A. Book Review
“Growing in grace and in knowledge”
2 Peter 1.2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2 Peter 3.18 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
1. Cultivation of Christian Character ch 1
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2. Condemnation of False Teachers ch. 2
3. Certainty of the Second coming ch. 3
3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?
B. Last week:
v. 1, 3 false teachers… bring in destructive heresies (that focus more specifically on their more than theology)
denying the Lord
by covetousness exploit you
v. 9 the Lord knows how…
deliver the godly out of temptations (like righteous Lot)
reserve the unjust ...for the day of judgment
C. Pray and Read Text (2.10b-22)
False teacher warnings: 1 Timothy 4.1-6; 1 John 4.1-3, Jude 4-13
D. Big Idea
Take heed of alluring false teachers and their carnal ways.
Avoid seeing this as just a description of a specific teacher.
I. The Anatomy of the False Teachers (10b-16)
A. Presumptuous Mouth 10b-13a [big mouth]
They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
presumptuous τολμητής tolmētēs ; to dare, not to dread or shun through fear, to be bold
nkjv—presumptuous nasb—daring; esv, niv—bold
αὐθάδης authadēs: self-pleasing, arrogant, self-willed
nkjv, nasb—self-willed; esv—willful; niv—arrogant
“not afraid to speak of...”—
· There are some different interpretations of what this means here. The Greek is ambiguous even though the translators try to help. esv is probably the most literal here.
· Get together in groups of two or three and read a somewhat parallel passage Jude 1.8-13
· Who are the dignities or “glorious” that the false teachers speak against (10) ? (and who are the “them” the angels would not bring an accusation against?)
nkjv—speak evil of dignities
nasb—revile angelic majesties
esv—blaspheme the glorious ones,
niv—heap abuse on celestial beings
· Whichever specific interpretation you give to this passage, the point is that they are foolishly brave, arrogant, and have the spiritual acumen on a cow.
“natural brute beasts”— Speaks both to their spiritual acumen and to their doom.
B. Adulteress Eyes 13b-14a [squinty eyes]
They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.
spots and blemishes Their immoral thoughts were blemishes on the church. “You have a stain on your shirt.”
1 Corinthians 5.6-8 context: There was gross immoral sin and they seemed to be proud of how tolerant they were.
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
unstable ἀστήρικτος astēriktos
PRINCIPLE: It is important firm up the unstable by teaching the content and discernment of the Scriptures.
APPL: Are you teaching your children how to think about sex? (Proverbs 5-7, Job 31.1-11, 1 Thess. 4.1-7)
C. Covetous Heart 14b-16 [heart with dollar sign]
They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
“Balaam” comp. w/ Numbers 22-24
Peter, Jude, and John all warn against Balaam.
trained γυμνάζω gymnazō : to exercise vigorously
APPL: What are you training or exercising your heart for?
II. The Message of the False Teachers vv. 17-21
A. No Freedom 17-19 [man in jail]
17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
springs without water
empty— Their words had no real spiritual value!
“lusts of the flesh” — “lewdness”
They preached Christian liberty from the law.
1 Peter 3.15a-16 ...Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
They might open Paul’s book to the Galatians written 10-15 years earlier and read
Galatians 5. 11-13
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty;
· Their appeal to freedom, a freedom from the law that included lusts of the flesh and lewdness had great appeal.
But read on.
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty;
[pause for effect]
only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
· They proclaimed freedom to sin, but Romans 6 teaches us that we are slaves to the passions we obey.
· The Bible teaches “Freedom from the power and guilt of sin.”
· 1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-- 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
· “Sin will take you farther than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay.”
· These false teachers were really enslaved to the arrogance, carnal lusts/lewdness, and covetousness. They couldn’t stop it!
B. No Hope 20-21 [pig picture]
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Principle: It is worse to have learned about the Gospel and had some reformation than to not have heard at all.
24 "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
Principle: There are bogus professions and reformation in the church. Church members can be lost, but the elect, chosen of God, cannot be lost.
- Note the two proverbs Peter gives to illustrate this.
The dog returns to the vomit and the pig to the mud, not because they have changed, but because they are still the same.
But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit,"
"A sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
- This truth is also explained by John.
1 John 2:
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Avoid the characteristics of false teachers
- the presumptuous mouth
- the eyes full of idolatry
- the heart exercised in covetousness
Don’t fall for the false teaching that
- The freedom in Christ is not a freedom to sin.
- The freedom in Christ is freedom from sin and to put on the new man.
The Way of Balaam
Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (II Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). God evidently considers these warnings necessary and appropriate for Christians even today.
Yet Balaam, in his day, was a genuine prophet (note II Peter 2:16), possessed great knowledge concerning God, and even received direct revelations from God. What, therefore, were his way, his error, and his doctrine?
“The way of Balaam” was a readiness to prostitute his high spiritual gifts and privileges for “The wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:14), being willing to preach something contrary to God’s Word for personal gain.
“The error of Balaam” was evidently his willingness to compromise his own standards of morality and truth in order “greedily” to accommodate those of his pagan patrons (Jude 11).
Finally, “the doctrine of Balaam,” which even in John’s day was already infiltrating the church, was to use his own teaching authority to persuade God’s people that it was all right for them also to compromise these standards, even “to commit fornication” (Revelation 2:14) with their idol-worshipping enemies.
Balaam and his tragic end (Numbers 31:8).
Henry Morris, Source unknown