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Sunday December 19th 2010
The Second of Peter
1). Mt 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 ? "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
a). We had seen last week that in the scripture we know as ?The Sermon on the Mount? there is an exhortation by the Lord to ?enter by the narrow gate? and we are also told in respect of this, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.?
b). And what we realized is that the exhortation we see here, to enter by the narrow gate, is the same exhortation as we see in - Jude 1:3 ? Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
c). Which is the same that we see in - 2Pe 1:5 ? But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith???
d). And in all of these exhortations there is the necessity of continual effort on our part to accomplish that which we are exhorted to do. And in the necessity for effort is an implicit warning against complacency and lethargy ? not making the proper effort - Heb 4:11 ? Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
e). Complacency, lethargy and lukewarmness with regards to the faith would be one and the same thing, and all or any of these would easily put us on the broad way ?that leads to destruction?. All or any of these would inevitably make us vulnerable to the message of the ?false prophets? which if followed will result in our disobedience as we walk outside of the will of God.
f). Complacency, lethargy and lukewarmness with regards to the faith not only makes us susceptible to the message of the ?false prophets?, but also to speaking on our own accord or repeating a message that we have accepted that is outside the scope of sound doctrine thereby performing works which are outside of the will of the Lord - Mt 7:21 ? "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23
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"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
2). The Book of Jude then cites another example of apostasy by taking us to the first generation of Israel to come out of Egypt - Jude 1:5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
a). Israel we will remember held the position of God?s firstborn son -
Ex 4:22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn.
b). And as God?s firstborn son Israel was to move into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and exercise the rights of the firstborn within the Theocratic Kingdom. All they had to do was to have faith, to believe God in respect of His promise.
c). At Kadesh Barnea however, having progressed from gnosis to epignosis, the nation as a whole listened to the report of 10 of the 12 spies who had gone into the land and believed their word rather than that which God had said ?
Nu 13:32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." 14:1 ? So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 "Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."
d). In this decision the nation as a whole stepped away from their calling, they stepped away from the position that God had placed them in. Something that God takes very seriously - Nu 14:22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
Heb 3:11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'"
e). And we would note the prior work of the fallen angels, ?we saw the giants? and the role that this played in Israel?s decision.
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f). Now what is particularly significant about this whole incident from our perspective is what the nation does next - Nu 14:36 ? Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, 37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the LORD. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land. 39 Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, "Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!"
g). God , as we see, brings judgment on ?those very men who brought the evil report?, and seeing this judgment the nation repents and declares their intent to now fulfill God?s will for them.
h). However, even though the nation repents God does not change His mind, He does not repent of His rejection of them - Nu 14:41 And Moses said, "Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. 42 "Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you. 43 "For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you." 44 But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop; nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.
i). And what we see here with regards to Israel and their repentance and God?s refusal to change His mind is particularly significant for us because of the warning that we find in the Book of Hebrews.
3). Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
a). We can then go further on in the Book of Hebrews and find this ?
Heb 12:12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short
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of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
b). Here we see Esau rejecting his birthright and as with Israel he realizes his sin and repents, but his father, Isaac would not change his mind and re-instate Esau to the position from which he had stood away.
c). Both these examples really should be so very clear for us all to see.
d). But just in case our minds are still in a wrong place so as to doubt God?s seriousness in this, both Peter and Jude draw attention to God?s history of judgment as an example of the inevitability of the judgment that waits yet future for those who choose to stand away from the faith - 2Pe 2:3b?.for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
4). 2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day
a). The angels identified here are the angels that we had seen in our study of 1 Peter whose purpose had been to corrupt the families of the earth by defiling their bloodline so as to prevent the promised ?Seed of the Woman? from coming.
b). Now in leaving the place to which they were divinely assigned in order to have sexual relations with the daughters of men is to be seen as a standing away from their God ordained position.
c). As a result of this standing away we see that they have been reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day. There is to be judgment followed by punishment as a result of their actions.
d). Not only this, but ?the ancient world?, those contaminated by the cohabitation of the fallen angels with the daughters of men, was not spared - bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; God?s judgment came upon all the inhabitants of the earth, except for Noah and his family, because of their defilement through association with these angels. Not that the families of the earth had stood away from their God ordained positions as they were fallen creatures and
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in no position to rule, but in their association with the fallen angels and being defiled by them they had in effect stood away from God?s plan for man to replace these angels in the heavenly realm.
5). 2Pe 2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
a). And exactly the same is true for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain.
b). Because of the actions of the fallen angels following the flood, with their sexual immorality now focused on the land of the Abrahamic covenant, and the association of the people of the cities of the plain with their actions, God?s judgment comes upon the angels who stood away from their proper domain and upon those who stood away from God?s plans and purposes for man by their association with these angels.
c). And we see very clearly from our scriptures in Peter and Jude that the judgment upon the ancient world and upon the cities of the plain are examples ?to those who afterward would live ungodly?.
d). Now, whereas we know that all Christians who ?would live ungodly? will not escape judgment with regards to the age to come, we should remember that our context in Peter, as in Jude, is apostasy from the faith and the certainty of the judgment that we find in our examples is directed at the apostates and those who would follow their corrupted message. The warning is severe because the consequences are severe.
6). Lu 17:26 "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
a). There are several things that we should note from our scripture here. ?The days of the Son of Man? refers to a time that will begin with the resurrection/rapture of the church to be followed by the judgments of the
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Tribulation, judgments that for most will be as unexpected as Noah?s flood and the destruction of the cities of the plain.
b). What is also implicit in this is the same actions by a segment of fallen angels with regards to the sexual perversions that we have previously seen.
c). Now we will also know that it was because of the actions of the fallen angels who left their proper domain that God?s judgment came. In other words the activities of the fallen angels both preceded and triggered God?s judgment both with regards to the flood and the destruction of the cities of the plain.
d). This kind of angelic activity as in the days of Noah and the days of Lot will have its focus on the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the earthly realm of the Kingdom, and be directed against God?s rebellious firstborn son ? Israel.
e). What we might also want to consider though is the activity of fallen angels with respect to those who look to be adopted as a firstborn son ? the Church who are looking to enter the Heavenly realm of the Kingdom. We will remember that it is the removal of the Church to the Judgment Seat that is the precursor to the events of the Tribulation. Both are intimately connected.
7). And so, what do we know about the activity of fallen angels with respect to the Church and the land of our Heavenly calling? Well clearly it is not activity of a literal sexual nature like that which we have already seen, but it does involve spiritual adultery as I hope will become apparent.
a). Let?s begin to look at their activity with the Matthew 13 Parables ?
Mt 13:3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow 4 "And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
Mt 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
b). We see here the activity of the fallen angels in snatching away the word of the Kingdom from those who do not understand it so as to prevent them from ever being in a position to produce fruit and therefore never able to enter the heavenly Kingdom.
c). Mt 13:24 ? Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
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Mt 13:38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
d). Here we find the activity of fallen angels directed at those who were ?sown? on good soil and were producing a crop ? the placing of the tares amongst the wheat is for the sole purpose of chocking the wheat so as to stop the production of fruit thereby disqualifying them for the Kingdom.
e). Mt 13:31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 "which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
f). Here we will remember is a picture of the Church growing in a completely unnatural way as a result of the work of the tares resulting in an entity that provides a home for the ?birds of the air?, the same birds we saw in the Parable of the Sower ? fallen angels, whose purpose is to bring about fruit production in a field other than Christ?s, fruit that is produced outside of the will of God, fruit that will be burned up at the Judgment Seat.
8). And all of this is perfectly consistent with the scriptural record concerning apostasy - 1Ti 4:1 ? Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
a). Then as we think about this we will realize that the activity of the fallen angels with respect to the Church is really no different to that which we have seen in the days of Noah and the days of Lot, but on a spiritual level rather than a physical level.
b). Their purpose has always been to try to stop the Seed of the Woman and to prevent entrance into the land with regards to Israel and the earthly Kingdom and the same would be true for us individually on a spiritual level. Their aim then is to prevent us being transformed into the image of Christ and thereby producing fruit so as to stop us entering the land of our calling, the Kingdom of the Heavens.
9). Ga 4:19 ? My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
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a). Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
b). Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
c). If Christ is to be formed in us, if our new man is to be renewed according to the image of Him who created him, if we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, then this is only going to happen through our proper reception of the Word of God and the corresponding work of the Holy Spirit.
d). Now if we are receiving a corrupted message, a message that adds to, or twists, or takes away from ?the pure milk of the word?, in other words if we give heed to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons, then what is being formed in us is not Christ, but a perversion and such God will not accept or tolerate ?
Mt 7:21 ? "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
e). Those Christians who enter into this type of association with fallen angels through receiving and accepting the lie rather than the truth, are from God?s perspective, no different to the defiled families of the earth in Noah?s day and no different from the perverted inhabitants of the cities of the plain who went after strange flesh in Lot?s day - 2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
They will have committed the grossest form of spiritual adultery having joined themselves in a spiritual union with the very beings they were supposed to overcome and replace.
f). And that which both Peter and Jude draw attention to with regards to the judgment that falls on the ancient world and the cities of the plain demonstrate not only the certainty of the judgment that awaits the false teachers and their followers, but also its severity.
g). Mt 13:40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
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10). I know the seriousness of that which we have looked at here is not lost on us, but let us also take comfort from the positive side of this equation ?
2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 ? and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) -- 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment 10 ? and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.
a). Let?s note especially the first half of v9 - 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations
b). The context for this statement is the example of Lot who chose to live amongst ?the filthy conduct of the wicked? thereby choosing to tolerate that which really should have been intolerable. Despite his personal culpability in this the Lord rescued him out of this situation before judgment fell.
c). To put this in a context for ourselves with regards to standing away from the faith we can see how the activities of an almost completely apostate Christendom can parallel ?the filthy conduct of the wicked?, something we can choose to embrace or turn away from.
d). For the ungodly, those who have become defiled by the doctrines of demons either as apostates or by following the apostates? teaching, they are reserved ?under punishment for the day of judgment?.
e). For the godly however, those who have not allowed themselves to become defiled by the doctrines of demons, the promise is that God knows how to rescue them out from amongst the contamination that surrounds them ? this would be the same idea that we saw in - 1Pe 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
f). It is in our unequivocal acceptance of the unadulterated scriptures that we find our safety and protection.
g). Ru 2:12 "The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge."
h). 2Co 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
[3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes
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preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!]