II Peter 2:10-13

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

THE SPIRITUAL CHARACTERISTICS

OF FALSE TEACHERS

INTRODUCTION:

 

In chapter one we have see –

 

            1.   That the Lord has called believers.

 

            2.   That the Lord implanted within believers a divine nature.

 

            3.   That the Lord gave believers His power to enable them to live godly lives.

 

            4.   That believers should live God-honoring lives.

 

            5.   That God has given believers His Word, the Holy Bible, in order to guide them in their lives.

 

In chapter two Peter begins to discuss his major theme, i.e. false teachers, and we have seen –

 

            1.   That believers must recognize that false teachers will come into the midst of the churches – II Peter 2:1

 

            2.   That believers must recognize that false teachers are dangerous – II Peter 2:2-3

 

            3.   And that believers must realize that false teachers will be judged by the Lord – II Peter 2:4-9

 

In II Peter 2:10-19 we see some of the chief characteristics of false teachers, and we also see that believers must repudiate and reject the sinful and self-centered way of life of the false teachers.

 

False teachers are to be expected to come and to bring their dangerous teaching with them. Although the Lord will judge them, they will still have some opportunity to spread their false teachings. In this section Peter describes the false teachers’ spiritual characteristics (vv. 10-13), their moral characteristics (vv. 14-16), and their practical characteristics (vv. 17-19) so that they will able to be easily identified.

 

In this message we are considering the spiritual characteristics of false teachers as seen in II Peter 2:10-13. In a future message we will consider the moral and practical characteristics of false teachers.

 

Spiritually, the false teachers live according to the old sin nature with immoral cravings while despising authority and speaking blasphemously. They are also characterized by audacity and arrogance. They blaspheme glorious angelic beings; whereas, these angels, although greater in power and might, do not dare to speak evil of these false teachers. The false teachers are like unreasoning animals made to be captured and eaten; they speak evil of things they do not understand; they will thoroughly perish because of their own corruption; and they will be appropriately rewarded.

 

II Peter 2:10-1310 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.

Regarding false teachers, we see that –

    I.     They walk after the flesh – 2:10

 

But emphatically introduces those whom the Lord will definitely reserve for judgment in the sense of indeed.

 

Chiefly means most of all, above all, especially, or particularly.

 

Them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government identifies the group whom the Lord will particularly preserve for judgment.

 

Them that walk is the ones who are going, the ones who are proceeding, or the ones who are traveling; and its present tense indicates continuous, habitual action.

 

Whatever they do, wherever they go, they live after the flesh. It suggests that the flesh is leading them and that they are continually following the lead of their flesh.

 

Flesh refers to the old sin nature. They have never been saved; so the flesh (or old sin nature) is the only nature they have; and the flesh is in defiance and rebellion against God. Therefore, they constantly live in defiance and rebellion against God.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

  II.     They walk in the lust of uncleanness – 2:10

 

In the lust of uncleanness describes their walk after the flesh.

 

Lust is desire with an evil connotation or a bad sense. It is an improper desire or craving.

 

Of uncleanness describes lusts and suggests of pollution or of corruption. Their lust is polluted. Their desire is not pure.

Regarding false teachers, we furthermore see that –

 III.     They despise authority – 2:10

 

They not only walk after the lust of the flesh; they also despise government (or the authority).

 

Despise suggests look down on, scorn, or treat with contempt; and its tense indicates that this is their normal, habitual manner. They treat government (or the authority) with contempt as a matter of habit.

 

Government is ruling power, lordship, or dominion. Their problem is with any authority which has been placed over them rather than with some specific government or particular governmental official. No authority will be respected by them no matter what it is.

Regarding false teachers, we see in addition that –

 IV.     They are presumptuous – 2:10

 

Presumptuous means bold or audacious. They really have their nerve.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

   V.     They are self-willed – 2:10

 

Selfwilled suggests stubborn or arrogant. Nobody is ever going to tell them what to do!

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

 VI.     They are not afraid to speak evil of dignities – 2:10-12

 

II Peter 2:10-12 – . . . They are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not. . . .

 

This suggests that they frequently speak evil of dignities.

 

Afraid literally means tremble or quiver; and, when used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means they do not fear. They have no awe or respect for dignities.

 

To speak evil of is the word frequently translated blaspheme. When used of people or creatures other than God, it means to injure the reputation of, revile, or defame.

 

Those whom they speak evil of are dignities and refers to glorious angelic beings. They are referred to as angels in verse 11. This term is used in the same sense in Jude 8 , Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

 

II Peter 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

 

Whereas is where and means in a situation in which. It indicates a contrast between what these false teachers will do and what angels will not do. These false teachers will slander angels, but angels do not even dare to bring a railing accusation against them.

 

The use of angels in verse 11 indicates that the dignities in verse 10 are angels.

 

Which are greater in power and might describes angels and is said in comparison to these false teachers.

 

The words translated power and might are synonyms. The one translated power refers to strength, especially strength or power as an endowment. In other words, angels have been given greater strength than these false teachers. The word translated might refers to power as a natural or inherent ability. It is a general term. There is almost no difference in their meanings, but their use together serves to emphasize that angels have more might than the false teachers.

 

Are greater suggests although being greater.

 

In spite of their being stronger and in spite of their being slandered, angels bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

 

Bring suggests utter or make.

 

Railing accusation is blasphemous judgment, slanderous judgment, or reviling judgment. The verb form of this word is translated speak evil of in verse 10.

 

Against them means against these false teachers.

 

Before the Lord is in the presence of the Lord. Although these false teachers have slandered these angels maliciously and falsely, the angels do not respond in the same way. In fact, they do not even pronounce a reviling judgment against these false teachers before the Lord. This is in spite of the fact that it would be accurate as well as deserved. This contrast shows the nerve and audacity of these false teachers.

 

II Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not. . . .

 

But introduces a contrast with verse 11 and reverts back to what the false teachers are like.

 

These false teachers are just like natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed.

 

Natural means in accordance with nature and refers to what is expected of animals because of their nature.

 

Brute means without reasoning or unreasoning, and beasts is animals.

 

Made is used in the sense of created.

 

To be taken is for capture or for catching.

 

And suggests that to be must also be understood with destroyed.

 

(To be) destroyed is for destruction, for ruin, for dissolution, for deterioration, or for corruption. The suggestion is that these false teachers act like unreasoning animals which have been created so that they might eventually be captured and eaten.

 

Made to be taken and destroyed refers to the animals rather than to the false teachers as if God made the false teachers for capture and destruction (in hell). Animals are going to be captured and die, and in death their bodies will be destroyed or will deteriorate. To be taken is understood in the sense of for capture. This phrase makes no sense in relation to the false teachers. Although destruction (in hell) would make sense to the English mind, and although these false teachers will eventually spend eternity in hell, the term translated destroyed is not the one ordinarily used when speaking of eternal destruction in hell. It refers instead to what happens to the physical body at death. It suffers deterioration, dissolution, or corruption in the sense of decay.

 

These false teachers also speak evil of the things that they understand not.

 

When used of men, speak evil of means injure the reputation of or defame. When used of God, it means blaspheme.

 

What they speak evil of is things that they understand not. They are ignorant of some things; yet, they speak slanderously of these same things anyhow. Peter does not specify what he means by things.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

VII.     They will utterly perish in their own corruption – 2:12

 

II Peter 2:12 . . . And shall utterly perish in their own corruption.

 

And shall utterly perish in their own corruption tells what these false teachers can expect to experience in their own lives in the future. Does this refer to their experiencing the logical consequences of their sins later in this life, or does it refer to what they might expect to experience in eternity when they will perish in hell?

 

Shall utterly perish is an intensified verb form of the term translated destroyed and also translated corruption in this same verse. It means shall be destroyed and suggests completely perish or thoroughly perish. It speaks of their total destruction.

 

In their own corruption may indicate the sphere in which their utter destruction will take place. It may instead indicate the means by which their utter destruction will take place. If so, it is understood in the sense of by means of their own corruption and suggests that their destruction will take place in this life. Another possibility is that in their own corruption indicates the cause of their utter destruction in the sense of because of their own corruption. Because of seems best because this utter destruction likely occurs in hell rather than in this life. In any case, they will be required to face the fact that it is their own corruption rather than someone else’s corruption. They will be held responsible for their own actions.

 

Corruption is the same term translated to be destroyed earlier in this verse and means corruption in the sense of ruin, destruction, dissolution, or deterioration.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

VIII.   They will receive the reward of unrighteousness – 2:13

 

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness suggests that they will be appropriately rewarded.

 

Receive suggests will get for themselves.

 

What they will get for themselves is the reward of unrighteousness.

 

Reward literally means pay or wages; and, when used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is understood in the sense of punishment.

 

Of unrighteousness implies which unrighteousness pays or paid by unrighteousness, i.e. by wickedness or by injustice. The nature of the reward paid by unrighteousness is determined by whether this reward is the logical result of their sin which they may receive in this life or whether it is their eternal reward for sin which is received at the great white throne judgment. The fact that false teachers do not all seem to utterly perish in their own corruption in this life suggests that the reward is spending eternity in hell.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

 IX.     They are like those who count it pleasure to riot in the daytime – 2:13

 

As they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time is a comparison. The false teachers are brazen in that they do what they do out in the open where they can be seen rather than seeking to conceal what they do. They are like those who count it pleasure to riot in the daytime. Furthermore, just as those who riot in the daytime can be expected to be appropriately rewarded for their conduct, so these false teachers can be expected to be appropriately rewarded for their false teaching and for their lifestyle.

 

They that count means they that think, they that consider, or they that regard.

 

Pleasure is used in the sense of enjoyment.

 

To riot is the translation of a noun which means indulgence or reveling. Ordinarily, this type of behavior takes place at night under cover of darkness. Those who go about really living it up in the day time will not be able to slip away in the darkness and thereby avoid getting caught. Furthermore, if they count it pleasure to riot in the day time, to what excess are they going under cover of darkness at night?

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

   X.     They are spots – 2:13

 

Spots is used of stains, blemishes, or blots. Their character is marred, and they are undesirable to have around.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

 XI.     They are blemishes – 2:13

 

Blemishes is used in the sense of defects. They are also undesirable to have around.

Regarding false teachers, we also see that –

XII.     They are sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you – 2:13

 

Sporting themselves is reveling or carousing and suggests merrymaking, boisterous festivity, delighting in, or taking pleasure in. It describes these false teachers. They are those who sport themselves with their own deceivings.

 

With their own deceivings is in their own deceivings.

 

Deceivings may be used in the sense of deceptions or deceitfulness, but it may instead be used in the sense of pleasures or pleasantnesses that involve someone in sin. It seems best to understand it as reveling in their own deceptions. They not only knowingly deceive people, but they also delight in deceiving them.

 

While they feast with you suggests how they sport themselves with their own deceivings in the sense of by means of their feasting with you.

 

Feast with means feast sumptuously with, and its tense indicates that it takes place at the same time as sporting themselves. These two things are done simultaneously as is suggested by while.

 

Jude describes false teachers as spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear (Jude 12 ). It suggests that these false teachers attended the love feasts in which the Lord’s Supper was observed. As unsaved people, they had no business participating in the Lord’s Supper. They may have been among those who were looking out for themselves and were guilty of abusing the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11:20-21 .

 

I Corinthians 11:20-2120 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

 

You refers to believers who are sound in doctrine and practice.

CONCLUSION:

 

We have lots of people living today who would be horrified with the pointed statements the Apostle Peter has written. They would accuse him of being hypercritical and judgmental, of being unkind and unloving, of not being interested in winning the lost, of being negative, of being an isolationist, of being too strict, of being a literalist, of being a troublemaker, and of being harsh.

 

Some soft-hearted and, perhaps, soft-headed, individuals may want to say that all false teachers are not this way. They may want to limit these statements to being true only in a few isolated instances. We need instead to heed the warnings of the Word of God because God knows far more about this than we do and remember that this passage was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is, therefore, without error.

 

Having seen these Biblical characteristics of false teachers, is it any wonder that believers are commanded to avoid them like the plague?

 

Any believer who will fool around with them is going to get burned because he becomes a partner with the false teachers in their evil deeds. It is far better to listen to the Scriptures and do what they say without questioning them.

 

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

 

Titus 3:10-1110 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

 

II Corinthians 6:14-1714 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

 

II John 10-11 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.