"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."
What makes being a defender of the faith so challenging is not only the false religions, false Christians, but because tolerance has become the chief virtue of our culture and since the culture always creeps into the church, the church today is decidedly against anything that hints judgement or criticism.
It would seem today, that love and correct doctrine are somehow directly opposed to one another. And, if we have to choose, we take love and ignore doctrinal error. The Christian culture has followed in the footsteps of our morally deficient worldly culture by mistaking God’s grace to mean that we get a daily allotment of free passes for sin. Over the years, I have been repeatedly criticized for not understanding God's grace, because of my firm position that a lifestyle of sin is evidence that we are not truly saved.
This only enforces my belief that we must not only be on guard against erroneous theology, but also against any teaching that casually encourages us to tolerate any form of sin. It is heartless to encourage people to go about their daily lives as though their very souls were not at stake, that God is somehow ok with their sin, even though His Word strongly opposes it. Divine judgment is coming upon those who deny Christ in this way.
Let us pray
Father, we thank You for Your Word for us today. Even though it's hard to hear, we are so grateful for Your sound instruction. Thank You for warning us. Lord, we know that You hate sin, You despise those who misrepresent the truth, we know that the church is not immune to false teachers. Help us to keep ourselves rooted and grounded in the Word, lest be carried away in error.
Lord, we pray for those who live immorally, unrighteously, and deny His Lordship, who live according to the flesh, not the spirit, may they turn to You, cry out in full repentance, and submit to the sovereign rule of Christ.
In Jesus' name we pray
Today's Message: The Dangers Of False Teachers
I have walked through the streets of Las Vegas, New Orleans, and other places like these where the presence and celebration of sinful lifestyles surrounds you, it tends to leave one feeling dirty. The depravity places a heavy burden on my heart. Being consumed by the defilement of sin, they bring swift destruction upon themselves.
In His Word, God has always had strong words for those who live ungodly lives. But the strongest words of all are reserved for those who teach and live that way and claim they represent God. I realized that as a pastor, the importance of Peter's message all the more and my responsibility to teach you and remind you of this importance!
Open your Bibles with me to II Peter chapter 2. Our passage runs from 10b through verse 22, which is the rest of this chapter. I want to warn you, that Peter does not hold back, in a steady divine blast, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in some ways leaves the reader almost breathless. Today, we'll be looking at verses 10b through 14.
I invite you to follow along with as I read verses 10b through 22, to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God is saying to us. Listen for the voice of our Lord. II Peter 2:10b-22.
"Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 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, 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, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 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.
These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 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, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 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. 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. 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."
As we have noted previously, Peter's goal was to arm us in defense against false teachers, however, its note worthy that we do not know specifically who Peter has in mind, or what their theology was. We can surmise that they were teaching a "You can live anyway you want" theology. But, by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, that wasn't given to us, so we can't be too specific about their doctrine. We do know that these words become generally applicable to false teachers.
In verse 12, Peter uses some very strong language, speaking on behalf of God, he calls the false prophets unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed. Peter is saying these false teacher act on self indulgence, driven by the instincts of their own passion, like animals who have no rational capability. They make no intellectual contribution to the life of man. The purpose of their existence is to be killed, at whatever point they are at in the food chain, they die to sustain the life of another creature.
Since his second calling to the ministry after his defection, Peter has taken his pastoral duties very seriously. Peter is irate about these false shepherds who are poisoning the flock. So, you have the man of God exhibiting a pastoral passion for truth and holiness, a true shepherd who is concerned about protecting his flock against these false shepherds who intent is to poison and destroy them.
Starting at 10b, allow me to read a few verses to you. I'd like you to notice their presumption. "Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 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, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong."
The text reveals something about their attitude, their unbelievable self-willed presumption. They are bold, audacious and brazen, daring to exalt themselves. In other words, they give no thought to the consequence of what they're doing or the God their doing it against. They give no thought to the ramification which are sure to come. They are obstinate and will stop at nothing. To illustrate just how presumptuous they are he says "they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties." The word "revile" means to speak evil of, to blaspheme. In the context, they are angelic majesties.
As we'll see in the next verse, its a reference to fallen angels, this is a reference to demons. "whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord." How can demons be called doxa? Though they are fallen angels, in the supernatural world that has a dignity and a transcendent quality about it that is beyond us. There is still a glorious persona that is possessed even by fallen angels. In Ephesians 6, Paul calls them principalities and powers and rulers, spiritual beings in high places. There is a certain majesty that belongs to angels even though they're fallen. Just as there is a dignity in the image of God that belongs to man, even though man has fallen.
False teachers underestimate the power of Satan and they underestimate the dignity of the host of angelic majesties, they think they are stronger than demons. Because they believe themselves to be invincible, they assume there to be no retaliation. It's a form of reviling. I find it interesting that holy angels don't do to demons who are inferior to them, what false teachers do to demons who are, in fact, superior to them.
Even angels do not dare to impugn their inferiors in such terms in the Lord's presence. Yet, false teachers do not hesitate to bring vituperative accusations against their superiors. I'm sure you, like I have, have seen enough of these TV preachers, to know that some of the charlatans on there boldly proclaim that they are going to stomp on the devil and bind all the demons. Then, the audience applauds such daring language against the devil.
Look at Jude 8-10, "Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you! But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed." Again, we see the phrase "like unreasoning animals." Notice, it says "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Michael would not revile with a railing judgment the devil himself.
Now, look at Zechariah 3:1-2, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" When the prophet saw Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, representing his and Israel’s sins. Satan stood there to accuse Joshua. But rather than rebuking the devil directly, even the angel of the Lord appealed to the Lord to rebuke Satan.
False teachers are so bold, they're not afraid to do what holy angels are afraid to do. Verse 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" The fact that they revile and blaspheme and speak evil indicates that they don't have any sense. Then, Peter goes beyond that and says "reviling where they have no knowledge."
In other words, they're stupid, they don't even know what they're talking about. Animals are born as creatures of instinct, not intellectual reasoning. Peter puts these false teachers in the category with animals because they are slaves of instinct, their physical passion fails to reason with the truth, which shows their animal level reasoning. At the end of verse 12, he says they "will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed." They're going to get caught up in their own trap. When God consumes the world, and all the creatures that are on it, He's going to consume them too!
He sums it all up in verse 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" They have harmed others by their unbridled lusts; God will inflict harm on them. In other words, they're going to get what they deserve in the end. The man who dedicates himself to these things is seeking for pleasure, and for a while, he may enjoy what he calls pleasure, that is until it destroys his mind, and his health, then he begins to experience hell while he's still upon the earth.
Instead of getting paid, they pay dearly with their lives, that's the point. Normally sinners do their debauchery at night, but the false teachers, "they count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime." With obvious disgust, Peter says "They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions." Then, he adds "as they carouse with you." The Greek verb "suneuócheomai,"means to feast together. They eat with you, like a church pot luck or public banquet.
II John 9-11 says "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds."
In verse 14, he says, want to know what they're like on the inside? "Having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children." "Eyes full of adultery" means they have lost total moral control, in their eyes, every woman is an adulteress. Being driven by lust, they see a potential adulteress in every woman. They literally cannot stop themselves.
By the way, this is a clear insight into sin. It cannot be turned off and it cannot be satisfied, so, you just go deeper and deeper into sin until it finally destroys you. It would be bad enough to behave like this themselves, but they "entice unstable souls." meaning they get other people to behave as they do. "Enticing," is the Greek verb "deleazó," which means to catch with bait, to lure. They prey on the weak, who are new in the faith, or those who haven't come to Christ yet.
Then, he says "having a heart trained in greed." Sex and greed always go together with false teachers. Go back to verses 2-3, "Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words."
The word "trained," is the word "gumnaz," from which we get the word gymnasium. It's an athletic term. The idea here is, these guys have worked out to get their hearts in shape for greed They have fully trained hearts for greed, they want sexual favors, they want money and they want power. They are "accursed children," that’s a Hebrew way of saying, "they are under God’s curse, bound for hell." And again you sense his disgust, sort of a sanctified rage.
Remember, we're not just talking about sinners, but false teachers and false prophets. The shocking part is, that's only the beginning of the description. We'll get to more next time when we meet. You don't want to miss it, it will leave you breathless.
We've often heard "Let go and let God." I believe a better phrase would be "Trust God, then get moving." God has designed it so that we work in partnership with Him. We are 100% responsible to grow in discipleship and we are 100% dependent on the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and gives us the grace to grow. Faith is the foundation. If you don’t have faith, you won’t be able to build on anything of value.
However, we must be committed to our spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic. I've known many people who have been in church more years than I've been alive and still, they're spiritual babies.
Our problem is our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. We all make choices every day, those choices will either lead to us godliness or ungodliness. You have to know God if you want to grow in God. Faith doesn’t just stand around with its hands in its pockets.
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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