Here’s the notes for my sermon on 2 Peter 2 “False Teaching” which I preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship, our church here in Naperville. You can listen to the audio here.
2 Peter 2 “FALSE TEACHERS”
Intro: It has been said that in today’s culture, the only HERESY left is to claim that some things actually are heretical. In our age of confusion about truth, the only heresy is to claim that some statements about God are true and others are false.
Yet, the Bible teaches a different story. It tells us that there is one true, living God, and this God is a truth-telling God. One thing that God cannot do is lie (Titus 1:2). He has spoken the truth about Himself, about the world, and how things actually are. We can know this truth through His Scriptures.
One danger God’s people have faced throughout history is false teaching about God. Starting from Garden of Eden when Satan told Adam and Eve lies about God and through the OT and age of the church, false teachers have led people away from God. False teaching is real and destructive, and God’s people need to be prepared to deal with it.
That is partly why the apostle Peter wrote 2 Peter. He wanted to protect his readers from the “error” of false teaching (2 Peter 3:17). Here in chapter 2, he warns us about false teaching and helps us be ready to deal with them.
This is a HEAVY chapter, it is solemn, but meant for our good, so that we may not be duped by those who would deceive us and lead us astray from God. We won’t have time to go over every detail or go as deep as we might like, but I believe we can faithfully consider what this passage teaches us in our time together.
In this passage I want you to consider with me the 3 Be’s of False Teaching:
3 Be’s of False Teaching: 1. BE Warned (1-3a); 2. BE Assured (3b-10a); 3. BE Aware (10b-22)
1. BE Warned (1-3a)
Jesus told us that his followers were to be “shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). We need to be wise and discerning, because there are false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothes). Sometimes Christians are not discerning as they need to be. Some are too willing to believe whoever they hear on youtube, podcasts, the radio or books instead of being like the “Bereans” (Acts 17:11), a group of individuals mentioned in the book of Acts who were always comparing what they heard with what the Bible taught.
The FIRST Be to consider is BE WARNED—False teachers are real and a real danger to the church.
-FALSE PROPHETS in the OT and FALSE TEACHERS in the NT era (2:1).
-They claim to be speaking for God, or teaching truth about God, but in fact are bringing in “destructive heresies”
-Heresies are destructive because they lead us away from the one true living God.
-FUTURE TENSE (will)—thus, we need to BE WARNED because this is going to happen:
-“will be false teachers among you”
-“will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them”
(Secretly in sense that they claim to be Christian, but subtly introduce error and falsehood)
-“Many WILL follow their sensuality” (POPULAR and lead others into sexual sin”
(Often, false teachers are VERY popular. Joel Olsteen has the largest church in America!)
-“Way of truth WILL BE blasphemed”
-“in their greed will exploit you with FALSE words.”
(They are teaching you FALSE words about God. They are leading you into lies)
APP: FALSE Teaching is a threat in every generation of the church. We need to be WARNED of it.
GOSPEL NUGGET: ”Master who bought them” Jesus is the Master, who bought us. The Bible teaches that we have sold ourselves to sin. We are trapped with no way out. But God in His great love sent His son to redeem us, to purchase us with “his precious blood” (1 Peter 1:18-19). He shed his blood on the cross, paid for our sin, rose again. All who trust in Him are saved and have a new and kind master.
2. BE Assured (3b-10a)
Sometimes we as Christians might be tempted to lose heart when we see so much false teaching around us. When will God bring justice? On top of this, false teachers often deny the reality of God’s judgment and hell. Here, in this section Peter assures us that God will bring judgment and He will help His people.
BE ASSURED, God will defeat the evil of false teaching and rescue his people in their trials.
-GOD is Not IDLE or ASLEEP (3a): Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
-It may look that way to the unbeliever, but in fact God is neither idle nor sleeping.
-Examples from the past which show God’s judgment in history (4-6)
-The rebellious angels of Genesis 6 (4)
-Could be the original Fall of the angels, or speaking about Genesis 6
-The world during the time of Noah (5)
-Flood actually happened. God really destroyed whole Earth except for Noah, his family, and animals on ark
-The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (6)
-THESE Examples ASSURE us—God does judge evil, He is not idle or asleep.
-God’s deliverance of Lot (7-8)
-God sent his angels who led Lot, his wife, and their daughters out of Sodom before it was destroyed.
-Lot may have sinned greatly, but he was “tormented in his soul” about the sin around him.
-ASSURANCE of God’s ability to rescue the godly (9a)
-God’s deliverance of Lot shows that God knows how to rescue godly from trials, especially trial of false teaching.
-ASSURANCE of God’s punishment of wicked (9b-10a)
-God KNOWS HOW to keep the unrighteous under punishment in this age.
-DAY is coming called “JUDGMENT DAY” where all will be judged and false teachers exposed and punished.
APP: Be assured: God is not asleep or idle, He does punish the wicked and will bring punishment upon them at the Day of Judgment. False teachers will not get away with it.
-In fact, Bible teaching that God uses false teaching as a form of Judgment on those who are opposed to Him. The false teachers meant it for evil, but God uses it for His good ends. (see 1 Kings 22—Ahab & false prophets)
GOSPEL NUGGET: The Bible speaks about a “Day of Judgment” where all will be judged and the wicked will be cast into hell. In the gospel the Day of Judgment has already taken place for the Christian. At the cross Jesus was judged guilty in our place: PENAL SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT. 2 COR 5:21
3. BE Aware (10b-22)
In this final section we show some characteristics of what false teachers are like so that we might BE AWARE of them. We need to BE AWARE of what false teachers are like, so that we won’t fall into their error and be led astray.
1. BE AWARE of ARROGANT SPIRITUAL LEADERS: (10-13a)
-Commentators are divided what this “blaspheming of the glorious ones” referring to exactly—perhaps ridiculing God’s angels, but we do see the ARROGANT character of false teachers. They are “bold and willful”
-False teachers are marked by arrogance rather than humility.
-New Age mystics claim a connection with God but downplay the importance of Jesus
2. BE AWARE of TEACHERS WHO LEAD YOU INTO SEXUAL SIN (13b-14a, 18)
-God’s design for sexual intimacy is one woman and one man in the context of marriage. It is a sweet gift meant to promote joy and love in the marriage and closeness between husband and wife.
-False teaches take God’s good gift and lie about the boundaries. Or they use their ‘spiritual influence’ to seduce others. -Hophni and Phineas, sons of Eli in 1 Samuel. Slept with the temple servant girls
-Joseph Smith had over 40 wives, some of whom were still married to their first husband!
-Progressive Christianity (theological liberalism rebranded) with unbiblical sexual ethics
3. BE AWARE of GREEDY TEACHERS WHO ARE MORE INTERESTED IN YOUR MONEY (14b-16)
-“hearts trained in greed”
-“follow the way of Balaam.” Mentioned in Numbers as a prophet who was willing to go where the money led him.
-Prosperity gospel teachers (Kenneth Copeland; Joel Olsteen)
4. BE AWARE that THEY MAY PROMISE FREEDOM, but CANNOT DELIVER REAL FREEDOM (19)
-False teachers always promise something enticing, but in the end it cannot deliver.
-They are slaves to sin and their path cannot free a person to walk in holiness and closeness to God.
GOSPEL NUGGET: Jesus offers us a freedom that is real and true (John 8:34-36)
5. BE AWARE OF THEIR DREADFUL FINAL STATE (20-22)
-They showed an initial interest in Christianity and used that to exploit others. But in the end they are ‘apostates’ and actually never were truly genuinely converted. -Last state worse than the first.
WHY? Greater accountability on Day of Judgment.
-End up returning to their vomit and mud.
CONCLUSION: BE WARNED, BE ASSURED, BE AWARE.