Jude v 12 - 16

This is one of the great passages of invective in the New Testament, although missing Paul's slices of sarcasm. It blazes with moral indignation at these people who would coldly and cunningly destroy fellowships and rob believers of their faith. As the modern Christian knows, Communion is a time of 'thinness', of drawing close to Christ, and subsequently it is also a vulnerable time. The Early Church enjoyed a much fuller meal than the modern Church, celebrating Christ's death and looking forward to His appearing again and these were called Love Feasts. We can read of them in Paul's letters to the church at Corinth, where he criticises the wealthy in that fellowship for starting to eat before the slaves could attend and eating all the best food-1 Corinthians 11 v 17-22! It appears that these occasions, held regularly, were an opportunity to bring one's own food and to meet as church and eat a full meal together with some formal parts held during the meal- Scripture readings, some contemporary writings about Christ's death, singing and prayers-it balanced the jollity of a feast with the seriousness of the ritual. As both Jude and Paul noted, unless the love feast or Agape was true fellowship, it was a travesty. Jude's opponents were making a travesty of the Love Feasts. These false witnesses would eat their own food, keep to their own in-groups and had no interest for anyone else. They would make great claims, but were essentially useless. In the New Testament nothing is so unsparingly condemned as uselessness-remember Jesus' condemnation of the fig tree which bore no fruit?-'If a man or woman is not good for something, he or she is good for nothing'. How do we identify such people? Jude gives the reader three more characteristics of these evil intruders: 1. They are grumblers, always discontented with the life God has given them. 2. Their conduct is governed by their desires. 3. They speak with pride and arrogance, yet they also seek to flatter the powerful and wealthy within the fellowship. Beware of such people!

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