Summary: God is patient with the feeble-minded or the disadvantaged, but his wrath is boiling toward false teachers; they are carriers of a spiritual virus. Yet this infection can incubate within believers as wel -- and hinder God's will for our lives.
Fighting Off Spiritual Virus
2 Peter 2:10b-12
1. I remember hearing about computer viruses. Could a computer catch a germ?
2. I then learned that computer viruses were often malicious programs, developed by evil-doers, to destroy computers. They are often downloaded stealthily, without you knowing it. Perhaps opening an email attachment or surfing the web.
3. When you combine intelligent effort with evil and the craving to destroy, misery results. All of us want to make a difference, but some of us will feel like we make a difference by destroying, hurting, & irritating others. We can be that desperate to matter.
4. False teachers, often unknowingly inspired by Satan, do just that: they are out to destroy the truth of God's Word and they are out to keep believers from living in a godly fashion. They are being manipulated by the evil one and do not even know it.
5. God encourages leaders and Christians to hold a "no tolerance" position of false teaching, particularly in major and clear areas. Yet many Christians do not understand that God loves the victims of false teaching, but that false teaching is no minor matter.
6. As we resume our series in 2 Peter, we find Peter engaging in a tirade, a diatribe, a denunciation against false teachers. Peter is on the warpath, and almost throwing a fit. This diatribe, I believe, circulated within the churches before Peter adapted and edited it here in 2 Peter. Jude does the same sort of thing in his letter. So I am suggesting that this material was already somewhat familiar to Peter's original readers.
7. But there are applications to ourselves. We have a variety of germs on our tongues right now. Our immune system keeps them from taking over, but they try -- and sometimes they do. Even when we are healthy, we carry bacteria that have to be held at bay. False teachers have what we have -- only they have allowed it to take over.
Main Idea: God is patient with the feeble-minded or the disadvantaged, but his wrath is boiling toward false teachers; they are carriers of a spiritual virus. Yet this infection can incubate within believers as wel -- and hinder God's will for our lives.
What are the symptoms of those who carry this virus?
I. They Are Bold Because of ARROGANCE
A. Not afraid to SLANDER
1. Slander means to criticize falsely for the purpose of hurting someone else
2. Many people slander as part of recreation: they enjoy it; it makes them feel important.
3. The word "devil" means the slanderer, the one who accuses us…
4. James tells us:
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
4. Some people are the judge and jury about everyone and everything. People are often drawn to such know-it-alls, because they offer untested but interesting solutions to all the world's problems.
B. AUTHORITY issues
1. Only God has ultimate authority, and the only infallible way to determine God's will is where His Word, the Bible, speaks
2. But there are lesser authorities that we are to respect: parents (when we are children), government, supervisors, and church leaders. But when those authorities conflict with clear Scripture, we must be like the apostles when they disobeyed a gag order for preaching the Gospel: "We must obey God rather than men!" Acts 5:29
3. But even when we must disagree with human authorities based on divine authority, HOW we disagree is important: respectfully!
4. We also should respect the little people, and practice courtesy. We need to respect people in general. Authority-deficient people are into themselves!
After examining the paltry tips left by a church group, our waitress was not pleased. Looking toward my table, she grumbled, "These people come in with the Ten Commandments and a ten-dollar bill, and they don't break any of them!"
C. Application: Have I grappled with my INCOGNITO arrogance?
1. Just as false teachers hide their agendas in the church, so arrogance hides within our hearts; we all have it.
2. Deceitful heart syndrome, the idea that we are really better than they -- whoever they are -- or disregard for authority in general or the habit of forming opinions too quickly and hanging on to them too tightly or making criticism a habit and even a form of recreation.
3. How does arrogance show itself in your life? If you don't know, you might have an especially good case of it!