Snakes Around the Water - Part 4

by Wayne Barber

Wayne BarberAs we continue to look at the snakes around the water, the false prophets, in the book of Jude, Jude spares no words in describing how ungodly these snakes are. In this article we continue to look at three faces of their ungodliness from Jude 16.

Verse 16 says, "These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage." As we saw last month, the first ungodly face is the face of a grumbler. A grumbler is one who is always finding fault with others and never in himself.

The second face of these ungodly people that we see is in their unbridled living. In verse 16, Jude continues and says that these ungodly false teachers were "following after their own lusts." The words following after are translated from one Greek Word: poreuomai. It literally means to go from one place to another with random abandonment. It is used here in the sense that these false teachers were totally in bondage to the whims of their flesh. Peter adds some things that help us identify what this means in 2 Peter 2:10a, "And especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires." Whatever the flesh wants, it gets with no restraint. Then again in 2 Peter 3:3 we see how this licentious living is a mockery to God. Peter says "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts." Peter tells us that this will be the characteristic of the last of the last days.

When Jude speaks of "their own lusts" in verse 16, he uses the word epithumia, which refers to the strong desire of our flesh to do or get something. It is a driving, lustful desire. The word "lusts" is plural-the idea that I get from this is that they are prisoners to whatever lust that presents itself at the moment. So, their ungodliness is seen in one's grumbling at God's Word and at life's circumstances. It is also seen in one's unbridled, lawless living in the whims of his fleshly lusts.

Finally we see their ungodliness in their loud-mouthed boasting. Jude finishes his description of these false prophets in verse 16 by saying that "they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage." It is interesting to me that the word he uses for "speak" in the phrase "they speak" is the word laleo. It does mean to speak, but not necessarily with any intelligence at all. It literally means to make a noise of any kind. Since the verb is in the present indicative active this person who is ungodly is always running their mouth with nothing to say. The word for "arrogantly" is the word huperogkos and means oversized; swollen; in the sense of boasting. They are loud mouthed boasters who are always talking and have nothing at all to say, like huge air bags full of hot air.

Peter tells us that their empty words are filled with what people want to hear, "For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality" (2 Peter 2:18a). The word "entice" is a word that means to bait someone; to lure them into their trap. This last phrase of Jude 16 is a perfect illustration of that. The word translated "flattering" is the word thaumaz . It carries the connotation of causing someone to be in admiration or awe of you by your fake and unmeaning words; to entice them. Jude adds that they flatter people "for the sake of gaining an advantage." Anytime an ungodly person such as these false teachers says something that sounds nice and attracts others, it is only for their own profit or advantage that they might gain. They are liars for the sake of their own personal gain.

So, we see the three faces of ungodliness in the act of grumbling; unbridled living; and in loud-mouthed boasting for one's personal benefit. Quite a bunch aren't they? Yet believers are still listening to them and supporting them without any understanding of how dangerous they are! Beware!

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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