Our minds are an important factor in our lives because through them we make decisions. We generally become a sum total of all the decisions we have ever made in our lives. What we know from what we have discovered or gathered as information plays a vital role in our lives. We are moved in the direction of our belief, or how our minds interpret the information it receives, positive or negative.
Solomon advised that we should guard our minds with all diligence and assiduousness because out of the minds arise the issues of life.
Knowing this about the mind, we become responsible for the information we allow into our minds. The mind will always process whatever information made available to it. The interpretation of this information (right or wrong) then forms the basis of how we live our lives.
The Word of God is far superior to any supernatural experience which man could attain, or to any contemporary prophecy that man would or could give. The Word is immovable and dependable; you can count on it. Jesus said “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away”.
Faith cannot be built on experiences, because experiences will come and go very swiftly. They are not concrete, stable and reliable as the written Word. This is the reason why Peter calls the Word of God “a more sure word of prophecy”.
In the second Epistle of the Apostle Peter, he discusses how prophecy in the Old Testament was given, stipulating that the prophecies were not given by the will, determination or willpower of men but on instruction from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2Peter 1:21). The phrase “as they were moved” in that scripture is taken from the Greek word which was used in classical literature and New Testament literature, to denote the action of a huge sailboat whose sails were set to catch the wind. It was used by Luke in Acts 27:15 to describe a fierce wind that caught Paul’s ship and moved it along. It says, “and when the ship was caught and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive…”
Once the sails of such a huge ship were raised and set, the ship was then in a position to move if there was a wind blustering. However, even though the sails were raised and set, the ship could not move by itself. The ship was totally reliant upon the wind. So, in order to move, strong winds were required to blow against those sails and “drive them” along. The ship worker was to get ready for sailing by raising the sails and setting them in their proper places, so that when the strong winds did begin to blow, the ship was in a position to catch that wind and be driven or carried along by it.
This illustration of wind in the sails is the very picture that Peter is conveying to us concerning the nature of divine revelation, prophecy and how these came to them in the Old Testament.
A False prophet is a pretender, a foreteller or a religious impostor. A False teacher is a propagator of erroneous Christian doctrine. Please note that if false teachers are going to ever exist, they will be borne from among the people of God; that is, the Church. They will not come from outside the Church.
Peter goes on to discuss reasons why people become FALSE TEACHERS! (2 Peter 2) He begins by saying “But there were false prophets also…” The first two words of this verse (“But there”) are exceedingly important in the context of what Peter is telling us. The phrase is from the Greek translation, which is translated “On the other hand”, or “In addition to this”, making us understand/aware that it is possible/thinkable for real teachers and false teachers to co-exist. “There were” is taken from the Greek translation, which describes something that occurs slowly or transpires over a period of time.
Combining the two words, Peter makes us aware that this problem of false teaching in the Church is not a problem that comes quickly into a place of prominence. Instead, Peter tells us that this is a phenomenon that slowly develops over the passing of time.
These false teachers are so far off spiritually. They are those who make up the fantastically extreme in order to attract and maintain an audience and who are normally of a religious persuasion. They may claim to be on the cutting edge of a new move of God. They may purport to have a new revelation that others are simply not able to hear and receive.
The truth is that this particular group of religious leaders are so extremely off-balance and far-out in a spiritual sense, that they simply cannot function with others. They live on the edge of spiritual insanity all the time, and think they are the ones who are living a normal, healthy Christian life.
These false teachers privately bring their false teaching into the church. This is an exact description of their mode of operation. The phrase “privately bring” conveys the idea of smuggling something in under cover, giving an idea of a private investigator. They smuggle their errors into the Church without the Church knowing about it. They keep their doctrines “under cover” and wait for the perfect moment to introduce their deception to the saints.
They mingle truth and error alongside each other. False teachers lay their error/inaccuracy right alongside the truth. By creating this mixture of truth and error it confuses the listener. By laying their error alongside the truth, their error becomes more palatable to the average listener. It is dressed up under the guise of truth. We have indirectly exchanged sound doctrinal teaching for motivational speaking as long as we have a nice time in Church.
They bring in “Damnable Heresies” making their hearers think and feel they are teaching the truth. These “damnable heresies” translated from the original language connotes or implies destructive choices, rotten choices or even catastrophic choices: implying that we must be very careful when making spiritual decisions. Heresy could also be a set of belief that could not be substantiated or better still, a subjective belief or experience not compatible with Christian beliefs.
The Apostle further goes on to explain the effect these heresies (tales of angels never before mentioned in scripture, visits to heaven, revelations, visions etc.) will produce in our lives if we decide to make them a regular part of our diet. We can be sure that what will ensue is some kind of damnation (spiritual rot and decay).
False teaching will indirectly introduce to its hearers the “Denial of the Lord” implying that Jesus, the head of the Church has spoken something vitally important to his ministers. However, some ministers apparently do not like the message that they have heard from the Lord. Therefore, rather than take the Lord’s counsel and obey Him, they turn their face away from heaven and reject the counsel of the Lord.
The resultant effect of their teaching is that multitudes shall follow them. Peter stresses that many shall follow the pernicious ways of the ministers not the devotion of the ministers to God. People will be and are attracted to the lifestyle and conduct of these ministers, not God.
The greater masses of people will love what they see these ministers do, they will be attracted to it and will even attempt to duplicate this outrageous behaviour in their own personal lives. The word pernicious carries an idea of excesses, overindulgence and the extravagant lifestyle these ministers live. It is true that the stranger a minister and his ministry are, the more people are drawn to him. No one can attract a large crowd more quickly than a spiritual vogue.
They are “covetous”, which carries an idea of the insatiable greed or strong desire for more. Peter used this word in particular to tell us that false teachers function totally from vantage point of greed. They are locked in the sphere of greed and do everything they do with one thing in mind: HOW WILL THIS PROFIT ME!!!
Covetousness is an insatiable desire for more money, power and influence. We cannot be consumed with our need for money, that it becomes an idol in our lives or ministries.
They use the vehicle of “Feigned Words”. It was used to describe the act of forgery, like a forged piece of artwork, a forged signature, or counterfeit money. The very fact that this word can be translated “forgery” tells us that these individuals are not innocent in their behaviour. It is impossible to “forge” a masterpiece without knowing that you are doing it. It is impossible to forge another person’s signature without knowing that you are violating their rights and wronging them.
Not only do they use feigned words, their “making merchandise of you” described here is an act of trading, trafficking or selling in the marketplace. This phrase was used technically to denote wandering con artists who set up tents in the marketplace, and deliberately sold flawed merchandise to buyers who thought they were purchasing something of fine quality.
False ministers are not sincerely or honestly dedicated to any specific portion of God’s word. Instead, they are committed only to the segment of scripture that is going to excite, motivate or stimulate the crowd the most, the portion that will put the most money in their pockets when the offering is taken at the end of the service.
“When confronted with obeying God or losing a large crowd, one must make a choice”.
In conclusion, people are naturally attracted to whatever is the most exciting, sensational and popular “spiritual game” of the hour and moment. The natural tendency of the flesh is to jump on the bandwagon of the latest craze, or to chase after the latest fad; an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the Holy and sacred scriptures.
People have been aimlessly chasing or running from one thing to another on a persistent and consistent basis. The bottom line is that there are sincere people who are trying to force themselves into a gift and calling which God never extended to them, opening doors to falsehood and spiritual misunderstanding.
We pray that our leaders will desire to obey God more than they desire to attain man-made success.
God help us all.