Hi Family, Once again, I am coming to you late. But only by one day! Thursday is still midweek, right? As things have been opening back up this week and may continue to do so over the next few months, I am struggling to retain the awareness and peace that came when everything was first cancelled. That beautiful stillness where I had extra time in my day to spend with the Lord, where walking the dog didn’t require a PhD in scheduling and sitting to read a book with my kids didn’t instantly induce panic because it was putting me behind on the other 100 things that needed done over the next few hours. So if you’re in the same boat as I am, clinging to the last vestiges of peace as life resumes it’s former pace, please join me in clinging to what God was planting in my heart. Being intentional about my devotions and prayer time no matter life’s pace...and being willing to cut a few things out. Dragging our messy schedule and stressed-out selves to the throne room where peace is to be found no matter the political climate or if we’re quarantined. If you would like an editable/printable version of this study shared with you, please text your email address to 541-786-5245. I hope you find ways to fellowship with others over today’s Bible study in person or on our website (information listed below). Please share your thoughts or questions on tonight’s devotional on our Facebook or Instagram page (#cclagrande, #wednightcclagrande and #calvarychapel) or to me directly via the phone number above. And now, if you would like to interface directly with others doing this Bible study on our website, you can sign up to be a member on our website and comment in the “Comments” section. God bless, Summer Steele
I used the NASB version of the Bible for this study.
This week’s song is a lesser known goodie. The words are so hopeful for redemption!
“These Men” :9-16
As we jump back into Jude, please go back and read verse 3.
Jude is appealing to believers that they contend earnestly for the faith that was handed down once and for all. Those are some strong words!
Now, in verse 9, who is Michael disputing with? ______________________
This leads me to believe that it’s not only humans we’re to be equipped to contend with!
What did Michael say if he didn’t bring “reviling accusations?” _______________________________________________________
:10 Starts out with “these men.” Who are these men? They’re the same ones mentioned in verse 8.
Make a list that includes verse 8 of the characteristics of “these men.”
:11 What is “the way of Cain?”
The story of Cain can be found in Genesis 4.
Heb. 11:4 says that Abel operated in faith, implying that Cain’s problem was that he did not.
F.E. Marsh describes Cain as a Man of Unbelief (see link). When you read his list of things that living in unbelief lead to, it should have a lot of similarities with the list about “these men” that you made earlier.
Still go read the article, but here’s a brief list. The man of unbelief:
Acts in his own way
What is the error of Balaam?
Balaam’s story can be found in Numbers 22-24 & 31.
David Guzik (study guide in link) says that there are many a Christian that will not deny Christ under persecution, but will deny him for a sum of money.
Think about what your price is? Is there an area of your life that you are willing to let compromise sneak in because the reward seems worth it?
And finally, what is the rebellion of Korah?
Korah’s story can be found in Numbers 16.
Korah wasn’t interested in ministering in the areas God appointed him. He wanted Moses’ job. So I would submit that his rebellion is 2-fold - it’s in discontent/rejection of what God has called him to as well as jealousy for what he perceives to be a position of more attention, power, and prestige.
I know we’re not making much progress, but this is a wonderful opportunity to gain discernment as well as do some self-reflection.
Oftentimes when reading a list of people to watch out for as predators in the church, we read it like we (or at least I) tend to view the escapades and follies of the children of Israel in the desert.
“Wow! Those are some stupid Israelites.”
“If only they would have obeyed God and only picked up the right amount of manna!”
“Silly Israelites! Not trusting God and turning to the lame substitute of a golden calf.” “I’m glad I never forget to keep my focus on God!”
“Afraid of the giants in the land!? Why didn’t they simply trust the Lord?”
...and on and on it goes.
Couple that with the thought that I sincerely doubt whether or not most of the “These Men” got out of bed that morning thinking they were going to huff and puff and blow the Church down. So let’s take a deeper look at some of these characteristics. They will be useful sign posts to help us
Identify wolves within the Church
See when our brothers or sisters are headed a dangerous direction
Understand the process so we can be sure to stay away from that as possible in our own walks with the Lord.
Category #1 listed above. I will admit that there may be the occasional wolf sneaking around in his glasses and fake mustache actively seeking to eat as many sheep as possible. And if you were to ask him/her in their more candid moments, they would admit to hoping for some leg of lamb for dinner.
HOWEVER...I believe if we were to look into the brains of most of “these men” we would see things that are hinted at in verse 11 and clarified in verse 12.
First of all, they’re hidden. Meaning they’re hard to spot and if we were to interact with them, we might be moved (at least initially) by their story, plea for accountability, etc. But look at this. “Caring for __________________; they are clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted…” and he continues the description in verse 13.
Thinking over my years in ministry, most of the “those men” that I’ve observed and sometimes dealt with, actually consider themselves quite spiritual! But what is that word that you filled in above?
Cain hadn’t done the hard work before hand developing an intimate relationship with the Lord that would sacrifice in faith and when I read through the rest of his story and punishment, I don’t detect any repentance. I see boat loads of self pity. A dangerous emotion that can lead to a lot of self deception and damage to those around us.
Balaam could have made the excuse that he needed to provide for himself. That it wasn’t fair of everyone around him to be making money while he served the Lord without all the riches of the leaders and kings he prophesied before.
Korah probably felt really bad for himself. Working his tail off every day as a non-Aaronic priest. Possibly doing a thankless job without much in return. Why shouldn’t he lead like Moses? He was just as intelligent!
I know I’m rambling on a lot more than in the other studies I’ve done so far, but I want to go out of my way to point out that Cain, Balaam, and Korah probably had their justifications for doing what they did that sounded pretty good in their own ears. Deceiving themselves and destroying others in the process. Cain took his family into exile, soldiers died in battle because of Balaam’s sin, and Korah had brought a whole following around him that were swallowed up into the earth with him, sharing in his punishment.
:16 So the rest of the list describing “those men” is listed here.
“These are ___________, ____________ ____________, following their own lusts, they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”
Those words that I left blank. They convict me! I hope they convict you too. It shows me that the road to “those men” can look very benign but lead to dangerous places.
Once again, we have not made it very far. But that’s okay.
If we are to be in the battle, fighting the spiritual fight, it’s important that we know how to look at ourselves and those around us honestly. Keeping ourselves safe and saving others from the fire.
Next week, we get an awesome lesson in standing with joy! What a freedom we have in Christ.
If you have any additional thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments. It would greatly bless me to hear them.