1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2 PETER - Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Remember that old game called, "Telephone"?

Where everyone sat in a circle, and one person would whisper a sentence into the next person’s ear…

"The dog buried a bone in the dirt."

And then, one by one, each person passed on the sentence they heard to the next person. Until by the time it reached the last person – who said the sentence out loud – it wasn’t quite the same message.

"The hog married a scone in a skirt."

Everyone laughed at how garbled things got as they were passed along incorrectly. In this case, there’s no harm (unless, perhaps, you’re the hog, now married to a tasty biscuit!!).

But other times, changing the message can be very dangerous.

Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" demonstrates this:

"I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:17-18a)

A little background to provide some context for Peter’s stern admonition.

By the time Peter was writing these words, Paul’s letters had already garnered a widespread reputation. In previous verses, Peter attests to the fact that Paul’s letters were written "with the wisdom God gave him." Peter spoke of Paul’s writings as if they were on a level with "other parts of Scripture." (Verses 15 and 16)

Already the early church was thinking of Paul’s letters as authentic, inspired, reliable – the very word of God Himself.

Consequently, this meant that they spoke truth – God’s truth.

However, people had begun to stir up dissension. They were distorting the message of God as given through these two great men.

Peter and Paul had lived very different lives. They had come from very different backgrounds. Peter had been a humble fisherman. Paul had held a high position in the Jewish religious sect known as the Pharisees.

They had very different personalities, and they preached from different viewpoints.

Paul emphasized salvation by grace, not law, while Peter preferred to talk about Christian life and service. Because the Holy Spirit was with them, they did not contradict each other – and they had always held each other in high esteem.

But the devil has a way of putting wolves in among the sheep.

And false teachers were around in abundance in the days of the early church. They were intentionally using Paul’s writings to condone lawlessness. No doubt this made these teachers very popular. Have you ever noticed how people like to have their favorite sins justified?

So, Peter is issuing a warning here.

And giving some practical guidelines about how to avoid falling into the seductive pathways of distorted truth.

Be on guard – always be looking out for false teaching. Like a sentry, be constantly aware of incoming threats.

Do not be carried away – keep your emotions in check. Feelings can often deceive us. God tells us not to trust our hearts – they are deceptive.

Recognize errors – use the Word of God as the yardstick. If something doesn’t agree with Scripture, it’s not truth.

Don’t lose your secure footinghold on steadfastly to what you have been taught. Ask the Holy Spirit for power to stand firm.

Peter concludes by urging his readers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. He is compelling them to get to know Jesus better and better. This is the best way to discern false teaching.

The better we know Jesus, the less attractive false teaching will be and we’ll learn to recognize it a lot sooner.

No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we may be in our faith, there will always be people who are willing and eager to spread untruth. We have enemies, spiritual enemies, who actively work against us.

Every day we need to draw closer to Christ.

We need to explore and know God’s Word.

We must be prepared to stand for truth in any and all circumstances!

Hang up the "telephone" of false teaching – and pick up the Bible. The message remains the same…

We just need to hear it correctly.

(Today I'm linked up with Spiritual Sundays, hosted by Charlotte and Ginger)

"When in doubt, search God out."


  1. Excellent!!! I was expecting this to go in a different direction with the "telephone" prompt.
    I thought you were going with the usual (gossip)

    But no... you always take things in the most unexpected direction. I love this one and like the past two would be able to use it as the jump start to a whole SS lesson.

  2. And I liked the part about teachers being popular when they let us justify our sins. We're having this very issue within my church right now. (not with the pastor but others)

  3. Hi Sharon,

    I like your use of a sentry, guarding over our spiritual life. A soldier is not swayed by feelings, but by the orders given to him. We must, as you say, "Be on guard...not be carried away...Recognize errors...Don't lose your secure footing."

    Just as during the time of Paul and Peter, we may find some who today, preach another gospel. May we who call upon the name of Jesus remain steadfast.

    Sending you and family a Happy Valentine's Day.

    Blessings and peace.


  4. Another great "Bible Pick 'Em", Sharon. Without a knowledge of God's written word, we will not be able to distinguish false teaching from truth. I'm thankful that my pastor continually encourages the congregation to read and study the word.

    I like what you said here, "Hang up the "telephone" of false teaching – and pick up the Bible. The message remains the same…"

    Blessings, Joan

  5. Hi Sharon,
    A timely reminder, thank you for posting. In our service in church yesterday, we had much mention of Eagles Wings, I thought of you and Kerrie and I prayed for all three of us. Oh that we might soar to that eagle altitude, above the sorrows, trials and tribulations of this world. God Bless - Nita

  6. Debbie - Feel free to jump start any time! You know, it just makes me so sad that there are these kind of problems in your church right now. Our enemy is (unfortunately) so good at infiltrating and causing division in the Body of Christ, isn't he? In Revelation, Jesus was quite firm about the danger of allowing compromise. Will be praying for this.

    MTJ - YES! That's what I'm talking about - remaining steadfast. And it is only with the wisdom of the Spirit that we can be effective in our "watch." Sad to say, but there is some very effective "mis-teaching" out there these days. May God guard His message against those who would distort it - and protect and lead His messengers into all truth.

    Joan - I'm also very thankful that we have a pastor who teaches from the Word, and exhorts the congregation to be in the Word regularly. (In fact, each year they have a One-Year plan that they challenge all of us to follow). I know that I feel stronger as I am reading the Bible every day - after all, it's what Jesus Himself used to fight against the devil's "false" lies.

    Whidbey Woman - WELCOME! Thanks so much for stopping by - hope you come back again! And I'm glad you enjoyed today's "Pick 'Ems!"

    Nita - Oh, my dear friend. Thank you for praying for us. Yes, that is my biggest dream - to soar above. Sometimes I just get so bogged down - it frustrates me. I continue to pray for greater strength, and for a deeper ability to really trust the Lord. Eagle's Wings - may the dear Lord make ours grow!


  7. Awesome post Sharon and thank you for sharing. There are many false teachers who have gone out into the world today and there message can even sound good and Biblical when infact it is not. Blessings.

  8. I remember playing the telephone game. It never ended up the way it started. Seems like we called the game gossip. Thank you for sharing this interesting post.

  9. Ken - Thank you for your kind comment. I'm frankly rather frightened by the number of false teachers out there. And it's awfully scary how persuasive their messages are. The only way to keep on the straight and narrow is to "lean not unto our own understanding" - to ask the Lord for discernment and wisdom - and to measure everything we hear by the Truth of God's Word.

    Charlotte - Thanks so much for stopping by. I've got to agree - gossip is yet another dangerous "false" lie that can spread like a wildfire. It is wise to guard our thoughts, and control our tongues.


  10. So much I could say. I have to agree with you about the number of false teachers out there and how frightening that truth is.

    That is one reason why I feel such an urgency to "get my act together". Jesus saved me 34 years ago and He has healed me of much. The area that still grips me and threatens to overtake me at times, is when my emotions become "inflamed".

    I generally can acknowledge when a lie is messing with my mind and I can dismiss it. But when it comes to feeling rejected or abandoned...well, that is still a very tender and weak area.

    So, how does a person detach their feelings, their emotions...when they are bursting with overwhelming sorrow?


    I think reading the Bible and incorporating His promises into our lives is probably the best thing we can do. It is the only thing I can think of that can cleanses our minds.

    I have "dry eyes" and reading is very difficult for me. It used to be my passion as I read all the time. Studied, researched, journaled. My eyes only starting failing me in the past few years. It has been excruciating to me... and nothing I am able to do about it.

    Please pray that I would stop being rebellious and accept that I can only read a little at a time.

    God Bless You, Sharon...

  11. Sharon...

    I'm fairly new to your blog, but every time I come here, I glean something new. Today's "new" surrounds the life and witness of two very different men, yet yoked together by the truth of Jesus Christ. I suppose I always new about their differences but you highlighted them in a way that paints some color into the story. I like that... seeing scripture through new lenses.

    Thank you for sharing and for reminding me to be on guard when it comes to false teaching! You're right... the best way to discern truth is to know Truth!


  12. Shay - Thank you for your honesty. It's very refreshing. I don't have a good answer for how to deal with certain lies. Like you said, I also have trouble when I hear lies that tap into my deep-seated issues. They're much more subtle, and they work on me because I often don't recognize them as lies. Reading the Bible is essential, yes - but so is prayer. Prayer also has the power to cleanse, transform, and mold our minds. For in communication with God, we learn who He is. That being said, I will pray about your eyes, Shay - that perhaps God will heal them. And if not, that He will take the words you are able to read, and multiply their impact on your heart.

    Elaine - I share your excitement about seeing Scripture through new lenses (and thank you for your kind compliment). That is one of my pleasures as I read what other bloggers have to say. But it is also something that happens the more that I read God's Word. He draws out new things for me all the time. His Word truly is alive. And I'm so glad that we have His Absolute Truth to stand on - especially as we stand against the false teaching in the world today.


  13. Blessings Sharon, What a simply delightful way you have a teaching a solid Biblical or spiritual truth! I, too, love how you encourage us to know the Word and be in the Word to discern the Truth, His Truth by which to measure all else. Practical steps to follow to avoid being misled!

    I am not too good with discernment but see myself getting better as I DO learn and am in His Word constantly and consistently! I am so easily deceived yet I also am willing to question and also come against untruths!

    I, also love and AMEN this one:

    "Hang up the "telephone" of false teaching – and pick up the Bible. The message remains the same…"

    You never cease to amaze me with the direction you go as you share good practical lessons of God's Word! Yep, telephone might have made me think of gossip or not getting the version right but this tie in with 2 Peter warning us was really an excellent way to alert us to the times in which we live and the many deceptions! Bravo!
    One more Bible Pick'em of great worth!

    Thank you!
    Peace and JOY,

  14. Peggy - You are such a dear friend, and thank you so much for your kind comments. I think I'm getting better at discernment - it seems that the closer I get to the Lord, and the more I get to know Him, the easier it is to weed out what's false. I'm so glad you liked this! It's a good reminder to me, too - stay alert!!



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!