Pastor Aaron and Summit in General
Dave and Brooke first week
Ben and Holly first/second week
Ashten - Breanna and Drew
Lane Kidney Stones
Jack Anderson Heart Stint
Text – 2 Peter 2:1-22
Before we start I want to share something that I found by accident which we talked about last week, when we talked about Hermeneutics. Who remembers where that word comes from? From Hermes, a mythical messenger of the Greek gods. Well check out this verse:
Acts 14:8-12 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
Afterwards Paul and Barnabas straightened out the confusion and pointed Lystra at the True and Living God, but we do well to remember that our job is actually more important than Hermes' job, because we deliver the Words of Eternal Life, and not just some trite little mythological message about some divine drama.
So moving on, I struggled with how much of Second Peter 2 to teach today, because there are a lot of very interesting details in this chapter, but it is also one complete thought, so today I think we'll do well to look at the whole chapter, then next week, and maybe the week after that, we'll look at the smaller details.
So first of all, let's do a quick overview of Second Peter. Why has he written this letter? Because he is about to die. What does he want to tell the church with his last letter? How to know you're saved, that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God and that we compare everything against scripture, then he is going to warn us about false prophets, and finally he will point us at Christ's impending return.
Second Peter is a very well written letter with definite flow and movement, he knows where he's going and he gets there quick. There are only three chapters, but they fly through because he's building to crescendo that ultimately Christ wins, despite what we're going to see in chapter 2. So let's read the whole chapter.
2 Peter 2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."
v.1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies,
Peter's first point is the "but" which he is coming from the thought that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, but there is no lack of false teachers who teach lies about God, the lies we'll see are coming up.
It is important to note that these false teachers bring in their heresies secretly, not waving a banner and blowing a trumpet; they sneak them in, sometimes possibly not even knowing they are doing so. There is no lack of false-teachings through the church as a whole, I want to let Peter do most of the talking, but just real quick the big false teachings we run into are a denial of the Trinity, a denial of our complete inability to save ourselves, and a denial of God's anger towards the sinner. There are obviously many more, but these are the three that I believe show themselves most often. Every heresy that comes in is destructive, some more than others, and some small heresies, like perhaps the idea of transubstantiation, that the bread and blood of the Lord's Supper are literally his body and blood, point to much bigger theological problems, like the finished Work of Christ on the cross.
vv.1-2 even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
This is one of the more difficult passages in the Bible to understand, because it can't mean what it sounds like it means, because it would contradict dozens of other passages that say Christ will save exactly whom he has bought. I don't want to spend too much time on this passage, although I do want you to know that it has a perfectly legitimate meaning and doesn't contradict anything. First of all, the word for "bought" is not the same word in other places which denotes Christ's saving work; in those places it is Time, here it is Agorazo, it's not redemptive, it probably means that Christ is the owner of all things, even false teachers.
The word of Master is not Kurios like we see saved people referring to Christ, but is Despotes, which refers most likely to a Master who owns Slaves.
Peter leaves this verse somewhat ambiguous for a purpose, I believe, to point to a lot of different false teachers. There are false teachers who preach a different Jesus by making up things about him, overemphasizing some parts of his character and ignoring others, or it can also refer to various church leaders like John Shelby Spong who are virtually atheists.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Not every time someone says Jesus or Christ are they talking about the real Jesus Christ. There is a wicked and crazy Puerto Rican who claims to be Jesus in Miami, but he's definitely not, despite his name being Jesus.
Because of these false teachers the way of truth is blasphemed, or cursed. It's not enough that the world hates Christ for who he is, but these false teachers also present a greedy and conniving Jesus and that makes the world hate him even more.
v.3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
Greed is almost always the driving motivator behind the false teachers. Many also love the fame, theatrics, and power they get, but ultimately it all comes back to the money. (Cf. 1 Timothy 6:10) Just yesterday I was watching The Blasphemy Network (TBN) and the guy literally said, "God says if you have $1,000 then send it in, then $1,000 will be the least your ever have, or hold onto it, and $1,000 will be the most you ever have." Besides their greed look down to verse 10, 14, and 18:
vv.10,14,18 especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority...They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin...They entice by sensual passions of the flesh...
Another aspect of false teachers is sexual deviancy. The one thing all cults have in common besides ignoring the Bible is gross sexual sin; David Koresh, Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, and a multitude more who led and lead people astray have sinned grossly with their bodies while in the ministry.
Very rarely will they just come out and say what they want, but sneak these disgusting heresies in. Know that God loves sexual purity and has confined the wonderful gift of sex to be used rightly between a husband and wife. Any teacher who stumbles on this point ought to be fired immediately before the problem can escalate. Know that we don't have rules like modest dress because we want to make your lives miserable, but because we don't want you to sin against Heaven and your own bodies. Many false teachers utterly ignore this point.
vv.3-4 Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
We see that they are not beyond Christ's reach to punish, their condemnation is forthcoming. Other parts of the Bible actually make it out that God allows these false teachers in the church to prove a point for believers, that sin is wicked and disgusting and destroys things; it grows a healthy hatred of sin in the believer when they see this wickedness.
It also provides another point that it leads false converts out of churches where the Bible is preached and serves to purify good churches; albeit false teachers will still infiltrate. For example, I knew two people who seemed to be following Christ when the economy was up and they were well fed and happy, but when they lost their jobs they ran off after these false teachers who promised them health and wealth and showed that they were actually not true believers at all. One thing I want you to see is that the problem doesn't start with the false teachers, it starts with people's wicked desires, and from there they find people who will preach what they want preached:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
God also has no problem SENDING these false teachers to wicked churches as punishment:
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We're not going to read verses 5-11 today but save them for next week; these verses affirm that God is able to save the righteous and condemn the wicked from Old Testament proofs; a real quick summary is that we should care more about our own beliefs and teaching that seeking out every false teacher; although we should be aware of them. A person could potentially get so caught up chasing after false teachers to not realize they are one themselves! As Peter said in chapter 1, we are to make our own calling and election sure.
It is important to remember that we are all sinners and evil in the sight of God, that apart from Christ's righteous saving work which is attributed to us, we would face the same righteous judgment; so the distinction is not how we live, but whether or not Christ has saved us.
vv.12-16 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
I love Peter's passion, he gets MAD at their evil deeds and teachings, point us at another Old Testament example of Balaam who sold his soul for a couple of bucks by offering to curse the people of God, which he failed at, and still lost his soul. Read about it in Numbers 22-25, and we'll try to talk about him next week if we have time. One of the neatest things about his story is that God had total control over what he could and couldn't say, and we see that God is restraining even the most evil of people and that everything that happens is well within God's purposes.
v.17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.
I think next week we'll read Matthew 23, but the next few verses are paraphrases of Christ's great condemning speech to the Pharisees. A waterless spring would be like me setting up a well in the middle of a desert and calling people over for a drink, and when they get there, they realize that I'm just pouring sand in a glass. These false prophets make all sorts of promises but since they are not preaching the true God and repentance from dead works, there is no Living Water to be had.
vv.18-19 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
This is why Peter is so mad, because people who potentially are seeking some escape from the defilement of sin find these false preachers who instead of pointing them to the saving work of Christ, point them at legalistic principles for salvation...give money...do stuff...don't sin...have faith in your faith...and these inward focused things cause people to be all the more captive in their sins. Beloved, you should have charity, you should give money, you should do good deeds, you shouldn't sin, but none of these save you and you should not be trusting in any of them, but they should be natural outpourings from the faith you have in the Living Christ who paid your ransom on Calvary's cross, who quickened your soul through his resurrection, for if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.
Ironically, a recent poll showed that followers of prosperity preachers are considerably poorer than Evangelical Christians. God doesn't particularly care if you're poor or rich, and he may make you rich for the sole purpose of you giving it all away, for he has given us an abundance so we can give out of that abundance.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
vv.20-21 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Here we see a gradation of Hell, that those who knew the truth and rejected it will have a worse time than those who didn't know at all. Christ spoke of this thusly:
Luke 12: 47-48 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
The lowest part of Hell is for teachers who teach something other than the truth:
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
This doesn't just apply to religious teachers, but all teachers, so the next time you hear a teacher whining about not getting paid enough or being under appreciated you tell them that I said when they do a better job glorifying Christ by teaching the truth, then we'll pay them more. Until then their condemnation is just and their destruction is not idle, and Psalm 58 actually says we'll rejoice on Judgment Day when God's vengeance is poured out on those who set themselves against God.
All of this, of course, assuming they do not get saved before they die. If they are saved, transformed from a sinner to a saint, then we will rejoice in God's great mercy that he redeems sinners, of which I am foremost. But if they are not changed, verse 22 will be true of them,
v.22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."
Without a doubt the grossest thing my dog does is throw up and then a few minutes later come back and un-throw-up her food. Something the body rejected somehow becomes appealing after a little time has passed. Similarly these unconverted temporarily reject sin, but upon second glance decide that's actually what they want.
A sow is a pig, have you ever heard the phrase, "I'm sweating like a pig." That statement is TOTALLY false, because pigs don't sweat, they can't sweat, so in order to cool their flesh, they go and roll in the mud. The unconverted, who temporarily dabble in Christianity but who aren't converted will eventually fall back into sin to satisfy their sinful desires.
So in conclusion, just as there have been false teachers in the past, so will there be false teachers today and until the end of the age. We must test everything against scripture, using it as our final authority, trusting wholly in Christ and not in works to save us. Our salvation will bring with it the natural tendency to seek after righteousness and strive for holiness, and we must identify these false teachers and reject them and warn others of them.
The most popular today are Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyers, Brian MacClaren, Rob Bell, William P. Young (The Shack), Andrew Wommack, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and Paul Crouch, but this list is definitely not exhaustive. Avoid them and tell your friends to avoid them!