Lord, strengthen our words with the power of Your Spirit, and teach us to live up to the glory of the gospel in our daily activities and choices. Protect Your people from division, and keep us alert for anyone that might try to twist Your amazing gospel. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jude urged all believers to have a strong understanding of the good news so they would not teach wrong understandings of grace and holiness, like some false teachers had.
Notice Grace allows us to turn our lives over to Jesus regardless of our past, but it doesn’t free believers to live any way they like. God’s kingdom requires believers to live faithfully by God’s standards with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Believers cannot risk entertaining teachers who live loose or ungodly lifestyles because they will cause division and controversy in the church. Jude urged readers to think critically about any teaching they heard, evaluating the lives, words, and respect of those who teach. Importantly, believers and teachers should stay within the knowledge and authority God has given them, being careful not to speak carelessly about the mysteries of God’s kingdom.
Notice In God’s kingdom, faith is discerned by a believer’s love and lifestyle. Faithfulness and obedience to God’s way protect people for God’s arrival at the second coming.
Jude’s problem is that these false teachers’ lives don’t match the gospel’s standards; their lives are unguarded by God’s ways. They may know God’s words, but do not have God’s Spirit. Regardless of the gospel they claim, God has judgment for them.
Believers shouldn’t be surprised when such people come around, and they should work to support the clarity of each other’s faith. They should notice when others are being swayed by false teaching and take responsibility to carefully win them back to God’s ways. Only God’s Spirit can keep believers from leaving the straight path. Only He can preserve His people for His glorious return.
Notice Churches are supposed to be on alert for false teachers, so Jude did not want anyone to be caught off-guard. However, he taught that God’s power is the only thing that can keep believers safe.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.22 And have mercy on those who doubt.
- Read James 2:14–20, Galatians 5:13–14, 1 Peter 1:13–16, and 1 Peter 1:22 to deepen your understanding of the kingdom relationship between grace and faithfulness. How would you explain the word “grace” in simple, contextual words for your particular culture?
- Revisit 1 Thessalonians 2 to see how Paul, Silas, and Timothy kept themselves above reproach by keeping their words aligned with the simple, clear words of God. By doing the same, we can protect ourselves from stumbling into false teaching.
- Examine your own life for ways you might be justifying an ungodly lifestyle or activity in the name of “gospel freedom,” and commit with a fellow disciple to let the Spirit change your life in that area. These seven grace checks may be helpful to keep you from quietly slipping into perverting God’s grace.
- Learn the Christian history of your city with a fellow disciple. What kind of false teachings have been spread? How can you address or train yourselves and new believers to protect against those false teachings?
- Tell your accountability partner what you put into action from your Spiritual Health plan.