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The character traits of falsehood - Part 3

Jude 14-16
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’ These people are grumblers and fault-finders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (NIVUK)

Enoch lived before the flood, in the seventh generation from Adam, in the godly line of Seth (Genesis 5:18-24).  Although his prophetic words are not recorded in Genesis, Jude saw that the words in the book attributed to Enoch, and well known to Jews at the time, exactly matched the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 24:30-31).  When Christ comes again with the holy angels (Mark 8:38; 1 Thessalonians 3:13), judgement will finally come to the world and the church; and people who were ashamed of the pure gospel will be rejected by the Lord.

The second coming of Jesus is both an encouragement to Christians to persevere in difficult times and to beware of His judgement (James 5:7-9).  To those who criticised other believers, Jude reminded them that all of us will stand before God and have to give an account of our lives (Romans 14:9-13).  That equally applied to the false teachers who were trying to dismantle the believers’ direct and straightforward trust in Jesus.

Instead of witnessing to the life of God in Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, false teachers reshaped God’s Word to support their own beliefs and lifestyles.  They grumbled and criticised people who were not like them and even spoke harshly of the Lord who had come to save them, while, at the same time, flattering people who agreed with them.  They were so arrogant that they thought the Lord could not deal with them. But they were catastrophically wrong (2 Peter 2:13-22).

Such false teachers are still leading people astray.  Like for the 1st Century church, our world is a marketplace of religious ideas.  And the church is still at risk from leaders who prefer to be honoured by the community rather than God.  But nobody can stand against Him and succeed.  False teachers, backslidden believers and spiritual rebels will all have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ, as will all of us.  The time to prepare is now; repentance is the only way.  “‘Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord.  Repent!  Turn away from all your offences; then sin will not be your downfall.” (Ezekiel 18:30)

Almighty God. Thank You that there is great safety for those who love and obey You, although great danger for those who arrogantly defy You. I am sorry for the times when I have failed to honour Your authority, and thought of myself more highly than I ought. Please forgive me, and help me to learn to place You first in all areas of my life. I also pray for those who have been pulled off course by arrogant false teachers and ask that they will repent and find their safety in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams