Aloha Friday Message – April 27, 2012 – It’s Jude

1217AFC042712 It’s Jude – Catholic Letter Series

Read it online here.

Today we will look at the last of the catholic epistles. Most of them are quite short, and this one fits that definition at a mere 25 verses. Like previous letters we have looked at over these past several weeks, this one is packed full of wonderful lessons; indeed, it would be easy to write upwards of a dozen pages about the content of this beautiful letter. One very early scholar of scripture, Origen (O-ruh-jen) wrote “an epistle of few lines, but full of powerful words of heavenly grace.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Copyright, 1939, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. – now in public domain).

Let’s start with a bit of background on who Jude was. At the opening of the letter he writes “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James …” He does not name himself as an Apostle, nor does he name his brother, James, as an Apostle. If we look at Mark 6:3 we read,” Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas [a/k/a Jude] and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” Some people believe the word “brother” in this verse signifies cousin, while others believe it means “step-brother.” Whichever you follow, the meaning is that he was in some way related to Jesus. This James, then, is not the Apostle James son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle John. He is the James who was an early leader of the Jerusalem church. And of course it has nothing to do with the Beatle’s song “Hey Jude” written by Paul McCartney about John Lennon’s son Julian who was taking being separated from his father rather hard during his parents’ divorce. So, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the epistle.

The letter, like other letters from Peter and James, addresses something called apostasy – a renunciation of faith or a refusal to believe the established doctrines of true faith. There is one particular passage I want to highlight:

ESV: 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude was speaking of people who had infiltrated the early Christian churches and, under the guise of being “part of the flock,” behaved in shameful, lewd conduct at the meetings of believers (referred to as love feasts in this epistle). At this time in church history, believers met at the home of one of the members, shared a full meal intended to foster Christian fellowship, and then that was followed by celebration of the Last Supper. These pseudo-believers pretended to be believers when in fact they were just looking for ways to par-tay! Jude had apparently planned to write a longer, more detailed discourse about these false teachers and “church-goers” as Peter had done (there are a lot of similarities between the Epistle of Jude and 2 Peter), but felt it was more urgent to dash of a letter warning of these people who posed an imminent danger to the true church and the true believers.

These false teachers were twisting the teachings of the apostles to suit their own twisted desires. This was leading to confusion among the faithful. Jude refers to them, in the passage above, as “hidden reefs.” Another version of that idea is that they were like sunken rocks that could tear apart any vessel (church) just as a ship might be tore asunder against a hidden obstacle. They feed upon the flock like shepherds feasting on their own sheep with no regard for the future of the flock; they gorge themselves without even thinking of the consequences. They are like clouds that produce no rain and don’t stick around long enough to even provide shade. They are as worthless as withered trees stripped of leaves and bark and then uprooted; they provide nothing but firewood and Jude says that’s where they are headed – to everlasting fire. As you look at the five different negative descriptions Jude uses to describe them it is pretty clear he considered them highly dangerous – and utterly useless. There were insincere, immoral, and doomed to God’s just punishment for their disrespect of the Gospel, of the Apostles, and of the Church itself.

The Epistle of Jude has been part of the canon of scripture – the accepted books of the Bible – for most of the existence of Christianity. There were some “rough spots” in accepting it as inspired scripture because of references Jude makes to two literary works that were known as traditional stories but which were never considered to be inspired works. One was The Book of Enoch which purported to be the writing of the ancient holy man Enoch (see Genesis 5:21-24) and The Assumption of Moses in which the death of Moses is described. These are referred to as apocryphal books – mythical stories which were popular and well-known, but not inspired scripture. Jude uses these well-known sources to illustrate a point, but in no way does his use of these common quotes signify that he considered them Scripture.

Throughout the entire epistle, Jude is warning the church that they must be thoroughly grounded in the fullest-possible understanding of the teaching of the Apostles, for therein they will find protection from the excessive and ridiculous teachings of the false teaches that have infiltrated their church and in some cases caused others to fall into errors of faith. Jude warns that these unrepentant evil-doers will face God’s most severe judgment for their rebellion against the Gospel, the Church, and Christ and his Holy Apostles. He describes how a whole generation of Israelites died in the desert because they would not trust God and rejected his leadership. Only two people of that generation survived and entered into the Promised Land – Joshua and Caleb. Then he describes how the angels, living in the very presence of God himself, rebelled with Lucifer and were cast out of Heaven. Lastly he describes Sodom and Gomorrah – the very epitome of lawlessness, perversion, and sin. God utterly destroyed those cities but saved Lot and a remnant of his family. Jude says that if God would punish, exile, eliminate the creatures who rejected him, how much more so would he condemn and punish these wicked false teachers who rejected his Son, perverted the Gospel, and endangered the souls of so many who were new to the Living Word as preached by the Apostles and the True Church?

Nowadays, we risk the same kind of error when we take sin for granted, assume there can’t really be eternal punishment, and ignore the same kinds of budding hypocrisy and apostasy in the world today. Wherever there is gross corruption of the Truth, these false teachers are at the core of it. It happens in every religion, and is certainly to be found in all three of the Abrahamic Religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is the Devil’s favorite way of fighting God: Tell a lie that seems just plausible enough and then compound it with more lies once we take the bait.

Beloved, this is the lesson I have wanted you to take from these lessons, that you should know your faith, and that you should start by knowing when God is speaking to you. That is why we have the Bible, the inspired word of God. Next you must learn to discern between false and true teachings, and there again we turn to the Bible in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (4:12) we read that the Word is like a two-edged sword, so effective that it cuts right into us differentiating between the soul and the spirit, between the joints and bones of our lives, and judges the content of our hearts. Paul calls the Word the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17. Get into the word, get into your Bible, then get you and your Bible into church and good, sincere, holy Bible study. Just keep a sharp eye and ear for those hidden reefs that proffer slander, hatred, lust, and self-serving greed.

Share-A-Prayer

Please remember GW in you prayers for the next few weeks as she goes back into treatment after a relapse of her cancer. Her husband C has also had cancer treatments. These faith-filled friends always say “God is still on His Throne.”

Remember also RH who is now recuperating from a big-time surgical procedure, just the latest in a long spate of serious health issues. Pray for endurance and well as respite for his family.

Please continue in your prayers for everyone who suffers addictions to things that destroy health, destroy lives, and do damage to their loved-ones in the process. We have so many requests for addicts, from addicts, and especially about their families and friends. Pray for them because they may not be able to pray for themselves. Pray about them because they may not see the hope you see in taking your prayers to Jesus. And hopefully at times we can pray with the, especially when they cry out to God for merciful deliverance from whatever is separating them from him.

Now, to close, I want to give you the last few verses of Jude, a doxology (literally “praise-words”) NAB:24To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, 25 to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

Jesus loves you, and so do I.

1217AFC042712 It’s Jude

Read it online here.

Today we will look at the last of the catholic epistles. Most of them are quite short, and this one fits that definition at a mere 25 verses. Like previous letters we have looked at over these past several weeks, this one is packed full of wonderful lessons; indeed, it would be easy to write upwards of a dozen pages about the content of this beautiful letter. One very early scholar of scripture, Origen (O-ruh-jen) wrote “an epistle of few lines, but full of powerful words of heavenly grace.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Copyright, 1939, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. – now in public domain).

Let’s start with a bit of background on who Jude was. At the opening of the letter he writes “Jude, a servant1 of Jesus Christ and brother of James …” He does not name himself as an Apostle, nor does he name his brother, James, as an Apostle. If we look at Mark 6:3 we read,” Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas [a/k/a Jude] and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” Some people believe the word “brother” in this verse signifies cousin, while others believe it means “step-brother.” Whichever you follow, the meaning is that he was in some way related to Jesus. This James, then, is not the Apostle James son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle John. Je is the James who was an early leader of the Jerusalem church. And of course it has nothing to do with the Beatle’s song “Hey Jude” written by Paul McCartney about John Lennon’s son Julian who was taking being separated from his father rather hard during his parents’ divorce. So, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the epistle.

The letter, like other letters from Peter and James, addresses something called apostasy – a renunciation of faith or a refusal to believe the established doctrines of true faith. There is one particular passage I want to highlight:

ESV: 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude was speaking of people who had infiltrated the early Christian churches and, under the guise of being “part of the flock,” behaved in shameful, lewd conduct at the meetings of believers (referred to as love feasts in this epistle). At this time in church history, believers met at the home of one of the members, shared a full meal intended to foster Christian fellowship, and then that was followed by celebration of the Last Supper. These pseudo-believers pretended to be believers when in fact they were just looking for ways to par-tay! Jude had apparently planned to write a longer, more detailed discourse about these false teachers and “church-goers” as Peter had done (there are a lot of similarities between the Epistle of Jude and 2 Peter), but felt it was more urgent to dash of a letter warning of these people who posed an imminent danger to the true church and the true believers.

These false teachers were twisting the teachings of the apostles to suit their own twisted desires. This was leading to confusion among the faithful. Jude refers to them, in the passage above, as “hidden reefs.” Another version of that idea is that they were like sunken rocks that could tear apart any vessel (church) just as a ship might be tore asunder against a hidden obstacle. stripedd upon the flock like shepherds feasting on their own sheep with no regard for the future of the flock; they gorge themselves without even thinking of the consequences. They are like clouds that produce no rain and don’t stick around long enough to even provide shade. They are as worthless as withered trees striped of leaves and bark and then uprooted; they provide nothing but firewood and Jude says that’s where they are headed – to everlasting fire. As you look and the five different negative descriptions Jude uses to describe them it is pretty clear he considered them highly dangerous – and utterly useless. There were insincere, immoral, and doomed to God’s just punishment for their disrespect of the Gospel, of the Apostles, and of the Church itself.

The Epistle of Jude has been part of the canon of scripture – the accepted books of the Bible – for most of the existence of Christianity. There were some “rough spots” in accepting it as inspired scripture because of references Jude makes to two literary works that were known as traditional stories but which were never considered to be inspired works. One was The Book of Enoch which purported to be the writing of the ancient holy man Enoch (see Genesis 5:21-24) and The Assumption of Moses in which the death of Moses is described. These are referred to as apocryphal books – mythical stories which were popular and well-known, but not inspired scripture. Jude uses these well-known sources to illustrate a point, but in no way does his use of these common quotes signify that he considered them Scripture.

Throughout the entire epistle, Jude is warning the church that they must be thoroughly grounded in the fullest-possible understanding of the teaching of the Apostles, for therein they will find protection from the excessive and ridiculous teachings of the false teaches that have infiltrated their church and in some cases caused others to fall into errors of faith. Jude wars that these unrepentant evil-doers will face God’s most sever judgment for their rebellion against the Gospel, the Church, and Christ and his Holy Apostles. He describes how a whole generation of Israelites died in the desert because they would not trust God and rejected his leadership. Only two people of that generation survived and entered into the Promised Land – Joshua and Caleb. Then he describes how the angels, living in the very presence of God himself, rebelled with Lucifer and were cast out of Heaven. Lastly he describes Sodom and Gomorrah – the very epitome of lawlessness, perversion, and sin. God utterly destroyed those cities but saved Lot and a remnant of his family. Jude says that if God would punish, exile, eliminate the creatures who rejected him, how much more so would he condemn and punish these wicked false teachers who rejected his Son, perverted the Gospel, and endangered the souls of so many who were new to the Living Word as preached by the Apostles and the True Church.

Nowadays, we risk the same kind of error when we take sin for granted, assume there can’t really be eternal punishment, and ignore the same kinds of budding hypocrisy and apostasy in the world today. Wherever there is gross corruption of the Truth, these false teachers are at the core of it. It happens in every religion, and is certainly to be found in all three of the Abrahamic Religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is the Devil’s favorite way of fighting God: Tell a lie that seems just plausible enough and then compound it with more lies once we take the bait.

Beloved, this is the lesson I have wanted you to take from these lessons, that you should know your faith, and that you should start by knowing when God is speaking to you. That is why we have the Bible, the inspired word of God. Next you must learn to discern between false and true teachings, and there again we turn to the Bible in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (4:12) we read that the Word is like a two-edged sword, so effective that it cuts right into us differentiating between the soul and the spirit, between the joints and bones of our lives, and judges the content of our hearts. Paul calls the Word the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17. Get into the word, get into your Bible, then get you and your Bible into church and good, sincere, holy Bible study. Just keep a sharp eye and ear for those hidden reefs that proffer slander, hatred, lust, and self-serving greed.

Share-A-Prayer

Please remember GW in you prayers for the next few weeks as she goes back into treatment after a relapse of her cancer. Her husband C has also had cancer treatments. These faith-filled friends always say “God is still on His Throne.”

Remember also RH who is now recuperating from a big-time surgical procedure, just the latest in a long spate of serious health issues. Pray for endurance and well as respite for his family.

Please continue n your prayers for everyone who suffers addictions to things that destroy health, destroy lives, and do damage to their loved-ones in the process. We have so many requests for addicts, from addicts, and especially about their families and friends. Pray for them because they may not be able to pray for themselves. Pray about them because they may not see the hope you see in taking your prayers to Jesus. And hopefully at times we can pray with the, especially when they cry out to God for merciful deliverance from whatever is separating them from him.

Now, to close, I want to give you the last few verses of Jude, a doxology (literally “praise-words”) NAB:24To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, 25 to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

1217AFC042712 It’s Jude

Read it online here.

Today we will look at the last of the catholic epistles. Most of them are quite short, and this one fits that definition at a mere 25 verses. Like previous letters we have looked at over these past several weeks, this one is packed full of wonderful lessons; indeed, it would be easy to write upwards of a dozen pages about the content of this beautiful letter. One very early scholar of scripture, Origen (O-ruh-jen) wrote “an epistle of few lines, but full of powerful words of heavenly grace.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Copyright, 1939, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. – now in public domain).

Let’s start with a bit of background on who Jude was. At the opening of the letter he writes “Jude, a servant1 of Jesus Christ and brother of James …” He does not name himself as an Apostle, nor does he name his brother, James, as an Apostle. If we look at Mark 6:3 we read,” Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas [a/k/a Jude] and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” Some people believe the word “brother” in this verse signifies cousin, while others believe it means “step-brother.” Whichever you follow, the meaning is that he was in some way related to Jesus. This James, then, is not the Apostle James son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle John. Je is the James who was an early leader of the Jerusalem church. And of course it has nothing to do with the Beatle’s song “Hey Jude” written by Paul McCartney about John Lennon’s son Julian who was taking being separated from his father rather hard during his parents’ divorce. So, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the epistle.

The letter, like other letters from Peter and James, addresses something called apostasy – a renunciation of faith or a refusal to believe the established doctrines of true faith. There is one particular passage I want to highlight:

ESV: 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude was speaking of people who had infiltrated the early Christian churches and, under the guise of being “part of the flock,” behaved in shameful, lewd conduct at the meetings of believers (referred to as love feasts in this epistle). At this time in church history, believers met at the home of one of the members, shared a full meal intended to foster Christian fellowship, and then that was followed by celebration of the Last Supper. These pseudo-believers pretended to be believers when in fact they were just looking for ways to par-tay! Jude had apparently planned to write a longer, more detailed discourse about these false teachers and “church-goers” as Peter had done (there are a lot of similarities between the Epistle of Jude and 2 Peter), but felt it was more urgent to dash of a letter warning of these people who posed an imminent danger to the true church and the true believers.

These false teachers were twisting the teachings of the apostles to suit their own twisted desires. This was leading to confusion among the faithful. Jude refers to them, in the passage above, as “hidden reefs.” Another version of that idea is that they were like sunken rocks that could tear apart any vessel (church) just as a ship might be tore asunder against a hidden obstacle. The feed upon the flock like shepherds feasting on their own sheep with no regard for the future of the flock; they gorge themselves without even thinking of the consequences. They are like clouds that produce no rain and don’t stick around long enough to even provide shade. They are as worthless as withered trees striped of leaves and bark and then uprooted; they provide nothing but firewood and Jude says that’s where they are headed – to everlasting fire. As you look and the five different negative descriptions Jude uses to describe them it is pretty clear he considered them highly dangerous – and utterly useless. There were insincere, immoral, and doomed to God’s just punishment for their disrespect of the Gospel, of the Apostles, and of the Church itself.

The Epistle of Jude has been part of the canon of scripture – the accepted books of the Bible – for most of the existence of Christianity. There were some “rough spots” in accepting it as inspired scripture because of references Jude makes to two literary works that were known as traditional stories but which were never considered to be inspired works. One was The Book of Enoch which purported to be the writing of the ancient holy man Enoch (see Genesis 5:21-24) and The Assumption of Moses in which the death of Moses is described. These are referred to as apocryphal books – mythical stories which were popular and well-known, but not inspired scripture. Jude uses these well-known sources to illustrate a point, but in no way does his use of these common quotes signify that he considered them Scripture.

Throughout the entire epistle, Jude is warning the church that they must be thoroughly grounded in the fullest-possible understanding of the teaching of the Apostles, for therein they will find protection from the excessive and ridiculous teachings of the false teaches that have infiltrated their church and in some cases caused others to fall into errors of faith. Jude wars that these unrepentant evil-doers will face God’s most sever judgment for their rebellion against the Gospel, the Church, and Christ and his Holy Apostles. He describes how a whole generation of Israelites died in the desert because they would not trust God and rejected his leadership. Only two people of that generation survived and entered into the Promised Land – Joshua and Caleb. Then he describes how the angels, living in the very presence of God himself, rebelled with Lucifer and were cast out of Heaven. Lastly he describes Sodom and Gomorrah – the very epitome of lawlessness, perversion, and sin. God utterly destroyed those cities but saved Lot and a remnant of his family. Jude says that if God would punish, exile, eliminate the creatures who rejected him, how much more so would he condemn and punish these wicked false teachers who rejected his Son, perverted the Gospel, and endangered the souls of so many who were new to the Living Word as preached by the Apostles and the True Church.

Nowadays, we risk the same kind of error when we take sin for granted, assume there can’t really be eternal punishment, and ignore the same kinds of budding hypocrisy and apostasy in the world today. Wherever there is gross corruption of the Truth, these false teachers are at the core of it. It happens in every religion, and is certainly to be found in all three of the Abrahamic Religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is the Devil’s favorite way of fighting God: Tell a lie that seems just plausible enough and then compound it with more lies once we take the bait.

Beloved, this is the lesson I have wanted you to take from these lessons, that you should know your faith, and that you should start by knowing when God is speaking to you. That is why we have the Bible, the inspired word of God. Next you must learn to discern between false and true teachings, and there again we turn to the Bible in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (4:12) we read that the Word is like a two-edged sword, so effective that it cuts right into us differentiating between the soul and the spirit, between the joints and bones of our lives, and judges the content of our hearts. Paul calls the Word the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17. Get into the word, get into your Bible, then get you and your Bible into church and good, sincere, holy Bible study. Just keep a sharp eye and ear for those hidden reefs that proffer slander, hatred, lust, and self-serving greed.

Share-A-Prayer

Please remember GW in you prayers for the next few weeks as she goes back into treatment after a relapse of her cancer. Her husband C has also had cancer treatments. These faith-filled friends always say “God is still on His Throne.”

Remember also RH who is now recuperating from a big-time surgical procedure, just the latest in a long spate of serious health issues. Pray for endurance and well as respite for his family.

Please continue n your prayers for everyone who suffers addictions to things that destroy health, destroy lives, and do damage to their loved-ones in the process. We have so many requests for addicts, from addicts, and especially about their families and friends. Pray for them because they may not be able to pray for themselves. Pray about them because they may not see the hope you see in taking your prayers to Jesus. And hopefully at times we can pray with the, especially when they cry out to God for merciful deliverance from whatever is separating them from him.

Now, to close, I want to give you the last few verses of Jude, a doxology (literally “praise-words”) NAB:24To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, 25 to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

Jesus loves you, and so do I.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

Jesus loves you, and so do I.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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