Ever hear of the rock and roll group called The Beatles? Of course you have! As a teenager, and like millions of other teens, I listened to them every chance I could. And, like it or not, their music spoke directly to the heart of their generation, the culture of the day.
From simple songs about love, to complex pieces laced with veiled references to the drug world, their lyrics told tales of people with names like Rita, Lucy, Michelle, and Maxwell. They gave the world a new way to sing “Happy Birthday”, revealed a thing or two about Walrus’, took us on a Magical Mystery Tour, and encouraged us all to just “Let It Be.” And we can’t forget the cryptic cover of the “Abbey Road” LP; the one with Ringo as the preacher, John as God, Paul as the deceased, and George as the grave digger – as the story goes.
Yes, they spoke to their generation, for better or worse, and most of us listened and bought their message.
Ever hear of a guy named Jude? Not the guy the Beatles sang about; this guy was a brother of Jesus and a writer of a very small letter in the New Testament. He had much to say to his generation, as well. And although his letter is about 2000 years old, the message he gave then is probably better suited for this generation!
Ever read his letter? It begins nice and friendly; cordial, in a way. But things get pretty hot real quick. I mean, he starts writing and warning people to stand up, contend, for the faith. Fight for the Truth, the Gospel. Why, because there’s a time coming when all “hell is gonna break loose!”
He warns of judgment to come, the danger of “backsliding”, and the need to keep “built up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” He uses the word “ungodly” so many times you begin to get the idea God isn’t very pleased with a lot of people who call themselves Christians; the ones who act like they’ve never met Jesus. For instance:
“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 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 1:5-13 NKJV)
See what I mean? “Having saved people…destroyed those who did not believe”, and “while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.” These people hung out with the believers, but…
Jude, poor Jude. He’s not a very popular guy! Definitely not as popular as the Beatles! And his message doesn’t attract too many people today, either. In fact, most of the “church world” would just as soon ignore the message of Jude.
Here’s a little ditty that resonates with a lot of the modern “saints”. Feel free to sing along!
I can’t believe
You’d take a Good God
And make Him bitter
God is love and so kind
I am offended by your letter
Why are you mad?
Where’s the love, man
Why be so hateful?
God’s love and grace is for all
He wouldn’t send a soul to hell.
So why the angry rhetoric,
You know, I’m sick
Of people who always speak so ugly
Why can’t we all just get along
Would it be wrong?
To talk of the good, and not the ungodly
You’re such a fool,
To believe those tales of fiction,
The thought of angels in chains
Is but a vivid imagination
So let them out and let them go
Those words of woe
They only embarrass Christian brothers
Lighten up your voice of gloom
Your words of doom
And let’s all love one another…
Though I’m your friend
Feel that church has made you bitter
It’s not as bad as it seems
So take your sad notes, and make them better, better, better…
Yep, poor old Jude. Too bad he didn’t realize this generation doesn’t care for such negativity. If he’d only gotten the memo, and had a dynamic agent, he just might have connected to the believers of the 21st Century.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey Jude!