Jude gives a strong warning in verse 11;
Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
I would not want to be count in a group that the first thing you read about them is “Woe to them!” The Greek word used here is ouai, which means alas or woe. Even when you go all Shakespeare on this, as in Hamlet, “Alas, poor York….”, it still is not a good outcome.
Cain we all know killed his brother because God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not his. So why was Cain’s sacrifice not acceptable? When Cain’s parents,Adam and Eve, had sinned God cursed the ground, therefore Cain offered God fruits and vegetables that were from something that He had cursed. God had also set the standard at that time of the sacrifice being a blood sacrifice to cover the sins.
Balaam even though God had told him not to curse the Children of Israel, because He has blessed them, Balaam still chose to get up in the morning and side with Balak. Sure he offered sacrifices to God several times and all he was aloud to say by God were blessings on the Children of Israel. He did in the end throw a stumbling block before Israel. When they got to that stumbling block and passed it in battle, Balaam was among the dead in that battle.
Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram, started an uprising against Moses and Aaron. It was their position that all were holy and that it shouldn’t be just the Levites, Aaron and his son’s, that anyone should be able to be a priest. Korah brought along 250 men from the other tribes the next morning to the tabernacle along with Moses and Aaron. They all took censers put fire and incense in them. God spoke to Moses and told him to move away from Korah’s bunch and their belongings. Then Moses warned the children of Israel to move away from them. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram all stood at the doors of their tents with their families and belongings. The earth opened up and swallowed them up, their families and all that they owned. As for the 250 men that followed after them the fire came out from the LORD and consumed them. The censers the 250 used were taken and used to cover the alter.
God has laid out how we are to worship Him. Jude goes on to say that those that are among us like Cain, Balaam, and Korah that believe they know better than God on how things should be done, are like clouds without rain, blown along by the wind. The look promising but don’t bring what they look like they should bring. The people are still thirsty because there is no Living Water in what they bring.
How can we make sure that our sacrifice will be acceptable to God? In Romans 12:1-2, we find what exactly is acceptable.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our lives should be daily a living sacrifice to Him. When we allow Him to use us for His will that is the living sacrifice He wants. It could be just stopping in the hallway at church and taking the time to give someone that is hurting a hug. By staying in the Word daily we can renew our minds making them more like His. This is how we know that our sacrifice will be what He wants.