Three weeks left of our study in Jude counting today. We are looking at Jude 16-19, so turn their in your Bible if you will.
Again, I want to remind us that the thrust of this book is a call to contend for the faith. That we are contending in this context “against” people within the church. Last week we looked at the Metaphors, References and behaviors of those who Jude is speaking of in this book. This passage that we are studying today is the conclusion of describing the folks that Jude is speaking of. A couple weeks ago, he described just how seriously God takes this stuff, that He does not simply allow sin like this to go unchecked, and a reminder that unrepentant sin will not go unpunished. Last week he described these people. This week he continues to describe them in their behaviors, as well as the outcome of their behavior.
16 “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
Now, full disclosure, I did not set out to address the topic that I am speaking on today. I didn’t even know when I chose this book that we would be discussing this, but as often happens, the scripture that we are addressing on a particular Sunday has direct implications to something that either I am going through, or something that is taking place in the life of the church. So, please know that while I did not choose this scripture to address a particular experience, It has been clear to me this week that this is a topic of particular pertinence to our life as a body now. If you are visiting today, I want you to know something. You are being given a glimpse into our life as a family at Emmaus. If you are visiting and considering making ECC your church home, you need to know something, we have issues, and I am not about to try and hide them from anyone, because if you hang out for any length of time, you will certainly see them for yourself. So I would just as soon you know about them now, as opposed to be surprised later.
Have you ever wondered what causes divisions in the body? There is a story about a man who was found on a deserted Island. He had been there a number of years and he had build three structures on the island. When asked what the structures were, he said, this one is where I live, and this is where I go the church, when asked what the other building was, he said, that is where I used to go to church. You know why that is a funny joke? Because it is true, divisions happen in churches all the time. Division is the primary way that Satan renders a Christian’s witness ineffective. Division is proof positive that the Gospel has no power over your life. Now, before I go too far, I want to say that there are times when it is necessary and wise to leave a church. If there is unbiblical teaching, or doctrine, or abusive leadership, or a toxic culture, I would say it is advisable at times to leave. I will also say however that the majority of times that churches split, or people leave it is not over those types of concerns, it is over the things mentioned in this text.
Now, it may seem that these behaviors are fairly small when talking about them causing division, but it is important to remember that our exhibiting behaviors are driven by desires, and those desires reveal the root cause of what is in our heart. The behavior is the fruit, the motive is the stem and the desire is the root. So, I want to look at the fruit, stem, and root of divisive people that Jude is addressing in this text.
Grumblers: The current definition of a grumbler is, “someone who complains or protests something in a bad tempered but typically muted way.” There is an anger over something, and the person is sharing their dissatisfaction with what has happened, but it is not in a constructive way, but actually a cowardly way. instead of going to the person who can address their issue, they will talk to themselves, or to others about the issue. This process leads to being a malcontent, which is “a Person who is dissatisfied and rebellious.” So, if you are frustrated and hurt by something, and do not address it with the person you have the issue with, you will most likely become malcontent. Furthermore, you may cause others to become the same way. The reason this activity is dangerous to individuals, and to the church, it that it assumes that it’s viewpoint is correct, but never allows the person with whom you are malcontent to speak for them self, or to clarify…
Load Mouthed Boasters: At the heart of someone who is boasting is the desire to have others esteem them in a certain way. They are people who have a desire to be seen by others in the same light that they perceive themselves. A boaster will commonly draw attention to their own achievements at the precise moment that someone else achieves something, trying to draw the attention to themselves. What they are reacting to is a feeling that they have been threatened by someone else, and they need to remind everyone of their contribution, so that they are not overlooked. What they have forgotten is that they have done nothing without the help and grace that comes from God, and they should be pointing everyones attention at Him. These people are all about advantage, their boasting is to gain advantage, and they will also show favoritism to those whom will advance their goals, so that they will maintain their own stays in the eyes of others.
Scoffers: “someone who jeers or mocks or treats something with contempt or calls out in derision.” People who scoff are people who are generally disagreeable, and unpleasant. They are the type of people who look for the bad in something and never see the good. And, they share that with anyone who will listen.
Own sinful desires/ungodly passions. What causes people to go to the place of scoffing, boasting and grumbling according to this text is their own sinful desires, and ungodly passions. This is key for each of us to understand. This text is huge, because you cannot blame someone else for your grumbling, scoffing or boasting. It is true throughout scripture that sins of the tongue are serious sins, and here is the thing, you cannot help how someone treats you, or acts towards you, but as soon as you grumble, or boast, or scoff, you are in sin. Please hear this, you can NEVER blame your sin on someone else! You must recognize that if you have grumbled against someone else, no matter if it is a boss, or a church leader, or a family member, or someone in your Bible study, you are accountable for that action of grumbling. You can never say, “yeah, but they!”… Which leads us to the root…
Very simply put, the root of all of this division, and of all these behaviors is pride. Pride says: “I know better what they should do” and grumbles about other people. “if I were in charge, I would do things better.” Pride says: “I am the most important person here, so I need to direct everyone’s attention to me.” Pride says: “ you fool, you don’t know what you are doing,” “I am the authority here!”
And the desire that drives the pride is the desire for control. At the core of any sin is the desire to be the God of our world. We want to be in charge, we want to be in control, we want to be worshipped. It means that we don’t trust God to work through the means that he has prescribed for his body. So really, pride is not just saying that to other people, pride is saying that stuff to God. Pride is grumbling about God’s work, pride is boasting about self to distract others from gazing upon God. Pride is scoffing at what God has set in place.
SO, let me ask you this, how long do you think God will stand for your grumbling against Him? How long do you think he will put up with your load mouthed boasting, taking attention and glory away from Him? How long will He let you scoff at His work. Now, let me ask you this question, “how long are you going to say you are a Christian, while grumbling, and boasting, and scoffing at His work?”
Now, I know that after a message like this, some of you may be wondering where I am coming from. It may seem that I am angry, or lashing out at people grumbling and complaining because they are complaining about me. Well, I know it is my job to be complained about, that is part of ministry. But ultimately I am bringing this to you because I love you, and I want what’s best for you. Because I believe that the word of God is true that people who consistently grumble, and boast, and scoff, and never repent may not be Christians.not that you would lose your salvation, but I believe the Word of God clearly lays out that people who continue to engage in unrepentant sin after being confronted with it may have never been Christians to begin with. They. Any claim Christ as a friend, but they have never yielded their whole life to Him, and submitted to His word.
So, as your pastor, who loves you, let me please with you to hear this word from The Lord. If you have been convicted by this word, please repent. Confess your sin, and turn to Jesus. Don’t try to justify your sin with excuses. I can say this confidently, that if you have an issue with another believer, or with me and you have taken that complaint to someone else instead of the one with whom you have the complaint, you are in violation of this word. Furthermore, look at the result. It is these people who cause division. So, if you are concerned about division, don’t grumble, don’t boast, don’t scoff, repent! Let’s pray…