2 Peter 2 – Deception and False Leaders

2 Peter 2: 1-9
In the first chapter, Peter teaches about the priority importance of knowing the truth of Jesus as the Messiah, Savior and Lord. Then, the importance of our continual fellowship and walk with Jesus as our Head….to grow up spiritually. That is experiencing God’s blessings. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus in order to be fruitful in good works (Ephesians 2:10).
In this second chapter, Peter warns strongly about what can lead us off course and separate us from Jesus…false prophets, false teachers, and false leaders. This is definitely true today as well. These false leaders with false ideas are in every area of life…religious, political, business and financial, education, media, entertainment, cultural norms and propaganda, science, industry, and technology, etc. They teach doctrines and ideas that sound good, but actually are cunning, logically argumentative, destructive, and lead to immorality and ungodliness. This is the problem of deception. Because of them, the true Way of Jesus is maligned, scorned, and defamed. Their motivation is greed and powerful control. They are manipulative in order to get what they want. They appeal to human pleasures, emotions, desires, and lusts. They are antichrist leaders promoting antichrist thinking. Sadly, they can even be convincing to God’s people, being skilled at mixing some truth with a worldly counterfeit twist, to make their ideas appealing and acceptable.
But, God will not be mocked. If destruction is sown, then destruction will be reaped. They will have consequences and be judged. Peter gives examples of the fallen angels, the ungodly people who drowned in the flood of Noah’s day, and the ungodly people of Sodom and Gamorrah. We must strive to remain righteous in evil surroundings, like Noah and Lot. Peter is also sure to remind us that in all these instances, God rescues the godly (Noah and Lot and their families) out of the temptations, trials, and destructions.

2 Peter 2: 10-19
Do you want to know the character qualities of these false leaders? You should know the signs so you can choose wisely who you follow.
The false leaders….
Live according to and even indulge in the passions of the flesh (physical) and worldly desires and pleasures….being merely creatures of the instincts of the flesh.
Scorn, despise, and reject having any authority above self…self-loving, self-willed, self-focused.
Presumptuous (meaning the failure to observe limits of what is permitted or appropriate) and caring (meaning to defy or challenge)….they are unreasonable.
Scoff at and revile God and glorious, righteous ones without trembling.
They rant and rail about thing of which they are ignorant.
Openly living luxuriantly and delicately and extravagantly.
Reveling in their deceptions and carousing with one another, even inviting those who they are deceiving into joining them.
Eyes full of harlotry and insatiable for sin.
Cunning….beguile, bait, and lure away unstable and ignorant souls by promising worldly pleasures, success, prosperity, and fulfillment. Hosea 4:6 tells us that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Hearts and minds trained in covetousness, greed, lust…as children of the curse….and exposed to cursing.
They are empty (like springs without water) and nothingness driven before storms and forever in darkness. This reminds me of the fig tree that Jesus cursed becuase it was declaring it was ripe with full fruit, but upon close examination had none. These are the blind leading the blind.
They proudly and boldly speak out loud boasts of folly and foolishness while claiming wisdom and authority.
They promise liberty and freedom, but themselves are enslaved by depravity and defilement.
They forsake the straight road of righteousness and go astray, trying to convince others to follow them away….like the Pied Piper…like sweet music leading to destruction.
Do you see any leaders in America like that? Do you see any religious leaders like that? Have you seen any CEOs like that? What entertainers do you admire and allow your children to admire? Who are you following?

2 Peter 2: 15-16, 20-22
These false leaders are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. Worldly imitators may pretend to be God’s people only for the purpose of infiltration. But, there are also those who might have actually been God’s people, but now are betraying God and His people! There are also those who are God’s people, but have been deceived into straying from God’s narrow road.
Peter reminds us of Balaam and Balak. Balaam was a prophet of God who turned on God’s people because of his love for the worldly rewards of wickedness. Balak, King of Moab, was a neighbor nation to israel and wanted to keep Israel under control. He promised to reward Balaam richly if he would speak a curse over Israel. Balaam would have done it if a donkey influenced by God had not stopped him. Balaam told the King that he could not curse Israel because God was blessing them. Yet, Balaam came up with a plan for King Balak. Balak should tempt young Israeli men with the beautiful pagan women of his kingdom to entice them to intermarriage. When these husbands tried to please their pagan wives by allowing paganism in their households, then Israel would stray away from God and as consequence come under the curse of God (Numbers 22). We should take a lesson from this!
But, verses 20-22 tell us about the final end of these traitors and deceivers. Those who knew God and turned away from Him to ensnare others are worse off then if they had stayed a sinner in the world and never known God! This is like a dog returning to eat its own vomit or a clean pig going back to wallow in the mud. Are the temporary worldly rewards really worth it?
So much deception and wickedness…appearing as goodness and pleasure and light. Who do you trust? Do you know the truth?

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