Sermons & Sunday Schools

Book of Jude

Contending for the Faith: Remember Past Judgements

In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij looks at Jude 5-7 where Jude reminds believers of three groups that suffered God’s judgement so that we hold fast to God and his truth and do not become led away by false teaching.

1. Remember the condemnation of the unfaithful for their unbelief (v. 5)
2. Remember the condemnation of wicked angels for their rebellion (v. 6)
3. Remember the condemnation of wicked cities for their immorality (v. 7)

Full Transcript

Okay this morning you can take your Bibles and turn to the epistle of Jude, right before Revelation. We’ll also be looking at other Scriptures, some in the Old Testament so I’d like you to turn there when we get to that. There’s only one chapter in Jude and we’re going to be looking at verses 5-7. But before I look there, let’s pray.

Father, this morning as we approach Your Word we come humbly before You as Your people. Make us attentive, bring to our attention the things that need to be brought to our attention so we can be more sober, be more attentive to what we’re listening to, and so that we would look at our own lives and be more aware of how we’re living. I pray, Lord, as we do that that we would be growing every day in holiness and godliness. That we would be growing in more discernment and be ready in our own minds to give an answer of the hope that lies within us. I pray that for us and thank You for Your Word today, in Christ’s Name, Amen.

Not too long ago I used to put my telescope out and gaze upon some astronomical event taking place like seeing a meteor come apart and crash upon the surface of the giant gas planet Jupiter. Or catch a glimpse of the rings of Saturn, or even to follow a comet that was following close to the earth. I used to do that more than I do now.

Well one day I was pulling out my telescope and a young man stopped by to see what I was doing. We engaged in small talk and then gradually we started to talk about creation and how wonderful it was and how amazing it was that God created this vast and precise universe. He said that he was a Christian so we got on the subject of the gospel. I asked him the two diagnostic questions to see if he really understood the biblical gospel. The questions are: “Have you come to a place in your spiritual life that if you died today you would go to Heaven?” and “If you did die and stood before God and He asked why He should let you into His Heaven, what answer would you give?”

As I put out those questions, he couldn’t answer the questions correctly. So I started sharing the gospel and who God is, who man is, who Christ is, and the response we should have. I shared with him the wrath of God upon sin and that everyone is heading for hell because of their sin unless they repent and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And then he said to me, “Oh no!” And that His Jesus would not send anyone to hell.

I said as politely as I could that the Jesus of the Bible would. He would send people to hell who did not believe in Him as Lord and Savior. It is Jesus who rescues sinners from heading to hell and by faith in His substitutionary death and resurrection can be forgiven, cleansed, and made right with God so they don’t have to go there.

Finally, he said that he could not believe in a Jesus who could send people to hell. That was the end of our conversation. That man created in his own mind a Jesus of his own making and of his own liking, which actually the Bible calls idolatry. So that kind of understanding is very deceptive. People think they are believing in Jesus but their understanding of the biblical Jesus is all wrong and it is idolatry.

So he was believing what was false and if he stays in that belief, of course I never saw him again, it will condemn him because he has not been rescued from the wrath of God and the condemnation of his own sin by repenting of it and trusting in Christ. I pray that after that conversation he would think more about the gospel and actually believe. So Jesus will and must send those who do not repent of their sin and believe in Him to hell forever. Jesus cannot let sin in His perfect Heaven.

That is a sobering thought. I think that I have met several other people after that conversation who believe the same thing. But remember what the Bible says in Matthew 10:28:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

We follow the Scriptures and we know the return of Christ and the assignment of all people either to eternal blessedness in Heaven or eternal condemnation in hell is sound biblical teaching. But I would never admit that it’s easy teaching because when you think about it, it really lays heavy on your heart as to where one would spend eternity.

So we come to this epistle and Jude is concerned about the gospel and that the false teachers are presenting to the people in the church and giving them a false understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and other aberrant ways of thinking and living. So he starts out the epistle talking to the called, those who are in Christ and are beloved of the Father and are kept for Jesus Christ. Those who are kept for Jesus Christ receive abundant and multiplied mercy and peace and love that comes from God.

They are given a responsibility to defend the faith as it says in verse 3:

I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints.

It is our responsibility to hear this truth, to study it, to meditate upon it, and to memorize it. We are to live cautiously aware of the enemy because from the last message, the enemy has missionaries that are sneaky, ungodly, they reject the truth and replace it with something else they are calling truth. They reject the exclusive claims of Christ upon them.

They are people who are not obeying the Word of God and are adhering to false teaching and they are not obeying Christ even by their behavior since they are living a sinful lifestyle. They live in contradiction to the life of Jesus Christ and to His teaching. They think they can live any way they choose because they are going to receive God’s mercy and grace.

So this Lord’s Day, the Scripture is directing us to be reminded of the dreadful fate of three groups the Lord held judgment on in the past. I know we have talked about some things in Sunday School about the past. The Lord really wants us to remember the past because it is something that can teach us to steer away from those things today.

There are three well-known Old Testament stories that represent the sin of false teachers and the judgment that they will incur if they don’t repent and believe in Christ the way they ought to. 2 Peter and Jude are similar in that they both teach that sin is followed by judgment. They both teach that in a very direct way. Please direct your attention to Jude 1, verse 5 where it says:

Now I want to remind you, though you know everything once and for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

Now he is saying here that Christians really need to remember so that the truth of Scripture sticks to their minds. People don’t need new truth but only to gain a clearer understanding of the eternal truth that God has revealed in the Word of God and given to the Church. That is important for us because it helps us to navigate the winding road of life with a strong objective reality that the Word of God can be trusted while we’re on our journey home.

So the real substance is found in the eternal truth of God while we live each day of our lives. Now why ought we remember in this way? So that the eternal truth of God’s Word will not be forgotten and will actually stick in our thinking. We are to remember three past judgments and how God responded to each group and how they responded to God and how a righteous Judge dealt with them.

This is the first truth, that we are to remember the condemnation of the unfaithful for their unbelief. In Jude 1:5 it says again:

Now I want to remind you, though you know everything once and for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

Now the people in Egypt experience the power of the God of Israel against the many gods of Egypt by sending the plagues upon them. And the people of Egypt also experienced the power of the God of Israel against the most powerful and well equipped army of that day when He drowned them in the Red Sea.

Israel further experienced the rescuing power of God when He saved His people from four hundred years of bondage and slavery. By His mighty arm, He delivered His people from the power of Egypt and He brought them into the wilderness in which He said and did take care of all their needs. Everyone of their needs was taken care of by God.

I want you to notice that in our passage in verse 5 it says “the Lord after saving a people out of the land of Egypt” which indicates that not all those who left Egypt were believers in the Lord. They failed to do that and their sin, no matter how it is manifested, is the sin of unbelief. Do you think any one of us can commit that sin? Yes!

Any of these sins being presented, we each can commit. But we don’t take sin as seriously as we ought to. I want you to notice in the passages we will look at that this sin of unbelief is manifested in the people in all kinds of ways. Take your Bibles and turn to the Old Testament book of Numbers and we will look at several passages where I want to identify some things the people were living out their unbelief towards God.

I won’t go into great detail about them but I want to mention each one. The first one was when Israel made a golden calf. The Bible says in Exodus 32:35:

Then the Lord smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.

The Lord responded to them by judging them. Notice in Numbers 11:33 where they despised the manna God gave them out of heaven because they wanted meat. It says this:

While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.

In other words they had unbelief that God would take care of them and take care of all their needs and were already desiring something else. In Numbers 16:46-50 was Israel’s constant murmuring and disputing against the leaders that God put in place, Moses and Aaron. It says:

Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, the plague has begun!” Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. But those who died by the plague were 14,700, besides those who died on account of Korah. Then Aaron returned to Moses at the doorway of the tent of meeting, for the plague had been checked.

They didn’t want God’s approved leaders over them and that’s how they manifested their unbelief. In Numbers 25:1-4 we see that Israel committed worse sins, like immorality with Moabite women and they worshiped their gods. They didn’t want to live by God’s commandments. It says:

While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord.”

Now that’s pretty severe but again unbelief was manifesting itself in these different ways and God said that they weren’t going to get away with that. He’s a God of justice, righteousness, truth, and a God who took care of and had mercy on the Israelites. They didn’t remember that but went by the dictation of their own hearts. These people are manifesting unbelief because they weren’t believing in God!

Of course the Bible goes on to say in Numbers 25:8-9:

He went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. Those who died by the plague were 24,000.

They decided to give up the commandments of God that were for one man to one woman. They wanted to marry within Israel, outside of Israel and have relations with the Moabite idolatrous women. They began to not only commit physical adultery but spiritual adultery against God. God says no and holds judgment on them.

So what is their judgment? Their judgment is physical death. What was the root sin in their hearts that produced all this aberrant behavior? Right here in Jude 1:5, it says:

Subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

Do we actually believe that not believing is that serious and that it can bring this kind of judgment? In fact there are only two people of that generation that made it into the Promise Land. That was Caleb and Joshua. It says in Numbers 26:65:

And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

So all the people that wandered in the wilderness were looking toward the Promise Land but they did not want it, they wanted Egypt. And only two people of that particular generation made it.

So they simply did not believe. They didn’t believe God could bring them into the Promise Land because they feared the people and desired the world’s security instead of God’s protection and care and security.

So the passage we read this morning in our Scripture reading in Numbers 14:11:

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people be disrespectful to Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst?

So what is Jude saying here and what does he want us to remember? That the sin of unbelief is serious and will be judged by God. He says not to be caught in unbelief like they were. The second thing he wants us to remember is in Jude 1:6 which says:

And angels who did not keep their own domain but abandoned their proper dwelling place, these He has kept in eternal restraints under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Their sin here is rebellion. It is seen in the actions of these fallen angels who did not stay within the limits of the authority that God gave them. They left heaven and being servants of God. They left the role of messengers to humanity and the place where they belonged to rebel against God their Creator.

The sin goes back to Genesis 6:1-4 where it says:

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were 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.

The name Nephilim is really the word for giant. We can define sons of God in two ways. They were often mentioned in Scripture as fallen angels and rulers claiming divine status who were possibly demon possessed. They were also recognized as sons of God mating with human women. I believe that is the interpretation that fits the context the best: that fallen angels came to earth, took on human bodies, and cohabitated with women to produce children who became heroes and mighty warriors of ancient times.

These fallen angels crossed the species line by mating with human women. Jude makes clear that the angels did not keep their own domain but abandoned their proper abode. This was a deliberate plan by a company of fallen angels to rebel against God’s plan and order and these fallen angels left their own house and went after strange flesh by lusting after human women to try and produce a demon human race, an evil race of men, which would become unredeemable.

The episode in Genesis brought upon God’s judgment on the world through the flood. That’s why God sent the flood to wipe out everyone. The wickedness of man was great and this was going on at the same time.

So what is their judgment? Back in Jude 1:6 it says that God kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Their judgment is to be bound in darkness forever. Peter says the same thing in 2 Peter 2:4:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, held for judgment.

God has the final authority to judge the spiritual realm also. He judges heavenly beings, fallen angels who have sinned because they rebelled against God’s authority. These angels perverted God’s way and God refused to spare them because of their sin. These fallen angels’ rebellion is seen mostly in the dissatisfaction with their lot that God gave them.

They weren’t satisfied with what they even saw of the glory of God. These angels thought God was holding out on them and that there was something better. They didn’t like God’s plan for them, in other words. They gave up the awesome privilege of being ministers and servants of God for something they did not actually expect to be bound for eternity in darkness.

So if you have been thinking that you are dissatisfied with your life and you surmise that your plan is better than what God has for you, I would admonish you to give up that foolish and self-centered and rebellious thinking and repent of it and unreservedly accept God’s plan for your life.

God’s plan is the best plan. If you try to alter it or change it in any way, you’ll just mess it up. We’re to remember that dissatisfaction in God’s plan for us is actually rebellion against God and brings God’s judgment. God’s will for your life is recorded in a small booklet and it says that God wants you to be saved, submissive to His will, sanctified, serving, and if need be suffering.

You don’t want to make the same mistake the fallen angels made by giving up God’s plan for what they thought was better, but in the end it was the worst it could ever be. That’s what happens when we want to cast aside God’s will because we think we have something better and it’s really not.

A third thing Jude wants us to remember is the condemnation of the wicked cities for their immorality in Jude 1:7:

Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these angels indulged in sexual perversion and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

When the Lord made known to Abraham that dreaded visitation of judgment that was coming upon Sodom and the other cities for their awful iniquities, Abraham humbly petitioned the Lord and asked whether He would deal with the righteous and the wicked in the same manner.

Abraham asked that Sodom would be spared if there were to be found a number of righteous people in that city. He went from 50 to 10. The Lord freely granted to show mercy if there were 10 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. But there weren’t 10 people who were righteous and wanted to follow the Lord. So Abraham for sure was mindful of Lot and his family.

According to 2 Peter, Lot’s character was still substantially true where it says in verse 7:

And if He rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the perverted conduct of unscrupulous people.

Then of course his family was rescued too so Lot demonstrated his faith by recognizing and hating the immoral behavior of those around him and by protecting the visitors, the angels who came to hold judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, of that city by bringing them under his roof.

So what is their sin? Their sin in the city is that they indulged in gross immorality. Along with the gross sexual sin, the people of Sodom were filled with pride, greed, selfishness and they oppressed the poor and strangers. However the people were driven by sinful lust and the sin of sodomy, referred today as homosexuality.

So if we think back on what exactly happened there, we see in Genesis 19 that this sin permeated the city. It says in verse 4:

Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter.

There wasn’t anyone in the city who wasn’t affected. Lot and his family were affected but they knew what the right way was. The men’s sin was to go after strange flesh, that means anything that is not the normal man-woman relationship in marriage. Men were wicked and wanted to have sexual relations with Lot’s guests, the angels.

These wicked men will have their lust and their needs met only by what they think is right, they didn’t want anyone judging them. They even told Lot that he had only been with them a short time and was acting like their judge. So brethren, there are some sins that are greater than others. Not all sin is equal. Homosexuality is a particularly wicked and heinous sin to God. This is because it is a twisting of the created order.

It says in Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

He also says in Genesis 2:24-25:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.

Homosexual and lesbian relationships twist or distort the divinely instituted paradigm for sexual intimacy in the heterosexual marriage. The importance of the gender distinctives of Adam and Eve is that God creates relationships between males and females. Gender complementarianism is only rightly exhibited in marriage.

The second thing is that it is heinous and wicked because it is a falsification of the pro-creation order. The mandate given in the beginning was to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth and subdue it. That was God’s command to Adam and Eve. This mandate was not given to two men or two women, but a man and a woman. Without artificial means, a homosexual couple cannot procreate or fulfill God’s command. This can only naturally and righteously be fulfilled in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

So men and women are brought together in marriage and that is God’s way and the only way He blesses marriage. MArriage also leads to procreation within a proper sexual relationship that exists between a man and a woman. If homosexuality is allowed to permeate a culture or country, it will render that civilization extinct because it goes against God’s created order.

What is troubling today and what has been a revealing indicator of what young people between the ages of 18 and 24 think about certain sexual behavior is alarming because they don’t think homosexuality is a real issue. I’m not just talking about young people in the world but in the church too. The culture has continually bombarded the minds of people with the thought that certain alternate lifestyles are normal and acceptable behavior. It is even teaching that there are alternatives to man and woman.

They think that people should just accept these alternatives especially if it is accepeted by the masses. For some who hold such views, they will punish you if you don’t agree with them. They say they are tolerant and accepting but are not at all of God’s truth found in the Bible. For the most part, a certain group have no tolerance for these things at all. They basically say that we will not have a standard to live by from a God we don’t believe in but instead we will live by our own standard.

When we think about that, we have to say that because we live in a pornographic culture that we must say that pornography is sin, and the only hope for conquering it is coming to Christ and having the Spirit indwell us to have victory. A key place of pornography is in the heart, imagination, minute by minute thinking that we have to put to death. Looking at pornography is usually driven  by two sins: selfish pleasure and discontentment.

God’s design is to give sexual pleasure to your covenant partner. Pornography by its very nature is self-focused sensuality. Proverbs says that a man finds his sexual satisfaction, his enjoyment and exhilaration with his wife! A husband who is looking other things will find discontentment within his marriage and vice versa. Pornography takes root on the female side too these days.

We have to consider the consequences of viewing pornography: that it displeases God, that it enslaves a person to sexual lust, generates a crushing guilt feeling, and finally it spiritually paralyzes people and causes them to move away from God’s standard. I mention this because we live in this moral culture and God takes this particular sin very seriously too. If you go back to Jude 1:7, it says:

[It is] exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

The judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah is a reminder of God’s view on sodomy and proper understanding of sexual relationships, which is between one man and one woman in marriage. Divine judgment fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah, teaching that unbridled sin leads to ruin and God reduced those cities to ashes. Jude and Peter use Sodom and Gomorrah as the example for the punishment of the ungodly, which is characterized by eternal fire. It says in 2 Peter 2:6:

He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example of what is coming for the ungodly.

So this is what is in store for the ungodly, the unbeliever, the rebellious, and the immoral. Jesus’ words in Luke 17:29-30 actually indicate that the coming future judgment will be far greater than the judgment that was upon Sodom and Gomorrah. This is what it says:

But on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

Flood language is used to describe the pouring down of God’s wrath on these wicked cities, and God rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah in a fiery deluge. The result of that destruction caused the smoke to rise from these cities like the thick black smoke of the furnace of an intense fire. The whole land was burned out so that nothing could grow there and no person could live there anymore to this day.

The final judgment will be far greater for those cities in Jesus’ day than for Sodom because the greater and final revelation has come to them in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what it says in Luke 10:10-12, 16:

But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I say to you, it will be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that city.“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; but the one who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.

In other words, Jesus Christ is rejected by people and their judgment will be greater than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. And then all of this is for what? This is for us to remember and for our instruction today that we don’t commit the sin of unbelief and get caught up in the sin of immorality or rebellion. That’s what the false teachers are like. If it’s in their lives, we need to stay away from it.

Take your Bibles and turn to 1 Corinthians 10:8-11, and notice what it says there:

Nor are we to commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor are we to put the Lord to the test, as some of them did, and were killed by the snakes. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

All these Old Testament examples are for us to hedge against these sins. And now we’ve allowed these sins to be part of our lives. God indeed judges sin justly, the unbelieving will be judged justly. The rebellious will be judged justly. The immoral humans will be judged justly. They will occupy an eternal placed called hell. It says in Matthew 25:41:

Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’

So hell is a place of separation, of anguish, of agony, of sorrow, and it is a real place that no one should want to end up in. So unless you have Christ’s way, it is the wrong way of self-centeredness, unbelief, rebellion, and destruction. So the only person who can keep us out of a place like hell is Jesus Christ. Of the twelve times that hell is mentioned in the New Testament, eleven of them come from the lips of Jesus.

So remembering all these real historical events, God the righteous Judge, will hold people responsible for sin. All sin will be judged and the sentence will be pronounced. This leads Jude into exposing the false teachers. For us, let’s not forget that we can commit all of these sins and Christ is the only answer for victory and salvation and rescuing us from eternal damnation and the punishment that will come upon those. So if you’re a believer today, rejoice. If you’re not a believer today, don’t rejoice but come and repent and believe.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank You this morning for some heavy Scripture. But we need to hear it, think about these things that we are bombarded with. Every day we hear reasons and false things that pull us in a direction that we shouldn’t go. Give us a sensitivity and discernment against these things. Help us to never forget to take sin very seriously and that you will judge according to Your righteous judgment. I pray that we would be a people that come to You and trust You as our Lord and Savior. I pray that we are living our lives in the direction of holiness and godliness. I pray that we don’t desire to fall off the narrow path but walk circumspectly because we live in evil days. Help us to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.