Exhortation to Remember
Jude 17-19 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
As I read this letter, I remember that the warnings written here was similar to the warnings written by the Apostle Peter, particularly his second epistle (2 Peter 2:1-3; 3:3-4). Paul the Apostle also echoed warnings about the apostates in his writings in Acts 20:29-30, and his letters to Timothy (1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 4:3-4). This part of Jude’s letter exhorts the readers and reminds them to “remember”.
I. Remember ye the words which were spoken
A. What things should they remember?
1. They are to remember the doctrines that they have already heard and learned.
2. The doctrines ‘spoken before” as well as the great works which the Lord did.
3. The warnings given to them of the evils of the apostates. They were warned in advance.
4. A remembrance of which is a preservative from error, and a relief in the worst of times, whether of persecution, or heresy.
Sometimes we as Christians need to stop along life’s road and look back. Although it might have been winding and steep, we can see how God directed us by His faithfulness. Here’s how F. E. Marsh described what the Christian can see when he looks back:
The deliverances the Lord has wrought (Deut. 5:15).
The way He has led (Deut. 8:2)
The blessings He has bestowed (Deut. 32:7-12).
The victories He has won (Deut. ll:2-7).
The encouragements He has given (Josh. 23:14).
When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God’s past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling Companion who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you.
B. Remember who spoke them
1. They were the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ
2. The word Apostle refers to the twelve men who were chosen by Christ to lay the foundation of the church (Lk. 6:13-16; Eph. 2:20).
3. Apostle refers to Christian workers in general (2 Cor. 8:23; Acts 14:14; Ph. 2:25).
4. The Greek word translated “apostle” (apostolos) is also translated “messenger” and “minister,” and is used to refer to Christian workers other than the Twelve.
5. Christian workers were sent by the Lord from the churches to particular ministries.
Illustration: God’s Man
So popular and effective was Campbell Morgan’s ministry that he was given all kinds of offers from many different places and people. John Wanamaker, the great merchant of Philadelphia, offered to build Morgan a million dollar church if he would become its pastor. Morgan turned him down, something the wealthy Wanamaker was not accustomed to in his dealings with people.
“I am God’s man,” said Morgan. “If I did that I would become John Wanamaker’s man.”
C. Remember what they said
1. That there would be mockers (false teachers) – 2 Pet. 3:1-3.
2. The time is termed “last time”.
3. This refers to the time of the Lord Jesus Christ from His first coming until His second coming.
4. Until His coming, apostates and apostasy will be the characteristic of that age.
5. And these apostates are again described as “following their own ungodly lusts.”
6. In other words, whether believer, apostate or unbeliever, they seek only self-satisfaction through the lusts of power, money and approval.
7. The apostate rejects the truth of salvation through Christ.
8. They are troublemakers who cause divisions among the saints.
9. They are sensual in the sense that they advertise themselves as very “spiritual” but in reality they are “carnal ” or “fleshy” whose sexual appetites knows no limit or bound.
10. The apostates of Jude’s day were, specifically, unbelievers. They were spiritually dead because they had rejected Jesus Christ and salvation.
11. Thus, they are unable to comprehend spiritual things for they are foolishness to them (1 Cor. 2:14).
What is carnality? According to the Greek dictionary, it means to have the nature and characteristics of the flesh (or more simply, it means “fleshly”). What, then, is the flesh? Sometimes it refers to the whole material part of man (1 Cor. 15:39; Hebrews 5:7), and based on this meaning, carnal sometimes relates to material things like money (Rom. 15:27) or to the opposite of our weapons of spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:4). But the word flesh also has a metaphorical sense when it refers to our disposition to sin and to oppose or omit God in our lives. The flesh is characterized by works that include lusts and passions (Gal. 5:19-24; I J. 2:16); it can enslave (Rom. 7:25); and in it is nothing good (Rom. 7:18). Based on this meaning of the word flesh, to be carnal means to be characterized by things that belong to the unsaved life (Eph. 2:3).
We are encouraged to remember the things that we have heard, learned, read, from God’s faithful servants and ministers. We have to look back and see what the Lord has done, including the warnings regarding the apostates, who despite of their “sweet” talks are unsaved and carnal. Will you remember also, especially the things Christ hast done for you?