Today, Saturday November 13
“Trees Without Fruit”
Jude 1:12-13 “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; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Jude is exposing and describing the apostates, the false teachers (v. 4). He first noted that it was obvious that they rejected divine authority and how God’s judgment was sure to come on them (Vs. 5-11). Now Jude tells us how they resort to deliberate hypocrisy (Vs. 12-13 & 16). Jude presents six vivid pictures of these false shepherds.
They are “filthy spots or blemishes” (v. 12a) and they are “serving only themselves” (v. 12b). These false teachers and leaders are empty clouds, clouds without water (v. 12c). They are also like “late autumn trees without fruit (v. 12d).
The picture is that of an orchard in autumn, the time when the farmer expects fruit. But these trees are fruitless! Remember Jesus this about false teachers: "You shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). Those who teach and preach the Word have the responsibility of feeding others, but the false teachers have nothing to give. Not only are they fruitless, but they are also rootless ("pulled up by the roots"); this is why they are "twice dead." What a contrast to the godly man in Psalm 1:3!
One of the evidences of true salvation is producing spiritual fruit (John 15). The seed that fell on the hard soil, the shallow soil, and the crowded soil did not produce fruit; but the seed that fell on the "good ground" did produce fruit (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). No matter how much of the Bible the false teachers may quote, the seed is not producing fruit in their own lives or through their ministries. Why? Because they have no spiritual roots. They lack spiritual life. Fruit has in it the seed for more fruit (Genesis 1:11-12). One of the evidences that a ministry is truly of God is that the fruit multiplies. Manufactured "results" are sterile and dead, but true fruit continues to grow and reproduce itself in the lives of others.
These false teachers are also like “raging waves of the sea” (v. 13a). Last Sunday we stopped by the beach on the way home from church to see the results of the gale force winds that a storm had brought for several days. The waves were powerful and high and were destroying the beach! Jude compared the apostates to "raging waves of the sea" not because of their power, but because of their pride and arrogant speech. "Their mouths speak great swelling words" (Jude 16).
Like the swelling of the sea, they make a lot of noise, but what do they produce? Have you ever walked along the beach the morning after a storm and seen the ugly refuse that has been deposited on the shore? Jude may have had Isaiah 57:20 in mind: "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." All that the "great swelling words" of the apostates can produce is foam and flotsam! The true teachers of the Word bring up the treasures of the deep, but the false teachers produce only refuse. And what they boast about, they really ought to be ashamed of: “…whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).
For sure, one of the great disappointments that can lead to great discouragement, is to find out that you have been listening to and following one of these false teachers. Please don’t give up! Get back up and keep your eyes on Jesus! He will never deceive you or lead you astray! He will forgive you, restore you and lift you up again!