Characteristics of the Apostates (Part II)
Jude 9 – 16
We have talked about some of the characteristics of the apostates last week and today we will continue on this topic. As a review, we look back and summarize
I. They are dreamers
II. They defile the flesh
A. They are living to satisfy their fleshly lust
B. They despise dominion
C. Speak Evil of dignities.
1. They blaspheme God
2. Pride and conceit, results in disrespectful and foul language and is very dangerous thing, and so is despising the authority that God has established.
3. To illustrate the folly of this, the dispute over the body of Moses is given as an example
a. Michael, the archangel, dared not bring a reviling accusation against the devil
b. Saying only “The Lord rebuke you”. How foolish, are these “dreamers” to speak evil of those in authority.
The point is that Michael did not rebuke Satan, but left that to the Lord. It is a dangerous thing for God’s people to confront Satan directly and to argue with him, because he is much stronger than we are. If an archangel is careful about the way he deals with the devil, how much more cautious ought we to be! While it is true that we share in the victory of Christ, it is also true that we must not be presumptuous. Satan is a dangerous enemy, and when we resist him, we must be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8-9).
D. They speak evil of those things which they know not… (Jude 10)
1. These false teachers in contrast with the conduct of Michael, do not hesitate to speak evil, or rail or sneer on matters which they did not understand.
2. They “corrupt themselves” by yielding to animal passions. They were living on the level of “brute beasts.”
III. Three Instances of Individual Wickedness (Jude 11)
A. Cain, an Example of Disobedience (Jude 11a)
1. The “way of Cain” is the way of religion without faith, righteousness based on character and good works.
2. The “way of Cain” is the way of pride, a man establishing his own righteousness and rejecting the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Christ (Rom 10:1-4; Phil 3:3-12).
3. It was the way of beauty rather than blood and death. Cain gloried in his lovely fruits and vegetables and refused to bring the bloody, dead lamb God required. He thereby ignored the curse of God upon the ground and upon this present creation (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 8:22-23; Gal. 6:14-15). Religious men ever since have followed in Cain’s footsteps, glorying in their impressive cathedrals and self-willed religious activities, and refusing to acknowledge the need for God’s Sacrifice. False religion looks holy and good to man, but it is abominable to God.
4. It was the way of anger rather than repentance (Gen. 4:5). Cain refused God’s attempts to turn him from error and angrily killed his brother. In this Cain became the forerunner of those multitudes who have refused to repent before the Word of God and have been angry at the messengers of God, persecuting and killing the prophets. Cain was the forerunner of those who killed the Son of God.
5. Cain became a fugitive and tried to overcome his wretchedness by building a city and developing a civilization (Gen. 4: 9 ). He ended up with everything a man could desire everything except God.
B. Balaam, an Example of Greed (Jude 11b)
1. The prophet hired by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites (Num. 22:1-24). Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (II Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). God evidently considers these warnings necessary and appropriate for Christians even today. Balaam’s sins were:
(b) Teaching God’s people to compromise and disregard God’s command of separation. Balaam taught God’s people to mingle with the world (contrast 1 Cor. 10:7-8; Jas. 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
2. Balaam’s life portrays an amazing and fearful condition. Though he professed to love the truth, he actually served money and prestige; to man he appeared righteous; to God, perverse (Num. 22:7, 17-35).
3. His love for material gain and the honour of man darkened his heart so that it is possible that he actually thought he was right with God even while disobeying God “Ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward…” (Jude 11b) Balaam degraded his prophetic gift for gain. ). He was later killed by the Israelites (Num. 31:8).
4. His unholy desires caused him to reinterpret and to question God’s plain commands (Num. 22:5-21). It is obvious that Balaam honoured man (Num. 22:14). Balaam typifies the worldly modern preacher:
(a) He desired to have the reputation of holiness, but he was inwardly perverse
(b) He loved material gain and the honour of man.
(c) He reverenced man’s position.
(d) He taught God’s people to intermingle with the world.
C. Korah, an Example of Railing (Jude 11c)
1. A Levite who led a rebellion against Aaron and Moses (Nu 16; 26:9-11; 27:3; Jude 11).
2. “And perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 11c) “Core” or Korah rebelled against divine authority (Numbers 16:1-33).
3. In speaking against Moses, they were speaking against the Lord who gave Moses his authority.
4. There are multitudes following the spirit of Korah today who will not put themselves under the authority of godly pastors in the churches. They will not acknowledge that God has made some men rulers over His congregations (Acts. 20:28; 1 Th. 4:12-13; Heb. 13:7,17).
By identifying these Old Testament characters, Jude demonstrated that they were guilty, in principle at least, of murder (the error of Cain), covetousness (the error of Balaam), rebellion and pride (the error of Korah).
The characteristics of the apostates and the examples are clearly written in the Word of God. Now that you have known it, you have a responsibility to avoid it and teach others also. Will you do it for the Lord? Will you serve Christ faithfully for His glory and for the salvation of precious souls