2 PET 2:14d-17
INTRO: In the section of 2 Peter in which the apostle continues his scathing denunciation of the ungodly who are representing themselves to be faithful Christians and teachers we are provided with a Biblical example of the kind of person to whom He refers. And we are presented with some metaphoric illustrations describing these ungodly people. Once again, I want to comment that I am a bit amazed by the lengthy description of these people who are such a danger to the faith of others. Still, if we keep in mind that Peter may be contemplating the conclusion of his ministry and needs to make a profound impression on his readers. I think we can appreciate what he is seeking to accomplish by this lengthy denunciation. Lets look further at what he says.
1. These are cursed children - 2:14d
a. lit. children of the curse
b. two things: they were a curse to others; they would suffer the curse!
c. compare: Eph 2:13 and Col 3:6,7
d. this strong language seems to sum up all that Peter has been saying about this particular group of people
e. these were consigned to the wrath of God should they continue their course
f. in the Colossians passage cited earlier there is the notation that Christians had once walked lived as children of disobedience ... how sad if they should be brought back to that walk by ungodly, influential, appealing teachers
2. These have forsaken the right way - 2:15a
a. one cannot forsake that way in which he has never walked
b. thus, these people who are under Gods curse were indisputably saved, Christian people!
c. they had once walked in the way of righteousness - cleansed by His blood
d. question: can a person once saved ultimately be lost? absolutely
e. this passage places once saved people under the curse of God - and if being under Gods curse does not put souls in jeopardy, I dont know what does
f. Prov 12:28 - In the way of righteousness is life... (cf. Acts 13:8-10)
3. These have are gone astray - 2:15b
a. this is not an accidental straying from the right path
b. these have chosen to leave straight paths for alternatives
c. all of the alternatives people might choose lead to one result - astray
d. unfortunately, our world is full of alternative paths - both religious and otherwise
e. and people are making life (and eternity) choices based on the appeal of those alternatives and their own desire - truth has become obscured
f. remember Jas 5:19,20 - away from the truth there is only death!
4. The illustration? Balaam - 2:15c
a. Peter acknowledges that Balaam was a prophet (2:16)
b. the strange history recorded in Numbers 22, 23 & 24 indicates that this man, not a descendent of Abraham, was, indeed, a prophet
c. but his being a prophet apparently did not diminish his humanness - money could definitely get his attention
d. for money he was willing to subvert the cause of righteousness!
e. for what price would you be willing to ignore, pervert, undermine the cause of God ... of righteousness? thats a hard questions ... but someone has said, Every man has his price - is that true?
f. the ungodly teachers, once righteous people, had their price - and if you preach only for money or prestige, you can be bought to teach error!
g. I think there is beautiful irony here ... that a prophet of God going in the wrong way is rebuked by a donkey - I wonder, at times, if dumb animals do not have more sense that human beings who reject the counsel of God
5. These make empty promises - 2:17
a. wells without water - clouds without rain
b. in the distance there is the promise - only to realize there is emptiness
c. in forty plus years of preaching this has been my greatest personal fear - that I would teach or influence that which would lead people to believe in something which would be ultimately empty of hope for them
d. and I have to say, I hope without an ugly spirit, that there is a growing number of preachers within the Lords church who are abandoning the right way for popularity and following - there is religion ... but empty promise
e. Titus 1:9 - our only eternal hope is in the faithful word!
f. Col 2:6-8 - here is such needed admonition and warning
CLOSE: We must be so careful that our faith is not spoiled by the mixing in of ideas, opinions, viewpoints and philosophies which are not solidly based in scripture. If there were ungodly teachers within just decades of the establishment of the Lords church, can we imagine that such are not afoot in our world today?
Cecil A. Hutson
09 October 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)