Sermon Notes & References

False Teachers’ Character & Conduct

2 Peter 2:10-16 (also Jude 1:8-11)

January 19, 2020

1.  Information on False Teachers

     a.  Their Doom

     b.  The Parallel in Jude

2.  Their Spiritual Insolence – vv 10-11

     a.  An Empty Exaltation

     b.  Our Battle Instructions Footnote

3.  Their Animal Nature – v 12

     a.  A Better Rendering

     b.  Brutish Beings Footnote

4.  Degenerate Appetites – vv 13-14

     a.  Constitutionally Sinful Footnote

     b.  Deceptive Companions

5.  Balaam’s Children – vv 15-16

     a.  Bad Examples

     b.  Balaam’s Warning Footnote

6.  “Whatsoever Things Are True” Footnote

     a.  “Thy Word Is Truth”

     b.  “The Truth”

Endnote  2 Peter 2:10-16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . False Teachers’ Character & Conduct


1.  Information on False Teachers

     a.  Their Doom

          i.   was the subject at which we looked last week

                (1) if you missed any of the prior messages on these teachers

                (2) you can read or listen to them on our web-site

                (3) they are only about 20 minutes each

                (4) because, I for one, find it hard to spend much more time than that at a single sitting on such a subject

          ii.  that doom which we saw in those verses

                (1) now transitions naturally into today’s message

                (2) because their doom is a natural result of who they are

                (3) that is of their character and their conduct

                (4) a doom that continues to be treated throughout the chapter


     b.  The Parallel in Jude

          i.   we read those verses in Jude because they form a parallel to Peter

                (1) they are speaking on the same subject – false teachers

                (2) particularly on their failure to respect demonic beings

                (3) an evidence of their lack of real respect of God’s word

          ii.  we shall make reference to Jude’s words

                (1) though not examining them in detail

                (2) yet making reference to some other of his words on false teachers

                (3) so as to fill in on what Peter has to day


2.  Their Spiritual Insolence – vv 10-11 – 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.

     a.  An Empty Exaltation

          i.   such false teachers make much of their supposed spiritual excellence

                (1) one way in which they do so is to make light of the spirit world

                     (a) the phrase ‘angelic majesties’, literally ‘glories’ whose authority and power they despise

                     (b) could mean the heavenly or good angels

                     (c) but the context here suggests demons and such powers

                     (d) which agrees with what we read from Jude 1:8-9

                (2) in the fashion in which the world depicts Satan as dressed in red pajamas, having a tail, carrying a pitch-fork – an object of humour

                     (a) of whom they speak slightingly, with a superior attitude

                     (b) as though their teaching will lift you above such danger

          ii.  but their inner lives and outer actions give the lie to their claims

                (1) they sell themselves to the satisfaction of their corrupt desires

                (2) the pursuit of pleasure is part of their religion

                (3) neither do they submit themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ

                     (a) a clue to such teachers is proclaimed familiarity with God

                     (b) but denial of His Lordship

                     (c) showing itself in the irreverence in their hymns and worship


     b.  Our Battle Instructions

          i.   what false teachers take so lightly, Christians are to take seriously

          ii.  well armed: “11 Put on the full armour of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12) – and the well known verses that follow give further details

          iii.  instructed and disciplined: “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

          iv. our faith is in God, not in ourselves: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 John 5:4)


3.  Their Animal Nature – v 12 – But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,

     a.  A Better Rendering

          i.   the NASB interprets the last part of this verse

                (1) in a temporal fashion, as being destroyed along with the animals

                (2) but this seems to me to be unwarranted by language or context

          ii.  the meaning being rather the likeness of their end to that of animals

                (1) as the AV: ‘shall utterly perish in their own corruption’

                (2) the NLT: ‘and like animals, they will be destroyed’

                (3) or NIV: ‘like beasts they too will perish”

                (4) literally, ‘in their destruction will be destroyed’, echoing such OT phrases as ‘dying you shall die’ meaning ‘you shall surely die’.


     b.  Brutish Beings

          i.   God made man in His own image

                (1) that man should be a spiritual being as well as a reasoning being

                (2) but, those who turn their back on God & on His word

                     (a) who follow their own self-will and natural desires

                     (b) falling even below the level of animals

                     (c) even as God described back slidden Israel:”An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:3)

          ii.  That describes such false teachers

                (1) they do not think about the seriousness of their folly

                (2) like animals who live by instincts, they have no concern about what lies beyond their earthly existence

                (3) as an animal reacts to a noise, hunger or danger, so false teachers react, reviling anyone who disagree with them

          iii.  so, as an animal passes from this earth without hope, so will they


4.  Degenerate Appetites – vv 13-14 – 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions *, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; * or, perhaps, ‘love-feasts’, with Jude.

     a.  Constitutionally Sinful

          i.   though presenting themselves as spiritual leaders, like the Pharisees

                (1) not having the rebirth they cannot see the kingdom of heaven

                (2) because their entire motivation is linked only to this word

                (3) wealth, reputation, selfish satisfaction

                (4) looking forward to the reward of such an outlook: “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23)

          ii.  if a person has nothing to anticipate beyond this life, it is no wonder

                (1) that their lives are filled with insatiable desires

                (2) that they descend from sin to the next lower form of sin

                (3) feeding their greed, for example, with further greed

          iii.  some people go to the gym or play a sport so that they maintain a measure of physical health; these train themselves in doing wrong


     b.  Deceptive Companions

          i.   so not only do we need to recognize such teachers

                (1) in order that we do not listen to their false ideas

                (2) but also avoid associating with them

                (3) because of the corrupting influence of their lives, ideas & deeds

                (4) they are spot & stains & blemishes – that spread

                (5) thus we parents pray our children not have such evil companions

          ii.  false teachers prey upon the weak, the easily led, the shallow Christian

                (1) not satisfied with their own sinfulness, they entice others into it

                (2) perhaps it is because they recognise in Christians what is missing in their own lives, they come to spend time in Christian circles

                     (a) according to Jude, spending time in their love-feasts

                     (b) with the same idea here of their carousing with us

                     (c) but any such association with them is damaging

                (3) for their character is the same as their end, accursed children


5.  Balaam’s Children – vv 15-16 – 15 forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

     a.  Bad Examples

          i.   Balaam one of a number of biblical examples to be avoided

                (1) Jude gives a list of such men: “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 1:11)

                (2) each of these had the instruction & background to know better

                (3) each of them persisted in his own self-will

          ii.  false teachers the same

                (1) having good upbringing, sound childhood teaching, etc

                (2) but the attractions of unrighteous wealth seduces them from truth


     b.  Balaam’s Warning

          i.   God gave a series of warnings to Balaam

                (1) do not go to help Balak

                (2) if you go, then you are only to speak what I say

                (3) the ultimate being from his own donkey

          ii.  even in denying he could help Balak, he reveals where his heart really is; “And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, ‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the Lord my God.’” (Numbers 22:18)

          iii.  so this man, once a prophet of God, having pursued unrighteous wages was slain in Israel’s victory in entering Canaan (Joshua 13:22).


6.  Spend Time with the True

     a.  “Thy Word Is Truth”

          i.   bank clerks used to be trained to spend time feeling real money in order to recognise the counterfeit – plastic money now needs machines

          ii.  but the principle still holds: regularly spend time in the word of God, and the false will stand out for what it is


     b.  “The Truth”

          i.   but not only with His word, but with Jesus who is the truth

          ii.  in prayer, first seeking those things that He finds to be false in us

          iii.  confessing and correcting ourselves of those things

          iv. as an inoculation against false plagues we may encounter.