Being Aware of False Teachers

2 Peter 2

Key Verse | 2 Peter 2:18-19

For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Scripture | 2 Peter 2


False Prophets and Teachers

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. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 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.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell 1 and committed them to chains 2 of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 3 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, 4 and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge 5 in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, 6 while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, 7 insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves 8 of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Footnotes

[1] 2:4 Greek Tartarus
[2] 2:4 Some manuscripts pits
[3] 2:6 Some manuscripts an example to those who were to be ungodly
[4] 2:9 Or temptations
[5] 2:10 Greek who go after the flesh
[6] 2:13 Some manuscripts love feasts
[7] 2:14 Or eyes full of an adulteress
[8] 2:19 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface

Being Aware of False Teachers



Devo | 2 Peter 2

Peter opens this chapter with a clear message: False prophets and teachers have existed from the beginning, and they existed in the church of Peter's day (2 Peter 2:1). This is stated as a fact. With the promise...

Peter opens this chapter with a clear message: False prophets and teachers have existed from the beginning, and they existed in the church of Peter's day (2 Peter 2:1). This is stated as a fact. With the promise of false teachers among us, how do we determine who is a sound teacher and who is a false teacher?

In 1 John 4:1, we are urged to test teachers and the validity of their teaching. But how do we do that? Jesus tells us how we can spot a false teacher in Matthew 12:33: "for the tree is known by its fruit." To test a teacher, we must look for evidence of "fruit" in his character and teaching. 1 Timothy 3:2-3 in describing the characteristics of elders in the church provides examples of what this "fruit" may look like: "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money."

In our passage, Peter describes attractive false teachers that don't practice what they preach. These false teachers may play the part of a Christian at times, but they are marked by greed, sexual sin, and false words (2 Peter 2:2-3). They never tire of their sin (2 Peter 2:14). We see a clear contradiction between what the false teacher claims to be and believe and what his actions demonstrate as a result of his rejection of sound doctrine and even the truth about Jesus.

This passage ends with a warning. Peter tells us that many will be led astray by these false teachers and will face a worse state than before (2 Peter 2:18-20). So, what do we do to avoid falling prey to a false teacher? We must be proactive. It is our duty to continue the hard work of studying Scripture to learn sound doctrine for ourselves. Gotquestions.org has some practical questions we can ask regarding teachers in the church:

  1. What does this teacher say about Jesus?
  2. Does this teacher preach the gospel?
  3. Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord?

Discussion Questions

1. As you examine your own life, are there areas in your life where your actions, speech, and beliefs don't align?  

2. Think about the teachers you most admire and ask whether what attracts you to them aligns with God's Word. Could a reevaluation of whom you follow be necessary?

3. As Christians, we spend time reading Scripture to learn God's truth. Are you devoting time to reading Scripture and growing daily?

Meet Laura Ramos

Hey, JTJ fam!

My name is Laura Ramos, and I am currently an Instructional Specialist in the Dallas area.

I have been a part of the Watermark family for six years now; and the Lord has restored me, taught me, and guided me by His Word and His people. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve you in this way this morning. 

During my downtime, I love spending quality time with my best friend and husband Mark Ramos, hanging with family and friends, and enjoying a nice coffee shop.

3 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

GM Laura! Love this devo! Especially your three points on discerning false teachers.

Q1. Yes. All of them. There is an old C&W song called “Better Than I Used To Be”. Far, far too many days “better than I used to be” is as good as I can get. Usually, its in prejudging on appearances or too little information.

Q2. The teachers I most admire have an unwavering loyalty to God’s Word and a deep knowledge of it. They always invite any assessment of fealty.

Q3. JTJ is the life blood of my study. Much more spins off from there but it all starts there.

Borrowing from Constable, I ask myself this question–

“Would I buy a diet book from a guy who weighs 300 pounds?”

My instant reaction is, “What a crazy question! What would a guy who weighs 300 pounds know about health and nutrition?

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

I can clearly find this out from people who have more knowledge and are living it out.”

EXACTLY

Yet I bought and bet my eternity on a giant manure pile of false teaching from people who neither knew the truth nor lived it out.

In so doing, I was listening to those who were “… denying the Master who bought them…” – and me.

Jesus bought me with His life, and I was buying eternal damnation from the pastoral/doctrinal equivalent of a 300-pound fat guy.

Even though the truth was laying there before me in God’s Word. I would get criticized and patronized when citing it.

I caved every time.

Many times, I have been exhorted in classes and sermons to seek to know the goodness and kindness of God.

So, what does this life experience teach me about God and also myself-

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

About God –

The truth of Exodus 34:5-7, Romans 2:4, 1 Timothy 1:16, 2 Peter 3:9, 2 Peter 3:15

About me-

I am at risk for falling into the trap of having my ears tickled, (2 Timothy 4:3).

As much as I like affirmation, I am called to seek transformation. Sweet talk can seduce me.

Now having a better understanding of the battle in the spiritual realm, I know to go to God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and His people to guide me into all truth,

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