Apostates, Then and Now
Apostates: Then And Now
Jude 5-10
 
The Lord wants us to be able to distinguish false doctrine when we hear it and it is very important to be able to know the difference.
 
I heard about two farmers who had a couple of mules they couldn't tell apart.  One farmer
said, "I'll tell you what I'll do.  I'll cut off a part of a right ear of my mule so we can tell the
difference."  But the other farmer's mule got in a fight and had part of his right ear bitten off, too.
So, the farmer said, "I think I'll just cut off part of the tail of my mule and then we can tell them
apart."  But the other mule got in an accident and part of his tail was cut off.  The farmer said, "This
will never do.  I tell you what.  I'll take the white mule, you take the brown mule."
 
It's very important to be able to tell the difference between truth and error. God wants us to know the difference.  That’s one of the reasons He gave us the little book of Jude.  IT is designed to help us understand the difference between that which is true and that which is false. 
 
As we discovered last week, it is deals with the subject of apostasy.  In the first four verses Jude tells us who he is and to whom he is writing and why he is writing.  You’ll remember, he started to write on the subject of the common salvation, and yet the Holy Spirit impressed him deep within his heart that he was to write them and encourage them to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." 
That is, THE FAITH as revealed in the Bible. And in the 4th verse he tells us the reason why -- the apostates.   He calls them "certain men crept
in unawares." 
 
What is an apostate?  An apostate is a teacher who teaches apostate doctrine.  That may help a little, but what is apostate doctrine?  Apostate doctrine is doctrine which departs from the teachings of the Bible. 
 
So Jude is writing to fellow believers and his intention is to encourage them to stand for the truth by fighting against false doctrine. 
 
For tonight, lets look at verses 5-10    
 
In verse 5, he draws there attention to the past, then he goes to the Old Testament for illustration. 
Then in verse 8, he brings them back to the present and the problem their were dealing with. 
 
So, he's talking about apostasy then and now.  He's talking about apostasy in the past and he gives an examination of that. Then, he will talk about apostasy in the present.
    
Look at verse 5.  He gives us an examination of apostates in -
 
  • The Past
 
Why does he say, “I'm going to remind you”?  The reason is because we have a tendency to forget.  We need to be reminded of things. In fact, that is the implication in the next phrase, “though you once knew this”.
Sometimes when you come to church you might say, "I didn't hear anything new."  It's good to hear things new, but sometimes we need to hear the same thing again and be reminded.  Don't always expect to hear something new -- something you've never heard -- when you come to church. Sometimes you need repetition.   We need to hear things we already know in order to be reminded and warned of them.
    
When you’re children were little and went out to play, you probably said something like, “Watch out for cars” or “Don’t talk to strangers”, and you did that every time they left.  Why?  Because children have a tendency to forget.
 
Then when they start driving, you say, Be careful” or “Pay attention” or “Be home at such and such time”.  Why?  Because teenagers tend to forget also.
 
Do you know why preachers have to keep preaching the same old sermons on the same subjects?  Because Baptist’s forget too!
 
So Jude says, I want to remind you of something you should know, but perhaps have forgotten.  Then he takes his hearer to the Old Testament gives three examples of apostasy and how they serve as warning to us. The three examples teach this basic lesson that God always judges apostates.  God always judges those who teach doctrine that departs from the faith.
    
The first example is in verse 5 -- the example of the Israelites.
 
 
The second example is in verse 6 -- the example of the angels.
 
And the third example in the Old Testament is verse 7 -- the example of Sodom and Gomorrah.
    
Look at the first warning in verse 5. 
 
"the people" 
 
The example he is using here is the account of the children of Israel who were delivered by God from the land of Egypt.  They were saved out of the land of Egypt. God delivered them.  You remember how God did that.  He did it with a tremendous demonstration of power. 
 
When the Israelites came to the Red Sea, God just parted the waters of the Red Sea.  God just performed a miracle of His power. They walked across on dry land, right through the Red Sea.  God had saved them out of the land of Egypt. 
 
But His plan for them was to go into the land of Canaan. God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and the nation of Israel that the land of Canaan was their promised land.  This was to be theirs for the taking.  God had given it to them, all they had to do was claim it. 
 
But you remember what happened.  The Bible says that they came to a little place called Kadesh-Barnea.  They got right on the border of the promised land.  They sent in twelve spies.  The twelve spies went in and checked the land out and indeed it was everything that God said it was. 
 
Then, when they came back and gave their report, they said "it's everything God says it is."  But the majority (10) of those spies said, "O, but there are giants in that land.  We can't take it." 
 
There were two of those spies--Caleb and Joshua-- who said, "O, we are well able to take this land.  God has promised it to us, it's ours.  All we have to do is just claim it by faith.  Just believe God." 
 
But you know what the Bible says.  The Bible says that the children of Israel believed the majority report.  Rather than having faith in the promises of God, the Bible says that they did not believe. 
 
Isn't that amazing?  These people had just experienced a miracle of God in the parting of the Red Sea.  They had trusted and had seen that, why couldn't they believe that if God could part a Red Sea, He could also lead them into the Promised Land.
    
That's like we are sometimes.  We believe God has saved us; He's parted the Red Sea, so to speak.  He's redeemed us from this old world of sin.  Yet, too many times we don't trust Him and believe that He'll keep his promises that He makes for us for our daily living and our daily victory.
 
What happened? God said about that generation that none of the adults except Caleb and Joshua would ever go into the promised land.  The Bible says that God destroyed them that believed not. That means that they physically died.  In fact, they wandered in that wilderness for 40 years.   All they had to do was just cross on over into the land.  God had promised it to them. 
They could have claimed the promise, they could have witnessed the wonderful power of God, but instead they apostatized.  They departed from the faith.
    
Hebrews 3:16-19 gives us commentary on that.  . 
 
So, we see they could not enter in because of unbelief.  That's exactly what Jude is saying.
He's saying to keep in mind that God judged those who had departed from God's promise to them.
God always judges apostasy.  That's the first example
    
The second example is in Jude 6.  He talks about the angels who departed from the position that God had given to them in heaven.  The Bible says that there was a rebellion of the angels. 
 
One of the angels was named Lucifer.  He was known as the anointed cherub.  When he rebelled against God, the Bible says there was a group of angels who rebelled along with him. 
 
Revelation 12:4 indicates that a third of the angels joined Lucifer (Satan) in this rebellion against God and they fell. 
 
Jude 6
 
That is they didn't maintain the lofty position that
God had given them.  They abandoned that position God had placed them in.  He says in this verse God has reserved these angels "in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
    
 
Apparently there are two categories of fallen angels .  There is one category of fallen angels that are on the loose.  We might identify them as demonswe would say are the unchained fallen angels.  That's what we would call demons.  The Bible teaches the reality of demons. 
 
It seems to be the purpose of demons to disrupt human life and to do the work of Satan in the lives of people.  It is possible for those who are unsaved to be possessed of demons.  It is possible for those who are
saved to be oppressed by demons.  If you are a born-again child of God, I believe it's very clear in Scripture that you cannot be possessed of demons.  But you can be influenced and tempted by demons. 
So there is the category of the unchained demons. 
 
But this verse indicates there is another category -- the chained demons.  They are the fallen angels that are in chains. 
 
They are identified in II Peter 2:4 as being “delivered into chains of darkness”, and in I Peter 3 as “spirits
in prison”. 
 
So here we have this category of angels that have sinned against the position that God gave them and fell from heaven”.  What caused their fall?  Isaiah 14 indicates that it was pride. The devil wasn't satisfied just to be the anointed cherub, he wanted to be God himself.  He wanted to sit on the throne of God himself.  It was because of pride that they fell. 
 
There also seems to be a connection between verse 6 and verse 7.
 
See that phrase “in a similar manner”?
 
The indication is that what these chained demons did was similar to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrha.  He says they went after strange flesh.  That seems to take us back to what happened in the book of Genesis 6 where we are told of the time when men began to multiply on the face of the earth. The daughters were born unto them.  The 2nd verse says, "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair and they took them wives of all that they chose."  Then God says in verse 3 that "His Spirit would not always strive with man."  Verse 4 says there were giants in the earth in those days.  Verse 5 talks about the wickedness of man being great on the earth. There are two basic views in regard to these verses. 
 
Some people believe that the reference in verse 2 "sons of God" is to the godly line of Seth, and “daughters of men” refers to the ungodly line of Cain. 
 
The other view is that you have here an abnormal relationship between demon who took on human flesh and engaged in sexual acts with humans, with the result being an offspring of giants. And those who accept that view, believe that here in verse 7 the reference to “strange flesh” is more a reference to different or of a different nature. 
 
Whether that be true or not, what Jude is trying to say is that God always judged apostates, even the angels are not beyond the judgment of God.  He says that there are demons right now in chains reserved under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Even the fallen angels are going to be judged.  He is saying that God always deals with sin.  Nobody gets by with sin.  We are building a case here.  The Israelites sinned; God didn't let them get by with it.  Their sin was judged. Even the angels that fell from heaven, God didn't let them get by with it.  They were judged.
 
Then look at the third example in verse 7.  He talks about Sodom and Gomorrah.  That's a little more familiar to us.   
 
Verse 7
 
What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? The Bible said there were two angels that came visiting Lot in Sodom.  When those angels came the men of Sodom surrounded the house and demanded that Lot let his visitors come out in order that they might engage in sexual relations with them. 
 
Lot offered his own daughters instead.  Can you imagine?  That a place will descend to such immorality and such vileness and such perversion, that here is a man who is a believer,  offers his own daughters to a night of sexual immorality. That doesn't satisfy the passion and the lust of these men in Sodom because they are caught up in a sexual perversion of the most depraved kind. 
 
Now see what’s being described here:  in both cases it is “strange flesh”. With the one it is unnatural in the sense of two different natures.  With the other it is unnatural in that it is homosexual in nature and both violate God’s design. 
 
 
His point is that both, set forth as an example of what brings eternal judgment on people. 
 
That phrase “set forth” is a very graphic term.  It mean they are exposed openly. It was used of bodies, corpses lying in state. 
 
And he says the result is “eternal fire”. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? God rained down fire and brimstone on them.  It is God's illustration that he always punishes sin.  There is a hell where sin continues to be punished.
    
So he gives us these three illustrations of the apostates of the past.
 
Then in verses 8 and following, he gives us the apostates of –
 
II. The Present
 
He says, they are “dreamers” who “defile the flesh". 
 
That is they stain the flesh.  It does something to them physically.  It brings immorality.  Apostates always have a tendency toward sexual immorality.  Isn’t it interesting that biblical error almost always results in physical sin.
 
There is a physical consequence.
 
Then notice, they “reject authority”.  That means there is an intellectual consequence.  Why are apostates rebellious against authority”?  Because authority is established of God.  It is God who puts authority in government and the workplace and the family and the church. 
Then there is a spiritual consequence.  They “speak evil of dignities".  Literally, it speaks of “blaspheming the glories or the glorious thing”. 
 
And I think the idea is taking lightly the supernatural.  To be an apostate is to belittle the glory of God and take it lightly. 
 
And for comparison’s sake, Jude uses Michael the Archangel.  
 
In the book of Daniel Michael is called the great prince.  He was one of the leaders of the angels.  When Moses died the body of Moses was never found. This is the only reference we have in the whole Bible that gives us any indication of what went on when Moses died. 
 
And we are told that Michael the archangel and the devil were fighting about the body of Moses.  The devil wanted his body.  I think one reason he wanted that body of Moses is if he could produce the body of Moses, as the Israelites were prone to idolatry, he could turn it into a relic and they would worship the body of Moses. 
 
Not only that, the devil realized if he could have the body of Moses he could deprive a believer of a victory.  God's salvation is all inclusive. 
 
When God saves you your soul is saved, your spirit is saved, and your body is also saved.  Your body is not going to be on a dump heap, God is going to resurrect your body. You are going to have a resurrected body. And the devil didn't get the body of Moses.
 
But that’s not the point of the verse.  The point he's trying to make here is that even Michael, an archangel, was very careful in his dealings with the spirit world and with the Satanic.  Michael the Archangel wouldn't rebuke the devil.  He said, "The Lord rebuke thee."  It scares me the way people run around “rebuking the devil” and casually using the name of Jesus. 
 
The point here is that people who either don’t understand or ignore the significance of the faith, handle very carelessly the things of God and the supernatural.  Michael dealt with those matters very somberly, and such is the practice of the person who is true to the faith. 
 
Verse 10 follows up on that thought. Apostates live by their animal instincts and so they participate in their own destruction by their lifestyle and behavior.
    
Now, it’s not so much in the text, but before I close I want to insert one final thought:  There is a companion problem that always seems to accompany doctrinal apostasy and that is apathy.   
 
And at the same time apostates are growing and becoming more brazen, the church has grown apathetic.  It’s odd isn’t it, that at the very time the world needs the church to be the church, the church has decided to be like the world.  And an apathetic faith is no competition whatsoever to an apostate doctrine. Apathy will lose every time.  It is time for Christians in this end day to be on fire for their faith, to know what their Bible says, to believe what their Bible says, to stand for what their Bible stands for and to be firm in their faith and get on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ.
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