Jude 1:16, “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.”
I want to continue with the thoughts we left off with concerning the character and nature of those that Jude is describing, but I also want to remind you again and reiterate the fact that Jude is writing this TO the church and as a warning to stay vigilant and to continue to walk in holiness and Jude is reminding them that their daily walk is still a choice they have to make.
In verse 16 though, Jude goes into a bit more detail, a bit more descriptive of these apostates and false teachers, those that walked in the light and now have turned back into darkness. We seen Jude describe these as ungodly and he punctuated that fact by using that term four times in the previous verses.
So in this verse, Jude describes their ungodly words and deeds in much more detail. Why would he be so specific? Remember, he is writing to the church, WARNING the church of what to look out for as some of these people creep in stealthily and unawares. In other words, they may speak the Word of God, just like the devil did with Jesus, they may appear to be saying all the right things and even engage in “religious speak” but eventually their true nature will come out by their deeds AND their speech.
I can’t help but go back to some of the words of Jesus, Himself when He walked with the disciples. Remember particularly chapter 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” – Matthew 7:15-20.
So many in the churches today are quick to point out that you can’t judge. The first part of this chapter is explicit in that, but it is misrepresented so much due to lack of teaching and lack of study. The Lord Himself is warning the Church that we have to be on guard and be aware! I’m sorry, but you have to get YOUR theology right with the Word of God and not the other way around. We WILL know the false and the apostates by their fruit produced but many times an even quicker way is found with something else Jesus stated.
You can find this in the Gospel of Matthew also, but I love to use the Gospel of Luke for this; “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45. In Luke’s account this comes right after the warning about knowing them by their fruit.
Well, according to the Lord, we will also know them according to their speech for what truly is buried deep within the heart, will come out through a person’s communication. Do get what I’m saying? In today’s world it is not just the speech from one’s mouth, but what is it that a person communicates the most in ALL forms of media? All you have to have is a Facebook or Instagram account to know what I am talking about! What a person truly loves, they broadcast it the most over all forms of media.
So anyway, Jude goes on to give us more detailed descriptions. They are grumblers and complainers, always speaking out against everybody, including God Almighty and everything else. I’m not talking about just not liking some situation, I mean they do what they can to make others miserable as well, never giving or demonstrating thanks and thankfulness for God’s provisions or His mercies. If you don’t believe that God abhors and hates that kind of grumbling and complaining, just go back and look at the instances of when Israel, God’s chosen people kept this up and the punishment and discipline meted out by our Holy God!
These people are always finding fault with the Lord and God’s ways and plans. Have you heard this; why does a loving God always allow war and suffering? Why doesn’t He put an end to social and civil injustice? IF, notice that subtle word meant to cause doubt and confusion, IF He is so powerful and real, then why doesn’t He do something about the mess the world is in? Does this sound familiar? And I’m not just asking concerning those in the world!
What about this; these people also grumble and complain about God’s people for being full of hate speech, narrow-minded and legalistic when it comes to what they believe. Now mind you, I’m not just talking about the world. I’m talking about those that jump from church to church questioning God’s authority and why do you have to act or be a certain way if you have truly been forgiven from past, present and future sins? And this is a comment that I heard on one of the Christian groups on Facebook from someone who by the way doesn’t contribute other than to comment on what others write; once Christ doesn’t impute sin, you are freed from not just past sins, but present and future sins. This person completely avoided, even when asked about repentance, being holy as God is holy, sanctification, walking in the Spirit and a whole realm of other questions. He was actually trying to justify a sinful lifestyle under the guise of that sinner loving the Lord. Of course, not loving the Lord enough to change or even repent of the lifestyle, because love covers that continual sin and because he made a confession, any sin from that point on is no longer imputed against him. My brothers and sisters, that is the essence of the very Gnostic teaching that the Apostle John and the other writers warned the church about. Two thousand years later and we are still dealing with variants of that false teaching!
Along those lines, Jude goes on to say they walk or live lustfully indulging in the passions of the flesh AND being the loudest in their advocating of all types of permissiveness, not just in the flesh but in the sexual passions as well.
Many times they are very charismatic and charming, yet their arrogant speech garners a lot of attention and at times even seems to have merit. By their often opinionated and shocking statements about politics, the economy and social extremism and liberalism, they often make headlines and garner attention to themselves, being attention-seekers. These are ones that often make bold and shameless comments against even some of the most basic of Christian doctrines and the foundations that even Christ Jesus laid down. This is why we have so many liberal theologians today. Many who espouse that what was once legitimate and sound is no longer relevant in today’s “progressive” societal systems.
Jude goes on to say that many of them are skilled in the art of flattery and thus easily gather a following for themselves AND as situations are proving today, they are able to make an income for themselves as well from these ideas themselves, some of which are also theological in nature!
It is a sad, sad situation that as time keeps going by, day after day, the media outlets that once were so relied upon is proving Jude’s words ever more true. I’m sorry, but if you don’t see it so readily in your community, all you have to do is turn on the news OR peruse the social media platforms. The sad fact is, it is blatantly being played out right in front of our eyes and even as Jude was giving warning to the Church, all you have to do is visit various “religious” groups to see the mixture of partial truths mixed in with some truths.
We have been warned to be on the lookout and to also KNOW what to lookout for and yet so many today, and I’m talking about “churched” people, tend to leave that job to their pastors or elders, trusting that someone will keep an eye out for them so they don’t have to worry.
All the more reason, we need to pray continually for one another as well as the lost. We need to hold one another up in love, which means that at times, whether you think it is “politically correct” or not you need to remind others of not just appearances but of speech. That is, if you truly love them with a Godly, eternal love. If you are more concerned about the here and now, then forget what I just said. True love doesn’t not have the motive of wanting to hurt another, but true love IS meant to free another and sometimes when another is in bondage to something, the action of helping them loose those chains can hurt but it is never for the long term.
Anyway, more to come from Jude. God bless you all abundantly!