2 Peter 2:10b-13a

2 Peter 2:10b-13a

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

May 29, 2014

                                                              

 

1.      You may have noticed the continuing changes to US currency, especially the $100 bill.  This is an effort to make counterfeiting more difficult.  The advent of the digital age has been a boon to counterfeiters. 

--a counterfeit ring in Iran and Syria is reported to have produced as much as $1 billion in fake $100 bills...

--another unnamed Middle Easter nation is reportedly sponsoring   the mass production of a counterfeit bill which is so well done it is being referred to as the superdollar...

--a raid the in the Philippines uncovered more than $50 billion in fake US currency and treasury notes...

--it was estimated that at one point several years ago 82% of the US $100 bills circulating in Europe were counterfeit...[www.syntac.net\hoax\counterfeit]

2.      Counterfeiting is a big problem not only for the US gov’t, it is a big problem among the people of God...wherever God’s people have gathered, fakes, charlatans, and pretenders have also gathered...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 (13b-16)

--influence (17-19)

--fate (20-22)

3.      Going to look over a four week period at what this part of God’s Word tells us about counterfeit Christians... In this verses Peter takes the gloves off...he is direct...he is to the point... and he doesn’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings...these people are so dangerous to the church and so hurtful to themselves and others, Peter pointedly exposes them for what they are...how do you spot counterfeit Christians?...don’t where sign around their neck identifying themselves as fakes...Peter tells us one way to identify them is by their attitude...in the last part of v.10 he clearly spells out three things about the attitude of counterfeit Christians...

 


I.       Counterfeit Christians have an overly inflated opinion of themselves

1.      The first word used in v.10 to described counterfeit Christians is translated “daring” in the NASB...that’s a translation of a word used only in this verse in the Bible...however the basic root on which this word is built is used numerous times...it comes from a word which means bold or courageous...

2.      Now there is a sense in which being characterized by boldness and courage is a desirable thing for God’s people...as matter of fact, God often encouraged His followers to be bold...for example, just before Joshua led the Israelites to begin the conquest of the Promised Land the Lord told him three times to “..be strong [bold] and courageous..” because “I am with you...”

3.      However, Peter is not referring to that kind of boldness...the kind which comes from being right with and dependent upon God...the word Peter uses carries the idea of boldness which has no foundation in God...it arises from an overly inflated opinion of oneself and ones abilities...one writer translates the word “audacious” [Barclay, p.389]...the people Peter is describing have egos which far outweigh their abilities...

 

1.      There’s story about former heavy weight boxing champion Muhammad Ali...I’ve come across it in several different places, but have not way of knowing whether or not it really happened...has flavor of one of those urban legends which are constantly going around...according to story was on airplane...came time to take off and announcement was made to fasten the seat belts...as flight attendant walked down isle checking to see that the seat belts were properly fastened, she noticed Ali’s as not...politely asked him to fasten his seatbelt, and the boxing champion known for his ego said, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.”...and without missing a beat the attendant said, “Superman don’t need no airplane either.  You need to fasten your seat belt.”

 

1.      Must never forget there is fine line between being confident in the Lord and being arrogant and over-confident in ourselves...counterfeit Christians just don’t seem to be able to find that line...one way to identify them is that sense of brashness and insensitivity toward others which says, “I’m better...more important...more valuable than you...”

2.      C.S. Lewis... “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.” [Life Application Bible Commentary, p.194]

3.      That’s how counterfeit Christians are...they are so wrapped up in themselves they have no regard for others and they are out of touch with God...leads to the second thing Peter tells us about them...in addition...

 

II.  Counterfeit Christians are selfish

1.      Selfishness is the antithesis, the opposite of true Christianity...Jesus spoke of such things as denying self...putting others before self...laying down one’s life for others...counterfeit Christians have no idea what such things as that mean...


2.      Notice the second word Peter uses the middle of v.10 to describe them... he calls them “self-willed”...that translation doesn’t really capture the strength of the word Peter uses here...the word is from the same word family as our hedonism...hedonism describes the philosophy of life which says pleasure is everything...one characterized by this attitude views life only in terms of  self...what is important, what really matters are only those things I want, only my desires, only what makes me feel good...there is no room in the life of such person for others...there is not sense of servant-hood, of giving, of genuinely caring for anyone beyond self...

3.      The only other time this word is used in the Scripture is in Titus 1:7 where Paul says that pastor’s must not be characterized by this quality... and the reason for that is a person who is “self-willed” cannot possible care for others...

 

1.      He was one of the most self-willed people who ever lived...all he really wanted in life was more...

--He wanted more money, so he parlayed inherited wealth into a billion-dollar pile of assets.

--He wanted more fame, so he broke into the Hollywood scene and soon became a film-maker and star.

--He wanted more sensual pleasures, so he paid handsome sums to indulge his every sexual urge.

--He wanted more thrills, so he designed, built, and piloted the fastest aircraft in the world.

--He wanted more power, so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two U.S. presidents became his pawns.

He was absolutely convinced that a self-centered, hedonistic life-style would bring him true satisfaction. Did it work?  You be the judge.  At the end of his life he was emaciated and colorless; with a sunken chest; fingernails in grotesque, inches-long corkscrews; rotting, black teeth; tumors; and innumerable needle marks from his drug addiction. Howard Hughes died, a billionaire junkie and insane by any normal standards, clinging to the illusion that a self-willed life is the way to fulfillment. [Bill Hybels, Leadership]

2.   Jesus does not call us to a life of self-will, He calls us to a life of self-sacrifice...He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.” [Matt.16:24-25]

3.      Counterfeit Christians simply do not understand that...instead of living for Him and for others, they invariably live for self...

 

III.  Counterfeit Christians make light of spiritual things


  1. In last part of v.10 Peter says they “..revile angelic majesties..” and they do so with no fear...while some debate about who the identity of the “angelic majesties” to whom Peter refers, but their identity is not the central issue to point Peter is making... he is saying that counterfeit Christians do not take seriously the spiritual dimension of life...in v.12 speaks of them “..reviling where they have no knowledge..”

  2. Point is, they are basically spiritual skeptics...while they used spiritual language and talked about spiritual things, they weren’t true believers... they even make light of spiritual things and of people who have deep spiritual commitments in their lives...

 

  1. In the book The Magnificent Mind by Gary Collins...writes, “There are only two reactions to a holy God: a bowed head or a turned back.”...

  2. Instead of bowing in wonder and awe before a holy God, counterfeit Christians exhibit a contempt for spiritual things...they live as if the spiritual dimension of life does not exist...

  3. That’s why Peter compares them to animals in v.12...the difference between humans and animals is that we have in us the imago deo, the image of God...animals have the capacity of living only in the physical realm, but humans have the capacity of living in two realms--the physical and the spiritual...however, counterfeit Christians live only on the level of the physical...

CONCLUSION

  1. You may remember the events surrounding the execution of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City Bombing. McVeigh’s closing statement included a familiar poem by William Ernest Henley, "Invictus". It begins with the words:

                                    Out of the night that covers me Black as the Pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

      And ends with these words:

                                    It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

  1. Those words express well the deficiency of counterfeit Christians...they leave God out of their lives...self becomes God...may we have the wisdom to avoid their error...instead of—

--arrogantly looking to self for strength, may we look to God...

--instead of being self-centered, may we be God centered...

--instead of living only in the realm of the physical, may we recognize the spiritual dimension of life as well...

  1. For if we think we are “the master of our fate and the captains of our soul” we are not really disciples of Jesus...

 

 

Comments