Remember False Teachers – 2 Peter 2 Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-Ever felt like you got away with something? Our kids are at the age where they’re starting to test what they can get away with, and honestly they’re pretty bad at it. Ask them if they took cookies and they’ll say no while they’re holding the package! Or 2 of them will start playing, 1 starts crying and the other one says they didn’t hit the one crying. Happened with Lucy last night!

READ/PRAY

-Remember in last week’s text, Peter was reminding us to always keep our focus on growing to be more like Christ. This wasn’t some cleverly devised myth, this is a true, historical account of what happened. Jesus is the ultimate source of truth, His return is our hope and expectation, but also part of the reason we live godly lives today. As the old classic song says: “His return is very close and so you better start believing that our God is an awesome God.”

-Unfortunately, part of the reason Peter keeps this reminder the focus of the rest of His life is because there will continue to be false teachers fighting against the truth.

-There’s some WEIRD stuff in here! This book and Jude has some really interesting things, we’ll touch on them, but not dig too far

  1. There Will Always Be False Teachers (1-3)

-Also arose in the past, there will be in the future. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of them. Part and parcel of living on this side of heaven is false teachers

-Comparison of prophets to teachers. Intentional comparison, these aren’t the same as the prophets of old, now they’re just teachers

-Word usage here for Peter connects to 1:20. “arose” is the same word used in “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.” Peter is connecting these false teachers to denying the doctrine of inspiration. Do you ever see people questioning the validity of the Bible today, even supposed Christians?

-Saw a TikTok video where a “pastor” claims Jesus was a racist, and then is taught how to not be a racist by someone he talked to, that the Gospels show Jesus had to learn to fight his biases. Yes, Jesus, the only perfect God-man harbored secret sins, which is exactly what Peter goes on to describe.

-These false teachers secretly bring in destructive heresies, even going so far as to deny Jesus, just like that TikTok “pastor.” Jesus is the center point of our faith, around which everything else is centered. Thankfully, those who deny Him, will see a swift destruction!

-Doesn’t always seem that way! In many cases it feels like they get a bigger platform, their books sell more, they get more YouTube views (Rolling Stone described that TikTok “pastor” as “spreading the good news of an inclusive, modern gospel.”) This is part of the reason Peter spends the bulk of this letter addressing the false teachers. It looks like they’re getting off scot free. And what makes it even worse is:

– MANY will follow their sensuality. This is why they’ll get more views, hits, recognition

-It’s a lot easier to follow the world’s ways of living than standing up for Jesus’ way of living. Jesus’ way of living demands that we die to these fleshly desires/impulses that enslave so many around us. Yes, the road is narrow, but the results are totally worthwhile! These false teachers will even claim to be more enlightened, to have more understanding, and to have a different standard of living than what Jesus commands. Thus Peter will go on:

-The way of truth is blasphemed

-Not trendy or easy to walk in the way of truth ,but it’s the only way that leads to life! If this way is the “way of truth” what does that by definition mean of any other way of living? It’s the way of lies, dishonesty. But then we also recognize that the right way of living will be “blasphemed.” That means a couple things. First, our live should look different than the world. Second, we need to be comfortable when people mock the way we live. Why would we expect applause/recognition from the world when they have radically different goals and desires? At least we should have different goals and desires than the world! If you don’t, that’s a different problem. We honestly don’t like having our way of life blasphemed, we like applause and recognition.

-There is an infatuation with face/recognition or “celebrity”. Even if you’re not keeping up with the Kardashians, most of you at least know what I’m talking about! Always looking for the Christian sports stars, missing that the stars of God’s kingdom weren’t necessarily the best athletes, we almost act as if we have enough people who are “stars” we’ll finally get the recognition we deserve! But that’s not what Scripture promises!

-Today, what’s getting recognition is those who claim to have come out of an Evangelical background, but then they saw the “truth”

-What’s more, the false teachers are marked by greed, always wanting more. And notice their method of sowing corruption: false words.

-Words, talk, speech matter! This has been a problem since the Fall. Who are you listening to? What are you saying?

-But don’t worry, even if it looks like they have nothing but success, their condemnation is still going, and their destruction is still assured. 

-How do we know this? 3 examples

  • 3 Examples of False Teachers (4-9)
    • Angels (4)

-First are the angels. This is a reference back to Gen. 6, which we studied last year. It’s the difficult to interpret section about the sons of God going in to the daughters of men, and what does that mean? I think it’s referring to angels taking on human form and coming to earth, but lots of thoughts/perspectives on that text!

-Also contains some allusions to a book attributed to Enoch (who walked with God and was no more), don’t have time to dig into that one right now, but you can go read that book sometime if you want!

-Primary point remains the same, regardless of what situation Peter is referring to, but keep this in your mind because it’ll come up again. Main point: the angels who were disobedient didn’t get away with it. Even if it looked like they would, like no one could stop them, God sent them away until the day of judgement. Next:

  • Noah (5)

-Remember, during the time of Noah, there was increasing corruption in the earth (also in Gen. 6), God regretted making humans, so he needed a new start.

-Unlike the angels, God didn’t completely blot out everyone, Noah and seven others were preserved.

-We learn something about Noah here: herald of righteousness, a preacher of how to be in right standing before God

-We learn that God will preserve those who are heralds of righteousness

  • Lot (6-8)

-Lastly, Lot, Abraham’s nephew who followed Abraham to the land of promise (Gen. 13-19)

-Begins with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of punishment, which signifies the consequences for living an ungodly life.

-Does anyone else find it funny that Lot is described as righteous?

-Picked the best land to live in, planted himself in the city of Sodom, offered his daughters up to the men of the city, then became the father of his grandchildren, that’s the righteous guy? 

-Look at how it describes him in vs. 8, I think many times we’re in similar positions today! Yet we’ve almost become inoculated against the depravity that we see around us. It’s become the norm that we can’t separate ourselves from it

-Saw and heard – in Peter’s case was the things they learned about Jesus. What are you watching and listening to? Keeps coming up in here!

-Peter summarizes what we can learn: God will rescue the godly, but the unrighteous will be punished for their sins. Calls out a couple specific things:

-defiling passions, and despise authority. We see a lot of this in our world!

-There are passions that defile! There is bad authority!

  • What Do False Teachers Look Like? (10-22)

-Remember, I said there was some weird stuff! Who are the glorious ones? What does it have to do with angels? 

-Similarly to vs. 4, this has connections back to Gen 6 (also filled in by Jude 8-10

-“Glorious ones” has 3 options: fallen angels, unfallen angels, church leaders. Connects to “despise authority” Because of vs. 11, I think it refers to fallen angels because of the similarity to Jude, let’s look at that text. So if even the holy angels won’t blaspheme the fallen angels, but let God do his work, why should humans feel free to blaspheme? (feel free to do your own research and disagree with me!)

-The point is: these false teachers are “willfully bold” in speaking against authority (the fallen angels), i.e. even demons don’t scare them.  You may have heard the phrase “Where angels fear to tread” which wouldn’t be a lot of places! Yet here is something even angels won’t do, and the false teachers boldly walk in!

-Peter goes on, describing these people as becoming more and more animalistic in their lives. Abandoning the call to image God to the world, they have no self-control or steadfastness (remember where we saw those? 1:6)

-Think of the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4. He became prideful then was condemned to live like an animal, eating grass and walking around on all 4s. Then it wasn’t until he acknowledge God and humbled himself that he became human again. Or another well known example is Pinocchio and the other boys who slowly became donkeys

-The false teachers claiming to be wise end up looking like fools they’re literally ignorant, they become irrational like animals. 

-Almost as if Peter can’t contain himself, tripping over words to make this point of how foolish they are living! Let’s zip through a number of these here:

-Pleasure to revel (carouse) in the daytime, celebrating sin in the open

-Blots and blemishes – glance at 2 Peter 3:14 “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish.” Think Peter is making the opposite point here? This is another way of saying to be holy, like a perfect sacrificial lamb (Jesus) 

-They continue spending time with the other Christians in their feasts

-Eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin – constantly looking new ways to sin. Instead of focusing on 1:19God’s Word as a light in the darkness

-They entice new believers, trying to lead them astray

-Hearts trained in greed, always looking for personal, selfish gain

-Peter has no problem cursing them!

-Lands on an illustration: Balaam. Anyone remember learning about him in Sunday school? He rode a talking donkey! It’s a really funny story. Instead of following the way of the true prophets of old, they are following in the way of Balaam. 

-I had a prof in seminary who would refer to people like this as: ignoramuses

Num. 22-24, Balak, king of Moab sees how God is blessing His people, gets scared so he hires the prophet Balaam to curse them. Initially, Balaam refuses, but eventually gives in and goes out on his donkey. God, however, thwarts him. Sends an angel to stand in the way, donkey sees the angel and runs off the road, so Balaam beats the donkey. Happened 2 more times! Then the donkey asks Balaam what his deal is, because he’s been a good donkey his whole life! IDK about you, but I’d probably stop talking at that point, but Balaam ANSWERS THE DONKEY! “You made my look like an idiot” (dude you’re talking to a donkey)

-Balaam was supposed to know better than to try to curse God’s people or to lead them astray (that’s literally the job of a prophet!), but there will always be Balaams around to try to distract from what God is doing 

-If God can use a donkey, God can use anyone to bring about His will!

-Peter adds 2 additional descriptions: waterless springs. How useful/effective is a waterless spring? My in-laws live in New Mexico: “At least it’s a dry heat” It’s still too hot! 

-Mists driven by a storm, no grounding or anchor to prevent them from being cast around (Eph. 4:14children tossed to and fro, this is why we need to plant a firm foundation in God’s Word, which we saw in the first chapter)

-Entice by fleshly, sensual impulses the immature in the faith. 

-How often is this the case? Tim Keller, someone leaves the faith the first question is: who are you sleeping with? Or today, with the rise of “influencers” who speak of your own happiness being the end goal/aim. Listened to a podcast with a pastor who shared he always gets worried when a church member starts to post all their workout stats online, get healthy goals, not long before they ask for a meeting to share their unhappiness in marriage, can’t be the right thing if they’re unhappy (regardless of what God has commanded)

-I think of books like “Girl, Wash Your Face” or an online class you can take titled ‘Me Course’ which is described as “series that’s for YOU, sister, so you can show up better for yourself, your family, and everyone else in 2022.” Or even Marie Kondoing your house! Not inherently bad to take care of yourself, get healthy, etc. but when that becomes your primary goal/aim at the expense of everyone else in your life (potentially even your spouse) that’s a MASSIVE problem!

-Peter says these people are promising freedom, but they don’t realize they’re in slavery.

-Think of Rom. 6:15-19. You are slaves of whatever you obey or live out. The question for all of us is: what are you a slave to? One way is impossible! The other way has the best co-laborer in the world. Jesus talked about taking his yolk, which is easy. You still have to put in the work, but you have Jesus working in and with you.

-Remember what we looked at in our Image of God series with “expressive individualism” for far too many people today, they’ve become slaves to themselves, their desires, their fleeting passions, and it just leads to decreasing satisfaction with themselves, the world, and those they interact with. It’s only when we take on the yolk of Christ that we start seeing what we were designed to be and to do.

-What’s even harder about these false teachers is they were a part of this body of believers. They ate together, played together, served together.

-Peter is describing spiritual inoculation. Doing all the right things doesn’t guarantee salvation! We are only saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Think of all the statistics you’ve probably read of kids who grew up in church, said all the right things, but as soon as they left home they left the church. I was this way for a season growing up! My heart had not been softened to the glories of the gospel! PRAY PRAY PRAY

-This is demonstrated by Prov. 26:11, and an 1st century version of Aesop’s fables.

SO WHAT:

-Don’t just pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake – live it out! Not enough to just believe the right things

-Don’t buy into the nonsense that you have to feel it before you can act it out, sometimes we need to “fake it til we make it” go through the actions to retrain our hearts in the ways of the Lord

-We saw through the first chapter to grow in knowledge, but that’s not a mere intellectual pursuit! You’re not trying to win arguments, you’re trying to understand who God is, what He’s like, how you can obey Him. The reality is, you’ll never be more theologically astute then the demons, the question is: what is your response to your growth in knowledge? Does it lead you to worship, or do you become animalistic and refuse to acknowledge Him as God?

-Finally, we need to trust God’s perfect judgment – while there may be seasons where it looks like false teachers are getting away their sins, God is taking care of it. We need to be faithful in the midst of it. There have been, and there will continue to be false prophets in our midst! Yet we have a hope in God’s Word and the revealed Word, Jesus Christ, that we can continue to be faithful in the midst of them, that we can continue shining as lights in the darkness, that we can demonstrate the true freedom that comes from being a slave to righteousness. 

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: