This is an exposition of 2 Peter 2:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 22, 2017.
How discerning are you when reading or listening to preachers? How careful are you about the Bible teachers you put confidence in?
What criteria do you use when judging? Are there some doctrines more important than others? How “right” does a teacher need to be before you “trust” them? I think these are important questions, questions deserving of your attention. We suffer an embarrassment of riches today when it comes to Bible teaching. Anyone with a computer and access to the internet has access to thousands teachers 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When you add to that the availability of whole libraries and special study tools – the possibilities are without limit. That is both wonderful and frightening. Here is why it is frightening – to a large degree we’ve lost the ability to be discerning. Because we’ve accepted modern notions of truth we are slow to say someone is wrong or that some teaching is heretical. “Oh well I don’t think I agree with you but if it works for you…” seems to be the normal approach when discussing theological differences. We have a very caviler approach to truth and that stands in direct conflict with the attitude of the apostle Peter. Our text this evening is found in 2 Peter chapter 2.
Text: 2 Peter 2:1-22
Peter says there are some things you need to be certain about – at the top of the list should be that you are certain that you are “in the faith.” Be certain you are a Christian. “Be diligent to make your calling and election sure.” He went on to say that you need to make sure you understand that salvation is the work of God, and then you need to search your life for evidence of increasing holiness. Make sure that virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, brotherly affection and love are ever increasing. Not that you are perfect, none of us are or ever will be this side of glory but you are growing. You are not what you used to be.
And don’t beat yourself up over what you are not supposed to be!
A shrub can’t be an oak.
You need to consider growth in your character etc.
Recognize that assurance is not determined merely by experience.
Rather our assurance is based on historical fact and the word of God.
1:19-21 – …we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This emphasis makes perfect sense when you reach chapter 2.
Another thing you can be certain of is the presence of false teachers.
And that has always been the case.
Paul warned the folks at Ephesus to be on guard against false teaching - Acts 20:29-30: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Within 4 years of his founding the church false teachers were leading!
It happened in Galatia – 1:6 – “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…”
Peter is addressing the same concern in this passage.
And he does so in plain, strong and direct language.
Why so strongly worded?
Why such passion?
Because the Gospel is at stake and the souls of men hang in the balance.
This passage serves to remind us that…
Thesis: The integrity of the Gospel demands a sober and watchful church.
We must ever be on our guard against false teaching and false teachers.
I’m not suggesting that our faith is a dead, lifeless, static accumulation of facts. Of course we grow in our knowledge and understanding and at times the church has been wrong on some issues – there are times we adjust our thinking but we must guard and maintain the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.
- Watchfulness demands an awareness of the characteristics of a false teacher. (2:10-22)
Let me point out the two chief characteristics according to Peter.
First, they are Spiritually Confident. (2:10-13)
But also note they are Blatantly Carnal. (2:14-16, 18-22)
Like the recipients of this letter we must learn to detect false teaching. We must be ever on our guard for these two warning signs – false teachers despise the authority of God and his Word, and they live according to their own carnal desires. If you see a teacher who looks like this, you can assume you are looking at a false prophet.
There is one other thing I want us to note before we finish.
- Watchfulness demands we be unmistaken about God’s sure and certain judgment. (2:3-6, 9)
The destruction of these false teachers is as certain as three past acts of judgment. God will judge them just as he judged sinning angels, the ancient world of Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sinning angels – 2:4, Jude 6, Genesis 6:2, Rev 12:7
The Flood – 2:5, Genesis
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – 2:6
Peter says to the church – be certain of your calling and election.
Be certain of the truths I’ve given to you.
Be certain false teachers will come.
Be certain they will be destroyed.