Apostasy Warning: A Study of the Book of Jude

Apostasy Warning: A Study of the Book of Jude

 
On Wednesday evenings at GPEH (Grace Point at Eagle Heights Church) we are spending this year making our way through the book of Jude. This epistle is one of 5 Jewish epistles alongside Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. Though this is a short book, containing only 25 verses of text, it is nonetheless packed full of relevant, useful information.  This letter could have been written today, as we are struggling with the same problems, same heresies, same errors in the church.
 
In Luke 18:8, Jesus asks the question, “ When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”. Jesus was not speaking out of ignorance. Nor was He questioning whether all believers would be gone when He returns. Instead, He asked the question to spur the disciples on to faithfulness in prayer, to encourage them to keep on in their praying. The church today needs to pray. The church needs also to be in the Word of God so that we can recognize the times in which we live. As Acts was written at the beginning of the church age and dealt with the formation of and early dealings with the church, so Jude was written with an emphasis on its end. The book of Acts covers the Holy Spirit’s actions through and to the apostles of the early Church.  The book of Jude deals with the acts of the apostates. 
 
What is an apostate? To answer that, lets first define apostasy. Apostasy comes from the Greek, Apostasia, meaning “falling away”. We see this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 
 
    “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,…”
 
Elsewhere in the New Testament, we see several other references to apostasy. Note the following:
 
1 Timothy 4:1 (NASB95)
    1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
 
2 Timothy 4:3 (NASB95)
    3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
 
2 Peter 2:1 (NASB95)
    1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
 
2 Peter 3:3 (NASB95)
    3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,…”
 
As we see, apostasy is a sad reality. John declared in 1 John 2:19, 
    “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
 
Note, however, that true Christians do not apostatize. Those who “fall away”, or “went out from us” as John states, demonstrate that they never were Christians to begin with. Apostates, therefore, are those who fall away from the true faith, abandoning what they formerly professed to believe. It is clear that the Bible describes an apostate as someone who has made a profession of faith, but never really possessed that faith. Apostates never truly received salvation from the Lord. They professed, but did not possess. 
 
The Bible warns against apostasy because, ultimately, we see only two types of religious people in our churches today: believers and unbelievers. There are those who truly know the Lord Jesus and those who are going through the motions. As the prophet Isaiah said, “…this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me…” (Isaiah 29:13).
 
Friends, since we cannot know the heart of others around us, we can not assume that those who now repudiate the faith have left the fold permanently. Therefore, pray. Pray! Pray for those who appear apostate, asking the Lord to work in their hearts and bring them to repentance. 
 
 
Soli Deo Gloria,
 
Pastor Kevin

Leave a Reply