Study Notes

Jude 1:16-25


In his epistle, Jude has given us much to consider about apostates - those who seem to be in the faith, but fall away. Angels who saw the face of God, who abandon their proper abode. Israelites who saw the miracles and deliverance of God, yet fall into unbelief. Christians who seem to be born again, but use grace as a license to sin. We pick up Jude's narrative in verse 16.

1:16 Sins Of The Mouth

Jude has given us descriptions of apostates by their behavior, their attitudes, and their emotions. Now he gives a description of apostates regarding what comes out of their mouths: grumbling, faultfinding, arrogant speech, and flattery.

Why are sins of the mouth such good indicators of apostasy? James tells us,

James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his {own} heart, this man's religion is worthless.

You see, the tongue is just telling what's in someone's heart. The mouth reveals the true nature. If someone's mouth is spewing out sin, it is simply coming straight from his heart. Jesus said,

Luke 6:45 "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil {man} out of the evil {treasure} brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

If you've had trouble with your speech - maybe cursing on the job, gossiping after church, or lying to your parents, the trick is not to try and stop your mouth. You need to stop it at the source: your heart. If it's coming out of your mouth, it's in your heart. We must be careful to have our hearts continually devoted to God. When they're not, our mouths utter terrible things. And Jesus said,

Matt. 12:36-37 "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

This is a solemn warning from the Lord. Instead of sinful words, Jude tells us that we should focus on other words: the apostles' words.

1:17-18 The Words Of The Apostles

The words of apostates are corrupt. But the words of the apostles warn us against them. And they warn us that apostasy is not decreasing - it is increasing. As the last days progress, more and more people in the church itself ridicule the teachings of the Bible, and follow after their own lusts. The apostle Peter warned us about this:

2Pet. 3:3-14 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with {their} mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For {ever} since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God {the} heavens existed long ago and {the} earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one {fact} escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless

No matter what they say, people who mock the Bible don't really have an intellectual problem. They have a sinful problem. "Oh yeah, the Lord is coming back! Sure!" They are afraid to believe the truth, because their deeds are ungodly, because they follow the lust of their flesh.

1:19 Cause Divisions

Finally, Jude gives three last distinctives of apostasy: Causing divisions, worldly-mindedness, and devoid of the Spirit. Those who cause divisions in the body of Christ are doing the work of the devil himself. This is why Paul told Titus,

Titus 3:10-11 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

We are not to tolerate division in the church.

1Cor. 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Division is the manifestation of many sins in the church. It is caused by gossip, judgmentalism, pride, selfishness, and most of all, a lack of love for one another.

1Pet. 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

If we really show love for one another, we will not be destroyed by division.


Worldly-mindedness is another mark of apostasy. To be worldly-minded is to think the same as the world. How does the world feel about divorce? How do you feel about it? How does the world feel about adultery? How do you feel about it? How does the world feel about pornography? How do you feel about it? How does the world feel about alcohol? How do you feel about it? Do you think what the world thinks? That's being worldly-minded.

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

It's as simple as this: if you think like the world, you're worldly minded. If you're conformed to the world, you're out of God's will.

Devoid Of The Spirit

Lastly, apostates are devoid of the Spirit. You know that every Christian has the Holy Spirit living inside of them:

1Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?

2Cor. 1:22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Eph. 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise

God has given us His Spirit as a pledge, a promise, of our eternal inheritance. He now owns us, so He marked us with His seal of ownership - the Spirit. But apostates are devoid of the Spirit. Even though they appear to be Christians, maybe even went forward at an altar call, they do not have the Spirit of God living in them. They never fooled God. He didn't give them the Spirit when they had their "conversion." Even while they were raising their hands or going forward to an invitation to receive Christ, the Lord knew where they'd end up. They were...

Jude 4 ...long beforehand marked out for this condemnation...

So they may have tricked others, maybe even themselves... but not the Lord.

1:20-21 Keep Yourselves In The Love Of God

What does it mean to keep ourselves in the love of God? Can we make God stop loving us? No, but we can take ourselves out of the place where He can show His love to us. Jesus told the disciples,

John 15:9-10 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

If we are Christians, Jesus will always abide in us, but we must continually abide in Him, abiding in His love. He says that if we keep His commandments, we're abiding in His love.

What other ways can we insure that we are keeping ourselves in the love of God? Jude tells us two more ways: Building yourselves up on your most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Spirit

How is our faith built?

Rom. 10:17 So faith {comes} from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

We must continue hearing the Word, reading the Word, and studying the Word.

How can we pray in the Holy Spirit? First of all, we have to pray! Many of our prayer lives are severely lacking. It is so necessary and so good just to devote time to praying and fellowshipping with the Lord. How can we pray in the Spirit? Praying in the Spirit is when I bypass my intellectual limitations and just open up a line of communication with God that goes beyond words. Paul did this by praying in tongues. He told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 14:14-15 ...If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is {the outcome} then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also.

So Paul talked about having the balance between an intellectual prayer life and an emotional one. Understandable prayers and ones which cannot be understood.

By being built up in faith and praying in the Spirit, we can rest assured that we are keeping ourselves in the love of God.

Waiting For The Mercy Of Jesus To Eternal Life

Another way to keep ourselves from apostasy is to wait anxiously for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we read in 2Peter 3, apostates don't believe He's coming back But Jesus promised that He is in fact coming back, and we must live as if every day is the day of His return.

Mark 13:33-37 "Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the {appointed} time is. It is like a man, away on a journey, {who} upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, {assigning} to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert - for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrowing, or in the morning - lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'"

This is how Jesus told us to live - it keeps us from living in sin, from falling into apostasy. By living this way, Paul, at the end of his life, was able to say,

2Tim. 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul lived in eager anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ.

1:22-23 Mercy On Some Who Are Doubting

There are people you will encounter that are on their way to apostasy. Some because of doubt, some because of believing false doctrines, and some because of sin.

Those who are doubting, we must be merciful to, lovingly encouraging them in faith and sharing with them from the Word of God.

Rom. 14:1 ...Accept the one who is weak in faith...

To those who have fallen into false doctrines, we must attempt to save them - not worrying so much about mercy and love, but about pointing out the heresies and doctrines of demons that they have bought into. Most of the book of 1Timothy deals with Paul telling Timothy that it his obligation to instruct these guys not to teach strange doctrines.

To those who have fallen into sin, we must be merciful - yet with fear. For there is no more dangerous person to a Christian than another Christian who is enjoying their sin. You see, the Bible acknowledges that sin is fun for a season (Heb 11:24-25). Sin does have its passing pleasure. And a Christian who is taking pleasure in his sin can drag you down very quickly. That's why Paul warned,

1Cor. 5:9-11 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I {did} not at all {mean} with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler - not even to eat with such a one.

So have mercy on the sinner, but also have fear.

1:24-25 The Benediction

Finally, Jude finishes up his epistle with a benediction. God is able to keep us from stumbling and falling. If we continue running the race and abiding in His love, we will stand before Him blameless, with great joy.

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