James and Jude
Created for This
When a person is doing what they were created to do, they are filled with joy despite sacrifices that must be made. They have a sense of energy. They find satisfaction when their goals are accomplished and they are persistent in overcoming any obstacles.1 And having Christ the center of our lives is the first and main step in doing what we were created to do. Once we’ve given the outcome of who we will be to the Lord, then He can truly work in us to bless the world for His glory.
That’s what Jude found out. Like his brother James, when he gave His life to Christ, Jude was able to become the man God wanted Him to be. Jude’s letter to us is only 25 verses long. Yet, these few paragraphs contain some of the most forceful words in Scripture, especially for this time in history. As we study Jude’s letter these next three weeks, let’s prayerfully look for how God can use us to bless others for His glory.
I. DAY ONE
A. Psalm 33:11 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (NKJV). Sometimes our plans need to be modified to match those of God’s heart. Jude found his plans changed, too. Read Jude 1:1-4
1. In Jude’s salutation, he writes to those who are “called,” “beloved” and “kept for Jesus Christ.” What do these descriptions mean to you?
2. What blessing does this half-brother of Jesus pray for his readers in verse 2?
3. The main theme of Jude’s letter, found in Jude 1:3, is exhorting believers to “contend earnestly for the faith.” But what was Jude’s original plan for his letter according to this verse?
a. Jude was so compelled to change his writing topic that he used the word “appealing” in the NASB which means “beg, entreat, and beseech.”2
b. Read Matthew 8:5, Matthew 18:26, 32, Mark 5:23, and Acts 11:23 for a look at the depth of emotion associated with this term which might translate to words like “encourage,” “implore,” “urge” or “encourage.”
c. What urgent message has God put on your heart for others?
B. Any change, big or small, in the life of a believer determined to follow God, is ultimately good and according to His plan (Romans 8:28). Although using his skills to encourage believers was a good idea, the Holy Spirit impressed Jude to issue a warning instead.
1. In Jude 1:4, what had been happening to the believers?
2. Read II Peter 2:1-3 which has a similar warning to that of Jude’s. Focus for a moment on what these people were doing within the churches. Why do you think the believers didn’t see what was happening?
3. In what ways do we sometimes miss sinful behavior today?
II. DAY TWO
A. False teachers in the church expertly, yet subtly mislead believers. In Jude’s day, a cultural and religious fad called Gnosticism promoted the idea that the spiritual aspect of life is good and should be cultivated. But, they also believed the physical part of life is bad, so it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies.3 As you might guess, this opened the door for unchecked sin.
1. Complacency—or feeling comfortable with what’s happening—can blind us to what’s actually being taught. James writes to the believers what they already knew, but putting it into fresh context to help thwart complacency and show what is in store for false teachers. Read Jude 1:5 with Numbers 21:4-9 and Numbers 25:1-9.
a. What do these passages reveal about the results of unbelief?
b. What can you do in your daily life to help counter unbelief?
2. The second example Jude uses to show the type of judgment for false teachers is that of fallen angels. Read Jude 1:6 and II Peter 2:4.
a. According to Jude, what do fallen angels have to look forward to?
b. In Genesis 6:1-4 we get a glimpse into what these fallen angels did.
c. The use of “sons of God” in the Old Testament is used exclusively for “angels.” Read Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7.
B. Angels are somewhat of a mystery. But Scripture gives some clues as to their character and function. Read Matthew 4:11, 13:41, 16:27, 18:10, 25:41, and 26:53.
1. What do we know about angels from Jesus’ experience and explanation from these verses?
2. Why do you think Jude chose to use fallen angels as an illustration?
3. How is this an effective warning to false teachers of today?
III. DAY THREE
A. We learned yesterday that because the false teachers in Jude’s day were unbelieving and stepping beyond their rightful place, they wouldn’t be spared, just as the rebellious Hebrews and defiant angels weren’t. Now we see the false teachers’ fate compared to yet another group, that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
1. Read Jude 1:7 along with II Peter 2:6 and Genesis 18:16-21, 19:1-29.
a. What was the offense of Sodom and Gomorrah?
b. What are some phrases that show God was just in the case of these two cities?
c. The example of Sodom and Gomorrah was used as a warning many times in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 1:9-10, Jeremiah 49:18) and the New Testament (Matthew 10:15, Romans 9:29, Revelation 11:8). How do these illustrations and pictures help you understand the depth of sin and God’s sadness over it?
2. In verse 8 of his epistle, Jude says that false teachers parallel what the men of Sodom and Gomorrah had done. Ultimately, “they show utter contempt for Authority and make a jest of the heavenly glories” (Philips translation).
a. Contempt means “to hold and treat as of no account, utterly to despise.”4 Read Mark 9:12 and Luke 23:11. How do these verses fulfill Jude’s idea of derision by false teachers?
b. How does scorn for Christ show up in churches today?
IV. DAY FOUR
A. In today’s verse, Jude 1:9, we learn something about Michael the Archangel. To show the audacity of false teachers, we discover that even the highest rank of angel in Scripture doesn’t presume the way they do.
1. Read Daniel 10:10-21, 12:1; and Revelation 12:7 for some details about Michael’s activities.
a. What are some of the things these verses teach us about this archangel?
b. How do Michael’s actions match those found in Psalm 103:20?
2. According to Deuteronomy 34:6, what do we know about Moses’ body?
a. Why do you think Satan was so set on getting the actual body?
b. The Lord had a purpose for not disclosing the location of Moses’ body to man. What difference would it have made if God had allowed his body to be found?
B. Jude helped his readers recognize false teachers from the One true Teacher—his half-brother, Jesus Christ. Michael, with all his God-given power, did not take it upon himself to rebuke Satan. Read Jude 1:9 with Luke 4:35, 9:42.
1. In whose name did Jesus rebuke the demons in these verses?
2. When people witnessed the power of Jesus, Luke 9:43a says, “they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”
3. What should be our focus as we face the enemy?
V. DAY FIVE
A. The intensity in Jude’s writing makes readers realize his voice was one of very few in that day. But the end was evident for unrepentant false teachers and it seems Jude didn’t want any naïve people to be taken down with them.
1. Read Jude 1:10. The word “revile” is also translated “blaspheme,” “speak evil” or “mock and curse.”
a. Exactly what do the false teachers revile?
b. What do they know and what is the end result?
2. Read I Timothy 1:6-7
a. According to this passage, what kind of speech do these men have?
b. How do they act in their ignorance?
B. In Day 1, we discussed how sin can slip by us. Read II Timothy 4:1-4 for a further explanation of how false teachers can unduly influence.
1. In II Timothy 4:3, why do people turn aside to follow “myths” (II Timothy 4:4)?
2. How should we prepare ourselves in preparation for this time that will come?
3. Hebrews 3:13 in the Philips translation says, “Help each other to stand firm in the faith every day, while it is still called ‘Today,’ and beware that none of you becomes deaf and blind to God through the delusive glamour of sin.”
a. What does this verse mean to you in light of not only the fate of false teachers but of those who are unaware of their presence?
Jude was created to stand. There was a tide of false teachers rising—as there have been in every generation since and will continue to be until Christ comes again. Though he hadn’t believed his half-brother’s message at first, Jude finally understood and grasped Truth—with both hands.
As you reflect on this week’s lesson—and next week’s—ask the Holy Spirit to make your heart sensitive to false teachings. Ask Him to help you remember the outcome of what happens when people lead others astray if they never repent. And, like Jude, give you the words to explain to fellow believers Truth.
[Author’s note: I’m using the New American Standard Bible for the study on James unless otherwise noted.]
1. “Answering The ‘What Should I Do With My Life?’ Question,” seminar by Dr. Jeff Meyers, Christian Home Educators Association of California conference, Pasadena, CA, July 16-18, 2010.
2. “Dictionary and Word Search for parakaleō (Strong’s 3870),” (Blue Letter Bible: 1996-2010), 20 Jul 2010.
3. Charles C. Ryrie, “Introductory Notes to Jude,” Ryrie Study Bible, NASB, (Moody Press: Chicago, 1995).
4. “Dictionary and Word Search for exoudeneō (Strong’s 1847),” (Blue Letter Bible: 1996-2010), 23 Jul 2010.
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