Warning signs are very helpful in an environment where there is the potential for danger. Climbing on lions is an activity that, I believe, requires a bit of a heads up.
Often times in life we aren’t afforded written signs that alert us to possible hazards – and that’s especially true as it touches our journey of faith. I’ve said many times that church is a dangerous place. We put a lot on the line to join a faith community – we invest our trust and hopes in it and the potential for disillusionment, or worse, is always present. Beyond just being disappointed by the people of the community, we also have to pay attention to the leadership and guidance that is present in that mix. The dangers range from abusive tactics of overseers to the propagation of a warped believe system. None of these things have warning labels attached to them…but that doesn’t mean we have no means of discerning a problem.
We’re continuing our study called Truth or Consequences, and we’ll be reading the middle section of Jude this Sunday, v5-16.
Jude sort of sounds like an Independent Baptist in this section, doesn’t he? (no offense towards my Independent Baptist friends…but c’mon, you know I’m right)
In v 5-7 he uses three examples from Israel’s history and from rabbinical tradition to re-emphasize that the God who saves us is also the God who does something else? What else is at work in this mix besides God’s desire to save? How does that factor in as a warning sign about the result of following a false teacher?
The focus shifts in the following verses – narrowing in on what these false teachers are like. In V 8-10 there is a theme of rejecting authority – church, civil and even celestial. What sort of warning sign would we assign to leadership based these verses?
V 11-16 provides a dizzying string of metaphors that exemplify what Jude thinks of these teachers. Rain-less clouds, stars that don’t provide for a fixed position, fruitless trees; there’s a common theme to these images – can you think of what it is? Jesus provides a similar warning in Matthew 7:16-20. What is Jude saying here – what are the warning signs to look for?
When Judah started his letter he said he’d rather just talk about the wonders of our shared salvation – and I’m right there with him. This is not my favorite topic, but sometimes we have to stop and read the warning signs for the sake of our spiritual health. This Sunday will be one of those times. See yez’ then!