Sermon Notes & References

False Teachers’ Methods & Motives

2 Peter 2:1-3

January 5, 2020

1.  Introduction

      a.   False Teachers

      b.   This Warning Is Not …

2.  False Messengers

      a.   Then and Now (v 1a) Footnote

      b.   Stealthily Destructive (v 1b, v 1d)

      c.   Anti-Christian (v 1c) Footnote

3.  False Results

      a.   In Their Followers (v 2a)

      b.   In Their Aftermath (v 2b)

      c.   In Their Dealings (v 3a)

      d.   In Their Outlook (v 35)

4.  Conclusion

Endnote  2 Peter 2:1-3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . False Teachers' Methods & Motives


1.  Introduction

      a.   False Teachers

            i.    this morning, and through this month of January, Lord willing, we shall be looking at a series within a series on the letters of the Apostle Peter

            ii.   all taken from this second chapter of Peter’s second letter

            iii.  this will be on the subject of False Teachers; their …

                  (1) … Methods & Motives, today

                  (2) … Coming Doom (you’ll see this actually permeates the chapter)

                  (3) … Character & Conduct

                  (4) … Evil Influence

            iv.  Peter wrote this chapter knowing that soon he would leave this life

            v.   and wanting his readers to be prepared for the inevitable

            vi.  so I, too, for the same reasons wish to warn you of such teachers


      b.   This Warning Is Not …

            i.    … against attending any other church

                  (1) than one that is a member of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada

                        (a)  for a specific church or denomination does not define true teaching, one way or the other

                        (b)  although I may be concerned when folk leave us to attend such a one that seems to me

                              (i)   to emphasise some teaching of Scripture to excess, or,

                              (ii)  to neglect some major aspect of God’s truth

                  (2) but rather that the first responsibility of the Christian

                        (a)  is to worship in spirit and in truth

                        (b)  so that then the Spirit of God makes clear what is truth

            ii.   … nor against a teacher simply because he differs from me in opinion on some points of interpretation of the Scripture

                  (1) the word of God is too profound for anyone to fully understand it

                        (a)  for it describes our God who is beyond our understanding

                        (b)  and likewise His purposes

                              (i)   which will amaze us as they unravel in the future

                              (ii)  so that we shall confess, “I never thought of that!”

                  (2) so that, for example, while Gord Struve and I could differ on the interpretation of some passages

                        (a)  such as those on specifics of the second coming of Christ

                        (b)  yet we can have good fellowship in teaching the word

                        (c)  and I, with you, profit by his application of that word to us

            iii.  rather, Peter’s words enable us to identify false teachers

                  (1) by what they say, and,

                  (2) by the way the live


2.  False Messengers

      a.   Then and Now

            i.    verse 1a: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you,…”

            ii.   Peter’s first point is that there have always been those who paraded their religion under false colours

                  (1) in the OT it was false prophets, in the NT, false teachers

                        (a)  if you want to know the motives and methods of today’s false teachers, you only have to look at the OT false prophets

                        (b)  in our Bible Class today, we came across one named Balaam whose motive is money, method was subversion – we shall return to him in our message in a few weeks, Lord willing

                        (c)  the false prophets 1 Kings 22, encouraged the King of Israel to go into battle, spoke what he wished to hear, to gain his favour

                        (d)  the false prophets preached “peace when there is no peace” so Judah need not repent of its sin (Jeremiah 6:14, 14:15-16)

                  (2) their motives were money, position, prestige, living sinfully

                  (3) their methods were lies, trickery and misrepresentation

            iii.  as these false messengers worked amongst & against the people of God in the OT, so there will be those doings so to the NT people of God

                  (1) they are messengers, but not of the one true God

                  (2) but of the “liar and the father of lies”, Satan (John 8:44 RSV et alii)

            iv.  whether prophets or teachers they are pseudo-, deliberately false


      b.   Stealthily Destructive

            i.    verse 1b: “… who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, …”

            ii.   heresy is a Greek word, pronounced just about the same way

                  (1) it comes from a verb meaning to choose, and as used in this verse it could most suitably be translated “self-chosen opinions”

                  (2) speaking things they want to teach, and their listeners, to hear

                  (3) one of these in Peter’s time was that the true religion came from a personal spiritual experience, not the revealed gospel of Christ

            iii.  such teaching cannot survivc when opened to examination

                  (1) so it must be done slyly, as poison introduced into food or drink

                  (2) the words sound fine, but are used deceptively, underhandedly, key Christian concepts being subtly altered

                  (3) e,g., justification becomes a result of ritual, not of God’s grace

            iv.  anything, then, that so undermines the authority of God’s Scriptures is going to be necessarily destructive, for it substitutes man’s feelings and ideas for God’s work of grace in Jesus on the cross

                  (1) hence it is destructive to the word of life

                  (2) and becomes destructive to those teaching it, deceiving themselves

                  (3) verse 1d: “… bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”

                  (4) as is found through and through this chapter


      c.   Anti-Christian

            i.    verse 1c: “… even denying the Master who bought them…”

            ii.   denying means to disown or to reject

                  (1) nearly every false sect turns upon the denial of some truth concerning the Person of Christ, or the Work of Christ

                        (a)  His Incarnation, His Deity, His sinlessness

                        (b)  His perfect salvation, His Atonement, His forgiveness

                  (2) and by this means, denying any obligation to obey Him as Lord

            iii.  despite the fact that mankind is a slave to sin and death

                  (1) and Christ entered the market-place of this world

                  (2) to purchase us out of that slavery

                  (3) by paying our debt by substituting for us on the cross

            iv.  this is just another manifestation of the spirit of the antichrist which 1 John 4 tells us is already at work in the world


3.  False Results

      a.   In Their Followers

            i.    verse 2a: “And many will follow their sensuality, …”

                  (1) sadly, many have been, are being, and will be deceived by these false messengers, since their words are attractive to our old nature

                        (a)  the old nature is in rebellion against God

                        (b)  and does not want to follow the law of Christ

                  (2) so their disciples adhere or stick closely to their teachers’ ways

            ii.   what are their ways of sensuality? – no one word in English seems sufficient to encompass what the words and examples of these false messengers seem to authorise in their disciples

                  (1) AV, pernicious ways or NKJV, destructive ways

                  (2) here are some other translations: “shameful ways, flagrant or shameful immorality”

                  (3) the lexicographer Alexander Souter defines it as “conduct shocking to public decency”

            iii.  such is the unhappy result in listening to such men and women.


      b.   In Their Aftermath

            i.    verse 2b: “… and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;”

            ii.   from weather and news reports we now are increasingly aware of the trail of devastation left by tropical storms

                  (1) so it is also with these false teachers and their followers

                  (2) damaged by their passing – and they do pass from this earth – is the way of truth, that involves

                        (a)  the Person of Christ who is the way, the truth, the life

                        (b)  the work of salvation in that people fail to find the narrow gate that leads unto life

                        (c)  the very message of the gospel falls into disrepute

            iii.  their life and teaching is literally one of blasphemy, for it speaks evil against all that our gracious God has done for man through Christ


      c.   In Their Dealings

            i.    verse 3a: “and in their greed they will exploit you with false words;”

            ii.   such false messengers deal with false words

                  (1) like that super-slick salesman who sold you the Lada

                  (2) they are out to profit at your expense.

            iii.  greed, or covetousness, is a word that reflects both attitudes & actions

                  (1) that disregard the rights of others

                  (2) against which the tenth commandment forbids so vigorously

            iv.  the picture of the word exploit or make merchandise is just that

                  (1) these people not only deal with entrapping words

                  (2) but their business is making a living off innocent people

                  (3) people are merely their meal-ticket

                  (4) so that none of their promises can be trusted

            v.   for their words are plastic, feigned so as to be shaped in any form they desire, moulded into any suitable meaning – mere fiction

      d.   In Their Outlook

            i.    verse 3b: “… their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

            ii.   once again comes the forecast that those who spread such destructive teachings are themselves headed for destruction

            iii.  introducing the theme on which we shall continue next week

            iv.  but leaving us with a lesson


4.  Conclusion

      a.   Be Warned of These

            i.    false teachers like false prophets,

            ii.   serving for hire

                  (1) devouring the sheep

                  (2) claiming to proclaim the word of the Lord

                  (3) but led by lying spirits

            iii.  and learn …


      b.   From Their Conclusion

            i.    of where such false teachers are headed:

            ii.   how careful and discerning we need to be

            iii.  not to be ensnared by them

            iv.  nor entangled in their teaching.