Summary: False teachers are reckless and do not fear the consequences of their behavior. For some, ethics mean nothing to them.
Faith Without Ethics Is Worse Than Dead
1. As Christians, we have to balance many truths. On the one hand, we are all sinners and need to learn to forgive others and move on. On the other hand, we need to hold our leaders to godly standards and sound doctrine and must safeguard our families, churches, and testimonies.
2. Expecting our fellow Christians to live ethically is appropriate.
3. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, ethics is, "The science of morals, or of human duty… Applied ethics presents a scheme of action applicable to the various relations of human life and labor, and sets forth what the rights and duties are which are involved in these relations…"
4, False teachers can be divided into a variety of categories. Some advocate wrong beliefs but godly ethics. Some advocate right beliefs but ungodly ethics. Some advocate both wrong beliefs and ungodly ethics.
5. Peter had been preaching out against false teachers who taught error, "denying the only Lord who bought them." Now he is focusing in on false teachers who lived outside of the fear of God and violated God's principles for behavior.
Main Idea: False teachers are reckless and do not fear the consequences of their behavior. For some, ethics mean nothing to them.
I. The Consequence is PAY BACK (13a, 14c)
A. God's JUSTICE (13a)
• None of us want God's justice; if God dealt with us justly, we would all be lost; but, because of His grace and the provision He made for us in Jesus Christ, we escape His justice and enjoy His love , mercy, and grace. But false teachers will experience only His justice!
• A young lady who occasionally walked through the park after work, stopped to have her picture taken by a photographer on this particular day. She was very excited about her picture being taken. As she walked out of the park, she looked at the Polaroid picture in total amazement. She turned and headed back to the cameraman. When she got their she stated, "This is not right! This is not right! You have done me no justice!" The photographer looked at the picture and looked at her and stated, "Miss, you don’t need justice, what you need is mercy." [Source: Sermon Central]
1. Paid back: by WHOM?
2. Finding CONSOLATION in God's justice
• Even the souls under the altar in heaven are crying out for God to take vengeance.
B. ACCURSED (14c)
When God curses, inherent in the curse is the power to carry out the sentence of the curse. The same is true when God blesses a person.
II. They Are RECKLESS and Destructive (13b-14a)
A. Blots and BLEMISHES
Some of you are teenagers, but those of us who are older can remember the blessings of acne. There were two pimples that were particularly embarrassing: a large one on the tip of you nose that made you look like W.C. Fields, and the third "eye" in the middle of the forehead. First century believers understood what a blemish was, too.
B. PLEASURE is everything
This view is called "Hedonism," a school of ethics which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good…
1. Paul had to oppose the OPPOSITE extreme
In Colossians, Paul had to address legalism, the adding of all sorts of silly rules in an attempt to curb sinful ways, the more is better philosophy.
2. We need a BALANCED view of pleasure
It is normal to seek pleasure; indeed, eternal life means eternal pleasure at God's side:
Psalm 16:11, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
There are legitimate pleasures, illegitimate pleasures, and some that are not so clear. God wants us to enjoy legitimate pleasures, but even good pleasures can displace our walk with God; thus we are tempted to be among those who are "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." For example, sports bring many people pleasure, but they can also be prioritized over God. Wholesome art, cooking, hunting, music, fishing, sewing, scrap-booking, playing games -- these can be great past times and worthy pursuits -- if God is first in our lives.
D. MANIPULATING the weak
God gave us things to use and people to care for; sometimes, we care for our things and use people.
III. They Are MATERIALISTIC (14b-16)
A. Experts in GREED
1. Never SATISFIED for long
2. Many SINS stem from greed
B. BALAAM is their example
Whosoever possesses these three qualities belongs to the disciples of Abraham our father: a generous eye, a humble spirit, and a meek soul. But he who possesses the three opposite qualities--an evil eye, a proud spirit, and a haughty soul--is of the disciples of Balaam the wicked.