Wednesday, November 25, 2009

II Peter 2:13 False Teachers—Their Conduct Part I

False teachers in the church throughout the ages have one thing in common: their conduct ultimately gives them away. Like Wile E Coyote on the old Looney Tunes cartoons when he would dress up as a sheep to try to steal some young ewe out of the flock, these false teachers can only play dress up for so long before they are found out. Peter, in his second epistle, goes on in his description of these false teachers by describing their conduct.

One adjective we might apply to Peter’s description is shameless. In verse 13, we read that these false teachers “count it as pleasure to revel in the daytime”. Now most bars here in Nashville are packed to overflowing on most weekend nights with some people doing things that most of us would consider inappropriate. But drive by the same places on a Monday or Tuesday at about 10 am and you will likely find them deserted if they’re even open. Most people have jobs or perhaps they’re just sleeping off their weekend activities. However, I suggest the main reason is that some activities are done under the cover of night. Unconsciously, perhaps, people want some sort of cover for their sin. These false teachers, in contrast, don’t even have enough shame to wait for the cover of night to for the “pleasure” they take while they “revel” with others. They are so bold, so proud that they actually do what they do “in the daytime”.

Not only does Peter tell us when they do what they do but he also tells why. These men, instead of being devoted to displaying God’s glory by teaching and preaching God’s word to His people are instead motivated by “pleasure”. The Greek word translated “pleasure” can be used in a positive or negative sense but is most often used in a negative sense to describe people who indulge sinful, selfish desires. Instead of, as Jesus said, taking up their cross daily and following Him, these false teachers have rejected Him and the gospel He preached for a “me first” mentality. However, the pursuit of pleasure is not the aim of the Christian life. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 814 that pleasure can choke the seed of the gospel so that it bears no fruit in a person’s life. The motivation of a person’s life, when that person is truly focused on the gospel, is the glory of God and spreading of His precious gospel. How, then, could these teachers who have claimed to speak for God and teach His word come to the point where they would abandon the gospel message and, in fact, pervert that message?

They consciously make the choice to seek pleasure. Peter says they “count it pleasure to revel in the daytime”. The word translated “count” is the Greek word “hegaomai” (2233). It is a term that means to come to a conclusion or a decision after examining the facts. This verb is also in the present tense so it means that they continuously think about their pleasure and have come to the conclusion that it is right for them to live the way they live. They have as their theme song that classic Bobby Brown track from the 80’s “It’s My Prerogative”. They have examined the evidence of the gospel and have made a fixed decision based on that evidence that they have the right to live in pursuit of their own pleasures and lusts rather than surrendering themselves as slaves of Christ, acknowledging His Lordship over them. In doing so, they have rejected the only Way of salvation
Our lives are not about us, really. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We must be willing to die to ourselves to live as slaves of Christ—slaves with no rights an no freedoms. But slaves who are provided for and loved by their Master who gave Himself for them on Calvary’s cross.

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