The Crookery of False Teachers
2 Peter 2:17-22
As I continue to read this short letter, I realized I have missed a lot of points which I should have written and told you. As I have mentioned before, the more you read the Word of God, the more you will learn, the more you will be enlightened, and the more you will be blessed. Hopefully we can have another time in the near future to talk about it again. We will continue today to expose about their crookery, deceptions, and their fraud.
I. Peter compares false teachers to:
A. Wells without water (2 Pet. 2:17)
1. A well without water is a great disappointment in a hot dry land like the desert in the Middle East.
2. False teachers promises spiritual refreshment to the thirsty soul, but in reality they have nothing to give.
3. People anticipate blessings but instead they get cursing. No truth on false teachers, only lies, empty promises and half-truths, a big disappointment.
B. Clouds that are carried with a tempest.
1. There is no stability to a cloud. Wind can easily carry the clouds away.
2. We see a cloud coming and anticipate a refreshing rain, but no rain comes.
3. False doctrine comes with lots of promises and bright hopes but in the end just emptiness.
4. People “buy” or believes the promises of false teachers waiting to receive expected blessings, something they will never get.
C. Their doom
1. Darkness or in short term, Hell. (Mt. 8:12). They will be tormented forever there.
II. The Methods of False Teachers
A. They used “great swelling words of vanity (2 Pet. 2:18)
1. All heresy uses feigned (deceptive) words. Words that are pretentious and I would say exaggerated words.
2. Words that may sound scriptural but the truth is distorted. They use half-truths and mix it with a bit psychology and sometimes modern scientific terms.
3. They may even use Greek and Hebrew words to make them look and sound scholarly and with excellent degrees in theology.
4. Their language and teachings though smooth and artful, are like bait which leads people into false teachings.
5. False teachers oppose the truth, they deny the truth or they distort it. They teach only falsehood.
6. They teach “new things or fresh revelations from God” as they call it but in reality it’s just a lie, invented story whose purpose is just to deceive.
B. They allure through the lusts of the flesh through much wantonness (2 Pet. 2:18).
1. Dissatisfied church members are the victims of the false teachers.
2. Members who could not tell the difference between truth and error, between false teachers and real servants of Jesus Christ, and never understand the grace of God in salvation are their victims. Peter calls them “unstable souls” (2 Pet. 2:14).
3. They attract through the lust of the flesh, which could include such things as immorality, materialism, pride, envy, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21, 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
4. The promises given to them were appealing to satisfy and gratify what the flesh wants.
5. This is the way of the “health, wealth, and prosperity” gospel teachers.
6. They never teach repentance, they never tell people they are lost and needs salvation, instead they tell them they are good, God loves them and has a plan for them. They never mention about the reality and dreadfulness of hell.
C. They appeal to immature people, people who “were clean escaped from them”. The apostate has no message for the down-and-out sinner, but he does have a message for the new believer.
1. After conversion or after salvation, false teachers immediately would talk to the new believer and introduce him their false doctrines.
2. This is a very important lesson to soul winners, pastors, and other Christian workers. We must protect new converts because false teachers are out to get them.
D. They promise liberty, but they themselves are servants of corruption.
1. They are slaves of corruption trying to promise something they never have.
2. Their slavery actually is slavery to sin though they claim to be servants of God.
3. Three sins actually enslaves them
a. Covetousness – they love money and more money.
b. Sexual sins – they practice adultery and immorality.
c. Pride – they have no respect for authorities, they are conceited and no consideration for others.
4. Let us beware of “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). Sin always promises freedom but in the end brings bondage. It promises life but instead brings death. Sin has a way of gradually binding a person until there is no way of escape, apart from the gracious intervention of the Lord.
III. The fate of false teachers
A. As they teach destructive heresies, they are bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Pet. 2:1).
B. Their judgment is greater than it is for others.
1. They will receive greater condemnation because they lead the vulnerable astray (Mt. 18:6-7).
2. The have greater guilt and bear more responsibility because they are teachers who led others astray (Jas. 3:1)
IV. Explanation for the difficult terms in 2 Pet. 2: 20-22
A. 2 Peter 2:20-22 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. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. Christ”.
1. The “they” of verse 19 (false teachers) is the “they” of this verse. These are also the false teachers of verse one.
2. Those who “escaped” here are people who were at one time positive to Christianity, but never embraced it. They gladly heard and accepted the gospel as true but were never really converted or received Christ as their Saviour.
3. A true believer in Christ will never lose his salvation.
4. Knowledge here is the full recognition or discernment of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s sad to think that after they have a full “knowledge” about the Christ, they still reject Him.
5. The word “entangle” means to “entwine or weave in”. It means that the false teachers after knowing the truth which is Christ, relapsed and went back to paganism. They forsook their false religion for a while when they were exposed to teaching about Christ, then become entangled again with it.
6. “Overcome” carries the idea of subjection and enslavement. False teachers are slaves of their false religion.
7. “The latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” To hear the gospel and accept it as true and then revert back to false religion is worse than never hearing it at all.
8. To be ignorant or have not known about Christ is better than hearing and having exposure to Christ and yet reject Him. Apostasy is worse than ignorance. Apostasy brings others into error.
9. False teachers in the Bible is represented as “dogs” and “sow”. Vomit represents false religion or false teachings. Sow can be cleaned but it will always come back to the mud. False teachers will always come back to their false religion.
False teachers are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They pretend to be true believers by joining us in the church, sings with us, prays with us, even partake Lord’s Supper with us. However, they are not what they claim to be. Let us be vigilant. Read your Bible, pray every day.