A Short Study of Jude 1:4

Certain Men Crept in Unawares”

(Jude 1:4)

The Holy Spirit describes false prophets as certain men who creep into churches unawares. They are not men of the world or infidels, who totally disown Christ, but certain men, who creep in among the saints, professing faith in and love for Christ and His gospel. Both Paul and Peter warn us of such apostates (Acts 20:29-30; 2nd Peter 2:13). Jude had lived to see their prophecies fulfilled in his day, as we do today.

These men creep into churches “unawares,” without being noticed. They are unnoticed because God’s people tend to take men at their word. Faithful men and women tend to presume that those who profess faith in Christ are faithful; and we should. Though we are commanded to try the spirits, we often lack the ability to discern cunning craftiness and deceit, and have no ability to read the hearts and motives of others. Therefore, such false prophets are able to creep and slither their way into our churches, and into the affections of truly faithful men and women. Like serpents, they worm themselves in by deceitful wriggling. As Satan transformed himself into an angel of light to deceive Eve, his ministers transform themselves into what appears to be ministers of righteousness (2nd Corinthians 11:14-15). Pretending to be great defenders of the righteousness of God and great promoters of peace, unity, and love, they divide brethren, seek to divide believers from those who have faithfully taught them the gospel, and seek to turn God’s elect from the simplicity of the gospel and faith in Christ.

How often I have seen individuals and entire congregations turn against a faithful pastor, one who has given his life to serving the interests of their souls, to follow a man who seeks nothing but his own profit! Many years ago, I heard Henry Mahan say, “There are just two kinds of preachers: Those who are used and those who use, those who serve and those who seek to be served.” God’s servants do not use men. They are gladly used for men. They do not wish others to serve them. They devote their lives to the service of others.

Those certain men, who creep in unawares, may appear to have such great light and profound knowledge that others cower before them. They usually proclaim their superior enlightenment loudly. But they always lack two things: They lack the ability to preach with simplicity and clarity; and they lack grace, the ability to be gracious. They talk much about such things; but it is obvious to everyone around them that they lack both. They are “clouds without water, carried about of winds.” The grace of God is not in them. Like Korah and Balaam, to whom the Holy Spirit compares them, they often become famous men of renown in the congregation (Numbers 16 and 22), blazing like comets for a while; but, like “wandering stars,” they soon fizzle. To such slithering, beguiling serpents is “reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Having nothing but the noisy profession of a name to live, they are twice dead before God, spiritually dead, having no part in the first resurrection, they are under the sentence of the second death (Revelation 20:6). And they “were of old ordained to this condemnation.”

 D. Fortner

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