Jude is a short book with a lot of depth. At Shallowbrook this year Tom Kerr covered most of it giving a very good outline of the themes of the book.
Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude 1:1, NASB
The book is addressed to individuals not to the Church. The Church – that is the Church that man is responsible for not the Church that God builds which is perfect – in the closing books of the New Testament is seen as a thing judged by God. But to the individual we see those who are beloved in God the Father. Some translations say, "them that are sanctified." This is power for our daily life, our walk. We have the present and immediate consciousness that God loves us. This love is set apart in God. There is no question of losing something that someone else keeps.
An enormous truth is here expressed, we are kept for Jesus Christ and as some translations say, "preserved in," Jesus Christ. No matter your translation both thoughts are true and deeply precious. We are kept for and by Christ for Himself (Ephesians 5:27).
May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.
Jude 1:2, NASB
In verse 2 we see mercy, peace, and love. Mercy is introduced because of the great need of mercy by the individual. Receiving mercy necessarily draws our heart, soul, and mind upward. Justification is what gives us peace with God (Romans 5:1 also see Justification). This peace is our title though we may not be living in it. We have every right to by scripture. This being multiplied to you is the desire of Jude. Our upward ministry and inward peace should bring us to the point of overflowing, feeding, and drawing those around us to God, an outward ministry.
Of note, Jude, in the 3rd verse of the epistle, makes a claim I frankly hadn't noticed before.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Jude 1:3, NASB
The subject Jude covers in his epistle is not what he wanted to write initially! His desire was to write concerning "our common salvation." Jude was subject to the Spirit of God leading him to write what was of necessity. There is a great lesson for us in this that our own will and desire has to be subject to God.
The idea of contending earnestly is illustrated by Shammah the son of Agee. 2 Samuel 23:11–12 shows how Shammah, one of David's mighty men, defended a field full of lentils against the Philistines. Sometimes contending earnestly is not always for a grand or glorious thing but for what is simply true.
We must also always keep in mind, "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." By this we understand that all doctrine, all teaching, all dogma must be examined in the light of scripture! If scripture is silent on a subject we must be careful to not create points with which we are dogmatic about. Where scripture is clear we must bow to it. Where scripture is unclear we should not forget to examine our hearts as to why it is not clear, and ask for the Lord to make it clear to us. Why is this so important? Because this faith which we have was handed down to us by the loving hands of our savior. It is something dear to Him, and should be dear to us as well.
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehandmarked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:4, NASB
In verse 4 we get to the subject that Jude is to take up in this epistle, apostasy. One interesting thing we see these evil men that have "crept in." In 1 John 2:18–19 we see that evil ones had gone out. The evil Jude is concerned with here is not that which is without but within.
5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 1:5–7, NASB
Three examples are used in verses 5 through 7 of corporate apostasy. These are Israel in the wilderness, the angels who did not keep their own domain, and Sodom and Gomorrah. At Shallowbrook we mostly focused on Israel in the wilderness in this example due to the volume of ministry over the years that typifies the Church with Israel (not saying they are the same). Starting in Exodus 15 the People grumbled and complained about water, food, and their destination. They were provided with water (Exodus 15:25), they were provided with food (Exodus 16:4, Exodus 16:12), and they were provided a land (Numbers 13:2). All throughout the complaining we don't really get to the point of Jude 5. We see judgement, we see governmental correction, and we see backsliding but we don't get to point of apostasy until we get to the people's response to the report of the spies. In Numbers 14 we see the people wishing they had rather died in Egypt and immediately saying "let's go back." They decide to appoint a leader and then they plot to kill Moses. This is the point of Jude 5. Israel completely rejects God's place for them, which is the Land He has promised them, and choose to return to bondage.
This is similar to what we see by the angels that reject their domain. They reject the place God has for them. Also, in the case of the Men of Sodom. God has a place for men and it is not pawing at the door of Lot. These men although they experienced governmental correction (Genesis 19:11) would not stop trying to find the door.
8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:8–9, NASB
This exchange in verses 8 and 9 is very interesting. We see the nature of the apostate as a dreamer, defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and reviling angelic majesties. When looking at many false religions how often do we see claims of special angelic connection? Michael the archangel when he was contending with the devil, a fallen angel, did not dare to do what these apostates do.
The book of Jude is condensed. Even though it is a short book we have large subjects brought to our attention. We will cover the rest of the book in part 2.