Beware lest you also fall
2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
More people attack the Bible than any other book on earth. No other book is criticized, hated, and burned more than any other religious book here on earth. Kings, leaders and churches have forbidden people to read it, however, the Bible stands strong and immovable. It is still the most read book and the best-selling book in the world. Deceivers, false teachers, and the so called “scholars” twist the word of God and make it say what they want it to teach. Peter tells us to beware before he ends this short epistle.
I. Description of some Scripture twisters
A. Unlearned – these are novices or beginners in learning New Testament truths. They may know few Bible truths, but “little knowledge is dangerous”. They act and talk as if they know the Bible very well. The New World Translation by the Jehovah’s Witnesses were written by people who do not know Greek. It was proven in court that indeed they are “no read, no write in Greek” yet they courageously wrote the book which their group upholds and use to say what they want the Bible to say.
B. Unstable – unstable are people who believe one thing today and tomorrow another thing. They have no sure foundation on which they can stand. Their difficulty is that they waver in their views and attitude every now and then.
C. These two groups comes from within and outside the church and together with the false teachers, they can cause havoc among believers. With their doctrinal error which is already serious enough is their moral failure which can easily spread and pollute church members.
II. Separation is required
A. Bible separation is the practice of separating from sin and error unto truth and righteousness.
B. Scriptural command by the Lord
1. 2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ( 2 Cor. 6:15-18 also)
2. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
C. Such separation does not mean having no contact at all with unbelievers, for we are commanded by the Lord to:
1. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mk. 16:15)
2. For then must ye needs go out of the world. (1 Cor. 5:10b).
D. We are not to be “isolationist” but we are warned to “turn away” from those who, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”. (II Tim. 3.5). We are to stay away from false teachers who are more concerned about external appearances.
Illustration: Not Isolated but Insulated
“We are not to be isolated but insulated,” said Vance Havner, “moving in the midst of evil but untouched by it.” Separation is contact without contamination. Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26), yet He was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). (The Integrity Crisis by Warren W. Wiersbe, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991)
E. Bible Doctrines should never and can never be compromised. Some examples are:
1. Doctrine regarding Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Salvation is to be a basis for separation (2 Cor. 11:3-4).
a. God the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. The Doctrine of Trinity is a clear Bible Doctrine.
b. Salvation is grace by grace through faith only. You cannot add works from it.
2. Doctrine regarding prophecy and future things. Peter in his writing, tell us that false teachers doesn’t believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. They are absolutely wrong.
3. Doctrine regarding holy living is to be a basis for separation (1 Tim 6:3-5). We must withdraw from churches who accepts homosexuality and Churches that ordains homosexual preachers. We must avoid cinemas, music, books and magazines that promote sex, nudity, adultery, fornication, which destroys homes, lives, hearts, and minds of professing Christians.
III. Biblical Principles in which we must operate
A. Principle of preserving the truth (2 Tim. 1:13-14)
B. Principle of protecting the flock (Acts 20:28-31)
C. Principle of purity of the church (Titus 1:9-10)
D. Principle of not partaking another’s sin (2 Jn. 7-11).
IV. Knowing things before
A. Peter writes, “seeing ye know these things before”, he tells them of something they already know.
B. There is danger and Peter is telling his reader to “beware”
C. He is giving them a warning to be on alert against instability in their faith.
1. Many Christians are unstable in their faith. They know a little in the Bible and are prone to spiritual seduction.
2. A stable believer today may become an unstable believer tomorrow.
3. Faith without knowledge easily breaks down.
Illustration: Impressed by the crowd
New converts are more impressed by the crowd or by the number of people in the church even if the Word of God is being distorted there. Take a look at the Pentecostal people as well as other professing Christian groups. Lots of people still goes to Joel Osteen even they already know he is a compromiser and preaches false doctrines. Rick Warren still have a big crowd even he promotes Chrislam (a group who teach that the God of Christianity is the same as the God of Islam), uses contemporary music and is now one of those preachers building the end-time, one-world church.
V. The danger of falling
A. The term “fall” here tells us that there is stability before
B. “Fall” is a biblical term also for “apostasy”
C. Anytime a believer really listens to a false teacher, there is a chance that he can be led away by false teachings (2 Tim. 2:14-18, Titus 1:10-16).
D. The believer will never lose his salvation, but due to false teaching, his spiritual life and stability will be ruined.
As Christians we must be careful in whom we join for fellowship. With lots of popular False Teachers, try to find a Bible Believing, Bible Practicing, and Bible Preaching church who would never compromise the Word of God just to impress people and have more members.