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The Truth About False Teachers

2 Peter 2:12-22

The Truth About False TeachersThe Truth About False Teachers
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The Truth About False Teachers


2 Peter 2:12-22


Intro: Peter continues his warning about false teachers and their destructive results. Not only will they destroy those who follow them, but they will destroy themselves by their own sinful practices. The apostle's wants to warn us of, and arm us against, these seducers by pointing out their character and conduct. Peter is pointing out that God is just in condemning them. Once again, we read that they will be forever in the midst of darkness because of the choices they have made.


A child stood gazing at a freshly opened box of chocolate candies—lips pressed together, concentrating fully upon the decision at hand. The rule was “Only one, no more than one, but any one you want.” Should it be the biggest one, or would the small round one be the favorite peppermint cream? Then again, the long one might last longer. Which to choose? And how to decide?


Perhaps a child’s decisions seem trivial to us as adults. Oh, we recognize that they are important to the child, but we have a broader perspective. That is the question in making choices, isn’t it? To have an eternal perspective on life and its decisions is to know how to choose.


Really the main issues of life center around the choices we make.  Our choices determine our course, our relationships, our character, our destiny.  In the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” there is a scene at the end where Harrison Ford enters the cave where the chalice the Lord used at the last Supper is sitting on a table.  Supposedly the chalice will give eternal life to whoever has it. The problem for Ford is the fact that there are hundreds of cups he must chose the right one, the only one.  The knight guarding the Chalice says to Ford, “choose Wisely.”

This is what Peter has to say to us in this passage, “Choose Wisely.”


I. Depravity of False Teachers

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,


I. These walk after the flesh; they follow the devices and desires of their own hearts, they give up themselves to the conduct of their own fleshly mind, refusing to obey divine revelation, and to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ; they, in their lives, act directly contrary to God's righteous precepts, and comply with the demands of corrupt nature.


2. Evil thoughts are at the heart of evil practices as a man thinks so is he.


3. They will develop a thirst for more unrighteousness, their sin will never satisfy them only drive them to more and greater sin.


4. I noticed that with their sin they develop a hatred for authority; any authority.  That is what is at the heart of all the civil unrest in our country today.  People ae caught up in their sin and their sin nature is turned lose not being controlled and we see the results all around us.


5. The answer to the civil unrest is obedience to and acceptance of God's authority over us.


6. Not only are people surrendering to their own lust, they also pour contempt on those whom God has set in authority over them and requires them to honor.


7. These therefore despise the ordinances of God, because they are contrary to what they want to do.


8. They are bold and daring, obstinate and stubborn, and will not exercise any control over their sinful desires but will slander and criticize those who are set over them.


9. Peter points out that they are like the horse and mule, which have no understanding; they are as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. 10. Men, under the power of sin, are so far from obeying the Scriptures that they either refuse or cannot exercise reason and have no ability to stop sinning.


11. They walk by sight, and not by faith, and judge of things according to how it makes them feel.


12. Animals follow the instinct of their sensitive appetite, and sinful man follows the inclination of his carnal mind; these refuse to respond to the understanding and reason God has given them, and so are ignorant of what they might and ought to know.

  • 1. Ignorance is the cause of evil-speaking; and,

  • 2. Destruction will be the result.

13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. 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.


1. The wages of unrighteousness is destruction. These false teachers shall be utterly destroyed in their own corruption. Their vices not only expose them to the wrath of God in another world, but often bring them to misery and ruin in this life.


2. Given time and the hammer will fall on them, the just reward of their unrighteousness.


3. While it appears on the outside that they are on top of things, it is only a matter of time before the truth surfaces.


4. They will eventually disgrace those who follow them and disgrace themselves; their extravagant feastings, their lack of control in eating and drinking, produces all types of bad behavior which turns to vulgarity, bad behavior.


5. Nothing is sacred to them and nothing is off limits—the heart is insatiate in lusting and the eye incessant in looking after what may gratify their unclean desires, and those who are themselves brazen and incessant in sin are very diligent and often successful in deceiving others and drawing others into the same excess of riot.


6. The ones who will be caught are the unstable. Those whose hearts are not established with grace are easily turned into the way of sin, otherwise the false teachers would not be able to grab them and draw them into the world of lust and depravity.


7. The world is used to attract and then control the soul of those who have not given their heart to Jesus.


8. No wonder the Apostle calls them cursed children, for they will receive the curse of God, who denounces such ungodly and unrighteous men, and they bring a curse upon all who follow them.

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. 17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.


1.  The apostle (v. 15,16) proves that they are cursed children by pointing out:

  • a. They have forsaken the right way; and it cannot be but such self-seekers  must be out of the right way, which is a self-denying way.

  • b. They have gone into a wrong way: they have erred and strayed from the   way of life, and gone over into the path which leads to death, and takes  hold of hell; and says they have gone the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor.    (1.) That is a way of unrighteousness into which men are led by the    wages of unrighteousness.

  • (2.) Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and    promise themselves, though they are often disappointed.

  • (3.) The inordinate love of the good things of this world turns men    out of the way which leads to the blessings of God.

2. The love of riches and honour turned Balaam out of the way of his duty, although he knew that the way he took displeased the Lord.


3.  Sometimes God steps into the lives of hardened sinners gets their attention then rebukes for their sin. God stops them in their way and opens their mind and conscience and does something extraordinary to wake them up.


4. Balaam is a good example of how the flesh can control us.  God stepped in and the mouth of the donkey was able to speak, yet it did not change Balaam's heart, he still wanted the riches that were offered to him.


5. The donkey speaking was not enough to get Balaam to change his path.


6. If rebuking a sinner for his iniquity could have made a man return to his duty, surely the rebuke of Balaam should have produced this effect; but it did not.


7. This surprising miracle with an animal enabled to speak, and that with a human voice, and to her owner and master (who is here called a prophet, the Lord appeared and spoke sometimes to him, Num 22:23,24.


8. Balaam was among the prophets of the Lord just as Judas was among the apostles of Jesus Christ).


9. The Lord through the donkey exposes the madness of his conduct and opposes his going on in this evil way, and yet all in vain. Those who will not yield to usual methods of reproof will not be moved by the miraculous to turn them from their sinful courses.


10. Balaam was indeed restrained from actually cursing the people, but he had such a strong desire after the honour and riches that were promised him that he went as far as he could, and did his best to do what God forbid.


II. Deceptions of False Teachers

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. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollution's 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.


1. Their vices not only expose them to the wrath of God in the final judgment.


2. However; the judgment of God is already at work and their rebellion will bring them misery and pain in this life.


3. God is just in his treatment against such who glory in their shame.


4. Give it time and their own actions will destroy them. Romans 8:7-8, “ Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Verse 13 goes on to say, “For if you live after the flesh you shall die:...”


5. God is patient and long suffering, but continual rebellion will meet with disaster.


6. These people actually deceive themselves and bring disgrace to themselves and those who hang with them.


7. Nothing is off limits in any area and as they give themselves over to the lust of the flesh they became enslaved to their own lust.


8. The unsaved are the ones at risk by these false teachers. Those whose hearts are not established with grace are easily captivated by their promise of excitement the promises of the world.

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. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."


1. The apostle, in the last two verses of the chapter, points out that the state of apostasy is worse than a state of ignorance.


2. What happens is the false teachers actually condemn the way of righteousness, after they have been exposed to it.


3. This action flies in the face of God and His commands and holiness.  NO wonder Peter says it would have been better not to have known the way of righteous then to have turned from it.


4. Ignorance is one thing but in your face rejection is another all together.


5. These deserve all that comes upon them. Having tasted of the heavenly and then turned back to their own vomit is hard to comprehend.


Conclusion: Author and speaker Brennan Manning came up with a slogan. The slogan is, "I am the one Jesus loves." It sounds a little arrogant doesn't it? But he is actually quoting Scripture. Jesus' closest friend on earth, the disciple named John, is identified in the Gospels as "the one Jesus loved." Manning said, "If John were to be asked, 'What is your primary identity in life?' he would not reply, 'I am a disciple, an apostle, an evangelist, an author of one of the four Gospels,' but rather, 'I am the one Jesus loves.'"


What would it mean, I ask myself, if I too came to the place where I saw my primary identity in life as "the one Jesus loves"? How differently would I view myself at the end of a day?

Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible's astounding words about God's love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?


There is the story of a local pastor walking on a country road and comes across a farmer kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the pastor says to the man, "You must be very close to God." The farmer looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, "Yes, he's very fond of me."


Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com Adapted from Phillip Yancey,

Imagine how it would change your life if you saw yourself as one that God loves.

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