Click here to join the effort!
2 Peter 2:1-22
It has been said that "to be forewarned is to be forearmed." If God had not told us the things which would surely come, to pass, we would not be prepared to meet them. It is not a delight to know of the days of darkness hovering around us, but it is necessary to know.
1. The sweep and sway of false teachers. The opening verse of our Scripture says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you."
We remember the words of the Apostle Paul, and how he gave warning that after his departure grievous wolves would creep in to destroy the flock.
We remember also how the Holy Spirit spoke of the Coming of our Lord saying that they shall not come except there be a falling away from us. The word for "falling away" is "apostasy." In the last days many have turned away from the faith once delivered.
2. The general church conditions which shall prevail in the end times. The Spirit tells us in the Epistle to Timothy that in the last days there will be a form of godliness, and that men will deny the power thereof. This is actually true now. Men have not only departed from the faith, but they have departed from the power of the Gospel. These two things naturally go together. The sad part of it all is that there have crept in unawares into the assembly of the saints people who are ungodly, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. and these very people carry with them a form of godliness.
The Book of Revelation tells us the story of the Laodicean church which is the dominant church of our own day. They say they are rich and increased with goods. They feel that they have need of nothing, and yet they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. The Lord describes them as neither cold nor hot, while He, Himself, is standing outside the door.
3. Why we need to know these things. (1) First of all, we need to know of this general apostate and worldly condition in the church of today lest we ourselves become entangled in the sweep and sway of it. It is easy to drift into worldly pleasures when we are living in the atmosphere which produces such things.
(2) We need to know these things lest we should begin to think that Christ has failed. When our preacher, or anyone else tells us that the work of the church is to save the world, and to bring to society the reign of love, joy and peace, we are liable to become shaken in our faith.
God seeks to fortify our souls against the conditions which will prevail in the last days.
I. THE FALLACY OF FALSE TEACHERS (2 Peter 2:1 )
This verse, in speaking of false teachers, says that they will bring in "damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them."
1. The basis upon which damnable heresies are builded. The word "damnable" seems very strong to you, and it is strong. The word should not be commonly used. It is used here, however, because the heresies which the twentieth century false teacher acclaims are heresies which damn souls; that is, they leave the people without God, and without hope in this world, sweeping them on to hell.
These heresies which undermine the faith and destroy the soul have their beginning in the. denial of the inspired Word. "Thy Word is truth." Heresy is a denial of truth.
The tendency of a godless philosophy such as young people often meet in colleges, and even high schools, is the tendency to dethrone the authority of the Word, and the power of God.
Students are often told that man evolved from some protoplasm, or amoeba; and that mankind, as we see him today, is the climactic work of his own genius. All of this denies the Divine creation on the one hand, and Divine salvation by grace on the other hand.
2. The climax of these heresies is the denial of the Lord who bought us. This is the statement of our verse, and it makes this denial of Christ's salvation work as the climax and capstone of the damnable heresies. It says, "even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
We need to know that in some circles the story of redemption through the Blood of Christ is being utterly repudiated. The Bible says we were bought with the precious Blood of Jesus, a Lamb without spot and without blemish. Modern heresy says, that man is his own savior.
II. THE EFFECT OF FALSE TEACHERS UPON THE PEOPLE (2 Peter 2:2 )
"And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
1. We have before us a deceived populace. They are like a group of dumb beasts who follow their leader no matter where he goes. Their ways, God says, are pernicious, but to the masses they are pleasant, perfumed paths.
2. We have before us the way of truth evil spoken of. As the people follow the pernicious ways of the false teachers they began to reject the True Teacher. Not only that, but they speak evil against the way of Truth.
We remember how our Lord was despised and rejected, His Truth spurned. We remember how the Apostles were imprisoned or slain because of the Truth which they taught. Today there is a set determination on the part of many to belittle and undermine the Truth of God.
This age is ripening into the following condition prophesied by the Holy Ghost through Paul in writing to the Thessalonians: "because they received not the love of the Truth, * * God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a He: that they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
We plead with you to walk in the Truth, and to love the Truth which "shall make you free."
III. THE CLINGING TALONS OF COVETOUSNESS (2 Peter 2:3 )
It may seem strange that so closely allied to the denial of the truth is 2 Peter 2:3 . This verse reads, "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you."
God places back of these false teachers their love for money, their desire to enrich themselves. In order to accomplish this they use feigned words which belittle the Bible, and deny the Lord Jesus in order to make merchandise of saints.
1. Seeking self-enrichment is always the spirit of the false. We remember how Achan saw the Babylonish garments, the wedges of gold and silver. He saw, he coveted, and he took. God says that these false teachers, being covetous in spirit, adapt themselves to feigned words.
Let me give you an example taken from another Scripture. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
This is the spirit which dominates the false teacher. He is unwilling to warn his flock of dangers. "He says peace when there is no peace." He looks for his own gain, and with feigned words he prophesies that everything is all right ahead. "The world is getting better." "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
2. Making merchandise of saints. God does not mince matters when He speaks. He says that false teachers make merchandise of simple-minded saints. They are trafficking in the people who sit in the pews, using them for their own gain. Our verse tells us that their "judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
IV. DESPISING DIVINE AUTHORITY (2 Peter 2:10 )
Our verse speaks of these false teachers as despising government. It says they are presumptuous, self-willed, and "not afraid to speak evil of dignities."
1. The enthronement of self. We saw this in our discussion of 2 Peter 2:3 . How these false teachers turn themselves to covetousness!
2. The negation of God. When self takes the throne, God is dethroned. The deification of man is always followed by the humanizing of God. If we worship self, we will refuse to bend the knee to God. These false teachers despise government because they are self-willed.
Those who, according to 2 Peter 2:1 , deny the Lord that bought them, will certainly not obey Him, nor listen to His commands. Those who enthrone themselves, who are self-centered, self-willed, will by no means seek to know, or to follow the will of God.
There is a verse in Isaiah 53:1-12 which reads, "We have turned every one to his own way." When men seek their own way, they seek not their Lord's way.
The Spirit reminds us that even the angels, who are greater in power and in might, dared not to bring any railing accusations against dignities. Yet, these false teachers speak of Satan and his hordes of fallen hosts as though they themselves could match with the. wicked one. God says they speak evil of things they understand not.
I beseech you to look well into your own hearts. Is there any of that domination of self in your life? Are you rejecting the leadership of Christ? Let us walk carefully for "pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." If we exalt ourselves, we shall be abased.
V. THE REWARD OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (2 Peter 2:13 )
We stand amazed as we read God's pronunciations against false teachers. Many of us today are willing to walk with them, to sit raider the sway and spell of their oratory, to back by our presence and financial support, their denials of Jesus Christ and of the. Truth.
What, however, saith the Lord? May we tabulate for you a few statements in this one chapter which set forth. the rewards of unrighteousness:
1. 2 Peter 2:1 tells us that they will bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2. 2 Peter 2:3 says that their damnation slumbereth not.
3. 2 Peter 2:9 says that they are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished.
4. 2 Peter 2:12 puts it this way: utterly perish In their own corruption.
5. 2 Peter 2:14 speaks of them as cursed children.
6. 2 Peter 2:17 gives the climactic statement: "to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."
What can be more terrible than the consideration of these Divine anathemas against false teachers who bring in damnable heresies and deny the Lord that bought them? Surely it is no small matter to deny the Lord on the one hand, nor is it a small matter to have fellowship with those who deny Him, on the other hand.
The Second Epistle of John says, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that biddeth. him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
If we partake with a man in his evil deeds, we will, no doubt, be a partaker with him in the Divine judgments that shall fall upon him.
With all of our being we plead in behalf of fidelity to the faith once delivered, and we plead with everyone to refuse to fellowship in any way anyone who denies that faith.
VI. WALKING THE WAY OF BALAAM (2 Peter 2:15 )
The second chapter of this Book gives several illustrative pictures of false teachers.
They are likened unto the angels that sin in 2 Peter 2:4 . They are likened unto brute beasts taken and destroyed in 2 Peter 2:12 . They are likened unto Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15 . This list will suffice for the present. The angels who sinned left their rightful habitation. They were called to worship God and to praise Him, but they turned from their high estate, and were cast down into hell, being delivered into chains of darkness.
The "natural brute beasts" of 2 Peter 2:12 were made to be taken and destroyed, and God says that they "shall utterly perish in their own corruption." Balaam the son of Bosor loved the wages of unrighteousness. So do these false teachers walk in Balaam's lure for gold. A dumb ass, speaking with a man's voice forbade the madness of Balaam, yet Balaam went on his way seeking to help Balak against the Children of Israel. God save us from the fate of false teachers!
They call it but a patchwork, and a fabricated gem
From the best of ancient stories, disconnected seam and hem;
That a group of fancied authors turned their scrapbooks inside out,
Just to choose fantastic readings from the heathen round about;
That the best of myths, by magic, leaped from many an unknown pen,
And were added to the Bible by some half-ape budding men;
That the story of creation found within God's Holy Word,
Is no more than early legend gathered from some ancient hard.
They have relegated Jonah to the scrap-pile long ago,
just because the god they worship, can't work miracles, you know;
They would take out from the Bible all the words of "Virgin Birth,"
And would give the world a savior who would be of little worth:
They would rob Christ of His glory, and the Christian of his Lord,
And defame the resurrection, and destroy the Living Word;
They would humanize the Saviour, and His Coming would disdain,
While they deify the "scholars," and immortalize their "brain."
VII. THE FINAL ANALYSIS (2 Peter 2:17 )
As the Holy Spirit brings to a conclusion His testimony through Peter against false teachers, He describes them under two pictorial statements,
1. They are wells without water.
2. They are clouds carried with the tempest.
Did you ever thirst for a drink of water only to find the well to which you went dry? False teachers know nothing of the Water of Life of which we drink; and drinking, never thirst. They have nothing of the Bread of Life of which we eat; and eating, never hunger.
They promise liberty, but they themselves are servants of bondage. They speak great words of vanity, and they allure men to follow them, but their words are only vanity without substance.
What have false teachers (and their number is legion) to offer to sinners? They know nothing of a Saviour. They know nothing of the power of a Risen Lord. If they talk to a lost soul in terms of "ethical conceptions" they can never profit thereby.
If they seek to offer themselves as a savior, the sinner knows well enough that they cannot save him.
If they speak to them of the inherent force of their own human nature, and the supremacy of their own good, sinners know immediately that they are drinking from a well where there is no water.
A cloud carried about by the tempest never waters a thirsty land. How often have our American deserts seen clouds borne above them by strong winds. The thirsty land cried. "Water! Water! Water!" Not a drop of water came. People who sit in their congregation, famishing, never receive a drop of water.
The hardest statement, perhaps, in our whole study is in 2 Peter 2:22 . These false teachers once knew the way of righteousness, but they have turned to follow after fables. God says, "It is happened unto them according to the true proverb. The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
THE COMET AND THE SUN
"We gaze more on a comet than on the sun." This is the reason why erratic teachers are for a while popular, and attract public attention. It is given out that they are "some great one," and alt the town is staring with open mouth. The nine days' wonder is every day's talk. The new teaching is something marvelous, and the old creed is to be driven out of the land. New lights arc to eclipse the old; at least, so we are told. Let us wait a while, however, and the cornet will have vanished, and the half-forgotten fixed stars will be seen to be shining on with unfading splendor.
May the Lord give us such fixed and established judgments that no novelties of doctrine may ever dazzle us. Children are fond of new toys; let us be men and keep to the tried Word of the Lord." Chas. H. Spurgeon.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 2 Peter 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent