Light Under Threat

2 Peter 2:10-22

Advent season one of great excitement, anticipation. Words like merry, joyous, blessed, happy common and essential fixtures in holiday greetings – seen on signs and decorations, included in cards, in ones personally spoken. Repeated theme in our music of joyfulness, celebration, praise to God and warm feelings toward one another. All that is true and right and proper – is a time to rejoice and celebrate what God has done in past, what he will do in future.

Sang about angels in two carols already, they have part in our closing carol. Familiar words: “Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation; O sing, all ye bright hosts of heaven above!” Two Sundays hence will light Angel candle on Advent wreath, commonly think of angels as the choir providing mood music for newborn baby. Was not their only reason for being present there over Bethlehem – hosts of heaven were on guard duty, ensuring the Light which had just come into world wasn’t snuffed out. Remember action Herod took as soon as he found out some important details about Savior’s birth!

Danger didn’t go away when Jesus did, it persisted and Christians have been in line of fire ever since. Peter had seen the Light, wrote about that in chapter 1. Had seen the Light in another way, too – the spiritual light of truth that shined in darkness of his heart. Had been his mission for thirty years or more to bring that light to all who would listen, first fellow Jews and then others. Based on what he saw / heard from Asia Minor, light of true Gospel at risk of being extinguished. No way Peter was going to stand idly by and watch it happen. He proceeded to call out those attacking the Gospel and then turned attention of readers back to truth. We need to do same today… whether false teachers who have crept into the church or those of similar tactics who seduce from outside.

A. do not live in the light  v.10-14

no respect for authority

stated right out by Peter: despise authority – speaking, of course, about authority of others; hold own authority in very high regard

displayed in several ways: self-willed/arrogant/insolent/audacious, make strong statements without knowledge or understanding, expect to be believed and followed

act as if they have authority

they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones” ESV – need to look at next verse for explanation: dignitaries, glorious ones probably reference to Satan and his angels

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

false teachers act (and encourage others to act) as if they have authority over Satan/demons… to bind and command

perform works of darkness in broad daylight

pursue pleasure at all times, seek to acquire more and more for themselves – entice others to follow same licentious lifestyle

in today’s setting: readily speak for God – tell people “God wants you to…” have this, go there, be that, and here’s the formula

are skilled at making the kind of pitch that seduces the weak – just one example, not wealthy who go to Foxwoods, Atlantic City

saddest of all: in spite of respectable outward appearance, are in reality behaving as lowest of brute beasts… living for pleasure of moment, no more valuable to mankind than Ham and Bacon, Steak and Stew

B. not ignorant of the light  v.15-16

were once on the right way

didn’t ignore the right path, they forsook it – means they traveled on it for a while, picked up enough Christian code to sound native

makes them even more dangerous – insiders always sound more authentic – is easier to persuade less discerning to follow

prefer the ways of darkness

weren’t kicked off the path, didn’t get lost in the dark, they made the choice to go a different way intentionally

placed a higher value, had a greater desire for material gain than spiritual wealth – had an understanding of the light, had walked in the light for a time, chose to leave the light for darkness

even dumb animals are smarter

God uses all sorts of instruments – dumb donkey restrained the prophet’s madness; another donkey likely provided transport for Mary; yet another carried Son of David into Jerusalem; will be a white horse that brings him back – each animal willingly follows God’s instructions

false teachers follow example of Balaam rather than the donkey – rushing blindly to destruction when even the donkey could see better

C. attempt to quench the light  v.17-19

have one appearance

things Peter describes here are ones that, when genuine, give great hope – these individuals outwardly appear to have it all together, be able to supply what they promise

is even possible they are themselves deceived – if tell yourself a lie long enough, loud enough, will eventually come to believe it

but are actually the opposite

these false teachers wells without water, clouds without rain, darkness without light, tables without food – could not quench thirst, nourish crops, provide safety, satisfy hunger

Savior was born in Bethlehem – house of bread; the One who called himself the bread of life, who actually delivered what he promised

intentionally draw others away from the light

promise freedom while they are enslaved – everyone who follows their teaching / example will become just as enslaved, hopeless

even if they cannot put the light out in the world, do their best to put it out in individual lives – and here’s what probably got Peter most exercised:

For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice …people who have just escaped from those who reside in error. NET, v.18

those who managed to escape getting sucked back in, who had some hope of coming to light suddenly back in darkness

D. no hope of recovering the light  v.20-22

had some understanding of the truth

speaking of those who get enticed – once enslaved to the world, had managed to escape through knowing Jesus, then “fall back”

take an example: Teen Challenge does not have 100% success rate – some complete program (walk the walk, talk the talk) then go back to their addiction

better to have none

as general proposition, would have less bleak future if had never gone through the program – are less sensitive to Gospel, have greater responsibility for knowledge gained and rejected

unlikely to be restored

are in a worse state… but not without hope – false teaching makes it significantly more difficult yet God can and does overrule

cannot take it for granted that God will overrule in particular cases – better if we act up front like he won’t, be bold like Peter against false teaching

Peter was furious with false teachers because everything they did was designed to make Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection of no use. Jesus came to provide light, they work to put it out. Jesus came to give life and nourishment, they work to starve and kill.

Phil. 2:8-10 …He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

False teachers exalt themselves and not Jesus. Jesus is the one who has the words of life, who not only promises freedom but actually sets captives free and heals brokenhearted. Don’t need big words, extravagant lifestyle, any of things people see as attractive and desirable – only need Jesus as he is revealed to us in his word and by his Spirit.

Come and adore Him. Come and trust Him. Come and find hope and healing and joy and peace in Him. Tell your friends, tell your family, hold the light high so all can see.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s