Align Your Focus
Your job and mine is not either to sit in judgment or awe on the other hand to become cynical about Christian leaders and Christian work. Your first job is to keep your own heart right with the Lord Jesus.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, my dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend, Bob Cook. I’m back again with you, Hallelujah, so glad for the chance just to get together around the Word of God.
And we’re looking now at the second chapter of 2 Peter. Peter goes on and now he has been saying, “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This has to do with the inspiration of the scriptures, and particularly Peter is referring to what we know as the Old Testament. And he said, “God spoke through them.” Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:16 “All scripture is God-breathed.” In your King James version, it says “Inspired of God.” That actually means “God-breathed.” But now you start in Chapter 2 verse 1, “But,” says he, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you.” A small thought here.
Don’t get upset when you find people who are not really the real thing, hypocrites, counterfeits, fakers. Don’t get upset on that. One of the classic excuses for not living the Christian life and not attending church is there are so many hypocrites in the church. Have you ever heard that? I often tell people, if you want hypocrites, go to the local jail, you’ll find more hypocrites there than any place else. People who are trying to look like one thing while being another. But the presence of the counterfeit only tells you that there is somewhere the real thing.
People don’t imitate that which has no value and the presence of the counterfeit only says, there is something real there, find it. And so he says “False prophets,” and then in the same verse, verse 1 of chapter 2, he says “False teachers. False prophets.” There were people who encouraged folk to go away from Almighty God. There were people who encouraged their hearers to indulge themselves rather than to obey the holy law of God and there were people who promised victory over their adversaries by disobeying God. It is the old case of the devil’s classic approach which was used in the Garden of Eden.
He said to Eve and to Adam, “You can better yourselves by disobeying God.” This is the unvarying theme of the false prophet, the false teacher. You can better yourself by doing away with God. Satan tried it when he rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven and he has been using that same ploy through the centuries that have followed. Don’t become a victim of that approach, beloved. It is never, not only is never right but it is never profitable. There is no future in disobeying God. There is no markup in it. Only pain and heartache and sorrow await the person who departs from God’s will. See, that’s the devil’s approach. False prophets, false teachers.
Now, what’s the essence of the false teachers in the New Testament era? They bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. There are two things that form the core of spiritual aberrations, cults we call them. You will find it in their Christology and you will find it in their view of the scriptures. Isaiah said quite properly, “To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Jesus said in John 5:39 “Search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” Your view of Christology, the person in work of Christ and your view of the scripture is that which identifies you so far as your place in the religious spectrum is concerned.
When I was President of the Religious Broadcasters, we had a very large religious group that was attempting to gain admission. Now, they are great people really and there’s — I’m not bad mouthing any particular religious group, you understand that? But it was impossible for us to allow them into fellowship because we are based upon the doctrinal statement which in turn is the doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals, and that doctrinal statement is very clear about the inspiration of scripture, the inerrancy and the inspiration of scripture and the position of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. He is the Messiah. He is the Christ, just as much God as God the Father or God the Spirit.
And so we have that very firm doctrinal foundation. Well, these people said, “We believe in Jesus” and the one man who was very highly placed in the group said “Why Jesus means everything to me.” That sounds great, doesn’t it? But I said to them, then I said “Well now, as I understand it, you placed the Lord Jesus very high on the list of deities but He is only one among several.” “Well, yes,” they said “That’s true.” “Well,” I said “That’s where we part ways.” He said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
You see the Lord Jesus is either Lord of all or isn’t Lord at all. And you read in the second chapter of Philippians that — a blessed passage that says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” He is it. He is God. Well, that’s one their even denying the Lord that bought them.
The other great area of concern has to do with your relationship with the scriptures. Where people twist the scriptures or where they have doubts about the scriptures as is the case and many quasi-evangelical denominations it would seem. People doubt the truth of the Genesis record. They doubt the statement about Noah’s flood. They doubt the reality of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will speak about his resurrection but what they really mean is that some kind of a spiritual appearance, and they will take the scriptures and twist them in those manners.
Now, that again is the test of true doctrine. Where does Jesus appear in their thinking and where do the scriptures appear in their thinking? Are they indeed God-breathed without error in the original documents and do they take these scriptures seriously and obey what they say? Alright, that’s what he is talking about, false teachers and the crux of the matter is, “what’s their attitude toward the Lord Jesus?” And he says, “Many” this is in verse 2, “shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” The only net result of a mistaken doctrinal believes is that you bring shame and criticism upon the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ, “The way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”
You get into some of these groups and try to preach the Gospel and they’ll pounce on you because they have no room in their thinking for the Gospel. They only have room in their thinking for their particular type of belief. Not only that, but he says “These people are out to make money through covetousness, shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” These people are making money out of you. Now, that of course is no news to anybody that reads the newspapers. There are always people who are willing to proclaim something if you’ll pay them for it. And sadly enough there has been a full share of that in the last 10 years.
Well, beloved, your job and mine is not either to sit in judgment or awe on the other hand to become cynical about Christian leaders and Christian work. Your first job is to keep your own heart right with the Lord Jesus, every day meeting Him in prayer. Remember that little formula for prayer, A-C-T-S, ACTS, A-Adoration, C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, S-Supplication. You meet your blessed Lord in a time of prayer day by day until your own heart is warm and cleansed and blessed and tender. You don’t have to sit in judgment on the rest, but you can be aware of the fact that these things are going on. Life doesn’t have to take you by surprise and you can be aware just as Peter was that some people are in it for what they can get out of it.
Well, he said “If God spared not the angels that sinned,” that’s Satan and his crowd, “but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. And he spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eight person, a preacher of righteousness bringing in the flood upon the world of ungodly. And it didn’t spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that afterwards should live ungodly, and in the process he delivered just Lot to his vexed with the filthy lifestyle of the wicked.”
See, the Lord knows how to deliver the Godly out of temptation, to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment. The point is if God didn’t spare all these, what’s going to happen to you and to me if the righteous scarcely be saved? Peter says later on, “Where shall the sinners and the ungodly appear?” See. So what’s he doing here? He is giving us an example of how God operates in terms of people who continue to reject His truth. First, before the world was created, the angels had sinned; he cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, then the pre-flood, the antediluvian world, he spared not the old world.
Let us say if Noah the eight person, “Noah found grace” it says, “in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah was saved just like all the rest of us are saved by the grace of God through faith and then he didn’t spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham thought he had made a deal with God, he said if you can find 50 righteous there and he brought it down finally to 10. He figured Lot, his wife, the four girls and they must — the two of them are married, that’s two husbands, and two boyfriends, they must have at least 10 godly people. It didn’t work out that way and the cities were destroyed but he delivered Lot. The Lord knows how to deliver.
Just remember that God is still on the throne. He is the God of judgment and He knows what He is doing and you can follow His truth all the way. We’ll get at the rest of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today keep us true to your Word and true to the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask in His name. Amen.
Till meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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