Jude in his letter wrote of how certain men had ‘crept in unnoticed’. My goodness. How could that have happened? What was their intent and why were they there?
First of all, they were false teachers whose objective was to draw men unto themselves and away from the Gospel that had been entrusted to the saints. (Jude 3,4) Now on the outside, they truly looked authentic. Yet their intention was to lead men astray, away from the truth, and removed from saving grace.
Jesus had warned the disciples that there would be wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing that would come to invade the church. The kingdom parables speak specifically of the false intermingling with the authentic. And in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he taught that they could be identified by their fruits. Could it be that their fruit would be connected to that which John the Baptist had preached to the religious leaders of his day…..”bring forth fruits worthy of repentance”?
We are mindful that this is the first century church. Even at this time, Satan was working hard to upset sound biblical teaching and exegesis. If the leaders in the church were not prepared to defend and protect the flock, the false teachers would work tirelessly at serving the devil and his demonic minions in teaching error and heresy. They would teach such things as, “there’s a wide gate in which you can enter, and a wide path in which you can walk.” False teachers always have this foremost on their agenda: “promote the self-worth of every individual at the expense of their eternal salvation.”
Thankfully, throughout the history of the church there have been strong pastors and teachers who have been able to rebuke, exhort, teach and comfort the flock of Christ.
And even in this day, as the world is rushing to its judgment day, the Lord has raised up a standard in His Word that the faithful are still teaching and proclaiming.
The false teachers, of whom Jude is referring, can only “creep” in, if pastors are not functioning in their pastoral duties. But be mindful that false teachers have always created more chaos within the church than any number of adversaries on the outside.
What’s more dangerous……an attacking army wearing their uniforms (easily identifying them as the enemy), or a dangerous terrorist who is hidden and proceeds with deadly alarm?