Sermon #23                                                    Jude Sermons


     Title:           “The Gainsaying of Core

     Text:           Jude 1:11

     Date:          Tuesday Evening — March 29, 2005

     Tape #        Jude #23

     Readings:   Larry Brown and Bob Duff



Jude, being inspired by God the Holy Spirit and with great tenderness of heart, warns us that we must constantly beware of false prophets who creep into the church, pretending to be the servants of Christ.


(Jude 1:4)  "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."


Jude emphasizes (in verses 8-10) the fact that all false prophets are motivated by one all-consuming ambition. They are men, who deny and will not submit to “our Lord Jesus Christ,” deny him by the doctrine they teach. And they deny him, not so much because of ignorance, but because they are stiffnecked rebels and “filthy dreamers,” who despise authority. They despise his “dominion” as Lord, speaking evil “of those things which they know not.” They despise authority, even God’s authority, because they are consumed with their own lust for power, praise, and prominence. They refuse to acknowledge and bow to Christ’s preeminence because, like Diotrephes, they want preeminence for themselves.


Did you ever notice that the word “preeminence” is only used three times in the Scriptures? It is used in (Col. 1:18; 3 John 1:9; and Ecc. 3:19). Let’s look at those three text for just a minute.


(Colossians 1:18)  "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."


(3 John 1:9)  "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."


The triune God has given preeminence to Christ alone. But fallen men crave preeminence for themselves. And none crave it like politicians and preachers. All false prophets are false prophets, because they covet preeminence. Heresy never arises because of man’s ignorance, but because of man’s insatiable lust for praise and preeminence. What folly! Man who has no preeminence over a dead dog, craves the honor that belongs to Christ alone!


(Ecclesiastes 3:19)  "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity."


Now, let’s look once more at Jude 1:11. Concerning all such men, the Holy Spirit pronounces eternal ruin in hell. Then he tells us that they are all men like Cain, Balaam, and Korah.


(Jude 1:11)  "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."


Prophets: By these three traits of character, all false prophets are identified. They all have these three damning motives. — They have gone in the way of Cain (despising God’s Sacrifice). They have all run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward (compromising the worship of God for personal gain). — And they have all “perished in the gainsaying of Core.”


My subject tonight is “The Gainsaying of Core.” This man, Core (Korah) was Moses’ and Aaron’s cousin. He was a man of blood kin to God’s appointed prophet and God’s chosen priest. He and his family were given the great privilege of being numbered among the Levites, who were responsible to maintain the tabernacle. But he was not satisfied with the great, honorable position and responsibility God had given him.


Korah was so proudly self-righteous that he thought he deserved to serve, just like Moses as God’s prophet and just like Aaron as God’s high priest. Therefore he spoke against Moses and Aaron before the people and led a revolt in Israel. In our text, the Spirit of God tells us that false prophets are men who have “perished in the gainsaying of Core.” What do those words mean? What does the Lord our God teach by those words?


The word “gainsaying” means “a contradiction,” or “speaking evil against.” Jude is telling us that the opposition of false prophets (self-appointed preachers and teachers) to God’s servants and his gospel is Korah’s contradiction and opposition to Moses and Aaron in the 16th chapter of Numbers.


It was the attempt of men, led by Korah, to overthrow Moses, God’s prophet and Aaron his high priest, because of their own self-righteousness and love of preeminence. Like Diotrephes, they would not submit to God’s servants, because they wanted men to follow them.


Yet, there was more involved in “the gainsaying of Core” than the opposition of men to men. Korah and his followers were determined to overthrow Christ, his righteousness, his sacrifice, and his priestly intercession as the only way of access to and acceptance with God, because they thought they were holy.


Numbers 16


Let’s go back to Numbers 16, and see what “the gainsaying of Core” was. May God the Holy Spirit graciously apply his Word to our hearts, for Christ’s sake.


(Numbers 16:1-3)  "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: 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?"


The Revolt


Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led their families to hell, by leading them in rebellion against God’s servants. They persuaded 250 princes of the most respected and wealthy princes in Israel to join their revolt.


The Cause


That which inspired Korah’s rebellion is clearly stated in verse 3. — “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?” — Korah and his friends thought they were holy!


What a blatant statement of self-righteousness! What foolish arrogance is that man or woman possessed of who fancy themselves holy! Like the Laodiceans, they thought they were rich and in need of nothing, when in fact they were wretched, poor, blind, and miserable before God (Rev. 3:14-17).


What a sad picture this is! The rebellion was not really against Moses and Aaron, but against God. That which makes Korah’s rebellion even more lamentable is the fact that it stands as a reminder of the rebellions of our own hearts against our God! May God ever save us from that haughtiness and self-righteousness that is so much a part of our fallen nature!


(Numbers 16:4)  "And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:"


What a wise course of action! As soon as Satan accuses or ungodly men begin to slander, we ought to flee to the throne of grace (Ps. 31).


(Psalms 31:1-7)  “A Psalm of David. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. (2) Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. (3) For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. (4) Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. (5) Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. (6) I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD. (7) I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;"


(Psalms 31:13-16)  "For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. (14) But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. (15) My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. (16) Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake."


(Psalms 31:18-19)  "Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. (19) Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!"


Moses’ Answer


When he arose from the ground, Moses’ spoke in confident faith. Read his answer to his proud slanderer.


(Numbers 16:5-7)  "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. (6) This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; (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."


If what Korah said had been true, if the congregation had been holy they had no need of Mediator. If they did  not need a Mediator, they could each approach and draw near to God in their own holiness and righteousness. That is exactly what Korah was saying.


Therefore Moses laid the whole affair in God’s hands. He told Korah and his band of self-righteous, self-promoting rebels to do the same. It is as if he had said, “You bring your censer of righteousness to God, and I’ll bring Christ who is the Lord my Righteousness; and tomorrow we will see who is holy before God.”


Aaron’s priesthood, his censer and sacrifices were but types of Christ, our great High Priest, his sacrifice and his intercession. In fact, that is exactly what he refers to in verses 8-11.


Aaron and Christ


(Numbers 16:8-11)  "And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: (9) Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? (10) And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? (11) For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?"


Opposing Aaron as a man was utterly insignificant. He was, like all the rest of us, but a sinful man. Korah’s opposition was not opposition to Aaron and Moses, but to Christ and the fact that no man can come to God but by him, by the merits of his blood and righteousness. Moses knew what Aaron and his ministry represented.




The gainsaying of Korah, indeed the gainsaying of all false prophets, revealed the love of the world by which they Korah and those who follow him to hell were motivated. Korah (by an unguarded slip of the tngue) spoke of Egypt as “a land that flowet with milk and honey,” comparing it to Canaan, the land of God’s promise.


(Numbers 16:13-14)  "Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? (14) Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up."


Moses, unlike Korah, esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:25-26).


Moses’ Anger


(Numbers 16:15)  "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, representing the holy law of God, says, “Their offering cannot be accepted. I haven’t taken so much as an ass from one of them. And God will not accept their offering.”


(Numbers 16:16-18)  "And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: (17) And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer. (18) And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron."


In their hardness of heart and self-righteousness, Korah and his companions in ungodliness, stood their ground and dared to come to God without a Mediator, bringing on themselves swift and everlasting destruction. How foolish are those who, refusing to submit to the righteousness of God in Christ, go about to establish their own righteousness!


Christ Appeared


(Numbers 16:19)  "And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation."


What a sight that must have been! The Shechinah, the glory of the Lord appeared, the glory of God in the face of Christ shined forth before all the congregation.

·       Christ appeared as the Sacrifice by which Moses, Aaron, and Israel were accepted.

·       And Christ appeared as the Sacrifice despised, by which Korah and all the self-righteous were judged and damned.


Separate Yourselves


With the crucified Christ before them, the Lord God called for Moses, Aaron, and all the people to separate themselves from the unclean and come out from among them (2 Cor. 6:17, 18; Rev. 18:4).


(Numbers 16:20-21)  "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, (21) Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment."


(2 Corinthians 6:17-18)  "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."


(Revelation 18:4)  "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."


Gracious Intercession


(Numbers 16:22)  "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?"


Moses and Aaron, typifying and representing our great and only Intercessor and Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, fell on their faces and interceded for Israel. And their intercession was effectual.


Robert Hawker wrote, “And very sweet is it to the soul of every true believer, to behold in those distant ages of the church, how the everlasting and eternal priesthood of the Lord Jesus was shadowed forth and proved to he effectual. See Isaiah 49:16. Compared with Psalm 110:4. Heb. 5:8, 9 and 6: 20.”


(Numbers 16:23-26)  "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (24) Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. (25) And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. (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."


Here is Christ, calling in all the sweet and persuasive language of the gospel to his people, “Come out of her, my people.” And our Savior’s call to his people is always an effectual call.


(Numbers 16:27)  "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."




(Numbers 16:28-30)  "And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. (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. (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."


Moses knew that Christ and his gospel, his sacrifice and his righteousness, as well as he and Aaron (God’s servants) would be manifestly vindicated; and he implicitly trusted God to do it. What confident faith he demonstrated! He trusted his faithful God. May God give me grace so to trust him! Such faith will always be vindicated. Read on!


(Numbers 16:31-33)  "And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: (32) And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. (33) They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation."


What a decisive testimony God gave of his approval of and acceptance of Moses and Aaron, of his approval of and acceptance of Christ and his sacrifice!


(Numbers 16:34)  “And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.”


If all Israel fled at the cry of Korah and his band of rebels, how much more ought you to flee from the wrath to come! Did you but see with your eyes the horrible pit of the damned; or hear with your ears the horrid shrieks of the damned in hell, you surely would flee (Isa. 33:14). But that is not the case. Wrath will never make a sinner flees to Christ. So, I pray that God will cause you to see and hear the one thing that has power to awaken dead sinners. — “Christ died for the ungodly!” Yet, warn you I must. — “Our God is a consuming fire!


(Numbers 16:35)  “And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.”




Then, after Korah and his band of rebels were swallowed up into hell under the wrath of God, the Lord told Moses to scatter the fire in their censers to the winds and beat their censers into plates to cover the altar, to protect it, because they had offered them at God’s altar, they were sanctified by him to be a sign against all who presume to follow “the gainsaying of Core,” declaring to all God will accept no priest and no sacrifice but Christ alone.


(Numbers 16:36-40)  "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."


How jealous God is of his honor and his Son! Christ is the only High Priest there is; and we want no other. The merits of his blood and righteousness is the only censer we carry to the throne of grace; and we want no other!




That describes “the gainsaying of Core” in the words of God the Holy Spirit. Now, let me make some pointed applications of it to you and me.


1.    There is but one righteousness and one sacrifice that God will accept; and that righteousness and that sacrifice is Christ alone.

2.    It is the love of the world that breeds ambition and ambition that breeds heresy and division.

3.    Faithful, God-given pastors are to be respected and treated as the servants of God. — “He that receiveth you receiveth me.

4.    Do not attempt to avenge yourself. Commit yourself to your God. He will deliver you from every lying tongue.


Now, go back to Jude 1:11.


(Jude 1:11)  "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."


We read that these men, every false prophet, have “perished in the gainsaying of Core,” not that they shall perish, but that they have perished! They are, as Jude tells us in verse 12, “twice dead, plucked up by the roots!” There is no need to fear them or their influence any more than you would fear a dead man! “Babylon is Fallen!


Men may try, but no man shall ever gainsay God’s purpose, God’s gospel, God’s people, or God’s servants!