Summary: The correlation between evil and a bent to destroy is demonstrated in the sinister nature of false teachers within the church.
Pigs and Dogs
1. Our daughter Hannah loved animals. At the age of 12 or so, she began helping out Polly at her exotic animal farm.
2. We had some strange pets because of this: a Pantagonian cavvy, also known as a Marah. Luke had a small possum that never even got as large as a guinea pig; we had doves and parakeets, flying squirrels and snakes; mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters; we had other baby animals on loan for bottle feeding, and, for the better part of a year, we had a pot-bellied pig in the side yard.
3. Some animals do good in captivity, others do not. It depends upon their nature. You can train an animal to some degree, but you can’t change its nature. Only God can change one’s nature.
4. The false teachers Peter addresses professed a change in nature through the new birth, but they were still unsaved and still not reconciled to God.
Main Idea: The correlation between evil and a bent to destroy is demonstrated in the sinister nature of false teachers within the church.
I. They Have Image Without Godly SUBSTANCE (17-18a)
A. Promising but not DELIVERING (17a)
1. What is the difference between substance and image…a spring and water
2. They promise wealth, health, a constantly happy life, spiritual secrets and insights…
3. Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff … is a former stock broker, investment adviser, non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of what has been described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff was a prominent …philanthropist,[… who served on boards of nonprofit institutions — many of which entrusted his firm with their endowments. [source: Wikipedia]
4. He had over 170 billion dollars under his control…
B. The have a reservation in HELL (17b)
1. Hell is a spiritual and eternal state characterized by fire and darkness
2. Not some invention to scare into conformity…destiny of false teachers
C. Great VERBAL skills (18a)
• During my first year of ministry here, I asked a hypothetical question: if you had the choice of attending a church where the pastor believed and taught the Bible but was dry and not a very good speaker, or a church where the pastor believed that the Bible contained many errors but was dynamic, moving, and held you glued to your seat, which church would you attend.
• A number of people said, "the latter." I thought to myself, "Wow, Vasicek, you have your work cut out for you."
• Truth and integrity matters more than salesmanship.
Application: Are our priorities substance or image? Beautiful house or great home? Best clothes or well dressed spiritually inside?
II. They Enslave SEEKERS (18b-19)
A. They appeal to their sinful DESIRES (18a)
1. Folks, the Bible applies to all of life, since all of life is a stewardship
2. But its focus is our relationship to God and spiritual maturity
B. They victimize those without a FOUNDATION (18b)
1. Kids in English class often say, "What do I need this for?"
2. The church is setting itself up for a disaster, because we have allowed so many people to go being mindless and ignorant:
• Turn to Ephesians 4:11-15 with me…
• Note the job of pastor/teachers and note your job as learners
• Like a teacher in a school, I need to ask you, "Did you come to church prepared to learn?"
C. They confuse SLAVERY with freedom (19)
• Children really want to be disciplined, to have consistent structure -- though they gripe against it. It makes them secure and stable, and keeps them from making foolish choices.
• Being addicted is a form of slavery, but false teachers -no attempt to break free.
Application: Do we consider the effect of our example on others? Do our loves give other believers permission to dive in for the Lord, or do they reinforce, "Nobody really takes all that stuff too seriously?"
III. They and Those Who Follow Them Are WORSE Off Than Ever (20-22)
A. Their "Christianity" was short-lived (20a)
Matthew 13:18-23, "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."