PTC Ministry Conference 2012
It is said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss personalities,” yet, the Bible does it a lot. The Bible often fleshes out thoughts with concrete examples.
Jude is concerned with apostasy.
1. He Names Names (v11)
The three named here are religious figures. Jude gives three ways to lose your ministry. These are three trends and tendencies which trouble the church up to today. Cain was a religious man, offering sacrifices to God. Balaam was heard by God. Korah was a Levite, a cousin of Moses, who wanted to work as a priest.
We shouldn’t go the way of Cain. Why did he murder his brother? He was spiritually jealous of his brother.
F.B. Meyer was in London with Spurgeon and Campbell Morgan, all within a mile or two of each other. He said, it was easy to preach for the success of Morgan when he was in America, but when he came to England and a church near mine, it was different. The old Adam in me was moved to jealousy, but I put my foot on his head.”
When God came looking for Abel, Cain said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This is what jealousy does. We don’t look out for each other. There are many ways to kill your brother: running down his reputation, false praise, etc.
Balaam was a brilliant young man with a great reputation. What he blessed was blessed, what he cursed was cursed. If Cain was a murderer, Balaam was a mass-murderor. 24,000 people were killed by his mistake. Revelation 2:14, he is still troubling the church in the first century, a thousand years later! He had the right message, but the wrong motivation, v11. We can be greedy for money, for recognition, for power over other people, wanting to build a following around ourselves. Balaam wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he wasn’t prepared to live the life of the righteous. Being recognised as a great man and getting the praise of men means getting your own reward here, not in heaven.
Korah was a frustrated minister. He said Moses had too much power. 250 leaders joined in his rebellion. His problem was pride.
In Tasmania, 100 new churches spring up and 100 close. People are hiving off on their own. The cult of personality is blossoming in Evangelicalism today. C.J. Mahaney stepped down in 2011, admitting to pride, sinful judgement and hypocrisy, and has since even restored. John Piper took a similar break the year before. He apologised for the sins of his soul, ongoing character flaws. These aren’t the great it sins which shock us. These are the little foxes which get in and spoil the vine. Piper said, the precious garden of my home needs tending.
When we minister without the help of the holy spirit, we want the ground to open up and swallow us. Pride does that.
This happened to real people.
2. He Paints Pictures (v12-13)
These pictures are windows into the church Jude writes too, yet we might catch a look at ourself in the glass.
A. A hidden reef
There is a shadow in the water, a reef hiding just below sea level. There are jagged rocks. A disaster waiting to happen. They can rip the bottom out of an oceangoing liner. The self-serving shepherd are the love feasts (The first century church made a meal out of it and we make a meeting out of it).
At the Last Supper, the Disciples didn’t just turn to Judas, but questioned themselves whether they were the traitor.
Here, as the people of God remember the great shepherd of the sheep, these self-serving shepherd are eating without a quarm. They did not discern the body of Christ. There were their brothers and sisters in Christ with them, but they looked out for their faction.
B. Empty clouds
When we see a cloud, we expect rain. This person talks big, but never delivers. We promise, but are we delivering on our promises. Bonar: the same words which uttered from warm lips would proclaim life and draw men to the cross, given by cold lips can drive them away. Why are we not seeing times of refreshing? We have to examine ourselves, not just blame the times.
C. Fruitless trees
Fruitiness trees and all foliage but dead inside. These men follow mere instincts and not the Spirit. Jesus talks about people who prophecies and drove out demons in his name (using his gifts), yet he tells them to depart from him because he didn’t know who they were, also Hebrews 6. By their fruits you will know them, not by their gifts.
D. Raging seas
Along the Irish Sea at Aberystwth, the residences are shuttered during the winter to stop stones tossed up by the sea from breaking the windows. Some ministries are destructive. Don’t be restless. When you take a call, it is for life or until God calls you somewhere else.
E. Wandering stars
A star was a means of navigation. Don’t be an uncertain point. Philippians , be a shining stars in the universe holding forth the glory of God.
Spurgeon: a house must have windows, but if it is all windows, it will collapse.
Where do these people come from? The devil doesn’t conger them up from no where. They come from a room like this. The leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons were evangelicals, and the founder of the Moonies was a Presbyterian minister in Korea.
3. He Quotes Prophecy
1. Antediluvian (v14-16)
Jude quotes Enoch. Why does he go all the way back there? Why not quote Jesus, who spoke about aged coming in judgement with his holy angels? Why go to the seventh from Adam? Enoch walked with the Lord, and he was not. Jude wants us to know that God is slow to judgement. It is a long time coming. He waits, to be gracious. For thousands of year, aged has been patiently warning us, giving us space for repentance. Jesus has died, and he is waiting. Return to him and he will return to you. He is slow to anger and swift to show mercy. We are too proud. God needs to break us.
2. Apostolic (v17-19)
Either Peter is quoting Jude or Jude is quoting Peter. Peter says they are coming, Jude says they are here! But you, brothers, build yourself up in your most holy faith. There is an alternative. There is another course to follow. The best way to detect counterfeit is not to study the varieties of counterfeit, but to know the genuine article so well you can spot the fake immediately.
We need to look for the telltale signs of spiritual de cline, but we need to know those things which accompany salvation, making sure we are the genuine article.