It’s somewhat reassuring (at least I think it is…) that there are so many New Testament passages about false teachers. That might seem like an odd statement to make, but hear me out. As I hear about some preachers today, many of them with a lot of fame and a lot of money, who distort the truth, it’s hard not to become disheartened. However, we are warned time and time again that false teachers will come. They will distort the message of God into something evil for their own desires and gain. So, I may get disheartened, but God knew what would happen and God, in his justice, will deal with the issue.
So, what do these false teachers look like? There’s a number of things that they do or say, which tells you they are false teachers, set out to only help themselves:
- they give permission for immoral behaviour;
- they reject other authorities;
- they pollute their own bodies;
- they think about profit;
- they are grumblers and fault-finders;
- they boast about themselves;
- they flatter others to manipulate;
- they scoff;
- they are divisive;
- they follow their own desires or instinct;
- and, most importantly, they deny the significance of Jesus Christ.
So, then, this helps us realise what a real teacher is:
- they don’t permit immorality;
- they are humble and submit to others;
- they lead a life of purity;
- they are self-sacrificing;
- they are joyful and encouraging;
- they admit their faults;
- they praise others with authenticity;
- they honour and respect others;
- they seek unity;
- they seek the kingdom first, pursuing the Lord’s will through the leading of the Holy Spirit;
- they preach the importance of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Jude also tells us how to treat others, and given the context, perhaps those who are caught up by these false teachings. It is to show mercy, “snatching them from the fire” (v. 22), but also to hate the practices of those who err.
He also gives advice on how to stay in line with the faith. You are to build up your faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. In that way we can stay in God’s love and be patient for the mercy of Jesus’ arrival.
And finally, Jude ends with this doxology, which I am just going to paste here because it’s great:
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.verses 24-25