III. These Mockers are dangerous to the church (v. 19)
a. because they cause divisions
These mockers can be very dangerous to the church, and Jude warns us of several specific dangers in v. 19. Jude writes, “These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” The first danger we see is that these mockers cause divisions. When Jude says that these individuals caused divisions he is probably not talking about big huge church splits. Remember, in v. 12 we learned that these individuals were attending the church fellowship dinners. With this in mind, Jude is probably talking about factions growing up within a church.
It is easy to picture this happening. It seems like there are always people in any group who complain about everything. They gossip about people, they complain about their leaders, and they are never content. They are like Korah (v. 11 & Numbers 16:1-3). They gain a following and cause divisions within a group. This is what Jude is referring to here in this verse. He is talking about the contention and the bitterness that individuals can cause within a church.
These contentions are extremely dangerous to the church for several reasons:
- We are supposed to be fighting for the faith not against one another (v. 3)
- Fighting amongst the church is disobedient and inconsistent (Eph 4:1-3)
- I it is bad witness to the world around us (Mt 5:13)
As we study this passage it is important that we look at our own lives. We must examine our lives and determine if we are fighting for the faith, or fighting with one another. This is an extremely practical question. If we participate in gossip, or if we complain about those who are in authority over us, or if we are just plain mean to people then we – like these mockers – are causing divisions. If I just described you then stop it. Don’t be like these mockers. When someone comes to you gossiping about another person don’t let them. When you are tempted to complain about the authority figures in your life remember that God has sovereignly put them in your life as a part of His plan. And when you are grumpy and you want to be mean remember that while we were still the enemies of God Jesus lovingly died on the cross.
You have a responsibility to preserve the unity that God has created within the church; by doing this you will be fighting for the faith, living a God-honoring life, and you will be demonstrating the love of Christ to the world around you.
b. because they are worldly and without the Spirit
The second reasons that these mockers were dangerous is because they were worldly and without the Spirit. This is a very dangerous combination, because it again illustrates to us that these individuals were not true Christians; this is why Jude tells us that they were worldly-minded.
The NT is filled with references to the world. Some of these references refer to the planet or all the people on the planet. However, many of these references refer to a worldly-system that is in rebellion to God. John described this system, or way of thinking and living, in 1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
In this passage we learn several things about this evil world system:
- We should not love the world
To be worldly-minded is to love the creation more than the creator.
- If you love the world the Father is not in you
To be worldly-minded is rebellion towards the Father
- The world consists of lust and pride that is not from the Father
To be worldly-minded is self-centered rather than God-centered
- The world and all of its benefits are passing away
To be worldly-minded will not result in eternal lifeBased on these observations we can safely say that to be worldly-minded is the opposite of being a Christian.
When a person is worldly-minded it means that their wisdom comes from an earthly perspective. All decisions made with worldly wisdom are based on this faulty wisdom rather than God’s truth. This is applicable to our lives as we make the really big decisions, and the smallest decisions.
James talked about worldly wisdom in James 3:15-16,
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
As we look at this passage it is clear that ungodly wisdom is just another way of saying fake wisdom. It will eventually lead to “jealousy” and “selfish ambition.” This will in turn lead to “disorder” and “every evil thing.” James is being as blunt as you can possibly be. The result of ungodly wisdom is every evil thing. Thus, ungodly wisdom is what we are fighting when we fight temptation. Because we are fighting this ungodly wisdom we cannot let individuals influence with this ungodly wisdom.
These individuals are not true Christians, and so they do not have the Holy Spirit. Because they do not have the Spirit Jude describes them simply as worldly –minded. They do not even think about the faith that the true Christians are supposed to be remembering. And so, by their presence these individuals are threatening the work of the church.
In light of their worldly wisdom, it is clear that these individuals were not true Christians. Because they were not true Christians they did not have the Spirit. In fact, because these individuals were devoid of the Spirit it was impossible for them to build up the church. Christ gave the Spirit to the Church to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). The Spirit accomplished this by inspiring the writers Scripture, and by illuminating the Scriptures to individual Christians.
Additionally, through the Spirit each Christian is gifted in a particular way for the good of the entire church. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says,
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Did you know that God has gifted every Christian in a unique way? If you are a Christian then God has given you specific gifts, and in the rest of 1 Corinthians 12 we see the purpose of these gifts:
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Paul tells us that God has gifted each individual “so that there may be no division in the body.” God has given us a unity, and he made us one body so that we can bring glory to His name.
In addition to spiritual gifts Christians, like all people, have various abilities. Some are very good musicians, some are extremely creative, some are great workers, and list could go on almost infinitely. This means that we not only have different gifts, but we also have different areas of ministry to exercise those gifts. So if you are a great musician and you are gifted with leadership skills then you can use that combination to start a praise team for the youth group. Or, if you are a gifted servant who is great at working outside then you can help take care of the church grounds.
There are two applications that I want to draw from this. First, we need to be aware of these mockers because they do not have the Spirit, they are not gifted for the good of the church, and by their influence they are causing real Christians to be worldly-minded. They may have certain abilities, but they do not have giftedness from the Spirit. They are causing divisions within the church, and preventing the Church from spreading the glorious name of God to all the peoples of the world. Second, we as Christians who do have the Spirit must be good stewards with our gifts. God has gifted us so that we can function as one body, and so that we can stand together and fight for the faith. Are you fighting for the faith?
The apostles warned of dangerous mockers. Do not forget this warning or you will be dragged down by mockers. We need to be the opposite of these mockers by thinking like Christians, and exercising our Spirit enabled giftedness.