The title of this post comes from the following scripture passage, written by Judah.
Judah identifies himself first as a slave of the Lord Jesus and then as the brother of James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Judah is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus.
Judah tells us that he earnestly wanted to write about God’s salvation realized but he turns quickly to the false teaching among his “beloved ones.” These false teachings sprung up in the early days of the church and even while the apostles, the eye witnesses, were still alive.
Beware: false teaching is happening everywhere around us, even more so since the first century AD.
In those days Gnostic teaching of the antinomian type was creeping into the church teaching. The Gnostic “false teachers” viewed the material as evil and the spiritual as good. Thus they cultivated their ‘spiritual’ lives and let the flesh to do whatever it desired to do. In effect, they gave license for all kinds of fleshy lawlessness including acceptance of the sexual perversion of homosexuality as normative within the church of the Lord Jesus.
Gnosticism exists today in all its lawless or antinomian forms within many our churches: Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran or the Evangelical church.
Here is Judah’s letter:
The Letter of Judah
Contend for the faith
Judah, slave of Jesus the Messiah, brother of James, to those who are called, the people whom God loves and whom Jesus, the Messiah, keeps safe! May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Beloved, I was doing my best to write to you about the rescue in which we share, but I found it necessary to write to you to urge you to struggle hard for the faith which was once and for all given to God’s people. Some people have sneaked in among you, it seems, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation ~ ungodly people, who are transforming God’s grace into licentiousness, and denying the one and only master, our Lord Jesus the Messiah.
I do want to remind you, even though you know it all well, that when the Lord once and for all delivered his people out of Egypt, he subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. In the same way, when some of the angels did not keep to their rightful place of authority, but abandoned their own home, he kept them under conditions of darkness and in eternal chains to await the judgment of the great day. In similar fashion, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities round about, which had lived in gross immorality and lusted after unnatural flesh, are set before us as a pattern, undergoing the punishment of endless fire.
However, these people are behaving in the same way! They are dreaming their way into defiling their flesh, rejecting authority, and cursing the glorious ones. Even Michael the archangel, when disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not presume to lay a charge against him of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These people, however curse anything they don’t know. They are like dumb animals; there are some things they understand instinctively ~ but it is these very things that destroy them. A curse on them! They go off in the way of Cain; they give themselves over for money into Balaam’s deceitful ways; they are destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. These are the ones who pollute your love-feasts; they share your table without fear while simply looking after their own needs. They are waterless clouds blown along by the winds. They are the fruitless autumn trees, doubly dead and uprooted. They are stormy waves out at sea, splashing up their own shameful ways. They are wandering stars, and the deepest everlasting darkness has been kept for them in particular.
Enoch, the seventh in line from Adam, prophesied about these people. “Look!” he said. “The Lord comes with ten thousand of his holy ones, to perform judgment against all, and to charge every human being with all the ungodly ways in which they have done ungodly things, and with every harsh word which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are always grumbling and complaining, chasing off after their own desires. From their mouths come arrogant words, buttering people up for the sake of gain.
Rescued by God’s Power
But you, my beloved ones, remember the words that were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. “In the last time,” they said to you, “there will be scornful people who follow their own ungodly desires. These are the people who cause divisions. They are living on the merely human level; they do not have the spirit. But you, beloved ones, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the holy spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of god, as you wait for our Lord Jesus the Messiah to show you mercy which leads to the life of the age to come.
With some people who are wavering, you must show mercy. Some you must rescue, snatching them from the fire. To others you must show mercy, but with fear, hating even the clothes that have been defiled by the flesh.
Now to the one who is able to keep you standing upright, and to present you before his glory, undefiled and joyful ~to the one and only God, our savior through Jesus the Messiah our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all ages, and now, and to all the ages to come. Amen. (emphasis mine)
“Doubly Dead and Uprooted” aptly describes the moral relativism, the lawlessness, of our day. People are uprooted from absolute truth and are just dead tree limbs, blown about by the winds and whims of our “values” culture.
I have written about our culture’s ‘uprooting’ in previous posts.
Fear and Loathing in America’s Shires
Tear Down That Anthropocentricity
Many churches now teach a ‘feel-good gospel’ that is ‘inclusive’ – but also damning.
With our churches failing in their mssion to make disciples, America is now rebuilding itself on a foundation of sand, of lawlessness, much like Europe has already done. We will soon be washed away. The torrents will come.
My “beloved ones’: Reading Judah’s letter you can’t help notice that as someone who grew up with Jesus Judah understood his half-brother Jesus from his orthodox Jewish perspective to be the anticipated Messiah.
Judah mentions Jesus the “Messiah” over and over again within this short missive. The Kingdom of God on earth began in those days and continues to the present! Judah urged his brothers and sisters in the faith, including us, “to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.”
(Tree limb picture from Aerophant.com)