Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trusting in the Lord: Destructive Teachers

October 25, 2015

Trusting in the Lord
Destructive Teachers
2 Peter 2:1-10

(Advance Slide #1)

It is easy to get lost.
  • You think that you more or less know the right way to go.

(Advance Slide #2)

  • Maybe you have been there before, and if only you could see certain landmarks you’d find the way.
    • But no, it’s not that easy...somewhere a wrong turn was taken.
    • So what happens?
      • You find yourself wandering the wrong trail or going up and down unfamiliar streets in different town.

No harm was done, except to our pride.
  • The lesson is obvious...don’t just assume.
    • I’m a cheerful sort of person and don’t like to think about possible problems so the way will be clear and simple.
    • It very often won’t be.

(Advance Slide #3)

This applies especially in that long, twisting, complicated journey called Christian discipleship.

We would like, of course, a nice straight path, a smooth and easy road.

(Advance Slide #4)

  • This would allow us to follow Jesus cheerfully and without the worry that we might at any minute take a wrong turning.
    • But Jesus warned us things are not like that.
      • Think about it, even among His followers there was one He called Satan, and one who did the work of Satan.

(Advance Slide #5)

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2: 1-3

Peter, remembering perhaps how easily he himself had been led astray.
(Advance Slide #6)

  • In these verses unleashes a stern warning against false teachers and prophets.
  • Oh how he wishes it wasn’t so.

The same early Christians who tell us to be kind and gentle also tell us to be on our guard against being deceived.

(Advance Slide #7)

  • Jesus himself told us to be not only innocent as doves but also wise as serpents.
    • It’s a difficult combination.
      • We won’t get very far in the right direction unless we work hard on both sides of our character.
  • Wouldn’t it be so easy to assume that people who claim to be speaking the truth did!
  • Wouldn’t it be so easy if Christians actually taught the things that pertained to the Christian faith!

Let’s spend a few moments seeing how it is that Peter said that we can identify these false teachers.
  • We will also be able to see how easily we can be lead astray!

(Advance Slide #8)

Hearing the False
There are false prophets and false teachers.
  • The problem is that they don’t wear a label round their necks giving the game away.
    • The devastating thing about such prophets and teachers is that they sound all too plausible.
    • When you listen to them, your first impression is, ‘Yes this is good; I like the sound of it.’

Sometimes, of course, that is the sign that the teaching is genuine and true.
  • But sometimes this is a sign that all is not well.
  • But there is also such a thing as deliberately shutting your eyes to things, assuming or pretending that something is all right when in fact it’s all wrong.

(Advance Slide #9)

The Danger Signs
Peter is putting up a sign which says, ‘Danger this way!’
  • Right off the top he is offering danger-signs.
    • False teaching will regularly ‘deny the Master’, saying that Jesus is only one among many teachers, or that perhaps his death didn’t really ‘pay the price’.
    • False teaching will encourage ‘disgusting practices’ - not a lot of specifics.
    • Then he warns that ‘the way of truth will be blasphemed’ -
    • Finally, they may use their fake prophecies as a way of boosting income.
  • Apparently, there are always plenty of people who want to be told that proper full-blooded Christian faith and life is a mistake and that there’s an easier way.

(Advance Slide #10)

Example from the Past
Before he goes into any more detail, Peter sends his readers back to stories they might be more familiar with than we are.
  • From the early chapters of Genesis
    • The first example refers back to the famous story of the wicked angels in Genesis 6.
      • God has kept them guarded until the day of judgment.
    • Judgment was swifter in the second case, that of the world at the time of Noah.
    • The third case is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot.

The lesson seems simple:
  • When teachers emerge who remove the normal restraint that Christian faith, like Judaism, had imposed on human desires, we should beware.
  • It would be a bold person who claimed that no such problems existed in today’s church.
    • It is easy to get on the wrong road—easier than you might think.

Peter isn’t simply highlighting the dangers of false teaching and behaviour, but the fact that God will bring judgment upon such things.
  • There is also encouragement.
    • He is stressing that God will rescue his people out of the mess.
      • Judgment and mercy: those are the solid promises upon which you can rely.

The underlying point, though, is the positive one, and Peter states it clearly in verse 9.

(Advance Slide #11)

You are not left to your own devices.
  • Yes, you will be tested, and yes, wicked and unscrupulous people will appear to flourish.
    • But God is not mocked.
      • He knows how to rescue his people from the test.
      • And he knows how to keep the wicked ready for the day of judgment.

(Advance Slide #12)

God’s judgment and mercy are the twin characteristics which correspond to the command that we should be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
  • Life would be very pleasant if it was all mercy and innocence.
  • But it isn’’s easy to get lost.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Trusting in the Lord: Affirming Your Position

October 18, 2015

Trusting in the Lord
Affirming Your Position
2 Peter 1:1-11

(Advance Slide #1)

Have you ever taken a small child into a toy store?

(Advance Slide #2)

  • They are full of exciting things, bright colors, and noises.
  • They are usually crammed full of things...floor to ceiling, from one end of the shop to the other.

Kids are fun to watch in a situation like this because they do not know where to start.
  • So they look quickly this way and that, then round, then up and down.
  • The kids are in happy shock at this overload of delight.
    • All they can say is, ‘WOW’!

That’s a bit how I feel on reading quickly through the beginning of the letter we call 2 Peter.
  • Every sentence, every word almost, glitters and flashes...should generate excitement!
  • Every sentence says, ‘Look at me! This is fascinating!’
    • To dive into all this goodness it helps to see the big picture within which all this cluster of exciting and challenging ideas.

(Advance Slide #3)

      • The BIG PICTURE is what God wants for His people.


(Advance Slide #4)

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."
2 Peter‬ ‭1:3-4‬

Spiritual maturity begins with God’s provision (vv. 3–4).
  • It is “his divine power” that has given to us Christians all that we need both for new spiritual life and for “godliness.”
    • It refers to his power to reclaim lost sinners, unleashed through his death and resurrection.

Those of us who are Christ followers...we have a new life!
  • If you are not 'in Christ' then you can can have this new life!
    • Of course this means trusting in Him.

When we think of ‘religion’ or ‘faith’ we often think of things that God wants from us.
  • Here in vs. 3-11 we find what God has done FOR us.

(Advance Slide #5)

God has given you everything that you need
It’s like a starter kit for all that we need to become (verse 3).
  • “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
    • There is indeed quite a lot in this letter about the moral effort we have to make.
      • But Peter is quite clear.
      • It all comes from God in the first place.

(Advance Slide #6)

He wants us to come to share in His nature
Some Christians have felt uneasy about this idea.
  • “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
    • It is as though the humility to which we are so often exhorted should stop us short from thinking of actually sharing God’s very being or nature.

Others have seen this as central to what it means to be a Christian.
  • After all, if we say that the holy spirit is divine, and if we say that the holy spirit comes to live within us and transform us.
  • This transformation is leading us forward until we are mature and grow in His holiness.
    • We must realize that’s what actually happens when God takes up residence in someone’s life.

(Advance Slide #7)

God has called and chosen those who follow Jesus
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
  • In this verse Peter urges his readers to ‘affirm’ this call, choice, and position.
  • He doesn’t mean that they can make God more sure of it.
    • Instead, they can make themselves more sure.

All this is just the outer framework for this remarkable passage.
  • It is all the more important because it shows that whatever we do by way of obedience and allegiance to God and the gospel, it all takes place within the grace of God,
    • It happens by means of the promise of God, through the power of God, and leading to the kingdom of God.
  • That’s a great place to start.

But it’s not the best place to stop, because the passage has plenty more besides.
  • Central to all of this is that, by God’s grace and power in our lives, we are to learn the discipline of Christian moral development.
    • This has sometimes been frowned upon.
  • The framework I’ve just sketched should make it clear that nothing could be farther from the truth.
    • But once this point is grasped, there are two basic things which must happen.

Action Steps:

(Advance Slide #8)

The first is that we must ‘run away from the corruption of lust’.
  • Why?...that we might become partakers of God’s own nature.
  • Resist the devil by run away from the lust which drags us down to the sub-human level.
    • How do we run away?
      • Think of Joseph when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him (Genesis 39).
      • She made a grab at him, but he ran away.
  • Lust is a all drugs it demands more and more but gives less and less.

(Advance Slide #9)

Next Peter urges the readers to go in the opposite direction.
  • Improve your Christian character by adding new on top of another: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, piety, family affection, and finally love.
  • All these take thought; all these take effort.
    • They don’t happen by have to want to do them, you have to choose to do them.
  • When you mature in this new character as a Christian you won’t just be a Christian for your own sake.
    • You will become fruitful in God’s service (verse 8).
      • “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


(Advance Slide #10)

To embrace this new life of trusting in Christ we must live differently.
  • Knowing that God has given us the upper-hand should bring us joy.
    • How had He?
    • We have been chosen, he has equipped us, and He wants to see us mature into His glory.

This new life demands action to take place in our lives.
  • Run away from the things that corrupt.
  • Got the opposite direction.