Faithlife Sermons

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*“Exemplary Apostasy”*
*Jude 5-11*
 
            I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the phrase “expository preaching.”
And you may find it strange that I begin our sermon describing briefly what expository preaching is.
But I was reminded of its importance again this week.
And here’s why.
If you have spent considerable time as part of this church, you have seen what it is, perhaps without understanding the phrase.
In a nutshell, “expository preaching” is preaching the Bible book by book, verse by verse.
This is based on our understanding of the Bible being the inspired Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
All of Scripture is profitable for us to become spiritually mature.
And with this understanding, Paul can confidently declare that “he did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God.”
This is why you will find us preaching through Gospels, Paul’s epistles, and Revelation.
But the Old Testament as also considered in this.
So we preach through those books as well.
The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ and it serves us well to spend time in them.
We want to know the whole counsel of God.
I do believe that there are times and occasions where topics should be addressed.
But I also think that we, as Christians, need a steady diet of book by book preaching.
There are lots of other reasons why expository preaching is vital for the church.
But I will mention only one more.
In topical preaching, there is often a great temptation to preach hobby horses.
What I mean by this is that some may have a real passion for particular such as evangelism, or justification, or eschatology.
And one can then spend an inordinate amount of time on issues and neglect teachings on holiness and discipleship.
Or a preacher can be so fascinated with Jesus’ teachings that we neglect what Paul or Peter or John has to say.
So it has been a priority for us that we try to explore the different authors of Scripture, different genres of the Bible (narrative, epistles, prophetic, etc) so that we don’t just zero in on certain topics or authors.
What brought this to the forefront of my mind this week is the abundance of teachings on faithfulness and judgment, sound doctrine versus false teachings, warnings on sexual immorality, etc.
So as we peruse the breadth of God’s word, it isn’t just Jude that delivers these strong words.
We’ve heard similar things from Malachi, Jesus (in Mark’s Gospel), from John in Revelation, Paul in Ephesians, Amos, and so on.
I find it interesting that some people build a theology or ministry around a obscure verse or point in Scripture and neglect the abundance of clear teaching in the Bible.
People often say that we want to major on the majors and minor on the minor things of God’s Word.
But the reality is we really need to nail down some of the majors.
There is overwhelming teaching on living in holiness and holding to sound doctrine.
And yet many will suggest that this is a pursuit on minors.
So, as I looked at our text for this week, I was once again struck with more teaching regarding eternal punishment and sexual immorality and faithfulness and apostasy.
Please turn in your Bibles to the book of Jude.
We will be covering verses 5-11 this morning.
*Please follow along as I read from verse 1. *
            You probably would agree that there are some interesting things in this passage.
Admittedly, there is a bit of ambiguity in some of these accounts that Jude refers to.
He also refers to extrabiblical literature for some of his information.
Though some of the details are unclear, there is a strong message that Jude communicates loud and clear.
Last week, we saw that Jude had originally intended to write a letter regarding their common salvation but found it necessary to write a different letter.
Apparently, false teachers were prominent and Jude needed a rallying cry for the believers.
He exhorted his readers to contend for the faith that they had received and not to those who would pervert the grace of God by an ungodly lifestyle.
By their behaviour, the false teachers had denied the only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
The first point we will look at this morning is *Don’t Stop Believin’.
*And with that, everyone my age has a song in their heads.
We find this in verse 5. Jude moves on to provide his readers an important reminder – something that they had already known.
In fact, he uses the same word for “once” to serve as a connection to the “once for all handed down to the saints faith” we looked at last week.
Jude reminded his readers of Israel’s history when they were delivered out of Egypt.
I find it interesting that Jude attributes the act of saving Israel to Jesus.
And when I started searching around, I found more of this language of how events are attributed to Jesus.
If you remember when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God provided water from a rock for their sustenance.
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul associates that Rock with Jesus Christ.
He was their sustenance.
A few verses later, Paul admonishes the Corinthians that they not put Christ to the test as the Israelites did in the wilderness.
The apostle John also indicates that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus in John 10.41.
We know from here and elsewhere that Jesus was active throughout the Old Testament.
Many believe that references to the “angel of the Lord” would refer to Jesus.
And here, Jude adds that Jesus was active in saving the Israelites out of Egypt.
And in the same sentence, Jude indicates that afterward these same people were destroyed – those who did not believe.
And this begs the question, what happened?
They were saved by Jesus.
And then they were destroyed.
I believe that this points back to the account of Joshua and Caleb.
In Numbers 13, Joshua, Caleb and 10 other spies were sent into Canaan (the Promised Land) in order to investigate and bring back a report to Moses and Aaron.
After spending forty days, they return with some of the fruit of the land.
The report is that the land is flowing with milk and honey.
But there are people in the land who are strong and they live in large, fortified cities.
If you’re familiar with the story, you know that Caleb steps up and immediately says, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
He trusted in God’s promises and wouldn’t allow obstacles to stand in the way.
However, the people listened to the other spies who were concerned over the people and they rebelled.
They complained and cried out wishing they had died in Egypt.
And the Lord responded by saying, “How long will this people despise me?
And how long will /they not believe in me, /in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?
I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Moses pleaded with the Lord and begged on behalf of the people.
If you remember, he was concerned over the reputation of the Lord and how he might be perceived among the nations.
In the end, however, God promises judgment.
In Numbers 14.27, he responds with “I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.
Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and all of your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, /who have grumbled against me/, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb and Joshua.”
And in verse 37, “the men who brought up a bad report about the land – died by plague before the Lord.”
Now, for Jude’s readers, they would have recalled these events.
And when Jude refers to the salvation and destruction in this sentence, he refers to physical events.
But the implication is clear for his audience.
This, most certainly, has spiritual ramifications.
He is speaking to believers in Jesus Christ who are showing signs of faltering.
Jude has sensed this need for a ‘reminder’ though they /once knew /such things.
Their actions were starting to betray their beliefs.
And so the reminder is for the people to keep on believing.
They were in danger of apostasy.
Turn to Hebrews 3 with me.
*READ vv.
16-18.
*So this sounds quite familiar.
Now notice that these verses begin with a “for.”
The author is explaining his previous point.
What is the exhortation here?
I believe it is the same.
Look back at verse 12. *READ vv.
12-15.
*Notice the verbs, commands.
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