“These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;”
Jude now gives six more illustrations of apostasy from nature (vv. 12-13).
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear,
Apostates came to Christian “love feasts.” These love feasts were times of close fellowship among Christians followed by the Lord’s Supper. Apostates exploited believers by joining with them in fellowship.
These apostates are described as “spots.” There are two meanings: (1) stains or (2) shoals, rocks covered by water. The waters may look safe to the captain of the ship, but he may be in danger of treacherous reefs. A captain of a ship might not see the shoals or rocks just beneath the surface. Hidden theological rocks that lie underneath the surface undetected are of great danger and can sink a local church.
Pastors of local churches must be aware of possible incursions of false doctrine in the church. False teachers come into the church “without fear.” They have no fear of reprisal theologically because Christians naively accept them into their midst. They participate in evangelical circles without fear of being called on their false doctrine. No one dares to expose them.
…having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck… 1 Ti 1:19
serving only themselves.
These apostates were self-centered. They participated in love feasts for their own ends. They fleeced the flock.
They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds;
Clouds promise refreshing rain but produce nothing but wind. False teachers promise religious blessing but are without content. When people see clouds, they anticipate rain. If rain does not come, then the cloud only promises but does not deliver. False teachers appear to have something to say from the Bible but they are void of content. They promise much but do not deliver.
Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain. Pr 25:14
late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
Late autumn trees normally would have no leaves, much less fruit. Like barren trees, the barrenness of promises from false teachers is nothing but empty promises. They teach doctrines totally valueless from God’s point of view.
When these trees (1) did not produce fruit in autumn and (2) were uprooted for lack of production, they were “twice dead.” These apostates were dead when they were non-Christians and now they are dead as apparent Christians by asserting false doctrine. These are trees with the roots exposed. Christianity is filled with people who deny the Bible as the Word of God and the deity of Jesus Christ. Many seminaries and professors in seminaries deny the verities of evangelicalism today.
Theological error always comes to the church in a sneaky way.
Wolves come in sheep’s clothing. They do not come as wolves, for they would scare the sheep to death. False teachers do not come stating what they believe, for that would scare Christians. Theological wolves have to deceive their way into the church and theological circles.