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False Teachers

Scripture: 2 Peter 2:19, Jude 1:4-19, John 8:34-36
Lesson: 11
"Why must we be sure to learn for ourselves the crucial truths we believe?"
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Good morning and happy Sabbath. We want to welcome you, whether you're joining us online or through the various television networks, to our Sabbath school study hour this morning in the granite bay seventh-day adventist church. If you're joining us for the very first time, and you do not have the quarterly, we'd like to encourage you to go to www.amazingfacts.org - there you can click on Sabbath school study hour and you'll notice a little link entitled quarterly. Just click on that link and you can download the lesson and join right in this morning as we study God's word. Now our free offer this morning is face to face with the real gospel - it's offer #789 - face to face with the real gospel - and to get this, all you need to do is call 1-866-788-3966 and just ask for offer #789 - face to face with the real gospel. Now, as we like to do always, before we get into our lesson study, we love to sing praises to our God. And so, I'd like to invite our song leaders out this morning as they lead us in praise to our creator. (Piano music)

Thank you, Marshall. We love to sing together, so those of you who are at home, pull out your hymnals - and those here. We are going to sing about God's blessings this morning. You know, this world is falling apart, but every day we experience blessings from God just by breathing and being able to witness for him. Sent forth by God's blessings - that's us, every day - hymn #407 - we're going to sing both verses. (Piano music)

At this time, Marshall will lead us in prayer.

Let's pray together before we dive into our lesson this morning. Father in heaven, we thank you so much for your many blessings. We thank you for the Sabbath that you've given to us and this opportunity we have to study, lord, your word together, as we again go into the 2 book of Peter. Just pray that you will be with Dr. David Derose this morning - bless him as he shares with us and as we study Your Word. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. Our lesson this morning is brought to us by Dr. David Derose.

Thank you, Marshall. And thank you, for being here to journey with us through the book of 2 Peter. We've been studying 1 and 2 Peter together and as we're embarking on lesson 11, the author of the lesson talked about the context in which Peter was writing. And, as I was thinking about the setting - it's an interesting one - Peter, one of the dominant figures in the new testament, but really there is relatively little that we have, from Peter's hand, in the new testament - just these two relatively short books. What would you write if you had an opportunity to just share what was on your hearts - to God's people - for centuries to come? You know, I was thinking about that and my mind went back to some years ago. My wife and I were on a trip in europe and we went to visit that great museum in Germany - in berlin there's a museum called the pergamon museum - and not only is there the altar from pergamon that is mentioned in the book of revelation, not only do you find the wall reliefs, the bricks from babylon, the Ishtar gate (having been recreated there in Berlin), but there is also the reconstruction of the entrance to the city of Miletus. And my mind was drawn to that setting as I thought about Peter's ministry in 1 and condensed in chapter 20 of the book of acts. I invite you to turn there. I think it's a fitting introduction to where we're going with 2 Peter and how we pull in the context that Peter has been sharing with us throughout his letters. It's actually, in acts 20, another rapid-fire presentation. This time, it's a presentation - an oral presentation - given by the apostle Paul. Paul is hastening back to Jerusalem. There is not time for him to venture to the city of Ephesus where he spent so much time earlier in his ministry. And so, the word goes out from the little town of Miletus, that Paul wants to speak with the church leaders from Ephesus. Now this may not sound like an unusual request, but Ephesus was some 35 miles from Miletus, where Paul is briefly tarrying. How long did it take, in antiquity, to travel 35 miles?

We're talking at least a good day's journey, right? Traveling that on foot? So, Paul sends out this message - I'm in Acts chapter 20 in verse 17. It says, "from Miletus he" - Paul - "sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church." - And so, what happens? They actually come. I mean, would you travel that far out of your way to see a beloved pastor? We won't use any personal examples here - a - one day's travel - to hear a few words from the apostle Paul - but they were so endeared to him. And, as Paul begins to share in this - just very short order, he touches on the very same themes that we find in 1 and 2 Peter. They're themes of urgency. What does Peter speak about in his letters? It's the same things we find in Acts 20. Look what Paul says - I'm going to just briefly highlight some of these things. First, in verses 18 through 21, he speaks about how he preached the gospel. He testified about how we need to repent - how we need to come to Jesus. And then, in verse 22, he says, "and see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me." So let's just pause right there. As we studied through 1 Peter, did we read a lot about tribulation? About persistence in suffering? This is exactly what Paul is sharing about his ministry. He sees, through the Holy Spirit, that persecution is coming. And a lot of 1 Peter was devoted to that theme. But not only are there dangers from without, but there are also dangers from where? Within.

From within. So not only are the enemies of the church attacking the church, but there are enemies inside the church. And so, as Paul in Acts 20, goes through what the Holy Spirit has revealed to him, we see the very same themes that Peter touches on. Look with me at Acts 20 now, going to verse 27, "for I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." So here we have a glimpse of another apostle. This time the apostle Paul, in Acts 20, doing the very same thing we've been studying about in Peter's letters - very short, impassioned presentations where an apostle is saying, 'i have a special burden for at least three things: one is to anchor you in the gospel, but the second is to prepare you for tribulation from without - enemies without the church that are going to be persecuting you - attacking you. But then, third, dangers from within the church. With that background, now let's look carefully at 2 Peter chapter 2, because the focus in 2 Peter 2 is on these threats from within the church. And I always like to remind myself of where we've been. This is, again, a very sobering chapter. In fact, if you were to walk into a church and they were preaching on 2 Peter 2 - by the way, that's what's happening right here - (laughter) - if you were to walk in and you heard someone preaching on this, you would say, 'well, this is so discouraging. I want to hear about Jesus. I want to hear about the loving ministry of Jesus. I don't want to read about all these bad things that are going to happen.' Why was Peter - why was Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so burdened to share these somber messages? Why would they do that? Why don't they just speak about the love of Jesus? Why don't they just speak about the good news of the gospel? It - they want us to be ready.

That's right, they want us to be ready. They want us to be prepared because difficult times are coming, if they're not already knocking on your doors. And God is saying, in a way, through these messages, He understands our hearts. He knows what difficulties we face in life and He tries to prepare us in His Word. By the way, there is a major diagnoses - a diagnosis - in medical circles that we talk a lot about today in the public health community, as well as in the mental health community, and it's something called post-traumatic stress disorder - ptsd. And they've studied a lot about this condition - you may have heard it years ago, talking about shell-shock and combat veterans, but it can happen when any terrible thing - any dramatic thing happens. It could be a natural disaster. It could be a personal affront. It could be a rape. It could be abuse. It could be combat. It could be a car accident. Following such a traumatic event you could have a medical condition called post-traumatic stress disorder. One of the very interesting things they've learned about ptsd is there is something that actually can protect you from it.

God.

Well, God can protect you from it, that is true, but one of the ways God protects us from diagnoses like this, is He prepares us for what's coming. So, actually, preparedness, instead of weakening us, actually strengthens us. So, just like the fire drill or the earthquake drill in school, it's not meant to scare you. It's meant to help you if that condition occurs. And, if it does occur, the research shows you are more likely to come through it mentally stronger. Isn't that interesting?

Amen.

And so, here, God is ministering to us through the words of Peter. They are stern words. But let's realize where we've come from. We've come from 1 Peter - now, I know sometimes when we do this, the temptation is, 'well, dr. Derose, we have such little time to study 2 Peter chapter why are you so burdened with reviewing?' I'm so burdened with reviewing because none of these letters ever came to us out of context. We have all of 1 Peter and all of 2 Peter and, as we're reading Peter's second letter, as we studied earlier right here in this very venue, we saw that he began in 2 Peter, chapter 1, speaking about the gospel - grace and peace - righteousness that comes to us through our God and savior, Jesus. And so, this is how the letter starts. And then, as we went through 2 Peter chapter 1, he gave us this image of the mount of transfiguration. Jesus, himself, revealed in His glory, shadowed to some extent, but still, in some measure of his glory, to those three disciples who were closest to him, Peter, james, and john. But now we come to chapter 2 and it begins this way - so just having read about God's great glory shown at the mount of transfiguration, we read this: "but there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." We looked at acts 20. We saw how this was a burden of the apostle Paul. Our lesson, as we go through it, points us, in wednesday, to another inspired messenger, who gave us similar counsel and it's in the book of jude. The entire letter of Jude - it's just one short chapter - it basically is like a mirror on 2 Peter chapter the full import of what Peter was sharing, look at acts 20 and look at Jude and compare it with 2 Peter, because the Holy Spirit, speaking through three different new testament individuals, in very short fashion, is highlighting the importance of recognizing there will be error within the church - error within the church.

Well, we're going to pick up some more of these strands in just a couple of minutes, but I want you to notice that there's a tension that begins to develop in 2 Peter. You notice there, in verse 1, it mentions that those who bring these destructive heresies into the church will experience a type of destruction. What is the adjective used to describe the type of destruction that they will experience? That's right, it is swift. If you came into the - actually, even into my medical office, and we put you onto the heart monitor - we do that now - it's not a formal heart monitor, like an intensive care unit, but instead of having our medical assistants putting a blood pressure cuff on and checking your pulse and your respirations, it's all automated now. There's a device that they plug you into and it will check your pulse. And if your pulse is 120 actually, if it's anything above 100, we have a specific name for it in medical circles - do you know what we call that? That's right, we call it tachycardia - tachycardia. That root 'tachy' is a greek word and it's right here - that root 'tachy' is used and it's translated 'swift' okay? Swift. Now, it's setting us up for something here and, by the way, the Bible often does this. The three last times that Jesus speaks in the Bible, in the book of revelation, you may just be turning there - it's easy if you've got a red-letter edition - the three last times Jesus speaks in revelation chapter 22, there is a word, again, from this greek root 'tachy' that appears and it's translated 'i come quickly' or 'i come soon'. By the way, when was the book of revelation given?

A long time ago.

A long time ago. That's right, a long, long time ago. So it's speaking about a swift destruction in 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 1. Jesus speaks about coming quickly, on coming soon. Is there a tension that's already starting to develop? And, in fact, we'll see this tension play out fully in chapter 3 of 2 Peter. The tension will play out fully because people are going to say, 'well, where is his coming?' Okay? 'Where is he? Where is this soon coming?' And we could ask it in chapter 2 of 2 Peter, 'where is the swift destruction?' Just keep reading in verse 2 of of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed." - By deceptive words - that's right - and covetousness they will exploit you - "for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." So we're catching two different glimpses here. There's a tension that I hope you're already starting to pick up, because, on one hand, we're reading about a swift destruction, and then we're also hearing about something that is not yet, but it's not slumbering, it's going to happen. Do you catch this tension? How can something be swift and still not have happened yet? And this is what Peter is speaking about.

So now he gives some examples. And, by the way, you would see the very same examples in Jude and, because this is so somber, we just have to keep putting this in context. You know, there's a strange thing that happens in life. When we're delivered from something, we're not immediately and eternally free from that which has overcome us. In the addictions community we know this very well. There's another medical term we sometimes use, it's called 'recidivism'. It's a long word, but it refers to something that Peter actually addresses in this very chapter. So we're going to come and look at the nature of the problem and get a little bit more idea of it, but I'm, again, trying to frame it positively, lest we miss the emphasis of the gospel writers. I'm looking at the very last few verses now of 2 Peter. It's actually highlighted in tuesday's lesson, if you're following along the structured lesson study. He is speaking of those who have been saved by Jesus. Let's pick it up in verse 20 - 2 Peter 2, verses 20 through 22, "for if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the lord and savior Jesus christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'a dog returns to his own vomit,' and, 'a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'" Now let's look at a parallel - some parallel verses from the gospels. I want you to pick up this theme because what's happening here is God is trying to point out our danger to us to save us. We're going to look at some words of Jesus.

Someone is going to read for us, in just a moment, from john 9, verses 39 through 41, but before they do, turn with me to john 15. John 15 is a section where Jesus is burdened for us and his disciples. He even prays for us in john 17 - you can read that again if you haven't read it lately, but in john 15, he's speaking about the importance of us abiding in Jesus - being connected to the vine. And there's a strange passage that comes in this context, where Jesus, speaking about this privilege of us being intimately connected with him and he gives this very sobering message. It ties in with 1 Peter and 2 Peter. I'm in john chapter 15, beginning with verse 18, "if the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you." And he speaks about the persecution that will come to the church, but then He says, in verse 22, speaking to those who do the persecuting, "if I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both me and my father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'they hated me without a cause.'" Now let's look at another statement of Jesus from john 9 - this is after Jesus healed a blind man and he's speaking about spiritual blindness - so we'll hear now from john 9, verses 39 through 41.

"And Jesus said, 'for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.' Then some of the pharisees who were with him heard these words, and said to him, 'are we blind also?' Jesus said to them, 'if you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'we see.' Therefore your sin remains."

So why does God allow light to shine on the path of the righteous as well as the wicked? He's - that's right, he's trying to prepare the church for difficulties that will come, but he's also trying to save the wicked. He's trying to point out their behavior. Now, it's very interesting what happens under the influence of the Holy Spirit. And you've heard the analogy, haven't you? The Holy Spirit, sometimes being personified as the sunshine - you've heard this analogy, right? Where you've got butter and clay? What does the sunshine do the butter? It melts the butter. It softens the butter. What does it do to the clay? It hardens it. It's the same sunshine. So the Holy Spirit and God in his graciousness, pouring out his graciousness, it is our own character - what's in us - that determines how we respond. Will our heart be softened when the Holy Spirit points things out, or will we harden our hearts? Well, let's come back now, with that kind of frame work. We see where Peter began and where he's going in this chapter - maybe we should just do the same with jude. Go in your Bibles to jude. It's the last book in the Bible before revelation - believed to have been written by one of Jesus' brothers. Just as james, one of the early church leaders - you know, there were two jameses - there was james the disciple, who was the first of the twelve to be martyred, and then there was james, Jesus' brother, who, when we read things like acts 15, james, he was the visible leader of the church. By the way, not Peter. If you read acts 15. James was believed to be the lord's brother - Jesus' half brother through joseph - jude, who has also written a book, also believed to be one of the brothers of Jesus - one of the half brothers through joseph.

So look at how Jude begins his letter - Jude - I'm in Jude - only one chapter, beginning with verse 1, "jude, a bondservant of Jesus christ, and brother of james, to those who are called, sanctified by God the father, and preserved in Jesus christ: mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you." Now, in just a moment, someone's going to read for us how Jude closes his letter, in Jude notice: as Jude is beginning his letter - just like Peter - he's anchoring us in the truths of the word. We're sanctified - we're made holy by God. God loves us. He cares for us. Mercy, peace, and love are proclaimed. By the way, when the Bible speaks a blessing of mercy and peace and love, what is waiting for us to receive? That blessing, right? If God says, 'i want you to be' - 'i want mercy to go out to you and peace and love' - it's waiting for us to receive it. Okay, how does Jude close his letter? And we're looking at these things - remember - because we're going to be focusing, in a moment, on some very, very sobering things in the Bible - things that atheists have used to cast blame against God. And we're trying to see that it is set in the context of God's love and mercy. And if we miss that, we're missing the emphasis of Peter's letter; we're missing the emphasis that God laid on Paul's heart in acts 20; we're missing the emphasis that God laid on jude. So we're going to hear now from jude's closing verses, verses 24 and 25.

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to God our savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."

So Jude is going to cover the same somber ground that Peter takes us over. Some of the very same examples we're going to look at in just a moment, but how does Jude end? How does it end? That's right - good news. He is able to keep you from stumbling. Have you stumbled this week? Have you had challenges in your life? Are you struggling? God is able to keep you from falling. He's able to present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy. Is that good news?

Amen.

And so, basically, we're not - the messages here, although they're solemn, they're not to drive us to despair and say, 'well, wow, if those people, in old testament times and Bible times couldn't stand, how can I stand?' No, the message is that when we come to Jesus he is able to keep us from falling. And that is extremely good news. And that is the context in which these messages are given. We'll study more in 2 Peter chapter 3, as we finish up the series over the next few weeks. But I want you to see where it's going. It's not going to leave us hanging in chapter 2 with these solemn judgments, but we need to look at them because, in acts 20, Paul said, 'i have not hesitated from giving you the full counsel of God.' Peter does it now here too. He speaks about judgment coming upon those in the church and he gives us this example. Are you struggling with how there can be swift destruction and yet how it can wait? Let's look at these examples - same examples in jude, by and large. Look with me in 2 Peter chapter 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; 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; 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;" and, by the way, I'm stopping mid-sentence, because it is one sentence, it just continues with example after example.

What's going on here? Let's just stop for a minute. First of all, we are focusing on the angels and there's this translation here - my version is saying, 'cast them down to hell'. In the greek it's a single word: 'tartaroo' and it refers to tartarizing them. Tartarus was the lowest hell in greek mythology, where the wicked dead were cast to. And so, it's - you almost could paraphrase it 'damning' them, okay? Relegating them to judgment. Is this an example of swift destruction? I mean, look at what it's saying here. It is making it clear that they have not been fully judged yet. By the way, some people look at this and they say, 'well look, there's obviously a burning hell right now because it says these angels were cast there.' No, it says they are reserved for judgment in chains of darkness. You say, 'well, what does that all mean?' Look at Jude - we want to get a little bit more window - the reason why these parallel passages are so helpful, if you don't understand it in one place, you sometimes get a little more clarity in the other. So, in jude, as he walks through some of these same examples - look what it says here in verse "and the angels who did not keep...their own abode," - that's heaven - "he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;" - they are not being judged now. They have not received their final judgments.

It's not in a place that's burning, called 'hell'. They are cast into darkness, away from God's presence. By the way, if you want to study more about that, some great resources on the amazing facts website about the truth about hell. You can study it all. We can't - we can't go into all the detail, but the point is the very context here is saying they're being reserved for judgment. They have not received their judgment. They are not burning in a place called hell. They're cast away from God's light in darkness. By the way, in the context of 2 Peter 1, what was the light of God? In 2 Peter 1, was there any revelation of God's light? Well, look there with me. Look in 2 Peter 1, verse majesty." - What did they see? The transfiguration. And then, in verse 19, he speaks - Peter - of a light that shines in a dark place. What is it? It's the word. It is the Bible. And so, Jesus, who is the word, he is this bright shining light. They are cast out of his presence. But then, there's another example, right? The example of the flood and noah. Is this a somber story? The story of the flood? Is the flood, as some atheists would argue, an example of a tyrant who is wiping out most of the planet? Or is it a manifestation of a God of love who would do anything to save his people? Which is it? You understand - how swift was that destruction of the flood? Was the flood swift destruction? Well, yes, but no. I mean, the flood, when it came, was swift, right? But when did God start warning the people of a flood?

120 Years.

120 Years before. And noah is preaching and he's not only preaching with word, he's preaching with a hammer. How do you preach with a hammer? That's right. When he's following God's command to build an ark. And, if you read genesis - you read genesis, the original creation, there was no rain. A mist would come up from the ground. This was the utter folly, right? Guy talking about water coming out of the skies and he's building a boat? Did he believe in what he was saying? There was no question he believed it. And he's building an ark for 120 years. So, did destruction come swiftly? Well, yes and no - yes and no. So now we're reading about the flood. God did not spare that ancient world. By the way, there was a plague in that ancient world. The plague is called sin. And, after 120 years, all those that were alive, except for eight - those of noah's family - had been infected with this terminal virus. They had committed the unpardonable sin. They had closed their hearts for they were going to die eternally. If God did not send a flood, the whole earth would have been swelled up in iniquity. You and I are here today - those of you viewing today are viewing because God was willing to do his strange act and allow judgment to be meted out upon those who had closed their probation. Do you understand what God did? He saved eight people. By the way, if you think you're related to me only by adam, you're mistaken. We're all related by who?

Noah.

By noah. We are all noah's relatives - we're brothers and sisters through noah. God, in his mercy, destroyed this virus of sin - not completely, because, you know, noah and his family weren't rendered perfect and sinless - that's right. And they had their shares of problems and still, we all do. But, do you understand the point? Was God being merciful or vindictive? He was being merciful. Let's continue now. By the way, there's a subject to all these clauses. The subject is God. God cast the angels out; God - verse 5 - saved noah; God turned the cities of sodom and gomorrah into ashes; God - in verse 7 - we're coming to - delivered righteous lot. Are you following along here? So God is the active agent in all of these things. Now, we've talked a bit about context and Peter. We've talked about context in the scriptures. Context is extremely important whenever we read anything that's inspired. Now, I feel like we should just take one more step - as we're looking at some of these examples, and look a little bit more at this next example here. Sodom and gomorrah - by the way, was it just Peter and Jude that used this as an example to modern-day saints? Who else used the example of sodom and gomorrah and the flood as things that we should take note of today?

Jesus.

That's right, Jesus - Jesus did. You think of matthew 24 - let's turn to luke 17 - luke 17 - and we're going to see how Jesus referred to these examples. Someone's going to be reading for us in a moment from luke 17:28-32, but I'm going to read some of the verses that precede it. These are the words of Jesus - and some of this is very clear and some of it's perplexing. Remember, we started by saying, 'why don't we just talk about the pleasant things - about how Jesus saves us and loves us? I just want to hear about the loving ministry of Jesus.' By the way, who is speaking in luke 17? It's Jesus. Somehow we have selective memory, okay? When people say, 'i just want to hear about Jesus and his love.' This is Jesus and his love, in luke 17, and he is giving us a very sobering message just like Peter is giving. So let's pick it up in luke 17 and let's start - let's start with verse 26 - verse 26. I'll read verses 26 and 27 and then we'll have someone else read verses 28 and onward. So, beginning with luke 17, verse 26 - Jesus is speaking about his coming. He says - verse 26, "and as it was in the days of noah, so it will be also in the days of the son of man: 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." We said that was an example of what? Swift destruction - that didn't happen swiftly - 120 years before it happened. Now we have someone to read for us luke 17, verses 28 through 32.

Luke 17:28-32, "likewise as it was also in the days of lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that lot went out of sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the son of man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember lot's wife."

Did Jesus think these were real stories - real history? Yes, he's stating it - real history - the flood, the destruction of sodom and gomorrah - and he's saying that we should remember lot's wife. So what actually happened in sodom and gomorrah? What was going on there? Turn with me, if you would, first, to genesis 13 - we're going to have someone, in a minute, read to us the end of sodom and gomorrah - genesis 19 - but I'm turning to genesis 13. And, by the way, if you're following along, some of you, perhaps, somewhat disturbed by my covering the whole lesson, but not in order, actually we do have some of these very same verses mentioned in thursday's lesson, okay? So if you're looking where in the quarterly we're at, genesis thursday's lesson and that's where I'm turning. Very, very interesting. We'll come back to Peter's words in a minute. We're just trying to get the context here. You remember, God has physically blessed - materially blessed abraham as well as his relative near-kinsman, lot. In fact, they are so blessed, it says in verse 6 of genesis 13, "now the land was not able to support them," - they had so much livestock - they were so rich - that they had to say, 'look,' - verse 8 - "please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen;" - you see, their hired hands were arguing, 'hey, we got here first. This land is for our sheep.' 'No, I mean, there's only so much land. You've got to share it with us.' You can imagine the challenges. So, in verse 9, abraham says to lot, "is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." By the way, who was the senior party? It was abraham. Who - who is abraham giving the choice to? To his nephew lot. So what should lot have done? What do you think he should have done? Yeah, deferred to abraham. Wouldn't that have been a good thing? But, you know, sometimes, if someone offers you something, you say, 'well, boy, they're offering it to me, I better take it now before they change their mind.' That's a dangerous posture, we'll see in a minute, in 2 Peter. But so lot, it says in verse 10, lifts his eyes - he sees all the plain of the jordan that was well-watered everywhere. We're reminded that was before the lord destroyed sodom and gomorrah. It was like the garden of the lord, like the land of egypt. It was like eden. And so, what did lot choose? He chose that beautiful land. But we have this footnote at the end of verse 13, it says he pitched his tent as far as sodom (or near sodom). Later we find he's living in sodom, but verse 13 says, "but the men of sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the lord." Okay, so, what happens to sodom and gomorrah? Well, quite a bit happens. We can't go through the whole - all the old testament drama about how that kingdom is overrun by enemies, how abraham delivers them - and then we come to chapter 18 and, in chapter angel of the lord is meeting with abraham - as genesis 18 begins it says, "the lord" - that's yahweh - that's the sacred name of God. Jesus coming as an angel, with two other angelic beings - and it says something very interesting happens. After the dialog about the promised heir in genesis chapter the lord said, 'shall I hide from abraham what I am doing?'" - What is the lord referring to here? What does God say he is in the process of doing - or he is going to do? What is he about to do? He is about to destroy sodom and gomorrah. God is taking responsibility for doing the destruction. He says, 'shall I hide from abraham what I am doing - what I am about to do?' We're going to read, now - someone has this reading for us from genesis 19, verses 24 to 26. You know what happens in 18, lot pleads with abraham - excuse me, abraham pleads with God on behalf of lot and those in sodom, and he says, 'you know, if there's just 50 righteous ones' and he works the number down and down until, you know, there's got to be that many righteous people. He's concerned - he's worried - abraham is - that God will be misunderstood, it seems, doesn't it? He's also concerned about the righteous not being destroyed with the wicked. Okay, we're in genesis 19, verses 24 to 26 - someone has that for us. Let's see what happens.

"Then the lord rained brimstone and fire on sodom and gomorrah, from the lord out of the heavens. So he overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

So here God takes responsibility for what the Bible calls his 'strange act'. God acting in judgment. God destroying sodom and gomorrah. No, no! No, no, wait a minute! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait - you've read it, haven't you? Have you read it before? Yeah, some of you know what I'm thinking - where I'm going. There is actually a statement in that prolific adventist writer, ellen white, where she uses the words 'God destroys' some places 'no one' - other places - 'God destroys no man' - and so people say, 'no, no, so God could not have destroyed sodom and gomorrah.' By the way, in jude, for your study, it also mentions the rebellion of korah. Do you remember that one? Where fire came down from heaven and destroyed a number of leaders who were offing incense before the altar, without being called to the priesthood? And then what happened to dathan and abiram and those around them? Do you remember what happened? The earth opened up. Moses said, 'if they die the death of any common person, you're going to know that God didn't send me. But if you see a new thing and the earth swallows them up' - and what happens? The earth swallows them up. God destroys no man - God destroys no one. By the way, if you actually read the context - you heard that word before? The context - the context of those statements has nothing to do with God judging evil. You read it. At least 8 times - I've looked through the references - read them again recently. It's speaking about God destroys no one, in the sense he condemns no one to destruction by his own whims. God does not predestinate anyone to destruction.

Most of the time, when ellen white mentions that, 'God destroys no one' or 'God destroys no man' - she's speaking of pharaoh and how pharaoh hardened his heart. It has nothing to do with the end-time judgment on the wicked. It has nothing to do with God sending the flood. And, by the way, read it in patriarchs and prophets if you want to talk about ellen white. Satan, himself, feared for his life during the flood. It's patriarchs and prophets, page 99. You say, 'dr. Derose, there is a biblical argument in favor of God not destroying.' There is - there is. We won't look at it in detail, but in the story of sodom there is a biblical argument - you could put forth an argument from the Bible that God destroys no one. When sodom and gomorrah were going to be destroyed, lot tried to warn his family. Are you following along with me? Lot tried to warn his family. I will look at it. Genesis 19, verse 15 - lot says - verse 16 - actually, verse 14 is the best verse, "so lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law," - 19:14 - genesis - "who had married his daughters, and said, 'get up, get out of this place; for the lord will'" - do what? - "'Destroy this city!'" - But who said God didn't destroy? Lot's sons-in-law. 'God doesn't destroy. It's a joke.' By the way, who said God didn't destroy when korah, dathan, and abiram were swallowed up by the earth? It was the wicked individuals who did not accept God's judgment. They said, 'moses and aaron did this'. They were attributing the power of satan. By the way, this is what the sin of the Holy Spirit is, when you attribute - when you attribute the Holy Spirit's work to satan. Be very, very, very careful.' We're back to 2 Peter. He gives us these sobering examples. You know, I thought about it this way: imagine you had a loving german shepherd - part of the family.

Can you relate to that? Maybe you have a dog that you love. And this dog is, I mean, he sleeps with you. You have this original name for him - shep - right? Isn't that what they call german shepherds? And so shep is like one of the family. He eats with you. I mean, he won't even eat unless you're eating, sitting at the table and his bowl is right there. You follow along with this? And so this dog is just - you love this dog. He's part of the family. And, after many years, one day shep starts acting kind of strange and he's not his normal person - something's wrong, but you know, you love - and you start to wonder, I mean, he used to be so good around everybody and, for some reason, you start putting him in a cage. He's kind of snapping at you - some - you know, 'it couldn't be shep. He couldn't be doing this.' By the way, you've got sheep too, you know, and shep would always take care of the sheep and watch them. You let shep out, even in this state, and you hear some commotion outside and you look out there and you see shep has killed one of the lambs and he's in the process of killing another one and, by the way, your four-year-old child or grandson - or great-grandson - however old you are - is out there too. And, all of a sudden you connect all the dots in your mind. 'What's going on? Shep has rabies, right? And so, as you see shep heading over to the four year old, what are you going to do? I was telling this story to some people - this illustration - they said, 'well, if you had a gun, you'd get the gun out and you'd kill the dog before he infected the child with rabies.' And maybe, even after you killed that dog, the first thing you would do instead of comforting the child, you'd run out to the dog and say, 'oh, shep, how could I do it? Oh, my beloved dog.' Are you following along with me? Was it love or was it mercy that killed the rabid dog? When people have crossed the line - when they've sinned the sin against the Holy Spirit - and, by the way, if any of you are concerned that you've sinned the sin against the Holy Spirit, you haven't done it. If you're concerned about following Jesus and satan is telling you you're too far gone, you're not, okay? That's a sign the Holy Spirit is still working with you, okay? But if someone's heart is steeled, sometimes God does bring judgment and mercy. No, no, no, no!' That's not the way it would happen. If it was God, he would just remove his life force. The dog would be running and the dog would just fall dead. But there's a problem with that. If the dog just fell dead, the child wouldn't know that the father or the grandfather or the great-grandfather had intervened to save them.

Amen.

You see? God is interested in saving us from ourselves. And sometimes he has to act in stern ways in judgment. That's what the Bible teaches. And I'd encourage you to realize that, because 2 Peter is both an encouragement and a warning. It's an encouragement that Jesus has given everything for us. He's revealed himself. He's given us his word that's a light. When Jude is writing the same thing, he says that God is able to keep you from falling. You don't have to be worried about following the way of sodom or those who were rejectors of the flood. But there is a judgment coming. It's a sobering thing. It's coming swiftly. And, even though - even though judgement is tarrying, it will come swiftly. The good news is Jesus is big enough to save all of us. Aren't you glad? He's not just looking on as we suffer pain, he hurts with us. He feels with you today and he's interested in saving us. Well, we'll find the conclusion to 2 Peter, on this encouraging note, as we go to2 Peter chapter 3 next week. We'll see how the inspired apostle pulls all these things together. Sobering reminders, but encouragement that we have a mighty savior.

Let's face it, it's not always easy to understand everything you read in the Bible. With over 700,000 words contained in 66 books, the Bible can generate a lot of questions. To get biblical straightforward answers call in to Bible answers live - a live nationwide call-in radio program where you can talk to pastor doug batchelor and ask him your most difficult Bible questions. For times and stations in your area, or to listen to answers online, visit bal.amazingfacts.org. (Music)

Hi friends, you know, the modern flags that we see flying from the top of capital buildings, or out in front of patriotic homes, really stem back from the times of battles being fought between warring nations. These beautifully designed and intricately colored banners were flown high above the battlefields so the warring forces were able to identify, amid the chaos and the smoke and the fog of war, where their forces were rallied and where they were fighting the battle. And, if you could capture your enemy's flag, it was considered the highest honor. I wonder if that's where we got the game 'capture the flag'. With the changes in war, now these flags also represent a little more of a demarcation and identification of different nationalities. Today, the flags that represent the different nations of the world are very colorful and diverse and all of the colors and the shapes have a specific meaning. They're easy to distinguish and recognize from one another. Perhaps one of the most interesting flags in the world is the flag of the philippines. This is unique because it is flown differently in times of peace than it is in times of war. During times of peace, the filipino flag, that's composed of red, white, blue, and yellow, is flown with the blue side up. But, in times of war, they flip it around and the red side is up because there they're willing to make sacrifices of their blood to defend the freedom of the country. In the same way that an embassy that is situated in a foreign country flies their flag while still surrounded by another nation, christians are supposed to have the flag of God's love flying in this fallen world. You can read in the book song of solomon chapter 2, verse love is the flag that identifies christians as a unique kingdom even here in the world. So, friend, the big question is: how are you flying your flag?

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Face to Face with the Real Gospel (Revised) by Dennis Priebe

Face to Face with the Real Gospel (Revised) by Dennis Priebe
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