Some people will look at the words Jude wrote via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and react like they would the first time they tasted Vegemite. Maybe they just got a bad batch. Perhaps it’s like wine, and it got corked. Surely people all over Australia couldn’t be eating this for breakfast and enjoying it.
Maybe Jude just ran across a couple of bad apples. Surely ungodly men who would take advantage of the people of God couldn’t be that prevalent, could they?
If you read the New Testament with any frequency, you’ll come to realize that there was consensus among Jesus, Paul, John, and Jude regarding the real and present danger that false shepherds, false teachers, and false doctrine posed. It wasn’t a one-off, it was prevalent, and it continues to be to this day. If anything, the servants of darkness have perfected their delivery, they’ve perfected their approach, and everything they do is geared toward feeding the flesh and stifling the spirit.
It’s a good business model if you can live with yourself. Give people liberty where the Bible doesn’t, and you’ll always have an audience. Knowing that there will always be someone in the shadows waiting to destroy all the good work you’ve done is disheartening. In his farewell to the Ephesians, Paul stated it with such brevity that nothing need be added.
Acts 20:29-30, “For I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
We face a battle on two fronts, and we always have. First, the darkness without that struggles to be within, and second, compromised individuals within whose only desire is to build a kingdom and wield authority God never granted to them: same old devil, same old tricks, same old temptations, same old greed.
Generations come and go, technology advances and progresses, and the stakes get bigger, but human nature remains predictably consistent. Paul’s concerns regarding what would be after he departed are shared by true shepherds worldwide. This is why it’s not enough for you to sit in a pew for forty years and not learn to feed yourself. This is why it’s dangerous to be dependent on another for your spiritual succor. If you sit under a true shepherd who has led you to green pastures, then learn what the green pastures look like so that you might avoid the dried-out and sickly ones.
If something tastes funny, spit it out. Don’t take another bite to make sure. Even if everyone sitting around you is going on about how this is the best stuff they’ve ever eaten, remember what your momma taught you: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should.
Jesus also warned of those who would come among the sheep attempting to devour them. It begs the question if we are unshakeable, if we cannot be deceived, if none can wander off the path into the open maw of the wolves, why are there so many warnings throughout the Bible about being vigilant and about how to identify those with nefarious intent?
Matthew 7:15-17, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
When you knowingly and willingly participate in the commission of a crime, even if you were not the principal neer do well, depending on the severity of the crime they committed, you can be charged as an accessory to the commission of a crime, sometimes, even an accessory after the fact.
When we fail to contend earnestly for the faith, knowing that there are men within the household of faith who would turn the grace of God into licentiousness and do nothing about it, we are accessories to spiritual crimes just as surely as those who just drive the getaway car are guilty of robbing a bank.
1 Timothy 5:22, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.”
That seems a mite overly cautious if the notion that you can do as you will for as long as you will once you’ve “received Jesus”, doesn’t it? Perhaps it’s just me, but why insist on keeping oneself pure when modern-day preachers tell the gullible that they can party like it’s 1999, even though it’s 2023, because Jesus is busy looking through the records to see if somehow heaven messed up on assigning the correct gender to be preoccupied with sin and righteousness anymore.
You assume that everyone who stands behind a pulpit wants what’s best for your spiritual well-being when Jesus said they don’t. You assume that when the new guy starts throwing shade at the shepherd who’s been a pastor for longer than the shade thrower has been alive, it’s from a good place and with good intentions. Jesus confirms that it’s not so, as does Paul and Jude. There are perverse people with perverse minds, speaking perverse things in the name of God, and it’s your duty to know God and His Word well enough to know when what someone is saying isn’t something God would have ever said! When that occurs, it is likewise your duty to contend for the faith, defend the truth, and stand on the Gospel.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.