"I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have." (2 Peter 1:12)Peter then explains that even though he traveled with Jesus, saw miracles and other amazing things, the most important thing is the word of God. Peter explains that even though he could tell stories about when "we were eyewitnesses" to the transfiguration and "we ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him" for that transfiguration, there is something more important, something more secure, something more certain - that is, the words of the prophets recorded in the written word of God - and you will do well to pay attention to it:
"We were eyewitnesses of his majesty...We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it." (2 Peter 1:16-19)In chapter one Peter tells his listeners that even though they know the Truth, Peter insists he will continue to remind them of what they already know and are firmly established in. And, even though he could amaze them sermon after sermon with stories and accounts of Jesus' miracles he will always bring them back to the "word of the prophets!" After telling the people this, Peter warns them that just like the people of the Old Testament had to deal with false prophets who spoke along side the true prophets, the people of the church will have false teachers who will have to be heard, analyzed and discarded from the teachers of the Truth:
"There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you." (2 Peter 2:1)Peter then gives a long, detailed description of what these false teachers would look like. Here is my list of eighteen things Peter mentions. This list is followed by Peter's text so you can read it yourself and decide who these false teachers are today. (Think deeper and more serious, if you can, than naming Benny Hinn and Harold Camping - although they qualify - there are many more and, probably, they are closer to home.) My fear continues to be that I, myself, could be or become a false teacher.
- Secretly introduce destructive heresies
- Deny the sovereign Lord who bought them
- Their followers will live shameful lives and cause Christianity to be mocked
- Teachers will exploit people by taking offerings after telling stories they make up
- They are bold and arrogant and do not fear to slander and speak about things they are ignorant of including the spiritual world
- They blaspheme in matters they do not understand
- They openly sin for the sake of personal pleasure
- Their openly sinful pleasures become blots and blemishes on you even while they associate with you
- They are constantly looking with eyes of adultery and so never really stop sinning long enough to be in fellowship with God
- They seduce the unstable Christians who do not know the word of God
- They are trained and practiced experts in the art of greed
- They have left the straightway to follow the example of Balaam which means they use their talents and gifts not to serve people but for financial gain
- Doctrinally, don't expect to learn anything useful for they are springs without water, or gifted teachers with no truth
- Foundationally, don't plan on them taking a stand on any issues because they are mists driven by a storm, or their opinion is driven by the winds of culture and popular opinion
- They only have empty words, or words void of doctrine and truth
- Their words are boastful, which means they are constantly promoting themselves and their "ministry/business" instead of promoting the Word of God and Jesus Christ
- Recent converts who are ready to leave the ways of the world in order to renew their minds to truth are enticed by these false teachers which results in their spiritual lives being destroyed.
- False teachers speak as if their words will bring freedom, peace, satisfaction, happiness, but they themselves are still in bondage to the world and are still seeking sin, lust, wealth, fame, etc.
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping...This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed--an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness. These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.