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Empty Words

2 Peter 2.17-22
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
The false teachers of Peter’s day were boastful. They often used bombastic, high-sounding words as a cover for their false teaching. Even today many false teachers use the same tactic to disguise the false religion that they are propagating. We must beware of teaching that mixes culture and Christianity without drawing clear lines of moral behavior. Anyone who omits teaching self-denial and loyalty to God as more important than personal pleasure may be appealing to the sinful nature. Peter is telling us to judge preachers and teachers by checking their substance and observing their moral behavior.

Do you remember the story of “Wrong Way” Riegels? He was the football player for the USC Trojans who ran a full sprint into the wrong end zone, scoring a touchdown against his own team at the 1929 Rose Bowl. We pity such a person who has erred in such a memorable way. This was a play that made it in the history books—never to be forgotten! Well Peter pities those who know God then turn away. To have the truth but follow evil is as low as life gets. If you are discouraged, tempted to quit, or running with the opposition, God wants you back. Find a Christian friend who will hear you out, pray with you, search the Scriptures and become your spiritual coach, helping you clarify truth from error. And remember the wisdom of Solomon: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3.5-8).

Pastor Jeff
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