Dr. S. Lewis Johnson comments on Jude's reference to the Second Advent of Christ.
[Message] We’re turning again to the Book of Jude, the next to the last book in the Bible, written by one of the brothers of our Lord, and we’re reading three verses from the only chapter of the book, verses 14, 15 and 16. Jude has been speaking about apostates who have come in, in the midst of the believers, and he is engaged in warning them concerning the apostates who have entered in among the faithful. In verse 14 he writes, “And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.’”
Now will you let me make a comment or two? The Book of Enoch is not one of the canonical books. In fact it was not an apocryphal book either. The Book of Enoch was apocalyptic work of Jewish pseudepigraphal, false writings, which were not accepted by the Jews in the Old Testament canonical books, and so it is a book that is a non-biblical book. The fact that Jude quotes from this book, and it’s very plain that he does quote from the book, should not give us the false idea that it is therefore one of the canonical books or ought to be included among them, or is a book that is an inspired book. But as many books might be described, it contains true things. And evidently, in this case, Jude regarded this statement from the Book of Enoch to epitomize a true fact, the second coming of the Lord. And it’s a very pithy comment. As a matter of fact, it’s found twice essentially in the Book of Enoch, and this is a citation from chapter 1 verse 9 of that apocalyptic work of Jewish pseudepigraphal. So we’re to think of this as a statement that is true which has the imprimatur of Jude, the brother of our Lord. It’s thoroughly in harmony with the rest of the word of God that we know about from other places.
Now having said that in verse 14 Jude goes on to say,
“To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’ (Would you think that the word ungodly was popular with Jude? Four times in this one text he has used the root ungodly. Then he describes the false teachers further.) These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”
You know it’s often remarkable how the writers of holy Scripture in phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs say things that are so applicable to the generation of which we’re a part. And the words of Jude are so fitting. As a matter of fact, they’re not only fitting but they’re very appropriate at this time for we’ve had brought to our attention publically the fact that in our day there are individuals who might be characterized as Jude has characterized these. They speak arrogantly. They flatter people for the sake of gaining an advantage. Personal interest is something that characterizes not simply the politicians; it characterizes not simply those of us who are neither politicians nor preachers, but it surely characterizes preachers as well. We’re all in danger of making decisions and saying things that flow out of personal interest, and Jude speaks to the point here in these very important verses which we hope to throw a little bit of light on in a few moments.
May the Lord bless this reading of his word, and let’s bow together in a moment of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we approach Thee through the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the great event of the incarnation of the second person of the divine Trinity which we have just celebrated in the song that we have sung. We thank Thee for the sentiments of that great hymn, for the truthfulness of the incarnation and for the significance of it, the astounding exciting fact that God the Son has entered our world, taken to himself our nature apart from sin, and has as the God man made it possible for us ultimately to reside with him in the realms of heavenly glory. We worship Thee and praise Thy name, Lord, for the magnificent plan of salvation which Thou hast devised out of Thine own omniscient wisdom. We thank Thee for the assurance that we possess eternal life through Christ.
And we ask, Lord, Thy blessing upon each one present in this auditorium, we pray that all of us may appreciate even more the incarnation and the salvation of the Son of God as a result of the meditation of the remaining days of this month in which we honor him who is the incarnate Son. We thank Thee, Lord, for the blessings of life. We worship Thee and praise Thee for the loving kindness and mercy that Thou hast shown in the coming from the day’s spring from on high.
We ask Thy blessing upon the whole church of Christ today. We pray for each individual believer, not only in Believers Chapel, but throughout the evangelical church. Lord, we thank Thee for the great future that lies before us according to the promises of Thy word. And we pray that all of the events may redound to be glory of the Son of God ultimately. We thank Thee for the hope of his second coming of which Jude writes. And we ask Lord that it may be a significant part of our thinking in life as we reflect upon the fact that he may be here soon.
We pray for Believers Chapel. We ask Thy blessing upon its elders and deacons, its members, its friends, the visitors who are here today, may Thy perfect will be accomplished in our lives for Thy glory.
For our country, we also pray. We ask, Lord, for every citizen of the United States of America and for the needs that each of us has we ask that Thou wilt supply that which will meet the needs that we all have. We pray for our President, particularly, we ask that Thou will give him wisdom in these most critical days. Give him wisdom as he seeks to give leadership and to deal with the problems that we have in the United States of America. We thank Thee for this great country, but we know Lord that nothing that is human is ultimately perfect except that which has the stamp of the divine Son upon it. And we pray for the sick.
We pray especially for those who have asked us to pray for them. Lord, wilt Thou minister to them. Give them the sense of Thy presence, the comfort of Thy presence, and the consolation of it, and the supply of the things that they need. Give healing as is needed and in accordance with Thy will. We pray for those who minister to them, the doctors and their family and friends. For those who are suffering, we especially, Lord, pray that Thou wilt strengthen them and encourage them and give them help.
And now we ask Thy blessing upon us as we sing, as we listen to the word of God, and may we profit from our time together and be built up in our faith. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] To me one of the great pleasures of the Christmas season is singing the great Christian hymns which have so often a sound theological basis and a beautiful expression of the great truths which mean so much to most of us. They surely mean much to me. So, I’m thankful for Charles Wesley and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” as well as our first hymn, and I look forward to singing the Christmas hymns for this month.
We’re looking at Jude’s little epistle, trying to give it a little more attention than usual. We should have two more studies in the book before we conclude it. And our topic has been, “Christendom in the Light of Jude.” As he concludes his picture of the apostates with verse 13 saying of them that they are, “Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” He relates them specifically to the future now, and points out that the end of the apostates is judgment at the Lord’s Advent.
You know if I were a leading minister or an unleading minister in Christian professing churches who had departed from the word of God; I would be terrified to read the things that Jude has to say about apostates from the faith. The things that he says are truly terrible in the warning that they give to those who depart from the word of God. “Wild waves of the sea,” Jude calls them, “Casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” That would cause me to reflect upon the theology that I was seeking to proclaim as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we reflect upon the fact that the Lord has given us many, many promises in the word of God concerning his second return that would be even more terrifying if we were not proclaiming essentially the message of the word of God. It has been estimated, and I think some individuals have even counted the references in the New Testament to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus in its different phases, if there are different phases, that there are over three hundred references to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is one of them when we read, “Behold the Lord came with many thousands of his saints.” And so we have ample warning. We have no reason to say we didn’t know what was going to happen. And Jude points out right at the beginning that the end of the apostates is judgment at the Lord’s Advent.
Now when Jude points us to the future what he has in essence done is to point us to Eschatology. Eschatology is a term that is prominent in Christian theology. It’s the teaching concerning the last things. “Eschatos” means “last” in Greek. “Logos,” combined with it, “logos” means “word, discourse, account,” in fact it means a number of things, but in this instance it means “discourse,” so that Eschatos means discourse concerning last things. And so Eschatology has to do with things that are in the future. And when one studies Eschatology he’s studying, popularly, he’s studying prophetic word. And so in this instance by saying that the, “Lord will come with many thousands of his holy ones,” Jude has introduced the subject of Eschatology.
Christianity has always claimed to provide the true interpretation of human existence, human existence in the past, and human existence in the present and human existence in the future. In practical ways, the ways that affect our daily lives, the terms that the Bible uses are the familiar words, the triad of faith, love and hope, so that what the Bible says regarding faith has to do primarily with the past. What the Bible has to say about love has primarily to do with the present in the practical sense. And what it says about hope has to do with the future in the practical sense, so that faith, hope, and love mark the practical attitudes of believing individuals.
Now hope being the last of these is not an unimportant thing. We sometimes think that love and faith are so much more important than hope that when mentions Eschatology it’s occasionally the view of some that we ought not to think very seriously about that because no one can agree about things like that. Well we may not be able to agree about the details, but Jude doesn’t give us details, he just tells us this plain fact. The Lord is going to come again.
The Apostle Paul did not think that way about Eschatology for in the Epistle to the Romans and in the 8th chapter and the 24th verse he said, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope for why does one also hope for what he sees.” And so, we’ve been saved in hope in the sense that hope surrounds the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, characterizes it. So an individual who has come into Christianity has come into a system of truth, a revelation from God in heaven that has to do not simply with the present, but it has to do with the future and fundamentally is a teaching concerning the future. And when we go back and reflect upon the fact that the Book of Genesis introduces us to the plan of God from the time of creation on and realize that everything in the Bible at one time is future. Then, of course, Eschatology becomes much more important.
Bertrand Russell, one of the great English philosophers, once said that Christian optimism, the optimism that has to do with the things concerning the future and our Lord’s return was, “Built on the ground that fairy tales are pleasant.” Well we do not think that Divine Revelation is a collection of fairy tales. We believe that what we have in the word of God is come from the mouth of God through his servants, the prophets and the apostles. And so they are not fairy tales. They represent the revealed truth of God.
Marxism used to criticize Christianity. I don’t hear so much of that now because they’re busy fending off criticism of themselves, but Marxism used to criticize Christianity as a system of truth that contained promises of pie in the sky. Those words belong to them, “pie in the sky.” And their opponents, among us, used to say their promises are an apartment with running water twenty years from now. I don’t know whether they have acquired those apartments yet, but one thing I do know and that is that they want our “pie” today, our “pie in the sky,” or our pie on the ground, at least they want that.
Well Eschatology suggests some great principles. If you’ll think about Eschatology as what the Bible has to say about the future or last things. There are four ideas that we can keep in mind and which will help us, I think, to approach Eschatology with some sense of stability. First of all, in Eschatology there is a futurism. God’s promises include a future solution to the problems of individuals and also the problems of society about which we hear so much today. For example, in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, in the 11th chapter and the 15th verse as the revelation unfolds, we read, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there arouse loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah; and He will reign forever and ever.’” Futurism, there is a coming kingdom. There is an eternal reign that ultimately will be headed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in company with those who rule and reign with him.
The second great principle is the principle of discontinuity. A future event will crucially alter human history. Now we tend to think of human history as just simply the unfolding of a kind of evolutionary uniformaterianism, and we should not expect any radical change in the unfolding of human history. Well the Scriptures speak contrary to that. The Scriptures in their Eschatology make it very plain that there is a discontinuity in human history; a future event will crucially alter human history. Now this future event is simply what one might expect from the fact that there has been already one crucial event, and that was the incarnation of the Son of God improperly appreciated by the world. But nevertheless a magnificent, astounding, exciting fact that God has already entered our human history and has accomplished a significant work, the foundation of all that will transpire in the future as well. So discontinuity, we look for in history.
And because we look for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, there is a third great principle and it is the principle of divine intervention. The eternal one, who invaded history in swaddling clothes and walked Nazareth’s roads with eternity in his breast, plied his carpenter’s trade, although he was the creator of everything, while the prince of life died on Skull Hill, shall again intervene in history. That’s what Christians look forward to with the confidence of the word of God and the inspiration of that word through the Holy Spirit. Divine intervention, we look forward to divine intervention. We may debate details, but even among our debates, generally speaking, we agree that there is going to be a divine intervention in the future. And then we’ll know who right, premillenialists, amillenialists, postmillenialists and all of the other details, I presume, will be smoothed out and everybody will know that we were right all along. [Laughter] No, no, we will know who is right and what is so wonderful about it is that we will be perfectly happy if we were wrong. We’re not happy now, but we will be happy then.
The fourth of the great principles is Adventism, the Lord will return to earth to claim his kingdom. That’s specifically stated in the word of God. There’s been a great debate against, a great revolt, I should say, against Eschatology in the 20th century. The reason was that the kinds of pictures that were given of Jesus of Nazareth were of a great moral teacher, but Albert Schweitzer shattered that when he wrote his book on The Mystery of the Kingdom. He pointed out that what the great liberal theologians, and most were liberal, what the great liberal theologians were saying about the ministry of the Lord Jesus and the kingdom of God was that the Lord Jesus was primarily a moral teacher. And consequently the things that he said had to do with moral things and that was the way in which we should largely regard Jesus of Nazareth, as a great moral teacher.
Schweitzer did something that should have been done by others, of course, but who failed to do it. He went to the Bible. Now he was not a believing man in the sense of an evangelical. But he did go to the Bible as a scholar, and he read through the gospels, and studying the gospels he came to the conviction, and I think rightly, that the Lord Jesus was anything but a moral teacher only. He was that. But as a matter of fact, Schweitzer went on to point out that the primary teaching of our Lord was Eschatological. He pointed out in the monumental Quest of the Historical Jesus and devastatingly showed that Jesus’ teaching went far beyond moral teaching, that Eschatology was his primary concern, that he oriented his message toward the expectation of a supernatural catastrophic coming of the kingdom. The other Jesus as a great moral teacher only, Schweitzer point out, never existed.
Now in spite of that we’ve had teachers through the 20th century who’ve not fully realized the significance of the Adventism that characterized our Lord’s ministry. Another great English teacher, C. H. Dodd, in his realized Eschatology sought to eliminate a great deal, not entirely, I want to be fair to him, but sought to eliminate a great deal of the futuristic element in the teaching of our Lord and spoke of Eschatology as being largely realized. Reinhold Niebuhr thought in terms of the end such as the coming an Advent and said that Eschatology was concerned largely with symbols, not to be taken literally. When it came to Eschatology itself he was largely an agnostic, and there are agnostics today too. But what we have found from the study of the Scriptures is that Eschatology is a large part of the ministry of our Lord and a large part of the Bible. But we have so many people in the pulpit today who do not really fundamentally believe the word of God. It’s one of the tragedies of our time.
When I was growing up the men that we thought of as being men who opposed the Scriptures were Tom Paine and Ingersoll and others who were famous heretics, who publically proclaimed their heresy. At least you can admire a person for publically proclaiming his heresy, but the man who stands behind the pulpit as a Christian minister but who is often a more dangerous heretic, I cannot have respect for that kind of individual. And I rather think that Dr. Tallmadge who once referred to such ministers as Tom Paine’s and Ingersoll’s in gown and bands was very, very much on the point. And we should think of individuals who stand in the pulpit but do not preach the word of God as being heretics but wearing the cloths of individuals who are evangelical. Now Jude is talking about just such people in his little epistle, and he’s been talking about them by calling them “these men.” These are men who have crept in among the faithful. They’ve crept in unnoticed. “They were long before marked out for condemnation,” he says in an earlier verse, “Ungodly persons who turned the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only master and Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now I don’t know how sophisticated they were. Maybe they were as sophisticated as some of our men today who can so phrase their terms that the man sitting in the pew who is not interested enough to really bother to analyze what is being said from the pulpit, but I have a hunch that they manage to say what they believed and it was heretical in words that many, many people hearing them thought probably were evangelical or true to Scripture, but they were not.
Now we are going to turn to verse 14 where Enoch says a word about these apostates and specifically warns them of the Second Advent. We mentioned the Book of Enoch and mentioned the kind of book that it was, and in verse 14 Jude says, “That Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.’” Interesting thing about this, of course, is that Jude quotes a non canonical book and affirms the truthfulness of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. In fact he says that Enoch really speaks about them.
Now there are some interesting things about it, and I’ve already talked about, I don’t want to belabor the point, but what Jude is referring to is a truthful statement in a book that is not a canonical book, 1 Enoch. And the text reads in 1 Enoch, chapter 1, as well as in a later chapter, “Behold God shall come with many thousands of His holy ones.”
Now I didn’t say something that I should have said. We read in the New American Standard Bible that I’m reading that Jude prophesied says, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.” In the Hebrew language it was very customary for the prophets particularly in speaking toward the future to throw themselves into the future time and describe things in the past tense. They were described in the past tense because it was so certain that they would come to pass and so that use of a tense of completed action, a perfect tense, to describe events of the future, clearly from the context they were future, was called in Hebrew grammar as the prophetic perfect. Now that is what we have here. We read in the New American Standard Bible, it transliterated literally, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.” The reference however is to the future. Incidentally there’s no significant difference among interpreters, even non-evangelical and evangelical, we are perfectly justified in translating this also, “Behold, the Lord shall come with many thousands of His holy one.” So he’s talking about a future event.
Now he is described as the “seventh from Adam.” I wonder if that does not mean that Jude regards Enoch as having a kind of special status. If you will look at Genesis chapter 5 you will find he is the seventh in the genealogy that is set forth there. And so Jude, knowing that from the canonical book Genesis, speaks of Enoch as being from the seventh generation from Adam. And he prophesied. He has special status. Why does he have special status? Well I don’t think that Jude made too much over this, but the number seven itself in the Bible often has significance as representing that which is perfect or complete, but the special sense of it probably is that Enoch is the man whom Scripture describes as one who walked with God. Now an individual who walked with God like Noah and like Enoch, these are individuals to whom we pay a special attention, do we not? If we know a Christian man who walks with God in the way in which Christian men may walk with God today, and then we pay them particular attention, give them the kind of regard that they should have.
Now Enoch, “the seventh from Adam,” is the one who walked with God, special status. And so, Jude takes the prophecy from that book that Enoch is supposed to have uttered and applies it to the apostates. So, and he’s going to come, he says incidentally, “with myriads of holy ones.” I should make one other point. This is so interesting. The text of Enoch says that God shall come “with ten thousands of His saints.” Jude cites it as, “The Lord came with thousands of His saints,” and it’s evident that he regards the Lord as a reference to Jesus Christ. On what grounds can you do that? Characteristic of Christian is to use the term God for the first person of the Trinity and then speak of our Lord as the second person of the Trinity, reserving God for first person, but not generally speaking of God for the second and third persons of the Trinity. That’s false. The biblical doctrine of the Trinity is that there is one God who subsists in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit. The term God is not the personal name. It’s the name that has to do primarily with the essence of deity. So God is a term that may be first, second or third person. You know all of this, but I say it again because it’s important to understand how Jude and the apostles read the Old Testament.
Now why did Jude say, “The Lord shall come with many thousands of His holy ones?” Well for this simple reason, he knew that there was a prophecy of the Second Advent. Now he knew, of course, that God the Father does not have a body. The Holy Spirit does not have a body. God the Spirit does not have a body. The one member of the divine Trinity who possesses a body is the second person. And so if he is coming and the Scriptures speak of him as coming and appearing, it must be the second person. The prophecies of the Old Testament that have to do with the appearance of God among men are therefore prophecies that have to do with the second person.
Now, I don’t have time to talk about this in detail, but let me assure you that it is not simply Jude who does this. It is the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is the Apostle John. There are others in the New Testament who take passages in the Old Testament which refer to God, but because of the activity described of God it’s an activity of appearing, the New Testament writers rightly identify that person and do not hesitate to refer to that person as the Lord, even Jesus Christ. So when he says, “The Lord shall come with many thousands of His holy ones,” he’s talking about the Lord Jesus, and he says he’s going to come with “His holy ones,” “His saints.”
Now the term in the context, and the term here, refers to the angelic beings who shall come with the Lord, later on the Book of Revelations spells that out too. “Saints,” of course, is a term that is used not simply of the angels, but I want to say hallelujah, but it’s used of me too. Did you know that? Every believer in Christ is a saint. Now a “saint” is not a perfect person, just ask his wife or the husband of the wife. But a “saint” is one set apart by divine grace through faith for the service of the Lord God. Ambrose Bierce, the American short story writer and journalist, once said about the churches that tend to canonize saints that a saint is “a dead sinner revised and edited.” [Laughter] that’s a great definition, a great “sinner revised and edited.” Well the saints here are the angels. You may be called a saint, and there’s a whole lot of revision and editing that ought to be done in your life, and it will be done finally and perfectly at the coming of our Lord or when you enter his presence. So Jude says that the apostates should bear in mind the fact that the Lord is coming again.
Now he talks of our Lord coming as a kind of divine warrior. And he will come. But then he speaks in verse 15 and verse 16 of the kind of condemnation that they may expect. So the man who walked with God is at war with apostate sins, and he doesn’t hesitate to talk about the apostates. In our day, you know, it’s regarded as really, not really goshe [ph 38:46], to say bad things about heretics. You try to keep from saying anything good about them, but you don’t speak out negatively against their bad things and because we just live in too nice an age to call people what they really deserve to be called. Jude was not that kind of person.
Someone has said, “Silence is golden, but sometimes it’s plain yellow.” And in Jude’s case it would have been yellow for him not to say the truth about the apostates. And let me say this to you that today we have in our pulpits and in our public ministries men who are plainly apostates. They are apostates in their doctrines and they’re apostates in their practices. Though they use the language that believing Christians love their lives are a far cry from things that are set forth in the word of God. When the Bible speaks about a believing man, a truly believing man, he is a man who holds right doctrine. But he also is characterized by right practice. Now I don’t mean perfection. We’re never perfect. But by distinctive fundamental change in life that manifests itself in a change of fundamental living. There are men today who deny that judgment is coming.
In fact in evangelical circles we have Universalists. Can you imagine it? In evangelical circles people who are saying that everybody is ultimately going to be saved. How one can say that and say that they believe the Scriptures is beyond me. Jim Packer who has spoken more than once in Believers Chapel has commented in one of his recent lectures, “If all are as the title of a 19th century tract put it, ‘Doomed to be saved,’ (can you imagine that, ‘Doomed to be saved,’ everybody is going to be saved) then the heat is off so far as evangelism is concerned and it will be proper to give other ways of loving your neighbor a permanent priority over evangelizing him.” In other words, you don’t have to worry about your neighbor. You don’t have to tell him about Christ. You don’t have to tell him about the gospel. He is going to ultimately be in heaven too with you in his unbelief or else changed. I’m sure they would go for changed.
So Jude says in verse 15 that the Second Coming is a time of the execution of judgment upon all, conviction of all of the ungodly deeds that they’ve done in an ungodly way and of all of the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God. In other words, they have been rebels against the Lord God in heaven. And as a result of that at the Second Coming they’ll be singled out for special attention by the Lord God. I think it was Nels Ferre who once said, he was a liberal of a generation or so ago, Mr. Ferre, who taught I believe at Vanderbilt University in the religion dept, used to say that hell must be a place that has a door or, and I’ve forgotten what the other thing he said was, because he thought about it as being a place in which a person would ultimately escape, that is it had a door, a way out. Well, Jude doesn’t know anything about that.
And in the 16th verse, he describes these restless grumbling grousing apostates in words that fit them to a tee, “These are grumblers.” This is an expansion of the statement in verse 15, “And of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” They’re grumblers.
The word in the Greek text is an onomatopoeic word that is it’s a word that sounds like that which it means. Goggustes that even sounds like a grouser and a grumbler doesn’t it? Goggustes, he’s a goggustes, grumblers. The word itself fits them. If you have a friend who’s a grumbler, practice it on him and see if maybe he doesn’t think you are describing him. It’s a kind of low mutter of discontent. The kind of thing that Israel was so good at in the Old Testament when God brought them out of the land of Egypt, brought them into the land which would be the means by which they would ultimately enter into the Promised Land and things didn’t go the way that they thought they should go, they began to grumble.
It is characteristic of us, isn’t it? I would like to make a prophecy that there isn’t a single person in this auditorium that would be willing to admit that you’ve not been, at one time or another, a grumbler. And I’d like to prove it. Those in the audience who’ve never grumbled would you raise your hand please? [Laughter] No, you’re not going to raise your hand because all of us are guilty of grumbling. And so here, these are grumblers, and further they are grumblers in the sense they find fault. They found fault with Moses. They’ve been finding fault with the apostles. They’ve been finding fault with the Lord in various ways down through the centuries. It’s characteristic of human nature.
I’ve forgotten exactly who it was who said it, but I believe it was Dr. Parker, the great evangelical Congregationalist of the last century a few generations back at least. Parker once said that there is a lot of discussion about the serpent and the Garden of Eden and the woman and the man. And we’re not certain specifically of all of the details of it, but one thing we are sure of and that is that the woman ate something that has disagreed with the human race ever since. So that’s what we are. We are sinners. We are naturally prone to grumbling and prone to finding fault. This term, finding fault, is mimpsy moyroy [ph 45:50]. In fact after the message this morning someone wanted me to spell that out. They thought that was such a great word. Fault finders, mimpsy moyroy [ph 46:00], fault finders, ones who blame their allotted fate or life on others, and in this case on the Lord God, the perennial grousers. You know them don’t you? We won’t talk about spiritual things. We’ll just talk about sports, the perennial grouser. The follower of the Cowboys, they may win four straight games, but what about this, what about that. Grousing, that’s characteristic of human nature too. I imagine all of you have groused. Would you like to raise your hand and say you have never groused? No, you have. What a wonderful congregation I have, so subject to salvation by Christ, [Laughter] you surely need it. [Laughter] I hope you have it. [Laughter]
So, he says finding fault, the perennial grouser, Paul wrote to Timothy and he made an interesting little comment in 1 Timothy chapter 6 and verse 6. He said, “Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” Contentment, that’s a magnificent virtue, isn’t it? Contentment, so the grousers, the grumblers, they’re characteristic of the apostates. That’s what they are. If you read their literature, I read their literature all the time, and they are grousers, they’re grumblers. They’re grumbling about evangelicalism, the various ways in which evangelicals are wrong. They’re constantly grousing about that and they’re grousing and grumbling about the Scriptures and the things the Scriptures say. You can thank the Lord you don’t have to read some of that literature that I have to. And Jude says, “They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” Arrogant, flatters for base gain; they are individuals who adapt their teaching to what others wish to hear.
One thing that the people of our Lord’s day said about him which I think was one of the most marvelous things ever said about Him was that he was just not that. And they came and said to him, “Teacher we know that you are truthful and defer to no one. For you are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth.” Is it lawful to pay a poll tax to Caesar or not? I’m not sure they believed that, but they knew that by saying it that they wouldn’t be far from the truth concerning our Lord. We know, of course that he did speak the truth. These individuals have one value; it’s pleasure. They have one dynamic; it’s desire. And so, this is the picture of the apostates that Jude pictures. If you look at Protestant infidelity, the infidelity of the Protestant churches today, and the attack on western civilization that has characterized so much of it, you find these words so fitting. These individuals are individuals who have done just that. They started out by doubting the word of God, then they denied the word of God, then and since then they have been deriding the word of God. The curriculums of our schools and our institutions are filled with apostasy and heresy. And they are preached within the context of a professing Christianity.
The final words, they’re toadying arrogance also characterizes our teachers today in so many cases, bombastic, noisy, currying favor and preaching for personal interest and personal gain. Some years ago I came across the liberal version, the modern mystic version, of the 23rd Psalm. I think I’ll read it as we close. This was done by Samuel Zwemer, one of the great missionaries of a generation or so ago. The modernistic version of the 23rd psalm, the Lord is my shepherd. “The unseen infinite is the source of my motivation and I shall not want personality. He maketh me to experience true self expression and to attempt new projects in the psychology of adolescence. He restoreth the right complex to my introvert soul. He leadeth me into a preface of morals for goodness sakes. Yea though I peregrinate through the present depression, exuberant health gives me a still upper lip. I grin and bear my fate. Good luck is always with me. Its creative impulse and the pep of my élan vitally comfort me. Surely normal behaviorism and carefully controlled altruism will follow me until the jig is up and then properly cremated I shall dwell in a marble urn forever. [Laughter] It’s a kind of attitude our society has that everything is wonderful.
I read something some years ago by Arthur Kessler and he was talking about death and how people face death in our day. They face it with a kind of true grit. The mortuary is a chapel of rest. The cemetery is a garden of repose. We have not, it is true, traveled as far as this escapism as Americans of whom Arthur Kessler shrewdly observed that morticians endeavor to transform the dead with lipstick and rouge into horizontal members of a perennial cocktail party.
My Christian friend and my non Christian friend, “The wages of sin is death.” Death is not pretty, but death is an experience of all. “It’s appointed unto men once to die and after this, the judgment.” There is no escape from death, and eternal death, except through the gospel message concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. He is “the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by” him. As Peter says, “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Christ is the only savior.
Come to him with your sin and the confession of it. Come to him who died for sinners and receive, and only in this way may it be received, as a gift acknowledging your own inability to save yourself, the gift of eternal life through the blood that was shed on Calvary’s cross. We invite us as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ to come to him. Trust in him for eternal life. That is a decision of your own heart, done within your own heart and may be done at any moment. Believe in Christ. Trust in him. Trust in him alone. As Jude said, “Judgment is coming.” “The Lord shall come with thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all the ungodly.” Now the ungodly are not non-church members. They’re not the evil wicked men that the police haul into the court. The ungodly are all outside of Christ who may live, according to human standards, a marvelously admirable kind of life. They’re ungodly too. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Come to Christ. Trust in him. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Father, we give Thee thanks for the word of God and for the warnings and admonitions that are directed to us. We have no excuse. Lord, if there should be someone in this audience who has not yet believed in Christ, give them no rest nor peace until they rest in him. May at this very moment they turn their hearts to Thee, confess that they need a savior…
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]