“Hey Jude? What is SIN, really?”

THE DOCTRINE OF SIN:

THE PURPOSE of Jude is a call for all Christians to DEFEND the Faith.

Jude is a tough, sobering, book in the Bible to read.  So get ready!

WHO WAS JUDE?

Jude 1

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James…”

He was the brother of James, who presided at the Jerusalem Council and wrote the epistle of James, and was the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3).

The Perversion within the Church

[Verse 4 ]  For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door].  Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  [AMP]

Jude talks about APOSTASY, basically a turning away from the Faith.  We learn that they are sneaky, ungodly and pervert the Grace of Jesus.  They deny that Jesus is Master and Lord.

And they stand condemned!

The media today is influencing the church.

The politically correct police are on high alert!  You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth.  You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher.  Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted.  The trend in churches today is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming.  Sermons are designed to tickle the ear and not convict the heart.

God help us!

It’s sobering and it makes me sad to think of those I know who could very well fall into this category of being apostate.  Understand the APOSTASY is false teaching, its false living.  It is the Christian form of hypocrisy.  It’s saying you are a Christian but in truth, you are not.  Your action, your attitude, bear the lies that come out of your mouth.

So Jude gives a WARNING to the apostates, the enemy of the TRUE CHURCH.

He begins by giving us some examples of people who are exposed to the truth, to the grace, and totally reject it and face eternal punishment.  It truly squeezed my heart when rereading this passage of scripture because there are many I know today that could very well experience this punishment.

The LORD delivers people from bondage, but sometimes people fall back.

One Example:  God’s chosen nation (vs. 5)

[5] “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the LORD at one time delivered His people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.” [NIV]

Jude says here that Jesus (more accurately translated LORD) saved a people in the land of Egypt.  That is the Hebrew people, the future nation of Israel.

Later, He destroyed those who rebelled and didn’t believe.

The word DESTROY literally means to abolish; to destroy completely.  [See footnote [i]]

Understand that God didn’t DESTROY the nation, but He did destroy many within the nation all because of their unbelief and disobedience.

It was continued unbelief and disobedience. 

This was an outward circumcision but not an inward circumcision of the heart.

A person can go through all the outward hoops and identifying with Jesus, but the only thing that really matters is your heart.

Does your heart belong to Him?

Are you TRUSTING Him alone to forgive you of your sin?

Are you TRUSTING Him for your SALVATION?

Are you TRUSTING Him in your life?

Are you denying Him, Master and Lord?

If your answer is “NO” to any of these questions, you fall under the same destruction.

BE WARNED!

God’s Chosen Servants–Messengers–Who were they? (vs. 6)

Judgment is coming. Hebrews 9: Jude 1:6. Acts 17: Timothy 4:8. John 12:48. Jude 1:6.

We see here that even ANGELS, heavenly beings, are subject to the great day of JUDGMENT.

Many commentators take this verse and its parallel in 2 Peter 2:4 to be a reference to the primordial fall in the bible of wicked angels under the leadership of Lucifer.  This creates somewhat of a dilemma.  Clearly, not all the dethroned angels are “cast into hell and committed to pits of DARKNESS”, reserved for judgment as Peter writes.  This same Peter says that Satan is still somewhat loose, and prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).  

The simplest way to resolve this questioning is to take the “angels” in this passage of Jude is referenced to the Godly line of Seth in the Bible; the “sons of God.”

The Background of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6.

The angels portrayed here forsook what God ordained them to do.  They chose their own thing!  [i.e.  They became their own god.]

Numerous interpretations I have read suggested that the “sons of God” were fallen, angels who married earthly women and produced children…Giants in the land, although how “angels” could intermarry has never been explained.  Jesus clearly states that angels don’t marry (Matthew 22:30), and there’s no evidence that angels have gender or genitalia.   A few have suggested that “demon-possed men.” as an alternative theory, but this is still rather unsatisfactory, and neither of these interpretations offers anything of relevance to the historical evidence of Genesis 6.  [See footnote [ii] ].

The result was eternal punishment. 

They forsook being in God’s presence to follow their own path.

Bringing this all back to Jude, those who are APOSTATE are the ones who choose to be their own God.

I believe that the biggest ACT OF APOSTASY in our day is….you are a Christian, continuing to live like the world, or even worse than the world!  This type of SIN denies Lordship over one’s life.  It cheapens the GRACE that believers are supposed to live under.

If my understanding of the passage of Scripture is right, then that type of living is APOSTASY; to be judged by God just like the Hebrew people in the wilderness, just like the angels who denied their rightful place, just like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The LORD delivers people from bondage today as He did when the Hebrews were delivered out of Egypt from bondage.  But sometimes people fall back into bondage. We’ve all probably done this, but Jude lists some who didn’t and was punished.

  • Angels who left home.
  • People who left morality behind.

Whatever it is, God can deliver us!

BUT…but we must not turn back.

No Turning Back into our old ways will get us into trouble every time.  And for some people, it could mean eternal trouble.

GOD SAVE US!

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:   The word, DESTROY – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words

Footnote [ii]:  “Who Were the Angels of Jude 6?” by Biblical Horizons (Copywrite).

Photo Images:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or as noted.

Commentary:  Restoration, Sermon by Jeff Strite, Jude 1:1-7, Sermon Central.

 

“HELL YES,” OR “HELL NO”?

My son and I when together love to discuss and look at Scripture with an invisible magnifying glass. My wife has sometimes referred to both of us as the “Biblical Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” with our sometimes heated discussions.  Here is but one example of discussion regarding spending an Eternity in HELL:

My son:  “How could a loving God send someone’s soul and spirit after death to a place like Hell?  I’m not confident that there is an actual place of eternal fire for the unsaved.  I think that HELL is just a metaphor, a manufactured location by the Church.”

Awhile back ago, there was a SURVEY taken of 7441 Clergy concerning their belief in HELL:  58% of Methodist, 60% of Episcopalians, 54% of Presbyterians and 35% of American Baptists.   They believe collectively that HELL is NOT a location after death for the lost, but the experience of self-estrangement, guilt, and meaninglessness in this life.

I don’t know about your belief in a place called Hell, but I know what the BIBLE really says!

Hell Is A Place Beneath Man

EZEKIEL 31:16

[16]  I will make the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I cast it down to Sheol with those who descend into the pit…God is speaking of Assyria. `

AMOS 9:2

[2]  Though they dig into Sheol (Hades, the dark abode of the gathered dead), from there shall My hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down  (Amplified Bible).

Psalm 55:15

[15] Let desolations and death come suddenly upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol (the place of the dead), for evils are in their habitations, in their hearts, and their inmost part  (AMP).

David calls this on his enemies knowing that GOD had once done this to Moses’ enemies (Num. 16:30-34).

Matthew 11:23 (NIV)

[23] “And you Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens?  No, you will go down to Hades [the realm of the dead]…

Speaking of the indifference to Christ and His work.

HELL is a place of Eternal Fire –

An Eternal Flame in the Karakorum Desert

God speaks of His JUDGMENT of Sin in Deuteronomy 32:22 (AMP):

[22] For a fire is kindled by My anger, and it burns to the depths of Sheol, devours the earth with its increase. and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Matthew 18:9 (NIV):

JESUS speaking on REPENTANCE instead of going to HELL–

[9]  And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the FIRE of hell.

Luke 16:24 (AMP) – JESUS speaking of the rich man…

RICH MAN speaking: [24] “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in the FLAME.”

THE PEOPLE OF HELL, WHO ARE THEY?

ANSWER: ALL People and Nations Who Forgot God

PSALM 9:17 (AMP):

[17] The wicked shall be turned back [headlong into premature death] into Sheol (the place of the departed spirits of the wicked), even all the nations that forget or are forgetful of God.

[Bible Hub-Psalm 9:17, The Treasury of David]:

How solemn the seventeenth verse, especially in it warning to the Forgetters of God. The moral who are not devout, the honest who are not prayerful, the benevolent who are not believing, the amiable who are not converted, these must all have their portion with the openly wicked in hell, prepared for the devil and his angels.  There are whole nations; the forgetters of God are far more numerous than the profane…and according to the very forceful expression of the Hebrew, the nethermost hell will be the place into which all of them shall be hurled headlong.  FORGETFULNESS seems a small sin, but it brings eternal wrath upon the man who lives and dies in it.

“HELL …NO!”

Even the “religious” can make it into HELL!

Matthew 23:33:  “You snakes!  You brood of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to Hell?”

The Proud and Haughty–

Proverbs 16:18:  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

And in case you are wondering…there’s plenty of room in HELL.

Isaiah 5:14, 15:  [14] Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.  [15] So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

HELL, a place for the devil and his angels–

2 Peter 2:4:  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

[SEE Matthew 25:41]

The Permanence of Hell–It is Eternal Vengeance

JUDE 7:  In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.  They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

JUDE 11:  Woe to them!  They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

The EARTH opened up and took Korah and his family to hell.  [Numbers 16:1-3. 31-33]

Those who do evil to us as true believers of Jesus Christ will pay a price of eternal magnitude.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

HELL IS A PLACE OF ETERNAL TORMENT –

Revelation 14:11 (AMP):  And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no respite (no pause, no intermission, no rest, no peace] day or night–…

Matthew 25:46 (NIV):  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

This QUESTION has been asked and discussed by many over the years regarding eternal destination for all:

“Do babies, infants, go to Hell when they die?”

In order for me to answer that question, I must find a biblical example of when an infant died, and in which his or her ETERNAL DESTINATION is recorded.

In 2 Samuel 12, king David’s newborn son fell terminally ill and after 7 days the child died.  Let’s read and listen to a father’s words in verses 22-23:

It is clear that David’s dead infant son never returned to this earth, but David also said that ONE DAY, he would go to be with his son.  Through inspiration, David writes in the Psalms

Through inspiration, David writes in the Psalms where his own eternal destination was going to be with his son in the “house of the Lord” (Ps. 23:6).

“Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place” (AMP).

KING DAVID was looking forward to the day when he would be able to meet his son in heaven.  There is absolutely nothing in this context that gives any hint that dead infants’ SOULS go to Hell.

“HELL, NO!” is the answer: Do babies/infants souls go hell?

Wishing Away the Reality of Hell Won’t Fly Either –

The Bible is clear in the O.T. and the N.T.

So, is HELL a real place of pain and torment? YES! But, it is also a place where lost sinners will spend eternity.

It’s not God’s fault that humanity sins.  But it is God’s JOY & PLEASURE to offer humanity a way out, a way that is provided through the LOVE of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So the CHOICE has to be made by you where you are in life:  “HELL YES” or…”HELL NO.”

If you are not saved, today is your day!  But, if you are, then you are given the responsibility to SHARE this message with them.

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CREDITS:

Commentaries:  [1] Bible Hub – Psalm 9:17;  [2] Apologetics Press–Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die?

PHOTOS:  Google Advanced Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) and Amplified Bible (AMP).

“HELL NO!” ~ (Part Two)

“HELL NO!”

In Part One, “I’m A Basically Good Person”, of the study in Luke 13:19-31, we left at discussing the message that Jesus imparts in the parable:  “There are two and only two eternal destinies, HEAVEN and HELL!”  The truth discussed begins on how HEAVEN is pictured in the parable, if it really was a parable.  If it is a parable, it is the only one in the Bible that specifically gives identities: The rich man and Lazarus.  But the Bible makes it very plain; there also is a place of eternal judgement called HELL! After my wife and I came to know our Lord and Savior in August of 1972, Dianne was struggling with the concept of an actual place of hell.  Here religious exposure had told her there wasn’t such a place; God wouldn’t have such a place designated for a place for His children; for all people our God’s children.  As the truth became real to her, the idea of people she knew in life; friends and family, who were not saved, could go to such a place for eternity.  Reality began to set in and it was hard to know and understand the truths presented to her.  Acceptance came after a while and she could finally sleep soundly, praise God! One of the first Scriptural references, revealing the second of two eternal destinies, after both being saved together in 1972, was found in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9 “To deal out retribution upon those who do not know or perceive or become acquainted with God, and who ignore and refuse to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Such people will pay the penalty and suffer the punishment of everlasting ruin (destruction and perdition) and eternal exclusion and banishment from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware,    And will punish him and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth”  (Matthew 24:51–Amplified Bible). JESUS MAKES IT PLAIN! There is also a place of eternal torment called HELL!  Jesus uses the Greek word Hades scholars debate; Hades (and the Hebrew ~ Sheol) was the abode of all dead; separate compartments for the righteous and the wicked, or whether it refers only to the place for the wicked dead.  We can’t get dogmatic about such specifics.  One certainty that we can count on is, hell is a real place!  You don’t want to spend an eternity there!  Mark Twain said, “I’ll take Heaven for the climate and Hell for society.”   But there won’t be any society in hell.  Jesus uses awful word pictures to teach us, it isn’t going to be a fun place.  He refers to it in Matthew 25:30 as an “outer darkness” [no light at all] and “there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”  Not a pretty picture!  He also cites Isaiah 66:24 in Mark 9:48.  He says, it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck;

A “Millstone” around the neck!

thrown into the sea than going into the unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43). THE RICH MAN in Luke 16:24 If the realm of the dead (Hades), had been a “fun place”, he would want his five brothers to join him for the party.  But he doesn’t want them to: “For I have five brothers–so that he [Lazarus] may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment”  (16:28). THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT Eternal punishment in hell is not pleasant.  But you cannot accept Jesus and reject hell. because He taught it plainly and frequently.  R. C. Sproul wrote (“Tabletalk” [11/90]):   The fact is, however that virtually every statement in the Bibleconcerning hell comes from the lips of Jesus Christ.  We cannottake Jesus seriously without also taking seriously what He saidregarding eternal punishment. POPULAR VIEWS NEEDING REJECTION #1.  UNIVERSALISM:  “The view that everyone will eventually be saved.”          An universalist says, “A good and loving God could not condemn anyone to hell.  There is some good in even the worst people.  God will take that into account so that no one will be condemned.” (my wife before becoming SAVED, accepted this teaching from a cult she had attended). But the universalist underestimates the awful sinfulness of the human heart and the absolute holiness of God. The rich man is not an evil man in human terms.  He wasn’t a mass murderer or a child molester.  He wasn’t deliberately hurting people.  He was just living for himself, oblivious to the poor man at the gate.  And yet here he is in a place of eternal torment! The second popular view to reject: #2.  “ANNIHILATION ISM“:  The view that “God will destroy the unrepentant sinner so he ceases to exist.”            In other words, the soul is not immortal.  God will eventually say, “That’s Enough!”  God will annihilate the person’s soul; the person will not suffer eternally. The idea sounds humane and appealing, but cannot dodge Matthew 25:46:  “Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with god into eternal life.” Jesus uses the same word “eternal” in the same verse referring to eternal punishment [Also, see Revelation 20:10, 15). The third popular view the verses in Luke 16 refute is: #3.  THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY:  “Teaches that when a believer dies, unless he has attained a state of moral perfection on earth, he goes to an intermediate place; where he suffers until all sin is purged away.  The sufferings vary according to the guilt, the impenitence of the sufferer.  Gifts and church services, prayers on behalf of the dead, Masses provided by friends and loved ones can all shorten the amount of time a person spends in Purgatory.” So while it is a hard doctrine to unravel intellectually and emotionally, we can’t say that we believe in Jesus and the Bible and at the same time reject the doctrine of eternal hell. There are two and only two eternal destinies, the basis for a person’s eternal destiny fixed on this present life.  The fact of a fixed destiny; a great chasm fixed (16:26). Abraham says to the rich man, in hell there is a great chasm fixed between those in heaven and those in hell.  None can cross from one side to the other.  Not only does this mean there is no Purgatory, it also means there isn’t a second chance after death.  The Book of Hebrews states: “And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgement”  (Heb. 9:27). As someone has said, “there are no unbelievers in hell.  They just believed to late!” JESUS PICTURES THE FINAL OUTCOME Without spelling out the details of the future; resurrections of the body, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, believers being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  There is no such thing as “soul sleep”, waiting for the resurrection of our bodies at His second coming. The souls of unbelievers go immediately to a place of torment, awaiting the Great White Throne judgement; when their bodies are raised and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). Before death, a person can move from spiritual death to eternal life.  But once a person dies, his eternal destiny is fixed.  He goes either to heaven or to hell.  No crossing over from one place to the other side.  There is a great chasm fixed! THE BASIS OF A “FIXED DESTINY” :  REPENTANCE AND FAITH Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin.  You cannot have one without the other! Repentance is a change of mind; not just an apology.  It’s turning of the whole person from one direction to the other; from sin to God. Faith is “the practical expression of the confidence in God and His Word” — by Creflo A. Dollar. A person who has truly believed in Christ as their Savior will live a life of repentance and growth in godliness.  The fact that this rich man never showed concern for Lazarus, even though he had walked past him every day with ample evidence; his faith was an empty profession.  He never repented of his selfishness.  The rich man may have protested by saying, “How was I to know that I should take care of this poor man at my gate?”  God’s Word is a sufficient witness to lead a person to repentance. The rich man’s plea to Abraham was to send Lazarus to warn his brothers.  And Abraham’s reply was, they had what they needed to repent from Moses and the Prophets; from the Scriptures.  But the rich man protests, “that’s not enough!”  They need something more spectacular, more miraculous.  Send them a man risen from the dead, to preach to them.  Then they will repent.   But Abraham insist that Scripture is a sufficient witness. REPENTANCE IS A MORAL ISSUE Repentance is a moral issue, not an intellectual one.  The rich man had known what God’s Word says concerning the poor and the needy.  But he made a choice to ignore this hurting man on his doorstep.  He blames God in effect, that he had not been given sufficient witness; “If you had just sent…”  The fact was, he didn’t want to inconvenience his comfortable lifestyle to comfort this poor man. Invariably, when you’re sharing the gospel, a person raises an intellectual problem.  It’s not the true problem being stated.  Steven Cole gives one way to deal with this situation by asking the person, “Are you saying that if I can provide a reasonable answer to that problem, you will repent of your sins and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord?”  The answer almost always is, “Well, there are other issues, too.”  Then say, “Great, make a list and I’ll see if I can find reasonable answers.  Then will you become a Christian?” Repentance isn’t the result of having all your intellectual questions answered.  Repentance and faith in Christ hinge on the recognition that you are a sinner and you need a Savior.  We need to make it clear to people if they die without repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus the Christ, they are fixing their eternal destiny in hell and not heaven.  OUTWARD APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING  (16:15b) What is exalted and highly thought of among men is detestable and abhorrent in the sight of God.” In the sight of men, the rich man was successful.  Lazarus was a loser.  The rich man lived well, enjoyed the finest things available in life.  Lazarus was miserable with dogs licking his sores.  The irony here, Lazarus was eternally rich and the rich man was eternally bankrupt. A Sunday School teacher told his class the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  He asked them, “Now, which would you rather be, boys–the rich man or Lazarus?”  One boy replied, “I’d like to be the rich man while I’m living and Lazarus when I die.”  Wouldn’t we all!  But of course, it doesn’t work that way.  You can’t live for selfish pleasure in this life, disobeying God’s Word and expect to live with God in heaven when you die. But, the good news is, when you repent of your sins, living in obedience to Jesus, you will find great pleasure for a time and eternity; no matter what your earthly circumstances.  As Jesus said, in Luke 9:25,  “For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and ruins or forfeits (loses) himself?”  CHOICES TO MAKE  Two different destinies lie before you; a great chasm fixed between them: I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses”  (Deuteronomy 30:19). CHOOSE LIFE, to follow Jesus; that “you and your descendants may live.”