Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 2 - Don't you just hate "Buts"! Part 2

Who are these false teachers we are learning about? Are they easy to pick out? For those who don't know the Word I would say no, they will not see them for who they are. But for those steeped in the Word there should be warning signs.

I want to start out in the middle of this passage (2 Peter 2:10-16) with this portion of scripture: "They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, (and here it is) while they feast with you"(vs. 13b). These people ARE among us! It's not a matter of "if". Who are they? How can we tell? Peter gives us some descriptions to help:
  • "They are bold and willful. They do not tremble when they blaspheme (malign, dishonor, revile) the glorious ones." These people really do not believe in the powers of light or darkness. They do not really believe in the power of God. It is as if they are thumbing their noses and saying "You're(angels, God) not going to do anything, because you lack power, so I will be OK". Now can't you just see the angels (vs. 11) just seeing this situation and not responding with a ZAP! But they don't. They leave that up to God! Boy I sure wish I would respond like the angels! That's some self (or God) control!!! Can I get an AMEN!!
  • "They are like Irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed." YIKES! When I think of irrational animals I think of an animal with rabies. They are just plain out of their minds! Their is no reasoning in their thought process.
  • Which leads into our next description: "They blaspheme about matters they do not understand". They have ceased to reason. In their thinking they have it all figured out. They know what the Word of God says, they do not need to study it. Also, if the Spirit is not in them (which it's not) they would not be able to understand the scriptures anyway. They are Ignorant, and worse yet they are irrational. There is no understanding AT ALL!
  • They are not ashamed of their behavior (goes again to the bold and willful). They revel in the daytime. It's there, right in your face. Try to prove me wrong, they may say. This reminds me of what Peter says in verse 2 ~ "The way of truth is blasphemed" because of their ignorance. Can't you just see the scenario? Unbelievers or young Christians (unsteady souls from vs. 14), who do not know the Word, listening to people like this, and falling prey to their wrong thinking.
  • Their eyes are full of adultery, insatiable (incapable of being satisfied, unable to stop) for sin.
  • Hearts trained (they are practiced) in greed. Remember in 2 Peter 1 where Peter is telling us to practice, well here is one reason. These false teachers are well trained. They have put their all into self serving practices. Which brings us to a delightful fellow. Balaam! Read Numbers 22, if you are unfamiliar with the story. Basically, Balaam was about his own business. He was going to give a false prophecy (placing a curse on) concerning Israel for profit. But God took care of him in a most embarrassing way.
  • They are waterless springs, and mist driven by a storm. There is no life in them, and they will soon disappear. But the destruction the leave behind is deadly and eternal. Because of their determination (loud boasts of folly) they entice (bait, allure, deceive)by sinful (sensual) passions those who are barely escaping. They are trying to take many with them. But please remember here, if you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, you are secure. Satan has lost the battle when it comes to you! Rest in that!!
  • They promise freedom, but are themselves slaves. Now here is another telling statement "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved". There is no freedom in what these people preach, just a different enslavement. It says in John 8:34 " Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin." But Christ has called us to true freedom. In 1 Peter 2:16 is says "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants (slaves) of God." (Also the book of Galatians speaks much to our freedom in Christ). Be enslaved to Christ, may he overcome you!!
  • Now again we get to who are they, or should I say, who they are not? This is a very difficult passage of scripture from verses 20-22. Scholars differ over what the meaning is, and I am NO scholar, so I will give you my take and leave it up to God from there. These false teachers have never been, nor will ever be part of the "true" church of Jesus Christ. They are counterfeit. They are fakes. They have all the looks of being real, but are not. They are in and among the "true" church. It reminds me of the parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43. They will one day be sifted and sorted out and thrown away! There is no hope for them. They will always return back to what they know, as a dog to it's own vomit (which is so yuck when you see it isn't it!?) (Prov. 26:11) or a sow to the mud after being cleaned. It's just their instinct to return to it.
I. Are you prepared to face and defend THE faith against false teachers? These are people who are in and among us, can you see them for what they are?

II. True freedom only comes through Christ. Are you weakened in an area where a false teacher might be attacking? Stay true to God's word for reinforcing strength!

Boy I'm tired!!! This was a hard one. Praying you are blessed!!!

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2 Peter Chapter 2 - Don't you just hate "Buts"! Part 1

At the end of Chapter one we read that we do not follow cleverly devised myths, but had eyewitness accounts and the prophets to guide us. We learned also that no scripture comes from man but were from God as they (men) were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Wonderful news ~ God's word is trustworthy!! Then there is this pesky little word ~ “BUT”!

vs. 1-3: People always have to come along and try to ruin things. In Chapter 2 we read again about False Teachers who “secretly” ~ (craftily) bring destructive heresies into the church. Even to the point of denying Christ. Sound Familiar? God knows who these people are, after all he is God and knows all. He says that they are bringing swift destruction on themselves. It's not an if they will be destroyed, it's when. The sad thing is though they will bring many with them. Those that are weak will follow their “sensuality ~ (Unbridled lust, excess, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence)”. They will “exploit” ~ (To use a person or thing for gain) the truth because of greed. Because of them the way of truth will be “blasphemed” ~ (Maligned, dishonored, reviled).

Does this all sound remotely familiar to you? Have you had concerns over certain things you have heard either from a TV evangelist or pastor from the pulpit, or even from someone you trust to know the word well? I know I have. I also know that we cannot judge the heart of man, that is up to God, (Mark 7:14-23, speaks of Jesus knowing the heart and understanding.), but there are most definitely signs that tell us what direction a persons heart is taking him/her. This is another reason it is of the utmost importance for Christ followers to know the word of God! We will get into that a little more later, but how are you supposed to be able to detect a False Teacher, if you do not know the text book he/she is maligning?

vs. 4-10: Peter goes on to explain why we can trust that what God says will happen, will happen. He gives the people a little history lesson. He uses those 2 little words “For it”:

  • God did not spare angels when they sinned (which is an interesting thought, isn't it?), but cast them into hell, committed them to chains until judgment.

  • If he did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah (a herald (Messenger, preacher) of righteousness) and 7 others.

  • If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what will happen to the ungodly.

  • If he rescued “righteous” Lot who lived among the ungodly and was greatly distressed by their “sensual” conduct.

“then” don't you think He knows how to rescue the “godly” ~ (you) from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, especially those who indulge in the lust (remember the definition) of defiling passion and despise authority? God has got it all under control! There is nothing that goes on in this world that he has not allowed! Do we understand it, NO. Do we wish it were different and that he would "smite" (cool word) them right on the spot, YES. Would he have to smite us too! Most Probably! But God will handle those who lead people astray, he will!

Yes there are those among us (we will hear more of this in the next post), that are not truly part of the church. We need to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) when it comes to identifying them. We need to know the word of God. We cannot rely completely on the preaching we hear on Sunday. It has to go further, as Paul says in Acts 17:11 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

  1. Are you in God's word faithfully so that you are able to fight against False Teachers?

  2. Do you know of someone who may be falling for destructive heresies?

  3. What does God call us to do when we see or hear a false doctrine being taught?

  4. What are you going to do?

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