Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: God's Call To Focus On Stabilizing Positional Truths To Stand Up To Apostates
(Jude :1-4)
  1. Introduction
    1. Christendom as a whole is not healthy: doctrinal error is rampant everywhere we seem to look!
    2. This rise in apostasy can unsettle sound believers, producing discouragement and weakening the Church's health and possible willingness to oppose apostates as a result.
    3. The Epistle of Jude addresses this need for stabilizing strength with appropriate solutions as follows:
  2. God's Call To Focus On Stabilizing Positional Truths To Stand Up To Apostates, Jude :1-4.
    1. Jude's epistle is written as believers witnessed unsettling defections from the faith due to apostasy, :4.
    2. As such unsettling pressures can demoralize believers against even standing up against apostates, Jude reminded Christians of their positional truths in Christ to bolster their will to contend for the faith, :1-2:
      1. Jude first gave stabilizing positional truths applicable to every believer regardless of experience, :1-2:
        1. Jude reminded his readers that true believers are once-for-all loved by God the Father, Jude :1a: (a) The KJV's "sanctified" in verse 1 is better translated as the NIV's "loved" in the best mss (UBS Greek N.T., p. 832; Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece, p. 610; and Kilpatrick's (British and Foreign Bible Societies) H KAINH DIATHKH, p. 730). (b) This verb is perfect passive in form, meaning God initiated this love toward the believer with the result that He unconditionally and forever continues to love him (Machan, New Testament Greek for Beginners, p. 187-188).
        2. Jude reminded his readers that true Christians are once-for-all kept saved by Jesus Christ, Jude :1b: (a) The same perfect passive formations in "loved" (NIV) mentioned above applies to "kept" in verse 1, see works in "II,B,1,a" above. (b) Thus, God wants believers to know their salvation status remains secure no matter how unsettling things get in Christendom when apostates made advances.
      2. Based upon these stabilizing positional truths, believers by faith are to experience God's uplifting mercy, peace and love in their lives so they will have the will to face down false teachers, Jude :2.
    3. Hence, Jude defines and describes the battle involved, and how belivers can ably confront apostates, :3-4:
      1. The doctrinal truth that was once-for-all entrusted to true believers in Christ has been "watered down" by its opponents so as to mislead believers away from God's truths and into errant living, Jude :3-4a:
        1. The word translated, "once" in the KJV is better translated "once for all" as the NIV has it, Jude :3b (cf. Baur, Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 80).
        2. God has thus supplied the Church with absolute, unchanging truth in His Word which has been diluted by infiltrators of pulpits and schools of training in Christendom. These ungodly infiltrators have changed the grace of God into an opportunity to license immorality in the Church, and they have denied the deity and humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jude :3-4 with 1 John 4:1-3.
      2. Thus, God calls doctrinally stabilized believers to contend earnestly for truth against apostates, :3b.
        1. True, stabilized Christians are to handle this confusion of error by contending for the truth, Ju. :3b.
        2. By way of application, this may mean withdrawing from a group that is controlled by godlessness to associate with the godly (cf. 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2:22); it may mean gently teaching confused believers (Jude :22) or it may mean stiffly removing apostates from the body who have not yet gained control of the local church (Jude :19a; Tit. 3:10). [We will deal with this final step later in Jude's epistle.]
        3. The encouragement to do all of this is found in our being mentally grounding in our positional possession of being eternally loved by and kept securely saved by God, Jude :1-2.
Lesson: (1) The presence of infiltrating apostates in places of influence can discourage unsettled believers who know the truth so that they in turn fail to stand against the apostates to the Church's harm. (2) God wants His people to be confident He eternally loves and unconditionally keeps them as His own. Then they can remain STABLE so as to be BOLD in OPPOSING the errors of apostates!

Application: (1) We must be sure of our OWN Biblical salvation and acceptance with God as the first step in handling apostasy, Jn. 3:16; Ep. 2:8-9. (2) Then, we will have the confidence of God's help to stand boldly for the faith against the errors of apostates, and (3) the Church will be greatly served!