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Destroyed in Their Destruction

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2023 1:00 am

Destroyed in Their Destruction

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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January 30, 2023 1:00 am

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This is a passage that I feel like I'm just kind of slogging through filth as I read it. It's heavy.

It's difficult. And yet, it's a part of the revelation that God has given us in His Word, and we need to pay attention to it. It's been a while since we spent some time in this book, so let me just review quickly where we have been. We began in the very first verses of 2 Peter with a reminder of the preciousness of what we have in Jesus Christ, that He is our priceless treasure. We have a precious faith. We have exceedingly great and precious promises that God has given us, grace and peace through the knowledge of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the second section of chapter 1, we talked about the fact that all things pertaining to life and godliness have been granted to us, and yet we are exhorted to supplement our faith with virtue and knowledge and self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love.

Then we were told that we are to remember, be reminded, stir up the truth that is in us that we have heard, always being diligent to make our calling and election sure. The last part of chapter 1, we were reminded that the sure foundation of our faith is not our experience, glorious as it may be. The foundation of our faith is the word of God. And then as we entered chapter 2, we were warned against false teaching, and we were told that just as there were false prophets among God's people in the Old Testament, so there will come among us false teachers who will lead astray if possible, and they will lead to certain destruction and judgment.

Verses 4 through 10 of chapter 2, we continue that journey, but then we have that promise in verse 10 that God is able. If God did not spare the ancient world, if he did not spare the angels who rebelled, if he did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah, he will not spare these false teachers, but also there is the flip side of that promise, and that is that the Lord knows how to rescue those who are his. And so we have to keep that in mind as we look at these difficult expressions of what is a great danger for us even today of false teaching. And so we begin our consideration of tonight's text by looking at a description of the false teachers.

False teachers are characterized, first of all, by blasphemy. The last half of verse 10 says that they are bold and willful and do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones. There's no fear of God. There's no fear even of angels as they blaspheme angels.

The word that is translated in ESV, glorious ones, not really sure exactly what is meant there. Some think that it refers to fellow believers in some way, others that it refers to angels. I believe if we look at parallel passage in Jude, verses 8 and 9 of Jude, he's pointing to fallen angels as the ones who are being blasphemed. But the point is that these false teachers don't tremble in the presence of those that Peter says are mighty and greater. And there's no sense of fear, no sense of trembling in their blasphemous approach to things. It reminds me of some modern televangelists and revivalists that we have in our day who so boldly rail against Satan directly as if they have power enough to withstand Satan and to rebuke him.

And even the Archangel Michael does not dare to rebuke him, but says the Lord rebuke you. They are irreverent. They're irrational and ignorant, Peter says. In verse 12, he speaks of them as being like irrational animals.

King James Version there says they're brute beasts. They are driven by instinct. That sin nature that we all have in our fallen state drives us and forces us to act in irrational, ignorant ways.

He says that they are blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant. They think they're self-determined, that they are in control of their lives, but in fact they will receive suffering for their wrongdoing. It reminds me that in the Old Testament we have illustrations of this that the ones that God uses as his own sword to punish his people end up being punished by him for their pride and thinking they were the ones that did it. Isaiah chapter 10, we have a good example of that in Assyria. And God says that after I'm finished with you, then I will deal with you. These people are not self-determined, but they will receive what they've given.

They will be, as he says in verse 12, destroyed in their own destruction. False teachers are characterized by blasphemy, also by sensuality and greed. He speaks of revelry.

They counted a pleasure to revel in the daytime, he says. That word has to do with sensual delight. Hedonism is what he's talking about here, where you just live for pleasure and lust and fulfilling the desires of the flesh. The Bible Knowledge commentary comments on this passage. It says, though the false teachers tried to pass themselves off as spiritual leaders, possessing a special level of knowledge, they did not even hide their orgies under the cover of darkness, but would carouse in broad daylight while reveling in their pleasures. And they did all this while obviously joining in the love feasts of the church.

They were blots and blemishes. They marred the Lord's Supper by their very presence. Some manuscripts have, where the ESV speaks of their deceptions, some manuscripts there speak of the love feasts in that same place. And, of course, Jude points us in that same direction in a parallel passage. But the false teachers are driven by sensuality and greed.

They revel in the daytime, he says. They are involved in adultery. Verse 14 says they have eyes full of adultery.

It literally is full of an adulteress. They look at women as objects to fulfill and satisfy their own lust and desire. This next phrase is insatiable for sin. The truth is that lust is never satisfied.

They are insatiable. One translation says unceasing in sin. It brings to mind John's warning in his first letter that anyone who keeps on sinning, who makes a practice of sinning, does not know God and is of the devil.

Revelry and adultery and greed. Verse 14, the latter part of that says they have hearts trained in greed. The word translated trained there is the Greek word kumnazo.

It's a word from which we get our word gymnasium, referred to the training of athletes. These false teachers have their hearts trained in greed. It's the same word that's used in Hebrews in chapter 5, verse 14, where it speaks of the fact that solid food is for the mature, those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. This causes me to ask myself the question, what is my constant practice?

What do I train my heart in? False teachers are trained in greed. False teachers are characterized by blasphemy. They're characterized by sensuality and greed. They're also characterized by ruin and destruction. Verse 19 says that they are slaves of corruption. Slaves of corruption. This word corruption is the same word that Paul uses in his letter to the Corinthians when he talks about the fact that the body, this body of flesh, is sown in corruption, raised in incorruption. It's the idea of decay and ruin, and it's sometimes translated perish. They are slaves to corruption. Not only are these false teachers slaves of corruption, but they're also entangled in the defilements of the world.

He uses that phrase in verse 20. They are entangled and overcome by the defilements of the world. This word speaks of pollution and uncleanness. Have you ever been in a place where you just felt like you needed to go home and take a bath because of all the junk that was around you? That's kind of the sense of this. They are entangled and overcome by the defilements, the pollution, the uncleanness of this world.

It's so easy to become entangled in the stuff of this world. John warns us about three areas where sin comes in and entangles us. He says that we are not to love the things of the world, and the things that he lists are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Those three areas he warned about there have been around since the Garden, haven't they, when Eve was tempted of Satan. The scripture says that she saw that something was good for food, something to be delighted in and taste. It was something that would make one wise.

There was pride, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, pride of life. That is where the danger lies for us, in being entangled and overcome by the things of this world. Even things that are not evil in themselves can become a danger to us and can entangle us.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6-12. He said, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.

Are there things of the world that tend to dominate your life, your time, your attention? We must be careful not to be entangled and overcome by the defilements of the world. So how do these false teachers bring in these destructive heresies? What is their methodology? The first thing they would say about their methodology is that they want to bait us. The word in verses 14 and 18 speaks of these false teachers enticing. The word there is a word that means to delude, to allure, to beguile. It's something that is deceptive and dishonest, misleading. It's like the angler who drops a fly on a trout stream.

It looks so inviting and delicious and exactly what is needed, but hidden artfully in that is that hook that will be fatal and bring death. The same is true of these false teachers. They entice, they beguile with their baiting and enticing. They also make promises, promises that appeal to the flesh.

They promise freedom and independence. Satan's been doing that since the Garden, hasn't he? You don't need to depend on God to tell you what's right and wrong.

You can know for yourself. If you're going to die, you're going to become wise like God. We have that fallen desire for independence to think that we can handle it ourselves. Even in doing the good things to which we're called, the things that we're gifted to do within the body, it's so easy for us to think, I've got this.

I can handle this. We don't say it like that, but that's how we act and that's how we think. We forget that we are absolutely totally dependent upon God for the very next breath, let alone the ability to do those works that he has prepared for us to walk in. We cannot handle independence. We need to be directed and guided. Be kept in check. In understanding what it means to be free in Christ, to have liberty in Christ, we need to realize that our freedom in Christ is not the liberty to do what we want to do. It's the power to do what we ought to do. That's our true freedom.

Be under his control. That's the meaning of that beatitude that we read earlier. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. A meek person is not one who is limp and just milquetoast. A meek person is one who has submitted their strength to the control of the Master, like a horse that has been gentle and tamed.

He's just as strong as he was out in the wild, but he's submitted himself to the control of the rider. We must be under the control of our Master to know true freedom. They promise pleasure. They appeal to the sensual passions of the flesh, verse 18 says. They know that we are all susceptible to the lure of pleasure and comfort. We don't want to hurt.

We don't want to be struggling. We want peace and comfort. A few years ago, I remember Francis Schaeffer, who was kind of a philosopher, a missionary, and spent most of his years in Switzerland. He, in one visit to the States, made a statement. He said, There will come a time when Americans will accept any kind of leadership so long as they maintain their own peace and prosperity. And we're pretty much there, aren't we? Let me have my pleasure. Let me have my comfort.

Let me have all the affluence and the abundance. And we are called not to hoard and gather and be the one who wins because he has the most toys. We are called to die to self and to take up the cross.

We're not called to a life of sensual passions. These false teachers also promise gain. Verse 15 says, Forsaking the right way, they've gone astray.

They've followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing. They have temporal values. I think even in the body of Christ, and especially here in America, where we're so abundantly blessed materially, we, if we're not very careful, develop a mindset of temporal values. We don't really live in the realm of the Spirit and of eternity. We have set our minds, our affections on stuff and things.

And we need to heed what Paul admonishes in his Colossian letter, that we should set our affectional things above. These promises not only appeal to the flesh, but they're also false promises. They can't be fulfilled.

They will not be fulfilled. They promise freedom, and they themselves are slaves to corruption, says in verse 19. They promise what they themselves don't know. In verse 12, he says, they're blaspheming about matters off which they are ignorant. They claim special power and understanding, but they don't realize the might and intelligence of the enemy.

And they are ignorant of those things. They boast in foolishness, verse 18. It reminds me of the foolishness of young men. And just because we get old, don't lose our foolishness very well. But young men especially, I can remember as a high school football player in the locker room, the foolishness of the boasting that you heard. And you knew if you couldn't, well, it wasn't true.

But we would like to tell these tall tales and boast about things that we had accomplished or could accomplish. The truth is that these are false expectations, false promises. Well, Jesus said that you can know these false teachers by their fruit. So what is the fruit of the false teacher?

Peter doesn't leave us in the dark here either. First of all, he tells us that false teachers are ones who become entangled and enslaved, verses 19 through 22. He says they promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. They're overcome, enslaved by the defilements of the world. And even though they have heard the truth, they turn back to the world and become entangled in it. And he says they're like dogs who return to their vomit, like the pig that washed goes back into the mire.

That doesn't strike us, I don't think, as strongly as it did the original readers of this, because in those days you couldn't be much more denigrating to a person than to call them a dog or a pig. But these men are entangled and enslaved, and they fulfill that very proverb. It reminds me of Jesus' parable about the man who was demon-possessed. And Jesus says in Matthew chapter 12, When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, but finds none. And then it says, I will return to my house from which I came, and when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits, more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. And that's what Peter says about these false teachers, that they've heard the truth, they turn back to the things of this world, and their latter state is worse than the first. One of the dangers as the body of Christ is that we try to clean up our lives by getting rid of stuff, and we fail to fill it with what is right and true. And we must be careful that we fill our lives and saturate our lives and permeate our lives with the truth.

They are slaves of corruption. This phrase in verse 14 is an awful indictment. It says, they are accursed children. This is the fruit of the false teaching.

Some of these phrases are just, they are really, they weigh heavy. Peter says in verse 17 that they are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them, the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. The gloom of utter darkness. In fact, Jude goes on and says, the blackness of that darkness is forever.

Gloomy. It's the same word that's used up in verse 4 to speak of the place of judgment for the fallen angels. Jude talks about the fact that they did not stay in their position, that they abandoned their proper dwelling, and so they are destined for the gloom of blackness and darkness forever. They lead astray. Jesus said, and we were reminded of this this morning, that I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me. In fact, in the early days in the book of Acts, we find that the Christians were referred to as followers of the way. Seven times in the book of Acts, they're called followers of the way. These false teachers abandon the way and lead astray.

So what does this mean for all of us? First of all, we are to do, as John tells us in his letter, we are to test the spirits. We don't believe everyone who comes along, but we're to test the spirits. We are to discern and to know and understand what is truth and what is not. The way we do that, of course, is to know the truth.

We've all heard the illustration, but it's helpful. Treasury agents are not trained to recognize counterfeit by looking at counterfeit. They're trained by looking at the real thing until they know it so well that they immediately spot anything that's not like it. We need to know the truth so that we immediately know when someone is off base. There's plenty of it out there in our day. It's very dangerous.

People who are adept at the use of modern technology and psychology of human beings are very good at hooking you with language and things that sound right in first hearing. Underneath, there's that hook that is fatal. We need to be very careful.

We need to know the truth. We need to test the spirits. Finally, we need to glorify God and enjoy Him. That's what we're destined for forever.

That's where we need to be living this life, enjoying that true way. False teachers promise freedom. They're enslaved. They're greedy and lustful and never satisfied. They do wrong and they suffer wrong.

They destroy, but they will be destroyed in their own destruction. It's not so with the children of God. This is not part of the passage here, but let me just remind you. That's one of the things Peter is doing in this letter.

You remember back in Chapter 1, he said, I want to remind you, I want you to remember, even after I'm gone, I want you to still be able to remember these things. But I want you to remember that as God's children, in forgiving, we're forgiven. In being merciful, we obtain mercy. When we pity the poor and lend, we're paid back by God. In giving, we receive.

In dying, we live. Everything's the exact opposite of the false teacher and the world. Paul wrote of this contrast when he wrote to the Galatians. He said, for the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. False teachers bring in destructive heresies, and they themselves are destroyed. In contrast, we are the people of God who must speak the truth in love and grow up into Christ.

Be like Him. Amen? Let's pray. Father, these passages are horrifying if we didn't know Your grace. Those who do not know truth are like a mist blown by storm.

They're like a spring with no water, clouds with no rain, irrational brute beasts. Father, in Your grace, You have called us to Yourself. You have brought us out of darkness and blackness into marvelous light. You have given us the mind of Christ. You have filled us with the presence of Your Spirit. And You have called us to die to self and to live to glorify You and enjoy You forever. May it be so, Father, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 20:11:13 / 2023-01-29 20:20:21 / 9

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