A Real & Present Danger – 2 Peter 2:1-10 – Pastor Eric
Beware of dangerous heresies but be grateful for God’s sustaining grace.
In March, Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) unmasked a sophisticated scheme to purchase medical masks across Europe. The company selling the masks was a legitimate company, but the website to obtain these masks was a fake. Thankfully, Interpol was able to trace the money transaction to a fraudulent company. Sadly, this story is being repeated around the world, where people are being taken advantage of, for fraud has been on the rise during the COVID-19 outbreak especially toward those who are elderly. So, please be careful and stay vigilant over yourself and your finances.
Tragically, the church at times has become a place of deception both in the past and in the present, where false teachers have become a real and present danger. The Apostle Peter understood this reality even in his time when false teachers led people astray with improper doctrine and improper behavior.
Therefore, Peter wrote a good portion of his final letter, 2 Peter, to warn and to strengthen the church against these types of prophets and teachings. The church both in the 1st century and the 21st century must learn how to be spiritual vigilant and discerning against false teachers. How can we be spiritually vigilant in the midst of false teachers?
(1) Beware of dangerous false teaching in belief and behavior. Be very aware of the real and present danger of false teachers. Don’t be spiritually naive to what is happening in the world today. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Peter uses extremely strong words about false teachings by calling them destructive heresies and speaks about the heavy consequence for both the false teacher and follower. For it leads people down a deadly path toward Hell. With this warning, we can’t simply ignore or be indifferent about false teaching, and we must be alert to its dangerous beliefs and practices.
Danger #1 - False teaching denies the truth about God, because false teachers rob God of His identity and character. Many times, false teachers will present half-truths of who God is like: He is a promise keeper, a healer, or life giver, which is true, but they don’t present the whole truth of God and His character as being holy, just, and righteous.
It’s imperative to know that God is both holy and gracious, because the more we understand His holiness, then the more we will understand His grace. We must beware of dangerous distortions to who God is.
Danger #2 - False Teaching can be defined by its behavior or practices. Peter highlights two sinful behaviors: false teachers indulge themselves or others in sexual immorality and in greed. They may pull people into sexual perversion, and they may use God and His word to profit monetarily for earthly blessings while defrauding people of spiritual blessings.
Sadly, the rise of the prosperity gospel movement feeds thousands of people with a lie that God will guarantee them financial blessings on earth, and “to have their blessed life now,” when your best life is yet to come as a Christian.
Another danger is that many Christians may not believe in false teachers, but they may act like it. The church at times is pulled into spiritual apathy rather than spiritual vigilance. Therefore, it is imperative that we are on guard to flee sexual immorality and to live in godly contentment. Let us beware of false teaching and beware over our own spiritual shortcomings.
(2) Beware of God’s unavoidable judgment. God will be coming to judge the world in the end. God will execute His righteous punishment upon sin. We must be keenly aware of God’s complete and eternal judgment. (2 Peter 2:4-10)
In verses 4-8, Peter gives another profound warning with three Old Testament stories: the fall of angels, the flood in Noah’s ark, and Sodom and Gomorrah. In each of these stories, God expresses His distaste for sin by executing His right and just judgment. Peter uses these stories to warn about the impending judgment at the end of time, and he warns us like a good friend warning us from danger.
Peter challenges us to see that our eternity and our relationship with Almighty God is what we must consider. The greatest threat, the real and present danger, is an eternity separated from God. So, if you have never made the decision to repent and to believe in Christ, then God is calling you to do so today. Come believe in Christ as your Lord and Savior!
(3) Be thankful for God’s sustaining grace. Be grateful that God will save and uphold His own, the elect, His church from their sin and this broken world. There is a great assurance and hope of better days ahead for Christ will redeem us by His grace. (2 Peter 2:9)
Peter says, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly.” This is good news! The Lord knows you personally like a shepherd knows his sheep. God knows your feelings of fear, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. God knows how hard it is right now at home balancing work and family. God is right there to comfort, to guide, and to care for you just as He did for Noah and for Lot.
For each of these men and throughout the biblical narrative, God has been there rescuing and redeeming His people. God has been and is in the process of protecting, preserving, and pruning His people toward a greater and glorious end. This is the power of the gospel that moves us forward every day no matter the situation or the circumstance.
So that we do not have to be dismayed, but we can be strengthened by His Spirit to boldly fight off sin and fear. We can be keenly aware of dangerous heresies, and we can be grateful for God’s sustaining power in His Word and in the Church. Let us then not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap an amazing harvest in the Lord.
Praise Songs: Christ our Hope in Life and Death, Speak O Lord, Blessed Assurance, Build My Life