2 Peter 2.12-22
Peter warns us about the danger of following the false teachers. Greedy, deceitful and arrogant, like unreasoning animals driven purely by their impulses, they sin with abandon and seek to entice the spiritually weak to follow them in their headlong race to destruction.
Don’t do it.
And while much of Peter’s warning applies equalling well to the culture in which we live (out there), his concern is for what’s going on inside the church (in here). It’s the wolves who have come in among the flock that are promoting this self as god lifestyle. The lie of the serpent…you can be like god, knowing good and evil.
It’s easy for us to imagine the influence of the world in which we live, enticing believers to detour off of Torah Road. But very hard for us to imagine someone inside the church…a pastor/leader/elder/person of influence…enticing believers to do the same. How does that happen? Slowly at first, and then very quickly.
Remember the false teachers are not believers. So we’re not talking about folks who once were on the right path and then strayed off. That would be an Option B believer. No, we’re talking about folks who have rejected Jesus and intentionally lead others down the same path. For financial gain. Or popularity. Or worldly pleasure. How do you recognize them…who are they promoting? Themselves or Jesus? Are they encouraging you to pursue the Torah Road (adding to your faith…moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love)? Probably the easiest way to recognize them is to be grounded in Truth. Best way to spot a counterfeit is to be super familiar with the real thing.
Remember also that Peter says we’ve be given everything we need to live the life that God calls us to…the Spirit and the Word. The Word to inform, the Spirit to empower. To allow us to see the world from God’s perspective. To have a biblical worldview. Once we start compromising on the Word, we’ve left Torah Road. It begins with questioning the Truth of Scripture. Six day creation? Adam and Eve? The Flood? Sodom and Gomorrah? When life begins? Gender? Marriage? The value of life? The things that we label “non-essential”. And yet Jesus talks about events in Genesis like Adam and Eve, the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. David talks about life beginning as he’s being knit in his mother’s womb. John the Baptist leaps in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary shows up…Jesus couldn’t have been more than a few weeks in the womb at that point. So if they really didn’t happen, if these things aren’t True, what does that say about Jesus? About the Bible? And how can we believe that Jesus’ death on the cross has paid the penalty for our sin if there is no Genesis 3? It all hangs together. It’s either all true, or none of it is. And if it’s not true, I’m not sure what you’re doing here.
Then there’s the “true back then, but not today” approach to Scripture. Methods and customs might be influenced/informed by the culture of the time. But Truth is not. It’s timeless. Washing feet is not a common practice these days, but the idea of serving one another still applies. There’s no trajectory on Truth, and there’s no fitting it into the views we’ve imported from the world in which we live.
Placing a high value on the Word will help us stay on Torah Road and is a safeguard against false teachers and an out-of-control culture. Both as individuals and as a church. The Word tells us the kind of life we are to live, and the Spirit then gives us the ability to live that kind of life, transforming us to live and love like Jesus.
This post is based on a sermon from our 2 Peter series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.