Helping people who have been influenced by false teaching
Created by Jon Taylor - Tuesday 26 Mar 2019
Jon Taylor
Helping people who have been influenced by false teaching
Jude was eager to write concerning salvation. Nonetheless, apostasy had crept into the church, so he found it necessary to write, contending for the faith. Paul had spoken of savage wolves not sparing the flock (Acts 20:28-32) and Peter provided extensive appeals to be vigilant of the same (2 Pet. 2:1-3:7) and now Jude was gravely aware they had arrived. Jude focusses his attention on these challenging issues and his letter has been appropriately deemed ‘The Acts of the Apostates’.
Jude’s approach is one of sincere and godly humility. He was the half-brother of our Lord, yet he refers to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. This is the opposite of those who claim to be genuine in the faith yet are attention seeking, power hungry, materialistically profit motivated, sensual, selfish and ungodly whom he exposes. He lists several examples uncovering the apostate’s motives and offers metaphors and graphic illustrations to enable us to recognise them and not to be duped by them.
At the close of his letter, Jude identifies three categories of individuals who have been influenced by false teaching/teachers according to the different stages of deception. He designates clear no- nonsense directives concerning how we can help them.
Firstly, Jude provides instruction in how to aid those who are doubting. Note these are sincere doubters who need to be supported so it isn’t advisable to jump on them with a harsh rebuke. They need to be assisted carefully and our actions and motives should stem from godly compassion. Equally, don’t let them fall away easily. That would be disastrous. Those who are stronger in the faith should help the weaker with godly fear. Help them with discernment and guide them to the Lord and the truth of the Scriptures. They will likely require time and patience on our behalf, which we should willingly give out of concern for their souls.
Secondly, some need to be pulled from the fire so intervention is needed swiftly. Fire burns quickly and is deadly. They may well be increasingly influenced by false doctrines on essentials. Don’t wait for things to worsen before stepping in. If someone’s clothes are on fire it is needful to get to them quickly and extinguish the fire. Be bold but from compassion with the objective being to restore them knowing that we ourselves might be tempted. The most loving thing is to pull them out of the fire. Maybe they have been convinced by teaching contrary to the gospel of grace. Speak the truth in love. They may ask you what do you think about a certain ministry or doctrine? Help them by comparing that with the scriptures like a good Berean and pray with them and for them.
Lastly, Jude warns when helping the last category ‘hating the garment stained by the flesh.’ These ones will probably be actively propagating false teaching and will most likely try to convince you of the same. This is really serious so handle with a lot of prayer, wisdom and great care. You need to be wary yet merciful. They may be able to present convincing, apparently plausible and supposedly genuine arguments. Be alert and watchful. Their doctrines, lifestyle and ideas will inevitably cause confusion and division. They need to hear the gospel too, but the believer needs to careful of being influenced by those they are trying to help.
P.S. Note to self… We need to remain in close fellowship with God. It is God that is keeping our salvation but at the same time we need to keep ourselves in the love of God and build ourselves up in the most holy faith. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. We need to guard our souls carefully, abide in His love, be prayerful and maintain good fellowship. Ultimately however, He is the One who keeps us from stumbling and will present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy!
Tuesday 26 Mar 2019