Sermon Manuscript . . .
Stop Judging Me–part 3
Why false teachers will be judged by God
2 Peter 2:4-10a, part 3, verses 9-10
You’ve heard the comments before, hopefully you’ve never said them–what comments? The flippant comments about Hell, like the fact that there’s a highway to Hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers. Or, I already know I’m going to Hell–at this point, it’s really go big or go home. And, welcome to Heaven, here is your harp–welcome to Hell, here is your accordion.
Or, welcome to Heaven here’s your dog–welcome to Hell here’s your . . . porcupine! Or the fellow who said, “If I died and went straight to Hell, it would take me a week to realize I wasn’t at work anymore.” We don’t like talking about it, much less thinking about it, but our Lord feels differently. Jesus says more about Hell in the gospels than anyone. So how does God describe Hell in the New Testament? In their book, What Is Hell, Morgan and Peterson succinctly summarize what the Bible teaches about Hell with five truths.
#1 HELL IS PUNISHMENT God justly punishes people as retribution for their moral crimes against Him
Hell is not even close to a big party. Jesus teaches it would be better to cut off your hand or foot, or to tear out your eye, than to use those body parts to sin and consequently suffer the just penalty of Hell.
Second Thessalonians 1:6 to 9, “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 … when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
Revelation 20:10 to 12 and 15, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11Then 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.”
Mark 9:43 to 44, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
#2 HELL IS DESTRUCTION AND DEATH It’s the ultimate way to waste your life.
Matthew 7:13 to 14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
#3 HELL IS BANISHMENT Hell is the place where God banishes rebels from his Kingdom once and for all
Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ” Matthew 25:41, ” ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’ “
#4 HELL IS A PLACE OF SUFFERING The Bible depicts Hell with images that produce fear–darkness, fire, and suffering.
DARKNESS Those in Hell are bound “hand and foot” and then thrown into “the outer darkness.” Matthew 22:13, “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “
FIRE Those in Hell are thrown “into a fiery furnace” which will burn with “unquenchable fire.” “Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). God’s judgment is “a fury of fire that will consume his adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27). Those in Hell “drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger” and are “tormented with fire and sulfur” (Revelation 14:10). They are “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
SUFFERING Nothing on Earth hurts like Hell. The severe, conscious punishment in Hell hurts physically, emotionally, and mentally. That’s why “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” God warns the wicked who are rich in James 5:3, “Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire.”
#5 HELL IS ETERNAL It lasts forever and ever–Hell never ever ends
Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” There’s no relief in sight, ever. The torment never stops.
You ask, “Chris, why are you talking about Hell?” Because the Bible does, and we are studying the Bible in 2 Peter. This chapter contains repeated descriptions of Hell. Look at chapter 2.
Second Peter 2:1, 3, 4, 9 and 17, “bringing swift destruction upon themselves . . . 3 their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep 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 . . . 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment . . . 17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.”
Destruction, punishment, day of judgment, the black darkness have been reserved. Where is your eternal reservation–Heaven or Hell? You can make a reservation. You can call ahead. But you will have to leave a deposit. And the deposit is pricey. You see the price is two lives–that’s right, two. The life of Christ on your behalf, freely offered, freely given on behalf of His children.
And though you don’t work for it, earn it, or pay for it in any manner, your reservation in Heaven does cost your life–the heart surrender of your life to Christ. Matthew 16:24 and 25, “Then Jesus said …, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.‘ “
Where is your reservation? Second Peter 2 reminds us there are some false teachers who have a reservation for Hell and its eternal, black darkness. Hell should be on our minds. Have you responded correctly to the truth of Hell? There’re evil men who, unless they repent, will get justice in Hell. They’ll be eternally punished unless they repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ. Justice is coming to evil men and women.
You have friends you love who, unless they surrender to Christ, will end up in the eternal lake of fire–so you agonize about their lost state and strategize how to share the Gospel with them. There are entire nations, deluded by the false religions of Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, plus secular humanism, who will end up in eternal Hell, separated from Christ, forever in torment. We pray God will raise up, support, then send missionaries to establish churches in those countries.
Heaven should be on our minds, but you and I must never forget the reality, the truth, the fact, and the certainty of Hell. Friends, salvation not only means you’re saved to be with Christ in Heaven, but you are also saved from the eternal punishment over your sins. If you deny Hell, there is nothing to be saved from. Or if Hell is not that bad, or a place to hang out with your buddies, then what is there to be saved from–why turn to Christ, why live for Him, why die to yourself? But Hell is real.
That is why the Scriptures are so descriptive of Hell. Hell is a place of conscious, eternal torment called everlasting punishment–“the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night; they will be tormented day and night forever and ever; For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched.” And this torment is brought about by God Himself. Matthew 8:29, “They cried out, saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?‘ ” You, God, torment us.
Then Matthew 18:34, “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.” And here in chapter 2, Peter will not let you and me dismiss the genuine horror of Hell. False teachers don’t want you to think about Hell, nor believe that most people go there. As Peter describes the nature of false teachers who are upsetting the churches, he reminds his readers that these false teachers at work in the Asia Minor region, are facing certain judgment and will spend forever in Hell, unless they repent.
Christian, are you fully thankful you’ve been rescued from a just judgment in Hell? Are you ready to share with others the truth of Hell in an attitude of love? Are you willing to share the Gospel with those who are humanly kind, nice and giving, but are still internally in rebellion to God and rejecting of Christ?
Let there be some agony in your heart, because Hell is real, friends. Judgment is coming. Judgment is certain. Heaven and Hell are realities. Peter just proved judgment will fall on false teachers, because God has been judging all along with angels, the pre-flood world population, and with Sodom and Gomorrah. 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 sentence beginning with the phrase “for if” in verse 4, running all the way through verse 8, and is summarized with a “then” in verse 9. If this has happened, then this is true. Start reading aloud in verse 4.
“But false prophets …3their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. [Now everyone] 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 greed–they’ll make up any story, state it as true to get you to give them money. Therefore, their judgment is certain.
Some believers had already suffered false teacher abuse. Marginal family members embraced their lies, the testimony of the Church was smeared. It seemed no matter what they did, false teachers were still getting rich, gaining in popularity and living grossly immoral–and all of it in the name of Christ. And since God allowed them to continue, some real believers began to doubt they’d be judged by God at all.
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–that Hell is real, that God will punish sin, that no one will escape God’s judgment. 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. God has already been judging severely, so the false teachers will be judged as well. God already demonstrated His wrath on Earth in several different ways.
Peter makes certain they know and you know God’s wrath will be poured out. These verses demonstrate 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. His just vengeance will be meted out on all who oppose Him. We know God will judge the 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
Two weeks ago we studied verse 4, that . . .
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.” Some demons went beyond the limits God had set for them and tried to stop the redemption of humankind by corrupting the human race, preventing a future Redeemer to become a man and die on behalf of men. God judged them and condemned them to a class 6 Alcatraz angel prison, called the abyss/pits.
These angels once lived in the presence of God, who sits enthroned in unapproachable light. But now they exist in darkness, locked in chains, facing eternal fiery torture. If God will judge His angels so severely, then He will certainly judge false teachers and all people who will not submit to Him as Lord and are opposed to His will. Peter continued proving God would bring judgment on all, by also stating last week . . .
Second All people at the flood were judged by God–the BREADTH of God’s wrath
Verse 5, “and 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.” Peter proves God’s willingness to judge any wicked false teacher by describing God’s judgment of the entire human race except for eight people, with the destruction of the flood. The entire human race, every single person, was thoroughly wicked–so God drowned all of them in a worldwide flood, except for righteous Noah and his family on the ark.
Third Sodom and Gomorrah were judged by God–the DEPTH of God’s wrath
Verse 6, “and 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.” God incinerated Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities of the fertile Jordan basin with fire and brimstone. Every single person, except for Lot and his daughters, died by incineration and/or asphyxiation. They died in judgment over their wickedness–and God did it as warning to all future generations to not pursue the same sins, especially the sin of Sodomy.
But God was gracious and rescued Lot and his daughters. Though Lot failed terribly as a model of godliness, he was made righteous by God and evidenced his faith by being tormented by the sins and lifestyles which surrounded him in Sodom. Verses 7 to 8, “and 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).”
God saved Lot, not because Lot was better than the Sodomites, but because God had given Lot His righteousness, by faith, and made Lot right with Him. Peter makes certain you understand Lot’s heart was changed by God by describing his struggle with the sins of Sodom–primarily homosexuality, a practice which came to be known as sodomy from the behavior of this very city.
Not long ago, practitioners of this perversion skulked down back alleys to hide their shame, since their abominations were a criminal offense. Now they march down Main Street, demanding their rights. They’ve crept into our schools, government, our courts, the media–even our pulpits. They demand recognition by the government and protection as a threatened minority. They are vocal, organized, and powerful. Politicians are afraid of them. Those who oppose them are targeted for harassment. Grace Community Church was targeted February 9th.
See verse 6, “having made them an example“–Peter says Sodom and their sin of sodomy is an example of God’s certain punishment to those who defy His laws. Don’t miss this–the use of the same word “sensual” in verses 2 and 7 proves the false teachers were seeking to introduce sodomy and worse into the Church. Their “damnable heresies” (verse 1) were intended to open the door for a general acceptance of homosexuality and other vile sin. God here holds the doom of Sodom up as a warning for all to see, especially those who would embrace a “sensual” lifestyle–meaning unrestrained sexual conduct of wantonness, licentiousness, and lasciviousness.
Peter reminds his readers, God judged them and God will judge those today who practice and preach the same things. Judgment is coming. Hell is real. God will not tolerate ungodliness or wickedness being taught as good or normal or alternatives or pleasing to God–it is not. In fact, Peter makes this clear with the conclusion of this great argument . . .
Angels, every person alive pre-flood, plus Sodom and Gomorrah–all experienced God’s wrath. Yet, Noah and Lot were rescued from that judgment and God’s wrath. So if you follow Christ and obey the apostles’ teaching, you too will be rescued from judgment. But if you follow false teachers and obey their errant teaching, you’ll experience God’s wrath. That was the #1 PAST examples of God’s judgment of the ungodly and rescuing the godly prove God will judge in verses 4 to 8. Now . . .
#2 PRESENT principles of Judgment of the ungodly and rescuing the godly, prove God will judge Verses 9 to 10a
Earlier in this paragraph, starting in verse 4, Peter began a lengthy conditional clause. Now in verses 9 and 10, he provides the conclusion–if (or since) God knew who to judge and who to rescue in the past, then He certainly knows how to do the same now and future. Verse 9, “then“–verse 4 started with “if“. Verse 9, and now the “then“. “Then 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.”
Do you believe the Lord knows what He is doing? Do you doubt His choices? What about when evil hits your children? A super liberal governor leads our state? Or an anti-biblical president is elected, or your job security disappears, or your intimate, believing friend walks away from the faith? Or a violent criminal is released from prison–do you believe God is in control, that God alone initiates or allows all things? And do you believe He’s all wise and that our Lord loves you in the midst of all of this? Do you believe the Lord knows what He’s doing?
Because verse 9 begins with that truth–“Then the Lord knows.” The verb knows is the main emphasis as Peter concludes this paragraph. It is factual knowledge, objective knowledge. The tense of knows tells the readers God knew in the past, and He continues to know now–He’s been in charge all along. He knew it was best to judge the world with a flood and right to rescue Noah. He knew it was righteous to judge Sodom and just to rescue Lot. God knows what He’s doing.
In Peter’s day, the attack was both outside and inside the Church. Outside were Nero and his henchmen–inside were the false teachers with their subtle lies. The Lord delivered Noah and Lot, reminding all believers the Lord is able to preserve His own in terrible trials. He can give them both the courage necessary to face the persecution from the outside and the conviction necessary to overcome the subversion from the inside. Christlike character and confidence in God’s Word, chapter1, will carry believers through the trial, along with the certain knowledge that God will bring judgment upon His enemies.
The Lord knows how to judge the wicked, while simultaneously preserving His own, so you have absolutely nothing to fear. Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” Verse 9, “Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation.” The word rendered temptation here in this context is not the normal usage of the term–it describes an attack with intent to destroy and refers to severe divine judgment. God knows how to rescue the godly from the attacks with the intent to destroy them.
Every one of you, all believers, are called upon to trust in the infinite wisdom, the great love and the sovereign power of their awesome, divine protector. This glad word for every saint is also accompanied by a sad word for every sinner–verse 9b, “and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.” The word for keep is used of those who are being kept under guard against the day of retribution. The word for “under punishment” tells us the people causing all of the trouble are already checked and restrained. They cannot escape. The false teachers and their followers are under punishment for the Day of Judgment. Their case has already been referred to God’s Supreme Court to be taken up on the Day of Judgment.
Judgment awaits them. It might seem like they’re getting away with their wicked behavior, but the reverse is true. At times, retribution overtakes the wicked in this life, but often they appear to get away with it. But coming punishment is certain and inescapable, because the God who never lies promises it will come. The Lord knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment. The Lord especially targets those who are the most defiant. Verse 10 says, “and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.”
With that, Peter comes full circle and again exposes the main sickness of heretics–they’re slaves of sin, and it is most manifested in those who literally run after their desires and those who look down on authority. Just like the wicked contemporaries of Noah and Lot, who were characterized by the passionate pursuit of their feelings and the unhindered pursuit of their fleshly desires–anyone who acts like them will be under the eternal punishment of God. Just like the wicked angels defied God’s authority by seeking to corrupt humanity, anyone who defies God’s authority like them will be under coming judgment.
Do not be fooled, friends–those who live in pursuit of their desires are not redeemed. Those who give themselves over to unbridled, unblushing lust, those strong desires–are not God’s children. First Corinthians 6:9 to 10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10… will inherit the kingdom of God.”
If they continue to go on living with their girlfriend or boyfriend and not repent . . . if they won’t stop having sex outside of marriage–they are not a believer, no matter how much they like Jesus, especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires. And those who live in defiance of authority are not God’s children. Ongoing, continual disobeying of your parents, your employer, your teachers, the laws of the land, your husband, your elders, your ministry leader or your government–all have eternal consequences. Romans 13:2, “Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Peter says, especially those who despise authority.
Authority means “lordship”–and in this context, points to the false teachers rejecting the sovereign lordship of Christ over their lives. They like Christ outwardly, but inwardly they will not live under His rule.
TAKE THIS HOME
Are you ready for the future? Second Thessalonians 1:6 to 10, “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.”
A It is not CRUEL to speak of HELL
It’s not mean to tell others about the eternal state of suffering for those who do not follow Christ in this life. On the contrary, telling the truth about the permanent horror of Hell is an act of love. Jesus clearly taught Hell is a state of eternal suffering. Anything that contradicts that biblical instruction cheapens what we are saved from and thus cheapens the Gospel message itself.
B It is God’s KINDNESS that leads to repentance
Romans 2:4,–tell people of Hell, but in the same breath, tell them of the kindness of God to rescue vile sinners from the punishment of Hell, by the kindness of God where He punished Christ in our place. Speak of Hell, but speak to others of the greatest kindness, the greatest love ever to occur.
C Not everyone who attends Church, is going to HEAVEN
Jesus tells us, in the Church there are wheat and tares–wheat who are real believers and tares, those who look like real believers but are not born again, not fruitful. Those who are real believers are known by their fruits and impact others for Christ.
John 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:16a, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.”
Fruit is a Christian in the Spirit speaking Christ’s words and doing Christ’s actions, directed at people for His glory. Are you seeing fruit in and through your life? Are you truly God’s child? Are you a born again believer? Are you genuinely saved?
D Grow in your TRUST of the Sovereign judge and protector
God is able to judge the unrighteous and to protect His own children. No matter what happens in your life, grow in your trust of the Lord. Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God is able to punish the defiant sinner, and at the same time protect the redeemed sinner. Trust him with whatever is happening in your life, because your Savior is sovereign, all wise, and loves you. Let’s pray.