Jude 1-4. In his letter to the church, Jude gives a dire warning. He writes, “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called…it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares…ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”
Jude is forewarning us that false shepherds will steal into God’s house with one goal in mind: to turn the Lord’s grace into lasciviousness.
He’s saying, “Satan is sending a certain false doctrine to infiltrate the church. And it’s going to come through preachers, teachers and evangelists. They’ll take God’s grace and subtly twist it, manipulating it, until finally it produces lasciviousness in God’s people.”
To fully grasp the seriousness of Jude’s warning, we need to understand the meaning of lasciviousness. This term embodies every conceivable strain of sin.
In literal terms, lasciviousness means “lacking in moral discipline, having no regard for accepted moral standards.”
The word comes from the Latin “lascivia,” meaning loose, runaway passion and lust. It signifies licentiousness, lawlessness, the casting off of all restraints. It also represents all that’s filthy, degrading, lewd and obscene.
Jesus called lasciviousness a sin of the heart, “that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness” (Mark 7:20-22).
We expect the world to be lascivious, freely indulging their lusts, but not God’s people. Evidently, however, this sin had run rampant in God’s house.
I ask you: how could an abundantly blessed people choose to remain in such a sordid condition?
We May Ask This Question About the Church Today.
Every Sunday, professing Christians gather to worship, hear his Word and enjoy fellowship.
Yet many of these same holy-appearing people lead lust-filled lives.
They’re fornicating, carrying on affairs, feeding their addictions to pornography.
Tell me, how could any enlightened believer continue to do such things?
First, consider the prophecy in Revelation 12. We’re told an enraged devil will invade the earth in the last days to seduce God’s people: “The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child?And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood” (Revelation 12:12-15).
This passage describes Satan’s attack on the church in these last days. The devil is going to spew forth a flood of filth so vast and powerful, it will carry away many professing to have faith in Christ.
Paul told the Corinthians this was already happening among them, as many had already been swept up in Satan’s flood of lasciviousness.
Lasciviousness has become an epidemic in the church
.Satan attempts to vex and deceive God’s chosen people.
He’s going to do it by seducing mankind and creating a moral landslide.
He’s going to open the floodgates and seek to baptize the world in erotic filth, smut and sensuality. This moral landslide will surpass anything the human mind can conjure.
Already, demonic spirits of lust are sweeping over the nations, bringing nudity, perversion and a flood of filth.
People of all ages are feeding their souls on what is being piped right into their homes via satellite, internet as well as movies, books and magazines.
There’s a dirt bath coming to vex the minds and souls of the most devout Christians alive today just as Lot was vexed night and day by the things he saw and heard in Sodom.
Christians are now being exposed to such violent filth and sensuality that it takes a firm grip on God’s Word to survive. Those who are on the fence are going to fall flat on their faces.
Those that do not earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints will be swept away.
Homes and even schools are already targets of pushers of pornography. What used to be available only in hotels is now available in homes via Television, computers and even cell phones.
These vile films project nudity, sexual intercourse, homosexuality, animal perversion and sadism.
People pay for these erotic movies to be piped directly into their living rooms…It is played through an electronic attachment, piped right into their homes. And our homes will be called pleasure palaces.
Yet, most Christians who read this message probably think it doesn’t apply to them. They wonder, “Why would you write this kind of message to servants who never indulge in any kind of lasciviousness? We need to be built up and edified.”
Let me explain why I’m writing this warning to godly, devout believers: So you can test whether you’ll allow into your heart any leaven of false doctrine about the meaning of God’s grace. Ultimately, this can be a matter of life or death.
You see, the devil is probably not bent on hooking you with filth. He may know he can never tempt you with gross sin.
However, if he can pervert your concept of grace – if he can get you to see grace to excuse permissiveness – then he can start you down a path to bondage.
Soon you’ll be doing things you never could have conceived. And, worse, he will have sold you the lie that it’s okay for you to indulge your lust.
For this reason, Jude doesn’t beat around the bush. He tells us right away why so many in God’s house are being carried away by the devil’s flood of lasciviousness:
Jude 4. There are certain men crept in un-awares…ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
In this one verse, Jude lays bare Satan’s entire plan to deceive God’s elect. The devil is going to subtly bring ministers of all kinds into the church to pervert the gospel of grace.
Yet, if you have a truly biblical understanding of grace, the enemy can’t deceive you. He’ll never be able to seduce you into lasciviousness.
So, what is true biblical grace?True Biblical Grace Is Holy-Ghost Empowerment To Live a Godly Life and Deny Ungodliness.
Titus 2:11-13.”The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”
This passage reveals two traits that biblical grace always produces in the life of a believer:
- an anticipation and longing for the coming of the Lord, and
- a godly fear and holy reverence for the Lord.
These two fruits of grace’s work are inseparable. We simply can’t possess one without the other.
Hebrews 12:28. “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”.
This verse ties grace directly to reverence.
The apostle Peter also ties grace to sober reverence: >>1 Peter 1:13″Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. Peter isn’t encouraging us to wear long faces or to walk around joylessly. On the contrary, he’s speaking of a reverence that produces true gladness in the heart. He’s saying, in essence, “If you have a revelation of Jesus’ grace – his love, holiness and beauty – it will produce in you awe and reverence.”
Now, when Jude says ungodly men will infiltrate the church, his word for ungodly means “men without reverence, without the fear of God.” In other words, these teachers will bring lightness and levity into God’s house. They’ll attempt to distort and pervert all reverence for the things of the Lord.
When Jude speaks of “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (Jude 4), the word turn here means modified, something added. It comes from a root word meaning to prostrate truth, that is, to lay truth on the ground and make it something passive, something that can be walked over or on.
In short, God’s grace was once something upright and effective in these ungodly men’s lives. But because they wouldn’t forsake their sin, they laid the truth flat and trampled on it, removing all its meaning and power. >> Isaiah 59:14-15, “Truth is fallen in the street…Yea, truth faileth”.
Hebrews 10:28-30. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Where do such ungodly ministers come from? How are they able to creep into the church to pervert God’s grace? Did the devil pick them out of some vile porn theater and dress them up as angels of light? Or, are they atheists who have disguised themselves as preachers and bluffed their way into the pulpit?
No. Paul says of such men, “God showed them the truth” (see Romans 1:19). At one time, these men knew the full meaning of grace. Yet somehow, they became addicted to an unforsaken lust. At that point, they began to hold the truth in unrighteousness.
They had to invent a false grace to excuse their lasciviousness. So, now they’re preaching a false Christ, through a perverted concept of grace.
Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Jude calls such ungodly ministers “filthy dreamers [who] defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities” (Jude 8).
By contrast, I believe most people who are reading this message are God-fearing, obedient servants. They aren’t dabbling in filth. They’ve forsaken lasciviousness, and are walking in grace that leads to holiness.
Still, I believe some readers may struggle with what I call “lapses into lasciviousness.” These Christians haven’t given themselves over to their lust, but they do occasionally have an encounter with something unclean I believe many such believers are plagued more by occasional lapses into lasciviousness. After each indulgence, these struggling servants feel the weight of their guilt, and they repent. Moreover, they long to be delivered from their occasional lapses.
There is an increase of attendance at gatherings such as Promise Keepers.
I want to address all such Christians right now:
Satan realizes you’re going to cry out to God every time you sin. And he knows you’re always going to receive God’s forgiveness. So, as long as you still have a measure of the fear of God in your heart, he can’t bind you to any lust or sin.
How, then, does the enemy eventually get hold of God’s people? How does he recruit those who have known true grace, arm them with a false gospel, and send them into churches to try to deceive the elect?
The only way the devil can bind you to a sin is by selling you a lie to convince you his lie is really the truth.
And he does this most often by persuading Christians they can still hold to God’s truth while indulging a sin. You may object, “How could Satan ever persuade any sincere Christian that it’s okay to sin? I could never believe God overlooks or excuses my sin.”
Satan sells his lie by persuading Christians that grace is simply a never-ending river of forgiveness. He whispers to us, “You can keep going back to your sin, as long as you keep coming back to the altar. Didn’t Jesus say we’re to forgive others at least 490 times? Surely your loving Savior will forgive you many more times than that. As long as you have a repentant heart and keep mourning over your sin, you’ll be okay. You can indulge your lust a thousand times, and he’ll freely forgive you every time.”
This sounds so close to the truth. Indeed, there is no end to God’s forgiveness for those who come to him with a truly repentant heart.
This statement may be 95 percent truth. However, the other 5 percent is pure poison. And it will eventually destroy your soul. Satan’s “5 percent lie” about grace is the demonic leaven that ruins the whole loaf.
Do You Think, “This Could Never Happen to Me”? Perhaps you’re thinking, “I go to a church where a Godly pastor preaches a solid, biblical word. I don’t know any ministers who twist the gospel of grace into permissiveness. The sermons I hear are about New Covenant grace, and God’s mercy toward those who struggle. I’ve learned that, although I have no power in my flesh to overcome sin, God’s Spirit will empower me to obey his Word.”
You’ve grasped an incredibly freeing, life-changing truth. Yet, if Satan sees you lapse occasionally into lasciviousness, he’ll realize you have a liking for your sin. Moreover, through your continued sin, you’ve given him entry to your mind. And that’s exactly how he’ll implant a lie in you. He’ll inject in you a single, deadly distortion of truth that sounds something like this:
“Isn’t this truth wonderfully freeing? In yourself, you have no ability to resist sin. So God promises to send the Holy Ghost to do for you what you can’t do. All you have to do is keep mourning, and your lapses won’t matter. The Holy Spirit knows when to step in and empower you. You certainly can’t be judged for a sin you can’t control.”
Do you see the lie inserted in this gospel of grace? It’s the lie that Christians have no personal responsibility for their sin. And it leads to blaming God for your sin. You’ll say, “Why didn’t the Holy Ghost come when I was tempted? I was waiting for him to empower me, but he never showed up. That’s why I gave in to lust. It’s not my fault.”
Galatians 6:7-8. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.Mark Cowan