A SON IS A SON AND A PIG IS A PIG
- Memory Verse: 2Pet 2:19
- False prophets in the past and false teachers in the future: (1)
- In the Old Testament, the true prophets of God warned against the false prophets that were always present. Even though the Israelites had the true Word of God preached by the true prophets of God, the people believed the lies of the false prophets. Why?
- The false prophets told the people what they wanted to hear. They did not tell them about their sin and that judgment was coming. In this way, the false prophets justified the sinful behavior of the people.
- In the New Testament age of Peters day, the same thing was occurring again. This time there was an increase in false teachers that brought the doctrine of Gnosticism into the New Testament churches.
- The damnable heresies:
- What is a heresy?
- Heresy is a religious opinion at variance with the orthodox, accepted doctrine. The accepted doctrine is the doctrine of the Apostles established by Jesus Christ in them.
- These false religious opinions were contrary to the Word of God. Therefore, Peter says they are damnable. In other words they are from the pit of hell and the result is that these teachings destroy people by sending those that believe them to hell.
- Notice that Peter gives us the definition of these heresies in verse 1. They deny the true character and person of Jesus Christ. Any or all of the following constitute heresy.
- They deny that Jesus is the second member of the Holy Trinity.
- They deny the eternal existence of Jesus Christ.
- They deny the miraculous, virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
- They deny that Jesus lived a sinless life.
- They deny that Jesus is God in the flesh.
- They deny that Jesus paid the price for mans sin on the cross.
- They deny that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
- The Greek word for false teachers is pseudo-diddaskolos which is used only in 2Peter. These are people who know the truth but teach false doctrine. The dangerous aspect of their teaching is that it contains some truth mixed with error. They do this, even though they know better, for one or all of the following purposes:
- to gain power or prestige.
- to gain money.
- to please people by giving them what they want to hear.
- Therefore, teachers that teach false doctrine because they themselves are deceived are in a different category according to Peter. Yes, they spread false teachings out of ignorance, of which the Christian should also beware.
- Other warnings about false teachers from scripture:
- Jesus warned of wolves in sheeps clothing. (Mat 7:15)
- Paul warned the people of Ephesus. (Act 20:29)
- The book of Jude also speaks about false teachers.(Jude 1)
- What are the characteristics of false teachers and false prophets according to Peter?
- We have already seen in verse 1 that they know the truth but deny Jesus Christ.
- They have “pernicious ways”. (2)
- The word “pernicious” means = evil or wicked, causing harm or ruin.
- You can, therefore, discern who these people are by the fruit of their ministry.
- Verse 2 tells us that many people will follow them because they speak evil of the way of Truth. The true believer in Jesus Christ will not follow these false teachers for long without discovering that their teaching is not the truth of Jesus Christ.
- They are covetous. (3)
- We have already determined that their motive is to gain power, prestige, or money.
- Covetousness is a form of idolatry. (Eph 5:5)
- They use “feigned words”. (3)
- What are feigned words?
- The word feigned means = pretended, counterfeit, or fake.
- The Greek word is plastos which means = molded or formed as from clay. We get the word plastic from this word.
- In other words they use false words that mold you to their doctrine. They may use exactly the same Biblical words, but they change the meanings to form a new doctrine.
- They make “merchandise” of people. (3)
- They have no real love for people because people are only tools to accomplish their means.
- Read 2Pet 2:4-8 Peters examples of apostasy
- At the end of verse 3 Peter tells us that while it seems these false prophets and false teachers are not punished for their deceptions, God is not sleeping. They eventually will be judged by God and reap the consequences of their false teaching. Peter gives us three examples.
- Mans deceptions fall into three categories:
- Read Jam 3:15
- James tells us that deception comes from 3 sources, the world, the flesh, and the devil.
- Peters three examples from the Old Testament fall into these same three categories.
SOURCES OF DECEPTION
JAM 3:15 2PET 2:4-7
The world of Noahs day
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
The angels that sinned
- The angels that sinned: (4)
- God created the angels before the creation of man. The angels had a close relationship with God. They knew the truth. Yet Lucifer and one third of the angels sinned against God in rebellion. Lucifer wanted to be God. God cast these rebellious angels out of heaven. Lucifer became Satan and appeared in the Garden of Eden with Eve.
- Some of these rebellious angels were chained waiting for the final judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom. Peter tells us they are in “hell”. (4)
- The word, “hell” is tartarus which is a place of darkness or torment. This is the place where the dead non-believer in the Old Testament went at death to wait for the final judgment.
- Those rebellious angels not chained are believed to be demons operating in the world today. These, too, will stand before God in a final judgment of all of the angels after Christs millennial reign on earth.
- Read Jude 1:6
- The world of Noahs day: (5)
- The world where Noah lived was exceedingly wicked. Gods judgment on the world of that day was the world-wide flood. God had warned the people through the preaching of Noah and the generations before Noah. The people knew the truth, but they did not repent.
- The world system had become lawless, godless, and degenerate. That is the condition of the world today. The example of Noahs day shows us that any world system without God will eventually be judged by God.
- The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah: (6-8)
- Lot chose to live in the city of Sodom even though he knew of its evil reputation. He did not just live there, but became a leader of the city (he sat at the city gates). He was so compromised in this thinking that he offered his daughters to evil men to protect the visiting angels. Peter says that he “vexed his righteous soul”. (8)
- The word, vexed, means = to tie down, to exhaust with labor.
- Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man. In other words he was saved and we will see him in eternity with Christ. However, his lifestyle was compromised (with filthy conversation vs. 7) like a carnal Christian. His life was not the shining example it should have been.
- Read 2Pet 2:9-22
- Those that will be judged:
- Peters examples show us that Gods judgment will surely come for the unrighteous. Who are the unrighteous? An unrighteous person is the person that has not received Jesus Christ in his heart to be his Lord and Savior.
- Through Jesus Christ, God will deliver the righteous person from temptation and its subsequent judgment. That is the provision Christ made on the cross through His blood.(9)
- Those that will be judged are those that “walk after the flesh”. What does that mean?
- The believer in Jesus Christ is supposed to walk after the Spirit. Therefore, it is the non-believer that walks after the flesh nature. His style of life or his walk is that he is constantly giving in to the temptations of the flesh.
- Peter explains that these temptations of the flesh are the “lust of uncleanness”. (10) The words of the “lust of uncleanness” are very strong and actually mean the depravity of uncleanness that defiles man. These are the base sins that cause a person to sink lower than the animals.
- These people “despise governments”. (10) Some think this refers to human governments but most likely it refers to Gods heavenly government against which the fallen angels rebelled.
- They speak evil of “dignities”. (10) This refers to sacred things like using Gods name as a curse word.
- More characteristics of false teachers: (11-12)
- False teachers are filled with pride.
- Peter compares the false teachers to the angels.
- Read Jude 1:9
- Jude tells us that the angel Michael fought for the bones of Moses because the devil did not want Moses to appear in the Promised Land at the Mount of Transfiguration. Michael did not rebuke the devil but in humility left it to God to rebuke him.
- In contrast, the false teachers claim all kinds of spiritual power.
- False teachers speak evil of spiritual things that they do not understand. (13)
- Remember that they know the truth but choose evil. In that way, instead of becoming morally better than the animals through salvation in Jesus Christ, they become morally lower than the animals choosing to have their understanding darkened. (Rom 1:18-32)
- False teachers have sinful practices in their lives from which they do not repent. (12-14)
- Therefore, you can determine their falseness by the fruit of their personal life.
- Notice that Peter says that false teachers already were in the church having fellowship and communion in the body of Christ. (13) Therefore, the true believers in that church should have been able to discern the lifestyle of these false teachers to determine their true nature.
- False teachers take advantage of baby Christians or weak Christians. (14)
- Christians that do not know the Word of God leave themselves open to subtle deceptions that can easily creep into a church. God requires that all true Christians be able to discern the true from the false. It is not just the responsibility of the pastor or the leaders of the church. It is the responsibility of every Christian to be able to discern the difference.
- False teachers have forsaken the right path to eternal life. (15)
- The example of “the way of Balaam”. (15-16)
- The prophet, Balaam, is mentioned 3 times in these last books of the New Testament. However, each time Balaam is mentioned in a slightly different way.
The way of Balaam
The error of Balaam
The doctrine of Balaam
|The Way of Balaam (Num 22-25, specifically Num 23:13).
Balaam tried to live like a believer and yet profit like a non-believer. However, he could not change Gods mind from blessing Israel into cursing Israel so that Balaam would profit from his gift of prophecy.
|The Error of Balaam ( Num 22 specifically 2Tim 3:4 Deu 23:4-5 Num 25 Num 31:16)
Balaam was a prophet of God who perverted his calling because of personal profit to cause Israels downfall. He helped Israels enemy.
|The Doctrine of Balaam (Num 22-25 specifically Num 22:2-6,12 and Num 25:1-3.)
Balaam taught that the Israelites should intermarry with the pagan people and compromise themselves in the matter of idolatrous worship. This doctrine is a stumbling block or a trap of the devil.
|He sold his prophetic gift for money.||The giving of help to Satan, the enemy of God, for personal benefit.||To compromise faith with the world system.|
- False teachers appear wonderful but produce nothing. (17)
- Peter uses two illustrations:
- =1= Wells without water.
- When you sit down to listen to a false teacher, you think you are going to hear something wonderful, profound, and intelligent. However, they only have empty words.
- =2= Clouds without rain.
- When you see a cloud, it appears that rain is coming, but there is no rain. In the same way, there is no spiritual fruit from a false teacher.
- False teachers speak with words of vanity. In other words they are empty words.(17)
- True teachers that teach the Word of God produce spiritual fruit because the Word of God is powerful and does not return void. God empowers His Word and the Holy Spirit anoints it.
- Therefore, a teacher that does not use the Word of God in his teaching is teaching from his own human efforts without the power of the Spirit.
- False teachers attract people by eloquent speech and appeal to the lust of the flesh. (18)
- Peter uses the word “wantonness” which refers to sexual excess.
- False teachers promise spiritual freedom but instead lead people into bondage. (19)
- What kind of bondage? Bondage to the flesh nature. Their words promise liberty but their lives indicate that they do not know what liberty really is.
- The consequences that false teachers experience: (20-22)
- Peter has already told us that these false teachers will reap judgment (9) and that they will perish in their own corruption (12).
- Some of these false teachers had started out knowing Christ. In other words, they gained a head knowledge of Christ, but they did not permit the Holy Spirit to change their lives. They were not born again believers. Therefore, when the false doctrines of Gnosticism came along, they were enticed away from the true gospel and mixed true Christianity with the false teachings of Gnosticism.
- The idea behind Gnosticism was that there is truth everywhere in all societies and religions. Therefore, the truly wise man, so they said, will incorporate truth from Christianity and mix it with Greek Philosophy and Judaism. In this way they said they would escape the “pollutions of the world” (the crime and violence), but they did not escape the corruption of the world because the Holy Spirit had not separated them (set them apart) to change their heart and life to make them righteous.
- This was exactly what Balaam did. He mixed his belief in God with the practices of the world.
- Why would it be better if false teachers had never heard the truth of God before they turned away from it?
- God will judge the non-believer for what he did with Christ on hearing the preaching of the gospel. The person that has known the truth and turned from it, will reap a greater punishment than those that have never heard the gospel. Therefore, Gods perfect justice will judge according to the light of truth that man has received. Man is responsible for that which he has received.
- The proverb of the prodigal pig: (22)
- Peter refers to the false teachers and false prophets as a dog with the nature of a pig. In the Jewish culture there was nothing lower than a dog or more repulsive than a pig.
- You will remember Jesus parable of the prodigal son. (Luk 15) This rebellious son decided he was not a pig but a son and he returned to his father in repentance and humility.
- The false teachers and false prophets will return to that which is their basic nature. Their nature is that of a pig. Just as the prodigal son was not comfortable in the pig pen, the prodigal pig will not be comfortable in the kingdom of God. He will permit false doctrine to take him out of the way of truth into the darkness he loves.
- Summary and application:
- This very important chapter has given us many ways to determine a true teacher from a false one. Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish when false teachers use part of the truth of the Bible and are very eloquent in their speech. However, it comes down to the end of the chapter where it tells us that in time he will reveal his true nature. Is he a born-again son of God or is he a non-believer with a pig nature?
This is a self-study. Please do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection.
- Application of 2Pet 2
- You may or may not be a teacher, but you have a basic nature. Of what nature are you?
- Are you born again by the Spirit of God permitting the Holy Spirit to change your heart, your character, and your life?
- Are you a non-believer enjoying the pleasures of sin and wickedness of the world?
- You must decide in which place do you want to live.
- Do you want to live with God enjoying the good, spiritual things that are important to God?
- Do you want to live in the world enjoying the filth and depravity of the things of the world?
- You cannot be a Balaam who tried to have it both ways. You must decide!
- Preparation for 2Pet 3
- Read 2Pet 3:1-18
- Why is being ignorant of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ a great danger?
- What knowledge must the believer pursue and why?
- Memory Verse: 2Pet 3:17