Reject False Promises
Remember! – Message 4
May 22, 2022
I. Introduction: We continue our survey of 2nd Peter, called Remember!
Purpose of this letter:
- Peter’s life was near its end, so he wrote, pointing out what was most
important to him.
- He was concerned that these people he loved, followers of Jesus Christ,
were being seduced by the lies of false teachers who had infiltrated the
Today’s message is entitled, Reject False Promises.
- Theme verse: 2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)— They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin…
- False teaching includes dishonest statements making deceitful promises
resulting in disappointing outcomes.
- These fake preachers declared that Christians did not need to repent of
immorality and also that Jesus was not going to return, so there was no
reason to pursue holy living.
- For people who wanted to inherit heaven but live worldly on earth,
continuing to follow personal desires, this was attractive, so it received
- Pursuing these false promises distorts the faith of believers and
damages the reputation and the influence of the church.
- Therefore, we must be able to recognize false promises, so we can reject
II. Recognizing false promises… [so they can be rejected]
(2 Peter 2:12-22)
The first step is to,
A. 1. Examine the teacher’s character.
(2 Peter 2:12-16. C/R: Numbers 22-24; Matthew 7:15-17; Romans 16:17-18;
Titus 1:16; Jude 10-12a,17-20)
- Peter continued describing the attitudes and actions of these false
teachers as the initial way to identify fake promises.
- 2 Peter 2:12a (NLT)—
These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of
instinct, born to be caught and destroyed.
- Peter criticized the false teachers’ claim of superior spiritual
knowledge and insight.
- These men were not led by God, they were driven by their own instincts,
their personal desires, like animals; they would perish for their
- 2 Peter 2:12b (NLT)—They scoff at [lit., blaspheme]things they do not understand [spiritual truth] , and like animals, they will be destroyed.
- These arrogant men mocked and ridiculed the apostle’s teaching received
from Jesus and instead, taught their own opinions. [People’s efforts can
build churches and gather a following, but the result will be man-centered,
not God-centered or Spirit-led.]
- These proud teachers projected an air of superior wisdom, but in fact,
they were willfully blind to the truth, considering their views to be
superior to God’s.
- 2 Peter 2:13a (NLT)— Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done.
- They dishonored God and His Word, disrespected Jesus, denounced His
apostles, and deceived Christians; they would be judged for the damage they
caused to the church.
- Peter continued at 2 Peter 2:13b (NLT)—They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you.
- These false teachers had no shame for their sin; they sinned openly,
- ILL.: In our culture, we see defiant sinning and attacking anyone who
- 2 Peter 2:13c (NLT)—
They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship
[“agapē dinners” or love feasts]
- They proudly, brazenly, participated in meals shared by members of the
church meant to build unity with Christ and between believers, though they
were the cause of the greatest division in the church. [Difference between
disagreement and divisiveness.]
- 2 Peter 2:14 (NLT)—They commit adultery with their eyes
[scanning for victims]
, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable
people into sin
[emotionally or spiritually weak people] , and they are well trained in greed [practiced, exercised (like
athletics) to hone their skill in self-fulfillment] . They live under God’s curse.
- These counterfeit teachers were constantly scouting for their next
victim, discovering whom they could manipulate and exploit, covering their
corruption with religious talk.
- 2 Peter 2:15-16 (NLT)—
They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of
Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong.
[A Moabite king offered Balaam, a prophet of God, money to curse Israel,
which he was apparently willing to do; Numbers 22-24]
But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him
with a human voice.
[Balaam’s donkey: Numbers 22:21-35]
These false teachers loved money, sought to accumulate it from naïve
Christians, and indulged in sin, because they were self-centered
(narcissistic), not God-centered.
- I have been surprised what people will do for success, fame, celebrity,
which results in wealth and power—the ability to manipulate others to
satisfy personal ambitions. [HS]
- Peter focused on the behavior of these men because their character
revealed the content of their message; people always live according to
their true beliefs.
- Being led by personal desires is natural, being led by God, by His
Spirit, is a work of transformation that follows regeneration, which
changes our beliefs and our behavior.
APP.: What does your behavior reveal about your beliefs?
Another way to recognizing false promises is to…
B. 2. Evaluate the outcome of promises.
(2 Peter 2:17-19. C/R: Romans 6:16; 8:9; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude
- 2 Peter 2:17a (NLT)— These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist [lit.,
a cloud-like mass of moisture close to the earth’s surface] blown away by the wind.
- In the hot, dry, land where these churches were located, people valued
water, whether from springs, wells or rain.
- These false teachers were like dried-up springs or mist blown away by the wind, because they promised spiritual
water to quench thirsty souls, but their false doctrine had nothing to
offer, leaving their hearers spiritually depleted, parched and
- These men were all show, no substance; they would be punished for their
- 2 Peter 2:17b (NLT)—They are doomed to blackest darkness.
[Likely the place where the spiritual beings (angels) who sinned (2 Peter
2:4) are held for judgment.]
- 2 Peter 2:18 (NLT)—
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.
- These men didn’t truly know God, they lacked true spiritual wisdom or
insight, but they obtained a following by appealing to people’s worldly
interests, offering a kind of religion people could embrace and still
practice fleshly desires and sensuality.
- They could spot, and easily exploit, people who were struggling with
guilt over past sins and an inability to escape sin presently, who
displayed loneliness, insecurity, anxiety.
- These false teachers enticed these discouraged people by providing them
with false hope through the fabricated promise of God acceptance without
turning from sin.
- The attention of an admired leader makes a wounded, discouraged, person
feel approved, encouraged, so they temporarily escape their feeling of
- 2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)—
They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and
corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.
- These teachers cast off sexual restraint, calling it freedom, but were
actually enslaved by their sinful desires and ambitions. [seminary: for freedom Christ set free Galatians 5:1]
- This promised freedom was deception, which resulted in enslavement,
depression, and even greater hopelessness for the people who followed this
- The false teacher was using worldly measures (charisma, charm,
sensuality) to attract hearers, but promising spiritual benefits, that he
could not, and God would not, deliver.
- Beware of spiritual promises people make, supposedly on behalf of God,
but based on assurances God does not make in His Word, such as for health
- APP.: Are you sure the spiritual promises you are relying on are
presented in the Bible?
A third way to recognizing false promises is to…
C. 3. Expect a changed nature.
(2 Peter 2:20-C/R: Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews
- 2 Peter 2:20 (NLT)—
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.
- These men, masquerading as teachers of God’s truth, were exposed to the
true Gospel that promised forgiveness, but they returned to sin and
encouraged others to sin also.
- 2 Peter 2:21 (NLT)—
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
[After experiencing the saving, regenerating, work of Jesus.]
- The false teachers understood the teaching of Scripture and claimed to
be followers of Jesus, but they resisted coming to repentance (so they
- Rather than turning to God, the false teachers turned back to their
sinful ways, which would result in their condemnation.
- Their knowledge of Jesus gave these leaders an opportunity to repent and
live for Christ; instead, they became opportunists who used what they knew
to lead others astray.
- ILL.: I have known people who used their knowledge of the Bible to gain
influence over others (even romantically), while they avoided obeying it.
- 2 Peter 2:22 (NLT)—
They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.”
[Proverbs 26:11] And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” [unclean
- These proverbs referred to people who made a profession of faith and even demonstrated some outward change, but no inner regeneration occurred
that changed their nature and spiritual identity, so they ultimately
returned to their true selves. (Ex.: false teachers)
- APP.: Have you experienced a changed nature? A new, spiritual,
Galatians 5:13 (NLT)—
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and
sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.