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Woe to Them!

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[CONTEXT] Jude had planned to write to these fellows believers about their common salvation in Jesus Christ. However, he was forced to write to them about a threat—not from outside—but from inside the church. He says in ...
Jude 4 ESV
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude then laid out biblical examples of unbelief among believers; biblical examples of weeds among wheat.
He mentioned the unbelieving Israelites who had been among the believing Israelites after the exodus from Egypt (v. 5).
He mentioned the rebellious angels at the beginning of who had been among the obedient angels (v. 6).
And he mentioned the immoral inhabitants of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities that surrounded them. By comparison, Abraham’s nephew Lot had been the only moral inhabitant in that area (v. 7).
All of these unbelieving, rebellious, and immoral examples engaged in sexual immorality and experienced the wrath of God as a result.
As we saw last Wednesday night, Jude said that the perverted creepers he was warning this church against; they were following that same destructive path.
Relying on their own dreams, they defiled the flesh, rejected authority, and blasphemed the glorious ones (vv. 8-10).
This simply means that because they thought they were more enlightened, they engaged in sexual activity that God’s condemns, rejected God’s authority and the human authorities that he established (especially in the church), and they pretended to be authoritative over Satan and his demons all in an effort to exalt themselves in their own eyes and in the eyes of others.
Now we come to vv. 11-13 and [CIT] in this passage Jude shouted judgment on these ungodly creepers, provided more biblical examples of their sin and eventual punishment, and provided analogies from creation to describe their danger, instability, and doom.
[ILLUS] Every now and again you’ll be driving along and suddenly a car that zooms by you. Maybe it cuts you off as they change lanes on the interstate, or they use a turn lane to pass you on a residential street. Whenever they do, you know two things about those seemingly ordinary cars: (1) they are a danger to themselves, and (2) they are a danger to others.
Cheryl and I were heading home one Sunday afternoon. We had driven separately because I had to be here early that morning. We were almost home when a guy sped up behind me and started riding my bumper on Cody Road. I just ignored him. Cheryl was immediately in front of me and there was a line of traffic in front of her, so we couldn’t go any faster.
Just as we put on the blinkers to turn in our neighborhood, he zipped out into the middle turn lane and passed me, Cheryl, and a string of other cars.
As a he went by my sweet Christian wife, however, I saw Cheryl point out her window and shout, “You’re an idiot!”
Who was she shouting at, the car or the driver? Obviously it was the driver. You see, the car wasn’
Why did she do that? Because she knew that guy was a danger to himself, to her husband, to her children, to her, and to others.
This is Jude’s point in these verses tonight: These ungodly creepers were a danger to themselves and to Jude’s readers.
[PROP] Through Jude’s words God is warning us to be on the lookout. Some God-deniers wear godly disguises, but we will recognize their danger by the way they live their lives.

Major Ideas

First, let’s consider the judgment that Jude shouted on these ungodly creepers (v. 11a).

[Exp] He said, “Woe to them!” Jude would have surely shouted this judgment to these apostates if this letter had been to them, but this letter was to others about the apostates so all he only shouted judgment on them.
Q: This word “woe” is different from the word used to slow down horses. That’s “w-h-o-a” and this is “w-o-e.” That “whoa” means to stop. What does this “woe” mean?
This “woe” is a lament; a verbal cry of distress. It is like the sounding of an alarm that signifies approaching doom—a doom that comes from God.
In the Bible, there are “woe oracles,” which is the literary name for prophecies of woe such as Jude delivered here in vv. 11-13. These woe oracles are made up of...
…the pronouncement of woe (v. 11a).
These woe oracles are made up of...
…the reason for woe (vv. 11b-13a).
…and the prediction of doom (v. 13b).
Q: But if this woe is spoken not to but on the ungodly creepers, how does Jude hope his readers will respond to it?
He hopes they will take this threat even more seriously.
Perhaps he even hopes that they will speak a word of woe to these ungodly ones themselves.
Q: When you see someone heading for God’s judgment and perhaps leading others in the same direction, how comfortable are you speaking a word of woe to them?
Q: How do you think most people in the church today would view you if they were to over hear you speaking a word of woe to someone or about someone?
Q: Can you think of an example of a weed among the wheat in the church today that needs to receive a word of woe?
[TS] That’s the woe, so...

Second, let’s look the biblical examples of their sin and punishment (v. 11b).

Jude 11 ESV
Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
[Exp] So Jude mentioned Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
[Exp] So Jude mentioned Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
Q: What was Cain’s sin and why did he do it?
Cain’s story is found in . He murdered his brother, Able, after God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s. tells us that this was because Abel had faith while Cain did not. Cain was cursed and banished from God’s presence.
Q: How are the ungodly creepers about whom Jude warned his readers like Cain?
Q: What was Balaam’s sin and why did he do it?
Balaam’s story is found in . Balaam used divination for personal gain after he was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites. In we are told that Balaam advised God’s people to act treacherously against the Lord. And in we are told that he was killed by the Israelites as they took possession of the land east o f the Jordan.
Q: How are the ungodly creepers like Balaam?
Q: What was Korah’s sin and why did he do it?
Korah’s story is found in . Korah rose up against Moses and lead 250 other prominent Israelites to do the same. God caused the ground to open up, swallowing Korah and his family. He caused fire to consume the 250 who had followed Korah in his rebellion.
Q: How do you think Jude meant to connect Korah with the ungodly creepers he warned about?
Notice that in every account there is a specific sin against God, a specific harm done to God’s people, and specific judgment that came to every offender. Jude said all of this was or, in the case of judgment, would be true of these apostates as well.
Q: Why do you think Jude mentioned Korah last, which is out of biblical order?
Jude likely emphasized Korah last because of the suddenness of his destruction and the spectacular way it was brought about. Jude is likely emphasizing that the destruction of the ungodly creepers about whom he warned would be just as sudden and just as spectacular.
Q: How do you see the sins of Cain, Balaam, and Korah in the church today? Can you think of any examples?
Q: How easy is it to fall into these sins?
Jesus said that if we are angry in the heart, then we are just guilty before God as if we had committed murder.
[Illus] I once knew a preacher in Mississippi who was paid to just tell funny stories at a corporate event. Once convicted, he said that he hired our his gift for personal gain like Balaam.
[Illus] I once knew a deacon in another church who once said that the Bible wasn’t a good guide for pastoral ministry in today’s world because it was written 2,000 years ago.
Q: How do we fight against the sin of anger which leads to murder?
Q: How do we fight against using spiritual gifts for personal gain?
[Illus] Gary Permenter doesn’t ask how much he will be paid when a church asks him to come preach.
Q: How do we fight against the sin of rebelling against authority?
(1) Know who the authorities over you are, and (2) commit to submitting to them when they are inline with the Bible.
[TS] Now, after the biblical examples you’ll notice, third, some analogies from creation...

Third, let’s discuss those analogies from creation that Jude used to describe the danger, instability, and doom of these Christ-deniers (vv. 12-13).

Jude 12–13 ESV
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
[Exp] Jude listed six brief descriptions of the false teachers, which I think can be divided into three categories: danger, instability, and doom.
Jude described these false teachers as dangerous by comparing them to “hidden reefs at your love feasts” and “shepherds feeding themselves.”
Q: What so dangerous about these things and what is Jude therefore saying about these ungodly creepers?
Hidden reefs destroy the hulls of ships when they run into them unaware. Jude specifically said that they were hidden reefs during love feasts, which is another name for the Lord’s Supper.
By partaking of the Lord’s Supper with no fear of the Lord, these false teachers were threatening to make shipwreck not only of themselves but of the church to whom Jude wrote unless they acted by removing these Christ-deniers.
Jude also said they were like “shepherds feeding themselves.” This could simply mean that these shepherds were feeding themselves instead of the sheep, but I think its more likely that it means the shepherds were feeding themselves on the sheep.
If these false teachers were allowed to continue, soon they would consume anyone and anything faithful in the church to whom Jude wrote.
Jude described these false teachers as unstable by describing them as “waterless clouds” and “fruitless trees… twice dead.”
Q: How are these things unstable and do they reflect about the false teachers?
Waterless clouds and rootless trees are not only unfruitful but easily movable. A little wind blows the waterless cloud along because it doesn’t have the weight of water. Likewise, the rootless tree is toppled over by a little wind because it has no anchor on the earth.
By describing the false teachers in this way Jude says they are “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes,” (). They are like “a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” ().
Jude described these Christ-deniers as doomed by describing them as “wild waves of the sea” and “wandering stars.”
Jude described these Christ-deniers as doomed by describing them as “wild waves of the sea” and “wandering stars.”
Q: How does Jude say that “wild waves” and “wandering stars” reflect the doomed state of these apostates?
Jude said wild waves foamed to their own shame just as false teaching foamed from the mouth of these false teachers, which only served to store up wrath for themselves on the day of wrath (). Likewise, they are like wandering stars, which wander further and further into the darkness of outer space. Jude says that “the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever,” (v. 13).
Q: How do you prevent “hidden reefs” or sheep-hungry shepherds from coming into the church?
The Bible. Do they agree with it?
Time. Have they been attending and serving for a while?
Recommendation. What does their previous church say about them?
Humility. Are they satisfied without platform or title?
Q: What does it not work to follow some teacher who is always being blown from this teaching to that teaching? How have you seen that in churches in the past?
[TS] {see below}


We must take Jude’s warning to heart. We must be willing to speak a word of woe when necessary. In our eagerness for church growth, we must take our time in order to make sure that we aren’t accepting and especially following people who are reserved for the gloom of utter darkness forever.
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