To say that the church is at war with false teachers and the false doctrines they teach is no understatement. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, NKJV). Paul also encouraged Timothy to “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18) and “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
Jude’s Purpose for Writing
Jude was inspired to address this need as well. God wanted His people to know the importance of contending earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). To contend literally means to fight in defense of something.
God, through His servant Jude, was teaching us that our faith, the faith which is in Christ Jesus, is worth fighting to protect. As Paul said, it is not a carnal or physical war that is being waged, but a spiritual war, a war of knowledge between good and evil, between obedience and disobedience.
Know the Enemy
To win this war against the forces of darkness, God’s people must first know their enemy. Anyone willing to walk after the works of the flesh and not the will of God is an enemy of the cross of Christ, whether they realize it or not.
Paul wrote, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:17-19).
So that we might know the enemy and what to expect of them, Jude gives us several descriptions. Beginning in verse four, Jude writes, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
You will observe that these “ungodly men” crept in unnoticed. Having crept in, and perhaps having gained a foothold, they began promoting their Satanic agenda of defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and speaking evil of glories or “glorious ones” (Jude 8).
They “speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 10).
Jude continued by describing them as “spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves; they are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 12-13).
Doubtless, these false teachers are “ungodly sinners” committing “ungodly deeds… in an ungodly way” speaking “harsh things” against the Christ who shall ultimately bring His victorious judgment against them (Jude 15).
Jude’s inspired description of these ungodly men continues: “These are murmurers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage” (Jude 16).
Having read that verse, you will observe that another one of their methods is to flatter people to gain advantage – not to encourage, not to teach, not to love – but solely for the advancement of their devilish schemes and “ungodly lusts” (Jude 18).
They are “mockers…sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 19).
Having read Jude’s description you can see how terrible an enemy they are. Indeed, those who love the Lord and His church have their work cut out for them.
How Do We Win?
In order for the Lord’s people to win this war, not only must we know the enemy we face, but we must “remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ… building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 17-23).
Herein Jude gives us seven admonitions to secure victory against the ungodly enemy we face: (1) Keep in memory the teachings of scripture; (2) Keep building your faith; (3) Keep praying in the Spirit; (4) Keep yourselves in the love of God; (5) Keep looking for the mercy of Christ that will lead to life eternal; (6) Keep saving souls – whether by compassion or fear; (7) Keep hating the works of the flesh which defile the precious souls Christ came to save.
When we practice these seven principles we will be earnestly contending for the faith once delivered, exposing the enemies of God and their satanic agenda to destroy the church, while continuing to win souls for Christ by keeping His precious mission alive and well.
Jude teaches us that as Christians, it is our job to expose these creeping and ungodly men for what they are and what they are trying to accomplish, comparing their devilish deeds to the true grace, mercy, and teachings of Christ Jesus.
As God’s people, let us gratefully and sincerely appreciate all that He is willing to do for us. Let us live according to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, while faithfully and accurately depicting the glorious Christ in an ungodly world.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).