February 23, 2020 – Jude

Lesson Date: February 23, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Jude 1:1-25

AIM: To lead students to create a list of biblical descriptions of false teachers and discover things they should do to protect themselves and their family members from false teachers, and to commit themselves to taking the practical steps necessary to protect themselves.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Jude 1:1-25 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Have enough copies of the “False Teachers Described” study guide on hand for your anticipated attendance, along with some pens or pencils for those who might need one.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the following case study to the class:

Steve was well liked among the men in the church. He had been a member for several years and he was friendly and outgoing. Steve was looked upon as a solid, Bible-believing Christian. He contributed a lot of money to the church and enjoyed the admiration of many.

Over time, though, Steve used his respectability and friendliness to influence other men in the church. He began by questioning the judgment and sincerity of the pastor and other church leaders. He knew how to subtly plant doubt in the minds of the other men and move them to spread that doubt to others. Steve often complained and murmured against leaders in the church.

In private talks with one or two other men, Steve let it be known that he believed Christians were under grace, and therefore not bound by rules. He told them it was all right to drink socially, especially if it would help them get ahead in business. He watched vulgar movies on TV, insisting that he didn’t have to live by “that preacher’s puritanical rules.” As a matter of fact, in small groups Steve would even make remarks about what he would do “when we get that preacher out of here.”

Ask: “What do you think of Steve? What should the men who hang around him do? What, if anything, should the church do about Steve?” Tell the class that while that story may sound far-fetched, it is representative of what goes on in countless churches. Today’s lesson will enable us to identify false teachers, as well as tell us how to guard against them.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Introduction to Jude.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (evil workers within the church).
    • Briefly introduce the book of Jude, using the following information:
      • The writer of this book was Jude (also known as Judas), one of the half-brothers of Jesus (see Matt. 13:55 and Mark 6:3).
      • Jude and the other half-brothers of Jesus rejected Him as Messiah during His earthly ministry, but came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (see Acts 1:14).
      • The letter was written in approximately d 68-70.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Jude 1:1-2.
    • Ask: “Who did Jude address this letter to?” (those who are sanctified, preserved, and called).
    • This describes our condition in Jesus Christ: we have been called to salvation; we are in the process of being sanctified or made more like Jesus Christ, and we are preserved and cannot lose our salvation. This letter was written to us.
  2. Contend for the Faith.
    • Read Jude 1:3-4.
    • Ask: “What did Jude want his readers to do?” (earnestly contend for the faith).
    • Explain that the phrase translated “earnestly contend” contains the word from which we get our English word “agonize.”
    • Explain that the “faith once delivered to the saints” refers to Bible doctrine handed down through the centuries.
    • Tell the students we must work and agonize for the true faith.
    • Ask: “According to verse 4, why did they need to earnestly contend for the faith?” (because false teachers had crept into the church, poisoning it with their ungodly lifestyle and influence on others).
    • Tell the class the phrase “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness” refers to the false notion that since we are saved by grace we are no longer bound by any rules or standards of behavior; in other words, we can behave any way we choose.
    • Summarize: Christians must stand up for the true faith because false teachers have crept into the church spreading their lies.
  3. False Teachers Will Come.
    • Tell the students God promised that false teachers would come (Matt. 7:15-21, Acts 20:29) and He also promised to judge and punish them (2 Pet. 2:4-12).
    • The next verses give us examples of how God dealt with false teachers in the past. Ask a volunteer to read Jude 1:5-7.
    • Explain those verses using the following outline:
      • During the time of the Exodus there were false teachers among the Israelites. God brought the false teachers safely out of Egypt along with the faithful Israelites, but when they showed their rebelliousness and unbelief, God destroyed them.
      • A third of the angels followed Lucifer in his attempted overthrow of God’s throne (see 14:12-15; Rev. 12:3-4, 7-9). Rather than destroy them immediately, God has preserved those fallen angels (demons) for a future day when they will be cast into the lake of fire (see Matt. 25:41).
      • God violently and abruptly destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their fornication and homosexuality. Ever since, Sodom and Gomorrah have served as examples of God’s judgment on sin.
    • Summarize: Ever since Satan’s rebellion there have been false teachers on earth. God has judged false teachers in the past and will do so in the future.
  4. False Teachers Described.
    • Tell the class that false teachers are described in Jude 1:8-19.
    • Give everyone a copy of the study guide False Teachers Described.”
    • Read each verse and ask the students to name the description found in that verse.
    • Ask them to write each description in the blanks on their study guide (a completed sample study guide is available by clicking here).
    • The following will need to be explained to the class:
      • Verse 9: Remind the class that Moses died on Mount Nebo before entering the Promised Land. He was not allowed to enter because he had disobeyed God. Evidently Satan wanted to take Moses’ body back down to the Israelites, knowing that they would worship it as an idol (much like the Catholic church worships “relics” of dead “saints” today). The point of this verse is that the angel Michael did not assert his own power or authority when confronting Satan, but called on the Lord to rebuke him. If a holy angel did not even speak evil of Satan (who is evil), then we certainly ought not speak evil of those who have authority over us in the church.
      • Verse 11: Cain followed his own man-made religion. Balaam presumed to speak for God based on human reasoning. Korah (Core) led a rebellion against Moses, God’s appointed leader.
      • Verse 14: Some have speculated that Jude quoted from the apocryphal Book of Enoch, but this is not the case. The existence of that book cannot be confirmed before the Second Century. If any quoting took place it was the unidentified writer of the Book of Enoch quoting Jude, rather than the other way around.
    • Summarize: The Bible gives us many descriptions of false teacher so we can identify them and avoid them.
  5. Protect Yourself from False Teachers.
    • Tell the class the next verses tell us how to protect ourselves from false teachers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Jude 1:20-23.
    • Ask the students what instructions they find in those verses. They should name the following:
      • Build ourselves up in the faith by studying God’s Word and listening to our faithful preachers and teachers.
      • Pray according to God’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit.[1]
      • Guard ourselves in the love of God.
      • Have compassion on those genuine believers who are being sucked in by the lies and tricks of the false teachers.
    • Read Jude 1:24-25.
    • These verses are a wonderful promise of the sustaining and protecting power of God, and of the fact that after agonizing for the faith here, we will one day be presented faultless before the glorious presence of God!
    • Summarize: As Christians, we must apply ourselves to growing stronger in the faith and guarding ourselves against the deceptions of false teachers.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the following story to the class:

It happened in Englewood, Florida. Ryan Neuhaus’ mother, returning from getting an oil change for her son’s car, was upset. The mechanic had told her the car was in bad shape and needed much work. She drove home, got out, and went to give 24-year-old Ryan a lecture. “You’ve got to take better care of your car,” she said. A moment later, her lecture proved unnecessary when a single-engine plane fell out of the sky and crushed it!

Happily, neither the pilot nor the passenger were hurt when their Cessna 150 landed on Ryan’s Mercury Cougar. As for Ryan’s part, he’s got an interesting story for his insurance agent (USATODAY.com, Weird News, Internet, 2/11/00).[2]

Tell the students that we can’t really guard ourselves against something as bizarre and unusual as a plane falling out of the sky. As a matter of fact, it is very unlikely that will ever happen to any of us. But the Bible tells us we will face false teachers who will try to subvert people in the church. In today’s lesson we have been shown how to identify false teachers and practical steps to guard ourselves against the. The key question for us is this: “Will I commit myself to taking the steps necessary to guard myself and my family from false teachers?” Tell the students that if they will make that commitment they should tell God right now. Have a brief time of silent prayer, allowing students to make their personal commitments to God. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to be on guard, pray, and do all they can to build themselves up in the most holy faith. Give everyone a copy of the Sunday School Member Quarterly for the new quarter. Tell them next week we begin a study of the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Daniel.

[1] “This is not a call to some ecstatic form of prayer, but simply a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:26,27).” John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

[2] Adult Explore The Bible Series Extra! – February 27, 2000.

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