Lessons from People of Faith

This is the third lesson from the little post card of Jude. He goes on to encourage God’s people to persevere in spite of the danger that faced them.

The Reminder to Remember the Apostles’ Warning (Jude 1:17–19)
The apostles had warned that scoffers would arise in the end times who would follow their own ungodly desires. Jude’s quotation of the apostles’ teaching is a general summary rather than a specific reference. It is the “last times” in relation to Jesus Christ’s return to reign on earth. While they may have claimed to be the truly spiritual group, the false teachers were really worldly minded and shared the viewpoint of unbelievers.

  1. The apostles had warned the coming generation about apostates, so that they would be prepared and not be taken by surprise (Acts 20:28–31; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:1–5; 4:1–3; 2 Peter 2:1–3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 1:7–11). God’s Word is designed to warn and protect (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 4:14); as Jude 1:18 indicates, there had been continually repeated warnings (all saying to you).
  2. Last time: This term refers to the time of Messiah from His first coming until His second (2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18). These characteristics will prevail until Christ returns.
  3. Mockers: As in 2 Peter 3:3, these are the scoffers at God’s future plans who pretend to know the truth but deny that judgment will ever come; choosing to follow ungodly lust.
  4. Jude’s profile of an apostate:
    1. Ungodly (Jude 1:4)
    2. Morally perverted (Jude 1:4)
    3. Deny Christ (Jude 1:4)
    4. Defile the flesh (Jude 1:8)
    5. Rebellious (Jude 1:8)
    6. Revile holy angels (Jude 1:8)
    7. Dreamers (Jude 1:10)
    8. Ignorant (Jude 1:10)
    9. Corrupted (Jude 1:10)
    10. Grumblers (Jude 1:16)
    11. Fault finders (Jude 1:16)
    12. Self seeking (Jude 1:16)
    13. Arrogant speakers (Jude 1:16)
    14. Flatterers (Jude 1:16)
    15. Mockers (Jude 1:18)
    16. Cause division (Jude 1:19)
    17. Worldly minded (Jude 1:19)
    18. Without the Spirit (Jude 1:19)

The Positive Instruction of the Readers (Jude 1:20–23)
Since believers are God’s temples under attack by hostile enemy forces, we need to build ourselves up, to strengthen ourselves spiritually, and to pray for God’s help in our warfare. We should also keep ourselves in the sphere of God’s love by abiding in Him (John 15:9–10), and we should keep our hope clearly in view since we have only a short time to remain faithful. Christians should help those who are struggling and perhaps stumbling under the influence of these false teachers and should attempt to restore those who have fallen into error. In the case of those whom heresy has completely swept away, we should have pity on them rather than condemning them without compassion. We should fear God’s displeasure and discipline if we embrace their error. We should avoid any contact with these people because of the corrupting influence they can have on us through their words and actions.

  1. Building: True believers have a sure foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) and cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32).
  2. Praying in the Holy Spirit: Simply a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26, 27).
  3. Waiting: An eager anticipation of Christ’s second coming to provide eternal life in its ultimate, resurrection form (Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:1–3), which is the ultimate expression of God’s mercy on one to whom Christ’s righteousness has undeservedly been imputed.
  4. Some (Jude 1:22, 23): They are: 1) sincere doubters who deserve compassion (Jude 1:22), 2) those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire (Jude 1:23); and 3) those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear (Jude 1:23).

Conclusion (Jude 1:24–25)

Jude concluded his brief epistle with a formal doxology that included a prayer for his readers. His benediction (or doxology) is one of the most known in the NT (Romans 11:33–36; 16:25–27; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 13:20, 21). He wanted to assure them of God’s ability to help them remain faithful in spite of the apostasy that threatened them. Our confidence rests in God’s ability to keep us safe and faithful. Jude returned to the theme of salvation which he had hoped to develop at the beginning (Jude 1:3).

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The Grounds for Faith

This Sunday we continue in Second Peter, which begs the question as to why would we have faith at all? How can we know God’s plan for us? Can we really trust what is recorded in Scripture? Peter will also address his thoughts as he nears the end of his earthly life. How can we know that what we have followed all these years was right? If you could convey a final message to people whom you hoped would continue and persevere in the Christian faith, what would you say? What would you want them to know?

This letter is in many ways Peter’s farewell address. He reminded them of their source of faith. It was not built on the apostles, but upon another source.

Invoking His Memory

What God revealed to Peter: Peter wants to remind his readers of what they already know, Peter was not holding anything back (2 Peter 1:12). These believers have been established in the truth. He mentions that stirring them up, teaching and encouraging them was the right thing to do, even though his execution was drawing near (2 Peter 1:13, 14). Jesus made it clear that he would not live to a ripe old age, but a martyr’s death (John 21:18, 19).

What Peter requires of us: Peter wants these believers to remember the great spiritual truths he has written in these letters, especially after “his departure” (2 Peter 1:15).

Identifying His Majesty

Here, Peter reviews what we call the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13). He and the disciples did not follow cleverly devised tales or stories about Jesus; he proclaimed that which he experienced. He was an eyewitness to the glory of Jesus (2 Peter 1:16, 17). The glory faded on the mountaintop, but the Word of God will never fade (1 Peter 1:24, 25). There was a sight (2 Peter 1:16) and there was a sound (2 Peter 1:17, 18). Peter experienced Christ, he did not just believe the right stuff about Him. Peter had a first-hand faith rather than a second-hand faith.

Inspiration of His Message

First Peter addresses the accomplishments of the Bible, moving toward giving us hope for the future (2 Peter 1:19). God’s Word is a light that shines in the darkness. As Galadriel spoke to Frodo giving him a gift of the special lamp, she said, “May it be a light in the dark places, when all other lights go out.”He challenges us to “make more sure” about the prophetic Word, which we “do well to pay attention.”

Then Peter moves to the author of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20, 21). So we beg the questions… can we trust the Word of God? How has it been preserved for us to read today? Is it reliable? Do we interpret the text properly? What does the word inspiration mean anyway? The message did not come from human writers, but from the power of God, people moved by the Holy Spirit.

Questions to Consider this Week:

  1. What people and events does Peter remind his readers (2 Peter 1:16-21)?
  2. What responsibilities did Peter seem to feel he had for his readers (2 Peter 1:12-15)?
  3. What phrases indicate Peter’s view of death?
  4. What can we assume was his attitude toward death?
  5. What do you hope will be your own attitude when death approaches?
  6. What could you be doing now to build toward a “good death?”
  7. In what ways did the transfiguration reveal the majesty of Jesus?
  8. What difference does it make to know that Peter’s teaching about Jesus came from eyewitness testimony?
  9. What difference does it make that the Father said of Jesus, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” (Matthew 17:5)
  10. What does this passage tells us about the design and purpose of Scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21)?
  11. What are some ways we can show respect for the Bible?
  12. Other verse to consider about the Messiah: Isaiah 40:1-11, 53:1-12, Micah 2:2-5, Zechariah 9:9, Revelation 21:22-22:7


Peter’s readers needed a reminder that rested on apostolic authority that was in harmony with other Scripture.

The Need for a Reminder (2 Peter 1:12–15)
Returning to the subject of God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4), Peter developed the importance of the Scriptures as the believers’ resource. This was designed to enable his readers to appreciate the value of the Scriptures and to motivate them to draw on God’s Word so they would grow in grace.

Peter’s previous words were a reminder to his readers, not new instruction. 2 Peter 1:3–11 contain basic truths about the Christian life. Peter apparently believed that he would soon die as a martyr. He said he wrote this epistle so that after his death the exhortation in it would be a permanent reminder to his readers.

The Trustworthiness of the Apostles’ Witness (2 Peter 1:16–18)
Peter explained that his reminder came from one who was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, which would have heightened respect for his words in his readers’ minds. This section begins Peter’s defense of the faith that the false teachers were attacking, defense which continues through most of the rest of the letter.

The apostles had not preached myths to their hearers, as the false teachers were doing. They had seen Jesus’ power in action as God’s anointed Messiah. God had clearly revealed that Jesus is the Christ at His transfiguration when God had announced that Jesus is His beloved Son (2 Peter 1:18).

The Divine Origin of Scripture (2 Peter 1:19–21)
The prophetic Old Testament Scriptures confirm the witness of the apostles. That witness is similar to a light shining in a darkened heart and world. Until the Lord returns, we should give attention to the Old Testament and to the apostles’ teaching. That is the only real light available to us. What we have in Scripture originated not in the minds of men but in the mind of God (2 Peter 1:21). The prophets did not simply give their interpretation of how things were or would be. They spoke as God’s mouthpieces, articulating His thoughts in words that accurately represented those thoughts. The Holy Spirit “carried along” the prophets to do so.

The next lesson we will take a look at false teachers. Have a great week.

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