JUDE 5, 17-23

INTRO: We are living in a time when it seems that the Church is more susceptible to false

teachers than ever before. Biblical ignorance in the Church has reached all time

highs. If you don't believe that read some of the sermons of today and compare it

with any randomly chosen published sermon of one of the spiritual giants prior to

1850. Also look at the Christian literature of today compared with what was written

and published a hundred years or so ago. Vast numbers in the Church today seem to

believe that they are ”...rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”

(Revelation 3:17).

Many today do not see the danger of false teachers in the Church. They seem to

believe that false teaching could never be a serious problem in the Church in our

generation. But friends, apostasy like sin starts out small and grows into a major

problem quickly. As we are warned in Galatians 5:9—“A little leaven leaveneth the

whole lump” we must ever be vigilant to keep apostasy in check. We are encouraged

in 1 John 4:1—“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of

God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

As we close out our series THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH we want to consider

SURVIVING THE AGE OF APOSTASY. Let us see two things this evening...


HEBREWS 5:12-13—“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that

one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are

become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that

useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”

A. THE FACE OF THE CHURCH TODAY. It appears today that solid, sound Biblical

teaching has been dumbed-down--made as broad and as shallow as possible, oversimplified,

and adapted to its lowest level--tailored to appeal to people with short attention spans. The

average sermon today is almost always brief, simplistic, and full of references to popular

culture. Many times illustrations and jokes drawn from personal experiences are elevated

over Scripture itself. Friends, the use of illustrations and humor is fine from time to time but

the Bible tells the man of God to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;

reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2).

What most contemporary preachers do today is almost the direct opposite of what Paul

described as his method of preaching where he sought to “ declare...all the counsel of God.”

(Acts 20:27). Paul's approach to gospel ministry was--”And I, brethren, when I came to you,

came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my

preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit

and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of

God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Paul determined not to customize his message or adjust his

mode of delivery to suit the philosophies and tastes of his hearers.

The church-growth experts of today appear to have no confidence in the power of Scripture

at all. They seem to believe that the gospel must be revamped, revitalized, and reworked for

every generation. Forty years of that approach has left evangelicals grossly untaught, wholly

unprepared to defend the truth, and almost entirely unaware of how much is at stake (John F.

MacArthur. The Truth War. pp. 167-168). A major target of modernists for quite some time

has been the Biblical doctrine of the substitutionary atoning death of Jesus Christ. There are

some today that say the gospel message needs to be adapted to appeal to the delicate and

sensitive tastes of postmodern man. But friends, the Scripture is clear: Jesus Christ suffered

on the Cross as our substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6), He took all the punishment we deserved for us

(2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:27-28; 1 Peter 3:18). His death was propitiary--it met the

demands of almighty God's wrath against sin on the believer's behalf (Romans 3:25;

Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). But this Biblical doctrine has been vigorously attacked in

recent years by those who insist that it makes God appear harsh, barbaric, and unloving.

They are in effect advocating the offense of the cross because it is too uncouth for their

tastes. One influential author referred to the principle of the substitutionary atonement as

”twisted” ”morally dubious”, and ”a form of cosmic child abuse.” (John F. MacArthur. The

Truth War. p. 169).

B. THE FOLLY IN THE CHURCH TODAY. Many ”church” books today and ”Christian”

web sites have repeated proposed the wholesale scraping and reimaging of many of the

doctrines the Church has held dear for centuries--the inerrancy of the Scripture, the authority

of the Scripture, the doctrine of original sin, and the exclusivity of Christ. Much of the blame

for this lies with the EmergingChurch movement.

Many denominations have embraced modernistic doctrine and liberalism are paying the price

for it. Someone has pointed out: ”When we allow false teachers to reach the popular TV

version of doctrine and churches are built on entrepreneurial skills and not the Word of God,

we will have churches that are a mile wide and an inch deep spiritually.”

As we see the apostasy rising in the Church today the question is, ”What will our response be?” Let us consider....


JUDE 1:5—“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how

that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward

destroyed them that believed not.”

*Jude in vv5, 17-23 gives us three appropriate responses to apostasy...

A. REMEMBER. Jude urges us to remember what was prophesied. The apostles told about

the coming of false teachers. Peter warned in 2 Peter 2:1-3—“But there were false prophets

also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall

bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon

themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of

whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with

feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not,

and their damnation slumbereth not.” These words of Peter and these words of Jude which

parallel Peter's words in many ways call us to remember two things:

GOD IS SOVEREIGN. Just because false teachers have infiltrated the Church Jude is reminding us that this does not mean God's plan has gone astray. God is not surprised by none of this and in His time and way will respond accordingly.

GOD'S PEOPLE MUST NOT SLUMBER. Our duty in responding to apostasy is for us to respond scripturally. We should not be surprised when false teacher appear in the Church and we must be prepared for the reality of it. It is our wake-up call!

B. REMAIN. Sadly, today the Church has lost the art of edification. The Scripture tells us we

are to build one another up in the faith and maintain that principle. How can we accomplish

this? Jude gives us four things to consider:

WE MUST REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE SCRIPTURE. We are told in v20 we are to be—“building up yourselves on your most holy faith...”. The phrase “your most holy faith” refers to sound doctrine--having a right understanding of truth as it is revealed to us through Scripture.

WE MUST REMAIN SPIRITUALLY STABLE. We do this by “praying in the Holy Ghost...”. We constantly commune with God by going before Him in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit. When we do this it shows our dependence on God and proclaims our trust in His protection, grace, wisdom, and power.

WE MUST REMAIN OBEDIENT. V21 says—“Keep yourselves in the love of God...”. This is Jude's way of reminding us to be obedient in our walk for God. Jesus said in John 14:21—“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Jesus told His disciples to “abide in my love.” We read in John 15:9-10—“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”

WE MUST REMAIN LOOKING FOR HIS RETURN. Jude says we are to be “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We must keep an eager expectation of Christ's second coming. We must set our minds on heavenly things not on things here below (Colossians 3:2). Friends, this is the only way to survive in the age of apostasy. In the ultimate end only what is eternal really matters! The truth matter infinitely more than any thing this word has to offer us.

To survive in the age of apostasy we must REMEMBER, REMAIN and...

C. REACH OUT. Friends, because many deceivers have gone out into the world there are

many who have been deceived. Our duty in THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH is not only to

oppose false teacher but also to reach out to those whom they have led astray. In vv. 22-23

Jude writes—“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with

fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Those who

are affected by apostasy fall into one of three groups:

THE CONFUSED. These are they that doubt. In being exposed to false teaching they have had their faith in the truth shaken. They are committed to error yet, but they are doubting. They are being swayed back and forth between truth and error.

THE CONVINCED. These are those that Jude says we must be ”pulling them out of the fire.” When you meet a person who is a convinced follower of some false teacher or teaching don't turn your back on that person. God works in what we consider to be hopeless cases.

THE COMMITTED. Jude uses some very strong language here: ”...hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” The word spotted is translated from a Greek word that means “blemished, stained, defective.” Heresy that undermines the Gospel is a horrible sin because it places the soul in eternal peril under the darkness of the kind of lies that keep people in permanent bondage to their sins.

CLOSING: Friends, truth is not determined by our opinion or imagination. TRUTH is what

God decrees! His Word gives us an infallible source of saving truth. In the

Scripture we are give all the truth we need to sustain us, supply us, and enable us

to serve God acceptably. May we earnestly contend for the faith so the Church

can grow and the cause of truth can prosper.

THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH is a good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Friends, let us

wage a good warfare for the honor and glory of God! To survive in the age of

apostasy we must REMEMBER, REMAIN, and REACH OUT. Friend, will you

do that? Will you follow God's plan for your life and for the growth of our Church?