Consider yourself warned
“God never promised to save by miracles those that would not save themselves by means.”
This statement from the commentary of Matthew Henry set off an alarm inside my mind this morning. My third day of studying the book of Jude and I didn’t make it two verses without a “Wow!”
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
Yesterday’s blog was on strife in the church due to debating the sin of homosexuality. The sin was as much in the debate as the act, for it took the message away from the life and death of Jesus Christ and put it onto the depravity of man, which is why Jesus came – to save them. A debate is only healthy so long as it points back to the cross and not on to the opinions of man which is where we go astray. There are always two sides to a debate, and if a public forum is taken you never know how many people you’ve allowed to be swayed by the other argument. That thought just ran a shiver down my spine, because there is always much debate.
But in verses 10-11 Jude reminds them of three Old Testament acts of treason in the church:
- Cain’s jealousy.
- Balaam’s greed
- Korah’s (Core’s) false teaching.
There are always those who think their way is better than God’s way, but when the matter is searched out there is always an underlying reason, a reward that they believe will be greater than the grace of God. For Cain, his Brother Abel’s obedience with an acceptable sacrifice made him look bad, so “Let’s just get rid of the brother, then I’ll be the favorite…problem solved.” No, the problems had only begun. Now Cain was exiled from family and friends. Judgment came, it always does. There’s always an easier sacrifice in the church, but never a better one than the one God requested.
Balaam’s greed caused him to go against God’s original Word. God’s first answer is His final answer. We need not take the same question back to the Lord when it was answered the first time in hopes of a different answer; nor do we need to “check it out” a little further. What that does is put you closer to rebellion and further away from God. Something King David noted of his own life in Psalm 73:1-3 ~ Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Korah’s rebellion against God in trying to attract Israel away from the leadership of Moses left him being swallowed up in death by the ground. God takes serious those who He has put into positions of authority. He has given them the anointed ability to lead His people and a rebellion against that will be costly.
Those are three very real issues in the church today in the spoiled nation of America. We want God’s blessing but without sacrifice. We want God’s advice, so long as it’s beneficial and we want church leaders, so long as they don’t actually have expectations that we should live right. Whew! That’ll preach! and Preachers, if you’re inclined to use it in your sermon this morning feel free to blame me. But I figure if you’re gutsy enough to preach it, you’ve got shoulders broad enough to bear the load of your congregations.
It appears that Jude was quite the meddler in church affairs, but he learned from the best – his Brother and Lord! God’s given us the Word, it’s up to us to follow it through.