Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Beware Lest Ye Fall

Temple Baptist Church - 8-8-2018
2 Peter 3:14-18


A.  As we end the Second Epistle of Peter, we find an admonition by the great Apostle to stand fast in the doctrine of the Scriptures.  This message will be straight and without apology as I believe it to be essential to the steadfastness of the saints in these last, perilous times.

2 Timothy 3:1-10  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (2)  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  (3)  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  (4)  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  (5)  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  (6)  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  (7)  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (8)  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  (9)  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.  (10)  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,  (Moses, God’s man, was sent to deliver the people of God from Egypt and these two men, Jammes and Jambres, withstood him.  “So do these also resist the truth!)

B.  Peter wrote these two Epistles because of the difficulties that the “strangers scattered” were having.

1.  They wanted to know what their relationship was to the Nation of Israel now that they had been born into the Family of God.

2.  They also wanted to know their relationship to the Law.

3.  They had become infiltrated with false teachers.

C.  I believe that the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews (verse 15), one of the Jewish Christian Epistles, but Peter also references his other epistles in verse 16 .  He did not sign the epistle with his name because the saved Jews feared him because of the way he persecuted them before his Damascus Road conversion.

2 Peter 3:15-16  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  (16)  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

1.  Peter mentioned such a letter.  2 Peter 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2.  Paul mention those in bonds of which he was one.  Hebrews 13:3  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

3.  Paul mentioned Timothy, his son in the faith, coming to them. Paul often used Timothy and Titus to carry letters to churches while he himself was incarcerated.  Hebrews 13:23  Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

4  Paul signed the Book of Hebrews with his token signature. Hebrews 13:25  Grace be with you all. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:17-18  The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.  (18)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens.

D.  We live in the last day phenomena of false teachers.  Peter fought them; Paul fought them; we fight them!  They are everywhere.  They are on the television, radio, colleges, and churches.  The “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, has been in full swing for over 100 years now.  I have no “axes to grind” tonight but must preach on these verses.

2 Peter 2:1-3  But there were false prophets also among the people, even asthere 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)  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  (3)  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. 

1.  These false teachers were not and are not outsiders.  We do not listen to the heretics on TV or the radio.  These false teachers were and are among us!  This means that they have creditability and acceptance. 

2.  If a preacher got into this pulpit and said that there were mistakes in the King James Bible or said that this word could been translated differently or better, you would run him off.  This is the way it is in most good churches. 

3.  But a college professor can undercut the purity of the bible and they are protected.  If they did not have acceptance and protection, they would not be tolerated.  When God’s men preach against them, there is resistance.

E.  Before we dissect our text, let me bring this prophecy close to home for us all.  I feel it necessary to use Peter’s final admonition to “the strangers scattered,” which is prophetic of our day, to point the people back to God’s Way and God’s Word.  Out text explains the problem and gives the solution.

F.  Since other churches, TV and Radio preachers have no effect upon how we believe and operate, I want to look at the one area of problem that all of us face.  Now for a little history lesson to show how far the God’s people have been led from the truth.

1.  Before the beginning of the 20th Century, the local churches were places where the Bible was the accepted as the final authority.  It was all that the child of God needed for doctrinal correctness.  God gave us the local church, not a college, university, or seminary.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (17)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  (The bible is all that God’s people need to perfect and thoroughly furnish God’s men.)

2 Timothy 4:1-4  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  (2)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  (3)  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  (4)  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  (These are the days that we live in.  People do not want a straight preaching, King James Bible Church.  They are wanting a sermonette from a preacherette that will make them feel good about themselves, not bring conviction and repentance.)

a)  Paul called the church the “pillar and ground of the truth.”  From the beginning, God gave the local church to the believers as a place of doctrinal grounding and fellowship.  God gave the churches pastor-teachers to grind out the scriptures and feed it to the “flock of God.” 

1 Timothy 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Acts 20:26-31  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  (27)  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  (28)  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  (29)  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  (30)  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  (31)  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

2.  Before the beginning of the 20th Century, God’s people did not argue over which bible to use; there was no generation gap between young and old.  In the early 20th Century, this new phenomenon began to grow. 

a)  Young preachers sat at the feet of older, settled, doctrinally correct men of God until they were grounded in the scriptures and doctrine. 

b)  Each new generation followed the “Old Paths” that their fathers followed.

Acts 2:41-42  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  (42)  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

3.  In the 20th Century, instead of relying on what God chose to spiritually educate believers, religious denominations began starting seminaries for the instruction of God’s men in the doctrine of their choosing.  Methodists, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. began to send their young preachers off to “college” to learn the Word of God and become sound in doctrine.  Local churches were no longer deemed sufficient to do what God established it for.

Ephesians 4:11-14  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  (12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (13)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  (14)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

4.  The independent Baptist Movement was no different as they certainly did not want to send their young preachers to a denominational college that was not of like precious faith, so they started their own colleges.  They began to rob the local church of its young, God called men!  These colleges soon became infested with liberalism and the product was young men filling pulpits who were not doctrinally sound.  They in turn begat followers of like heretical beliefs. 

5.  In the beginning, independent Baptist Churches started their schools of higher learning under the authority of the local church, but parachurch (outside of or against - the concept of the parachurch ministry was unknown to the first century church and is therefore not mentioned in Scripture)seminaries began to arise.

6.The first bible schools were seminaries that were meant to aid in the training of Christian workers and preachers, but the people began to feel the need to educate their children in Christian schools instead of secular ones.  Therefore, the seminaries adapted and began to offer Liberal Arts degrees along with bible educations. 

7.  The Liberal Arts degrees were and are good, but their bible education is often contrary to the teachings of the local churches.  Schools and colleges became places of pride and, to some degree, allegiance to the graduates.  The Latin phrase “Alma Mater” means “Nourishing or Bountiful Mother.” 

8.  There became a gap between the pulpit of the local church and the professor in the classroom.  I look back over my college years and see that I learned little or no doctrine in the classroom.  I learned my doctrine by sitting under my pastors and studying the Bible.  In college, I did learn things that were more “Baptist” than “Bible.”  The same in my post-graduate work.

9.  We are independent, autonomous local churches.  What other churches preach, where they stand, has no affect upon us.  If they stand, praise the Lord.  If they go liberal, that is their business and does not affect our church.  Bible colleges, seminaries, etc. can and do affect local churches because their people attend them.

10.  I owe no allegiance to any school.  I owe my allegiance to my local church and pastor!  I want you to fully understand what I am about to say.  I am a BIBLICIST before I am a Baptist.  That does not mean that I am not glad to be a Baptist; it means that where the Baptist and the Bible do not agree, I stand unerringly with the inerrant, infallible Word of God!

G.  Now, with all of that said, let us look at our text.

1.  The end time existence of unlearned and unstable men.  These are people who place humanistic thinking about the authoritative Word of God.  These are the people who wrestle with the Word of God.  These are dangerous men and God called them wicked in verse 17. 

a.  Peter and followers were unlearned and ignorant.  Ignorant means to not have been taught.  Not to have knowledge pertaining to a subject; uneducated, untrained, uninformed.”

Acts 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

b.  These men are unlearned and unstable.  This means that they are not ignorant of what the bible teaches, but they do not accept the truth of its teachings and are unstable or changing.  They are never satisfied with one version of the bible but go from the King James to the NASV to the ESV to the NKJV, etc. 

2 Timothy 3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

c.  They have read the same bible that you and I have read but come to a different conclusion.  Whereas we take God at His Word, they do not think that the bible is completely correct.  This is the exact opposite of what the bible teaches.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  (27)  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  (28)  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  (29)  That no flesh should glory in his presence.  (30)  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  (31)  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

d.  Now, before anyone labels me a heretic, let me say that not all men of education and wisdom are lost or heretical!  God has and can use educated people, but their education must not destroy their faith in the Bible!  The Apostle Paul was among the best educated men of his time.

Acts 26:24-25  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.  (25)  But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

c.  These men are unlearned in that they do not believe the bible.  The bible claims to be the perfect, inspired, preserved, inerrant, infallible, living word of God.  I believe it to be so, but these men deny what the bible claims.  Who is right, these men or the bible.

d.  These men are unstable because their version of the bible is in a state of constant change.  Their bible is constantly being traded for a newer updated version.  Bible believers remain with the bible and do not change.

2.  The end time existence of men who wrest with the Bible.  The word “wrest” means to twist or to fight against.  Peter mentions things hard to be understood.  The simplest way to understand the bible is believe what it says is right and always interpret hard scripture (will never understand everything in the bible) with easy, plain verses.  Wrestlers make the bible conform to their theology instead making their theology conform to the bible.

2 Corinthians 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

a.  The Word of God is just that: THE WORD OF GOD!

1 Thessalonians 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

b.  God’s people believe the Bible, not wrestle with it.  “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Romans 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

c.  God intended for His people to be grounded in truth.  God never intended for His people to be ignorant of what He said.  His will is for people to get saved and sit under pastors who will teach them.

Matthew 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  (To teach them all things, you must have all things.)

Matthew 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  (To live by every word, you must have every word.  Was our Lord so wrong as to make this statement knowing that the Word of God would one day become erroneous.)

3.  The end time existence of being led away.  Peter mentions the possibility of being led away with the error of the wicked.  Thus, falling from their steadfastness.

a.  We live in days of instability.  Ephesians 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (I have never seen so many people who are regular in church that are doctrinally ignorant!  It matters not where they go to church and believe that every denomination is alright.  I do not want to preach a doctrinal series right now, but doctrine is important.)

Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

1 Timothy 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

b.  We live in days of falling away.  2 Thessalonians 2:2-3  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  (3)  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  (People who once stood with us no longer believe what we believe.  We believe the Bible.)

1 Timothy 4:1-2  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;  (2)  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

c.  We live in days of wrestling with the scriptures.  Romans 3:4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.  (To wrestle is to fight with or to fight against.  Why can people not just believe what the Bible says and quit trying to make it say what they want it to say.  The Bible is right, and man is wrong.)

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