Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Recognizing False Teachers, Part 1


“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing.”

(2 Peter 2:10-13 ESV)



False teachers are abundant. They’re sometimes found outside of the church, promoting a faith that is very different than our own. But, quite often, they are found inside of the church. They take the name “Christian.” And we must be able to identify them.



As we continue our look at the second epistle of Peter, he’s been talking about false teachers. He now begins to describe them for us.  And he does so that we might recognize them.



In the first half of verse 10, he tells us that they indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. And it’s the second part of this that he dives into in the above verses. They hate submitting themselves to those who are over them. In fact, they’re unwilling to do so.



Peter describes them as bold and willful. They are presumptuous and daring. They are arrogant and self-willed. In other words, they count themselves as the supreme authority, and claim this role for themselves.



This is demonstrated by their blasphemy of the glorious ones. They speak against the angels and the things of God. They speak against those who are more powerful than they. They speak about things of which they’re ignorant.



Even though they are more powerful than man, not even the angels do this. They don’t even speak against those who are fallen. They leave this to God, as it is his place to condemn.



We see many examples of this today. We see those who speak against the Word of God and stand in judgment of it. We see those who speak against God’s servants (angels and men) who carry out his will. We see those who speak against God himself, accusing him of child abuse, for sending his Son to die in the place of mankind.



In this way, they refuse to submit to God. In this way, they put themselves in the place of God. In this way, they despise authority.



We must have nothing to do with such people. We must not listen to their teaching. And we dare not submit ourselves to them, as doing so will lead only to our own harm.


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Peace in the Face of False Teaching


“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”

 (2 Peter 2:4-10 ESV)



As believers, we often become alarmed as we see threats gathering around us. We become worried and distressed. We fear that the work of the Lord might be brought to an end. We fear that his Word might be lost. We fear that the proclamation of the gospel might be stopped. We fear that the Church itself might become extinct.



This is a fear that often comes upon us as we begin to notice the false teachers in our midst. It comes upon us as we become aware of the false teachings to which our people hold. We fear that this might be it, and that the enemy might secure his victory.



And this fear multiplies as we see the prevalence of false teaching today. It multiplies as we see the continued rejection of God’s Word by society, by individual believers, and by the Church as a whole. We see it not only in false religions. We see it in society. We see entire church bodies that have been swept up by a false gospel. And we see false teaching creeping in to even conservative, Bible-believing, congregations.



We are right to be concerned about false teachers and their teaching. We must be on the lookout for it and resist it to the bitter end. However, as we see in the above passage, we need not fear for the Lord, his Church, nor his work.



No matter how things may seem, the Lord is not in danger of succumbing to the forces of evil. His Word is not in danger of destruction. And the proclamation of his Word will never cease.



The false teachers and their teachings do not have a chance of prevailing against the Lord. Their judgment is certain. Their condemnation will come.



God is also able to rescue and preserve his people. He’s able to preserve his gospel and continue sending it forth. He’s demonstrated this time and again throughout history, and will continue to do so even now.