March 25 - 2 Peter 2:1-3

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2 Peter 2:1-3 – False Prophets

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

These words are quite disturbing. It is so easy for us to be taken in and caught up in false teaching.  In fact, sometimes it is nearly impossible to discern what is truth and what is false.

Social media bombards us with tales and stories that often require research to uncover their truth. But, we don't have something that black and white to stop most false teachers and prophets.  Teaching is wrapped up in the guise of truth and many times it is wrapped in a beautiful bow that entices us into desiring that their words be truth.

We've seen cults destroy themselves as their leaders tried to introduce teachings and then fall apart. In fact, we've seen many evangelical pastors lose sight of the goal and turn the importance of the story of Jesus into a personal greedy goal.  Peter assures us that their destruction will be swift.

I don't know that Peter is speaking of Christians who get caught up in something and find themselves spinning out of control as we've seen many evangelical leaders do over the last few decades.  This is a more insidious, deliberate attack on Christianity.  But, the enemy will use any way possible to get people to follow the lie and his false teaching.

What is one of the outcomes of false teaching?  The way of truth is brought into disrepute. Hypocrisy among Christians is one of the biggest reasons that non-Christians offer for not wanting to become a part of the church.  Who can blame them? Christianity, the church, everything about this has been turned into a business and many times not a very 'Christian' one at that.  So, when an honest person shows up, wanting to spread the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, he (or she) must wade through the built-up sludge of lies and destructive heresies.

This is not an easy time to be a Christian. We are not facing direct persecution on a daily basis, but we do face the effects of allowing false prophets and false teachers among us.

In 2 Peter 2:3, the NIV says that 'these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.'  Other translations read 'feigned words.'  The Greek word for this phrase is 'plastos.'  We get our word 'plastic' from that.  Words that can easily be twisted. They twist these words to fill their greed. Paul writes of the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 2:5, "You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness," when assuring his readers that he was different from others.  In the Old Testament, Micah called them out by saying, "Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price, and her prophets divine for money."  (Micah 3:11).

We don't have to pronounce judgment on these people, Peter says that "their condemnation has long been hanging over them ..." (2 Peter 2:3b).  But we do have to be constantly on the alert.