Monday, August 27, 2007

Authority Rejecting 101--Jude 8-10

“Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’. But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively”.

Remember that Jude is warning his readers against false teachers. We learn a little more about their teaching today, and find that is very similar to teaching that is still around in our day. For a real life example check out the video on this page: Church However You Want

If you watched this video I hope you noticed a few of the statements that are contrary to biblical teaching. First of all they have no "statement of belief” (what then would Jude be calling us to contend for in v.3). There is no strong authority structure (but what about the places of authority that God has mandated—see Romans 13). Did you notice all of the “I believes”? These people have rejected authority, they have rejected the Law. Just as the one young lady said, “I see the Bible as changing”. When we begin to define and reshape Jesus into our own image, a God of our own liking, we are standing on dangerous and slippery ground, just like the folks that Jude is ministering to.

Listen to Jude’s condemnation of these false teachers (v8). First of all, notice what it is they are relying on, “their dreams”. Some commentators think that this is a reference to erotic dreams and fantasies that they have given themselves over to. The more probable explanation, however, is that it is a reference to relying on their supernatural revelation they have received through visions. (This would be very similar then to many in the charismatic movement that “talk to Jesus” and therefore cannot be questioned). Because these men have received this “special revelation” they in turn are rejecting moral authority. Therefore, they are living however they desire. This is the problem that we see in v8; they defile the flesh (sexual immorality) and they reject authority and blaspheme the glorious ones (reject Christ Lordship and the authority of law and the angels who gave it).

Jude then gives an example from the apocryphal book “The Assumption of Moses” to compare these false teachers with the archangel Michael. Some see Jude’s point in verse 9 as being, “If Michael refuses to rebuke Satan how much more should sinful man refrain from slandering Satan?” Others, (and this more closely fits the context) see the argument as being, “If Michael could not reject Satan’s claim on his own authority, because He is not judge, then how can we possibly think that we mere finite creatures are a law unto ourselves?” In other words Jude is saying, “No man is an autonomous moral authority”. I do not get to pick what is right and wrong. God is the Judge. God is the source of truth.

And it is at this point that we must not only compare the teaching of Jude with the teachings of the church in the above video, but also the teachings of our church and our individual lives. What do you see happen whenever truth is rejected? It usually leads to immorality. That is what happened in Jude’s church (see v10). We should ask ourselves today:

  • What is my source of decision making? If I were asked the question, “what should a church look like” how would I answer?
  • Am I living on“instincts” or God’s Word?
  • In what way do I "define" truth rather than matching it up to God's Word?
  • How might Jesus rescue me from finding truth in myself instead of in Him?
  • Are there "authorities" God has placed in my life that I am rejecting? (This includes the police, parents, spouses, teachers...etc)

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