ORIGINAL OR COUNTERFEIT?
Monday, 17 June 2019
2 Peter 2 : 1-22
“…there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. -2 Peter 2:1-2
We live in a world where counterfeits products are easily available. These counterfeits are so craftily manufactured that often it is difficult to differentiate the fake from the original. In 2 Peter 2, the apostle warns us of false teachers who distract many with their destructive heresies and deceptions. When you buy a counterfeit product, your loss may only be monetary, but when you “buy into” the wrong teaching of false teachers you will lose your eternity! SO BEWARE!
Let us focus today on addressing two vital aspects – distinguishing false teachers and a believer’s stand in such situations:
How do we recognize and respond to false teachers?
Arising from within: While we often associate false teachers with cults and religious sects, Peter warns of the unseen danger of false teachers who arise within the church. The attack from outside is easier to perceive due to the widely distinguished teaching and practices. However false teachers within the church are not easily recognizable as they seemingly work as one who is united with Christ. They are as “wolves in sheep clothing.”
Our response: We should be careful to distinguish them not by the mighty miracles they perform but the fruit of their character and conduct (Matt.7:15-23). Rather than encouraging and embracing their teachings, we should constantly examine our own lives, living in the light of God’s word and consistently exhibiting good conduct and character.
Deceptive Teachings: The teachings of such individuals infiltrating the body of Christ are often hard to differentiate as their words are quite deceptive, mixing error with the truth of God’s word, like Satan’s crafty deception in the Garden of Eden (Gen.3:1)
Our response: We need to be rooted in the Word of God to understand the deception and wrong doctrines in order to counter it. In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus practically teaches us how to identify and counter the lies of the enemy through God’s Word.
False Claims: One of Satan’s biggest traps is to draw many by teaching a way of salvation which does not include the narrow gate and difficult way (Matt.7:13-14). These teachers make light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and deny His second coming. People are often enticed by these sugar-coated heresies because the cost of discipleship involves a self-denial and self-discipline that many are unwilling to go through.
Our response: Stand firm on the truth of God’s Word knowing there is only one way to eternal life and that is by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins and has made us right with God. “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
In revealing the eternal destruction that awaits false teachers, Peter persuades us to always be on our guard, rooted in the faith and not swayed by such heresies. As the enemy prowls around like a lion seeking who to devour, we need to be alert and resist him, firm in faith (1 Peter 5:7-8). In these last days when many reject the authority of Christ, crave for worldly pleasure and reject the truth, we are warned to be vigilant, contending earnestly for the faith. "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life." (Jude 1:20)
All that we need for godly living:
‘…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.’
-2 Peter 1:2-3
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