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Rock of Ages

Jun 14, 2020 | Tony Hunt

Marks of a false teacher

The past two months:

  • Conspiracy theories running rampant. (plandemic, vaccines, anti-christ, antifa, social conspiracies)
  • Some these theorists make claim based on holy justification while ignoring scripture.
  • The extremes become the narrative.
  • Our “devotions” become the noise of the extreme—very easy to discern.
  • With spirit hindered, perspective compromised, you can easily become adversarial to any leader or authority figure.

People are clamoring for a message, even if it is the wrong one to justify one’s emotions and desire to express rage. 

Let me be abundantly clear, the most important message to embrace is the gospel.  Which teaches us we are all sinners in need of the grace of God, and that we are called to be part of God’s rescuing of others.  The gospel-life is God focused, others elevated, and self-emptying.  When stirred up by false teaching we become rights-centered, righteously indignant, and spiritually judgmental.    

Peter is writing in a similar context to a young church—mostly new believers who were vulnerable to whimsical teaching.   False teaching can divide a church and it can divide families.  The early church had reason to be fearful and likely felt like they had few allies to rely upon.  So, they were prone to looking for an inspirational leader who would assuage their sense of vulnerability. 

Tactics of the enemy to divide the church. 2 Peter 2:1-3

  • Divide from within. (1a)
    • This is common tactic of the enemy.
    • False prophets were among the true prophets of God in the OT.
    • There will be false teachers among you.
  • Hijack the truth. (1b)
    • “Secretly introduce…” (pareisagw) “bring in alongside” or “infiltrated”. BKC
    • Elements of truth, but contaminated.
    • Destroys the message.
  • Refuse the authority of Christ. (1c)
    • This is not a statement of saved, now not saved.
    • They will be judged—will get to this more in the text.
  • Live without account. (2)
    • “depraved conduct” sensuality—no moral boundaries within sex.
    • This will confuse our message before others—what are we being saved from?
    • Our reputation as followers of Christ will suffer.
    • Those who follow will end up more confused than before.
  • They will fabricate stories to justify their actions. (3a)
    • They will be judged. (3b) 

God will judge and rescue. 2 Peter 2:4-9

  • Angels are held into account. (4)
  • Generations and cities are held into account. (5a, 6a, 9b)
  • God rescues the faithful. (5b, 7a, 9a)

Marks of the false teacher. 2 Peter 2:10-19

  • Bold and arrogant. (10a)
    • “bold”- reckless, adventurer
    • “arrogant”- self willed
    • Bad combination
  • No respect of spiritual realm. (10b-11)
  • Rely on instinct not higher authority. (12)
  • They do not inhibit the sinful life—nothing changes and license much. (13-14)
  • Encourage deception to create control. (15-16)
    • Balaam encouraged the Moabites to lure Israelite men with their Moabite women as a means of control.
    • God humbled this false prophet with a donkey.
  • Their shifting message will leave you unfulfilled. (17-18)
    • Merely a mist with no control and spring with no refreshment. (17)
    • They will lead you back to your former place—nothing changed. (18)
  • They promise freedom only to enslave. (19)
    • Their lives will testify to their enslavement.
  • Their life reflects nothing has truly changed in them. (22)

Take Aways

  1. The Word of God must be the final authority.
  2. True messengers are revealed in both word and deed.
  3. You are called to test what you hear.

“Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 

Discussion Guide

  1. How much time have you spent reading articles on social media or watching the news this past week? How did these articles make you feel?  Angry, sad, frustrated, judgmental?  Did you spend any time testing the “truth” of those articles or testing to see if the writer is trustworthy?  Read and discuss Matthew 6:22-23
  2. Take some time to utilize Galatians 5:13-26 to create a test by which you can test approve a message or messenger is of the Lord.
  3. Challenge: Spend more time in the Scriptures this week than you do reading social media or watching the news. At the end of the week, examine yourself to see if there is a change of spirit in you. 

Series Information

In light of the shifting shadows of thought within our culture, it is the longing of many to find something to cling to that does not move.  Jesus is that steadfast rock that we can stand on historically, now, and for the ages to come.  These two epistles are Peter’s final charge to the church to give strength and confidence that is rooted in the life changing work of Jesus Christ.