- Vs. 1b, 2, 3a What is false teaching
- Vs. 1c, 3b How do we avoid following them
As we began the second chapter we noted a change in Peter’s address to these Christians whom he wanted to have confidence in the Word of God. He first emphasizing the positives by stating the uniqueness of Devine inspiration as he wrote describing:
- What Prophecy is
- Who is a Prophet
- How we can appropriate prophecy in order the mature spiritually
Peter in the second chapter address this from the negative as he looks at the inadequacies of false teaching. The purpose of this is alter believers from following the “destructive heresies” of false teachers. For the purpose of our investigation, I continued using Peter’s outline as we also learn a threefold aspect of what it constitutes:
- Who is a false teacher: Vs. 1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.”
- What is false teaching: Vs. 1b, 2, 3a “Destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,…..And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed…. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words…”
- How do we avoid following them: Vs.1c, 3b“Bring on themselves swift destruction…For a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
By way of review Peter revealed three things about “false teachers”:
- But there were also false prophets…even as there will be false teachers: The Greek words indicate that their position wasn’t by God’s calling but by self-appointment. God never “drafted them into their calling” they sought it out and pushed themselves into it!
- Who secretly bring in: Their false teaching was alongside truth as they were cleaver in the distribution of false teaching. The word used in the Greek for “secretly” is one in the Greek that describes a spy or traitor. What this tells us is that such false teaching was not by ignorance nor accident but rather a deliberate introduction to pass along side of truths, lies!
- Destructive heresies: The Greek word “destructive” speaks of the loss of everything that makes human existence worthwhile. Whereas the word “heresies” is a Greek word that means a choice of an opinion contrary to what is usually received. Peter gives an example of the most serious heretical teaching that these false teachers peddled when he says that they even “denied the Lord who bought them.” They denied the cross of Jesus as being necessary for atonement for their sins.
We then took a detour to address where this began in those that would teach such lies. It comes from “an inadequate view of the Person and work of Jesus combined with a belief that their own personal sin doesn’t necessitate the need for the blood of Jesus.” The defective thought is NOT relegated in being wrong about God’s character alone but in NOT understanding who Jesus is in the first place! The essence of heresy can be in having the wrong characteristic about God above or to the exclusion of the RIGHT ONE. What is missing in false teaching is the location of where you view Godly attributes! They can only be understood when we see them from heaven from the very throne of God! If we are to know the depths of God’s love, mercy, and humility we can only truly do so from the heights of His holiness! No holiness, no sin; no sin, no Savior!!!! Redemption becomes unnecessary and the ministry of Jesus upon the cross an unwelcomed tragedy. Peter’s statement is that heresy comes from those who have no vision of God’s holiness and as such have no perception of their need for Jesus’ atonement! Whatever dethrones or disparages the holiness of Jesus will impair and impoverish the person who does! Anything that cheapens Jesus will make us worthless, any teaching that places Jesus as anything less then everything denies Him and is a destructive heresy!
Vs. 1b, 2, 3a What is false teaching
- The first thing we need to realize that all false teaching is “progressive” as it will eventually “deny the Lord who bought them”. False teaching starts slowly lessoning our focus upon the character and nature of God.
- It can be as simple as an over emphasis upon the Church and what we are doing for God as it removes our attention away from Jesus and what He has done for us and in so doing denies Him being our everything.
- It can also find a foothold be emphasizing Jesus’ “Love” or other attributes while barley mentioning His holiness.
- It can also come in by teaching and churches that place over emphasis upon “end times” scenarios, the gifts of the Spirit, politics, or the state of the fallen world. While not being false teaching or things that we may disagree with it will intime lead to false teaching because such teaching neglects the ONLY essential, Jesus! And when Jesus is “consistently absent” other things will be missing as well such as our need for His sacrifice and that will be replaced by our faithfulness instead of His! Jesus’ atonement will become, in time, obsolete and antiquated.
None of the above teachings offer any liberation from sin neither do they offer any attainment for a mature Christian life. Teaching that avoids the unique holiness of Jesus and doesn’t reserve for Him the supreme and sovereign place in redemption, if not already false, will eventually lead to that which is a destructive heresy. It becomes nothing more than “spiritualism” that has little or nothing to do with Jesus our LORD. The church has become confused by thinking that teaching from the Bible is the same as teaching THROUGH the Bible. We Christians need to listen with hearts that ask of what they hear from the pulpit:
- What are they saying about our exalted Lord and Savior Jesus?
- Do they lesson His importance?
- Do them dim His glory by placing something in front of Him?
If they do then they are denying the Lord who bought us!
2. “And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” The second thing we need to realize is that such false teaching will be “popular”. It is a sad reality that false teaching will be numerically far more popular than the truth about Jesus. People seem always to be directed towards “numbers” and popularity and these gives a broader path to false teaching then Biblical truth! The concept is that “popularity” means “credibility” and anointing! Apparently the church needs to revisit the words of Jesus when He said in Matt 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
3. “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words.” The third thing we see is that false teaching comes in by way of appealing to our flesh. The Greek word “covetousness” means a “greedy desire to have more”. The word “exploit you” in the Greek means to make merchandize of you, or to trade you. It is easy to see that the false teaching of the “property teachers” fits this but isn’t just limited to that! There is only ONE PERSON we should ever be greedy to have more of is Jesus! Such false teaching is suited and molded for the fleshly imaginations as well as materialism.
Vs. 1c, 3b How do we avoid following them
Finally, based Vs.1c, 3b“Bring on themselves swift destruction…For a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. We can avoid false teaching by remembering three things:
- First, that God will judge those who teach such lies. Those that teach “Destructive heresies” “Bring on themselves swift destruction” the outcome of false teaching far exceeds the temporary benefits that the lies promise! We need to remember that this is not our heaven, and we receive no lasting benefit from sacrificing the eternal at the altar of the temporary!
- Second, by remembering that what is “certain” is the judgment upon false teachers. “For a long time, their judgment has not been idle”. Often times we tend to forget that God’s promises are the only thing that is certain and fixed!
- Finally, by remembering that “their destruction does not slumber”! Again, we tend to think that if we follow after such lies that we will have time to get it right, but we don’t know that. Also following such lies will only hinder the possibilities of our own spiritual growth and maturity!