Summary: Sermon 22 in a study in ! & 2 Peter
“Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. 17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
I’ve chosen a large portion to cover today. We have discussed false teachers for the last several weeks and have had much to say about them. In this final portion of chapter 2, if we back up so to speak and look at the large picture I think we can get a better idea of the strong feelings Peter had about those who mishandle the word of God and pass themselves off as spiritual leaders; indeed, since the scriptures are God-breathed, this shows us how God views these deceivers.
BRASH AND COCKY
Let’s get something said right at the outset, that I have already touched on in a previous sermon but bears repeating.
These people are not ignorant of what they are doing. They are not self-deceived and therefore to be pitied. A sincere preacher of God’s Word can be wrong. A true believer can be deceived for a time, but when someone comes along with the truth, because of the Holy Spirit in him he will recognize his error and correct it.
But these are predators, they are deliberately deceptive and they can smell simple-minded gullible people like a wolf can detect a crippled rabbit from a quarter of a mile away.
Please be assured that it was not my intention to demean the noble wolf in drawing that comparison.
Going now to these terms the Apostle uses; they are daring and self-willed.
By ‘daring’ he does not mean like the swashbuckling hero of a Robin Hood story. He means brazen, reckless, puffed up.
Notice that he uses these terms in connection with the audacious way they speak of spirits. They mock demons, claim to have authority and power over them, making a flashy demonstration of ordering them around so they can draw attention to themselves.
A biblical example of these pretenders would be the seven sons of Sceva, mentioned in Acts 19, who tried to cast a demon out of a man in their own authority.
The demon, speaking from its host, said, “Jesus I recognize, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” and proceeded to thrash them soundly.
The modern day charlatans who are claiming to cast out evil spirits in most cases are not even dealing with people who need exorcism. It’s probably the only reason they aren’t being thrashed.
When some loud-mouth with a big hairdo ‘casts out’ demons of gambling and fingernail biting it might be very entertaining for the crowd they’ve drawn, but there is nothing happening on a spiritual level whatsoever.
A woman approached a well-known preacher who had just returned from the mission field in a third world country where occult worship was wide-spread and he had seen a great deal of actual deliverances from demon possession in the power of the Holy Spirit. He had preached on that subject, telling stories of the things he had seen there. The woman proudly announced that she had recently attended another man’s ‘deliverance service’ and been delivered of a demon of overeating. The preacher smiled and said, ‘Miss, I want to warn you about something.