Friday, September 15, 2006

September 15, 2006 - 2 Peter 2:1-3

Peter, in this chapter, takes a very hard view of those who were causing internal harm to the Church. In his first letter he dealt mainly with the persecutions which came from outside the fellowship of God's people. Now he is looking inside to what is perhaps the greatest danger which confronts the movement of Christianity around the world. These are the false teachers who, for one reason or another, begin to spread false teachings around among the people of God. They are smart, world wise, and very subtle in their error. Peter’s message was relevant to the people of his day and is especially relevant for us today.

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Ψευδοπροφήτης – pseudo-prophets - “likely prophets who are false, but so near the true ones that it is difficult to distinguish them from the real prophets”

This long translation is necessary in order to understand the full meaning of the word. They are also easily mistaken for the real one because they are so near like the real prophet. A radically false prophet would be easily spotted, but one who is so near the real prophet that it is difficult to tell the difference often slips by the one not in tune with God’s word.

A member of the government's secret service was telling of his work against counterfeit money one day. He passed around some of the examples he had recovered in many of the raids that the service had made. Some were so obviously false that it was difficult to tell how a person could be so easily taken in. Others were extraordinarily good and could only be really spotted by an expert. The listeners were surprised at the tremendous amount of money which turned out to be bogus. It was in the several millions of dollars in the country's fourth largest city.

When he asked for questions and comments, one man commented that the agent would have to study the counterfeits very closely in order to be able to spot the counterfeits. The surprising answer was, “We only have to study very closely the real thing, then it is easier to spot that which is counterfeit.

This is a basic, elemental truth which applies also to the unmasking of the “false prophet” and the “false teacher”. Listen carefully, with an ear for sound doctrine, and you just might be surprised who the false teachers are. The teacher that tells you that doctrine is not important is a false teacher. The teacher that would like the church inside to become more like the world outside in order to attract people is a false teacher. The seeker friendly, purpose driven churches of today are teaching the kind of gospel that tickles the ear and makes you feel warm inside, very different from the gospel preached and taught by Peter and the other apostles.

And I would like to carry this in application a bit further. The same applies to the music that we play and sing in our worship service. If the music we call Christian does not teach the truth of the gospel then it is false teaching and the person leading it is a false teacher. A fellow by the name Scott Hill, pastor and chief musician at Murrieta Valley Church in California and contributor to the Fide-o blog stated the following: “To sing songs in corporate worship for any other reason, other than the desire to teach the great truths of scripture, edify one another, and testify to what God has done for a congregation is a dangerous, dangerous game. Picking a song because of its popularity or its ease of use has no place in corporate worship. To flippantly choose a song without thoroughly checking its accuracy is no different than stepping to the mic to preach error. If you choose a song that teaches error then you have just taught that same error to your congregation. Do you think God will hold you responsible? I do.” Oh, how our worship leaders need to give this consideration before allowing secular music and this candy coated so called “Christian” music played and sung in worship.

Ψευδοδιδάσκαλος – pseudo –teachers - Same as the false prophet.

Παρεισάγω - to introduce or bring in secretly or craftily. The exact meaning of the verb is “to bring in by the side” as if it would pass inspection and then take the place of what was there before. Something false very seldom attacks the truth head on. It usually attacks obliquely in order to work its way in without notice. Beware, just because it’s taught in the church does not mean that it is true. Example, there is a book titled “Wild at Heart” that has been widely accepted as truth in many churches today. The author appears to be an open theist and teaches that God is a risk taker. God is absolutely sovereign and to teach that God is a risk taker diminishes God and removes Him from His throne and elevates man. It is heresy!

αiρεσις – heresies – sects – factions – divisions. A heresy is any teaching/belief that diminishes Jesus and elevates something or someone above Him.

A word of caution. This does not mean that we are to measure everything that we are taught by what our church or denomination teaches. This also does not mean that we should measure everything by what a favorite preacher in church, over radio, or over television espouses. What it means is that WE are, RESPONSIBLE for letting the Holy Spirit guide us in a personal study of the Scriptures in order to be able to tell what is true and what is false, repeat, a PERSONAL STUDY. We will stand or fall on what we ourselves believe, so it is incumbent upon us as individuals to keep keen enough in the Scriptures in order to “rightly divide the Word of Truth”.

2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

aσέλγεια - Debauchery, licentiousness, lewdness, be unrestrained in moral attitudes and behaviors (Mk 7:22; Ro 13:13; 2Co 12:21; Gal 5:19; Eph 4:19; 1Pe 4:3; 2Pe 2:2, 7, 18; Jude 4) This is a word which is often used to describe the way people can push to extreme the base desires of sin. Evidently part of the "heresies" which Peter is writing against has to do with a very base life-style being practiced and justified while, at the same time, claim to be Christian. They carried to extreme the idea of “Christian freedom”. We most often hear this error preached by way of the statement, “I can commit any sin I want to as a Christian, and still go to heaven”. There needs to be a very close examination of the “want to” of such teaching.

When the church inside, looks like the world outside, there will be less of a change in people’s lives. When the lives of the people of the church take on the likeness of the lives of the world outside then God is not in it. It will attract a lot of people, the message and the music will be popular but it will not be of God. Jesus turned to the multitudes and said “If any man wishes to follow after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Not a popular thing to say and I imagine that a great majority of the multitude turned and walked away.

aλήθεια - the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians.

βλασφημέω - future, passive indicative verb which means “to blaspheme”. Taking the tense into consideration shows that this "blaspheming" will continue to be a problem into the future. The victim of all of this is the TRUTH.

3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Here we get to the root of the problem. It’s greed.

Πλεονεξία – Greediness, Covetousness, Exploitation

Eμπορεύομαι – Cheat, be in business, carry on commerce. It is the Greek word from which we get our word “emporium”. In its best sense it means “to travel for the purpose of doing business”. In the sense here, which is bad, it means “to make a gain of” or “to exploit”. Notice that Peter is telling his readers that they were the victims of the exploitation of the false teachers.

The judgment of the false teachers is not going to be long in coming. Judgment is not just something which will happen in the far future. It is going on all the time. Those who deal so lightly and treacherously with the only thing which can set people free, God's Truth, do not have to wait for the end time to know God's judgment. They stand in jeopardy every moment.

We see here that Peter does not view the false teachers as Christians who have strayed slightly from their appointed place in God's Kingdom. Damnation is only for those who are God's enemies. It is not asleep. It is wide awake and in operation in the moment.

It would be well to take note that the word “destruction” has occurred three times in these first three verses. If there is any wonder about the way Peter feels, it should be dispelled. He feels that the problem of false teachers is very critical and must be addressed by the churches.

I will close this study with words spoken recently by Dr. Donald McCall (Mac) Brunson at the September 12 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In his sermon he made three points worth our consideration:

First, Christians have depreciated doctrine in exchange for shallow emotionalism. It is often difficult to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians today because their beliefs and lifestyles are virtually identical, Brunson said,"We've got all kinds of mess that's going on in the church today," he said. "The gap is so small between the believer and the unbeliever that you can hardly distinguish between the two."

Many Christians have even bought into the popular but deadly notion that truth is relative, Brunson said."By claiming the authority to determine right from wrong, we crown ourselves the kings and queens of reality, yet we have no authority," he said. "We constantly pay the price for the arrogance of believing and acting like we are in control of our destiny and experience. What an affront it is to God for us to claim His name and protection but to resist His moral truths on the basis of human feelings."

Second, Christians have abandoned the absolutes of God's Word and seek to gain approval from the world, he said. Scripture pictures the Christian holding the Word of God with one hand and holding back the world with the other hand, Brunson said. "[The world has] No discernment whatsoever," he said. "We have abandoned absolute truth. We don't adhere to ancient texts. We do what we feel led to do."

Third, Brunson said many Christians have become infatuated with influence and are preoccupied with prestige. This trend should be of particular concern to the Southern Baptist Convention because many in the denomination are excessively concerned with growing big churches and gaining notoriety, Brunson said. Such attitudes differ greatly from Jesus' teachings in Scripture, he said."We want a crowd, but you go and find me in the Gospels where Jesus' bottom line was a crowd," Brunson said.

Recover doctrine of discernment, Brunson tells SBTS studentsSeptember 14, 2006By David Roach

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles,


Jason E. Robertson said...

His name is Scott Hill.

reformedlawless said...

My apologies for the wrong name. We have a Scott Hall who is one of the pastors in our church.