This is the 17th lesson in a series of lessons on the book of Jude. In this lesson I look at Jude 1:12-13 and talk about spiritual maturity and resisting the culture.
In this lesson I’m going to look at the New Testament context. I’m going to talk specifically about what the New Testament says about spiritual maturity. I’ll look at a verse that talks about shepherding in the church. I’ll look at two verses that teach us to resist the culture. Then I’ll come back to Jude, talk about who verses 12 and 13 is talking about, see what Jude is communicating to us in these verses, and discuss some ways our modern churches are failing to resist the culture.
Watch the video or scroll down to read a transcript.
Hi. Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This is the 17th lesson in a series of lessons on the book of Jude. In this lesson I’m going to look at verses 12-13 and talk about spiritual maturity and resisting the culture.
The first line of verse 12 reads “These are those who are”. The rest of verses 12 and 13 is a negative description of the people referred to by the word these. In order to fully understand this description, it is helpful to understand a couple concepts found throughout the new Testament.
It is also helpful to understand who the pronoun these refers to.
In this lesson I’m going to look at the New Testament context.
I’m going to talk specifically about what the New Testament says about spiritual maturity.
I’ll look at a verse that talks about shepherding in the church.
And I’ll look at two verses that teach us to resist the culture.
Then I’ll come back to Jude, talk about who verses 12 and 13 is talking about, see what Jude is communicating to us in these verses, and discuss some ways our modern churches are failing to resist the culture.
As the apostles were establishing the church, they wrote the books of the New Testament. These writings communicate truth and they give us instructions on how we are to live.
I’m going to read passages from 5 of these books: Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter.
In these passages we will learn about spiritual maturity, shepherding, and resisting the culture.
Let’s start in Ephesians.
Eph. 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
In verse 14 we see that we are not to be children. Being a child implies immaturity. No longer being a child implies maturity. This passage is talking about spiritual maturity. We are supposed to be spiritually mature.
Also, we are not to be tossed here and there. This tells us we need to be stable. We need to have a solid foundation, and be a solid foundation.
Next, we see that we are not to be carried by every wind of doctrine. This means we need to have convictions. We need to know what the Bible says. We need to hold fast to what the Bible says, so that when theological fads come along, we do not go along with the fad.
We see something similar in Hebrews.
Heb. 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
Hebrews tells us to not be carried away by varied and strange teachings. This is also the idea that we need to have convictions. We need to know what the Bible says, so that we are not carried away by false teachings.
1Pet. 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
In verse 2 we see a command to the elders to shepherd the flock. Shepherding is an agricultural concept. Shepherds feed the sheep. They protect them. They provide a healthy environment in which the sheep can produce wool and mutton.
The elders were told to shepherd the flock. They were not to shepherd themselves, they were to shepherd the congregation. Shepherding a congregation involves feeding them spiritual truth in a healthy environment so that the members of the congregation can produce spiritual fruit.
Rom. 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This passage commands us to “not be conformed to this world”. In other words, we need to resist the culture. The culture has values and beliefs that are contrary to God. We need to resist the culture and conform ourselves to God, His truth, and His values, not the values of the culture.
We see the same concept in James.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
The very last phrase teaches us to keep ourselves unstained by the world. When we adopt the values and ideas of the culture, we stain ourselves. Having a pure and undefiled religion means resisting the ideas the culture puts forth and holding firm to the truths, teachings, and commands found in the Bible.
We see in these passages from the New Testament the concepts of spiritual maturity, shepherding, and resisting the culture. Now let’s look at the book of Jude and see how these concepts appear in this book of the Bible.
For certain people crept in secretly,
those who were long ago
designated into this judgment,
turning the grace of our God into sensuality
and denying our only Master and Lord
Verses 3 and 4 of Jude tells us why Jude wrote this letter. He recognized that certain people had crept into the church secretly. These people were distorting grace and denying Jesus.
Nevertheless, likewise also
are defiling flesh,
and blaspheming majesties.
In verse 8 Jude wrote more about these men who had crept into the church secretly. He said they were defiling flesh, rejecting authority, and blaspheming majesties.
That brings us to verses 12 and 13. The first word is the word these. The word these refers to the men who had crept secretly into the church.
These are those who are
stains in your love,
eating together with you without fear,
waterless clouds, being taken away by winds,
unfruitful autumn trees, having died twice,
having been uprooted,
wild waves of the sea,
foaming up their own shames,
to whom the gloom of darkness has been kept forever.
Jude wrote that these men were stains. We saw in the passage from James that we are to keep ourselves unstained by the world. However, these men who had crept into the church, distorting grace and denying Jesus, were stains.
One of the problems with these men was they were shepherding themselves. This implies selfishness. We saw in 1 Peter 5 that the elders are supposed to shepherd the flock. They are supposed to shepherd others. That implies selflessness, the opposite of selfishness.
These men were taken away by winds. This indicates spiritual immaturity and a lack of conviction. They either didn’t know what the Bible teaches or they didn’t care what the Bible teaches. When they were taken away by winds, they were following the culture. They were following the world.
Jude described these men as being unfruitful autumn trees. This is the opposite of the spiritual maturity we saw described in the passage from Ephesians 4 that we read earlier.
We see the word wild. These men were wild waves. This also indicates a lack of spiritual maturity and the absence of the stable and solid foundation we read about in Ephesians.
Jude described these men as wandering stars. Humans have been using the North Star as a navigational tool for centuries. In order for that to work, the North Star needs to have a reliable and predictable place in the sky. If a star is wandering, it cannot be used as a navigational tool. Likewise, these men Jude was writing about were wandering in their spiritual beliefs and practices. They were not reliable. They could not be used as a beacon to lead people to the truth and into correct behavior.
The last thing Jude wrote in these two verses is that the gloom of darkness has been kept for these men. The ending of these men will be darkness and not light.
In the beginning of this lesson I demonstrated that the New Testament teaches several concepts: spiritual maturity, shepherding, and resisting the culture. We see in Jude 12-13 that these men who had crept into the church were doing the exact opposite. They were going with the wind. They were going along with the culture and the world. They were spiritually immature. They were selfishly shepherding themselves. Now let’s think about ways we see similar problems in our churches today.
Let’s start with divorce and remarriage. The Bible clearly prohibits divorced people from remarrying. However, divorce and remarriage is happening a lot in our churches today. This is because the church has allowed the culture to influence our beliefs about divorce and remarriage. For the last several decades our culture has been normalizing divorce, and the church has failed to maintain the Biblical standard against divorce and remarriage.
Something similar has been happening regarding the role of women in church. The Bible clearly teaches that women may not serve as elders, they may not teach men, and they may not speak in church. However, all three of those are happening with increasing frequency in our churches today. This is also a result of the church following the culture. Our culture has been eliminating the distinctions between men and women. Christianity has failed to uphold the Biblical teachings on the different roles of men and women.
The Bible clearly defines marriage. Our culture has been trying to redefine marriage. Unfortunately, too many churches are going along with the world and caving in to our culture’s definition of marriage rather than standing firm with conviction on the Biblical definition of marriage.
For the most part, over the past several decades, most churches have defended the sanctity of life. However, in recent years more and more churches are also starting to compromise on this issue. This is another example of Christians not having convictions and allowing themselves to be stained by the world.
The Bible teaches us to be spiritually mature. We are supposed to conform ourselves to the Bible, not the culture. Unfortunately, 21st Century Christianity is following the culture because too many Christians do not have the spiritual maturity to take a stand against the culture. Ultimately, we have this problem because too many of our Pastors, elders, and Bible professors do not have the spiritual maturity necessary to withstand the influence of the culture. In order to solve this problem we need to get back to the basics. We need to study the Bible. We need to know what the Bible says. We need to have convictions based on the Bible so that we conform ourselves to God and not the world.
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