II Peter 2:1-3

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

THE DANGERS OF FALSE TEACHERS

INTRODUCTION:

 

Many people are really very silly. They seem to have no sense. Some do not seem to know enough to come in out of the rain. Some seem to think that they can play around with fire and not get burned. But when it comes to theological matters, they really show their foolishness. One of the craziest notions that people have is that it does not really matter what you believe as long as you sincerely believe it. Now, if you will stop and think about that for just a second or two, you will have to conclude that this is just plain crazy. If you will ask yourself how people judge a pastor, or an evangelist, even in fundamental circles, you will be forced to conclude that all too often Biblical criteria are not used. They look at his appearance. They look at his training. Did he attend seminary? They look at his age. Is he friendly? Does he attend the Ladies’ Aid meetings? Does he spend all his time visiting or counseling? Is he diplomatic? Is he the grandfatherly type who would never hurt so much as a fly? Does he make people feel comfortable in church? Is he politically correct? Is he entertaining? Does he just preach up a storm but really not say anything? Is he like a baby who does a lot of screaming but has no content?

 

A real Bible-preaching pastor is a different breed. He doesn’t worry about academic credentials. He is concerned about performance. He is concerned about whether a man teaches the Word of God faithfully and accurately. A real Bible-believing pastor doesn’t get terribly excited about appearance, although he ought to try to do the most with what he has. A real Bible-believing pastor is convicted that he must speak out against sin and expose it. He is militant against sin. He is not concerned about entertaining his people. He preaches the Word of God and lets the chips fall where they may. He desires to bring people under conviction in church so that these people might be saved because he believes in an eternal hell which will be filled with people who don’t have to go there. He preaches hard against sin in the lives of believers because he believes in the judgment seat of Christ and wants his people to straighten their lives out with the Lord.

 

In II Peter 2:1-3 , we see some things the Scripture has to say regarding false teachers. Peter advises his readers that false teachers will come just as false prophets came in Old Testament times. They will secretly sneak in their destructive heresies and will even deny Christ Who provided for their salvation. As a consequence, they will bring swift destruction upon themselves. Meanwhile, they will lead many into immorality, and they will bring the Lord’s work into disrepute. They will be characterized by covetousness; and through words that have been specially molded to suit their own ends, they will attempt to make merchandise of believers. God, however, will judge them.

 

II Peter 2:1-3 – (1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

    I.     BE FOUND IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES JUST AS FALSE PROPHETS WERE FOUND IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES – 2:1A

 

II Peter 2:1 a – But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you. . . .

 

Although Peter desired to remind his readers of some spiritual truths, he knew that Satan would be attempting to confuse these same believers. For this reason Satan had sent false prophets in the past, and in the future he will send false teachers.

 

But indicates that Peter is making a mild shift in thinking from emphasizing some of the truths of the Christian faith to a warning about false teachers who would be coming.

 

There were also false prophets among the people suggests that, during the time that prophecy came when holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, there were also false prophets. These were people who claimed to be prophets but whose messages did not come from God. They may have been led by Satan or some demon, or they might have dreamed up their prophecies on their own.

 

Even as is as also.

 

Just as there were false prophets among the people there shall be false teachers among you.

 

Shall be is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future. There is no doubt about it, and it is only a matter of time before it happens.

 

They are false teachers in that they teach things that are false rather than the truth.

 

These false teachers shall be among you, i.e. among believers. They may even portray themselves as believers, and it is important that they be recognized as false teachers.

 

It is interesting that Peter used the term false teachers for those coming in the future rather than false prophets. Could it be because he knew that the gift of prophecy would cease with the completion of the New Testament in a few years as Paul had indicated in I Corinthians 13:8-10 ? Certainly, God the Holy Spirit, Who directed Peter in writing this epistle, knew.

                  So, how can you spot a false teacher?

 

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 – (1) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and (2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; (3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you [i.e. is testing you], to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

 

I Timothy 4:1-6 – (1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly [i.e. explicitly], that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [i.e. not teaching about demons, but teaching which comes from demons]; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (6) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

 

I John 4:1-3 – (1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

You can spot a false teacher because his teaching will not agree with the teaching of the Bible. However, you need to know what the Bible says in order to be able to do this. If someone teaches things which are contrary to what the Bible teaches, he is a false teacher.

We also see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

  II.     SECRETLY SNEAK IN THEIR FALSE TEACHINGS – 2:1B

 

II Peter 2:1 b – . . . Who privily shall bring in damnable heresies. . . .

 

Who refers to the false teachers and is such ones who, thus calling attention to their quality as those who privily shall bring in damnable heresies.

 

Privily shall bring in suggests will secretly (or maliciously) bring in, and the Greek text indicates that it is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future. There is absolutely no doubt about its occurring.

Next, we see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

 III.     TEACH DAMNABLE HERESIES – 2:1C

 

II Peter 2:1 c – . . . Who privily shall bring in damnable heresies. . . .

 

Damnable heresies are heresies which produce destruction or ruin, and heresies are opinions or dogmas which are held which are contrary to the truth as taught in the Bible and which tend to promote divisions or dissensions. These damnable heresies, therefore, are false teachings which result in an individual’s failure to trust Christ as Savior and which ultimately lead to eternal ruin in hell.

 

The word damnable is used four times in this passage and, although translated in three different ways, means the same thing all four times. It means waste or ruin when applied to things, but damnation, destruction, or perdition when used of persons and signifies their spiritual and eternal damnation, perdition, or destruction.

 

It is used in –

Verse 1 – in the phrase damnable heresies, which are heretical or divisive teachings that produce destruction or perdition.

 

It is also used in –

Verse 1 – in the phrase swift destruction, which speaks of eternal loss or ruin in hell

 

It is used a third time in –

Verse 2 – in the phrase pernicious ways, which speaks of their ways which produce destruction or perdition

 

It is used a fourth time in –

Verse 3 – in the phrase their damnation slumbereth not, which implies that their destruction in hell will be coming soon.

In addition, we see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

 IV.     DENY THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM – 2:1D

 

II Peter 2:1 d – . . . Even denying the Lord that bought them. . . .

 

This is the supreme heresy of these false teachers.

 

Even emphasizes the phrase which follows it as being the supreme heresy. It might instead suggest an even stronger emphatic in the sense of indeed, in fact, or certainly.

 

Denying suggests repudiating or disowning.

 

The Lord is not the word ordinarily used to refer to Christ. Instead, it is the word from which we derive our English term despot and means lord, master, or owner and suggests someone who possesses supreme authority. The reason He possesses supreme authority over them is that He bought them. This clearly indicates that the Lord in this verse is Christ.

 

Phrases in this context, such as and bring upon themselves swift destruction, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, their damnation slumbereth not, the Lord knoweth how to . . . reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished, and the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire, all suggest that these false teachers are unsaved people.

 

Yet, the Lord . . . bought them just as He bought all others when He died upon the cross paying for the sins of the whole world.

 

Bought suggests purchased. He paid the price for all the sins of all humanity with His blood. As a consequence, they belong to Him, even though they have rejected Him. There is no limited atonement here; nor is there any loss of salvation. These false teachers were never saved in the first place. There is no evidence of any change in their natures. In fact, the opposite is true. There is evidence that there never was a change in their natures as verse 22 indicates, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

 

Inasmuch as these false teachers are unsaved persons, this phrase is certainly hard on the Calvinist teaching of a limited atonement. The only way the atonement is limited is that it is limited to those who believe the gospel because the atonement is not applied to unbelievers.

 

Furthermore, we see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

   V.     BRING UPON THEMSELVES SWIFT DESTRUCTION – 2:1E

 

II Peter 2:1 e – . . . . And bring upon themselves swift destruction.

 

It implies that their destruction in hell is coming soon.

 

And bring upon themselves swift destruction indicates the end result which these false teachers can expect.

 

Destruction is the same word translated destructive earlier in this verse and implies eternal ruin or eternal loss.

 

Swift means coming soon or imminent. They will soon find themselves in eternal hell, and they will have brought it upon themselves.

Moreover, we see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

 VI.     LEAD MANY INTO DAMNATION OR DESTRUCTION IN HELL – 2:2A

 

II Peter 2:2 a – And many shall follow their pernicious ways. . . .

 

Unfortunately the false teachers will involve others in their heresies.

 

And introduces a continuation of the thought of verse 1.

 

Many is an unspecified, but significant, number of people.

 

What many shall follow is their pernicious ways or their destructions.

 

Shall follow is predictive of something which will definitely occur in the future and means will follow after or will obey.

 

Their pernicious ways uses the same word translated damnable and destruction in verse 1. The fact that it is plural in verse 2 suggests that Peter intends it to mean their destructive heresies mentioned in verse 1 as is indicated by the fact that their ways are described as pernicious, which implies injurious or destructive.

 

What a terrible thing for someone to follow a false teacher blindly all the way to hell! Look around you. Where do you think the Roman Catholics, the liberal Protestants, the liberal Baptists, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the other cults, as well as the Muslims and the Buddhists are leading their people? It’s not to heaven.

We also see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

VII.     BRING SLANDER UPON THE LORD’S WORK – 2:2B

 

II Peter 2:2 b – . . . By reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

 

By reason of whom is because of whom or on account of whom where whom refers to the false teachers.

 

The way of truth is literally the way of the truth. The before truth in the Greek text indicates that it is the truth of Christianity and the Christian life.

 

Shall be evil spoken of is a word which, when used of God or the things of God, means will be blasphemed. When used of men or of other things, however, it means will be defamed or will be reviled. The tense and mood of shall be evil spoken of indicate that it is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future. These false teachers by their lives as well as by their false teachings will bring a bad reputation upon Christianity before the unsaved. As a consequence, other people will speak evil of the truth of Christianity as a whole.

 

Unsaved people may not distinguish one religious group from another. Jehovah’s Witnesses are always knocking on their doors, so are Mormons, and so are a few Independent Baptists. People in their spiritual ignorance may not know the difference. Religious groups are always hassling people for money.

 

Something else we see is that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

VIII.   BE CHARACTERIZED BY COVETOUSNESS – 2:3A

 

II Peter 2:3 a – And through covetousness shall they . . . make merchandise of you. . . .

 

And indicates a continuation of the thought of verse 2. It might instead be used as an emphatic in the sense of indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

 

Through covetousness is by means of covetousness or, perhaps, because of covetousness. Covetousness is used in its ordinary sense of greediness, avarice, or insatiableness. They are greedy.

In addition, we see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

 IX.     USE FALSE WORDS – 2:3B

 

II Peter 2:3 b – . . . Shall they with feigned words. . . .

 

With feigned words tells how they will make merchandise of people.

 

Feigned means fabricated, made up, or false. It means that they are liars. They are not speaking the truth.

 

Words is used in the sense of assertions, declarations, or speeches.

We furthermore see that false teachers are dangerous because they will –

   X.     MAKE MERCHANDISE OF BELIEVERS – 2:3C

 

II Peter 2:3 c – . . . Shall they . . . make merchandise of you. . . .

 

Shall . . . make merchandise of you suggests will exploit you. Its tense and mood indicate that this is something which will definitely happen in the future.

 

You is the believers to whom Peter is writing and whom these false teachers will attempt to exploit.

 

They are going to try to get rich from believers.

 

Although we have seen that false teachers are dangerous, we also see that false teachers will –

 XI.     BE JUDGED BY GOD – 2:3D

 

II Peter 2:3 d – . . . Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

 

Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not suggests that it will not be long before these false teachers are judged.

 

Whose refers to the false teachers who are being described throughout this chapter.

 

Judgment is judicial verdict and, in the unfavorable sense demanded by this context, suggests condemnation. It is sometimes used of the sentence of condemnation, the condemnation, or the punishment itself.

 

Of a long time is from long ago or for a long time.

 

Lingereth not means is not idle or is not weary. It implies that their judgment has been on its way; it is being prepared and will soon be here.

 

And their damnation slumbereth not is another way of saying the same thing and is an example of Hebrew parallelism, i.e. of saying the same thing in two or more ways.

 

And indicates a continuation of the thought of the previous phrase. It may instead be emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, certainly, verily, in fact, or yea.

 

Their is parallel to whose and refers to these false teachers under discussion.

 

Damnation is the fourth time in this chapter this same word is used. It is translated damnable and destruction in verse 1 and pernicious ways in verse 2 and speaks of destruction or ruin in hell.

 

Slumbereth not means is not sleepy. That their damnation slumbereth not implies that it is on its way and will soon be here.

CONCLUSION:

 

Could you spot a false teacher if one were staring you in the face? You may have to someday. It is easy to spot one when he is the pastor of a liberal church in your area, but might you ever find them in fundamental churches?

 

Take note of a couple of passages in the Bible:

 

Acts 20:28-31 – (28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (31) Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 

I John 2:18-23 , 26 – (18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (20) But ye have an unction [i.e. an anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (21) I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. . . . (26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

 

There are false teachers, and we must be wary of them.

 

You will spot them when you compare their statements and practices with the Word of God. Know the Word of God, and be careful to avoid these false teachers.

 

Romans 16:17 (17) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.