These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; (Jude 12, NKJV)
Some believe it matters not what you teach, believe, and do to serve God, as long as you are sincere. Jesus taught differently (read Matt. 7:21-23). So did Jude in today’s verse. Jude warned Christians against false teachers, whose error corrupts the grace and destines them to destruction (Jude 4-11). Jude explains: 1) False teachers are spots (hidden reefs) in your love feasts. They are like unseen dangers lurching beneath the surface, ready to tear and to destroy those who venture into their waters (2 Pet. 2:1-2); 2) False teachers are deceptive. They often appear beautiful, attracting unsuspecting souls to take a closer look at their false ways. But, their beauty is deadly as they devour innocent souls (Matt. 7:15; 23:28; 2 Pet. 2:3). 3) False teachers are self-serving instead of fearful of God and sin (Phil. 3:18-19). Like empty clouds, they give no spiritual refreshment to the soul. They are fruitless and lifeless. Ignoring a false teacher and his false teaching is even more dangerous than a ship’s captain who ignores the reefs and rocks in the ocean. Hidden rocks can take a seaman to his death. When false teachers are hidden among us they take souls with them to eternal destruction (2 Pet. 2:1-3, 18-19). Oh yes, it matters what you teach, believe, and do in service to God (Heb. 12:28-29).
By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. (1 Peter 5:12, NKJV)
Peter’s first epistle identifies and testifies of the true grace of God in which Christians stand. We take it as axiomatic, that since there is “the true grace of God,” there is also false grace that is not of God. False teachers, by their false gospels, turn people away from the true grace of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9). For instance, the doctrine of irresistible grace offers false grace, since it is evident the grace of God can indeed be resisted through unbelief (Acts 7:51). The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints (the impossibility of apostasy) offers false grace, since Scripture says Christians can fall from grace (Galatians 5:4). The doctrine of unity in moral and doctrinal diversity (ecumenism) offers false grace, by allowing one to continue in his sin, while assuring him of grace despite his sins (Romans 6:1-2; 2 John 9-11). On the other hand, the true grace of God provides salvation to all people through the gospel (Titus 2:11-12). It teaches us that, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” The “word of His grace” has power to save (Acts 20:32). But, only when we access God’s grace through an obedient faith in Christ (read Romans 5:1-2; 6:17-18).
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. (Jude 16, NKJV)
Jude gives essential warnings to Christians of false teachers who would creep in among them and corrupt the purity of the faith (Jude 3-4). He also describes these deniers of “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” – we are not left wondering who fits the description. They are marked as complainers who murmur against the truth and the Lord who gave it. They use their words to gain an advantage over others in order to promote their personal, lustful agenda – not the gospel of Christ. Flattery is a hallmark of partiality and deception (Rom. 16:18). It builds someone up, not with godly edification, but with a facade of respect. The apostles of Christ did not preach with words of flattery, but with the sober words of truth and reason (Acts 26:25). Like Jude, we must unmask the frothy fawning of false teachers to see their message elevates themselves and not the Lord Jesus Christ. And, we can only do that when we know the Scriptures, live the Scriptures, and love them more than men and their praise.
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” (2 Peter 2:1–2, NKJV)
False teachers. They existed in Peter’s day. They still do. Their teaching is false; destructive and divisive as it denies the Lord and His truth. By their error they bring upon themselves swift and sure destruction of the Lord’s judgment. The “way of truth”, God’s word, is the standard that exposes false teaching and the false teacher. The false teacher’s error blasphemes truth, and tragically, “many will follow their destructive ways” of error. Make no mistake, it matters what you teach, what you believe and what you follow. Otherwise, this text is meaningless. Be sure you are teaching the “way of truth”, not error. And, be sure you are following the Lord’s way of truth and not false teachers who will lead you to destruction. Examine the Scriptures. Teach, believe and follow the truth of God (Acts 17:11-12).