whole households by teaching incorrect things “for the sake of dishonest gain.” You can recognize them! Just because a man or woman is on TV and is preaching, does not mean they are grounded in God’s word!
“Those who have received the truth must contend for it, as the apostles did; by suffering with patience and courage for it, not by making others suffer if they will not embrace every notion we call faith, or important. We ought to contend earnestly for the faith, in opposition to those who would corrupt or deprave it; who creep in unawares; who glide in like serpents. And those are the worst of the ungodly, who take encouragement to sin boldly, because the grace of God has abounded, and still abounds so wonderfully, and who are hardened by the extent and fullness of gospel grace, the design of which is to deliver men from sin, and bring them unto God.”
Why should we be surprised that there are false teachers within our own churches? Some of the most terrible persecution in history against Christians has been from so called Christians who thought they had the monopoly on God’s divine salvation. William Tyndale was the first scholar to widely translate the Bible into the English language and as much as 90% of his original wording remains in the King James Version. However, when he produced his translation in the 1500’s it was “illegal to own an English Bible or even memorize Scripture in English.” (Jesus Freaks 200)
One of Tyndale’s teachers, a Doctor of Divinity, told him, “It would be wrong to translate God’s Holy word into English. Only a language like Latin or Greek is able to fully convey God’s truth. English is a vulgar language – fine for plowmen and shopkeepers, but hardly suitable for the Bible.” As these Bibles poured into England, their jails filled up with thousands of Christians who would rather be put in jail than give up their Bible. Many were burned at the stake for this crime.
Now, let me ask this — since when does the language become more important than the message? Where in the Bible does it state that Latin or Greek or Hebrew are “the only correct” language. Did not God create all of the languages at the tower of Babel? As long as the translation is accurate — the language it is in is irrelevant.
My next study is on how God promises judgment…Jude 1:5. (More on that later.)
Today as we look at false teachers, I am drawn to an entry from a Southern Baptist Christian to Q-City China on December 5, 2005 . He tells of a hike one beautiful morning to the mountain overlooking the city. He is enjoying the beauty of the morning when “a chilling sound shatters the quiet – a long, eerie scream, reverberating against the mountain rocks as it rises and falls, echoing down among the valleys. My hair stands on end.” (The Commission Online )
It turns out the yells were hikers who climbed to the summit and were yelling to release their “chi” or energy. This is allowed by the Chinese government as an “approved” spiritual outlet. Southern Baptist Christians are “not welcome” in this city. They meet in underground churches which the government will break up if discovered. People attending these churches are subject to imprisonment, torture, reeducation, and even death.
Today, for our prayer for missionaries, I would like us to join in with this Christian in Q-City — here is his prayer:
I kneel on the sun-warmed rock, its jagged edges cutting into my palms, and breathe out a silent prayer: God, strengthen the believers in the city. We have seen thousands turn to You in recent days! Protect them from police, from cults and internal strife, and multiply their ministry. Help them stand strong in times of testing, keeping their faith even until death.
Guide and protect the unregistered church leaders. Equip them, embolden them and send Your Spirit upon them, grounding them in Your Word.
Open this city to Your witness, and cause these people to hunger for You. Break down the idols of Chinese religion before their eyes, and expose the false teachers.
We implore You, God, as Abraham did: Spare this city for the sake of the righteous!
Lord, I join in and pray for the people of Q City. Open their eyes to the false teaching and move in this city. Keep them strong. Open our eyes dear Lord to the false teachers in our very midst. Let us be wary of those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and those whose actions of immorality to not line up with their words. They are harmful and dangerous. Keep us entrenched in your word. Lord, we pray for our brothers and sisters today in China. We pray you will cover them with your love this day. I pray for thew writer of this passage who endangers his very life by smuggling these words to us. Keep him safe and make him bold in the faith. We love you, Jesus. Thank you for your divine plan that transcends persecution. Unite more people to pray for these needs daily. Amen.