+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – 2 Peter 2:11-25 (NLT)
The Danger of False Teachers
But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.
For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.
These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling. But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.
These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.
These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
Beware of False Teachers.
So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials,
even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.
– 2 Peter 2:9 –
Beware of false teachers! Today’s reading is filled with passion for the well-being of believers who are in danger of being led astray by teaching contrary to that of the prophets and apostles.
So what can we learn today from Peter’s warning concerning false teachers?
+ Characteristics: They are deceptive and destructive, misinterpreting God’s Word. Their teaching is inconsistent with the revealed truth of God. They deny the teaching and practices associated with Christ. They are often in it for the money.
+ Consequences: The eventual destruction of unbelievers – Peter offers three examples of unbelievers who faced God’s wrath; fallen angels, the ungodly sinners of Noah’s day, and the ungodly sinners of Lot’s time. Peter’s concern here are unbelievers who set themselves up as moral authorities (false teachers).
+ Conduct: Peter cites shameful immorality and greed. “I did it my way” is their theme. They are driven by the basest of human instincts, practicing adultery and sexual perversity while urging believers to do the same. Good and evil are inverted and they refuse to submit to the authority of God’s Word.
The good news is – God will not only punish the wicked , but He will also rescue the godly from their trials.
Questions for consideration:
- When you think of “false teachers” in and around the church, who comes to mind? Please explain.
- Have you personally ever been influenced by what you later discovered was a “false teacher”? Please explain.
- Do you believe that the Bible can be read and understood by ordinary people? Or do you believe that you need someone else to tell you what it means? Please explain.
- If you rely on a “teacher” to tell you what the Bible means, how do you know that they’re telling you the truth? Please explain.
- How often do you read the Bible by yourself? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: Prayer in Preparation for Studying God’s Word –
Lord, thank you for this time you’ve given me to open your Word and discover who you are. Thank you for not leaving me in the dark about who you are and what you are doing in the world. Thank you for revealing yourself and your will through the Bible, your inspired Word to me.
Lord, give me wisdom as I read your Word. You promise that I only have to ask for wisdom in order to receive it. Lord, please give me your wisdom now as I approach your word. Help me discern the truth of this text. Help me to listen to your Spirit, and not simply rely on my own understanding. Thank you God for the clarity, encouragement and hope your Word brings.
I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Open My Eyes That I May See” – Joslin Grove Choral Society
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen