But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
Peter warns of false teachers who “walk after the flesh, and despise government.” They “speak evil of the things that they understand not, and have eyes full of adultery, and an heart of covetousness.” Be cautious of churches or pastors who find it necessary to attack their government. Be cautious of Christian leaders who live lives that reflect sinful desires. Be cautious of church figures that are willing to argue about and condemn things that they are not fully informed on. Be cautious of preachers whose lives are marked by greed or sensuality. The pulpit of a church should have a primary purpose - to reveal the gospel of Christ and the glory of God. Beyond that, knowledge and understanding of Jesus and the desires of the magnificent Creator and Sustainer should be used to promote wholeness and holiness in the believer. The pulpit should not, however, be used as a stepladder for the personal desires of the speaker. The desire of God should be the driving force. The will of the Almighty should shape all speaking and presentation in the pulpit. The use of the pulpit to undermine God’s delegated authority, the government, is a misuse of the pulpit. A preacher must study and know what he is teaching, and if it is sin, he must call it that, but if it is not, he must not condemn it. It is easy to be against things, and many preachers are. Uninformed, they pass judgment on the unknown. This is a marking characteristic of a false teacher. The personal life of the preacher must match the standard that God has clearly stated in His Word. A life of sin, of greed, of sexual immorality, all point towards a man who is not preaching the truth of a holy and righteous God. Watch for all of these red flags. Notice the one who is teaching and preaching. Look for areas where you can extend grace in a humble way to any who seem to err, and pray constantly for those who minister and teach God’s Word, lest they fall into error.Food For Thought: List three things from today’s text that are characteristic of a false teacher.