2 Peter 13b-16

2 Peter 2:13b-16

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

June 5, 2014

                                                              

 

  1. 2 Peter 2 warns us about these false teachers, counterfeit Christians...from middle part of v.10 through end of chapter Peter gives us graphic, detailed description of counterfeit Christians...tells us about their—

--attitude (10b-13a)

--life-style or actions (13b-16)

--influence (17-19)

--fate (20-22)

  1. In our previous session we explored their attitude on vv.10b-13a.  We saw that these counterfeit believers or false teachers—

  • Had an overly inflated opinion of themselves

  • Were selfish and self-centered

  • Did not take the spiritual dimension of life seriously

  1. In this session we are at the second thing Peter says about the life-style of these counterfeit Christians or false teachers.  It is found in verses 13b-16. 

     

    The life-style of the counterfeit Christians (vv.13b-16) – The key phrase in this section in that phrase at the beginning of v.15 – “…forsaking the right way…”  In other words, they got lost!  And in this case, they didn’t just accidentally make a wrong turn.  They deliberately and intentionally forsook the right way.

     

    In the book of Acts Christianity is often referred to as “the Way”...that descriptive phrase reminds us that Christianity is not merely a set of beliefs; it is a way of life...there is a life-style, a way of living which characterizes true followers of Jesus...in the verses I just read Peter points out the deficiencies of the life-styles of counterfeit Christians...

     

    The Bible makes it clear that there are two ways we can choose to travel in life...

--one is the right way...the other is the wrong way...

--one is narrow and difficult but it leads to life...the other is broad and easy but it leads to destruction...

--one is the way of God...the other is the way of the world...

Counterfeit Christians consistently choose the wrong way...as the first part of v.15 tells us, they forsake the right way and go astray...

 

Peter tells us four specific things about their life-styles:

 

  1. V.13b – They “...count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime...”...basically, what he’s saying is that these people had no sense of shame...no conscience...they didn’t even try to hide their evil deeds under the cover of darkness...

 

      The word translated “revel” refers to drunkenness and sexual misconduct... even in the morally bankrupt Greek and Roman society of the 1st century, such activity was usually postponed until the sun went down...one writer points out that no self-respecting Roman would participate in such activity during the daylight hours...[LABC, p.195]...however, the counterfeit Christians in Peter’s day had consciences which were so desensitized that they proudly did such things in open daylight...

 

      The lesson here is not that we should hide our sins under the cover of darkness...lesson is that we should have a sensitive conscience that convicts us when we fail to do right...I have mentioned before that difference between Christians and non-Christians is not that non-Christians sin and Christians do not...as we know from our personal experience, Christians can and do sin...difference is a real Christian cannot sin and enjoy it!  Why is that?  It’s because the conscience of a real Christian convicts us when we do wrong.  And it is important to understand that a Christian’s conscience is not just a set of culturally conditioned beliefs.  Our conscience is the Holy Spirit of God living in us.  Just before He left this world Jesus promised that God would send to His followers a Helper, a paracletos, one to stand alongside to help them.  And one of the functions of this Helper is to convict us of sin and to guide us into truth.  When a real Christian strays from the right way, invariably that person is convicted by God’s Spirit.  Genuine Christians have a sensitive conscience.

 

  1. V.13b - “They are stains and blemishes...”  The imagery behind that phrase is very graphic...they were like an ugly stain on a white fabric…

     

    In 2 Peter 3:14 Peter says that Christians should strive to be “spotless and blameless”...it’s interesting that the words Peter uses here in v.13 to describe these counterfeit Christians are the exact antonyms, the exact opposite of “spotless and blameless”...instead of being “spotless” they were “stains”...instead of being of being “blameless” they were “blemishes”...

     

    The idea is that like an ugly stain takes one’s eye away from the larger garment, so these counterfeit Christians kept people from seeing true Christianity.  There is a statement I have heard virtually all of my life that strikes fear into my heart.  It is the statement “The Jesus which you allow to shine through you may be the only Jesus some people will ever know.” 

     

    That statement is a reminder of the awesome responsibility we have to live our lives in a way which reflect well upon the Lord we claim to serve and draw people to Him...the implications of that for daily living are mind boggling...what does—

--how you do your job...

--how you spend your money...

--how you use your leisure time...

--how you treat the clerk at the grocery or department store...

--how you drive your car...

--how you relate to your family...

say to others about Jesus?

 

  1. V.14a - They have “...eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls...”...that is, they could not look upon another person without thinking of that person as a sex object...they were always looking for some weak person to seduce...

     

    The word translated “enticing” has its roots in the world of hunting or fishing...it was used to describe baiting a trap to catch an animal or baiting a hook to catch a fish...like cunning hunters or fishermen, these counterfeit Christians were always stalking their prey...

 

  1. V. 14b – They have “…a heart trained in greed…” 

--“trained” is taken from the realm of athletics...it is the word from which our word gymnasium is derived...it suggests a long process of preparing to compete in an athletic contest...

--“greed” is the same word that is translated elsewhere in the Bible “covet” or “covetousness”...it is the Greek word “pleonexia” which is a compound word...”pleon” means “more” and “exo” means “to have”...literally, the word means “the desire to have more”...the Greeks said it was a desire which could not be satisfied...they compared it to taking a bowl with a large hole in the bottom and trying to fill that bowl with water...no matter how much water you pour in, it is never enough...the bowl never becomes full...

This phrase describes a person who is never satisfied, never content with life...he/she always striving for more...

We live in a culture in which we have been trained from our earliest days to desire more...a nicer car...a larger house...more stylish clothes...a bigger bank account...those things become the goals and even the gods of our lives...

                       

But that should not be the life-style of genuine believers...

--Jesus often warned about making material things the  focus of our lives...didn't say material things were  evil...didn't say was wrong to have material things...but did warn that impossible to live for God and for material things at same time...

--in Hebrews 13:5 we are instructed to “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have...”

We live in a world which is intent on making us discontent...each day we are told, sometimes in ways that are subtle and other times in ways that are not so subtle, that we need something else...the multi-billion dollar advertising industry is continually attempting to raise our level of discontent so we’ll buy something else...

 

In one of his books Ray Stedman makes a perceptive observation...says, “It is always spiritually dangerous to grow financially discontent.” [Stedman’s commentary on Hebrews]...and then he quotes Paul’s words in I Timothy 6:10 - “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many a grief.”

 

In verses 15-16 Peter compares these people with the Old Testament character Balaam.  In Jewish thought Balaam was a symbol of someone who desired to sell out his faith for money.  The story is told in Numbers 22-23.  Balak, the king of Moab, was concerned about the Israelites who were crossing his land on the way to the Promised Land.  He summoned Balaam, a prophet, to place a curse on the Israelites.  The Lord forbade Balaam from doing that.  But Balak offered Balaam a large sum of money to do so.  While Balaam never actually disobeyed God, he flirted with the idea, even going so far as to travel to meet with Balak.  Along the way an angel of the Lord blocked his path, but at first the angel was visible only to Balaam’s donkey.  Because the donkey stopped at the sight of the angel, Balaam struck him three times.  At that point the donkey spoke to Balaam.  The real dumb ass in the story was Balaam!  It took a donkey to keep him from disobeying God for a money.

Conclusion

  1. This passage clearly distinguishes the way of counterfeit Christians and the way of genuine Christians...counterfeit Christians/genuine Christians—

--”count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime”/have sensitive conscience

--”are stains and blemishes”/reflect well upon the Lord and His church

--”have eyes full of adultery”/live morally pure lives

--”have hearts trained in greed”/live contented lives

  1. 2.   May we have the wisdom to choose the way of the genuine over the way of the counterfeit...for “...the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it ... and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]

     

     

     

     

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