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False Teachers are Real

2 Peter 2

Jim Davis

Peter seeks to heighten our awareness of the presence of false teachers. They are real. There are those bent on destroying the work of God by introducing heresies.

2 Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (NIV)

There have always been and always will be false teachers. This is why we must understand the origin and purpose of Gods word.

2 Peter 1:20-21
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)

God's word is designed to promote wholesome thinking. "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles." (2 Peter 3:1-2 NIV)

False prophets do not wear tee shirt with the words "False Prophet" spelled out on the front and back. They secretly introduce their destructive heresies. Jude indicates that these false prophets are grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires as they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (Jude 1:16) False prophets seek to exploit people through stories they have made up.

The way we think directly affects the way we live. Peter warns against following their shameful ways.

2 Peter 2:10
This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; (NIV)

2 Peter 2:12
But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. (NIV)

2 Peter 2:14
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed-- an accursed brood! (NIV)

2 Peter 2:17-19

These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-- for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (NIV)

2 Peter 3:3-4
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (NIV)

Recognizing False Teachers

They "will secretly bring in destructive heresies." (v.1) They will sneak up on us. They appear as angels of light as they cleverly blind their error with truth. The "heresies" can be translated "sect." Heresies create dissension and disunity in the body of Christ.

They will deny the Lord. (v. 1) Peter had denied the Lord in a moment of weakness, but false teachers deny the Lord in an effort to contradict, reject and disavow his authority. Many are great at questioning biblical teaching and the authority of God today.

"They will exploit you with deceptive words." (v. 3) They will make merchandise of you. They are in the business of buying and selling through exploitation. They have made merchandise of lost souls.

They "walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness." (v. 10) Peter encourages us to abstain from lusts which war against the soul. (1 Peter 2:11) He encourages not live in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2) False teachers live to gratify the natural man.

Galatians 5:16-18
They despise authority. (v. 10) They hate authority. (Jude 1:8) Sin refuses to submit to God or anyone else. Despising to live under the authority of God and the Lordship of Christ is the hallmark for false teachers. They prefer to establish final authority themselves. Peter says they are self-willed because they seek to please themselves. They are concerned about doing their own will as opposed to God's will. They want to do things their way.

"They are presumptuous." (v. 10) They clothe their arrogance with humility and presume to know more than anyone else.

They "speak evil of dignitaries." (v. 10) Thinking they are better than others, they speak evil of anyone who tends to overshadow them. They have feelings of superiority.

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV)

They "speak evil of the things they do not understand." (v. 13) Like brute beast they abuse, sneer and scoff at things they don't understand. They are living in the flesh and they cannot understand the things of the spirit. Instead they speak evil and mock.

"They are spots and blemishes." (v. 13) They are like unwanted ugly stains or blemishes that disfigure a person's body.

Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (NIV)

They carouse "in their own deceptions." (v. 13) They do in broad open daylight what people of darkness would only do at night. They become entangled in their own deceptions.

Their eyes are "full of adultery." (v. 14) A person living in the flesh has eyes full of adultery. To look upon another person to lust after them is to commit adultery. (Matthew 5:28) They are living to gratify their own flesh.

Their eyes never cease from sinning. (v. 14) John warns us about the sin of loving the world.

1 John 2:16-17
For everything in the world-- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV)

Matthew 5:29
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (NIV)

They beguile "unstable souls." They entice, allure, entrap, or delude. That is the nature of sin. Sin's promises only bring momentary pleasure with long lasting consequences.

They have hearts trained in covetous practices. (v. 14) They have trained their hearts through continuous use to be greedy and to covet that which belongs to others.

They "accursed children." (v. 18) They are living under the curse of God and don't even know it. They only deceive others but they deceive themselves also.

"They have forsaken the right way and gone astray." (v. 15)

Balaam Numbers 22
They "are wells without water." (v. 17) They have lost their intended purpose. They offer nothing to quench the spiritual thirst of their hearers.

John 4:13-15
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." (NIV)

"They speak great swelling words of emptiness." (v. 18) They impress us with earthly wisdom and their knowledge, beautiful vocabulary, and their fluency. They are bags of wind.

They allure those who have already escaped from the life of sin through the lusts of the flesh. (v. 18) They take away the legalist's list of do and don'ts and replace it with a list of positive shoulds and musts. They promise freedom and bring slavery and corruption. (v. 19) They promise what they cannot deliver, that is the nature of sin. We are to whatever controls us.

The Certain Doom of False Prophets

They will "bring on themselves swift destruction." (v. 1) The wages of sin is always death.

Philippians 3:18-21
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (NIV)

"For a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." (v. 3) God is not idle and he is not asleep, their destruction is coming in his own timing.

The false teachers are doomed. (vv. 4-11) This has been proven throughout biblical history. Peter uses the angels, the ancient world, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the day of judgement as examples.

They "will utterly perish in their own corruption." (v. 12) The emphasis is on "utterly perish"---they will be completely destroyed. They will reap what they have sown. They "will receive the wages of unrighteousness." (v. 13) They will receive the gloom of darkness forever (v. 17) They have sought to bring darkness to others through their false teaching. They will live in eternal darkness as their punishment.

They are worse off than they were in the beginning. (vv. 20-22)

2 Peter 2:20-22
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud." (NIV)


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