Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 17

“These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm-shepherds who feed only themselves.” Jude 1:12

We have been having a discussion on the traits of “the secret-slipper-inner”, those who covertly enter the church with intent to harm. In verse 12, Jude gives us another clue as to the identity of these people. They are “blemishes”,  “spilas”, “reefs hidden just below the surface of the water ready to wreck the ship” .

Make no mistake the goal of the “secret-slipper-inner” is to cause discord in the body. They don’t want the church to succeed. They would willingly sacrifice the forward advance of the kingdom for their own selfish gains. You won’t hear these folks cry for unity in the church. You will hear them cry foul at every foible and failure in the body of Christ. Further they are not acting out of ignorance or misunderstanding. The “secret-slipper-inner” is usually an insider who knows  the truth of the Word. They know how conflict is supposed to be dealt with and yet they refuse to operate biblically.  “They eat at the love feasts (take part in the life of the church), without the slightest qualm-“. Though they know what to do…the right way to go, they intentionally go the other way refusing to revere God or His ways.

The “why” to this question is answered at the end of the statement in Jude 12. “They are shepherds who feed only themselves.” These men are entirely self-motivated; So a kingdom mind-set is beyond their ken.

Let’s pray: Father God, You told us in your word that in the last days your children would have to watch for evil men who would slip into the church with the intent to destroy it. Today we pray that you would open our eyes to see and understand when  such a person comes around. Help us to respond in love to that person and may your love in us turn them from being weapons in the devil’s hands to being tools in Yours. Father, keep us in a kingdom mindset as well. Rid us of every selfish motivation and help us to give our lives completely to you that we may excel in building Your kingdom until You come again!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 15

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:11 NIV

If you have missed our discussions up to this point on the book of Jude:

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-1/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-2/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-3/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-4/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-5/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-6/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-7/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-8/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-9/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-10/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-11/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-12/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-13/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-14/

The book of Jude warns us to be wary of people who “secretly slip into the church” and raise havoc with the house of God. We are in the midst of a discussion about the traits of these “secret-slipper-inners”. In verse 11 of this small book Jude compares them to Balaam a seer from the Old Testament Book of Numbers. He writes:

“misthos ekcheō  planē Balaam”- Or ” For profit they run greedily having the same wicked mindset as Balaam.”

In other words for the “secret-slipper-inner” it’s all about the bottom line and the bottom line is most definitely NOT Jesus. The “secret-slipper-inner” is intoxicated by large crowds bringing large bankrolls.

Money is an interesting animal. It looks so cute and desirable from its properly caged boundaries. It beckons us to draw closer and to do what we have to to get more. But once we open the cage money is just as likely to spring out and rip our faces off as it is to bring us a blessing. Can I say that our focus in the church can never be success or money. Even as we are called to be diligent stewards with the treasure God has entrusted to us the focus can never be the treasure. It must always be God.

Getting God and treasure confused is what killed Balaam. He chose to help God’s enemies bring a curse on Israel for pay. This was a guy that actually heard the voice of God and was used supernaturally by Him. This was a man who actually had it from God’s own lips that he had better do nothing to harm Israel…and yet money.

The secret-slipper-inner has gotten money and God all mixed up. In his mind Mammon has become messiah and success is the savior. But God’s approval is not proved through balanced bank accounts or large congregations. Nor is it found in impoverished ministry and waning crowds. God’s approval is found in a heart focused on Him and that alone. Such a heart never has too little or too much.

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 14

What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.” Jude 1:11 NLT

Jude follows up his list of qualifiers for the “secret-slipper-inner” (if you missed these posts read “Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude 1-13”) among us by making three analogies about them.  He begins by making a comparison to the life of Cain.

Now while the NLT says they are like Cain “who killed his brother”. The final addendum to the phrase is not actually in the translation. The Greek says:

“poreuō hodos Kaïn.”   Or in English, “they pursue the pathway of Cain.”

It is true that Cain murdered his brother. However this does not mean every  “secret-slipper-inner” in the church is a serial killer in the making. Gosh, we’d have a lot more church murders if this was the case. I don’t believe “following the way of Cain” is a reference to the murder of his brother. Cain was guilty before God long before he offed Abel. Let’s go back to Genesis to see where Cain actually fell off the God wagon.

Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Gen. 4: 2-7

This is the beginning of the end for Cain. We don’t know why exactly God didn’t like Cain’s offering (though there are lots of good speculations). What we do know is that Cain knew his offering was not the correct one. God pointed out  that Cain had no right to feel angry because he knew he was not making a proper offering. Cain was trying to conform God to his plan rather than allowing himself to be conformed to God’s plan.

The way of Cain is the way of rebellion. Rebellion doesn’t always involve sticking a knife in someone else’s back. Sometimes it can be prettied up to look like a sacrifice of praise unto God; But don’t be fooled. Anyone can sing a hallelujah but we are called to see beneath the surface of what is said to what is lived. As Blaise Pascal said “The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts.”

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 13

“Likewise also these [filthy] dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and
speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 1:8,9

In our study through the book of Jude we have been discussing the nature of people who pose a danger to the church even though on the surface they may seem like religious pillars. If you have missed any of the discussion segments, they can be found here.

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-1/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-2/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-3/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-4/

http://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-5/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-6/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-7/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-8/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-9/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-10/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-11/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-12/

Jude points out, one way  the rebellion which characterizes the secret-slipper-inner manifests, is in treating the spirit world (even the dark spirit world) as a common thing that we humans are equal to. So we have movies like…

And television shows like…

While these Hollywood offerings have little to do with the church, a similar mindset has slipped into the church. I am concerned with some believers concentration on the Devil. I believe in a literal devil. I believe in spiritual warfare. I believe that there are many times when we are called to resist the Devil. But I believe that spiritual warfare is best fought in worship focused on the greatness of Jesus from a  position of waiting on the Lord. I believe that the best way to resist the Devil is to submit to God.

Many brothers and sister are being led astray by a teaching that makes them believe that because they have been filled with the Spirit they now have the chops to “give the Devil a black eye.” But that is what the seven sons of Sceva did in the book of Acts.

A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.  Acts 19:13-15

While the Holy Spirit who dwells in us is incomparably greater than the Devil who dwells in the world, He did not take up residence in us for the purpose of confronting the enemy. He entered into us so that we could be bold witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8). He entered into us for the purpose of causing healing and miracles to follow the preaching of the gospel.

Personally I am greatly encouraged by the knowledge that I don’t need to waste time focusing on the devil. I need all the time I have to worship Jesus!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 12

“In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.” Jude 1:8

We have spent the last several posts talking about the signals that indicate a “secret-slipper-inner” has taken up residence in a church. Those signals are reiterated here in verse 8. If you missed the discussion, it can be found here:

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-1/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-2/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-3/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-4/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-5/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-6/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-7/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-8/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-9/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-10/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-11/?preview=true

What I want to talk about today is not what behavior typifies the “secret-slipper-inner” but how they managed to become a danger to the church in the first place.

The Bible in Jude 1:8 calls the “secret-slipper-inner” a dreamer or according to the KJV a “filthy dreamer”. The Greek expression is “houtos  kai enypniazomai-”   roughly translated that is “the men who are beguiled by their sensual dreams.” 

Do you remember this song?

This is a perfect example of “houtos  kai enypniazomai-“.  

Sometimes when we think of “filthy dreams” we think of those dreams we wake up from saying “Wow I am glad that I really didn’t do that.” But Jude isn’t talking about some dream we have because we haven’t guarded our hearts properly or because we ate crazy before bed (how could he be our night time dreams are not generally under our control and these filthy dreamers are very clearly making conscious choices). When Jude speaks of filthy dreamers he is talking about  people who have chosen a mindset that leads to unbelief, rebellion and sexual promiscuity because it disregards God altogether. Paul identified it when he wrote: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” Romans 1:21-24 NIV

Our culture is rife with the idea that all religions are equal…all roads lead to Heaven…there are many paths one destination…that we should 

What we have to realize is that this is not a God dream. God is not for freedom of religion. Jesus did not create many paths to Heaven. God is not discovered in all gods. Heaven is only open to those who will repent of their sin and accept Jesus as the only son of God crucified and raised back to life on the third day!

Now, to some “tolerant” ears this message may sound harsh and rather unloving or un- good- newsish; But then it’s not our good news. It’s God’s good news.

The good news was never meant to be that “all roads lead to Heaven.”

It was always “Hey I’ve made A ROAD! TAKE IT!”

I suppose in the days ahead we are going to hear a lot more of the “all roads” jargon. I imagine we will even be pushed to accept it. All who press us in this direction are “houtos  kai enypniazomai-“. 

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 11

“And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.” Jude 1:7 NLT

 

Jude is in the middle of describing a group of people who have secretly slipped into the church of his day. He begins describing them using three different examples: The first example points to the “secret- slipper-inner’s” unbelief; The second points to their rebellious hearts; The third example he uses in verse seven points to their sexual immorality.

I recently watched a documentary on the historicity of Sodom and Gomorrah. The director chose to interview a theologian from my home state in the U.S. who declared that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not actually homosexuality or even sexual in nature at all. In fact according to the “good prof” Sodom and Gomorrah came under the judgement of God for the sin of being inhospitable. I guess she never read Jude verse 7!

The sad fact today is that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah could just as easily be renamed the story of San Francisco and Georgia. The whole issue of homosexuality pushed aside for a moment our society is rife with promiscuity of every sort. I perceive that there is hardly a man or woman in America, Christian or not, who isn’t touched by the oversexed atmosphere in some way. As I have contemplated this post I have become quite sure that the founders of all our denominations would be shocked at what we say is appropriate behavior. Pick John Wesley or Knox, Spurgeon or Moody out of their time and put them in our living rooms for a night and see what their reaction to our TV shows and rock music is.

I am convicted of some things even as I write. There is tightening up to do. What do my eyes regard? What do my ears itch for? What must I repent of in order to assure that my name is not written among the secret- slipper-inners.

What about you?

I have some praying to do!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 10

“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.” Jude 1:6 NLT

The second sign of the “secret-slipper-inner” is that they are like “the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority.”

This verse is referring to Satan and the angels who followed him in rebellion against God. The Bible indicates that those beings we refer to as demons today were once angels who chose to declare war on God in hopes of deposing Him. Satan himself was an angel called Lucifer…“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14: 12-15 KJV

I cannot imagine being likened to the devil but God says the “secret-slipper-inners” are like Satan in that they emulate his rebellion against authority.

I once worked briefly with a young man who made it his habit to undermine our manager by not following through with his responsibilities and then reporting our manager for dereliction of duty. The rest of us could easily see the fatal flaw in the young man’s plan but for some reason he thought he had the clout to take on people above his pay grade. He was soon displaced.

Secret-slipper-inners are men or women who are constantly trying to destroy the authority of their church leadership. They are not just complainers they are underminers. The saddest truth though is that they are often good at building consensus and wherever they go division seems to ride their wake. I wonder how many church splits could have been avoided if Jude verse 6 had been committed to memory.

Lord in our days make us discerning!

If you missed the first parts of this study:

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-1/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-2/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-3/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-4/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-5/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-6/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-7/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-8/

https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/pastor-wrinkles-hey-jude-pt-9/

 

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 9

“So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus [fn] first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.” Jude 1:5 NLT

We have been talking over the last several days about learning to contend for the faith against “secret slipper-inners”. Our first step to contending…defending the faith is to recognize someone who is a “slipper-inner” when we meet them.

Jude tells us the first sign is that such men “do not remain faithful”. They are mē pisteuō … That is they are NOT BEING TRUE TO, GIVING CREDIT TO, OR TRUSTING IN JESUS, GOD OR HIS PROMISES.

The example  given is the Israelites who came out of Egypt by God’s mighty hand. They saw the miracles of God on their behalf. They experienced God at Mount Sinai. Yet when it came to trusting God to take them into the land He had promised, they backed down. Instead of looking to God’s strength to fulfill His promises they measured the promise against their strength to bring it about. Unbelief for them was defined as relying on what they were able to accomplish without God’s help and forgetting God’s wonders.

the church has always been called to operate in the supernatural… that is beyond what can be accomplished by normal means. To walk in faith means to always be in the place of “It’s not possible but we are doing it!”

There is an aspect of being faithful to God which causes us always to challenge ourselves to something further. Now, whether that challenge  is being truly joyful for a full twenty-four hour period or building a 3,000 seat church in Africa, the devil is always trying to crush the over-comer in us. Jude says that the enemy of our souls will raise up people to help him accomplish that task.

Christian, beware of people who encourage you to give up the God-dream whatever that is in your life. True brothers and sisters in Christ may encourage you to tailor or redirect your God-dream. They may even point out that there are many steps to be fulfilled before you reach it. They may call you to change and growth; But brothers and sisters in Christ are not God- dream-killers. God-dream killing is the territory of the “secret-slipper-inner”, the man or woman who has forgotten what it is to operate by real faith and who now chooses to walk by natural strength alone.

Remember that, discern it and walk in faith!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 8

“So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus  first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.” Jude 1:5 NLT

Jude warned the Christians of his day that they had to contend for the faith because evil men had secretly slipped into their congregations. Jude wasn’t the only biblical writer to warn the fledgling church. For instance these words of Paul the apostle were recorded by the writer Luke.

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:29-31 

The biblical warning is as relevant to us today as it was to the first century Christians.  Now, Jude helps us to identify the “secret slipper-inners” by using three examples, the first of which is found in our Scripture for today, Jude 1:5.

As an aside I think it interesting the NLT asserts that it was Jesus who rescued the nation of Israel out of Egypt. You will notice that the other translations say it was “The Lord”. The actual word used in the work  is “kyrios”-

he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah BLB Lexicon

Just thought it worth mentioning… now let’s move on!

Jude references the fact that though all the Israelites were liberated out of Egypt they were later kept from the promised land by unbelief…lack of faith (or faithfulness more on that in Jude Pt. 9). The “secret-slipper-inners” are first of all men (or women) who operate from the principle of sight rather than from the principle of faith. In short they are “believers” who have never believed the Word of God!

We used to sing a song “If Jesus said it I believe it it’s His word He cannot lie. If its written in the Bible I’ll believe it till I die. Though the mountains be removed and be cast into the sea if Jesus said it I believe it and that’s good enough for me.”

While I was singing this in youth group years ago another group of “church men” were dissecting the Bible trying to decide if Jesus actually said anything that was recorded in the Gospels and if Isaiah and Daniel were actually prophecies or just rabbinical forgeries.

You will first of all know a “slipper-inner” by their refusal to believe the Bible as fact.

More on faithfulness in Pt. 9

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 7

 

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4

Jude tells us here that the church is in a battle because evil men have secretly crept into the church. How does that happen?

It happens when men in the pulpit begin to water down the Word of God.

It happens when people in the pew forget the Word of God.

It happens when the church becomes more interested in pleasing people than in pleasing God.

AND

It happens when people condone the sins of others because they like them rather than confronting the sins of others because they love them.

It’s important to note here that we don’t know if these men were in the pulpit or in the pew. Jude is writing to the whole church and where ever these men happened to land in the social ladder of the church they were to be met with the hope of Christ and the call to repent.

May our hearts today be filled with a passion for God and His Word like never before. May we love God and others enough to confront sin in love when we see it, that the hearts of sinners may be turned to Jesus!