Jude 11

Gone in the way of Cain

Verse 11, Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

I. Woe unto them - This is a terrible condemnation God places upon unbelievers.

A. Matt. 23 - Woes upon the Pharisees who were seeking the fleshly kingdom of God.

B. Revelation woes -

1. Rev. 8:13 - woe, woe, woe, (three woes to come)

2. Rev. 9:12 - One woe is past - creatures from bottomless pit.

3. Rev. 11:14 - Second woe is past - Two witnesses killed - then verse 12,13.

4. Rev. 12:12 - Last woe - devil coming down to the earth with great wrath.


1. Cain - a fleshly way of salvation.

2. Balaam - a fleshly way for rewards.

3. Korah - a fleshly way for leadership.

II. Cain - A fleshly way of salvation.

Gone - gone from the presence of the Lord (from the place of worship) - Gen. 4:16.

What did Cain believe?

The whole conflict between God and Cain started in the heart of Cain.

He wasn’t totally depraved, which is an internal seed of external and internal eternal destruction. He might die, but not because of sin, he would die because of some disease or injury or something like that.

He didn’t believe in the shed blood for forgiveness of sins. This is why he brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. He is like a lot of people today who use the NIV, because the NIV often takes out the word "blood" and replaces it with the word death.

He didn’t believe the commandment of God to bring an animal and kill it for his sinfulness. He looked instead at the animal who had done nothing to deserve death and decided to have mercy on the animal instead of obeying the clear commands of God. Notice he was going by the things he saw, not what God said.

He didn’t believe sin was that big a problem - he believed he would be all right.

I John 3:12 - The reason Cain killed Abel.

He truly believed only those things he could see. This was revealed when Cain killed Abel and buried him. God saw and said the blood of Abel cried out from the ground. Cain believed that if Abel was dead and buried, rebuke was gone.

He didn’t want to accept the free offer of salvation from God because he didn’t think he needed "saved." He was okay. His offering revealed his thoughts that he didn’t need God. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, the product of his own ingenuity, while Abel brought the offering required.

Notice Cain’s self righteousness, self sufficiency, and pride, lack of submission to the commands of God.

Justification is by faith alone. Justification is by faith alone because of Total Depravity. None can be saved apart from the calling and drawing of God Himself. John 6:44 - No man can come to the Son, except the Father draw him.

Romans 3:28 - conclude that justification is by faith alone.

Romans 4:5 - Justification is to him that worketh not, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 5:1 - Justified by faith - peace with God.

Numbers 21:8 - What was necessary to be healed from the bite of the serpent was a look. What is necessary to be saved from eternal destruction is a look to Jesus. (Actually, the person is saved before they physically look.)

James 2:24 - The person that is truly justified by faith will have works, and these works will be in his body that men may be able to see his inner faith. The inner faith in God, given by the power of God, is revealed in external works that men can see.

James 2:24 - Faith without works isn’t faith.

Gen. 4:11,12 - Cain killing Abel and being expelled from the presence of God.

This happened almost 6,000 years ago, and will happen to every person who brings the offering of self sufficiency to God.

Millions of people will spend their eternity in the Lake of Fire because they trusted themselves to save themselves.

They really didn’t believe they were as lost as God said they were.

The work of the lost person.

John 6:28,29 - The Pharisees ask Jesus what work they should work that they might work the works of God.

Jesus confessed that believing was this work.

Follow this conversation down to verse 38 where Jesus declared that He is the bread of Life sent to them from God. They should believe Jesus because He is the ever living Son of God. They do not believe because they are not drawn of the Father to believe.

This is a very personal work. No man can do it for you, and you can only do it when God draws you with loving kindness.

F. Why didn't God kill Cain?

1. Ex. 21:14 - Capital punishment for the murderer in the law.

2. Gen. 9:6 - Capital punishment before the law - God doesn't have one standard for Himself and another for everybody else.

3. Matt. 13:38 - There are two families on this earth (God's and Satan's)

4. Luke 4:5-8 - Satan has a kingdom upon this earth. A kingdom is made up of people + authority + a reign + sovereignty. Satan must have a people to rule over.

This may help explain why God doesn't just kill everybody who opposes Him today.

III. Balaam for reward.

A. Note: ran greedily - giving themselves up unto a thing, rushing headlong toward it.

B. Num. 22:6 - Evidently an older prophet who in times past had been faithful in God's blessings and cursings.

1. He was well known to Israel as a prophet of God. (This is the reason many people followed him even when he was in error.)

2. He was well known to the enemies of Israel as a prophet of God.

3. The application is that lost people know who God's people are. God's people have a good reputation with lost people. (When they act like God desires them to act!)

C. When we have a good reputation and many people are following us, we need to beware for this is the time when we will most likely fall. When we begin to think that everything is going along just fine, that is when Satan will strike.

D. Balaam showed a complete disregard for the people of God in his headlong rush for material possessions (fame).

1. Num. 22:7 - reward for divination.

2. Num. 22:17 - reward for divination.

3. Num. 22:37 - reward for divination.

4. Num. 22:11 - reward for divination lost. (note: Balaam lost the rewards that had been promised him, but he also lost his life, as we shall see later. This is always the result of our following the desires of the flesh instead of following God.)

5. The Bible says take no gift (bribe).

a. Ex. 23:8 - take no gift.

b. Prov. 17:23 - take no gift.

6. Compare Elisha and Naaman, II Kings 5:15,16 and Elisha's servant Gehazi. (Verse 20-27) Gehazi decided to take the gift Elisha refused, and wound up with the leprosy Naaman had.

E. Result.

1. Num. 25:3 - Israel joined herself to Baal-Peor.

2. Num. 25:9 - 24,000 Israelites died in the plague.

3. Num. 31:8 - Balaam killed by his own people (compare with Num. 23:10 - Some think that Balaam, after Num. 22, joined himself to the Midians because of the rewards he could receive.) NOTE: Balaam has lost everything. Not only the rewards he was to get, but now he has lost his life.

4. The things we do affect many people. The more influence you have, the more careful you ought to be. (Think of all the people who are looking to you as a guide. They are following behind you in your footsteps. This really ought to make us think about the things we do.)

5. Don't just follow men, they'll let you down, trust God, and follow Him. Remember, if you follow God, you'll always follow the man God set up as your leader.

IV. Korah - gainsaying for leadership - Numbers 16

A. Korah and Moses are 1st cousins. Ex. 6:16-21 (verse 16,18,20,21). So this dispute is a family problem and also a natural greed for power.

B. Korah and company knew the history of Moses and probably considered Moses an outsider. He didn't go through the trials in Egypt. (note: The trials in Egypt had been forgotten - Num. 16:13,14.)

C. The size of the dispute. 254 to 600,000. (.0004233) If we had 100 members this would not be « of 1/10th of one person. God took care of Moses, so surely He can take care of us. Note: the rest of the people (99.95765%) did nothing. Verse 23-27 - They didn't even separate themselves from the evil doers.

D. Korah's job - Num. 4:15 - Commanded to carry the sanctuary and vessels of the sanctuary. They are protected by Moses and Aaron while doing this. Verse 17-20. But they forget, even though this protection had gone on for many years. Numbers 16:3.

Numbers 16:

Verse 1, Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: {2} And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:

1. There had to be some talking behind Moses back as Korah persuaded people to follow him. This is the way of those who try to take over leadership. They'll talk and try to get a following before they make their move in order to be successful.

2. This is the way the people did who crucified Christ - John 18:3.

3. This proves that they are not looking to God to help them, but completely to men.

Verse 3, And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

1. They looked upon the ministry of the Lord as purely fleshly. They didn't recognize that God had placed Moses and Aaron in their place.

2. Their purpose is to destroy Moses and Aaron and set themselves up as leaders.

3. In their speech, they appear as defenders of the rights of the people. (Sounds like politicians and communism!!) (Thought they needed a more important job)

4. Why didn't Korah and company try to be leaders in Egypt? Maybe there was too much trouble there.

5. They actually accuse Moses and Aaron of leading the people!!

6. Korah and company didn't go up on Mt. Sinai, but helped make the golden calf.

Verse 4, And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

Moses regaining his composure. No doubt praying for God to give him an answer.

Verse 5, And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will show who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.

The Lord will show who are His. This is the best way. Let the Lord decide. Let us not try to raise ourselves up to a position of authority God doesn't want us in. Who can question God?

Verse 6, This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;

1. The censers are holy things offered to the Lord - all that take censers unworthily are doomed to die. See Numbers 4:15,16.

2. The result of taking the censers unworthily - Numbers 17:36-40.

3. It was at this point that Moses and Aaron removed their protecting hand from the rebels.

Verse 7, And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

Fire from the altar - See Lev. 10:1-3 - It couldn't have been strange fire, for they would have been consumed immediately.

Verse 15, And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.

Moses was very wroth - But didn't throw a fit, said (Jude 9) "The Lord rebuke thee."

Verse 22, And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

One man's rebellion can bring the judgment of God upon the entire congregation.

Verse 25, And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.

1. God's leaders always need God's people to help them.

2. This helping ought to be voluntary, not compulsory.

3. God's people will always follow God's man, whether he's in trouble or not.

4. They try to be a friend to him.

5. They never follow him when he's wrong, but they will try to correct him when he's wrong.

Verse 26, And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.

The danger of being associated with rebels.

Verse 27, So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.

1. Moses could have stopped with the end of this verse. The people had obeyed him when they separated themselves from the rebels, showing they respected him as their leader.

2. Most of our church discipline stops with the identification of the problem, not the solving of it. So Moses goes on to solve the problem.

3. If Moses had stopped any sooner, the problem would not really have been solved. There would have been many problems later because this problem was only identified, not solved.

4. This is why many churches stay in so much trouble, and God doesn't bless them. They won't discipline unruly members. They put up with their trouble.

Verse 29, If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.

1. There is no thought of a reconciliation. The ended yesterday. The only solution now is death.

2. Sometimes this is the way it is in the Lord's church. There is no reconciliation, only exclusion.

3. Moses is not condemning these to death. They have done the condemning.

4. Moses makes no emotional appeal to the people, but lets the Lord deal in the facts.

Verse 30, But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.

Provoked the Lord - not me.

1. When people rebel against the leadership of God's ministers, they are not really rebelling against them, but against God.

2. Quick - you couldn't ask for it any quicker.

Verse 34, And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

1. Running is not necessary.

2. These folks don't believe the Lord (verse 26). Perhaps they had been too close to rebelling to believe the Lord.

3. The pit - Hades - grave of the departed wicked ones.

Verse 35, And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

Even as Lev. 10:1-3 - This time the fire is holy, but the ones offering the incense are unholy.

Verse 36-40, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {37} Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed. {38} The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel. {39} And Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar: {40} To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.

A memorial (remembrance).

Verse 41, But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.

1. The next day - a lesson that is not learned.

2. "People of the Lord"!!

3. How could they say that????