“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
We are living in a day of great spiritual potential. There are wonderful things happening for God’s people. We daily wait for His coming back to take us away, looking for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. And until He comes, we can rest assured that He intends for His Church to not only survive, but to thrive. However, in spite of all these positive things, we are warned by the scripture that if we are to keep THE FAITH once for all delivered to the saints, we must EARNESTLY CONTEND for it. Why? Because evil always lurks in the shadows, no matter how bright the good light. And Jude’s primary theme is to warn us about “certain men” who have “crept in unawares,” men whose mission as agents of the devil is to destroy the work of God. Please do not fail to notice that the greatest harm that can be done to God’s people comes from within our own ranks. External evils are quickly spotted and easily dealt with; but the problems that arise from among our own number are always much harder to recognize and infinitely more difficult to defuse.
One of the fundamental tenets of THE FAITH is that of submission to divine authority. Our whole concept of salvation stands or falls based on our reception of God’s plan for promulgating His gospel. The scripture says, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Cor. 1:21) In another place our Lord said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:15-16) It is obvious that God invested a great deal of authority in his messengers, or the “angels” of the churches. Indeed, in the first chapter of Revelation these messengers (angels) are depicted as STARS IN THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Through the language of symbols God has stated quite emphatically that His power and authority are conveyed to the New Testament Church through the Apostolic Ministry.
Yet, we are witnessing a drastic spiritual upheaval in our times, in which many church members are rising up in opposition to divinely appointed authority, all the while attempting to continue on in their usual custom of going to church and acting as though everything were just fine—just like Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
Instead of hearkening to the preaching of Adam like his brother, Cain persisted in having church his own way. When the blessings of God did not attend his worship service, he murdered his brother in a rage. And he became a fugitive and a vagabond, permanently expelled from the presence of God.
Balaam pugnaciously persisted in trying to get God to curse His Own People, because the price was right. And when that failed, he openly caused Israel to curse themselves by rebelling against divine authority and fellowshiping with the world (contemporary society). As a result, the people of God began to worship the gods of the people round about them.
Korah conspired against Moses, that great man of God, and openly challenged his God-given authority. He and his followers were swallowed by the earth and destroyed, because they refused to submit to their leader.
The observant reader will see how Jude reveals that this same flaw was responsible for the destruction of many others in scripture:
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.”
According to our text, people of this sort are “spots” in our church meetings and conferences—sunken reefs, if you please, lurking between the shallow and the deep water, just waiting for an unsuspecting ship to venture in too close so they can pierce its hull and send another vessel down in abysmal failure to the bottom of the sea of life.
And furthermore, these folks may even attend our assemblies and purport to be members of our congregations, but they brazenly feed themselves—or PASTURE THEMSELVES—boldly, arrogantly asserting their right to PASTOR themselves and their families. No preacher or pastor knows God like they do. Their slant and perspective on things is always better than anyone else’s. Strangely, they possess spiritual gifts that enable them to discern everyone’s problems but their own.
These are clouds that give the promise of rain, but in reality they are only full of wind, which carries them about wherever they please. They are trees with withered fruit—twice dead, because they refuse to be rooted and grounded; indeed, they are fruitless because they are rootless. This speaks of wanderers, fugitives, vagabonds–men who refuse to follow because they are so eager to lead. They are double-minded, unstable, wavering; when they speak, they rage, and foam out their own shame. But they never accomplish anything productive or worthwhile.
These are wandering stars, self-proclaimed heroes. They are not STARS in the right hand of God. They refuse to acknowledge that “no man taketh this honor upon himself.” They are self-sent preachers, self-taught teachers, and self-appointed apostles. How great the tragedy that must come upon the unsuspecting mariner that charts his course and sets his sails by a wandering star.
Nothing is sacred to a rebel. Never expect a traitor to be loyal. Don’t be disappointed when your trust is broken by a deceiver. These are wandering stars. They are guided by their own wavering, flickering light. Shine as bright as they can, they will never be able to bring others to The Light, because they have been permanently consigned to spiritual darkness. They will wander like Cain, blunder like Balaam, and founder like Korah. Though they are too spiritual for Moses, yet they are soon swallowed up by carnality and worldliness.
“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
What a pity that there are many in our day who have abandoned the safety and security of being under the influence and control of God’s RIGHT HAND STARS in favor of doing their own thing. And so they will forever be stumbling and groping in the dark—WANDERING STARS, blindly leading the blind, hopelessly heading to their own destruction, as well as that of those over whom they hold influence and sway.
Rev. Tim D. Cormier
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