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|Posted on November 16, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Session 13 – 2 Peter 3:3-7 - WITH ANTICIPATION – Day 2
2 Peter 3:3 First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.”
Scoffers taunt those who teach the second coming of Christ. They will not embrace the truth of a final judgment because they want to live in their lust, enjoying sexual promiscuity and carousing of all kinds, without threat of retribution. They pare down and try to make of no significance the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
They scorn the idea of Jesus’ return saying that nothing has changed since He left. The early church believed Christ’s return was imminent, so people were already impatient that it had not yet happened. Today’s scoffers, say that it has been 2000 years and nothing yet. They expressed the idea that no world-wide event such as is prophesied had ever happened before, so why would it now. They like to use the Bible like an a la carte menu, picking and choosing what they want to believe.
2 Peter 3:5 They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded.
Those who say there has never been an event on the level of destroying the earth have conveniently forgotten the miraculous beginning of our world being spoken into existence. That then the Lord parted the waters and created dry land, animals, man from NOTHING. Those who say He would not judge the entire world have forgotten the cataclysmic flood which only Noah, his family, and selected animals survived by the grace of God. God has exercised judgment in the past and will in the future.
2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The same Word, Jesus, who spoke the world into existence, sustains the earth until such time as God executes His final judgement on ungodly men. The all-consuming fire of God is suspended at this time because His time has not yet come. Thanks and praise be to God that those who believe and trust Him for their very lives will not experience this horrible end. By His grace, He is allowing us time to share the gospel with others that they, too, may be saved from judgment.
Challenge: The end of the world is nearer than it was in Peter’s day, and possibly much nearer than many would like to think. This should spur us to action to live godly lives as well as to share the gospel message with everyone we know. I challenge you to share your faith with at least two people this week. This can be through your personal testimony, presenting a tract, or even inviting the person to church.
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:17-22 - ON GUARD – Day 5
2 Peter 2:17 These people are springs without water, mists driven by a whirlwind. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them.
Jude compared the false teachers to clouds that did not give rain. Peter says they are dried up springs providing nothing to drink, nothing to quench the thirst. In contrast, Jesus provides rivers of living water that flow through the believer constantly (John 7:38). These false teachers, unless they repent and trust Jesus, will be thrown into the pit of hell.
2 Peter 2:18 For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
The false teachers loudly proclaim they know the way to freedom but turn around and seduce people back into ungodly ways. They particularly work their wiles on those who are trying to climb out of sinful lifestyles but are still weak because they have not trusted Jesus and are relying on their own strength and efforts.
2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.
They preach freedom while still entangled in the corrupt ways of the world. They are slaves to their lusts, their sensual appetites, and are conquered by them. They are not free nor can they help anyone else to freedom.
Luke 6:39 (VOICE) Luke 6:39 Jesus told them this parable: Jesus: What happens if a blind man leads a blind man? Won’t both of them fall into a pit?
The Holy Spirit is the one who opens our eyes in order to lead us to faith in Jesus. He can also open our eyes to spot and avoid these blind guides.
2 Peter 2:20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them.
If a person has heard the truth of the Gospel but then disregards it, he is no better than he was before, and is, indeed, worse off. They walked away with head knowledge of the truth, but did not entrust their hearts and lives to The Truth incarnate, Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud.”
Those who hear the good news but turn away from it to go back to a life characterized by sin, are like the two illustrations Peter gives. They would rather cover themselves with filth than be washed by the blood of Jesus and made clean.
Question: How should we pray for those people we know who are wallowing? Can we ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to the truth, to wake them up from their sleepwalking in the muck? If you are bogged down in sin, lift up your eyes and ask the Lord Jesus to pull you out. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do it without Him.
John 15:5-6 (VOICE) I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn.
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:05 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:10b-16 ON GUARD – Day 4
2 Peter 2:10b Bold, arrogant people! They do not tremble when they blaspheme the glorious ones; 11 however, angels, who are greater in might and power, do not bring a slanderous charge against them before the Lord.
Speaking flippantly about angels, even fallen angels, is arrogance. Peter is saying even angels do not slander demons. As we saw earlier in Jude, Michael did not rebuke Satan directly but called upon the Lord to do so. As mere flesh and blood, we need to realize that angelic beings, whether good or fallen, have power beyond ours. We need to call upon the Lord to deal with them.
2 Peter 2:12 But these people, like irrational animals—creatures of instinct born to be caught and destroyed—speak blasphemies about things they don’t understand, and in their destruction they too will be destroyed, 13a suffering harm as the payment for unrighteousness.
False teachers live with little or no restraint or impulse control. They speak out against beings they do not understand thinking that in their own power they can subdue them. Since they live as beasts who cannot control their desires, they will be destroyed like animals.
2 Peter 2:13b They consider it a pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, delighting in their deceptions as they feast with you.
Most people try to hide their sin under cover of darkness, but these apostates are bold in their sinning, carousing in the light of day. They thrive on their covert manipulation of others to join them in their evil escapades. They do all this right beneath the noses of the church like an unnoticed pimple, feasting alongside us, disguising themselves as messengers of light.
2 Peter 2:14 They have eyes full of adultery and are always looking for sin. They seduce unstable people and have hearts trained in greed. Children under a curse!
Their minds are always seeing the potential for adulterous relationships. They prey on those who are not strong in the word especially baby Christians. Children under a curse indicated that Peter saw them as deserving of eternal damnation.
2 Peter 2:15 They have gone astray by abandoning the straight path and have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness 16 but received a rebuke for his transgression: A donkey that could not talk spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s irrationality.
They abandoned the way of God, the narrow path, and went the way of God’s enemy, Satan. Balaam was the prophet who was paid by the King of Moab to prophesy falsely and try to lead Israel into ungodly ways. The Lord used his donkey to talk to him and show him the warrior angel in his path, sent to deter him (Jude 11, Numbers 22-24).
Challenge: False teachers prey on those who are not rooted and grounded in the Bible. Is there a new Christian you should be pouring into, discipling to strengthen their discernment? If you are a new Christian, is there a person you respect that you could ask to guide you in studying the word of God? Evaluate your understanding of the Bible and begin now to improve your “swordsmanship,” your ability to wield the sword of the Lord which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:4-10a - ON GUARD – Day 3
2 Peter 2:4 For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment;
This is referring to the fallen angels of Genesis 6 who lusted after and cohabitated with women. They were also referenced in 1 Peter 3:18-19.
John MacArthur Study Bible
Peter borrows a word from Greek mythology for hell, “tartarus.” The Greeks taught that tartarus was a place lower than Hades reserved for the most wicked of human beings, gods, and demons. The Jews eventually came to use this term to describe the place where fallen angels were sent. It defined for them the lowest hell, the deepest pit, the most terrible place of torture and eternal suffering.
God judged them by sending them to the lowest part of hades, the belly of hell, and will ultimately throw them into the lake of fire.
2 Peter 2:5 and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;
God sent judgment in the form of a world-wide flood in the days of Noah, killing everyone and everything except Noah, his family, and the animals God had commanded him to take on the ark for protection.
2 Peter 2:6 and if He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin, making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral 8 (for as he lived among them, that righteous man tormented himself day by day with the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
The Lord also brought severe judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their ungodly and especially sexually perverse behavior by destroying both cities completely by fire and brimstone. However, he spared Lot and his family because of his righteousness and the plea of his righteous uncle Abraham. However, due to her disobedience in looking back at the burning cities, Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt.
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority.
If, or better yet since, God had executed judgment in these examples and mercy toward the righteous, those who trusted Him, we can be assured that He is still able to rescue His children. He still judges the ungodly, the unrighteous, the unbelieving ones and preserves to the utmost those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostates, the false teachers, Jude and Peter have been warning us about may seem to prosper for the moment, but they will be judged if they do not turn from their ungodly ways and submit to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Chew on this: It is sometimes tempting to be overcome by the evil in this fallen world, especially those who operate covertly under the guise of being ministers. We need to be sure we can discern false teachers from the true Christians shepherds. However, we need not become frightened because of them. God will deal with them in His perfect timing. We must remain faithful and trust our Father to sustain us. Read all of Psalm 37.
Psalm 37:7 (NASB) Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
|Posted on November 13, 2016 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – Jude 17-25 ON GUARD – Day 2
Jude 17 But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 they told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people create divisions and are unbelievers, not having the Spirit.
The apostles’ teachings, their letters to the churches, are filled with warnings about false teachers (Acts 20:28–31; 1 Tim. 4:1, 2; 2 Tim. 3:1–5; 4:1–3; 2 Pet. 2:1—3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 7–11). As noted previously, false teachers put their own desires above the will of God. They are not believers even though they present themselves as Christians. They create division rather than unity, and condone promiscuity, sexual perversion, and other ungodly behavior. Once again, the responsibility we have is to know what the scripture teaches about godliness, holiness, being changed by the Holy Spirit within us. This way we will have discernment to recognize erroneous teaching when we hear it.
Jude 20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
Here is the antithesis to false teachers and false teachings, the things we should be doing. We are to build ourselves in order to insulate ourselves against false teaching. As we read in 2 Peter 1:3, God has provided everything we need to live a life that honors and glorifies Him.
John MacArthur Study Bible
20 building. True believers have a sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11) and cornerstone (Eph. 2:20) in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith (cf. v. 3) have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32)
God keeps us and holds us securely in His hand (John 10:28-29). However, we experience His love by continually abiding in that truth and obeying His commands. When we are truly His, the Holy Spirit within us changes our desires to be in conformity to His will. We look forward expectantly to the day Jesus will call us home or return to retrieve us.
Jude 22 Have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
We need to be merciful to those who doubt. We need to explain truth to them at every opportunity and pray for their salvation. There are some who are toying with false teaching to the point that we need to grab them quickly and compassionately pull them back to hear the gospel. There are others who are following false teachers, denying the deity of Christ, and living lasciviously. We still need to witness to them but exercise caution lest we be sucked into sin rather than being a positive influence to them. We need to be careful that in our effort to identify with the world in order to reach them that we do not become worldly ourselves. You cannot become a wolf to win one. “He who lies down with dogs, gets fleas.” Jude likens this to someone covered with oozing sores taking off their shirt and handing it to you to put on. I don’t think you would do that, so don’t take on even a tiny bit of their sinful lifestyle!
Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Jude ends with praise to the Lord and confirmation that it is God who enables us to live the life He has called us to live. Paul makes this same affirmation.
Romans 14:4 (HCSB) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Ephesian 3:14-21 (ESV) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Jude declares the deity of Jesus by pointing out that He has been keeping us in the past, now, and forever. I like this in the Voice translation:
Jude 25b (VOICE) just as it has been since before He created time, may it continue now and into eternity. Amen.
Challenge: False teachers posing as Christian shepherds are a reality. Guard your mind against them by being rooted and grounded in the word of God. Attend a Bible teaching church. Participate in Sunday School and Bible Studies. Most of all study the Bible on your own, praying for the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, bring it to life, and help you to understand and apply it.
|Posted on November 12, 2016 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:1-3 and Jude 16 - ON GUARD – Day 1
2 Peter 2:1 (HCSB) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.
There have always been false prophets, the obvious ones like the prophets of Baal in the Old Testament and the sneaky ones that infiltrate the church as “tares among the wheat” (Matthew chapter 13). They slither in like snakes to poison and divide Christ’s church. Or they be more like chameleons, changing their colors to fit in. Jesus called them wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). We can recognize them by the fact that they teach things that do not line up with the word of God. They deny the lordship and deity of Jesus Christ. One cannot have salvation without lordship. Jesus bought us with His blood and is our Master as well as our Savior. A true Christian’s life will be characterized by repentance and obedience, growing in godliness as they mature.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them.
False teachers often lead a promiscuous lifestyle, downplaying or even denying the truth that Jesus taught us to live in purity. How often have we seen a person who claims to be a teacher of the word of God fall (or dive headlong) into sexual sin? The world, the unbelieving ones, see this and think that Christians are no different than the rest of the world. Baby Christians and non-believers come away with the impression that “you can have your cake and eat it to.” They feel they can turn to Christ and continue to drink to excess, do recreational drugs, and have sexual relationships outside of the marriage bed. This harms the witness of those who do seek to follow the Lord. Jesus calls us to a life of holiness, a life set apart from the rest of the world and to obedience to Him. We are to be the light that guides people out of the darkness of sin and into the glorious light of Christ.
Matthew 5:14 (VOICE) And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden.
As we studied in 1 Peter, we are to be holy – set apart.
1 Peter 1:15 (AMP) But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage];
2 Peter 2:3 They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
False teachers gather large crowds in order to exploit them. They are the type that convince impoverished people to give their last dime in order to receive healing or special blessings and then use those dimes to purchase luxuries for themselves. They want to extort money from these people, taking their livelihood, to foot the bill for their own fleshly appetites.
These false teachers may prosper for a time, but their condemnation is certain. We do not want to be riding on their coattails when they go down, so we need to use discernment when listening to teachers.
Jude 16 These people are discontented grumblers, walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.
Remember what the Lord did with the grumblers in the party Moses led from Egypt? He had the ground swallow some up, destroyed some by fire, and sent plagues among His people to judge them. Those who grumble against the Lord had best beware! Everything the apostates, false teachers, do and say is counterfeit and motivated by their own agenda. They want to trade the freedom from the law found in Christ for license to do as they please.
Jude 1:4 (NIV) For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
The false teachers “utter arrogant words.” Be wary of anyone who claims to have a new, never heard, perspective from the Lord. Check all claims against the Bible! If something being taught in any way contradicts God’s word, do not trust it.
Walk away from flattery as well. Again, if someone is teaching exactly what you want to hear, make sure it lines up with what God declares in His word.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NASB) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Chew on This: Increasingly this study is showing us how crucial it is to be in the word of God, to study it, meditate on it, internalize it. The only way we can unmask the false teachers is to have a firm grip on the Truth.
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
Jude 8-15: 2nd bonus lesson
Jude 8 (HCSB) Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.
“These dreamers” refers to the apostates who had so been deluded that they gave themselves over to fleshly appetites and perhaps even attributed their perverse ways to dreams or visions from God. They were characterized by sexual perversity, rejecting God and godly authority, and even blaspheming angels (glorious ones).
Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Michael was a powerful angel but did not fight Satan in his own strength, instead calling on the Lord to rebuke him. This account of Michael battling the Devil for the body of Moses is not found anywhere else in scripture, but is found in the pseudepigraphal Assumption of Moses. The fact that Jude quotes from this book does not necessarily mean that the entire book is true, but does imply that this particular account is accurate. However, scripture does record that Moses died alone on Mt. Nebo without entering the promised land and “was secretly buried in a place not known to man” John MacArthur Study Bible. (Deut. 34:5, 6)
We should be cautious about rebuking demons and in all dealings with spiritual beings. We must defer to the Lord Jesus and His power against them. Rather than speaking directly to them, we should pray that the Lord intervene on our behalf or on behalf the person we are praying for.
Jude 10 But these people blaspheme anything they don’t understand. What they know by instinct like unreasoning animals—they destroy themselves with these things.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
10 speak evil. Lit. “blaspheme.” Cf. v. 8. Apostate teachers, in their brash, bold, egotistical infatuation with imagined power and authority, rail on that which they don’t even understand....
Reformation Study Bible:
As usually interpreted, Jude’s point is that the rash talk of the false teachers contrasts with the temperate speech of Michael (2 Pet. 2:10 and note). Others interpret Jude as contrasting Michael’s appeal to God’s authority with the false teachers’ claim to having their own spiritual authority.
The apostates, the false teachers, rant and rave about things they do not really understand.
Jude 11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Cain committed the first murder out of jealousy that Abel’s offering was accepted and his was not. He was exiled. These teachers were jealous of the true believers, those declaring the truth of the Gospel. They, too, will be exiled permanently! (Gen. 4:1–15; cf. Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12)
Balaam was hired for a tidy sum by the king of Moab to speak false prophesy and lure Israel into idolatry and immorality. The Lord used Balaam’s donkey to talk sense into him. (Num. 22, Num. 31:16; Rev. 2:14)
We discussed Korah’s rebellion in our study of Psalm 106:16-23 which will post this weekend. Long story short – Korah and those with him rebelled against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God had everyone move away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the leaders of the rebellion. The earth opened up and swallowed the three men, their families, and their possessions (Num. 16:1–32).
God did not deal lightly with these three examples from the Old Testament, and He does not and will not deal lightly with false teachers. In fact, Jude pronounces doom upon them.
The Apostates’ Doom
Jude 12 These are the ones who are like dangerous reefs at your love feasts. They feast with you, nurturing only themselves without fear. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn—fruitless, twice dead, pulled out by the roots; 13 wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever!
Jude uses several metaphors to say the same thing…false teachers promise what they cannot deliver. They are clouds that do not water the crops, trees dead and unable to produce fruit, waves that wreak havoc on the church rather than tapping into the power of almighty God. They are all “dog and pony show” with no lasting results. They are what my relatives would call “a flash in the pan.” They seem to burn bright but soon burn out. Since they rely on their own power, they are truly powerless. Jesus is the only one who can fulfill our needs permanently.
Since the apostates teach a false gospel and deny the Lordship of Christ, they are doomed to an eternity in Hell.
Jude 14 And Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied about them:
Look! The Lord comes
with thousands of His holy ones
15 to execute judgment on all
and to convict them
of all their ungodly acts
that they have done in an ungodly way,
and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners
have said against Him.
In case you do not remember Enoch, he was the one the Lord took home without him having to suffer physical death.
Genesis 5:24 (AMPC) And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].
His prophesy concerning false teachers is found in an apochryphal work but is consistent with other Old Testament prophecies concerning judgement. Those who have denied God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Chew on This: How can we identify false teachers? We must know the characteristics of those who teach the truth versus those who are apostates trying to infiltrate the church. How are we able to discern them? We have a responsibility to know the word of God and to test all teaching against it.