HYMN Lo, He comes with clouds descending
1. Lo, he comes with clouds descending,
once for favoured sinners slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.
2. Every eye shall now behold him
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold him,
pierced and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
3. Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshippers:
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture,
gaze we on those glorious scars!
4. Yea, Amen, let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory,
claim the kingdom for thine own:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Thou shalt reign and thou alone.
READING 2 Peter 2:1-9
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
SERMON CHRISTIAN CAUTION & CONFIDENCE
Here is Peter’s warning against those who threaten the church’s life-blood by refusing to submit to the authority of God’s Word.
When folks wanted to justify their wrong lifestyles, they would introduce false teaching to the church. False teaching can come in many different ways. These false teachers can be intelligent, talented, and winsome people. But following their teachings can jeopardise our future. How can we recognise them? Chapter 2 of 2 Peter answers that question.
I. EXPOSING FALSE TEACHING, 2:1-3.
II. EXAMPLES OF HISTORIC JUDGMENT, 2:4-C6.
III. EXPLANING DIVINE DELIVERANCE, 2:7-9.
False prophets are dangerous on three counts: their underhanded methods and shameful ways bring the faith into disrepute, their teaching is a denial of God’s truth, and their destiny is to bring destruction both on themselves and their followers. Verse 1 warns churches to guard against false doctrine that denies the Lordship of Christ.
Satan’s counterfeits have always been present within the Church. They appeared in ancient Israel – and they were present in the first-century church and they are present within the church today.
They do not walk in an announce themselves, but begin working behind the scenes. Their teachings contain some truth which has been cleverly blended with error.
“Heresies” are wrong beliefs deliberately chosen rather than the truth revealed in God’s Word. Such heresies lead people away from Christ and thus to spiritual ruin.
The next time a member of a religious sect calls at your home, ask him or her the direct question, “What do you think of Jesus?” Here Jesus is called the Master or Sovereign Lord.
Verse 2 indicates that the enticing aspects of false teaching attract many followers within the church.
The tragic fact about many false teachers is that they are successful – people listen to them and follow them and their sensual or shameful ways.
They followed sensuality or what feels good instead of “the way of truth”
We must be careful to avoid false teachers today. Any book, or box set on the TV must be evaluated according to God’s Word, not by how it makes you feel.
Verse 3 tells us that false teachers desire to exploit the Christian faith for their own advantage. Their attitude is not what I can give back to God and His people, but what can I get from God and His people. False teachers exploit people.
This tendency so grieved Jesus that it caused Him to overturn tables in the temple rather than allow His Father’s house to remain a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12, 13).
False teachers scoffed at the idea of future judgment. Divine judgment never happens, they said.
And so, Peter cites well-known O.T. examples of divine judgment which brings us to our second section.
II. EXAMPLES OF HISTORIC JUDGMENT, 2:4-6.
Peter now refers to several illustrations to demonstrate both the Lord’s judgment and His deliverance. He pulls incidents from the history of God’s people to show God’s sure and definite purposes both in salvation and in condemnation.
First he cites three examples of punishment. Together the three examples show God’s punishment of pride, disobedience and immorality.
The first example in verse 4 is that of fallen angels.
The fate of the fallen angels points to the fact of a final judgment when human rebellion will be duly punished. If God in His justice punished disobedient angels [Jude 6] surely He would not hesitate to punish people.
The second example in verse 5 is from the old world, meaning the people who lived in the time of Noah before the Flood.
The primary focus here is the judgment of God on the pre-flood civilisation.
Do non-Christians today think they can escape God’s judgment because of their large numbers? Peter reminded them and those who are the targets of their delusions that God can judge evil even when it involves the entire human race.
God’s judgment had to fall, but His loving-kindness is seen in sparing righteous Noah (Gen. 6:9).
In verse 6 we find that the sinfulness of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah called for their destruction. The open wickedness by the citizens of these city demanded that God stop it, because no one else would or could. Their evil unnatural sexual depravity had made the cities toxic. A word for the wise…
III. EXPLAINING GOD’S DELIVERANCE, 2:7-9.
Verses 7 & 8 speak of God rescuing Lot.
In Genesis 19 Lot hardly seems like a righteous man. But in his standing before God he was a justified man. This is shown by the fact that Lot was distressed by the enormity of iniquity all around him.
Lot was also tormented in his righteous soul. Seeing and hearing about all their wicked ways day after day grieved Lot to the point of inner torture.
Lot was worn down in his inner struggle to remain good and follow God. When we are no longer shocked and struggle with the sinfulness of our society, we are our society.
Lot’s rescue demonstrates how far God will go to deliver even the weak-willed saints.
It is of great encouragement to us that God can deliver the godly from trials. We see this in action in: Noah and his family members; and Lot and his wife and daughters. As Peter’s audience experienced persecution, they can be assured that God can deliver them just as He delivered others down through history. Though we may not know when God’s deliverance will come, fear not, it will come. God is in control even when the world seems to be falling apart or going to hell.
Peter is concerned that after his death, the people of the church will lose their way because of the false teachers and false teachings among them. But… God knows how to rescue godly people in any generation or in any situation from the testing that come from living among unbelievers, both from their conduct and their destructive ideas.
What enables people to keep going in righteousness is the hope for deliverance.
Just before Jesus went to the cross, He spoke the words of John 16:33 to His disciples. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation [trouble]. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Troubles do come whether we like it or not. We should be comforted in knowing that our elder brother and Saviour has overcome the world and our heavenly Father has promised to rescue us from all our troubles. May the reality of this promise go deep into each one of our hearts today.
Hymn Christ is coming! let creation
Christ is coming! let creation
bid her groans and travail cease;
let the glorious proclamation
hope restore, and faith increase:
Christ is coming!
Come, thou blessèd Prince of Peace.
Earth can now but tell the story
of thy bitter cross and pain;
she shall yet behold thy glory,
when thou comest back to reign:
Christ is coming!
Let each heart repeat the strain.
With that blessèd hope before us,
let no harp remain unstrung;
let the mighty advent chorus
onward roll from tongue to tongue:
Christ is coming!
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come!