Summary: What a false teacher looks like
2 Peter 2 - May 6, 2012
Turn with me this morning to the book of 2 Peter, chapter 2. We have been going through this book that we find at the end of the NT, five books before Revelation, the last book of the Bible. It is written by Peter, the bold fisherman who ended up leaving his nets and following Christ. And we saw last week that in 3:1, Peter is writing to REMIND us of things that we already know to be true, because we need to keep them in the forefront of our thinking. He says, Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
Picture a scenario with me as we get started. It is a foggy winter night, and it has been sleeting for about an hour. Your teenager comes to you and says you told them they could borrow the car and go rollerskating. As they are headed for the door, what do you say? You instantly start to tell them to wear their seat belt, drive slowly, pay attention because the roads are icy.
Why do we do that? Because we want them to remember the dangers at hand. Here in 2 Peter 2, Peter is reminding us of the dangers at hand in the church. He is writing to remind us of things we know to be true. He reminds us that we need to go beyond just being comfortable in being a Christian, and
• we need to add to our faith 7 different qualities - I call them spiritual One-a-days. He reminds us that
• the Lord is returning - and we need to look for His return constantly. Peter reminds us that
• the OT prophets are reliable, and we can rely on what the scriptures record for us. But then Peter goes on to remind us in chapter 2 that
• there are also false prophets out there. So we need to beware, to take heed, to compare the teaching we hear to the scriptures we possess. Let’s see what Peter has to say in chapter 2. Read 2:1-3:1 Pray
Peter gives us encouragement in chapter 1 - we can rely on the prophets of old. But in chapter 2 he gives us a warning: there will always be false prophets. There were false prophets in the OT - in 1 Kings 22 we find the story of Micaiah. Jehoshaphat the King of Judah wanted to inquire of the Lord to find out if a battle would end well. All the King of Israel’s prophets told Jehoshaphat that the battle would end in great victory, but Micaiah, the one true prophet, told his the sorrowful outcome of the battle. It’s a fascinating story, read it for yourself in 1 Kings 22.
In the gospels, we find the words of Jesus, (Matt. 7:15) Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.
Here in 2 Peter, we see Peter going on to describe them for us. And even today, there are false prophets with us. All you have to do if flip through a few shows on the “religious” channel, and you will find some false prophets. Because they ARE there, and because they are DANGEROUS, we need to pay attention to what Peter has to say and take note of what a false teacher looks like. Peter gives us 7 descriptions that we want to think about today. First of all, the obvious characteristic, false teachers teach false doctrine.
1. Troubled Teaching - vs 1 - They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Peter gives a visual picture in verse 17 - These men are springs without water - Peter says it’s like going to the well to pull up the water, but there is no water there. Many people go to churches Sunday after Sunday expecting to hear the truth of God’s word, but instead hear only a “feel good” message - a self-help message - or stories to tug on our hearts - but what is strikingly absent is the word of God. Here at Bethel we always want the scripture to be the heart of the sermon. It doesn’t matter a hill of beans what I have to say - the only value of my words is to help you understand God’s words - that’s what’s truly important in life.
What would it look like to deny the sovereign Lord? In the first century, it was a heresy called Gnosticism. They said spirit was good and matter was evil. So they said Jesus wasn’t human, he only appeared human. They taught if you were part of their group, you would get a special secret knowledge. You could unlock hidden things, secrets of the universe. They were a secret group, sort of like the Freemasons. There’s a group that hasn’t been real popular in recent years like this: the Rosicrucians. The current popular fad of gnosticism is called Kaballah - it’s a blend of Judaism and mysticism and secrets and rituals. It’s all the fad with celebrities like Madonna. Today we also have the New Age Movement. The idea there are secret powers in crystals, pyramids, angels, auras, energy spots.