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What Do They Want?

2 Peter 2:3
In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (NIVUK)

It may seem odd that people would want to bring lies into the house of truth, but they do.  They are following the pattern of God’s great enemy, the devil, in trying to destroy the church (John 8:44).  Jesus told a story about an enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30).  He was instructing the disciples, including Peter, to expect enemy action even within the apparently safe fellowship of the church.  Peter was writing to warn the church about the dangers of false teachers.  

What is their personal motive?  Greed!  They are often unaware that they are being used to ruin the Body of Christ, but they do so to get 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.  But there may have been a hidden motive - such people can be simply driven to deceive and destruct.  They are “springs without water and mists driven by a storm” (2 Peter 2:17); agents controlled by the Enemy, and they do not know it.

But God knows.  Although they have 'got away' with their divisive activities thus far, their eternal punishment awaits.  Instead of submitting to His truth, they have made up their own lies, or peddled the lies of others.  Instead of following Jesus, they want others to follow them along a different road (Matthew 7:13-14).  God’s view of their hearts and actions is quite clear: they are under an eternal Divine sentence unless they repent.  

The church in every generation has the same attack, although the issues may be 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.  But false teachers will also try to attract patrons who are wealthy and respected.  They give credibility to the deceivers, boosting their influence among the so-called wise and influential.  The wise Christian will not be so gullible, or so easily seduced by persuasive talk.  But you will only know what is false if you are confident about what is true.  Godly people always submit their own ideas to what the Bible says.  However good the fellowship and music, every church, student Christian group and workplace fellowship needs to invest its members’ time in studying the Bible.  Then they can know what is not true, and reject what is false, whoever says it.

God of truth and light. Thank You for Your Word which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Thank You for Jesus who is the Light of the world. Forgive me for not being discerning about the so-called ‘truth’ which is really darkness. 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. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams