12: Keep Yourselves in the Love of God (Jude 1-25)
The epistle identifies the author
as “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James” (1). “Jude” is
an English form of “Judas”, the Greek form of “Judah.” The James of Jude 1:1 is
most likely the James of Jerusalem, leader of the Jerusalem church, who was
also known as “James, the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1:19; 2:9,12; Acts 12:17; 15:13;
21:18; 1Cor 15:7). If this assumption is correct, then Jude, the brother of
James, would also be the brother of the Lord (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3).
The identity of the author and
knowledge of Jewish background that the letter assumes suggests that the
intended recipients were Jewish Christians. The author seems to be writing to a
local church or a group of churches which false teachers were attempting to
60 to 65 A.D.
the epistle itself, we can know something about the conditions at that time and
the purpose for writing this epistle. Identify and record your observations.
borrows from many Old Testament examples of wicked men and the judgment that
fell on them to show that the false teachers, whom the Lord had already
prophesied about, are likewise marked out for condemnation. He uses strong
words and images to depict the vile character of these false teachers and the
severity of their punishment.
“But you, beloved, building
yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep
yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life” (1:20-21).
As the apostle Paul had predicted,
many will turn from the truth in the last days. They will be lovers of pleasure
rather than lovers of God (2Tim 3:4; 4:3,4). The
prevalence of pleasure-seeking and moral relativism has corrupted the minds of
people today, including many professed Christians. The epistle of Jude is a
call to contemporary believers to stand up for the truth and be strong in the
faith while we fulfill our mission of bringing the gospel to the world.
Did You Know…?
1. Contend (3): “‘To contend’ or ‘struggle’ translates
epag-onizesthai, a word that occurs only here in the
NT. However, related words do occur in the NT… The basic meaning of this word
is that of the intense effort in a wrestling match (cf.
ag-onizomenos in 1Cor 9:25). The verb form is a
present infinitive, showing that the Christian struggle is to be continuous….” 9/388
2. Lewdness (4): “means lustful, immoral sensuality and
debauchery (see Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3).” 1/1904
2. “Yet Michael the archangel” (9): “Jude is probably citing a
story given in the apocryphal book Assumption of Moses. In so doing, Jude is
not recognizing the book as having canonical status, but he is recognizing the
event as being factual. The same principle applies to his quote of the book of
Enoch in verses 14-15.” 2/110
3. Love feasts (12): “…the closest celebrations of
believers—meals (indicated by the words eating with you), which were probably
followed by the Lord’s Supper.” 16/921
4. Clouds without water (12): “Empty clouds promised rain to
needy farmers but delivered nothing (Prov 25:14).” 4/755
4. “Enoch prophesied” (14): “Bible scholars are not in
agreement as to whether Jude is here quoting from the apocryphal Book of Enoch
or referring to an unrecorded prophecy of the Enoch of Genesis 5.” 2/110
a background study and write a brief description on each of the following Old
1a. Israelites (Num ch. 13-14; 1Cor 10:5-10)
1b. Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen ch.
1c. Cain (Gen ch. 4)
1d. Balaam (Num ch. 22-24; Num 31:15,16)
1e. Korah (Num ch.
1f. Enoch (Gen 5:18-24)
the sins of the ungodly men depicted in this book.
prophecies does Jude cite in the epistle?
does this epistle say about God’s work in the believer and the work we need to
do on our part?
1a. What is “the faith which was once for
all delivered to the saints”?
1b. How can we “contend earnestly” for
2. Explain the sins of the ungodly men according to verse 4.
3. What point is the author making by citing the three examples
4. The Israelites were “saved” but were “destroyed” afterward.
What does this historical example teach us?
5a. What is the teaching behind the story of Michael the archangel
and the surrounding verses (8,10)?
5b. How does this teaching apply to us
6. What are some present-day equivalents of “the way of Cain,
the error of Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah”?
7. Explain the following metaphors.
7a. Spots in your love feasts
7b. Clouds without water (cf. Prov
7c. Late autumn trees without fruit
7d. Raging waves of the sea (Isa 57:20)
7e. Wandering stars
8. What will the Lord judge the ungodly men of (15,16)?
9. Take note of the sentence structures and how they contain
main imperative verbs (commands) and qualifying “ing”
verbs (NKJV; This distinction is not found in some
9a. How do we keep ourselves in the love of God (20,21)? Explain your answer.
9b. Explain the exhortations in 22 and 23. How can we apply this
to ourselves today?
10. How do the commands in this paragraph help the believers deal
with the problems that the author was warning them of?
11. How is the doxology an encouragement to believers in the midst
of an ungodly generation?