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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

June 12, 2013

2 Peter 2:1-13

  1. Verses 1-3. In today’s lesson the apostle Peter highlights the nature of the false teachers that were present then and are still active today. The first thing we notice from the text is that these false teachers are an ongoing threat to the body of Christ. Jesus predicted them in Matthew 24:4-5 and warned the church to be on the lookout for them. The primary motive behind such false teaching is greed. They say what they need to say to gather a crowd with the hidden agenda of using the very people that come near them. They do not hesitate to take hurtful advantage of their followers in order to enrich themselves. In order to deceive these false teachers “will secretly introduce destructive heresies.” They will use (v. 3) “false words.” We get our word “plastic” from the Greek word for “false.” It meant, “made up,” or “fabricated.” These false teachers invariably cater to the flesh. They do not preach against sin. They do not mention divine judgment or hell. They avoid truths like denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Christ no matter what the cost. The false teachers were accusing Peter and the apostles of following “cleverly devised tales” (1:16), but Peter counters by saying that they are making up their own stories and doctrines. In contrast to the inspired prophets and apostles, who wrote down God’s revealed truth in His Word, these false teachers were tools of Satan to promote deception. The Greek word translated “secretly introduce” means to bring in from outside. They add false and fleshy concepts to the Bible and give them the same authority as Scripture.

  2. Verses 4-10a. In the last half of verse 3, the apostle Peter tells the church that the fate of those who deliberately distort God’s truth would be ever so severe. He shows several examples of people who incurred the wrath of God while also showing that the righteous will be spared when the wicked are punished. Their judgment is already determined from of old, and their actual destruction is not sleeping. The judgment of these false teachers does not sleep buts anxiously awaits them at the end of time. Peter refers to the punishment of the angels of Genesis 6:1-6, referred to also in Jude 6, is here cited as the first example of God's process of punishment. Certain angels rebelled at God's choice of ministry for them and presumed to engage in forbidden lustful practices with the daughters of men. This action met with immediate judgment: they were cast down to hell, literally, to Tartarus, the place of final punishment in Greek mythology. It is a place of severe limitation of action (symbolized by chains) and almost total lack of knowledge and understanding (symbolized by darkness). In that condition they await the final judgment, which is what Revelation 20:14 calls "the second death" i.e. the lake of fire. Let the false teachers beware, for God is well able to do the same to them!

    1. Peter's second example is the flood which came upon the ungodly in Noah's day. The people could have listened to Noah, but they did not listen to his preaching, but continued in sin. Noah and his family were spared, but the rest were destroyed in the flood.

    2. The third example occupies vv. 6-8, and was one of the best known incidents of the ancient world the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 19 makes it clear that sensual wickedness was the primary cause for the cities destruction, but God spared Lot and his family.

  3. Verses 10b-12. These words introduce the section from 10b-19 where Peter examines in detail the character and methods of the false teachers. Their actions are characterized by audaciousness; they are recklessly daring, defying both God and man. They are willing to say outrageous things that even amaze the angels. Most likely this verse refers to the fact that certain preachers thought they had the power within themselves to rebuke demons (see Jude 8-9, Zechariah 3). Angels who are much greater and more powerful than men do not behave so disrespectfully even when justly confronting an enemy of the Lord. The reference here is almost certainly to Jude 9 where Michael, the archangel, disputing with Satan over the body of Moses does not revile the Devil but simply says, "The Lord rebuke you." The false teachers are also compared to animals in their behavior, for they act in ignorance of the realities of death and judgment and, like animals, react only to the present circumstance, foolishly unaware of the consequences. That is the irony of sinful living is that the pleasure it initially brings ends painfully.

  4. Verses 13. A third charge against the false teachers, besides the fact that that their language is insulting and extreme, unlike the angels; they act out of ignorance of the consequences, like animals; is that they are perverse in their display of evil, like those who carouse in the daytime. Even pagan society thought it strange and unnatural to hold drunken revels in broad daylight, but these teachers have no qualms about practicing their concept of Christian "liberty" in open display. They even used sacred events to display their sin.

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