ES2PEJ12 2 Peter 2:18–22, Jude 14-16 The Future Suffering of False Teachers
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
Last week we saw more about false teachers, that they are power hungry and incredibly greedy. They have no qualms in walking over people to get what they want. They will say that they are Christians but inevitably their teachings will be false but not before quite a number of people are seduced by their charm. The only way to overcome such people who come in unawares with their claims of being a Christian is to know the Word of God, to be people of prayer and to put on our armour. But woe to those false teachers and those who heed them for blackness of darkness is their destination forever. Scripture does not mince its words for those who deceive people away from the Good News of Jesus with their soundbites and teachings.
These teachers capture many people in their net. It is not surprising to learn, then, that many people who were in the Church end up being zealous members or leaders of sects. They will say that they are now free of the confines of the Christian faith. It seems to me when people are concentrated upon freedom it is this that leads them into all sorts of bondage. This freedom is no freedom at all but each freedom leads to more slavery.
People today are always speaking about faith. As if faith in itself is a valuable thing. We know, of course, that Prince Charles, if he were to become king would, at his coronation, rather be declared defender of faith rather than defender of the faith though I understand he has backtracked in the last year or so. The word ‘faith’ simply means trust. However, what you put your trust in is of the utmost importance. Put you faith in anything other than Jesus Christ and you are already on unstable grounds. I would pray that Charles has discovered this for himself. We here the mantra that people say; “you have what you believe, good for you! I have what I believe” as if that argument carries any weight – it is simply an avoidance of the issues at stake.
If you have faith that when the stars align all things will be well with you but if you see a shooting star you will die – what good is that if it is not true but you believe it anyway. And if you have your faith and I have mine and you meet someone who says: “my faith says I have to kill you because you don’t believe what I believe” then how will saying “you have your faith, I have mine” help you when you are shot?! It is a ridiculous notion that you can believe anything and it will be alright in the end. The fact is that they are not facing up to facts.
In our day and age it is science that has all the answers. And, of course, science has answers for many things and helps us to understand the universe that we are in but it usurps its authority by saying we have no need of God. Science does not know everything for it does not have answers to questions such as: what is the meaning of life, though it does attempt to answer but has no right to do so.
But science is now being jettisoned in our day and age. A British medical doctor said “no” to the illogicality that we have to acknowledge someone who claims to be transgender being male when female and female when male for biologically they are what they are not only obviously with their sexual organs but in their DNA and chromosomes. He lost his job as a result. People are willing to put constructs above logic and science. It is all a matter of faith not fact. We have gone completely barmy.
Are we going to stay silent. Are we going to say it is OK when the Co-op gives away a percentage of the members’ money for the promotion of LGBTQ? Are we going to put our money into that? Should we face up to the fact that we should be avoiding some of these places that put on such a show of support such as Sainsburys.
Jesus declared that He is the only way. This only allows for a choice of two things: Jesus is right or He is wrong. If He is right then all other ways are wrong no matter what society says. Jesus does not allow us to sit on the fence. And people delay truly committing to Christ because they want to live their lives now, they say, and will invite Jesus in when they are about to die. Fools, they are to put their eternal destiny at risk for this life. They are unlikely ever to be properly brought back to the point of salvation again for they have looked in on it and rejected it as not worthy of them.
The only way we can be wells full of water is to be satisfied with Christ for He gives life in all its fullness now and we will also be those who can quench the thirst of others by telling them about Jesus.
These false teachers claim to speak for Jesus: thus sayeth the Lord, they say, but if their words are not in accordance with Scripture then have nothing to do with them. They are not always easy to spot for they have a way with words, they know how to flatter and to disguise their hidden agendas. They then have no problems with societal norms becoming part of the Church as we see clearly in our day with homosexuality accepted in UK Baptist Churches by at least a 1/3rd of every congregation and another 1/3rd unsure.
In the Canadian Anglican Church this week 62% voted to allow gay marriage in their churches. Fortunately, for now, they were 4% short of passing it as a motion to come into church law. But it was close. All they are doing is reflecting the extremely liberal ideas of their government who can remove children from Christian parents who disagree with them if their child decides they are a boy rather than a girl or vice versa and the parents or caregiver refuses to acknowledge it. Canada calls this child abuse. I call it child abuse to allow them to have such a choice in the first place.
The issue we are finding is that the big names of Christianity are coming out and saying there is no problem with homosexuality and influences millions. Really. Millions of people. In the States one of the big names with a megachurch with 30,000 members became one of the many to support and affirm homosexuals, a man named T.D. Jakes, a man who will answer to God for his deception of the Church – such things should not be – but God has a remnant not easily deceived who turn to the traditional understanding of Scripture rather than the twisting of what it actually says.
Let me quote the four main passages concerning homosexuality in the bible so that no one here can say the bible does not say so and because I have not actually done this before:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
The Bible does not support homosexuality, as we have seen from the scriptures above.
I’ll give one in relation to the transgender issue as if we need one:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Sexual sin has a judgment administered by God Himself: He gives them over to their passions. This means that their hearts are allowed to be hardened by their sins. As a result, they can no longer see the error of what they are doing. Without an awareness of their sinfulness, there will be no repentance. Without repentance, there will be no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no salvation.
Let me be clear that we should treat all people with dignity, without hate, but also without compromise. Truth with love.
It is not liberty to allow the world to take over and to allow the world a say in Church doctrine. This is a spiritual warfare and I think that this issue is the defining one – those who support homosexuality will have no problems but those who do not they will seek to shut-up. And even more so with transsexualism and the vitriol they come out with - and they say that we are hateful and bigots(!) - but telling the truth in love we make clear that God does not agree with their lifestyle.
The shame is that many get caught up in the net that all these things are OK in the Church, even a good thing, but the problem is that it leads to apostasy for then they no longer trust anything the Scriptures say in regard to anything else for it is reasoned that if Scripture is not understood in the basic things about sexuality then it cannot be understood in the fundamental things like salvation. Where are the sound churches today? There are still a few here in the West but the numbers diminish day-by-day.
A New York City couple received through the mail two tickets to a Broadway musical. Oddly, the gift arrived without a note, and they wondered who had sent it. But they attended the show and enjoyed it immensely.
Returning to their apartment, they discovered that their apartment had been ransacked, Valuables, money and jewels were missing. On the pillow in the bedroom was this simple note: "Now you know."
These false teachers do not declare themselves to be false but appeal to our sensuality, our greed, our covetousness and before we realise they have robbed us blind.
In verse 19 we see that freedom is promised but it leads to an empty land rather than the promises of God that lead to a land flowing with milk and honey. They promise freedom but they themselves are enslaved.
A mobile phone promises freedom - you do not need to stay at home if someone wants to contact you or you want to contact others. A mobile phone can do so much these days - it can tell you the weather and take your heart rate. But can anyone do without their phone for an hour without wondering whether they have got some news or some text. I joke that social media is antisocial but you know what else? We have become slaves to the mobile phone. Promised freedom but instead it takes life. You see how easy it is to be ensnared by something that seems great. Oh, they are great - but it always comes at a cost.
It is only when we are slaves of Christ we have true freedom. When we are enthralled by Jesus and we cannot spend an hour away from Jesus then we discover that we are truly His and overcome by Him.
We saw when we looked at chapter 1 that it is the Divine Power and His Divine Promises that help us be overcomers. And what overcomes the world but our faith. Not just any faith but faith in Jesus Christ.
We know that the people addressed in verses 20 to 22 are not people of faith in Christ because Christians are secure in Christ:
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
But these that Peter address have been taught the Word of God and have grasped the understanding of it but when the false teachers have come along got themselves re-entangled with the world. They have the knowledge but no commitment to Christ. They’ve heard God calling them but it went no further and instead they are like those who heard the Word of God and it was stolen from them by the devil. We have probably all witnessed someone who seems to be a Christian turn their back on Christ – and it is absolutely true that they are worse than before.
Peter uses picture language of dogs and pigs.
11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.
So true. Even our precious Ethan goes back afterwards. Ew!
[In the same way those who have heard the way of truth and know that it is right yet turn their backs on it to return to their sin are like pigs wallowing in the mire and muck.
Both dogs and pigs are unclean animals in Jewish Culture.]
Chapter 2 has been all about false teachers. Some are more obvious than others but all come in secretly desiring to take people away from the truth to follow them instead. They are covetous in every way and teach others to be also. The most obvious ones are those who say give us money and God will give you back more – the ones asking for the money are covetous and those who give are covetous. Paul describes these teachers as wolves. They teach a gospel that is not the Gospel at all.
We have to be wary for the Church is full of such people – some declare openly that they are not Christians whilst still teaching Christians so when their ministers come from seminaries and universities the things taught take hold in the Churches.
I have no qualms in saying that Baptist Ministers come under the sound of false teachers at university and the excuse is given is so that they are more open-minded. But then they teach what they have heard and bring heresy into the church. We do have to be thinkers and ones that can justify what we believe but we need not open ourselves to false teaching.
[There was a pastor of a very well-known Bible church, one that taught the Word of God. Today he is a denier of the deity of Jesus Christ. He is a professor at The University of Southern California, one who does everything he can to turn young people away from Christianity. He also falls into the category of an apostate, somebody who knows the truth, has all the information about the truth, and wilfully turns his back on the truth for his own pursuit. (Cited by John MacArthur, Sermon on Jude 8–13).]
If we follow false teachers we put ourselves in a lot of danger. We also put ourselves in danger when we think we can live however we like. The true Gospel means we live lives of repentance following Christ. It is easy to get re-entangled with the world but we are to take up our cross, take up our armour and be robust in our defence of the faith for our own sake and the sake of others. We also need to teach these things to our own families.
We are each responsible for our own Christian life. The Pastor is responsible to teach and to warn but let me be really clear – the Pastor does not live your life with your issues and temptations, we are all responsible for the way we live.
We can do none of this without the help of God, His power and His promises. And that is what it means to walk in faith, in trust in the One who holds us in His hands – some things sorely test us but we will never be tested beyond our capability to cope and He will provide us with a way out. It is our choice to take it or not.
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.