Title: Chivalry isn’t Dead!
Text: Jude 11-16
Introduction: We’re in Jude this morning…
I’m reading a book entitled, The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Story of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English Thrones, by Thomas Asbridge. It’s a wonderful book about a Knight in the 12th Century. It’s a story like Braveheart or King Arthur and Sir Lancelot. In this story William is sent from his home in England to live with his uncle, who will educate him and teach him the art of military warfare at his estate, Tancarville. William grows up from age 12-20 in his uncle’s home, watching and learning from the knights in his uncle’s service. War breaks out and William is Knighted into service – a tremendous honor for the 20 year old. As the men prepare for battle, William is a bit over anxious. He moves out of rank and puts himself ahead of the other knights – men who outrank him. This upset the Chamberlain, who after the battle releases William. He has nowhere to go. He can’t go home. Home belongs to his eldest brother. He is forced to grow up and quickly.
In that day, there were contests or tournaments for Knights. You’ve probably seen them played out in movies where Knights would compete against each other. William hears of a tournament nearby and enters, with the hopes of making a little money and maybe impressing some Lord with his combat skills. Thus, being taken into their home and their retinue. So William enters this tournament and defeats the number one knight. This guy is the Tom Brady or Lebron James of Knights. His name was Philip of Valognes.
The “History” recorded that after William snatched Philip of Valognes’ bridle and dragged him from the field, ‘Philip readily gave his pledge to the Marshal’ and, trusting him, William ‘let him go’. Philip had promised that, when the reckoning came at day’s end, he would settle any ransom or forfeit due, and his word alone was deemed sufficient. Both men shared a deeply ingrained understanding that they had to honour the rules of this game; that by social and cultural convention, any failure to do so would be regarded as shameful. Such a transgression would cause disgrace and a loss of status, not only for the individual, but also for his retinue and kin. In William’s day, the ‘ chevaliers ’ or knights who understood and observed these customs were following the principles of ‘ chevalerie ’ –chivalry. In a literal sense, they knew how horsemen should act. These precepts might be bent, even manipulated, to one’s advantage, but to be seen to break them openly would be to invite scandal and ignominy.
Much in the same manner, there are people in the church who do not live by such a standard – Chivalry: Gallant distinguished behavior. Hard to believe, huh? Jude is warning his readers of just such men (anthropos; v 4) who creep in unnoticed and lead people astray. They are not Chivalrous. They have no honor. They lack character. We pick up in v 11 this morning. Read with me, verses 11-16;
I’ve taken the liberty to divide Jude’s passage up into three man sections, focusing on these ungodly leaders:
- Three Examples of Ungodly Leaders (11)
- Five Characteristics of Ungodly Leaders (12-13)
- Three Statements about the Destiny of Ungodly Leaders (14-16)
Transition: Let’s begin with the 1st section where Jude gives us…
I. Three Examples of Ungodly Leaders: (11)
Exp.: you see the three listed there in the text. Are you familiar with all of these stories?
- Cain – was the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother, Abel. What was it about Cain that makes him a bad example: Abel was a rancher and Cain was a Farmer; Both brought portions as offerings to the Lord. God received Abel’s offerings; however, Cain’s offering, he did not. Cain was angry and his face was downcast; We’re given a little insight into the understanding of this passage when God, very gently says: “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” So we see anger and maybe jealousy. Why was he angry? We also see someone who was unwilling to even make the attempt to reach God’s standard. He thought the answer lie in getting rid of his brother. I don’t know, maybe then the standard would be lowered?
- Balaam – When you first gloss over the story of Balaam, you get a sense that he makes the right decision. He says the right things. However, a deeper look shows duplicity on Balaam’s part. It was like externally he did what was right, but internally he was greedy and selfish; externally he sounded like he wanted to do God’s will, but internally he was self seeking. His actions actually caused the people of Israel to fall into the trap of immorality. Numbers 31.16 gives us a commentary of Moses on this story: 16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. His duplicitous deception led Israel into sexual sin.
- Korah – He was a leader who incited people to rise up against Moses and Aaron. Moses seems to be so cool here. He basically says ok. We’ll ask God to show us who he has picked to lead. If these men die of old age, then God hasn’t chosen me. If, however, God does something new… 30 But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”
app.: These stories reveal the heart of these men, but also what their true action was: they didn’t trust God.
In these men we see anger and jealousy. We see an attitude of rebellion that says I’d rather kill my brother than live up to your standard. We see a leader who is two-faced: displaying an outward appearance of holiness and piety, but on the inside has selfish motives. We see a leader who rises up against the authority God has placed in their midst. We see them remain steadfast in their rebellion, even to death.
- It shows that rebellion against the leaders, whom God has put into place, is rebellion against the Lord.
- Rebellion, on the part of one individual, hurts others. Dad, your rebellion hurts your family. Mom, your rebellion hurts your kids. Boss, your rebellion hurts your business and your employees. Teacher, your rebellion hurts your students.
Korah didn’t die alone. Numbers 16.31ff: 31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. Shoogmb! Just like that! Gone.
t.s.: Jude then moves to this section, still focusing in on these ungodly leaders by giving us 5 characteristics..
II. Five Characteristics of Ungodly Leaders: (12-13)
- They are Destructive – rd v 12a; destructive, ship wrecking your faith; all they really care about is themselves. Blemishes; spots in the ocean; could be rocks, reefs, could be a school of fish.
ill.: we saw this a couple of weeks ago at Gulf Shores; amazingly beautiful. – but could be disastrous. 2nd,
- They are Disappointing – rd v 12b; I’ve lived this illustration out in my life; the first time I remember hearing it was in college. Dr. Reynolds was talking to us preachers about preaching sermons that were filled with thunder and lightning, but never brought any refreshing rain. Don’t be like that! He chided us. That’s what these leaders do – there is a lot of thunder and lightning, but not rain. #3
- They leave you Dissatisfied – rd v 12c; They leave one unsatisfied, malnourished, if you will. They are big, even beautiful trees, but they produce no valuable fruit. 4th,
- They are Dangerous – v 13a; the scary thing about foam is, you can’t float in it. The bigger, the deeper the foam in the ocean, the more likely it is that you’re going to drown. Anyone who has ever ridden big waves can tell you that. There’s a 5th characteristic,
- They’re Temporary – rd 13b; Shooting stars – a bright light, full of gas, that fades quickly.
t.s.: What’s interesting here is that Jude sets us up for the last section where he makes…
III. Three Statements about the Destiny of Ungodly Leaders: (14-16)
exp.: v. 13a: for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. I don’t know about you, but that statement isolated and by itself is scary! Here’s what we know:
- His Judgment is Set. rd v 14; A date for Judgment against them by God is Set. 1st, this is not a quote from Scripture. It probably comes from 1 Enoch, a pseudopigraphic document. It’s possible these certain ungodly men were familiar. He might just be using their own ammunition against them; however, what he says is still true: We know the Lord is coming again; the Lord comes – I’ve heard this called an historical aorist – meaning you see a past tense verb but give it present or future tense meaning. Tom Schreiner in his New American Commentary on Jude calls it a prophetic perfect. Meaning that the prophet’s intent is what we translate. For his hearers, this would be understood. For us though, we must take the literal and translate it into our understanding. I love this term by Dr. Schreiner – Prophetic Perfect. Defined: a present state from a past action. This is hard for us to grasp with our minds, but God knows who will reject him. He knows who will lead others astray. …the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever for such as these. His judgment is set. You can’t stop it. No power within your grasp can change it.
app.: this says that before Cain rebelled and killed Abel, God knew; that before Balaam rebelled, God knew; that before Korah rebelled, God knew. And before tomorrow comes, God knows.
ill.: This week in my reading I was in Acts 1. His disciples asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel? 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
t.s.: No one knows the day or hour. The point is that there is just such a day and hour. 2ndly,
- His Judgment is Sure. rd v 15a; and to execute judgment and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness… We know the day is coming – we also know just what that day will entail. The ungodly will receive their just punishment. That’s our 3rd sub-point…
- His Judgment is Right: rd v 15b; to execute judgment and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” they have acted and spoken in an ungodly fashion, deserving the judgment God renders. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I wish some people, who I love dearly would give their lives over to Him. But if they don’t… there is reserved a judgment for them that will be eternal. And God, who is perfect in every way, is perfectly right to lay down the rules and judge us by them. Rd v 16;
- They grumble; People who don’t get their way usually grumble;
- They are always finding fault; that’s what malcontents are.
- They follow their own sinful desires; 2 Peter 2.9-10; 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
- They are loud-mouthed boasters; this Gk word gives it the flavor of saying: they got big mouths! 2 Peter 2.18 gives us some insight into their boasting; 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. So, their boasting is in their selfish, sinful passions.
- Showing favoritism; We don’t talk too much about this, but we should. We need to remember that favoritism toward individuals in the church is wrong. This is a recurring theme in the O.T and we see it taught in the NT, too. Ungodly leaders deserve the judgment of God upon their lives because they disobey him at every turn – using people to get what they want.
Application: These ungodly leaders lack character. When on the battlefield of life, they give their word, but don’t live by it. They don’t want to play by the rules that have been set in place by God. With them there is no honor, no integrity, no truth.
William Marshal trusted Philip of Valognes and released him up his word of promise. William Marshal earned a great wealth in such battles. He lost some, too. But mostly he won. In the losing of battles, William was forced to decide on whether he would keep his word and live up to the standard set by the rules. He did.
His character placed him in a position to defend the queen. He was what we might call the Secret Service today. As the years past, he would serve the royalty of England as a trusted Knight earning the title: The Greatest Knight.
So, what? How does this apply to me?
- Stop comparing yourselves to your brothers and sisters. They are not your standard! That was Cain’s problem.
- Understand that your actions affect those around you. Contrary to what the world says, your actions really do hurt others. I’ve had this discussion with millennials who believe that you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt others. That is why they buy into gay marriage and adultery if it is through Ashley Madison or some other ‘secret’ way. Listen, be sure your sin will find you out.
- God has placed your leadership in place for your protection. You know these men. Ask yourself: are they selfish? Are their motives impure? Do they appear to be jealous or envious? Are they gaining something through their leadership? Are they showing favoritism to others to gain Money? Prestige? More than likely, as you take a close look at your leadership, you’ll see them leading from pure motives and the intent of their heart is for your protection – the protection of the body.
- God’s mercy is great. Now is the time to take advantage of it. Now is the time when he warns us: 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Here is how you do well
- For Christians – if you’re walking in sin – repent.
- For non-believers – if you’re feeling convicted of your sin – I offer you Christ.
- Church membership – offers you accountability.
- Service – is God calling you into his service?