Intro: Over the past two months in our LIFE Lessons Bible Study Class, we have been looking at Jesus’ prophetic predictions found in Matthew 24—his Olivet Discourse. In fact, in this passage from Matthew, Jesus sets out a warning about false prophets rising up in the future. Now, false prophets have always been around, but the power of deception they will be able to bring in the future will become intense. Their corrupt teaching will result in great judgment. Believers will need spiritual discernment in order to identify false teaching and/or false prophets and stand against their message of twisted Word. We must guard our hearts against their slander of the Truth.
Believers can identify false prophets by the teaching they share about Christ—the Living Word of God. Jesus loves the world and died for it, but he calls believers to live in the new righteous fruit-bearing life he has promised in the Spirit (John 15:5-8). He bought us with the price of his life. We are welcomed into the life of the Spirit, who molds us in godliness. Godliness calls for repentance. False prophets twist the Word of God, so people believe there is no need to repent—to leave what God has prohibited/condemned and return to the Word/commands of the Lord.
From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Mat 4:17). He proclaimed, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Rev 3:3). We must be ready when Christ returns for the Church (John 14:1-3).
In our passage today, Peter wants people to know the evil false teachers bring to the way of Truth. God will judge these false leaders. He will also judge those who choose to listen to their immoral and corrupt message because it is what they want to hear and believe. We must stay the course by following the core beliefs of faith found in Scripture; the Word teaches we must repent from sin or face judgment. Only through repentance will God rescue godly people from the floodwaters of evil and the impending judgment.
2 Peter 2:1-10 NLT The Danger of False Teachers
1 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.
4 For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. 5 And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood.
6 Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. 7 But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. 8 Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. 10 He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for promising to rescue and deliver believers from evil. While we wait for your return, help us to repent from any sin that causes rebellion against you and lead us by your Spirit into the Truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.