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God's Warning about Wicked Teachers - Part 1

Notes & Transcripts

God's Warning about Wicked Teachers - Part 1

2 Peter 2:1-9

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 7, 2013

BACKGROUND:

*The last time we met, Peter was stressing the great value of God's Word. In 2 Peter 1:19-21, the Apostle wrote:

19. We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed (or "take heed") as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

20. knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,

21. for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

*Verse 19 told us that we would do well to "take heed" to God's Word. The word picture is "taking hold of something," holding on to God's Word in our minds.

*God wants us to keep holding on to His Word. And Peter showed us why. In vs. 19, Peter told us that God's Word is both our surest source of truth, and a shining light for our lives. Then in vs. 20&21, Peter told us that we should also hold on to the Word of God, because it came from God's Spirit.

*Now one reason why Peter stressed the great value of God's Word is because he wanted to warn us about false teachers. And the Apostle gives us this warning in 2 Peter 2. This warning from Peter is our main focus tonight, so let's begin by reading 2 Peter 2:1-9. Would you please stand in honor of God's Word.

INTRODUCTION:

*Let me start this study by saying that God is not a fuzzy, fluffy teddy bear. Yes, God is compassionate, kind and merciful. But at the same time He is the holy, sovereign, Almighty Lord God of the whole universe!

*God is not to be trifled with. Hebrews 12:28-29 gives this caution to believers:

28. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

29. For our God is a consuming fire.

*Our God is a consuming fire. His warnings must be heeded. And here in 2 Peter, God gives us a crucial warning about false teachers.

-There are some vital lessons we can take away from these verses.

1. First: Be warned about false teachers' deception.

*Peter closed out chapter 1 by affirming that the Bible is the Word of God, "For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).

*"But," Peter says in chapter 2:

1. . . there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

2. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

3. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

*There are many false teachers in the world today. And in vs. 2, Peter said, "Many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed."

*Surely we have seen this happen in our lifetimes. For example: There are liberal preachers who treat the Bible like a cafeteria line, picking and choosing some Scriptures to follow, and throwing others out as so-called "prejudices" of long ago.

*In vs. 1 Peter tells us that some of these false teachers even deny the Lord who bought them. "You don't need to trust in Jesus Christ to be saved," they would say. "All religions lead to Heaven."

*In 2006 & 2007, George Barna surveyed people who described themselves as born-again Christians.

26% didn't believe they "personally have a responsibility to tell other people their religious beliefs"

46% believed that Satan is "not a living being but is a symbol of evil."

37% of born-agains believed that "if a person is good enough they can earn a place in Heaven."

And 26% of (so-called) born-agains agreed that "while he lived on earth, Jesus committed sins, like other people." (1)

*Obviously a whole lot of people have been influenced by false teachers. But God is not mocked! David Holwick wrote that some "years back the (English) archbishop of Kent publicly denied the Virgin Birth. That week lightning struck and fire severely damaged Kent's ancient cathedral. Religious leaders weren't the only ones to suggest a connection." (2)

*We need to be warned about false teachers. Always let your measuring stick be the Word of God. Never put some man's teaching over the clear truth of God's Word.

*And when it comes to Jesus Christ, Charles Spurgeon gave this warning: "If you haven't looked at Christ on the cross, you'll have to look at Him on the throne -- with great trembling. The sacrificial death of Christ will be brought before the eyes of all who refuse to accept His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

*In Bethlehem He came in mercy to forgive sin. In the future He will come on the clouds in glory to establish justice. What will we do without a Savior? -- On the Day of Judgment there is nothing we can do if we have not trusted Christ." (3)

*Be warned about the false teachers' deception.

2. And be wise about their destruction.

*God's judgment on the false teachers is both sure and severe. Peter wanted us to know this, so in vs. 3 he said, "for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." The NIV says: "Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

*Then in vs. 4-6, the Holy Spirit led Peter to give 3 examples of God's sure and severe judgment:

[1] Verse 4: "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment."

*That word for hell was "Tartarus," -- the lowest hell. And some of the fallen angels are already chained down in the lowest hell. Of course Satan and many of his evil, fallen angels are still wreaking havoc in our world.

*We know this because in 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Apostle Paul called Satan "the god of this world." Then in Ephesians 2:2, Paul called Satan "the prince of the power of the air." Paul also tells us that the fallen angels are working behind the scenes both to cause problems, and to make problems worse. They are our primary enemies. That's why in Ephesians 6:10-13 Paul wrote these words to believers:

10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

*Satan and the fallen angels can attack and hurt us, but they can never defeat God. And in the long run, they cannot defeat us, because 1 John 4:4 tells believers: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

*But again, some of the fallen angels are not "in the world." 2 Peter 2:4 tells us that God already cast some of them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

Who were these fallen angels? We cannot say for sure. Some say that they were the "sons of God" in Genesis 6 who took wives from the daughters of men and produced children who were giants. That may or may not be true. But this is certainly true: God's judgment is sure and severe.

[2] Next in vs. 5 we see that God "did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly."

*So many people perished in that flood! Remember that people were living 800 or 900 years in those days, -- so there was a population explosion. I would guess millions, possibly billions went out into eternity, lost forever. God's judgment is sure and severe.

[3] Next in vs. 6 we see that God turned "the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly."

*In Genesis 19:24-29, the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from out of the heavens. Smoke went up like a furnace. God destroyed the cities of the plain. Every one of those people who were over the age of accountability, lost not only their lives. They lost their souls forever.

*Jesus described their fate in Luke 16:19-26, where the Lord said:

19. "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.

20. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,

21. desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

23. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'

25. But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

26. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'"

*God's judgment is sure and severe. John Piper says that failing "to look at the severity of God is dangerous and unloving. It's like a parent teaching their child how a red-hot eye on the oven is good because it makes water boil to cook the spaghetti noodles, and cooks eggs for breakfast. -- But then never telling your child that the red-hot stove is also very dangerous, and can hurt very badly."

*So Piper reminds us that the strict justice of God is "a profound and dreadful reality." Piper said: "To speak of it lightly, or not to speak of it at all, or to speak of it in a way that changes suffering into feeling nothing, simply proves that we do not grasp its horror. I know of no one who has overstated the terrors of hell.

*"We can scarcely surpass the horrid images Jesus used:

-'Weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew 8:12)

-'Their worm shall not die' (Mark 9:48)

-'Unquenchable fire' (Matthew 3:12)

-'Everlasting fire' (Matthew 25:41)

-'Everlasting punishment' (Matthew 25:46)

-'Tormented in this flame' (Luke 16:24).

*The point of all these is that we are meant to shudder. We are meant to tremble and feel dread. We are meant to recoil from the reality, not by denying it, but by fleeing from it into the arms of Jesus, who died to save us from it." (4)

*We must be wise about the false teachers' destruction.

3. And we must be walking in God's deliverance.

*We see God's great deliverance in vs. 7-9, deliverance for Lot and for us. In vs. 7&8, God:

7. . . delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked

8. (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).

*I never used to think of Lot as a particularly righteous man. After all, in Genesis 13:10-12, when Abraham gave Lot the choice, Lot saw all the plain of Jordan, well watered like the garden of the Lord. And Lot selfishly chose the fertile plain of Jordan. He even pitched his tent as far as Sodom.

*By Genesis 19:1, Lot had rubbed elbows enough with those wicked people that he was one of the leaders in the gate. In Genesis 19:8, Lot offered his own daughters to the mad mob that was trying to rape the two angels visiting in Lots' home. And at the end of Genesis 19, there was the ghastly story of Lot's daughters getting him drunk so that they could have his children.

*Lot had many deep and ugly flaws, but we must not judge him, especially because vs. 7&8 tell us that God:

7. . . delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked

8. (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).

*The Lord delivered Lot from a hard, selfish heart, from the destruction of Sodom, and from eternal death. The Lord delivered Lot, because on the cross Jesus took the punishment for every sin Lot ever committed! And Lot had put his trust in the Lord.

*Jesus Christ delivered Lot. And He will deliver anyone who puts their trust in the Lord. As Peter said in vs. 9: "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations. . ." -- Glory hallelujah!

*I love what the Lord said in Luke 4:18-19:

18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

19. to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.''

*Johnny Friloux is one of the millions who have found this deliverance. I heard his story when he was a golf coach at Mississippi State. Johnny said that he grew up in a godless home. He was an atheist. And he started taking drugs at a very young age.

*Johnny told about a beautiful fall morning in 1989, back when he was a student at Mississippi State. On the way to class, he turned the corner at the student union and said he encountered a bunch of old men in suits. They were Gideons passing out New Testaments, and Johnny was infuriated just to see them.

*Johnny said: "As they handed me a Testament, I threw it at them, spit on them, and began to curse and rant and rave, 'How dare you come to this campus and bring your religion and push it on us!' Those guys just kept smiling, let him say what he had to say, and kept on passing out New Testaments."

*Johnny said that he started running into Jesus Christ everywhere he went! People started coming up to him in class to witness to him. He cursed them to their faces.

*Every weekend he drove to New Orleans. He told his parents he was going to work. But he was really just going to party. That weekend he was in the parking lot of a bar when a guy handed him a tract, and said, "Sir, would you please read this?" Johnny crumpled it up, and threw it in the backseat of his car. Then, he began to cuss those two witnesses out. He said: "The madder I got, -- the happier they got!"

*Later that night in the bar. His eyes began to be opened for the first time. He started to see those people like they really were. Then, at 3 a.m. he walked out of that bar, and those two witnesses were still out there praying for him.

*Johnny apologized to them, but he still wasn't ready to receive Jesus. But after three miserable, sleepless days, he did read that tract. And he said, "I went to my book bag to get a pencil to underline the verses in this tract." And when he unzipped it, there was a New Testament inside. Johnny said, "Some crazy Gideon, while I was cussing them out, was unzipping my book bag and putting a Bible inside."

*He spent hours studying that Gideon New Testament. And on Oct. 18, 1989, alone in his bedroom, Johnny cried out to God: "Lord Jesus, if you are real, please come in and change me." And He did! (5)

*Johnny Friloux found out that Jesus came not to judge the world, but to save the world. And He will save all who turn to Him. But God's judgment is sure and severe on all who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

-So be warned about false teachers' deception.

-Be wise about their destruction.

-And be walking in the deliverance that comes through the cross of Jesus Christ.

*Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

(1) http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Topic&TopicID=8

(2) Online sermon "PARTY ANIMALS" by David Holwick - 2 Peter 2:1-16 - 12111994

(3) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Robert Leroe

(4) SermonCentral sermon "Behold the Kindness and the Severity of God" by John Piper - Romans 11:17-22

(5) 1994 Gideon Testimony heard from Johnny Friloux - updated by http://vimeo.com/29052537

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