Does It Matter What we Teach?
2 Peter 2

Introduction
Many in our world today are suggesting that it doesn't matter what we teach. That one teaching is as good another, as long as one is sincere. But that cannot be right--contradictory information cannot be accepted as truth. It cannot be that 2+2 = 4 and 5 at the same time. I know that the theorem, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, is true in plane geometry and false in solid geometry, but this is not a contradiction.

The point of Peter's focus in chapter 1 is that there is an authentic word from God--a word focused in Jesus, verified by eyewitnesses, a majestic and honoring word, which is according to promise, is the dawning of a new day, and is not of human origin, although humans were involved, but is the very word of God, as of old, by the Holy Spirit. This word is authentic and valid, this word must be heard. It is against this background that Peter warns of false teachers, or false prophets.

The meaning of the OT word nabi, and NT word prophet is generally to carry forward or carry along. This is similar to the thought found in 2 Pet. 1:19-21. One of my professors was fond of saying that OT prophets were forth-tellers, for-tellers, and fore-tellers.

Throughout the NT we are admonished to distinguish false prophets, Mt 7:15; 1 Jn 4:1ff. Peter is concerned about identifying false prophets, and about their influence upon God's people.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of correct teaching (sound or healthy doctrine), and of building lives solidly on the foundation of truth. There is an objective truth that is true whether it is recognized or not. Jn. 8:32; 17:17; 2 Tim. 1:13; 1 Tim. 4:16; Tit. 2:1. Certainly we want to teach right, believe right, live right.

How do we know what is right? The Bible is right, but requires diligent study to identify departures, 1 Tim. 4:11-16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21. This emphasis on knowledge is apparent in Scripture.

We must be perpetually on guard. Our study in 2 Peter 2 is an extension of chapter 1, for there are no chapter divisions in the original text.

How can I distinguish the false from the true? (1) By knowing the Bible, the things being taught; (2) by knowing the teacher, the distinguishing characteristics of false teachers.

DESCRIPTION
Description of these false teachers is revealing.

  • A. Description of their activity, v. 1
  • B. Description of their methods

    Notice these truths. It does matter what we teach.

    DESTRUCTION

  • I. What we teach matters because God will destroy false teachers and false teachings, 1-5

    DISTRESS

  • II. What we teach matters because false teachings bring distress to truly righteous people, 5-8

    BE DISTINCT

  • III. What we teach matters because God distinguishes the true from the false, 9.
    In vv. 4-9, we can see the punishment or judgment of their activity, vv. 4-9
  • A. God judges....angels...the ungodly of the old world...Sodom and Gomorrah...the unjust
  • B. But God delivers....Noah...Lot...the godly and righteous
    Peter's message is one of hope because God knows how to divide the righteous from the unrighteous. The paragraph (vv. 4-9) concludes with the message: be distinct from false teachers.

    DANGER

  • IV. The DANGER of the false teachers. We must follow true teaching. Doctrine is reflected by activity or conduct, vv. 10-16. They even dare to sin; they are that bold and malicious, 2:10ff
    Doctrine leads to conduct, it is equally as possible to hear, believe, and obey a lie as it is to hear, believe, and obey the truth. Notice again the descriptive phrases just from this section.

    DESTINY

  • V. Consider the DESTINY of the false teachers, and those who follow them, vv. 19-22. God will deal with false teachers, vv. 1,3,4-9, 13, 19ff.
    When we consider their influence, we can see some of the danger, 18-22

    Conclusion
    Lessons

  • Have no fellowship, Eph. 5:11, with false teaching
  • Be a student of God's Word, teach what is right
  • Take heed lest ye fall, be constantly on guard

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    Last updated March 20, 2005.