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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Peter 2

Verses 1-11

  1. INTRO:
    1. Cuckoo Bird – Did you know the female Cuckoo Bird lays her eggs in the nests of smaller birds of different species, which raise the young cuckoos, usually at the expense of their own young (brood parasitism Being larger, they get most of the food)
      1. Satan is the “mother cuckoo”, laying his young cuckoos(false teachers) in different church nests. And often, if undetected by the church leadership, it will be at the expense of many of the churches young!
    2. We’ve all been scammed, swindled, or conned before!
      1. Maybe, it was as harmless as losing some spare change purchasing some gizmo where you figured out, “you got what you paid for”!
      2. Maybe, it was more serious like losing your retirement in some investment scam.
      3. I think the worst of the worst is the religious phonies though.
        1. Today we have whole ministries that counter the counterfeits & challenge the charlatans.
      4. In 2 Cor.11:3 Paul writes about the world’s 1st con artist, 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.
      5. A little later Paul describes the deceiver’s disciples, For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 2 Cor.11:13-15
    3. Christianity has always been plagued by false teachers & false teachings.
      1. This chapter talk about those that were among them. The Infiltrators!
    4. Define terms:
      1. Apostate: professed believers who deliberately rejects revealed truth (ex: Judas)
      2. Error concerning truth: ignorance (Apollos)
      3. Heresy: belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine (used here)
    5. Is it right to warn about false teachers or Cults…or, is that being mean & judgmental?
      1. Why is it not seen as mean when a doctor informs a patient, that he has a terminal illness? Or, when one yells “fire! fire!” Awaking a sleeping family that is about to perish? Or, roughly grabbing a child out of the street, just being missed by an on coming car?
      2. No patient would respond to the doctor “you are mean”; nor to the yeller “we were sleeping!”; nor to the child saver, “hey don’t grab my child that way!”
      3. And yet, the Pastor is seen as mean or judgmental if he warns his listeners of wolves, or bad wolf teachings, that might creep in unaware!
      4. Finally, how can we judge the teachings of the teachers that are amongst us, as Peter commands us to, w/o judging them???
    6. Here Peter warns the church not of wolves in wolves clothing (unbel’s that persecute the church); not even wolves in sheep’s clothing (unbelievers posing as Christians); but wolves dressed like sheep, & sporting clerical collars! (unbelievers posing as spiritual leaders)
  2. WOLF WARNINGS! (1-3)
    1. (1) Note the contrast between the holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the H.S. (1:21) versus the men of 2:1!
      1. They deny Christ: either his deity or his true humanity.
        1. Both heresies flourished in 1st cent.
      2. The description of the false teachers is clear enough to help detect them & vivid enough to make you want to avoid them. (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.835.)
        1. George Lucas accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Award ceremonies, March 1992 said, “I've always tried to be aware of what I say in my films because all of us who make motion pictures are teachers, teachers with very loud voices.” (George Lucas, accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Award ceremonies, March 1992 (quoted by Edwin A. Roberts, Jr., in the Tampa Tribune, April 5, 1992). Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 8.) (yes sir-ee)
    2. (2,3) Many will follow – Really? Why do sheep follow them? Because they know not the scriptures!
      1. Deceivers are always well studied.
    3. The way of truth will be blasphemed – How?
      1. Because they “profess” Christianity, they “profess” to know the way of truth, which is really not truth at all!
      2. They actually come up with “their own way”!
      3. When you go to the doctor regarding an illness…don’t you seek the truth? Or, do you seek for him to just make you feel good?
        1. W/eternal matters, isn’t it at least as important to know the truth?
      4. Jesus said, “Your word is truth!” – he didn’t use the adjective “true” (Your word is true), but instead used the noun “truth”!
        1. What’s the difference? If it was just true it would be like it must conform to “some higher standard of truth” – but rather the bible itself is the final standard!
    4. Give me 4 ways to identify them! Ok…
      1. They appear among them as members of the church!
        1. See “among you” & “bring in”.
      2. They are not marked by “moral excellence” but by “sensuality”!
        1. Their destructive ways = Sensuality(NASB); shameful ways (NIV)
      3. They are not evident by “brotherly kindness” but by “greed”! (covetousness)
      4. They don’t speak “knowledge” but instead “deceptive words”.
        1. “Deceptive words” = plastós where we get plastic!
          1. Keep in mind that a false teacher is not a person who teaches false doctrine out of ignorance!
          2. They are professing believers who deliberately teach lies in the hope of promoting themselves & getting financial gain from their followers. (Warren Wiersbe.)
        2. So we can identify them often as: “professing Christians, who are worldly, greedy, & deceiving!”
        3. ​​​​​​​They are deceivers not disciples; they are seducers not saints.
    5. Q: Will they get away with this forever?
      1. No, the NIV nails this one, “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”
    6. Q: Any examples of this? – Here’s 3 in this next section…
  3. LESSONS FROM HISTORY! (4-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​In each historic illustration God judged sinners, while at the same time delivering the godly.
      1. Here is OT examples of judgment on sin to show the certainty of punishment for followers of false teachers.
    2. FALLEN ANGELS! (4)
    3. Satan fell to pride & 1/3 of the angels followed him.
      1. Rev.12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
      2. Rev.12:4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven & threw them to the earth
    4. Jude let’s us know that some of these fallen angels went straight to the pit!
      1. Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
    5. Here Peter adds “the place” in which they are being kept.
      1. Hell here = Tartarus (known as the deepest or worst part of hell)
    6. The fallen angels not in tartarus do what?
      1. Read Job 1:6,7 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.
    7. Q: So Satan has access to heaven still? Yes. He goes there to accuse us & will have access until the middle of the tribulation.
      1. For the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. Rev.12:10
    8. THE ANCIENT WORLD! (5)
    9. Q: How bad was the ancient world? Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen.6:5
      1. Gen.6:7,8 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
    10. SODOM & GOMORRAH! (6-8)
    11. Jude 1:7 Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
      1. Billy Graham said, that if God doesn’t judge America soon, he may have to apologize to Sodom & Gomorrah!
      2. He who is not angry at sin is not in love with virtue!
    12. (9) Then – Peter now gets to his 2-fold point:
      1. History shows us, God saved Noah & delivered Lot, & so He’ll also deliver the righteous today from destructive attacks!
      2. And, Just as He didn’t spare the angels who sinned; nor the ancient world; nor Sodom & Gomorrah; He will also not spare the wicked in the end.
    13. (10) Presumptuous – Headstrong daredevils. A reckless daring that defies God & man. (LKGNT)
      1. Self-willed – “Self-pleasing, arrogant”. One who is determined to please himself at all costs. (LKGNT)
        1. Andrew Murray asked, “What are the works of hell? They are chiefly these three: self-will, self-trust, and self-exaltation.”
    14. TIPS! (9-11)
    15. Stop; Look; Listen [3 practical tips that will protect us from the acid rain of deception]
      1. Stop! - Compare the views being taught w/the clear teaching of Holy Scripture & the central doctrines of the orthodox faith. [orthos straight or right + doxa opinion]
      2. Look! - Ask...Do they model Christlike values & virtues? Do they point to Christ or to themselves? Do you see accountability & transparency? Do they exhibit true humility? Authenticity? Love? Do they submit themselves to the authority of God’s Word? What do their followers look like?
      3. Listen! - Listen closely; Think critically.
    16. So, is God a frightening Judge, or is He a good gracious Father? Is He the source of wrath & destruction, or the fount of eternal blessing?
      1. ​​​​​​​The answer to this question depends not on who God is, but on who you are. God does not change.
    17. He just deals with His children differently then his enemies.
    18. Watch out for the cuckoo bird!

Verses 12-22

  1. INTRO:
    1. Some Scriptures you can frame & hang on your wall...others you never would, yet they’re equally inspired & equally true.
      1. “As for me & my house...” “I can do all things through Christ” “The Lord is my Shepherd”
      2. Now how about “Having eyes full of adultery” “As a dog returns to his own vomit”
    2. God never seems to worry about being Politically Correct, just Correct!
      1. God shoots straight. If He paints a portrait of someone’s life He includes warts & scars & scabs. Noah’s drunkenness; David’s adultery; Jacob’s conniving; to Peter’s hypocrisy.
      2. When God describes the deprave heart it’s stinky, dark, corrupt.
    3. Story – I’ve used the analogy of my dogs getting a bath & as soon as they’re clean they simply follow their dog nature & run for the dirt.
      1. Man has been born with 1 nature & it really is all he knows how to enjoy. Man left to himself will do all he can to please this very powerful “man nature
        1. Although, he may at some time in his life try to imitate another nature, but if he doesn’t actually have that other nature, then it is as phony as my cockatiel doing his chicken impersonation.
      2. In our passage today we’ll see Peter again deal w/false teachers. This time he unzips their “sheep clothing” & thus exposes them for all to see!
      3. Peter uses many illustrations in describing these false teachers. Each metaphor exposes more detail about them & shows us what to watch for so we are not deceived.
    4. Outline: The Animal Exposed! The Animal Attacks!
    5. When God placed Adam & Eve in the garden he gave them dominion over animals.
      1. Chuck Swindoll makes a great observation, Satan took the form of a serpent in order to deceive the human race, but instead of exercising their dominion over that animal, the human pair submitted to it, listened to his deceptive words, & abdicated their position.
      2. Ever since then, humans have continued to abandon their place of dignity over creation in exchange for behavior that puts them on par w/the very beasts God meant them to dominate. [Charles Swindoll; James, 1 & 2 Pet pg.301]
  2. THE ANIMAL EXPOSED! (12-17)
    1. (12) Brute Beasts!
    2. Let’s remember these false teachers aren’t accidentally teaching wrong doctrine, but instead are purposefully leading others astray with their Heresies.
      1. False teachers – Are like a rabid coyote who gives rabies to all he bites. He thus must be caught & destroyed. (like mountain lion in Cleveland Nat forest)
    3. (13) Deceitful Diners!
    4. Carouse in the day time - sinning w/o the cover of darkness.
      1. Daylight Debauchery was frowned on, even in degenerate Roman Society!
    5. Wrong doctrine & wrong living go together!
    6. Spots & blemishes – on an animal made it unfit to be offered to God!
      1. They were like a stain on a clean shirt!
    7. (14) Steady Sinners!
    8. Eyes full of adultery – Their eyes can’t look at a women w/o lusting (Phillips)
      1. They’re constantly on the prowl for fornication or adultery.
    9. They cannot cease from sin – Not pausing, unable to stop. They miss no opportunity for sin.
      1. They cease up every situation for opportunities to sin.
    10. Hearts trained in covetous practices – An athletic metaphor. It’s a heart exercised in greed! (where we get our word gymnasium)
      1. At least part of their motive was money!
    11. Enticing others – They greedily bite at every baited hook, unconcerned about the disastrous consequences.
      1. Bad enough they’ll bear the responsibility of their own sins…but the sins of others too is intolerable!
    12. (15,16) Mercenary Mentality! [mercenary = work for $ at the expense of ethics] [like Muammar al-Gaddafi hired to fire on his people in Libya]
    13. Explain who Balaam is. (Numb.22-24; 31)
      1. He was covetous of king Balak’s gold, & taught Israel to sin intermarrying w/ foreign wives. [Feed the Greed]
    14. Prophets for Profit! – they are “picking their pockets” while “poisoning their lives”.
      1. Like the story of the crooked bank officer who approached a junior clerk & whispered to him one quiet afternoon, “Hey, if I gave you $25,000, would you help me, well, let’ just say “fix” the books? You know, make a few lucrative adjustments?” The clerk responded, “Yeah, I suppose I could do that for $25,000.” His boss leaned in. “Would you do it for $100?” Insulted, the clerk replied, “No way! What do you think I am? A common thief?” The bank officer answered, “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.”
    15. Dumb donkey – So if a donkey rebukes you, is this a Genesis 1 reversal? An animal having dominion over a man?
      1. Another time the Lord used a rooster to preach a sermon powerful enough to break an apostle…& it only had 2 words in it (cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do)!
      2. Mark 14:72 And the 2nd time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
    16. (17) Waterless Wells!
    17. In both cases one would look for some benefit or blessing (a cool drink from the spring; a refreshing shower from the clouds) but in each case he is disappointed.
    18. Here is the definition of hypocrisy, “one who does not have what he pretends to have!”
    19. Talking about rabies earlier - I read when a human is infected w/rabies, 1 course it takes is that a person has difficulty breathing and swallowing; and is extremely thirsty but cannot drink.
      1. These men wet their appetites but can never come through with quenching their thirsts!
    20. So, these guys are more interested in gaining popularity then in telling the truth; more interested in getting than in giving; their personal life is a seduction to evil rather than an attraction to good; they lead people away from God instead of closer to Him! (Chuck Swindoll; pg.84)
  3. THE ANIMAL ATTACKS! (18-22)
    1. (18) A Tempting Treble-Hook!
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Great swelling words – Word’s full of hot air. Cotton Candy words! Religious wind bags! (www) – “High sounding nonsense!” (John Phillips)
      1. I think this is the best description of them.
    3. Allure – to trap by using bait. To ensnare.
    4. Lusts of the flesh – Desires are so strong!!!
    5. (19) A Prisoners Promise!
    6. Peter uses a little bit of sarcasm here. How can anyone who is a prisoner themselves, set another prisoner free? Or, How can a drowning man, save another drowning man?
      1. Q: Do you ever see on “infomercials” an out of shape man or lady selling diet books, or weightlifting equipment? No way, no one would buy them.
    7. Promise liberty – Q: What kinds of freedom might a new or weak Christian find enticing? [cheap grace!]
      1. Remember, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Cor.6:12)
      2. Rom.6:1 “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
        1. Q: How might these “freedoms” become another form of slavery?
        2. A mistaken liberty is one that is free from the restraint of God’s moral law.
    8. Slaves of corruption - Like Alexander the Great, who conquered the world around him, but could not conquer himself. [i.e. alcohol]
      1. A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him!
      2. Q: What has mastered you? [food, drink, med’s, ice cream, chocolate, drugs, coffee, alcohol, gambling, sex, pornography, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a peer group, buying the latest techy gadget? Being judgmental, seeing yourself better than others]
    9. Bondage – “derived from the ancient practice of enslaving an enemy defeated in battle & so made prisoner.” (LKGNT)
      1. Freedom from God leads only to Sin & Self!
      2. True freedom from sin involves joyful “slavery to God” Rom.6:18 “having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
    10. Augustine said, “Whatever injury wicked men-in-power inflict upon good men is to be regarded...as a test for the good man's virtues. Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For, a wicked man serves not just one master, but, what's worse, as many masters as he has vices. (Saint Augustine in The City of God. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 12.)
    11. (20-22) A Pigs-a-Pig!
    12. They have “known” the way, but not “owned” the way!
      1. They had “professing knowledge”, “intellectual knowledge”.
      2. They were “professors”, but not “possessors”!
      3. They seemed to have experienced salvation, but in due time they drifted back to the life that suited their nature!
    13. Escaped pollutions – These professing Christians merely washed off the pollutants on the outside (this is religious reformation), but never receive the new nature on the inside.
      1. Their outside pollution was washed away, but there inward corruption was still there.
    14. Worse then the beginning –
    15. Q: Why is it better to have not known the truth? (greater judgment!)
      1. We’ve all seen on the side of the road a little cross erected where someone met their sudden death in an auto accident. What if there was a cross placed everywhere people met their spiritual death?
    16. (22) Scrub a pig, do his nails, perfume him, powder him up, then let him go. Guaranteed he’ll end up back in the mud hole! [the pig will always follow its pig nature!]
      1. These false teachers are clearly not sheep, but dogs & pigs!
      2. Dogs return to their vomit; Pigs to their mire; & Professing Christians…to their corruption!
    17. Wallowing in the mire – Most honest answer for not truly receiving Christ is…“because I want to wallow in the mire”!
      1. ​​​​​​​You need a New Nature! – Jesus will give you a bath & clean off “all” of the worlds muck & mire! He says, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;”
    18. Lesson: (Persian Proverb)
      1. He who knows not, & knows not that he knows not, is a fool; shun him.
      2. He who knows not, & knows that he knows not, is a child; teach him.
      3. He who knows, & knows not that he knows, is asleep; wake him.
      4. He who knows, & knows that he knows, is wise; follow him.
        1. All 4 types can be found in every business, school campus, & every church. Problem is they don’t wear a badge that reads, “Fool, Child, Asleep, or Wise.”
        2. We need discernment, which is a mark of maturity - see Heb.5:14
          1. It acts as an umpire in life & blows the whistle on the spurious.
          2. Discernment doesn’t fall for flakes, flirt w/phonies, dance w/deceivers, or kiss counterfeits goodnight.
          3. In today’s talk: Stop believing everything you hear! Quit being so gullible. Be selective. Think!
          4. Go to the Word; go to your knees; go to the wise.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-peter-2.html. 2017.