Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Today we come to the end of chapter 2, which deals entirely with false teachers and those who follow their nonsense. As a result of this, many have fallen from the faith.

1. Only the gospel can deliver us from the corruption in the world. We have escaped the “pollutions of the world” through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. You can try to be a good Christian as much as you want but you will only be saved by Christ. Performance-based faith does not work.

There was a time in our lives when we were sinking. We were going to drown. But we called on God because no matter how hard we tried, we were not going to climb out of that pit on our own.

2. Weak believers that return to their former lives are severely warned by God. Those who understand redemption and go back to the very things Jesus Christ delivered them from are told that it would better if they had never even understood the concept of Jesus.

If you don’t know your Bible you are going to be a weak believer. That’s why it’s so important to go to a church that actually preaches the Bible. Man’s teachings will not change your heart. Behavior modification by itself does not make you a strong Christian.

The closer we get to the end times, the more scoffers and mockers will reveal themselves.

There’s no way we would ever physically spit in the face of Jesus, but we do this spiritually when we run back to the world. You see, we have nowhere else to go. Jesus has the words of life, and going back to the world should never be an option for believers.

Conviction is not a bad thing. It will lead you either to repentance or anger.

We all struggle and have hardships. We’re not bothered by the ones who are bothered by their sin. We’re bothered by the ones who are not bothered by their sin.

3. The difference between a profession and a possession is a true change of your nature. There are those who profess to love Jesus but their nature is filled with disgusting mannerisms. The only thing that changes your nature is a supernatural God. We keep going back to the same things if our nature hasn’t been changed.

Others will know you by your fruits.

One of the greatest scourges of modern-day churches is that they are filled by those who have never been genuinely transformed. If there is a difference inside of you, then you have been transformed.

 Your life should be a living proof of your salvation. You are supposed to grow when you get saved, not go back to the things God redeemed you from.

God changes your nature. He changes your “want to.” If you are genuinely redeeemd then it will show. If there is no genuine transformation in your nature, then perhaps you have a false assurance, a false hope of salvation that you really don’t have.

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Money: a Biblical look at finances (Luke 16:1-11)

We are often so messed up over money because we don’t understand where it comes from. Ultimately, we are stewards over what God has given us. When God can trust us He will bless us.

Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money. If you love people, you’ll use money to reach more people. If you love money, you will use people to get more money.

Jesus spoke more about financial accountability than most other topics.

There is a very strange story in Luke 16. In this context, Jesus develops a story about a rich man who employs a manager who mishandled his financial books. He was fired, and in the process did something completely unethical. And yet he is Biblically commended for it.

The word “account” used in verse 2 is the same as the verbal “account” we will someday give to God.

God does not give me more so I can increase my standard of living. He gives me more so I can increase my standard of giving and I can help more people.

Giving is not about getting rich, but about enriching the lives of others with what God gave us.

The rich man had trusted his accountant, and his accountant had failed him as a steward, so he was fired. The accountant then begins to plot what he should do. He was too lazy to work and too proud to beg.

And so he hatches a plan that is highly unethical. He plans to endear himself to his former boss’s debtors that they may receive him into their homes.

The former accountant, who had just been fired, calls on these debtors, who don’t yet know he has lost his job. He writes off a portion of their debts so they will be endeared to him. He gains their favor that he doesn’t deserve with people he does not know with resources that are not his.

So the debtors are no longer endeared to the boss, but to the man who used to work for the boss.

But the story gets even stranger. The boss discovers his former accountant’s scheme and commends this unjust steward. And he commends him because he had acted wisely (or shrewdly).

But the Lord doesn’t commend evil, so why is the unjust steward portrayed this way?

It’s not that the Lord was amazed by the unethical practice, but the thought process that led to the unethical practice.

And then Jesus turns it around this way: lost people understand the value of money more than God’s people understand the value of money. So if we aren’t careful, the world will beat the church in its understanding of financial resources.

Jesus commands that we make friends of the “mammon” of unrighteousness. “Mammon” is simply materialism and wealth. In other words, He tells us to use money to make friends. On Christian terms, we use money to reach lost people. And whose money are we to use? We are to use God’s money to reach people.

(We cannot outgive God.)

In verse 9, Jesus explains that we use God’s money to reach people so that when we fail (die), the boss’s debtors (i.e., the souls we win) may receive us into “everlasting habitations.”

We are simply to use money without the unethical angle. Those we reach with God’s money will wait for us when we reach heaven.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:17-19)

We continue this week discussing false teachers. And our Scripture passage has some rather harsh language directed toward them. These verses also describe what is happening in our country, and in our churches, and in the lives of some churchgoers.

Why do people “fall away?”

1. Those who reject truth are empty, easily moved, and in constant confusion. It’s not only what false teachers preach that is wrong but also what they refuse to preach. False teachers, and those who fall under their prey, are always looking for something that is outside the power of God. They are “wells without water.” They are empty and uselsss. They are clouds without substance that are easily blown away.

People are easily swayed to wickedness, blown about by every wind of doctrine. That’s where we are in America. Unfortunately, some false teachers proclaim that if you follow Jesus, then your life will be without trials. But even Christ said that following Him would not be so easy.

Those who are not grounded in truth live in constant confusion. If you do things against the will of god then you will get results that are against the will of God.  And if you die rejecting the gospel, then you will spend eternity in darkness apart from God.

Just because someone can speak well doesn’t mean he is telling you the truth.

False teachers also allure through lust of the flesh.

2. Believers are led astray when they choose shallow teaching over sound doctrine. If your continually subject yourself to shallow teaching then it will result in shallow living. Sound doctrine will cause you to grow uneasy about some of the things in your life. The gospel is not about us and not about making us comfortable with ourselves. The gospel is a about Jesus and the grace of God. The gospel is not a license to live wickedly.

Shallow teaching will fill up a building but it will not fill up your life. Motivational pop psychology might make a person feel good but is also filled with corruption.

3. If your preaching isn’t backed up by your practice, you’re powerless. False teachers promise you liberty, but they are masters of corruption. They don’t know what true liberty is like because they are in bondage to their own wickedness.

Real liberty is living with a clear conscience. When your preaching and your practice line up, your ministry is powerful.

4. The God you really serve is the one you keep submitting to. Whatever you cannot give up controls your life. Either Jesus is Lord of all, or not Lord at all. Whatever you will not give to God is your god.

Freedom has limitations. Those who want to live free from God’s constraints are really living in bondage. You have to be willing to walk away from all of it because your love for Jesus Christ should cause your love for anything else to pale in comparison. Either you will serve the Lord or serve yourself, for no one can serve two masters.

Discussion on Isaiah 40:28-31

Isaiah is one of the most powerful books in the entire Bible, and also one of the most misunderstood. The first 39 books of Isaiah correlate perfectly with the 39 books of the Old Testament. The last 27 deal with Biblical prophecy.

Israel was a long time in Babylonian captivity. That’s where we get Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. But their hearts began to yearn for home, and chapter 40 is that cry from the hearts of the people.

No matter what cataclysms we face here on earth, the Bible is still the word of God and so we keep trusting God no matter what. God has it under control. Yet as children of God, we often grow weary. When we are weak, He is strong.

Isaiah had the most power from God when he had the most pressure from other people. You can study your whole life and never understand God.

1. Captivity creates a hunger for freedom. God let them see what it was like to live in bondage. When you are in bondage, you tend to feel trapped. God allows this because of the hunger for freedom that results. You appreciate freedom much greater than before.

2. God grants power to the weakest among us. He gives power to the faint. He gives strength to those who are not mighty. He uses the base things to confuse those who are sophisticated. He gives us what we do not have. He gives to those who are hungry. Likewise, the strong will be weary and fall.

3. Everyone has a breaking point. At some point, the load gets bigger than we can bear. It is then that we wait upon the Lord to renew our strength. It is human nature that we do not like to wait. But waiting isn’t always boring.

4. We wait in expectancy, but not in inactivity. The Hebrew word for wait is used in terms of a pregnant woman. God has something in store for us even though we don’t know the details. Being still doesn’t necessarily mean being boring.

Jesus performed miracles where there was a problem. He never performed a miracle where there wasn’t first a need.

5. Faithfulness is the ultimate goal. Life will slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you. The goal is not to outrun everyone else but just to be faithful to God. Faithfulness is the ultimate goal. We cannot judge ourselves by comparing ourselves to others, but to run the race that is set before us as individuals. Run your own race.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:10-16)

The good thing about the judgment of God is that if you repent, you won’t have to face it. There is good news about Hell; we don’t have to go.

The amazing thing about today’s Scripture passage is that we’re seeing the things that were foretold actually playing out today in news headlines.

1. An unwillingness to speak the truth of God’s word always leads to the decay of society. This is largely about false teachers who refuse to herald the word of God, but instead proclaim their own perverted view of the gospel. The church is to blame for this. God’s people are to blame for not standing up for the truth of the gospel.

Here’s what happens when the word of God is not properly proclaimed and propagated; that which is good is called evil and that which is evil is proclaimed as good.

As a result, we end up with a society that eschews righteousness and embraces sin.

  • They are sexually unbridled.
  • They have a hatred for authority.
  • They behave like animals. (If you don’t care about your origins, you won’t care about your destination.)
  • They are purposefully ignorant. (They willfully live in a fairytale world of fake news because they choose to ignore the truth. They love the false narrative. The enemy wants anarchy, chaos and war in this nation.)
  • They infiltrate Christianity. (They make a mockery of what God is trying to do in the local church. They cause divisions. People follow them because they are talented and good speakers. The enemy will plant people in the church who will infiltrate it with wickedness.)
  • They are predisposed to ungodliness.
  • They recruit through deception. (They find the most unstable in society and prey on their fears.)

2. God is using supernatural means to call us to repentance. The Scripture passage here refers to Balaam’s talking donkey as a supernatural means. In Houston, God used a hurricane to bring white people and black people together, whereas we were before on the verge of a race war.

Judgment isn’t just coming to this nation. It is already here.

What we learn during disaster

We often say that God never wastes our trials, our tears and our pain…and He doesn’t. He doesn’t make mistakes.

There are a lot of questions concerning natural disasters. Why does God not stop some things when we know He could?

We know that God is sovereign and very much in control of the affairs of man. He is even in control of chaos.

Sometimes we have to ask what is God trying to answer? We can always learn from the fallout in our lives.

What we learn from disaster:

1. The character of God is not on trial. He did everything that we know of in six days and rested on the 7th. The God who made the heavens and the earth is independent of its operation. God forgives sin but doesn’t necessarily relieve the consequences. So the question isn’t “Why would God allow this?” but “What can we learn from this?” When things aren’t good, God still is. Sometimes we should look for the grace and goodness and mercy of God in disasters.

2. People always matter over possessions. When you lose everything, you find out what you really love in life. When tragedy comes, you care about family. Our hope is not in stuff. Our hope is in Jesus Christ.

3. Generosity is a universal language. Generosity shows the love of God. The nature of God is giving, and you can never outgive God. There are more needs right now than we could ever meet. But we still have a spiritual obligation to help others who are need.

4. The Church should always be the anchor of the community. In the early New Testament, the church was the hub of the community. This was the place people went to for refuge. Now we have abdicated that responsibility to others.

5. God’s glory can be seen in the darkest places. And that’s not just true for flood victims. It’s true for all of us no matter our circumstances. Sometimes we’re looking for God in all the wrong places. Look for the glory of God in the dark places. That’s where He shines the brightest.

6. What we see today is mild compared to what is to come. There will come a day when it won’t be just a natural disaster, but a divine-made disaster.

7. Believers have the honor of being beacons of hope to a hurting world. Everywhere you look there are rays of hope. Any one of these can change someone’s life for the better. There are hurting people in this world. It’s not just a duty or an obligation, but an honor to be a beacon of hope. Sometimes in order to fix our own brokenness, we have to minister to others.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:3-7)

Future judgment of false teachers is going to be unbelievably harsh. Unfortunately, the average Christian in the average church is ignorant about the Bible (and can be easily deceived).

God judged the fallen angels, the entire world during Noah and Sodom and Gomorrha as harshly as He will judge the false teachers.

It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Looking back to Lot in Genesis, never has a positive message been preached about Lot. Verse 7 here refers to Lot. After living in Sodom for 13 years, he was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.”

1. True believers will be grieved by sin. “I’m not bothered by the individual who is bothered by his sin & under conviction. I’m worried about the ones who aren’t bothered, who are never under conviction.”

The Holy Spirit feels betrayal when we walk in sin.

Even so, God still called Lot “just” and “righteous.” Yet he had become so desensitized to deviancy that he offered his two virgin daughters to sexual deviants.

2. The choice of our influences is of monumental importance. We must realize that evil communications corrupt good manners. If we don’t change the people with whom we keep company, we’ll never be fully transformed. You have to take your thoughts captive before they take you captive.

Yet the Lord also knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation. God always provides a route out of temptation.

3. God provides help if you want it. God is the perfect gentleman. He won’t force Himself on you. If we insist on having our way, we’ll get poor results. If you do things God’s way, you’ll end up with what God can do.

God knows how to deliver godly people out of temptation, but He also knows how to hold the defiant to the day of judgment. There is hope in judgment and good news about Hell; you don’t have to go!

By the grace and mercy of God, we don’t get what we ultimately deserve.

4. Make certain you are ready; judgment is on the way. Nobody in Hell wants companionship. (You won’t be partying with your friends in Hell.) We have ample warning in the New Testament about judgement: 247 “signs” in 27 books, in fact. If we wait until the day of judgment to get right with God, then it’s too late.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:3-6)

Our current chapter is devoted to one subject: false teachers and false prophets amongst the people. If we don’t know the Bible, then we’re going to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Our lives will be in chaos.

There were holy men of God who moved as God spoke. But there were wolves in sheep’s clothing who also crept in. The church in America is filled with false teachers and many are deceived. They are not in it for the salvation of humanity, but for their own profit.

It is sometimes difficult to understand a false teacher’s motive, because they will often start out by presenting the truth. But they end up attacking the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many will follow their pernicious ways.

False teachers and those who follow them have given a black eye to Christianity. Thus, honest Christian pastors and believers are often lumped in with the false teachers and their followers, and the gospel of Jesus Christ ends up damaged as a result.

False teachers are often in it for the money, and they make merchandise of those who give to their ministries. From our perspective, it appears as though they are getting away with it. But in the end, they will be condemned by God for their falsehoods.

1. Genuine spirituality will always result in authenticity. Thus, behind these false teachers, there is a lack of authenticity. They are fake and they produce fake people. They use feigned words. They lie and gossip and wear a mask.

If you are going to be spiritual then you will be authentic,. We sinners are a wreck and need the grace of God. Also, the church needs people who are authentic. Then others can let their guard down because there is no more pretending.

Money is a tool. It is to be used wisely. All of it belongs to God. Everything we have is a stewardship from God. It you want more, don’t pray for more, but be careful with what you already have.

2. Those who love money will use people. Those who love people will use money. False teachers prey on the widows and the hurting. They profit from those who do not know the Bible. A genuine church wil; use its money to reach and to help more people.

If you don’t handle money it will handle you. One of the biggest conflicts in the home is a mishandling of finances. If you love money, you will use people to get more of it. If you’re not generous when you have nothing, you won’t be generous if you become wealthy.

We are told that even in a perfect state (heaven), one-third of the angels followed Satan and sinned and were cast into darkness.

3. God strongly condemns false teachers by using three vile illustrations. These are the three most extreme judgments in the Bible, with the exception of the end times judgments.

  • The damnation of demons
  • The destruction of the ungodly
  • The debauchery of Sodom & Gomorrah

God said false teachers are evil and wicked and full of debauchery. They will be judged severely and sorely. No one can withstand God’s holy judgment. God still has genuine teachers who stand up to Satan and declare God’s majesty. Knowing the Bible will keep you from error.

Progressives and false teachers

Yesterday, my pastor discussed false teachers, relying on text from 2 Peter 2:1-2. Among his many points was the following:

The purpose of false teachers:

  • Dilute the word
  • Destroy the church
  • Divide the sheep
  • Deceive the weak
  • Damage the message

As he was explaining the above list item-by-item, I realized he could have very well been describing progressives. Their purpose follows the same methods.

  • Dilute Americanism, the founding documents, and our history
  • Destroy the ideas and institutions that made us great
  • Divide Americans
  • Deceive the ignorant (aka “low-information voter”)
  • Damage the message (i.e., #fakenews)

Thus progressives are false teachers. It is not mere coincidence that those who pervert the gospel are also often aligned with the left politically.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Chapter 2 deals entirely with the subject of false teachers.

We have been talking about the authority of the word of God, and believing in the word of God, both collectively as a church and as individuals.

Peter reminds us of divine dictation, Scripture that was divinely given to inspired men of God who were willing to write down everything that came to them from God.

However, there were also false prophets, men who were annointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the word of God. But they have perverted the word of God. The false teachers described by Peter knew exactly what they were doing.

There are also false teachers among us, the believers. In Peter’s day, much of the false teaching was done in secrecy. Now it is done in open on television and social media.

False teachers will bring on themselves swift destruction (more on this next week). God will deal with their evil, wicked nonsense.

Even the devil himself can be transformed into an angel of light. False teachers will always court the truth just enough to put a hook in your mouth. Indeed, we will know them by their fruits (or lack of fruits).

Unfortunately, many will follow their perverted ways. False teachers speak of the truth as though it is evil.

1. The chief tool of the devil has always been the perversion of God’s word. The devil doesn’t care what you believe, as long as it’s not the truth, for it is the truth that shall set us free.

In fact, the devil has been perverting the word of God since the Garden of Eden. He planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding what God had said.

Verse 2:1 describes “damnable heresies even denying the Lord that bought them.”

2. The heart of deception will always be an attack on the gospel. There are other “gospels.” False teachers will always try to take away from the real gospel.

For example, false teachers will often try to take away the blood of Christ because they deem it too offensive. But the offense of the gospel is the reason we get saved in the first place.

Anyone who tries to tell you that you have to work for your salvation is a false prophet.

The gospel is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is nothing more nor nothing less. False teachers will always try to put a front on this truth of the gospel. The first damnable heresy they introduce is to deny the Saviour who bought them.

Matters of church tradition can be debated (speaking in tongues, for example). But the gospel is not debatable.

A false teacher will bring reproach to the message. Followers also bring a reproach to the message.

3. False teachers and those that follow them have brought reproach and shame to the message of hope. There are a multitude who follow these crooks, and they tend to taint all of Christianity.

Sometimes false prophets do what they do for riches, and this causes others to question the motivation of all ministers and leaders, even the genuine ones. This is also a motivation of false teachers — to taint the gospel for everyone.

The writer compares the depravity of false teachers to the time of Noah and calls them Sodom and Gomorrah.

The purpose of false teachers:

  • Dilute the word
  • Destroy the church
  • Divide the sheep
  • Deceive the weak
  • Damage the message

In these last days, it is going to get increasingly worse. We are told to be wary of these wolves. They are everywhere: in church, in politics, maybe even in our workplace. A genuine teacher wants his listeners to know the Bible, and wants his church to know what they believe and why they believe it.

When you know the truth, the foolishness of false teachers represents something you will want no part of.