Friday, August 31, 2007

Jesus is Coming--What will Become of Thee?--Jude 14-16

It was also about these that Enoch[1], the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

Jesus is coming back! Let that sink in for a moment. Resist the urge to start asking questions, “When”, “How”, “For whom”? Just let it sink in, Jesus is coming back! What does that do to your heart? Does it excite you? Does it invoke fear? The other day as we were shopping for props and costumes for our next movie I noticed a T-shirt which said, “Jesus is coming!” Then down at the bottom it said, “Hide the porn”. Even though we would probably not be quite that brazen, I wonder how many of us would have the urge to hide stuff if we knew Jesus was coming back 2 minutes from now. And it is rather ironic that Scripture predicts that in the last days there will be people who ridicule the idea of Jesus coming back. () Jesus is coming back and much of Scripture, including Jude here, lets us know that it will not be a pretty picture for many. Jesus is coming, and He is coming back as Judge—and even if you “hide the porn” He is still going to find you guilty.

Notice how many times Jude (actually 1 Enoch) uses the word “ungodly” in one form or another. I count 4 in two verses. Jesus is coming back to judge the ungodly. Certainly, at the forefront of Jude’s mind are the false teachers, but even if we are not “false teachers” it still has application for us today. First of all notice the scope (extent) of this judgment, notice who Jude says will be judge by Jesus. Did you notice in verse 15 that it says, “to execute judgment on all”? We will all be judged by Jesus. And the ungodly will be “convicted”. Now notice the characteristics of those who will be judged. Deeds of ungodliness, people who have spoken against the Lord, grumblers, malcontents, loud-mouthed boasters, people who show favoritism to gain advantage. Do you find yourself in that list anywhere? I do.

If we look a little deeper at what Jude means by these things I think we will certainly see ourselves in that list. When Jude refers to these false teachers as “grumblers” more than likely he is referring to the Israelites in the wilderness who were grumbling against God. Have you ever grumbled against God? Complained because of how life was treating you? Angry because God is doing something you do not agree with? “Malcontents” means much the same thing, but this time Jude says they follow their own sinful desires. Instead of being content with the will of God (more than likely His holy law) they live their life how they want to. Sound familiar yet? And furthermore they boast about it. These men are arrogant in their sin. And finally we see that they show favoritism to gain advantage. More than likely Jude is referring to the fact that their preaching and life differs based upon their audience. Perhaps they are easy on the rich and try really hard to gain their favor and ostracize the poor. We may not be as guilty of this specific sin, but how often are we a different person based upon the crowd we are in. I have no difficulty finding myself in this passage. It saddens me to say that I sometimes grumble. I’m discontent. I might even be a loud-mouthed boaster (making it seem or sound like I have it all together and know exactly what I am talking about). I would like to think that I do not show favoritism to gain advantage, but I am certain that I either have or do occasionally still.

As far as application I think we can look at four quick things. The base point that Jude is making is this—“Don’t follow these ungodly people who are going to be judged—because then you will become ungodly and will be judged”. Secondly, I think we can look at this and see an exhortation from Jude not to be like these false teachers, we should reflect our holy Lord and not these ungodly sinners. Next, I see a redemptive purpose in this passage. I am ungodly. I am going to still fall short, and still be grumbling. What hope then do I have? Again, we find from this text our need for a Savior. So, let us be holy and be exhorted to not be like these false teachers but at the same time let us cling to the grace of Christ for power to overcome the sin and for cleansing because we do not. Lastly, I see another angle to this redemptive purpose. Knowing that we are ungodly and knowing that Jesus is coming back to judge the ungodly we must ask ourselves, “am I to be found righteous?” Does the blood of Jesus cover me?
In the words of John Newton ask yourself today:
At his call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth to sea;
All the powers of nature, shaken
By His looks, prepare to flee
Careless sinner,
What will become of thee?
[1] You will not find 1 Enoch in your Bible. It is a work that many in the Early Church used but it is not a canonical source. Jude is not saying it is canonical he is merely using it as a source. Because of Jude’s quote it does not make 1 Enoch inspired, only the letter of Jude is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

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