Friday, August 28, 2020

Verse of the Week: Jude 1

Verse of the Week: Jude 1     

v.1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

(The majority of footnotes is from the Ryrie Study Bible. They are included to give further teaching on quoted verses)

We now begin a study through the epistle of St. Jude. The half-brother of Jesus had intended to write about our salvation in Christ but was faced with insidious foes creeping into the church and spreading false teachings throughout the congregations. Jude writes a warning to all congregations that is as relevant to day as it was when he wrote over 1900 years ago.

Jude- Jude identifies himself in this passage as the brother of James.

            Jude literally means “Judas.” But to avoid connection or confusion our English translations use Jude.
·         Judas was a common first century name.
·         There are 6 different “Judas” in the New Testament:

(1) Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus and one of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:4);

(2) Judas the son of James, and one of the twelve apostles (Luke 6:16);

(3) Judas, a brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55) this is the person who wrote the letter we are studying;

(4) Judas, Paul’s host in Damascus (Acts 9:11);

(5) Judas, called Barsabbas, a leading Christian in Jerusalem and a companion of Paul (Acts 15:22);

(6) Judas, a revolutionary leader (Acts 5:37);

·         Jude did not believe in Jesus (along with James) until after the resurrection:
For not even His brothers were believing in Him. John 7:5

This was predicted in the Psalms:

I have become estranged from my brothers,
            And an alien to my mother’s sons. Psalm 69:8

But after the resurrection they had the ultimate change of heart:

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer; along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1:14

            A bond-servant- (Gr. Doulos) A slave, a servant. This would be typical of prisoners of war. They would be bound and carried off as booty. Not so with Jude. Jude had bound himself voluntarily over to a Master, Jesus Christ. Jude did not esteem himself to be called the half-brother of Jesus, though he was a blood relative. This demonstrates the simple fact that Jude could call himself, as we all can, the twice-born, once to sin and once to Christ.

            He displays his humility and his true position by this declaration of himself.

            By calling himself this way he also demonstrated the relative unimportance of being connected to Jesus by a human relationship. Being of the same blood as Jesus did not impart any spiritual favors or extra grace. While it is assured at the time that Jude composed this letter, he had a true appreciation for being the half-brother of Jesus it wasn’t always this way. Think about how difficult it would have been living in a household with a perfect brother. But of more importance would be this new relationship with Jesus. While family blood is precious, there is nothing more precious than the blood of Christ. Jude would probably echo what Paul wrote:

Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh,[1] yet now we know Him thus no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16

            Brother of James- The leader of the Jerusalem Church and the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers,[2] James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? Matthew 13:55
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of[3] James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us? And they took offense[4] at Him. Mark 6:3

            James is also responsible for the epistle that bears his name. He would be well-known and well respected in Christian circles.

            To those- Jude writes specifically to Christians. This is not an evangelistic tract but deals with subjects that believers needed to hear, but often do not want to. This book is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. 

            Called- (Gr. Kletois)- This is the beginning of a three-fold description by Jude of who he is writing to.            

            The expression, called, refers to God’s sovereign call to salvation in His electing grace. This is a reflection to the past for a Christian. His readers have been called to salvation. This is His activity in summoning those He chose for salvation:

                        among whom you also are the called[5] of Jesus Christ; Romans 1:6

and whom He predestined, these He also called;[6] and whom He called, these He also justified;[7] and whom He justified, these He also glorified.[8] Romans 8:30

but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.[9] 1 Corinthians 1:24

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; Ephesians 4:4

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3

            Beloved in (with, by) God- This is the second descriptive and refers to the present activity of God toward the believer. By using the verbal form “loved” it indicates a past action that is running now and forever. His is a binding love in a tight relationship. God “loves” the world but “calls” only a select few.

            The Father, who is love:

And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him.[10] 1 John 4:16

            Has set His love on His people:

6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
7” The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
8 but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.[11] Deuteronomy 7:6-8

            Kept for Jesus Christ- The third descriptive phrase of who Jude was writing to.

To be kept assures us that no matter what we face we will eternally belong to Christ. It can be easy to forget this with the many pressures that we face in the world today. We must remember that at all time Jesus Christ is our guardian and our protector. This positive reassurance should allow us all to get up in the morning with a smile on our face and confidence in what the world has in store for us.

Those who believe in Him will be preserved until the time of His coming to gather us together:

Now may the God of peace [reconciliation with God] Himself sanctify [our experiential walk] you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body[12] be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.[13] 1 Thessalonians 5:23

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed[14] and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted[15] to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

Throughout this passage we see the Godhead in their majesty and in their working:
·         The calling is the active work of the Holy Spirit
·         Love emanates from the Father
·         And the keeping is a work of the ministry of the Son

No matter what position we find ourselves in God has us just where we are needed and when we are needed by His sovereign will.

“The nature of the salutation reflects the writer’s attitude. Jude’s choice of words introduces his deep-seated compassion and heartfelt concern for his readers. He longed for them to know in the fullest measure God’s “mercy, peace, and love.” Jude overflowed with love for the believers while warning them about those who were making their way into the church to destroy it, those who knew nothing of Go’s mercy, peace, or love. “[16]

[1] Before his conversion, Paul regarded Christ as merely another man.
[2] His brothers- These were the sons of Joseph and Mary born subsequent to the birth of Jesus from Mary alone. To understand them as sons of Joseph by a former marriage or cousins of Jesus is contrary to the usual sense of brothers.
[3] Brother 0f- The four half-brothers and two or more half-sisters were children of Joseph and Mary born after Jesus (Matthew 1:25). James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and author of the Epistle of James. Jude wrote the letter that bears his name.
[4] They took offense- Something stood in the way of the believing in Him.
[5] The called- I.e., those who have been summoned by God to salvation (Romans 8:30).
[6] See Romans 1:6.
[7] See Romans 3:24.
[8] Glorified- The tense of this word shows that our future glorification is so certain that it can be said to be accomplished. Those who were foreknown will all be glorified without loss of a single one.
[9] In vv. 18-25 Paul shows that worldly wisdom, which the Corinthians prized so highly, is the very antithesis of the wisdom of God.
[10] To live a love-filled life is to be God-filled.
[11] God’s sovereign choice of Israel was not based on the size of the nation (Abraham received the promise while still childless, and Jacob’s immediate family consisted of only 70 individuals) but stemmed from His love and from faithfulness to His covenant purpose for them.
[12] Spirit and soul and body- This should not be understood as defining the parts of man, but as representing the whole man.
[13] This verse, along with v. 24, are a prayer that closes the section of instruction and exhortation begun at 4:1.
[14] Whom I have believed- I.e., on whose trustworthiness I have staked my faith.
[15] What I have entrusted- Literally, the deposit. Paul’s trust is well-founded, for God will preserve this deposit of faith in Christ until the day of judgment, when all dangers will be past. Some understand this to refer to God’s deposit of gifts in Paul’s life (as in v. 14 and 1 Timothy 6:20).
[16] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p 919.

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2 Peter 2:14-22