2 PET 2:20-22
INTRO: I cannot read these last verses from the 2nd chapter of 2 Peter without realizing that the apostle knew and taught that a Christian had to live the Christian life as a Christian from beginning to end. Once saved, always saved simply was not a part of his teaching! Indeed, this doctrine which is apparently so comforting to so many people is everywhere in scripture denied. Furthermore, it is even against common sense and logic. So, concerned was Peter that Christians not fall under the influence of false teachers that he has used some of the strongest and most graphic language in the New Testament to brand the false teachers for what they were. In our text these false teachers are again discussed.
1. They had escaped the pollutions of the world
a. these false teachers had obeyed the gospel
b. this is the only way one escapes the pollutions, defilements of the world
c. Titus 2:3-7 - from pollution to purity via the washing of regeneration
d. I. Cor 6:9-11 - from unrighteous to washed..sanctified..justified
e. Eph 5:25-27 with Acts 22:16 - washing identified with baptism
f. the typical once saved, always saved response would be, Well, they were never really converted
g. but Peter never believed that - knew they had been purified by Jesus blood
2. They had enjoyed blessings of knowledge
a. the knowledge here is the deepest sort of affecting knowledge
b. so, not only had they obeyed the gospel, they had been true participants in the truth
c. they had known Christ in the fullest possible sense!
d. they had known the blessings of being in Christ
e. they had known the assurances of His presence
f. I am reminded here of Phil 3:9,10 - ...that I may know him...
g. in order for us to enjoy our faith in Christ to the fullest we must desire and seek to know him ... and this necessarily implies intense study of scriptures
3. But they were again entangled
a. the word entangled refers to an entwining - one writer mentioned to in-weave ... suggesting a gradual process (Hillyer, p. 207)
b. apostasy is usually a gradual process - so slow it is often not noticed
c. another writer thought of the netting of fish - trapping animals
d. in any case, these teachers are entangled again in worlds defilements!
e. they boasted of liberty, but they were again slaves to their own desires and to the licentious lifestyles they once had lived
f. Gal 5:1 - the concern? returning to dead letter from which theyd been freed
g. whether it is a return to a sinful lifestyle or a faith foreign to the N.T., such entanglement would be soul fatal!
4. An amazing fact - the latter end is worse than their beginning!
a. they were lost before they were free - now lost again
b. how much worse could it be than lost? apparently, much
c. first, it is abundantly clear that these had returned to lostness
d. but listen to Jas 3:1 - those who teach held to higher accountability!
e. these had enjoyed knowledge - but were teaching outright error
f. Lk 12:47,48 - degrees of punishment? it would certainly seem so!
g. Lk 17:1,2 - I consider these to be very sobering words!
5. They had known the way of righteousness
a. thus, they cannot even claim ignorance! (although ignorance is no excuse)
b. so, they had been washed, they had known the Lord, they had known the way of righteous living and had walked in that way
c. it is important here to go back to 2:15 - these are not (as some insist) people who knew what was right but who never walked in paths of righteousness
d. Peter says plainly that they have forsaken the right way
e. I wonder how many Christians have I known who were so zealous and filled with joy for a period of time ... but who forsook the way of righteousness?
f. unfortunately, there have been far too many
g. the graphic true proverb - could inspiration have been more plain?
CLOSE: My fervent prayer is that none of us will face the indictment of this incredible chapter of 2 Peter. The way of righteousness is the best course for your life. To know it, to walk in it and to forsake it is what I would call the ultimate tragedy.
Cecil A. Hutson
06 November 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)