Jude 1:12
These men are hidden reefs in your love feasts, shamelessly feasting with you but shepherding only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitless trees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted.
Clouds Without WaterW. Perkins.Jude 1:12
Disappointing MenA. Plummer, D. D.Jude 1:12
Eucharistic Feeding Without FearM. F. Sadler, M. A.Jude 1:12
Fruit WitheringD. J. Vincy.Jude 1:12
Hidden Rocks in Your Love-FeastsA. Plummer, D. D.Jude 1:12
Plucked Up by the RootsJ. Wesley.Jude 1:12
Spiritual WitheringW. Jenkyn, M. A.Jude 1:12
Twice DeadJude 1:12
Unsuspected DangersW. H. Davison.Jude 1:12
The LetterR. Finlayson Jude 1:1-25
Reasons for Resisting Evil MenJ.S. Bright Jude 1:5-16
A Vivid Picture of the Moral Corruption of the Ungodly SeducersT. Croskery Jude 1:12, 13

I. THEIR SELFISH AND SINFUL PERVERSION OF THE CHURCH'S FELLOWSHIP. "These are they who are hidden rocks in your love-feasts when they feast with you, shepherds that without fear feed themselves."

1. They, like sunken rocks, wrecked those who unsuspectingly approached them.

(1) Their profession of religion was so belied by their immoral ways, that men, taking them to be Christians, abhorred the true gospel and turned away from it to their destruction.

(2) Their evil example led others into unchristian courses to their eternal ruin.

2. They mingled, without fear or misgiving, in the loving fellowships of the Church.

(1) The love-feasts were connected with the Lord's Supper, which is itself, indeed, a love-feast. They were designed to maintain brotherly love, and especially to refresh the poor saints. They always began and ended with prayer. They were no places for self-indulgence or gluttony.

(2) These godless persons attended the love-feasts, with no fear of the Divine displeasure, with no reverence for the holy society into which they intruded themselves.

(a) It is not possible in this world entirely to separate the godly from the ungodly. It is impossible for ministers to read the hearts of men so surely as to keep a sharp line of distinction between believers and unbelievers. Yet the discipline of the Church ought to enforce a conformity to the terms of their profession.

(b) These seducers were unfit guests at a feast designed to commemorate the unity of the body of Christ and the brotherhood of all believers. "Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?"

3. They feasted themselves luxuriously, regardless of the poor. Their conduct reminds one of the shepherds of Israel. "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flock?" (Ezekiel 34:2).

(1) They feasted immoderately. "Their hearts were oppressed with surfeiting." Like the Israelites in their idolatry, "they sat down to eat and to drink" (Exodus 32:6).

(2) They wronged the poor, whom they suffered to fast while they were feasting.

II. THEIR EMPTINESS AND INSTABILITY. "Clouds without water, carried along by winds."

1. Instead of being like clouds dropping refreshing rain upon the earth, they, as rainless clouds, while promising much, were profitless and disappointing to the hopes of the Church. They could not give what they had not, but they professed to have something to give. Their deluded followers "spent their money for that which was not bread, and their labour for that which satisfied not." When people are athirst for God - " the heart punting for the water-brooks" - it is hard to find no water at hand to satisfy the soul. Yet the Lord says, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." It is a great sin to profess a goodness to which we are utterly opposed, because

(1) it profanes God's Name;

(2) it grieves the hearts of true saints;

(3) it hardens the wicked;

(4) it is utterly unprofitable to the empty professors themselves.

2. They were as unstable as clouds whirled every way by the wind.

(1) They were unstable in doctrine, carried about by every intellectual caprice, like those who halt between two opinions, and are not settled in the truths of religion. They were not "grounded and settled" because they were off the true Foundation (verse 20).

(2) They were unstable in their affections, now fervent, now cold, "framing to themselves such a moderation as will just serve the scantling of the times."

(3) They were unstable in their practical conduct. At one time they were ascetic in their ideas; then self-indulgent, loose, evil. With all their changes they begin in the flesh and end in the flesh.

(4) Christians ought to be warned against unsteadfastness. They ought to continue in the things which they have learned (2 Timothy 3:14), and not to be "tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).

III. THEIR UTTER UNFRUITFULNESS. "Autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots." Saints arc fruit-bearing trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3). Where is an evident climax in this picture of the godless seducers. First, they are like autumn trees, which ought to be full of fruit, yet they are without fruit, like the barren fig tree; then they are utterly dead - dead in appearance and dead in reality; then they are like uprooted trees concerning which there can be no more hope of fruit. There is a logical as well as rhetorical fitness in the picture.

1. There was no fruit because there was no life in the tree. These godless persons were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:2).

2. This death implies ignorance, darkness, alienation from God.

3. The torn-up roots imply not only that there is no hope of growth, but that the world sees the secret rottenness that was at the root of such trees. They will never again be taken for fruit-bearers. "From them who had not, even that which they seemed to have is taken away" (Luke 8:18).

4. The picture before us is a solemn warning to believers.

(1) It is their duty to be spiritually fruitful (Philippians 1:11; John 15:2; Colossians 1:10).

(2) They must bring forth fruit at every season, even in old age (Psalm 92:12).

(3) Believers, therefore, ought to plant themselves by the rivers of water (Psalm 1:3).

(4) They ought to guard against apostasy. "Be not high-minded, but fear."

(5) They ought, therefore, to pray for the dews of God's blessing. He alone can give the increase.

IV. THEIR SHAMELESS AND TURBULENT TEMPER. "Wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame."

1. There was a restless agitation in their life. They were "like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Isaiah 57:20). "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Their consciences were unquiet; they were fretful and arrogant; they troubled the peace of those Churches into which they crept, by their hard speeches, their obscene talking, their blasphemous suggestions.

2. As the wild waves lash themselves into foam, these seducers throw forth upon the world all the shamefulness that was buried in their wicked hearts. "Boldly belching out their abominable opinions and their detestable doctrines;" but, above all, giving a free outlet to all licentiousness. Evil things come forth from "the evil treasure of the heart."

3. It is the lot of the Church to live in the midst of these "raging waves" of wickedness and folly.

4. The Church is most districted by enemies within her communion.

5. The enemies of God proclaim their own shame, and bring confusion upon themselves.

6. The saints ought ever to pray that the peace of God may dwell in their hearts.

V. MISLEADING GUIDES AND THEIR FUTURE DESTINY. "Wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved for ever."

1. These seducers were like stars, conspicuous by their position and their exploits. They were false lights to mislead the people into error and destruction.

2. They were wandering stars,

(1) because they kept no certain course;

(2) because they blazed brightly for a moment, then went out in darkness.

3. They threw down no light upon the world lying in darkness and the region of death.

4. It is a fearful thing to seduce others from the way of truth. "They which lead thee cause thee to err" (Isaiah 3:12).

5. God shows great forbearance even to seducers. He "endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Romans 9:22).

6. Divine judgments are often in kind. The seducers who loved darkness rather than light will be plunged into still deeper darkness - "into the very blackness of darkness for ever."

7. Let believers be warned to seek the light - to walk in the light, to walk decently as in the day. - T.C.

Spots [R.V., hidden rocks] in your feasts of charity.
Hidden rocks are the seamen's worst dangers, and they generally prove the most fatal. They account for the disappearance of many a gallant barque and brave crew. They are not laid down on the chart.

I. THE UNSUSPECTED DANGERS WHICH WRECK CHRISTIAN CHURCHES. The apostle means that there were men who, instead of keeping the unity and peace of the Christian community, were the means of wrecking both. The kind of men they are is described in verse 4.

1. They have crept into the Church surreptitiously, not being possessed of the spiritual qualifications they professed to have.

2. They perverted the gospel to evil ends. "They turned the grace of our God unto lasciviousness." They divorced religion from good morals and good life.

3. There was denial of essential Christian doctrine. "Denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."


1. "Nobody will know." The possibility of secret sin is one of the grave perils of youth and inexperience.

2. "Only this once." The tempter has never had a more successful plea to urge upon the unwary. But if for once, why not for always?

3. "It is not necessary to be so very particular." But thoroughness is one great element of safety.

4. "Never mind, another time will do as well." This is perhaps the most fatal of all. Procrastination of duties means the giving up of duties. Secret unfaithfulness becomes open apostacy.

(W. H. Davison.)

(R.V.): — The love-feast symbolised the brotherhood of Christians. It was a simple meal, in which all met as equals, and the rich supplied the necessities of the poor. It would seem as if these profligates —(1) brought with them luxurious food, thus destroying the Christian simplicity of the meal; and(2) brought this not for the benefit of all, but for their own private enjoyment, thus destroying the idea of Christian brotherhood and equality. The whole purpose of the love-feast was wrecked by these men. They were rocks in them.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Feeding themselves without fear
May not these words be applied to the Eucharistic feeding of those who come to the most holy feast without searching of heart, without self-examination, trusting in their respectability, their apparent blamelessness in respect of gross sin and such things?

(M. F. Sadler, M. A.)

Clouds they are without water
These men are ostentatious, but they do no good. It was perhaps expected that their admission to the Church would be a fresh gain to Christendom; but they are as disappointing as clouds that are carried past (παραφερύεναι) by winds without giving any rain: and in the East that is one of the most grievous among common disappointments.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

It pleaseth the Spirit of God in many places of the Old Testament to compare prophets and teachers unto clouds, and their doctrine unto the dropping and distilling of the rain and sweet showers. So the Prophet Ezekiel is commanded to set his face towards the way of Teman, and "drop his word toward the south," and his prophecy towards the forest. My doctrine shall "drop as the rain," and my speech shall "distil as the dew, as the shower upon the herbs, and as the great rain upon the grass" (Deuteronomy 32:2). The word translated "prophecy" (Micah 2:7, 11) signifieth properly to drop or distil. The reason of which comparison is rendered. Because as the rain falleth upon the earth and returneth not in vain, but moisteneth it, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to him that eateth (Isaiah 55:10, 11); so the word in the mouth of the ministers returneth not void, but accomplisheth the Lord's will. The words then standing upon this similitude bear this sense: Though the property and use of clouds is to carry water and rain for the use of the earth, yet some clouds are without water; even so, though all teachers ought to be filled and fitted with store of wholesome doctrine, to pour it out for the use of the Church, yet these seducers are utterly destitute thereof. And, again, as those clouds without water are light, and fit for nothing than to be carried about with wind, so these are altogether variable and unconstant, carried about with every blast of strange doctrine. The former of these similitudes condemneth their sin of barrenness and unfruitfulness; the latter their sin of inconstancy and variableness.

(W. Perkins.)

Trees whose fruit withereth
1. Even corrupt trees bear some fruit, though but withered. Most men go to hell in the way of religious appearances (Matthew 7:22, 23).

2. Withering and decaying in holiness is a distemper very unsuitable, and should be very hateful to every Christian.(1) In respect of God. Decays in our Christian course oppose His nature, in whom is no shadow of change.(2) In respect of ourselves.

(a)Whatever professions have been made, it is certain there never was sincerity.

(b)Spiritual withering renders all former profession unprofitable and in vain.

(c)Spiritual withering makes our former profession and progress therein to injure us.(3) In respect of others.

(a)They who remain strong and stable are much distressed by the decay of any.

(b)The weak are much endangered to be carried away with others for company.

(c)The wicked are confirmed in the sin into which the decayed Christian is fallen, and also much deride and reproach that way of truth and holiness which the unsteadfast have forsaken.

3. It is the duty of Christians to endeavour after spiritual fruitfulness (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Philippians 1:11; James 3:17; John 15:2, 5, 16; Colossians 1:10).

4. The greatest flourishes and appearances of hypocrisy cannot reach the excellency of the least dram of sincerity. All a hypocrite can do amounts not to fruit.

5. Incorrigibleness in sin is a dismal condition. It is a woe to have a bad heart, but it is the depth of woe to have a heart that shall never be better.

6. It is our greatest wisdom, and ought to be our chiefest care, to be preserved from apostacy. To this end —

(1)Be sure to have the truth of spiritual life in you.

(2)Forecast the worst that can befall you.

(3)Take heed of the smallest decay, a beginning to remit of thy holiness.

7. God at length discovers unsound, empty, and decaying Christians to be what they are.

(W. Jenkyn, M. A.)

I. WHAT IS BACKSLIDING? It is not everything that morbid conscientiousness may sometimes mistake for it.

1. It is not the loss of the first gushing emotions of early youth or even of early Christian life.

2. Nor is it the occasional loss of enjoyment or even of peace. The vessel may be going forward, even in a fog, and though "neither sun nor stars" appear, may be still obeying her helm and speeding to port.

3. Temptation, again, is not backsliding. This is one of our present tests. It is the furnace, but because the gold is in the crucible it does not follow there is alloy. No; backsliding is a loss, not of buoyant feeling, or of joy merely, or of freedom from assault, but of spiritual life and power; not of the adjuncts of this life, but of itself. When the eye loses its lustre, the cheek its bloom, the form its roundness, it is from a loss of vitality. The outward indications are but symptomatic, the failure is within. Backsliding is a loss of spiritual life, which, of course, affects the whole circle of spiritual experience, spiritual duties, spiritual influences, and in all senses makes the fruit to wither. Is it not, as thus understood, a most wretched state? It is foolish. What fools we are to lose such a condition as our former one, and to lapse into this; to leave the Father's house, with its abundance of provision and love, and to feed on "ashes" and "husks." How ungrateful, too. Think what has been done for us by the all-loving Saviour; in us, by His gracious Spirit. How opposed to the genius of the gospel, too! Christianity intends growth, advancement in each grace, in the entire Christian life, and this in order to perfection. We have perversely been realising just the opposite; crab-like, have gone backward instead of forward.

II. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF BACKSLIDING? The cause may be one of many, or all combined.

1. It may be that the tree itself is bad. Its surroundings favourable, it may yet fail from inherent defect. I need not say that this is the main cause with us. Alas! we are degenerate trees of a tainted stock. Sin, that destroyer of all good, dwells in us. "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked." The stock itself is tainted, the "tree corrupt," and no wonder it fails to mature "good fruit." But has it not been engrafted? It has, but the old nature is not eradicated. Subdued, striven against, wrestled with, it yet exists, and is the cause, the first great cause, of all the knots, excrescences, and withered fruit which mar the beauty of the tree.

2. Not only may the tree be bad, its soil may be defective. As the tree literally, so we spiritually, draw our sap from without. It has been the defect of this vital influence that has been another cause of our failure. Had it been supplied, drawn through, the appointed medium, as it might and ought, it would have vanquished the noxious elements already existing, and produced vigour and health. And why has not this been done? Partly, perhaps, from a defect in our original training. Rejoicing in our new experience, one of glowing delight, "first love," we lived on day by day, sustained simply by emotion. This, then, seemed to suffice, for the well was deep. By a beneficent law of nature, however, it is ordained that strong emotion shall be but temporary, that intense heat shall evaporate into steam. When this ceased, we were at fault. We have learnt since that "our life is hid with Christ in God," that "He is our life," and is unchangeable and perennial. We may have failed to avail ourselves subsequently even of this, but at first we did not adequately know it.

3. Another cause of withering may be the surrounding atmosphere. How subtle this is, and how insidiously and yet injuriously it acts upon the growing trees. There is an atmosphere about us all spiritually, formed by our domestic and social position — the books we read, places we frequent, society we form, ministry we attend, and a thousand other things in our daily lives. This may be helpful; it may also be the reverse.

4. Besides this habitual atmosphere, there are also blights — states of the atmosphere when it is more fully than usual charged with poisonous influences or parasitic life. Prevailing tones of fashion and dress, sinful indulgence, habits of excess, sudden prosperity, worldly alliance, lax sense of obligation — how these sometimes come over the promising tree, and in a night or day destroy its beauty, cover it with deformity, wither its fruit!

5. Another cause of decay is lack of appropriate means. The tree needs not only a sound stock, good soil and atmosphere, but also proper attention. Digging, manure, water, pruning, are all requisite, and without these it will suffer, at length decay. That God works by means we know, and this in our best estate we practically recognised. How diligently these were plied at first. The Bible was our joy, and we had it "in our heart," that we might not sin against God. Prayer, too, what a reality it was! The Sabbath, how we loved it! And the sanctuary, it was truly Bethel, God's house. All these, and kindred ones, were means of spiritual culture to us. If these, any or all of them, have been neglected by us, come to be duties rather than privileges — no wonder that we have become withered, and that our fruit has decayed.

6. Fruit may wither because it is not used at the appropriate time. One reason why spiritual life in our Churches is so feeble and sickly a principle is because it lacks exercise. The backsliding Christian is ordinarily to be found amongst the "slothful and unprofitable servants."


1. Return.

2. Repent.

3. Resolve — to watch, pray, be diligent, advance.

(D. J. Vincy.)

Twice dead.
Dean Alford refers to the double death in a tree, which is not only as it seems to the eye in common with other trees, in the apparent death of winter, but really dead; dead to appearance, and dead in reality.

So incapable of ever reviving.

(J. Wesley.)

Adam, Balaam, Cain, Core, Enoch, James, Judas, Jude, Korah, Michael
Egypt, Ephesus, Gomorrah, Sodom
Along, Autumn, Autumnal, Barren, Blemishes, Blown, Boldly, Caring, Carouse, Carried, Cast, Charity, Clouds, Craggy, Dead, Doubly, Driven, Eating, Fear, Feast, Feasting, Feasts, Feed, Feeding, Fruit, Fruitless, Hidden, Keepers, Late, Leaves, Love, Love-feasts, Pasturing, Pleasure, Plucked, Pulled, Qualm, Rain, Reefs, Rocks, Rocky, Rooted, Roots, Rushing, Share, Sheep, Shepherding, Shepherds, Slightest, Spots, Sunken, Themselves, Trees, Twice, Unrestrained, Unseen, Uprooted, Wasted, Waterless, Wind, Winds, Withered, Withereth
1. He exhorts them to be constant in the profession of the faith.
4. false teachers crept in to seduce them, for whose evil doctrine a horrible punishment is prepared;
20. whereas the godly may persevere, grow in grace, and keep the faith.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Jude 1:12

     4504   roots
     4805   clouds
     4844   rain
     4860   wind
     5288   dead, the
     6118   blemish
     6139   deadness, spiritual
     7784   shepherd
     7789   shepherd, church leader
     7925   fellowship, among believers
     7936   love feast
     8296   love, nature of

Jude 1:3-23

     6169   godlessness

Jude 1:4-19

     5714   men

Jude 1:8-16

     8706   apostasy, warnings

Jude 1:10-12

     6241   seduction

Jude 1:12-13

     5558   storing

The Holy Spirit and the one Church
Our text suggests to us three things: first, an inquiry--Have we the Spirit? secondly, a caution--if we have not the spirit we are sensual; thirdly, a suspicion--there are many persons that separate themselves. Our suspicion concerning them is, that notwithstanding their extra-superfine profession, they are sensual, not having the Spirit; for our text says, "These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." I. First, then, our text suggests AN INQUIRY--Have we the Spirit? This
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Persevering Grace. Jude 1:24,25.
Persevering grace. Jude 1:24,25. To God the only wise, Our Savior and our King, Let all the saints below the skies Their humble praises bring. 'Tis his almighty love, His counsel, and' his care, Preserves us safe from sin and death, And every hurtful snare. He will present our souls, Unblemished and complete, Before the glory of his face, With joys divinely great. Then all the chosen seed Shall meet around the throne, Shall bless the conduct of his grace, And make his wonders known. To our Redeemer,
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

The Manifestation of the Church with Christ.
The last time the world saw the Lord Jesus He was alone--all alone in death. But when He returns to this earth He will not be alone. His saints will accompany Him. He is the "Firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), and when He appears again they will be with Him. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, bringing His sheaves with Him" (Ps. 126:6). Yes, that blessed One who humbled Himself to become the Sower shall return with "His sheaves"--"Behold,
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Twofold Bearing of this Fact.
We come now to a point concerning which it behooves believers, particularly young believers and beginners in the study of prophecy, to be quite clear upon. Like the other two great Facts which we have reviewed--the First Advent of our Lord to this earth and His going away, and the presence now of the Holy Spirit upon this earth--this third great fact of the Redeemer's Return also has a double bearing, a bearing upon the Church and a bearing upon the world. The Second Coming of Christ will occur in
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Redeemer's Return is Necessitated by the Present Exaltation of Satan.
One of the greatest mysteries in all God's creation is the Devil. For any reliable information concerning him we are shut up to the Holy Scriptures. It is in God's Word alone that we can learn anything about his origin, his personality, his fall, his sphere of operations, and his approaching doom. One thing which is there taught us about the great Adversary of God and man, and which observation and experience fully confirms, is, that he is a being possessing mighty power. It would appear, from a
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

Salvation is the song that was to be sung by the redeemed in that day. "Behold now is the day." Our salvation has come. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men." Salvation means deliverance. A prophecy concerning the Christ--our salvation--says: "He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isa. 61:1. Christ our Savior came to deliver us from the prison-house of sin. In the
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Saved by Grace;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Character of Its Teachings Evidences the Divine Authorship of the Bible
Take its teachings about God Himself. What does the Bible teach us about God? It declares that He is Eternal: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou are God" (Ps. 90:2). It reveals the fact that He is Infinite: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee" (I Kings 8:27). Vast as we know the universe to be, it has its bounds; but we must go beyond
Arthur W. Pink—The Divine Inspiration of the Bible

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