It was 1968. John Lennon was facing divorce, the upsetting of his family, (lil’ Julian was 5), and a turbulant time within the Beatles, when his song-writing partner, Paul McCartney penned the song, “Hey Jude”. In an attempt to help Julian deal with this terrible situation of divorce, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy for him, Paul wrote, “don’t make it bad.” In like manner, Jude, the author of the short New Testament book that bears his name wrote, addressing a terrible situation, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy, his words resounded, things are really bad.
What was it that so alarmed Jude to write his 25 verse book? What was it that caused him to change his plans from writing about one topic to a totally unplanned one? What caused this basically unknown, half-brother of Jesus, and once unbeliever in his brother’s claims, to have drastically changed his song? Why was he now blasting that things are really bad?
His chorus could have echoed that of the Beatles. His song’s emphasis was, take this sad situation and make it better. Don’t be afraid. Go out and get it. Both Jude & McCartney’s writings carry very similiar messages, in but very different situations.
Jude’s alarm was at the libertine (morally unrestrained) teachers in the society and in the church. These false teachers believed that God’s grace gave them the freedom to do whatever they pleased – especially pertaining to money and sex. Their sensual ideas had crept into the church’s thinking and the societal structure and had not only perverted the grace of Jesus but denied Him altogether. Their ideas, Jude knew, have consequences.
This was a really bad situation for the first century folks. False teachings that promoted outrageous, sexually perverted lifestyles was being mainlined as part of the doctrine of grace, taught by Jesus and the apostles. Folks were falling for these ideas of unbridled sex and lust to the point of disavowing the truth of what they had been taught about “the faith that was delivered to them”. Jude knew these ideas had consequences.
So Jude wrote, take this bad situation and make it better. (better, better, better … :-))
He reminded those in the faith to fight for it, not let it slip away or be stripped down to powerless and shallow human urges.
Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed…, ungodly people…, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality, and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”Jude 3-4 ESV
By Jude using the term “the faith”, he was referring to the already established body of truth, set down by the Apostles and widely taught by and circulating through the early church. Ideas and teachings not in alignment with THAT body of truth were considered false teaching and the teachers, false teachers.
Those who parted from that body of truth, were considered “apostates” – fallen away from the truth. Apostasy is defined as “a defiance of an established system of authority; a rebellion; a breach of faith.” (Greek word, “apostasia”) Apostates twist the truth.
The worst forms of wickedness consist in perversions of the truth”RC Lensky
What Jude saw as really bad, was the apostasy, (the falling away from the truth of the faith) that was caused by these false ideas, that were influencing the church. Jude isn’t alone in his view. Every New Testament book (except Philemon) has warnings about false teachings. Why? Because ideas have consequences.
Satan came to Adam and Eve with an idea. The idea isn’t the problem, it is the action that is taken in response to that idea that can be. Ideas have consequences.
Notice that Jude didn’t have much to say about what these false teachers were actually teaching. What he was concerned about was how they were living. What we hear is not the issue until it becomes part of our lifestyle, ingrained in our action, then the fruit shows.
What Jude was compelled to do was call the people of faith to rise up, to remember what they had been taught and committed their lives to, and fight to see those truths stand. Fight against opposition that would seek to destroy those truths. Stand for truth in the face of outrageous, sexual practices seeking to influence the church and society. Speak up for truth when false ideas are spewed. Get in the ring, be involved with, and take a stand for truth and against false teachings of the faith.
Jude was telling people of faith, things are really bad. Let’s take this sad situation and make it better. (better, better, better…)
I can think of no more revelant message for today than this.
People of faith, we must contend for the faith once delivered to us. We must stand for truth, and that is the truth of God’s Word. In our churches, temples, and synagogues and out of them, we must contend for the faith, and not be sidetracked by false ideas. We must no longer give ground to the libertines denouncing Jesus and the faith.
Things may be really bad, but as we contend for the faith we can make this sad song better.
Na, na, na na-na-na-na….. Hey Jude! We’re with you.
NOTE- because this book (of Jude) has burned into my bones and spirit, and I believe there is no more relevant book for us today, I will be spending more time in it. So, for the next ?# blogs, we will be in Jude. It’s only 25 verses, you might want to read it again, soon.
Let’s make this place better,