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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



Better Midler could have spoken for millions when she said, "I have my standards. They may be low, but I have them" (Reader's Digest, 11/04, p 110). Low standards are not new. In the New Testament book that bears his name, Jude warns the church about some false teachers who promoted low standards in the first century. They were preaching and practicing some awful things. A scan of Jude's short profile reveals that they "defile the flesh and reject authority" (vs 8), are "greedy and rebellious" (vs 11), "ungodly" (vs 15), "murmurers and complainers who walk according g to their own lusts" (vs 16), and that they are "sensual persons who cause divisions, having not the Spirit" (vs 19). Their whole awful value system and lifestyle is succinctly summed up in verse 4: For certain men have crept in unnoticed who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our Cod into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

There's some scary stuff in this verse. First of all these teachers are creepy people. That is, they have "crept in unnoticed" Jude says. *Secretly slipped in among you" the New International Version states. These words describe a most dangerous situation. These false teachers are not outside the church but have somehow crept in. The foxes are loose in the henhouse! The real kicker is the chickens haven't even noticed! But Jude has, and he screams an inspired warning. These seemingly harmless foxes are false teachers who are advancing a dangerous and deadly spiritual agenda. They are "godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" (Jude 4 New International Version). By means of creepy teaching they minimize the seriousness of sin and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. In summary, bad belief has led them to bad behavior.  Today the foxes no longer creep in but come in loud, proud and popular. They insist "all beliefs and behaviors are equal, all roads lead to God, and if it feels good do it.". Jude urges the church to fight back against the foxes. His inspired strategy is contained in these words: "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. ..building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 3b, 20-21). We can't keep all the foxes/false teachers from creeping into the henhouse. But we can keep ourselves in the love of God as e. fight back with faith, prayer and the word of God.