RJ Rushdoony (00:00):
Let us worship God. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth, thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. Let us pray, our Father, we give thanks on to thee, thy faithfulness and thy loving kindness as ever been manifested toward us. Thou art good to us who so often cannot be good to ourselves. Teach us to trust in thee, give us grace day by day to walk in the confidence, that because our times are in thy hands who doest all things well, the beginning and the ending are thine ordination and thy mercy and grace on to us. Bless us now as we give ourselves to the study of thy word. In Christ’s name, Amen.
RJ Rushdoony (01:30):
Our scripture is from the epistle of Jude verses one through four, our subject, the Enemy. Jude one through four, Jude is the very short book just before a revelation. Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James, them that are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called: mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The epistle of Jude is a general letter by a man who identifies himself as the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.
RJ Rushdoony (03:17):
Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, identify a Jude together with James as brothers of Jesus. A scholar, J.E Huther said, and I quote, “that the Jude or Judas, it’s the same name, wrote this epistle, was one of the four brothers and not cousins of Jesus is probable.” In fact, Huther went on to say, “It is beyond any considerable doubt.” So as with James, we have here one of the four brothers of our Lord writing a letter.
RJ Rushdoony (04:13):
This is a brief and an obscure letter that is, it’s not widely known or studied but it’s purpose is an important one. False teachers were perverting the faith and Jude of necessity spoke out by identifying himself as Jude, the brother of James, he indirectly notifies the reader that he writes with authority as the brother of James and Jesus. He does this not to gain personal prestige, but to stress the urgency of his message. Those whom he addresses are, the sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called. These are the elect of God, persons who will heed Jude’s warning. They have been made holy by God’s grace and preserved from falling away by Jesus Christ because they are the call of God.
RJ Rushdoony (05:32):
He greets them thus “mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied.” This triple benediction is very biblical, we encounter it throughout the Bible. In verse one, the triple description is sanctified, preserved, and called. Jude not only wants this rich blessing on the saints, but he wants it multiplied. We must not take this benediction as a merely formal and courteous one, the churches was facing a very serious problem of infiltration by alien groups who saw in the success of Christianity an opportunity to capture a vigorous faith for they’re very different purposes. True it was a persecuted group, but they intended to make it respectable. It was regarded as beneath one’s dignity intellectually, they were going to make it respectable intellectually. Throughout church history, infiltration has been a common problem to Christianity. Very early as here, it was Gnosticism, later Albigensianism, Hellenic philosophies, Humanism, Modernism and much, much more. These alien faiths have had in common the desire to merge into Christianity with a facade of agreement, while working to remake the faith into a radically alien one.
RJ Rushdoony (07:29):
Jude felt an urgent necessity to alert Christians everywhere against this threat to the common salvation. Very often the infiltrating groups maintain a facade that is very close to Christian. After all Barthianism or Neo-orthodoxy as it has been called, seemed to be saying the same thing as Christians have over the centuries and as the Bible teaches, but they did not mean the same thing by it and wherever they succeeded, they ate out the heart and the meaning of the faith. The common salvation Jude says, “must be defended.” The common or a general salvation is one known to all, Jesus Christ, God incarnate had made atonement for the sins of his people. This they all knew, but now men were promoting supposedly new insights into the faith and higher truths. Therefore, he says “it was needful for me to write onto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Men we’re determined to improve on the faith and modernize Jesus, to conform to contemporary science and philosophy. This an effort, was the Gnostic movement and it sought to take over Christianity, lock, stock, and barrel.
RJ Rushdoony (09:30):
Gnosticism represented the new and higher learning of its day, it is now almost in comprehensible and one can only marvel at the credulity of learned men. Contemporary philosophy and evolutionary science, bears a strong resemblance to ancient Gnosticism and perhaps in a century or so, people will wonder that anyone could believe so absurd and complex a system. A Christian faith needs no improving, no new revelations, it is complete one sin for all time delivered unto the saints. We must earnestly contend, Jude says, to defend and preserve that faith for there are certain men crept in unawares he says, they have insinuated their way into the church as supposed leaders and wise men who in reality want to pervert the faith. These are men who in God’s predestination, were ordained to this evil purpose and to condemnation.
RJ Rushdoony (11:04):
They are ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness says Jude, and this can only be done by antinomianism, by abandoning the law of God and this mocked the old and Gnosticism and also the new. It is the beginning of every great apostasy from the faith. This lasciviousness is identified for us in first Peter 4:3 and second Peter 2 verse 19, it was simply a contempt of the law and the name of a higher spirituality and this claim to a higher spirituality then marked Gnosticism as it does now. The faith is not an evolving matter, it was delivered under the saints, Jude says, in it’s full and final form with Jesus Christ. The growth of the faith is in application, not in content, the faith doesn’t grow because we get new revelations it grows because we apply the full and finished revelation to our lives and to our world. In application the believer obeys and serves his Lord, he does not develop or alter the content of the fate. Such men are denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, Jude says.
RJ Rushdoony (13:07):
The Gnostics saw themselves as the truly enlightened ones, as more spiritual than they whose faith was simply to believe and to obey. The Gnostics were very good at confusing people, by pretentious form of learning. If I were to pass out the text of some of the Gnostic writings, after two or three sentences we would probably give up. It isn’t worth the effort to try to make sense of what they’re saying, but they were good at bewildering people who didn’t have their learning and their background professionally. Gnosticism so thoroughly adapted itself to the thought of its age, that had died with it and it’s then existing form. We still have it all around us, in new age thinking and a great many other varieties. Then as now, Orthodox Christianity, Biblical Christianity has been thoroughly out of tune with the wisdom of its day. This has been usually true over the centuries and it is true now. The faithful believer has commonly been seen as an impediment to the progress of the faith and he has commonly been treated with contempt.
RJ Rushdoony (15:01):
Jude’s letter is a general warning against all attempts to improve upon Christianity by making it more palatable to the modern man. Jude’s warning thus has relevance to more than a passing movement of his day. The fallen world order hates Jesus Christ and his people, it has always done whatever is possible to capture and revise biblical faith. Jude’s letter is a warning against this enemy, an enemy he faced then and which generation after generation is faced again and one form after another.
RJ Rushdoony (16:01):
Let us pray, our Lord and our God we thank thee that… we have been warned against these false and higher spiritualties. We thank thee that thy word… is written so that he who runs can read. Give us grace to give heed to thy word, to know that thy law word is binding always. That it is thy righteousness, thy justice, that it gives to us the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, of his atonement and his grace and mercy. Make us joyful in thy word, in Christ’s name, Amen… Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes.
Speaker 2 (17:21):
Could you speak more about the fact that James and Jude even though they were brothers of Christ, never referred to themselves that way, they always refer to themselves as servants.
RJ Rushdoony (17:31):
I’m glad you asked that question because it is an important one. They could have gained a great deal of prestige by simply saying the brother of Jesus, but they never did. They did not want any authority that did not come out of their message. They were giving us the word of God, The Holy spirit was inspiring them. This was enough apparently in their estimation or anyone else. Their brother, their Lord had spoken fully, completely and sufficiently. They had no intention of riding on his coat-tails. They were following him, not claiming to be one with him.
RJ Rushdoony (18:34):
So the evidence from the beginning was quite clear that James and Jude were our Lords brothers. Now the knowledge of that was quite general, but as far as they were concerned, they were the servant of Jesus Christ. And the word servant there can also be translated as slave, in other words, we are in no way independent. We’re totally subject to his word, to his authority and they could not have said that if they were claiming some kind of relationship that put them on a parity with him. So this in itself is a very telling bit of evidence. Very commonly in the Bible men identify themselves as the son of someone. Simon Bar-jona, Simon, son of Jonas, but this is not done here. So it’s a very remarkable thing that James and Jude fully inspired of the spirit will not say, “we are the brother of Jesus Christ.” They had been his brother during his days on earth, now he is the Lord, the second person of the trinity fully revealed. Any other questions or comments? Yes.
Speaker 3 (20:38):
[inaudible 00:20:38] grace and mercy are referred to here could you distinguish between mercy and grace.
RJ Rushdoony (20:45):
Yes, it’s mercy and peace and love, but there is a distinction between mercy and grace. Grace conveys more than mercy. Where mercy is granted, it is a release from some kind of penalty, from some kind of judgment but with grace there is a gift. A gift of a relationship to God, a great status of standing in God’s presence, innocent and cleared of all charges, however guilty we were… So you see there is a progression, mercy, peace and love… there’s a progression also of sorts in the first verse, sanctified, preserved, called… Are there any other questions or comments? Well, if not, we’ll continue next week with Jude and as you shall see Jude does have some things to say which have led peoples only interest is in the last things to look to the letter of Jude, but his purpose is really apostasy, infiltration and this is what he is concerned with from beginning to end.
RJ Rushdoony (23:00):
Let us conclude with prayer. Our Father, we thank thee that thy mercy, peace and love have been multiplied unto us. We thank thee that through thy word, thou hast warned us against the perils of our time and of every time and those who would improve on the faith, limit it, prune it, make it mean what they want… Teach us to stand against those who insinuate their way into thy kingdom and to be more than conquerors in Christ. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always, Amen.
Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder