Sermon Manuscript . . .
Stop Judging Me–part 1
Why false teachers will be judged by God, 2 Peter 2:4-10a–part 1
Are you tempted to judge others? Take the young couple who moved into a new home–their first morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside. She said, “That laundry is not very clean–she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made some comments. “Maybe she’s lazy . . . bad washing machine . . . doesn’t care about cleanliness…”
A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
Judging others is a major topic of discussion today. You’ve seen the comments, “Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on . . . Never judge someone on their past because they are no longer at that stage in their life . . . People will always have their opinions of you, despite who you are and what you are capable of . . . It’s the people who know you the least, who judge you the most . . . Do not judge me until you know me, do not underestimate me until you have challenged me, and do not talk about me until you have talked to me.” Today, we even have, “Santa, stop judging me” T-shirts–in other words, in our culture it shouldn’t matter if you have been naughty or nice.
Underneath this focus on judging is the awareness that each of us will be judged. Jesus told us this about the Holy Spirit in John 16:8, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Everyone in this room and every person on this planet knows intrinsically they will have to answer for their lives. Each of you will stand before God as judge. And friends, the judge you will have to answer to is Jesus Christ. The Savior who died for you is the judge you will answer to. Romans 2:16, “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” Second Timothy 4:1, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.”
Christ will evaluate your life, your behavior, your speech and your deeds. There is the Great White Throne Judgment–everyone will be there, but only those in the Lamb’s Book of Life, only those in Christ will pass judgment. All believers will face Christ to be evaluated for what you have done in this life. Second Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” It is a judgment for reward, but still a judgment.
In the future, after the tribulation and before the 1,000 year Kingdom, there will be a judgment. God will judge their behavior, their service, their life priority. Matthew 25:35 and 36, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Only believers called sheep, who proved they were in Christ by living out his righteous deeds, will enter into the 1,000 year rule of Christ–and all the goats who didn’t manifest that Christ was in them, the unbelievers, will be condemned to torment. Matthew 25:32 to 33 and 46, “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 46These [goats] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous [sheep] into eternal life.”
But the great judgment that awaits all of us is the final judgment, called The Great White Throne Judgment, described in Revelation 20:11, 12 and 15, where once again men and women are evaluated by their deeds. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds …15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
You know you will be evaluated, assessed, under scrutiny–you will be judged and you should be terrified, because no motive, secret, thought or private moment is overlooked. All of us want to say, “Stop judging me,” but the truth is, God is judging you–and you will answer to Him for your entire life and every aspect of your life. And friends, as a believer in the Church, we are to evaluate each other to some degree.
When Jesus says in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” He is talking about guessing people’s motives. Don’t guess the heart, don’t assume a motive. Don’t make a practice of trying to read hearts, their intentions, motivations, leanings that drive their actions–do not judge the heart. Only God can judge the heart. You don’t know what is going on internally. Don’t evaluate by appearance either. You know what the Lord said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
But Christians, and people in general, are to and can evaluate actions, fruit, words and deeds–because they are clear windows into and evidences of the heart. There was a man sinning horribly in the church at Corinth and Paul even said to them in 1 Corinthians 5:12, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? [DON’T] Do you not judge those who are within the church? [YES, YOU DO] 13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”
Act on the basis of their behavior. When you exhort a professing believer to stop using filthy profanity, you are not judging them. You are exhorting them to stop anti-bibilical, unholy, not-pleasing Christ behavior. When you exhort your single friends to stop fornicating, you are not judging them, but pleading with them to obey the Scripture and honor their Savior. The bank robber who is stopped by the police can’t say, “Stop judging me!” Evaluation of clear disobedient behavior is not judging, it is exhorting, admonishing, and encouraging obedience to the Lord, who did everything for us.
To keep believers from taking each other to court, Paul reminds the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:2 to 3, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?” With Christ, you and I will judge the angels and the world–whoa. This is to motivate us to resolve our differences, even in business, in the context of the Church through godly arbitration. It is so important the Church maintains a witness of unity that Paul says, take care of those disagreements through godly judgment.
You see, Christian, the good news for you is this–you’ve been judged already. All that is sinful, bad, weak, terrible about you–all that sin was judged on Christ on your behalf. He died for your sin–He was judged in your place. The punishment that should have fallen on you forever in Hell was fired on Him instead. All of God’s wrath for sin was poured out on Christ as your substitute. Second Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” A genuine Christian will never be judged for sin because Christ was judged and punished on our behalf.
Christians never say, “Don’t judge me”–they say, “Christ judged me!” Christians say, “I have already been judged and declared innocent by God through Christ.” Christians say, “I will lovingly evaluate your actions or words in order to encourage, correct and direct you, but I will never try to evaluate your heart or motives.” All genuine Christians know that God is the judge and that sin must be judged. Our judgments are often capricious and inconsistent, but God’s judgments are always perfect, just and consistently the same. The punishments may be made less or more severe, but God’s judgment is perfect.
And friends, today in our study of 2 Peter, the great apostle reminds us the false teachers who are harassing the churches in Turkey will certainly be judged and their punishment for deceiving God’s people, misleading believers, corrupting make-believers, modeling impurity, justifying gross immorality and distorting God’s truth will be heinous. You and I need this passage in order to–
Truly celebrate the magnitude of what Christ has done for you in delivering you
Understand the difficult reality that God will not overlook sin
Remember you will face judgment of reward for what you’ve done with your life
Embrace the truth that all those without Christ will be judged, leading to torment
Be comforted by the reality that an exceptionally evil life, even one that affected you, will receive an exceptionally severe eternal punishment in Hell–there will be justice
Be motivated to share the Gospel with those who are humanly kind, nice and giving, but will still suffer torment in Hell because of their sinful, internal rebellion to God
God will judge false teachers, because God is the judge who’s already been judging. Turn to 2 Peter 2:1 to 10a and read what God has to say about these sneaky evil men. As you do, notice the conditional phrase, “for if,” which begins in verse 4 and runs all the way through verse 8 and is summarized with a “then” in verse 9–“If” this has happened, “then” this is true. Let’s read aloud verses 1 to 10a.
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.”
Peter has already alerted believers in verse 1–false teachers are among us. They teach damnable heresies and will not submit to Christ’s lordship. Verse 2, they live immorally and are a horrible testimony for the truth of God’s Word. And verse 3, they are driven by money. They’ll make up any story and state it as true, to get you to give them money. Therefore, their judgment is certain. Notice the last line of verse 3, “their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” This leads Peter to prove their judgment will come.
So in verses 4 to 10a, Peter continues his denouncement of the wicked false teachers by pointing to three familiar examples of God’s judgment from the book of Genesis. Some believers had suffered under the damage of false teachers. Marginal family members embraced their lies, the testimony of the Church was damaged–it seemed no matter what they did, false teachers continued unhindered in the community. Some false teachers were actually getting rich–gaining in popularity and living grossly immoral, all in the name of Christ. And because they were not stopped, some real believers started to doubt they would be judged by God at all.
Quite the contrary, Peter makes cetain they know God’s wrath will be poured out on these heretics. In fact, John MacArthur explains with these examples–Peter exposes the height of God’s wrath with the angels, the breadth of God’s wrath with the flood, and the depth of God’s wrath with Sodom and Gomorrah. There are no creatures too lofty, too numerous or too base to escape God’s judgment. His vengeance will be justly meted out on all who oppose Him. How does Peter state it? God will judge false teachers since . . .
#1 PAST examples of God’s Judgment of the ungodly and rescuing the godly PROVE God will judge Verses 4 to 8
Verse 4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.” And verse 5, “and did not spare the ancient world,” and verse 6, “and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction.”
The conditional “for if” implies uncertainty, so it’s best to translate it since–“since God did not spare the angels“. Peter is building his argument in verses 4 to 8. These three past examples of judgment and deliverance are evidence that verses 9 to 10, God will judge these false teachers and preserve His children from judgment. Peter’s first certain illustration of judgment and wrath.
First Angels were judged by God–the HEIGHT of God’s wrath
Verse 4, “For if [since] God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment“–since God did not spare the angels of Heaven when they sinned against God, human teachers who pervert God’s truth should not expect to escape His vengeance either.
Sin did not begin on Earth–it began in Heaven. Sin didn’t originate with Adam and Eve–it originated with Lucifer and his angels. There is some theological mystery here, but we do know from Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 that the highest ranking angel, Lucifer, through the sin of pride, wanted to exalt himself to a position of equality with God. Then in Revelation 12, you learn one-third of the angels joined Lucifer’s heavenly revolt, arrogantly opposed God, and were expelled from Heaven–they are now called demons. Just like our very nature was corrupted by sin, so it was with the holy angels who sinned.
The wages of sin is death, but angels cannot die–so Christ could not die for their sins. Plus, because the entire company of rebellious angels acted intentionally with a deliberate and organized rebellion against God, there is no salvation for fallen angels. Angels, like people, were responsible to honor and obey God. Those who rebelled were sentenced to eternal punishment.
But in verse 4, Peter is not referring to the angels who originally fell, since fallen angels were not immediately incarcerated in Hell, nor confined permanently, verse 4, to “pits of darkness to await their final judgment.” These are not the demons who are active in the world, pursuing Satan’s unholy purposes. These are not the ones the Church is currently at war with in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Cast out of Heaven, demons currently function on our planet and beyond. Large numbers of these fallen angels are still free and are actively engaged in evil workings. These mighty beings are organized and have a hierarchical structure with Satan as their head. They work ceaselessly to hinder God’s redemptive purposes and they harbor special malice toward the Jewish people and the Church. When the Lord returns, according to Revelation 20, all the demons (along with Satan) will be bound during Christ’s millennial reign and eventually cast into the lake of fire.
When Peter says in verse 4, “Cast them into hell,” that phrase is a single word, used only here in the New Testament, is derived from Tartarus, which in Greek mythology identified a subterranean abyss even lower than Hades (Hell). Tartarus came to refer to the abode of the most wicked spirits, where the worst rebels and criminals received the severest divine punishment.
Just like Jesus, when He used the term gehenna (which is the name of Jerusalem’s garbage dump, where fires burned continuously) to illustrate the inextinguishable torments of eternal anguish–now here in verse 4, Peter uses a familiar word from popular Greek thought to designate Hell. Peter was confident his readers understood exactly what he meant, since he offered them no additional explanation of the term. In addition, in verse 4, Peter describes this demonic incarceration by saying that God committed the fallen angels to pits of darkness. Committed means to turn over for imprisonment. Pits of darkness is the best translation, even though some ancient manuscripts read chains.
Whether it’s pits or chains, it refers to a loss of freedom in a place of confinement–a fate that all demons feared. Remember what they said to Christ in Luke 8:31, “They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.” Those who were sent to the abyss–those pits were reserved for judgment, were like guilty prisoners awaiting final sentencing and execution at the last day.
So who are the fallen angels Peter is talking about, and what did they do to deserve such severe imprisonment? Peter doesn’t say, but thankfully Jude 6 to 7 does. “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”
The demons who “didn’t keep their own domain,” describes demons who moved out of their proper sphere of existence and behavior–“their proper abode.” Jude 6 is referring to Genesis 6:1 to 4, where certain fallen angels possessed mortal men and then cohabited with women. This atrocious demonic transgression was a clear violation of the boundaries God had set for them.
Jude 7 compares their “gross immorality” to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, who “went after strange flesh” (which describes the perverted practice of homosexuality which God wholly condemns). These are the same jailed demons Jesus announced His victory to after His death and before His resurrection, which Peter told us about in his first letter–look there. First Peter 3:19, “In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.” But who are these angelic spirits and why are they in prison?
Peter gives us a clue. Don’t miss the obvious in 1 Peter 3:20, “Who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark.” Peter is clear–these demonic spirits were involved in disobedience during the time of Noah, before the worldwide flood. Peter is being direct–he is referring to Genesis 6. Turn back to Genesis 6 to read about these wicked angels, who are jailed in a special place. Moses writes this prior to the flood and as a partial explanation for the flood.
“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
This scene is so depraved–when God saw it, “He was grieved in His heart.” There is some evil influence or evil interaction between evil spirits and human women at this time before the flood. In these verses, the sons of God are compared to the daughters of men. If they were human, they’d be called the sons of men. The phrase, “sons of God” always refer to angels in the Old Testament. The contrast here is between supernatural beings and women–not Seth-ites, nobles, or kings, as some say. These are heavenly spirits being contrasted with earthly women. The oldest Jewish and Early Church views of this passage is that the sons of God are demons, fallen angels–they possessed men. And these wicked spirits filling and controlling men were drawn to human females, whom they saw as beautiful in some perverse and lascivious way.
How can spirit beings marry women? Especially when Jesus said in Mark 12:25, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” But it does seem possible if you remember–demons can dwell, possess and control human bodies as they have done for thousands of years. If the children were human, there was a pervasive evil influence on them. If the offspring were a corruption of human and demon, with some sort of DNA manipulation–either way, life had became so wicked, this demon influence was welcomed. Some believe the Naphilim were some sort of demon-human offspring that corrupted the entire human race, except for Noah and his family, necessitating the flood.
Commentator John Phillips believes the Nephilim are explained by human-demon offspring: the “giants” were the Nephilim, the progeny of fallen angels (via men) with human women. The name “Nephilim” means “fallen ones.” They were people of giant size, strength, inventiveness, and iniquity. They were superhuman and abnormal. Their destruction was necessary for the continuation of the human race. By the time of Noah, they had contaminated the whole world. The Nephilim were also known as Anakim (Numbers 13:33) and Rephaim, Emim, Horim, and Zamzummim (from Deuteronomy 2:10, 20 to 21).
These giants appeared after the flood too–demons tried again, but after the flood the earth’s climate and atmospheric changes would not sustain them. Regardless, the human race was corrupted and wicked and it was brought about by these demons who crossed a line. Is that certain? It is if you believe the Bible, because this same incident is described at least four times, in Genesis 6, Jude 6, 1 Peter 3, and our passage today, 2 Peter 2:4.
Again, Jude 6 says, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” The fallen angels were judged and sent to the pit, and their distorted offspring, were wiped out by the universal flood. The demons were not drowned–demons can’t die. So they were incarcerated instead. They are, 1 Peter 3:19, now in prison.
Again, the Greeks called this jail Tartarus–and that’s the word Peter uses, Tartarus. Not the sauce you put on fish, but the Alcatraz of the spirit world–the class 5 prison for demons. It’s not Hades, nor the final lake of fire, Hell. But a kind of death-row holding cell for the worst demons, called the pit or abyss. There they wait until the final day of judgment, when they will be cast with Satan into the lake of fire, the place originally created for the devil and his demons.
Second Peter 2:4 calls this prison for these really bad demons, who messed with the human race, the pits of darkness. Second Peter 2:4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.” Most believe the same prison is also described in Revelation 9:1 to 2, “I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.” What came out of that pit were creatures who tormented men for five months during the Tribulation.
And Revelation 9:11 tells us Satan is their king. “They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.” So 1 Peter is telling us the Lord proclaimed His triumph over Satan, sin, death and Hell, to the very worst of demons, who disobeyed God in the worst manner in the days of Noah before the flood.
Why would demons do this? They hate God, they hate mankind, and they hate the promise of salvation first described in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” This is the proto-evangelium, the first Gospel. The coming seed of the woman (a hint to the virgin birth, since women don’t have seed) will bring salvation. Adam and Eve believed this promise–they believed an offspring of Eve would eventually destroy, or crush the head, the works of the devil. They believed it so much, they named one of their sons seed–Seth means seed.
The fallen angels’ long effort to demonize people, hinder the redemptive purpose of God and prevent the seed of the woman from crushing Satan’s head was ultimately foiled at the cross of Jesus Christ. He was the offspring hoped for–He crushed the enemy’s head. Those wicked spirits were sent to the abyss because they overstepped the boundaries of God’s tolerance–they filled the earth with their wretchedness, to such an extent that not even after 120 years of Noah’s preaching did anyone except his own family repent, believe in God and escape God’s judgment on the ark,
Now Peter’s primary purpose in verse 4 was not to get lost in the details of this account of fallen angels, since his readers were already familiar with it. Instead, Peter used this illustration to emphasize the main thrust of his argument–God severely judges all those who oppose Him and His Word. Like those angels, rebellious false teachers will certainly and severely face divine wrath.
Imagine–these fallen angels once lived in the splendor of joy and blazing glory where God sits enthroned in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). Now they cower in grim darkness where they’re locked up in chains, under guilt, facing the terror of judgment and eternal fiery torture (Hebrews 10:27). If God will judge His angels so severely, then He will certainly judge false teachers and all people who are opposed to His will. Yea, but that is only one illustration of judgment–so Peter says come back next week to hear more of the wrath and judgment of God.
TAKE THIS HOME
1 God’s WRATH is revealed from Heaven against ungodliness
Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Do not think God is inactive. Do not think that God is only gracious in our day and age. God is currently judging this world by giving people over to their sin–He is punishing sin with the corruption and consequences of sin itself.
2 Nice people who continue to reject Christ are STORING up wrath
Describing nice, moral, religious people, who do not submit to Christ, Romans 2:5 says, because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are “storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” You will not escape judgment by coming to church or being nice. You must turn from your sin and with your entire life, depend in faith on Christ.
3 God will judge everyone, and those in Christ will be RESCUED
Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Only through Christ can you escape God’s righteous judgment. Cry out to Christ to awaken your heart or today thank Christ for accepting your judgment and bearing your punishment.
4 Those in Christ will be judged for REWARD
Second Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” What you do with your life, Christian, still matters. You are now Christ’s slave, free for the first time to obey Him and please Him. You have been freed from sin to serve Christ–but what are you doing with your life? What are you doing in the Spirit and for His glory in the Church which will last for eternity, which will be rewarded? Let’s pray.