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What Do They Want?

2 Peter 2:3
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. (NIV)

Peter is warning the church about the dangers of false teachers. Although it may seem odd that people would want to bring error into the house of truth, they do. Jesus told the story about an enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat. He was instructing the disciples, including Peter, to expect enemy action even within the apparently safe fellowship of the church. Today's experience is no different. Although we should naturally expect the weak, disadvantaged and Biblically ignorant to be attracted to a loving and caring community; they are just the sort of people who may be exploited by deceivers. The false teachers may be leaders, but often they are those who exercise an influence over others, ignoring their duty to submit to the Elders, and attracting a following for themselves.
What is their motive? Greed! They want something for themselves. In the 1st century it may have been money, power, reputation, the good feeling of being admired for wisdom, or as a reason for those whose party spirit needed a focus. Today all of these may be true. But there may be an unknown motive - such people can be simply driven to deceive and destruct. They are agents controlled by the Enemy, even without knowing it.
But God knows. His view of their hearts and actions is quite clear, and they are under Divine sentence. Although they have 'got away' with their divisive activities thus far, they will be punished. Does this seem harsh? Instead of submitting to His truth, they have made up their own lies. Instead of following Jesus, they want others to follow them along a different road. The wise Christian will not be so gullible, or so easily seduced by persuasive talk. But you will only know what is true (in order to distinguish it from error) if you are willing to submit your own ideas to what the Bible says. A church, student Christian group or workplace fellowship needs to study the Bible, in order to recognise and reject what is false, whoever says it.

God of truth and light. Please help me to be able to distinguish false teachers from those who are true to Your Word. Give me courage to reject what is wrong, and encourage those who are faithful to Your Word. For Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams