Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 55
The Mark of False Teachers and Scoffers
II Peter 2:9 – 3:18
Today we’ll begin with IIPeter chapter 2 verse 9. Now of course, in this chapter Peter is laying out the warnings against false teachers, and Paul does the same thing. Paul warns us over and over here in this Church Age that there are going to be false teachers coming in. “Wolves in sheep’s clothing.” And these wolves are going to destroy the flocks; and Peter says the same thing, even though Peter is addressing Jewish believers – yet the warning is still the same, that the great adversary, Satan, will oppose God’s work in any shape or form.
Remember, Peter has been giving us examples of how God has dealt with those who succumb to false teaching in His times of judgment. And you remember in our last program, we were referring to the flood, and we referred to the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. All right, and then we come in today at verse 9.
II Peter 2:9
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:”
Come back with me to John’s Gospel because the first thing I think we’d better point out is that, all through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, we have these two groups of people that are brought before us constantly. Not only Jew and Gentile. That, of course, is two separate categories. But the ones we’re talking about today are the just and the unjust.
The saved and the lost. You’ve got them all through human history – those two divisions of people. Whether it was before the Law, whether it was during the Law, whether it was during Christ’s earthly ministry, whether it was after His ministry, or whether it’s the Apostle Paul and the Church Age; it doesn’t make one whit of difference – there are always these two classes of people – the saved and the lost; or as Jesus speaks of them here, the just and the unjust. All right, here in the Gospel of John chapter 5, He makes the same delineation that Peter does, and this is just to show how that Scripture delineates. There is that clear-cut division of the human race into two classes. Verse 28.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,” In other words, everyone that has ever lived and died is in that verse. Now verse 29.
“And shall come forth; they that have done good, (the just, the believers, the saved) unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, (the unsaved, the lost) unto the resurrection of damnation.” Or condemnation. And so here you have those two categories of people – saved and lost – and they’re never going to lose their position, in whatever they are in, after dying. All right, now back to II Peter chapter 2 – Peter is saying the same thing as we look at that verse again.
II Peter 2:9
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” He will reserve the unjust, the lost, the unbelieving world, unto the day of judgment to be punished! Now, you know the liberals don’t like that, do they? The liberals don’t like to think that we have a God Who’s going to deal with the rebellious. The liberals would like to tell us that God, in His mercy and so forth, is somehow or other going to overlook all of their evil and their lack of faith, or someday they’ll come to the place where God will spare them anyway – but there’s only one thing wrong with that kind of thinking. “That’s Not Scripture!” That’s not what the Book says. They’re going to come to their day of punishment, the day of judgment.
II Peter 2:10a
“But chiefly (that word ‘chiefly’ always says paramount, or the number one thing) them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government,….” Does that ring a bell lately? All you have to do is just think back a few weeks; you’ve got these people everywhere.
II Peter 2:10b
“…Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” How does another place put it? They have no compunction about calling white – black. Or calling black – white. They have no absolutes. And so they run off at the mouth with all of this stuff and do nothing but cause turmoil. Well, Peter just lays it on the line. And isn’t it amazing? Peter is back here 1,900 years ago, and you know what? The human race hasn’t changed a bit. Not one bit. Oh we may have more technology. We may get from one place to another a little faster, but personality wise – the human race has not changed a bit.
II Peter 2:11
“Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” Even the angels don’t pay them any mind because it would almost be wasted effort.
II Peter 2:12a
“But these….” And I can just about put most liberals around the world here – whether it’s political or religious liberals, liberals are liberals. And they have no compunction about outright lying or twisting the truth.
I remember one was being interviewed on Sean Hannity’s Fox TV program and the guy was quoting Sean as having said something. Sean said, “I never said anything like that. I have never even said anything close to that. Can’t you people ever tell the truth? Do you always have to lie?” Well that’s it, see? And Peter is saying the same thing. These people cannot do anything but speak “evil of dignities.” And now verse 12. Peter, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, puts them down at the level of brute beasts. Boy, that’s awful isn’t it?
II Peter 2:12a
“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed….” A beast has no compunction about life and death – technically. I don’t believe that totally, because I always say an animal will do anything to spare its own life. But the lesson is, these false teachers have as much conscience about calling good things bad and bad things good as a beast. They have no moral turpitude, they have no moral anchor.
II Peter 2:12b
“…speak evil of the things that they understand not:….” They rattle around like ‘a BB in a tin can.’ That’s about what Peter is saying. They speak of things that they know nothing of.
II Peter 2:12c
“…and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” Well, you remember when Paul was at Mars Hill? And what did all the philosophers of the day call Paul? ‘The Babbler!” The Babbler, which means he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But you know what? The truth of the matter is – he was the only one that did. And the truth of the matter is, if you go and visit Mars Hill today, there’s a big bronze plaque honoring – not the philosophers of the day, but who? Paul. And it’s the things that Paul spoke that are still part and parcel of Scripture, really.
And so isn’t that typical of the world. Oh, they scoff at everything pertaining to the truth of Scripture but, yet, everything they say is nothing more than a ‘BB in a tin can.’ They just rattle at the mouth. All right, Peter knew it and by inspiration, puts it in here so plainly “And they will perish in their own corruption.” Now verse 13.
II Peter 2:13
“And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;” You know what these people are? Dyed in the wool hypocrites. They can talk out of both sides of their mouths. They can be whatever the occasion demands, but basically they’re false.
II Peter 2:14a
“Having eyes full of adultery, (see how all this fits together) and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls:….” In other words, they’re not content to live in their own filth – they’ve got to constantly recruit others to join them, see?
II Peter 2:14b-15a
“…beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15. Which have forsaken the right way,….” Now this is not a very pretty picture, but it’s truth. This is where so many of these people are existing.
II Peter 2:15b
“…and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam (which was way back there in Numbers, remember?) the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” Now you remember the story of Balaam? How that, as the Israelites were coming out of their wilderness experience and the Lord was bringing them around to come in from the east side across Jordan and as they were coming through Moab, the king knew that he couldn’t do anything with them militarily. There was no way he could obliterate those millions of Jews, or Israelites, coming through his part of the world – so he sends his emissaries out to the east to this false prophet Balaam for the sole purpose of bringing Balaam back and putting a curse on Israel.
Because old Balak figured that if he could get Balaam to put a curse on Israel – then Israel, by virtue of their spiritual rebellion and whatever else would follow, would be destroyed by God, and then he wouldn’t have to. But it didn’t work, see? God wouldn’t let Balaam put a curse on Israel. And Balaam himself, when he saw the multitude of the Israelites, said, “I can’t do that.” But he just about did anyway. And you remember what his final act was? He convinced Balak to get all the beautiful young women of Moab to entice the Jewish men and cause them to commit adultery; and thousands of them did. But it wasn’t enough to bring the destruction of Israel by a merciful God.
But this is what Balaam was trying to do because he had been offered half the kingdom. In other words, he was going to do it for what? For money! Money. Just look at the world today. What people won’t do for huge chunks of money. And it’s all because of what? One word. Corruption! Corruption! All right, same way in the Spiritual world as it is in the material or the business world. So “he loved the wages of unrighteousness.” In other words, he was willing to destroy Israel because of what the king had promised him if he could bring it off.
II Peter 2:16
“But was rebuked for his iniquity: (that is Balaam) the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” Now there’s a place in the Bible where the scoffer likes to scoff. Whoever heard of a donkey talking? Well, granted, ordinarily it doesn’t. But on the other hand, Jesus Himself said “that with God nothing is impossible.” That’s nothing for God to make a donkey talk. Nothing! And we know from Scripture that it did. It turned its head back to old Balaam and really gave him the whole ‘what-for.’ And so he was rebuked through the donkey.
II Peter 2:17a
“These.…” Now who are we talking about? False teachers. These people who don’t really care how truthful they are, or how accurate they are with the Scriptures – they’ll use the Scripture, absolutely; that’s how they get people hooked. They use the Scriptures and they just feed the multitudes with their poison. One way of killing somebody without anyone knowing what was going on would be to lace their meat with arsenic, just a little at a time, and over time, the arsenic would kill them. Well that’s what false teachers do. They don’t just come right up into a pulpit and say, “Okay, I’m a false teacher. I’m going to give you a whole bunch of garbage.” No. They come up into that pulpit and they’re as smooth as oil and the people fall for it. It’s not Scriptural. It’s not Biblical. Most of the time it’s half-truths. And the people are falling for it by the millions. All right, so now Peter continues then these false teachers.
II Peter 2:17a
“These are wells without water,….” Now for us in our day and time it doesn’t mean that much, but you see in the Middle East, a well was everything because water was scarce. All right, so now Peter by inspiration uses that very example; that these false teachers are like a water well where somebody would be all encouraged, “Oh there’s wells!” But it’d be dry. It absolutely wouldn’t give a drop to sustain their thirst. And that’s what these false teachers are. “They are wells without water.”
II Peter 2:17b
“…clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.” All right, now I think the clouds that Peter is talking about here are referred to in another place, maybe in Jude as “clouds without water.” Now, I can remember the 1930’s as a kid on the farm up there in Iowa, and we were as dry as a bone – the dust was blowing. And a cloud would go over and my Dad would get all encouraged – maybe that could build into a thunderstorm. And then all of a sudden, poof – it’s gone. Well what was it? Total disappointment. All right, that’s what false teachers are, and I’m afraid we’re seeing it all around us today.
Oh, they come on the horizon and they have all the flim-flam and everything, and they can put out their garbage, but it’s the same thing. It has nothing that will sustain the spirit – they’re like an empty or a dry well; they’re like clouds without water. All right, let’s move on. Verse 18.
II Peter 2:18
“For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.” They have survived God’s judgment thus far, and they’re spewing out their false teaching. They’re spewing out all of the invitations to wealth and materialism, and if this isn’t exactly what we’re seeing today. The multitudes are following this stuff. Very few want to follow truth. But, oh, they’ll follow this false stuff like it’s the last thing going.
II Peter 2:3a
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words, make merchandise of you;.…” “They make merchandise of you!” Now what does it mean to make merchandise of you? They’re going to capitalize on their subjects. And what are they after? Your money! They’re after your money. They’re making merchandise of you. After all, why do you sell merchandise? To gain the money. And that’s what these people are doing. They’re picking the pockets of the millions – making merchandise of them, and you know who they are.Well, they just fall right in line with all these things that Peter is talking about and nothing has changed even though it’s been 1,900 years. All right, now let’s move on to verse 19.
II Peter 2:19a
“While they promise them (what?) liberty, (oh, they can make rash promises) they themselves are the servants of (what?) corruption:.…” Now this isn’t nice language. I know it isn’t, but it’s the truth. This is the way it is. These false teachers are nothing but the servants of corruption.
II Peter 2:19b
“…for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” Now I suppose here’s where people say the King James is hard to understand. Well, all it means here is that, if someone finally gets the upper hand over you and you become his slave or his servant, then he’s the master. He’s the master, you’re the servant. See? All right, and this is what Peter’s using; and so, for those people who have come under someone else’s overlordship, it’s the same one then who has been brought into bondage. All right, now verse 20.
II Peter 2:20
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” Now, an old boy comes to mind back in Acts, chapter 8. Here Philip, you remember, goes up to Samaria and is preaching. Acts chapter 8 verse 9, and we’re going to do this as quickly as we can because this fits the description perfectly of what Peter is talking about.
“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, (powers of Satan) and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10. To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.” No, he has the power of Satan. See how easily he deceived all these people?
“And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. (so he’s not using the power of God, he’s using the power of Satan.) 12. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (now watch this. This is Simon the sorcerer the false teacher) 13. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” Providentially, through Philip.
“Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: [that is these that had become believers under Philip’s preaching] 16. (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,” All right, now Peter and John come and lay hands on them – and remember this is still back in the Jewish economy – this has nothing to do with you and I in the Church Age. This was all part and parcel of the Jerusalem Jewish Church. All right, then “They laid their hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit and when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostle’s hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them (what?) money.” What’s on that guy’s brain? All he can think of is money. And he doesn’t care how he gets it. All right, now, when he saw what the disciples could do he thought, “Man I want this because this will generate more income.”
“Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (can’t you just see the guy?) 20. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” Now, listen, isn’t that exactly what we’re seeing today? Just think, this is almost being played out again. Now verse 21. This was the true heart of this Simon.
“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Hey, the guy up in the previous verse said he had believed and been baptized. You see what I’m driving at? He went through all the motions but he never had heart-faith. He was just a professor without possessing. And again the world is full of those. And they go through all this rigmarole because of all the promises of wealth and money and health and what have you.