Jude continues to warn about the consequences of disobedience and turning away from God. Jude reminds us that we have a choice, we can choose to follow God or we can move beyond the limits God sets on us and go our own way. We do have a choice. However, our decision to abandon what God desires has serious consequences: destruction.
Why do people choose to turn away? MacArthur says:
"Ignorance is one reason why people defect from the gospel. There's never really any penetrating of the truth, that's the hard ground. It just sort of bounces off them. They don't comprehend it. Persecution is another reason...people who are exposed to the gospel but do not want to pay the price of naming the name of Christ and bearing the reproach of Christ. The worries of this life, Jesus said, are another reason why the seed has a very short life and produces no fruit. And Jesus also said the deceitfulness of riches, people love wealth and materialism and prosperity in this life more than heavenly promises.
It is also true that there is another reason why people defect and that is because the teaching of Jesus is hard. John 6:60, "Many therefore of His disciples when they heard this said, 'This is a hard statement, who can listen to it?'" A few verses later as a result of this, "Many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." The demands of Jesus were hard, that's really what I was driving at in the book Hard to Believe, which reflects the teaching we did, particularly on Luke 9, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The message is hard, hard teaching. It was too hard for the rich young ruler. It was too hard for Judas Iscariot."
Deceitfulness of riches.
It is hard.
All reasons to abandon what God has promised. All reasons to decline Jesus' invitation for salvation. All reasons to stay on the road to destruction. It's easy to stay ignorant. It's much easier to conform and avoid persecution. It's easy to be swayed by the pursuit of stuff. It's easy to follow the way of the world and ignore the way of God.
Matthew 7:13 says:
Easy is popular. Hard is not.
There's just so much potential for apostasy, that's what I'm trying to tell you. Is it any wonder that many get on the broad road and few find the narrow way? Is it any wonder that many, many say, "Lord, Lord," but really don't know the truth and few really find the door? There are just so many potential ways to apostatize and it's so normal and so natural to the human heart. I would go so far as to say that it is not a surprise to me that the majority of people exposed to the gospel turn away from it. Is that not obvious? The majority of people exposed to the gospel turn away from it. And it seems to me that clearly there are far more people in the visible church than in the invisible church, many, many more. But some of these people that defect and some of these people that turn away remain in the church as the instruments of Satan to teach their demon doctrines and to build the visible church with its corrupt theology. Now all of this takes us back to Jude, we can go back there now. And people who have been drawn into this apostasy, this departing from the faith, apostasia, defection, revolt. Used in the New Testament always of religious apostasy. A variation of the word means divorce. And here in Jude, Jude is concerned with those who remain in the church to corrupt it with their false teaching and try to do so unrecognized, try to do so in clerical garb calling themselves preachers and pastors and reverends and fathers and priests and whatever else.
So not only are people choosing to turn from God, they are pulling people along with them for the ride. They are creeping in and corrupting and Jude is warning about the destruction that will surely follow this. He reminds them about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah:
Yesterday, in our Adult Sunday School class, we concluded the video portion of the series "Not a Fan" and the analogy from today's lesson really hit home for me. The pastor talked about going on vacation for a month and leaving people a notebook about all the important things to know about the house: which day was garbage day, when to water and feed the pets, the details about how to work the appliances and so on. Now imagine coming home to find your house in shambles and full of garbage and dead pets and plants because none of the directions were followed. The house sitters, super glad and excited to see you home from your trip, greet you with a smile and gush about how valuable the notebook was...how they read it every night, how they highlighted their favourite parts, and how they even had friends over to study the notebook together. As the home owner, how impressed would you be to see the mess left behind and that your instructions you left behind were not followed at all.
We have our notebook about God's expectations about how we are to live our lives while he is away. It is our job to know them, do them, and to know what is expected so we can choose wisely when confronted by false instructions not in the book. It won't be easy, it won't be popular, and it will cost us. How do we want to greet Jesus when he comes back?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Jude 1:8