2Pet 2:1-3 #24, A Warning to the Saints 2/8/2004

 

 

 

 

#1. Beware of False Teachers (2Pet 2:1, Ex 7:1-2, Rev 22:18, 1Tim 4:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The Treasure in the Field (Matt 13:44, 19:21, 28:18, 12:18, 20, John 9:39, 12:31)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. They Make Merchandise of You (2Pet 2:2-3, 1Tim 6:9-10, Jude 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy 13:1 (2X). Some of you might chuckle at me, calling this the Prophecy of Deuteronomy. But let me show you that this is indeed a prophecy. We are continuing in the series called, "The Wisdom of God" (2X). Two weeks ago I spoke about "Afflictions of the Elect", and how God in His wisdom determined to make afflictions work for glory. This is one of the Deep Things of God. Last week we continued "The Deep Things of God", and we saw there that the things, which God has prepared for them that love Him were all coming out of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. This is an important principle! It is important to remember that Christ suffered and died only for His people, for His elect. Therefore God warned us in many places in the Bible not to be led astray by those who bring another gospel. Other gospels inevitably lead us to a works gospel, which is a gospel whereby some work on man's part is required. Therefore, today's sermon is titled: "A Warning to the saints" (2X). This is installment #24 in this series of The Wisdom of God. Even though it is impossible for the saints to fall away, God in His wisdom decided that we need many warnings of this sort throughout the Bible. The first one of those warnings is listed here in Deut 13:1-10. This first warning is titled,

De 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

De 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

De 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Slow down a moment! "The LORD your God proveth you". What does that mean? For whom is this test? Does God not know the outcome of the test? Of course God knows the outcome of this test. This test is not for God's benefit, but for our benefit. We need to know if we are on the side of God, or on the side of Satan. God is making the test very severe. God makes "the sign or the wonder come to pass". If it did not come to pass, our choice is rather easy. But the sign or the wonder did come to pass. Now what do we do? Do we believe this man who had such uncanny ability to predict the future? Do we believe this holy man who seems to have divine powers in his hands to heal people? Do we believe this holy man who has received a dream, or a vision, or an angel visitation from God? The answer is: "Absolutely NOT!" This man will not admit that he is introducing us to another god. He will claim that he preaches in the name of Jesus Christ, he will plead the blood of Christ, he will claim that he teaches the same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the mere fact that he has received an additional message from God already identifies him as a false prophet; someone who adheres to another god than the God of the Bible, because the God of the Bible is circumscribed by the Bible alone and nothing less than the whole Bible. Moreover, even if this false prophet is a close relative of yours, you shall not listen to him. Listen to what God says in Deut 13:6-10,

De 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

De 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

De 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

De 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

De 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

These are harsh words. But this reflects how much God hates false prophets. Today we would not stone such a person, but he would be excommunicated from the congregation. But how would we recognize if someone is serving another god? If he uses the same names for Christ, and God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, how would we know if he is in a sneaky way luring us into another gospel. The answer is found here in the Bible. God says in Deut 5:6-7,

De 5:6-7, I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Who brought us out of the land of Sin and Satan? Paraphrased God says, "I did it, I deserve that credit, and don't you dare giving my credit to anyone else!" All the credit and all the glory must go to God. If man gets some of that credit, then you are worshipping another god. If your plan of salvation includes that some work must be done by man, then you are worshipping another god, but he is not the God of the Bible. Right here in the 1st Comm God condemns everyone who holds a works gospel. There are many such warnings throughout the Bible. 2nd example: Please turn to 2Pet 2:1 (2X)

#1. Beware of False Teachers (2Pet 2:1, Ex 7:1-2, Rev 22:18, 1Tim 4:1)

You find 2nd Peter after Hebrews and after James, almost toward the end of your Bibles. Here in 2nd Peter chapter 2 God deals with false doctrines and false teachers. It follows the absolutely correct statement in chapter 1:21 that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost". In other words, the Bible consists entirely of words dictated by God to His Apostles and prophets.

2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Can you see the switch from OT false prophets to NT false teachers? What is a prophet? A prophet is one who speaks words from God to the people. For example, we read in Ex 7:1-2,

Ex 7:1-2 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.

God defined here what a prophet is. Moses and Aaron were made to Pharaoh like God and His prophet. Moses would speak to Aaron and Aaron would speak to Pharaoh. Aaron would be like the prophet of Moses. Therefore "a prophecy" is a message from God, and "to prophesy" means to speak the words from God. To read out loud the words from the Bible is to prophesy. We have already seen in Deut 13 what a false prophet is. It is a person who claims to speak in the name of God, but God has not sent him. What is a teacher? A teacher is someone who interprets the words from God and extracts from it certain principles, which are called doctrines. In the NT time God has completed His spoken Word, which means that there is no more new prophecy. Therefore, people who declare the Word of God are called teachers, rather than prophets, although in principle all the saints are called prophets, priests and kings. But look now carefully at the words in our text. In 2Pet 2:1 God says, "Just like there were false prophets among the people" in the OT time, so also, "in like manner, there shall be false teachers among you" in the NT time. And they "privily shall bring in damnable heresies". It means very quietly and secretly they shall introduce damnable heresies. What is a heresy? How do we distinguish heresy from error? "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". An error is a teaching that is not entirely correct, but God still uses this teaching to save people, and give them faith. A heresy is a teaching that God will not use to save anyone, because another god is portrayed as the one who saves. For example, a works gospel is a heresy. As soon as you hear the words, "You only have to do this" then you know that this is a works gospel. It is a gospel that makes a god that is yea high, and it is a god who is not almighty but has the characteristics of human beings. Another heresy is to claim that God is still bringing divine messages today. This makes God to be a liar, because God says in Rev 22:18 that He will no longer bring divine revelations. The canon of Scripture is closed. Those who believe that God is still bringing divine messages today have a god who is described by more than the Bible alone, and therefore they are worshipping another god than the God of the Bible. God warns us that toward the end of time heresies will increase. We read in:

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

The words "in the latter times" refer to the time near the end. God gives many warnings, especially concerning these last days. Most of God's warnings are ignored. Please read the epistles to Timothy and to Titus, and you will see that very few preachers are as concerned as God is, concerning the end of time. But now, look again at 2Pet 2:1. God says: "even denying the Lord that bought them".

2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

If the Lord Jesus Christ "bought" these false teachers, He must have bought them at the cross together with all the saints. Is that true? And if Christ bought them at the cross while He was suffering the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, should that not mean that they could never fall away? How then is it possible that these same people bring in damnable heresies? The answer lies in understanding of the Greek word <59>, which has been correctly translated "bought". But the word "bought" does not always mean, "redeemed". Let us begin with the Greek word "Agora", which means "the market place". "Agora" is a well-understood word, and it occurs 11X in the NT. The next step is the word "Agorazo", which is the Greek word <59>, which means "to purchase in the marketplace", or simply "to buy". The Greek word "Agorazo" occurs 31X in the NT, and in only 3X does it have the meaning "redeemed", but in most other cases it simply means "to buy". For example, in John chapter 4 the Lord Jesus had an amazing conversation with a Samaritan woman. None of His disciples were around, because we read in John 4:8, "For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat". There was no indication that they had to redeem the meat with a sacrificial offering. They just "bought the meat" as it was sold on the marketplace. This is the meaning of "Agorazo" in most cases. The next step is the word "Exagorazo", which means, "to redeem", but particularly the meaning "to buy back a slave with the objective to set him free". This is what Christ did for each one of His elect. The word "Exagorazo" occurs 4X in the NT, and all 4X it has been translated "redeem". For example, we read in Gal 4:5, "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons". We were in bondage under the Law of God. All those who violate even one iota of the Law would be subject to eternal damnation in Hell. But Christ redeemed us from that terrible condition, and He purchased the right for us to become sons of God. Who is the Lord that bought them? Did Christ redeem His elect people at the cross and at the same time He bought all those who were not of His elect? Is this the picture that we are seeing here in 2Pet 2:1? But why did Christ have to buy them and why would they be "denying the Lord that bought them"? What actually would they be denying? We are going to find that they will be denying the sovereignty of God. They will be denying that Christ owns them, like He owns everything else in the world. Please turn to the Gospel according to Matthew 13:44 (2X). In order to understand the picture that we see here in 2Pet 2:1, we actually have to turn to one of the parables that the Lord Jesus told about Himself. It is the parable of:

#2. The Treasure in the Field (Matt 13:44, 19:21, 28:18, 12:18, 20, John 9:39, 12:31)

Of the 8 parables that the Lord Jesus told in this chapter, two of those refer to Himself. They are "the parable of the treasure in the field", and "the parable of the pearl of great price". Let us read V.44

Mt 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

What could that treasure be? Could it be salvation? Could it be that a man found the narrow road to salvation, and therefore he gave up all that he had and followed Jesus? In fact, Jesus gave this advice to the Rich Young Ruler in Matt 19:21. Is this what each one of us have to do to find salvation? Absolutely not! We cannot buy our way into heaven. Salvation is not for sale, because one soul is worth more than all the money and all the material treasures together found on this earth. No! This parable is a story about the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son. He is the man who found great treasure in a field. This is the only possible explanation of this parable. The treasure is the Bride of Christ, the Body of believers, the elect people of God. The Kingdom of heaven is like unto this treasure hidden in THE field. In your KJV you read "A field", but the Greek text says "THE field". In other words, there is only one field. But what is that field? In the parable just before this one the Lord Jesus identified that field. He said in verse 38, "The field is the world". Christ found His elect people in a world that was owned by Satan. God gave Adam dominion over all that God has created. But when Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they sold themselves and all that they had to Satan. What changed at the cross? At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ bought back this whole world that Adam sold, and from that time Satan was restricted to be called, "the prince of the power of the air". Satan no longer owns this world. He just roams the air, and the souls of all those who remain under the wrath of God. We can see that, for example, when the Lord Jesus died and rose again He appeared to His disciples and said in Matt 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All (power) authority is given unto me in heaven and on earth". In your KJV you read, "All power is given unto Me", but it would have been better translated, "All authority has been given to Me". Since Christ on the cross redeemed not only His elect people from the curse of the Law, but He also bought back the whole world, He could say that He had received all authority over all that moves upon the earth. He claimed to be the only Ruler over all that God has created, including Satan. Satan is not an independent ruler, because there is only one God. For this reason, if I may paraphrase, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples that they should teach all nations and be not afraid, since "I am with you alway, unto the end of the age". What does it mean that Christ received all authority in heaven and on earth? It means that He redeemed those whom He wanted to redeem, and He left every one else under the wrath of God. All this happened at the cross. Both all the elect and all the reprobate were judged at the cross. Christ took the penalty for all the elect. Not one could be added and not one could be forgotten before the Last Day arrives. Everyone else has been left in his sins, which means that everyone else will pay for his own sins in Hell.

In the past you have heard me say, "Christ came the 1st time as a Suffering Servant, but the 2nd time He will come as the Judge of all the earth". That was wrong! I was influenced by my former teachers who planted this idea in my head, but it is not supported by the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach that Christ came the 1st time to judge the nations at the cross, and simultaneously to take the rap for all His people who also would be judged at the cross. Please listen to the following verses:

Mt 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment (2X) to the (Gentiles) nations.

In your KJV you read "the Gentiles", but the Greek text says "the nations". The context in this passage does not refer to the judgment on the last day, but to the judgment at the cross.

Mt 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment (2X) unto victory.

Christ will send forth the judgment at the cross unto victory over His enemies. Who are His enemies? Certainly Satan and all the fallen angels, but also all the reprobate are His enemies.

Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment (2X) I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

This is the judgment at the cross. They which belong to the elect are the poor beggars who get to know that they are blind, and deaf, and dumb, and lame. But they who are self-sufficient, who have no need for a Savior, they shall be made blind to the truths of the Gospel.God will harden their hearts.

Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment (2X) of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Satan and all his demons have already been judged at the cross. No question about it. But what about all those human souls where they dwell in? We were like that before we were saved, but God cast out the demons within us when He made us "Born Again". There are others of whom God decided that they remain indwelt by evil spirits. Have they not also been judged at the cross?

Let us return to the treasure hidden in the field, in Matt 13:44. Why is the treasure hidden?

Mt 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

The treasure is hidden to human eyes, because no one can see clearly who is saved and who is not saved. No one can point out the elect and the reprobate. For this reason the Lord Jesus said:

Perhaps you remember that the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matt 7:1,

Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Mt 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

It means that we should not judge people. The saints are hidden in the congregation and outside the congregation. We do not know for sure who the saints are. God has made all people different from one another. Likewise there are all kinds of people among the saints. There are those that smile all the time, and there are those that frown all the time. There are those that see dangers lurking behind every table or pulpit in the church, and there are those who never see any dangers. There are those who pray a lot, and there are those who seem to keep prayer to a minimum. Never mind all those differences. We have to accept one another, and we have to love one another. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another, so how can we claim to be Christians if we do not obey this straightforward command? God addressed this command again in Rom 14. Just listen as I read:

Ro 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Ro 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Ro 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him (2X).

Ro 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand (2X).

These are strong words. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" Except for those who have been appointed to judge people, such as pastors, and elders, and deacons, we are not to judge people. But in other things we are called to judge. For example, we are called to judge doctrines that are preached from this pulpit. Not only from our pulpit, but also from the pulpits of other churches, that we may know where Satan hides, and that we may know who is on the side of Christ and who is against Him. The Word of God commands us to develop this kind of discernment. We must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. First of all this applies to marriage, but it also applies to the friends we choose, and it applies to the Bible studies we choose, and it applies to the church we choose, and it applies to the business partner we choose. We must be unwavering concerning the doctrines we hold. Please, do not compromise on any of our beliefs, unless the Word of God really tells us that we need correction. Therefore we must study our Bibles every day, or else:

#3. They Make Merchandise of You (2Pet 2:2-3, 1Tim 6:9-10, Jude 4)

Please turn again to the 2nd Epistle of Peter 2:1 (2X). Those who are denying the Lord that bought them are denying the passages that we have seen, which state beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord Jesus bought the whole world, and that He is presently ruling as King of kings and Lord of lords. They are denying that He sovereignly rules over all the earth. He is the "Prince of the kings of the earth", as we have seen in Rev 1:5, and thus He rules over all mankind, whether they are saved or not. And then we read in verse 2,

2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Can we see that in our world today? Absolutely yes! There are many who deny the sovereignty of God. The truth gets a black eye. Those who follow a free-will gospel are much greater in number than those who give God all the glory for their salvation. In fact, most of those in free-will gospels have never heard of the love of God for His elect, or the wrath of God on fornicators and homosexuals. Instead of reading their Bible, they point to us and say that we believe in predestination; how horrible to leave people without being able to choose for Jesus: "the way of truth shall be evil spoken of". Let us continue with verse 3,

2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

How does covetousness enter into the picture? Well, if preachers modify the gospel so that it is appealing even to the unsaved, and if they can rake in a lot of money by bringing the world into the church, and if they can build large buildings through money-making schemes, then covetousness enters into the picture. And if we are not at home in the Bible, and if we are not careful in analyzing the doctrines that are preached from those pulpits, then "shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you". They will make merchandise of you if you do not read your Bible. You will be listening and going with every wind of doctrine. You will be sitting ducks for those who are making minced meat of you. God addressed this in slightly different words in 1Tim 6:9-10. Just listen as I rea

1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich (lit: purpose to be rich) fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Not money, but the love of money is the root of all evil. For the love of money people will do some horrible things, and they are willing to create enemies of those who formerly were their friends. Where is God in all these schemes? Does God not see that this world is going crazy? Is God out of control? No, God is not out of control. God arranges all the affairs of world history, even to the barking of the dog next door. Please turn about 15 pages to your right () to the Epistle of Jude, verse 4 (2X). Jude was the half brother of Jesus. God knows that the church will be assaulted by false doctrines. The church will not be destroyed by attacks from the outside, or by persecution, or by gossip. But the church will be destroyed from within. That is why God prompted Jude to write about false teachers that have crept into the church. Here again is another warning from God to us:

Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Certain men have crept into the church, unnoticed by the ruling body, but who will try to bring in damnable heresies. And then God underscores that He is still the ruler of all men, including the wicked: "who were before of old ordained to this condemnation". Did the KJV translators believe in the sovereignty of God? Most definitely! God is not the author of sin, but our sovereign God arranged the circumstances, so that certain men could enter into the church and do their nasty work. What are they denying? They are denying that God is their master. It is the same heresy that we have come

across in 2Pet 2:1. But there in 2Pet 2:1 God says that they will bring upon themselves:

How swift is that? We have to admit that God's timetable does not resemble our timetable. We see heresies in the Roman Catholic Church that are going on for many hundreds of years, with no end in sight. We have to remember that God is not mocked. When God gives people up, or God gives people over to their sins, they are already as good as destroyed. The moment they die they will spend a period of time in a place of silence, but the next moment will be when they stand before the Judgment throne of Christ. Their heresies continue, because of one important principle, stated in:

Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

"My people love to have it so". The people in the church love it if God is not sovereign. They love it if they can make a contribution to their salvation, and they love it especially if God is still speaking today. Therefore the charismatic gospels will continue to flourish, because My people love to have it so. "And what will ye do in the end thereof?" What will ye do, ye soldiers of the cross? What else can we do than pray, and read God's Word? This is how we retain a peaceful mind, remembering that God knows all about our problems. But there is one more thing we can do. We can expose those who are troubling us with other gospels, we can expose them as idolaters, and we can excommunicate them to protect the church from further decay. Let me read to you a poem:

Christian dost thou see them on the holy ground, how the powers of darkness compass thee around?

Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss; smite them; Christ is with thee, soldier of the cross. This is the first stanza of the hymn that we are going to sing in a few minutes.

AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.