Jude 1:20-23 - Living Amidst Apostasy

© 2010 Tony Garland

I.  Jude 1:3-81

A.  Jude 1:3-8 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

B.  Context

1.  Desire to expound vs. necessity to warn.

2.  Last session: brief historical survey of doctrinal error and its implications.

3.  Jude now turns to describe the modus operandi, or “methods of operation” which characterize the agents of Satan as they work to undermine God’s purposes.

II.  Comparison by Example

A.  Israel’s refusal to enter the Promised Land.

B.  Angels in heaven who left their proper domain.

C.  Sodom and Gomorrah.

D.  Ungodly men turning grace into lewdness.

1.  Jude 1:8 – Likewise also these dreamers: 1) defile the flesh; 2) reject authority; 3) speak evil.

2.  It is by means of their fantasizing (ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι) that they are led to defile the flesh.

a)  Their acts which defile the flesh, as serious as they may be, are merely the physical manifestation of their a deep-seated internal rejection of authority—especially the ultimate Authority: God Himself.

b)  This rejection is rooted in deluded mental imaginings or fantasies which refuse to acknowledge the obvious boundaries which God has placed within the created order.

E.  Stages of departure from God

1.  At one time they lived within God’s established boundaries and purpose.

2.  Became corrupt (corrupted themselves, Jude 1:10).

3.  A serious and significant departure from their proper station.

4.  Departure resulted in God’s hand of judgment.

III.  Israel’s Refusal to Enter the Land

A.  Having saved . . . afterward destroyed (Jude 1:6).

B.  Those who did not believe (Jude 1:6).

C.  Hebrews 3:7-12 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

D.  Hebrews 3:18-19 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

1.  Belief is much more than accepting God's provision for sin.

2.  Belief includes trusting in and obeying all that God has revealed.

3.  Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

E.  This generation had seen all God's miraculous works in Egypt first-hand, yet they still refused to fulfill His design to enter the promised land.

F.  “Seeing” is not “believing” as many hold. Belief is an issue of the heart which is predicated upon a deep trust and desire to be obedient.

G.  What should have been a journey of mere days turned into a 40 year wandering in the wilderness.

IV.  Angels which Departed

A.  Did not keep their proper domain . . . left their own abode (Jude 1:6)

B.  Having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh (Jude 1:7).

C.  Sodom and Gomorrah and cities around them compared to these (the angels who also went after strange flesh).

1.  Strange flesh is sarko;" eJtevra" [sarkos heteras] , another [different] kind of flesh. The flesh was not allos (similar), but heteros (different). This seems to point to the event prior to the flood when certain angels went after flesh of a different kind: "There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown" (Ge 6:4).

2.  Some suggest that the these in Jude's passage refers to Sodom and Gomorrah--that the cities in a similar manner to Sodom and Gomorrah went after strange flesh. But the gender of the grammar indicates that these (masculine plural) refers back to the angels (masculine plural). Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them gave themselves over to sexual immorality and went after strange flesh in a similar manner to the angels. The actions of the inhabitants of the cities is compared to that of the angels which preceded.

3.  Jude tells us that they did not keep their "proper domain," ajrch [arch] , meaning: "rule, office, domain, sphere of influence."

4.  The idea is that certain angels acted improperly, going outside the bounds prescribed by God. The bounds which they exceeded involved their interaction with strange flesh--mingling with the daughters of men.

a)  The details of how this occurred, whether by direct involvement or possession, are not provided.

5.  Because of this grievous sin, they are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness." Darkness is zovfon [zophon], which denotes "especially the darkness of the nether regions and these regions themselves."

6.  As difficult and reprehensible as it is to accept the events of Genesis 6 at face value, we have no convincing alternative:2

a)  The grammar construction of the passage is undeniable.3

b)  There is no viable way to make sense of related passages which also refer to this event (1Pe. 3:19-20; 2Pe 2:4-6).

c)  Jude and Peter reveal that whatever the act of these angels, it led to an unprecedented angelic judgment and restriction upon their activities. Whatever they did, it apparently exceeds the malevolent actions of other fallen angels and demons who yet freely roam the created order.

7.  The point: serious violations of God's design in creation bring fearful and certain judgment.

a)  These angels were originally in the presence of God.

b)  Yet something within caused them to turn away from all that is good to incomprehensible evil.

c)  This evil manifested itself as a rebellious perversion of God's created order.

d)  Now, in their bondage, they continue to serve God's inscrutable purposes—but with far fewer degrees of freedom. (This is the destination of all licentious rebellion against God: bondage, not freedom.)

V.  Sodom and Gomorrah

A.  Compared to the angels who departed.

1.  Like the angels before them, they gave themselves over to immorality.

2.  Like the angels before them, they too went after strange flesh.

3.  It seems hardly necessary to comment on the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah as they once were embedded in the laws of the land: e.g., the previously outlawed practice referred to as sodomy.4

a)  Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.

b)  Genesis 19:4-5 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."

c)  Romans 1:24-28 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

d)  These men Jude warns against are similar to those that Paul describes:

(1)  walking according to their own lusts (Jude 1:16)
(2)  sensual persons (Jude 1:18)

4.  God's catastrophic judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24-28) thereafter serves as a standard of comparison for especially ungodly acts throughout the Bible (Deu. 29:23; Deu. 32:32; Isa. 1:9-10; 3:9; 13:19; Jer. 23:14; 49:18; Jer. 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Eze. 16:46-56; Amos 4:11; Zep. 2:9; Mat. 10:15; 11:23-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12; 17:29; Rom. 9:29; 2Pe. 2:6; Rev. 11:8).

a)  2 Peter 2:6 . . . turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

VI.  Departure

A.  An apparent embracing of God’s will, but an eventual flowering of rebellion resulting in departure and opposition to all that is God.

B.  Chain of Departure: four spheres where God's design is rejected. Individual → family → Church → society.

1.  Individual

a)  This is where it all begins—without our own hearts.

b)  This is why the primary calling of the Church is that of proclaiming God's truth with the focus on a ministry of repentance and reconciliation with God.

c)  The Biblical model of societal reform begins with me and you, in the privacy of our own hearts.

d)  Will we seek to understand God's design for our lives as revealed in His Word?

e)  Will we obey what we find therein—even when it clashes with our own notions?

2.  Family

a)  Fathers who refuse to walk in God's design:

(1)  Provide a leadership role in the home.
(2)  Establish and maintain a safe haven for their wife and children.
(3)  Provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the family.

b)  Mothers who refuse to occupy their God-given place:

(1)  Vie with their husband for headship within the family.
(2)  Deny their supportive role as nurturing care givers within the family.

c)  Marriage Partners who:

(1)  Fracture God's design for marriage resulting in the loss of the nurturing environment within which God intends for children to be raised.
(2)  Distort the children's understanding of unconditional love of God which family relations are intended to illustrate.

3.  Church – many examples could be given.

a)  Lesbian Ministers

(1)  Departure from God's design that men lead the Church (e.g., 1Ti. 2:12).
(2)  Departure from God's created sexual order.

4.  Society

a)  Much could be said about the widespread rejection of God's design in society: all the way from feminism to a refusal to discipline children to rampant sexual promiscuity.5

b)  Homosexuality.

(1)  Recent news article:
“Exiting the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in early October, I found myself caught in a crossfire. Across Independence Avenue stood a handful of Christians carrying placards encouraging the museum's visitors to forego the evolutionary leanings of Darwin. On the steps of the museum stood an increasingly vocal crowd chanting Darwin's name over and over. For several minutes, the two sides traded insults and it wasn't long before the hoots and hollers reached a frightening crescendo. At one point, two gay men stood in the middle of the street, passionately kissing to a wave of applause.” [Emling]
(2)  Why would pro-homosexual elements in society chant “Darwin! Darwin! Darwin!”? What is the connection between the acceptance, and even promotion of, homosexuality and evolution?
(3)  Evolution testifies against homosexuality.
(4)  Isolate homosexuals of one natural gender on an Island—what happens after two generations? But isn't “survival of the fittest” one of the key planks of evolutionary theory?
(5)  If the notion of “survival of the fittest” testifies against homosexuality, why are homosexuals such big fans of Darwin?
(6)  The answer is found in this: evolution underwrites the rebellion against God which is behind the refusal to remain within an individual's created sexual identity.
(a)  The “just-so” fairy tale that life can be explained as the unavoidable accident of time plus chance conveniently disposes of the perceived need of the Creator.
(b)  No design → no designer → no purpose no accountability!

c)  Illustration: professor who teachers bioethics writes:
“Professor Richard Gardner of Oxford University, a renowned expert on human reproduction and an advisor to Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, recently raised the prospect of using organs from aborted fetuses for transplantation into adults. This possibility offers the potential to save or improve the lives of the hundreds of thousands of patients in desperate need of such organs throughout the world, especially the more than 70,000 in the United States waiting for kidneys. While such procedures have never been attempted in humans, research on mice has demonstrated that fetal kidneys develop quickly inside adult animals -- and according to Gardner, fetal-to-adult transplantation is 'probably a more realistic technique in dealing with the shortage of kidney donors than others.' If aborted fetuses do prove a useful source of organs for transplant, and there is hope to believe that they might, our society may soon have to grapple with the possibility of yet another controversial and startling -- yet potentially beneficial -- phenomenon: a legal market in fetal tissue and organs. Opponents of organ sales fear that transforming transplantation into a financial transaction will lead to exploitation of the poor, particularly in developing nations, and will expose the world's least fortunate inhabitants to unnecessary medical risks and to exchanges in which they lack equal bargaining power. The striking benefit of a legal trade in fetal organs, unlike adult organs, is that it may provide all of the benefits that supporters desire without resulting in the exploitative harms that opponents fear. Such sales could prove the rare economic transaction in the medical field in which all participating parties can truly be said to benefit. The first striking feature of fetal organs is that their supply, for all practical purposes, is unlimited. Unlike living kidney donors, who must then advance through life with only one functioning kidney, pregnant women who provide fetal kidneys could do so repeatedly without incurring the medical consequences of adult organ loss. Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions -- which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure. Like the families of accident victims who donate the organs of their loved ones, these women could well find their decisions fortified by the public benefit that they generate. Someday, if we are fortunate, scientific research may make possible farms of artificial 'wombs' breeding fetuses for their organs -- or even the 'miracle' of men raising fetuses in their abdomens. [Appel, emphasis added]

d)  The monstrous steel-cold “logic” of the angel of light!

(1)  Such sales could prove the rare economic transaction in the medical field in which all participating parties can truly be said to benefit.

e)  Heinous departure from God's design—bordering upon the most serious examples found in the passage before us, indeed anywhere within scripture!

f)  The complete denial and overturning of God's design for reproduction in the service of the god of humanism: SELF!

C.  When will mankind irrevocably cross God's ultimate “tripwire”?

VII.  Tripwire

A.  How far will God allow mankind to go in the overthrow and perversion of His design in creation?

B.  When will we cross a “line in the sand,” the unseen “trip-wire” which triggers God's fearful intervention bringing a time of prophesied judgment unlike the world has ever seen or ever will see?

VIII.  Pray

IX.  Bibliography


Jacob M. Appel, Are We Ready for a Market in Fetal Organs?, Huffington Post, March 17, 2009. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-m-appel/are-we-ready-for-a-market_b_175900.html]. Jacob M. Appel J.D., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Community Health at Brown University, where he teaches courses in bioethics.


Shelley Emling, Can Christianity Warm Up to Darwin?, FOXNews.com, October 27, 2009 [http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/10/27/shelley-emling-fossil-hunter-god-darwin-evolution/] accessed 20091030.


Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Includes index., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).


Kenneth S. Wuest, The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1982). ISBN:0-8024-6737-7.













1 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2The “sons of Shem” hypothesis offered up by many as an alternative is manifestly eisegesis. Moreover, it completely lacks explanatory power given the context of Genesis 6 and related passages. The problem here is the very topic of Jude: unbelief coupled with a refusal to take the Word of God at face value concerning this admittedly difficult teaching.

3The gender of the complete passage shows unambiguously that it was the Angels who participated in the fleshly act: "And the [angels (masculine plural)] who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as [Sodom (neuter plural)] and [Gomorrah (feminine singular)], and the [cities (feminine plural)] around them in a similar manner to [these (masculine plural)], [having given themselves over to sexual immorality (feminine plural)] and [gone after (feminine plural)] strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 1:6-7). Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest concurs: 'The words “in like manner,” are associated grammatically, not with the words “Sodom” and “Gomorrah” and “the cities,” which are in the nominative case, but with the two verbal forms, the participles “giving themselves over to fornication” and “going after strange flesh.” A word in the accusative case in Greek is not associated grammatically with the word in the nominative case, but the verb. . . . Now to what do the words “in like manner,” refer? The text, punctuated as we have just indicated, would refer the words to the angels of verse 6. That is, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner to the angels, committed fornication. And that is correct. but the Greek text gives us further help. The demonstrative pronoun τούτοις appears immediately after the words “in like manner.” . . . That is, those cities gave themselves over to fornication in like manner to these, namely, the angels. Thus we have a clear statement in the Greek text that angels committed fornication and went after strange flesh. One such statement in the Word of God is enough to establish the fact. . . . One will have to accept the fact to the angels committing fornication, repugnant and unexplainable as it is, or reject the verbal inspiration of the New Testament and the rules of Greek syntax.' [Wuest, pp. 32-35].

4One wonders how long the long-held definitions for this word will remain unaltered in the dictionaries of our land before capitulating to the forces of political correctness: “Sodom; fr. the homosexual proclivities of the men of the city in Gen 19:1–11 . . . anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex also : copulation with an animal.” [Webster] Notice how the definition of sodomy is irrespective of homosexual or heterosexual relations in that it properly designates the violation of God's design for the body in either case.

5As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths (Isa. 3:12).

I.  Review

A.  Jude, brother of Jesus, no longer a skeptical family member, but now writing to fellow saints.

B.  A reluctant warning to “contend for the faith” in the midst of apostates operating within the visible church--Christendom.

C.  Compares the recent apostates with those of the past - having the same characteristics.

1.  Boastful, ungodly, irreverent, disrespectful.

2.  Unwilling to stay within the limits of their natural place, both sexually and in God’s purpose.

3.  Swelling words against God.

4.  Judgment is sure.

D.  Reminds his readers: apostates have predicted from the earliest times – don’t be surprised!

E.  Jude now turns to

1.  Contrast believers with the apostates.

2.  Instruct believers how to live as believers in the midst of apostasy.

II.  Jude 1:20-231

A.  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. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

III.  True Believers vs. Apostates

A.  Both profess Christ.

B.  Both operate within the visible Church.

C.  A contrast: “But you [on the other hand,] beloved [ones] . . .”

1.  Similar to verse 17
“But you beloved, remember the words of the prophets and the apostles . . .”

2.  Beloved – in the love of God.

3.  Having the holy Spirit (apostates “not having the Spirit,” Jude 1:19).

4.  Recipients of mercy instead of judgment.

5.  Recipients of eternal life instead of “twice dead, pulled up by the roots” (Jude. 1:12).

IV.  Maintaining Our Life with God

A.  Life beyond spiritual birth is not passive!

1.  The greased pole analogy.

2.  Building yourselves up . . . while praying . . . keep yourselves

a)  Building yourselves up [epoikodomountes]
Present tense participle –
while continually building.

b)  While praying [proseuchomenoi]
Present tense participle – while continually praying.

c)  Keep yourselves!
An imperative command.

B.  In a similar way that a newborn does not remain a newborn, believers are to grow, to increase in the faith.

C.  Mysterious work of God involving our participation in obedience.

1.  Disobedience will stunt our growth.

2.  Leave us susceptible, open to influence by the apostates.

V.  Building Ourselves Up

A.  In or on our most holy faith

1.  On – standing upon the saving faith we previously exhibited when saved.

2.  In – our faith is not static, it is either growing or waning. It is either being fed or atrophying.

3.  Our own attitudes and actions play a part in the work of the Spirit in our lives.

4.  epoikodomeō

a)  Related to oikodomeō = to build or erect, “edification”

(1)  From epi (upon), oikos (house), and dōmaō (to build)

b)  Adding to the foundation of a building

(1)  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Col 2:6–7)
(a)  Notice how Paul connects this “building up” upon the foundation with becoming “established in the faith.”
(b)  The idea is to “build upon” or “make more able,” to strengthen that which has already been established.
(2)  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Co 3:9–15)
(3)  . . . as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pe 2:5)

5.  Flabby “Christians” - endorse worldly perspectives and soak in the culture of the age.

a)  Find the Scriptures increasingly puzzling, express views and live in ways which are increasingly out-of-step with the perspective of God.

b)  Unwittingly allies with the god of the age and his apostates in opposition to those who are actively being built up by God’s Spirit.

c)  How unexpected and disconcerting to be upholding righteousness only to be opposed by professing Christians in the public forum!

B.  Praying

1.  The means by which we are built up.

a)  A critical, ongoing activity.

b)  It is the “spiritual air we breath.”

2.  In the Spirit

a)  In – within the sphere of, by the means of, under the control of.

b)  Contrasted with the motivation of the apostates

(1)  Walked according to their own lusts (Jude 1:16,18).
(2)  Sensual (soul-ish), not having the Spirit (Jude 1:19).
(3)  Controlled and influenced by soul-ish desires and lusts.

c)  Prayer which is motivated, guided, or led by the Spirit.

(1)  The Shekinah above the Tabernacle
Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped. Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey. So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey. (Nu 9:17-20)
(2)  Simeon “came by the Spirit” when Jesus was brought to the temple by His parents (Luke 2:27).
(3)  Jesus was “led by the Spirit” into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Mat. 4:1).
(4)  It was the Spirit Who told Philip to “go near and overtake [the] chariot” of the Ethiopian eunuch leading to the eunuch’s salvation (Acts 8:29).
(5)  It was the Spirit Who told Peter to accompany the three men from the house of Cornelius and to present the gospel to the Gentiles leading to their salvation (Acts 10:19-20; 11:12).
(6)  It was the Spirit Who prevented Paul and his companions from preaching the gospel in Asia (Acts. 16:6).
(7)  Spiritual works cannot be done in the flesh! The must be empowered and guided by the One Whom does the work through us!

d)  Our desire is to have the mind of the Spirit.

(1)  Not to respond to situations through purely naturalistic analysis and thinking.
(2)  This is not to say what we forgo the application of wisdom and godly principles, but that we recognize that God’s ways are higher than ours and there will be times where we don’t understand that which God’s Spirit has laid on our hearts.

e)  Mystery involved.

(1)  Jesus described the mystery of how believers are moved in response to that which the unsaved world can neither receive or perceive.
(a)  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (Joh 3:8)
(2)  Paul mentions this same aspect of mystery when referring to his use of tongues in instructions given to the early church at Corinth.
(a)  For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands [him]; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. (1Co 14:2)
(b)  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is [the conclusion] then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (1Co 14:14-15)
(3)  A large topic, but I mainly want you to see that the guidance and leading of God by His Spirit is not always in accordance with our limited rational understanding.
(a)  Yet we also know that the Spirit of God will never lead in a way which contradicts His own Word. This is why it is critical for believers to be mature in wisdom and steeped in the Scriptures!

f)  Parable of the 10 virgins.

(1)  The oil represents the Holy Spirit
(2)  “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’” (Mt 25:6–8)
(3)  The five foolish virgins had run out of oil!

g)  As Christians, we are to live and pray “under the influence” of the Spirit.

(1)  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (Eph 5:18-19)
(2)  Paul contrasts the destructive influence of wine which causes people to be irrational, with the constructive, edifying influence of the Holy Spirit.

VI.  Keeping Ourselves in the Love of God

A.  An imperative command – this is not optional!

B.  “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:21).

C.  Present tense participle – we are to be “ones continually expecting mercy”

D.  An “ongoing anticipation” of the mercy to be revealed at His Coming toward those who are His.

E.  Here again, we see the keeping power of a proper understanding and place for Bible prophecy in our thinking and scriptural diet.

1.  The primary purpose of prophesy within Scripture is to motivate godly living today.

2.  In view of what is to come, we are motivated in the present.

VII.  Not Kept for Ourselves Only

A.  Our response to others who have been affected by the influence of the apostates.

B.  Textual variation in Greek manuscripts at this verse.

C.  Majority and received text (KJV, NKJV) indicates two categories which we are to distinguish between.

1.  First category:
Those upon whom we are to have mercy and which are more likely to respond.

2.  Second category:
Wicked, ungodly, perverse whose fleshly practices are so defiling that we are fearful even of going near enough to them to touch their garments. These may be “snatched” or “stolen” from hell in fear.

D.  Critical text appears to have three categories in view.

1.  First category:
Doubting or hesitating ones – have mercy or compassion upon. These are ones who are struggling with their faith but not heading for the fire.

2.  Second category:
Saving others by snatching them from the fire. These might otherwise wind up in the fire, but are ‘snatched’ or ‘stolen’ away from the destination they might otherwise have.

3.  Third category:
Wicked, ungodly, perverse whose fleshly practices are so defiling that we are fearful even of going near enough to them to touch their garments.

a)  These are the ones who Jude said were “stains/spots in your love feasts” (Jude 1:12).

b)  They are actively promoting false teaching. We are to “cautiously show mercy” to these—but caution is emphasized!

E.  We are commanded (imperative tense) to “have mercy . . . save . . . have mercy in fear.”

F.  Illustration of Captain Irving Johnston film.

1.  “Around Cape Horn” filmed in 1929 aboard the windjammer “Peking” sailing from Germany.

2.  Weather so horrendous, they put up nets along each side of the ship to ‘strain out’ sailors as waves swept the deck.

3.  A sailor was washed overboard.

4.  The captain, who was at the stern of the ship, saw a sailor washed overboard, grabbed a line and jumped into the fierce seas, grabbed the crew member by the hair and they were both pulled back aboard.

5.  The captain’s ability to rescue the man who would have otherwise been lost depended entirely on the strength of his own tether back to the mother ship.

G.  Saving with fear

1.  As Christians, there will be times when, out of mercy and compassion, we too may “dive overboard” into fearful waters to rescue a lost one.

2.  No ordinary seamen could have done what the captain of the Peking pulled off. He was an experienced man, extremely fit and knowledgeable in the ways of the sea.

3.  If we ourselves are immature or passive in our Christian faith, our prideful attempts to rescue others may be a thinly-veiled path leading to our own spiritual shipwreck when we find ourselves out of our league!

4.  How much better to have previously “built ourselves up” in the faith—so that we know it is the lost one who will be brought to life rather than ourselves who will be dragged under by the one we hoped to save!

1 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.