Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The True and The False

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.
2 Peter 2:1

Like other portions of scripture, 2 Peter 1:16 through 2 Peter 2:3 appears to be in a chiastic structure.  Here the device is being used to compare and contrast the true ministers of the gospel with those that are false.  The photo below highlights this structure.  The apostle had a lot to say in those few short verses about what the true and the false witnesses for Christ look like.  In this time of great deception prior to the coming of the LORD, it would behoove us to take note.  Remember Christ's warning: " For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."  Matthew 24:24

Simon Peter begins this pattern, under divine inspiration, with the definitive statement that the true witnesses are not telling " cunningly devised fables", but they are telling you the truth about Jesus Christ.  Noting Christ's power at His first advent (parousia is used for "coming" and means an advent), the apostle gives us our first clue.  True witnesses of Christ stay focused on Jesus as they tell of His power and presence in their lives.  They are telling what they received from God. There is no adding things nor making things up.  What have you received have from God in Christ?  Tell the world.  Yet, keep your focus on what God says and does as the apostles did in verses 1:16-18.  Say what He says only.

Verses 1:19-1:21 take us back to the written word of the prophets which Peter would have known so well.  Again, the prophets stay on topic--Jesus.  They give a sure word that the Messiah would come and they specifically outline His ministry.  Their word illuminates our heart because they also are not speaking their own thing.  There is a diligent relating of what the Holy Ghost says only. There is a lot of stress in these six verses on sharing what God says and not misinterpreting for selfish reasons.  This is what makes a true witness true.  He or she speaks the things of God and not the things of man.  They do not take the word and try to make it into a personal revelation.  They share God's interpretation.  Just one last note here.  Did you notice the stress on the Trinity?  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all speak and the focus stays squarely on our Advocate, Jesus.   For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Verse 2:1a is a somber warning.  "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you..."  What makes false teachers and false prophets so successful?  They are like fishing lures or animal calls used to deceive, snare, and prey upon the unsuspecting and unawares.  They appear to be real.  To be sure that they are known for what they are, Peter clearly shares those bad fruits they possess.  So what is the first thing mentioned?  It is simple really.  If God spent so much time keeping us focused on Christ in the first verses, than it makes sense that demonically, fleshly inspired false witnesses would deny Christ and teach heretical things about Him.   Things like Jesus being a Muslim.  Christian prof says Jesus was Muslim

They would teach things that would make a Holy Savior and the only means of salvation be evil spoken of like:
Episcopal Church Clears Way for Transgender Ordination
Conservatives Grieve Episcopal Church's Approval of Gay Blessing Service

The point is that they would follow their own ideas, concepts, and philosophies about God and His word for their own selfish, "pernicious" reasons.  Peter then goes on to say how these false teachers will share a materialistic message that makes merchandise of the people of GOD.  Do I really need to go there? This is all very sad really because there is no future in being a false witness of Christ.  They will "
 bring upon themselves swift destruction" and  "their damnation slumbereth not." 

Going back to the truth and being true to your witness, stay focused on Christ.  Truly, He is Soon2Come!
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  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.
2 Peter 2:2-3

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