Posted by Peter Thompson

II Peter 2:4-22

Never Turn Back

INTRODUCTION:  In this section Peter is talking to saved people.  In chapter one v. 1 it states that this letter is to those “of like precious faith with us.”  He has just finished talking about groups of people that would come in and try to turn them to untruth even denying Jesus.  He says that they will be judged at the end of v. 3 and now he begins to discuss the judgment on the unsaved of the world.  In this section Peter is trying to convince these Christians that they want nothing to do with the world.  He’s trying to convince them to stay the course.  He’s trying to convince them to stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ and continue to grow in the knowledge of God by adding spiritual things to their faith.  In that process, they should never go back to being like they were before they were saved.  They should never go back to the way the unsaved world lives.  So we find here four reasons to stay the course and never go back to living like the unsaved world.

  1. BECAUSE GOD SAVED YOU FROM THEIR JUDGEMENT (VS. 4-9)
  2. Peter says that God did not spare the angels that rebelled
  3. We know that there are some fallen angels that are roaming the world
  4. Satan is walking about seeking whom he may devour
  5. Apparently some of the angels that rebelled were chained up in hell to await judgment
  6. Or maybe this is a picture of what will happen in the future
  7. Either way these were the messengers and servants of God that were created to do God’s bidding
  8. They rebelled against God-they were lifted up with pride and God judged them
  9. He did not judge all of the angels, some angels are still serving Him today-only those that rebelled were judged
  10. He goes on to point to the world before the flood where the imaginations of men’s hearts was only evil continually.
  11. God came to the place with that world where He was sorry that He had even created it
  12. He sent a flood to destroy all life except the 8 members of Noah’s immediate family and two of every kind of unclean animal and seven of every kind of clean animal
  13. Noah was a “preacher of righteousness”-he was a saved man that looked forward the coming of the Messiah and preached to others about Him-he was saved from the judgment
  14. But all the ungodly world that had rejected God was destroyed
  15. Then He talks about Sodom and Gomorrha
  16. These cities were destroyed with fire and brimstone from heaven
  17. Because they were so evil
  18. Lot had been influenced by these people and “vexed (or troubled) his righteous soul” by living with them-and sharing their “ filthy conversation (or lifestyle)”
  19. But when it came time for judgment “just lot”-you see he was a saved man too, even though he wasn’t living like it
  20. God saved Lot-but judged the ungodly cities that had rejected Him
  21. Look what Peter says to sum it all up
  22. 9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:”
  23. The word temptation here is trial-He is talking about the judgment of God
  24. When we talk about the godly, we are talking about those who have been made that way by the sacrifice of Jesus
  25. Those people who are saved will escape the judgment of God, the unjust or those who reject Jesus are reserved to judgment-in other words their judgment is coming
  26. Every unjust person-every person that does not believe in Jesus and confess Him as Lord will burn for eternity in hell-burning without dying
  27. But every saved person is spared that judgment
  28. Why would you choose to go back and live like the world that is going to suffer in that way
  29. You have been saved from that, if you believed that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave
  30. If you have made Jesus the master of your life then you don’t have to go to hell
  31. That will never change-because when you believed and repented you were made righteous and you will never lose the eternal life with Christ that you have
  32. But why live like the world that is going to be judged
  33. Why return to behavior that deserves the punishment of God
  34. Instead be grateful that He saved you and live for Him with all of your life, never returning to that filthy lifestyle.
  35. BECAUSE THAT LIFESTYLE IS OPPOSED TO THE AUTHORITY OF GOD (VS. 10-17)
  36. Look what Peter goes on to say about those unsaved people
  37. 10 They walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleaness-in other words they do everything that they desire to do whether God approves or not
  38. They despise government-the Greek word for “government” actually means authority
  39. They look down on authority-they don’t want anybody to have authority over them
  40. They are “presumptuous”-which means they are bold, in this case with their sin-it is out there and they are not ashamed of it
  41. They are “self-willed”-they do whatever they want
  42. They speak evil of “dignities”-anybody that should have authority over them, they talk bad about-v. 11 Even the angels who are great in power respect these authorities that God has put in place
  43. 12 They act like brute beasts-in other words like wild animals that cannot be tamed-doing whatever their flesh wants to do
  44. They talk bad about things they do not understand-this would be the things of God
  45. They are destroying themselves
  46. 13 They count it a pleasure to riot in the day time-they don’t care if people see them commit crimes-they are proud of their crimes and commit them in broad daylight
  47. They are spots and blemishes on the perfect creation of God
  48. He says they are sporting themselves with their own deceiving-they are deceived into thinking that everything is ok and they are partying and having a good time without any thought for the consequences
  49. Feasting with the Christians-in other words they think they are just as good as the Christians-again not ashamed of what they are doing
  50. 14 They have eyes for adultery-in other words they are looking for chances to cheat on their wives and defile righteous things
  51. They cannot stop sinning it says here
  52. They are unstable, they just want more and more, they are immature cursed children
  53. 15-16 He compares them to Balaam who wanted money more than anything else-leaving the right way and following a path that was not pleasing to God-if you remember that story the stupid donkey knew better than him and rebuked him with a man’s voice-told him he was crazy to act that way
  54. 17 Wells without water-useless, clouds blown by a storm-going every which way
  55. They have a place waiting in the darkness-in hell-because they have completely rejected the authority of God in their lives
  56. Why would you, a person that has been saved and shown what the purpose of life really is, want to go back to any part of that lifestyle that is opposed to God
  57. You were created and saved to serve God
  58. He is the God of all the universe and deserves to have authority over what He created
  59. God is the boss, whether people believe it or not
  60. And you know that now, why would you go back to bucking the authority of God that you know He should have?
  61. BECAUSE THEIR GRAND WORDS ARE EMPTY (VS. 18-19)
  1. They “speak great swelling words of vanity”
  2. The idea here is that they use grand words that are empty
  3. What they say has no substance, but they say it really well and really loudly
  4. They use these grand words to try and allure people-or cause people to sin
  5. They are not satisfied to live in sin themselves, they want you to live with them in that sin
  6. It makes them feel better about themselves, especially if they can get a Christian to do it
  7. They will tempt you by pointing out what your flesh desires-your own lust
  8. They will show you things that please your senses-wantoness is sensual sin
  9. They do this to people who have clean escaped from that kind of sinful life-these are the Christians that they are trying to persuade to sin
  10. They offer liberty to that Christian in v. 19
  11. You can be free from all the rules and regulations
  12. You can be free from answering to God or your fellow Christians
  13. You can live a free life-doing whatever you want
  14. Peter points out that the truth is they are living in bondage and are trying to drag the Christian back into bondage
  15. How can somebody who is in bondage themselves give freedom to someone who is free already
  16. You see the only real freedom comes through Jesus Christ
  17. When you are saved you are freed to do what you were created to do
  18. You have a purpose in life-while those unsaved people are in bondage to sin
  19. They have to sin, they can’t help it, they are slaves
  20. They want to drag you into that slavery that you have already escaped through Jesus
  21. But all their words are empty and you should not listen to them
  22. Understand that their great words are just empty
  23. Understand that Jesus has given you real freedom
  24. Understand that when you go back to sin you are going back to the jail cell that you have already been released from
  25. Don’t ever go back!
  26. BECAUSE THAT LIFESTYLE WILL HURT THE WORK OF GOD (VS. 20-21)
  27. Peter continues to talk about being tangled up in the sin of the world that the Christian has already escaped
  28. I want you to understand here, the discussion is not about salvation
  29. You cannot spend a whole chapter talking about saved people going to live in sin
  30. God saving the righteous and judging the unjust, making a clear distinction between saved and lost
  31. And then all of a sudden say that they saved people are becoming lost people
  32. This is not about heaven or hell here, this is about how you live your life as a Christian
  33. Peter is not saying here that it would be better for you to go to hell than to go to heaven-that doesn’t even make sense
  34. He is saying that in this life, your situation will be worse after having gone back to sin, than it was when you were living in sin without the knowledge of God
  35. Now you know better, and you are rebelling, whereas before you were deceived
  36. He explains further in v. 21
  37. He says, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness”
  38. Again not hell is better than heaven right
  39. The word “better” here in the Greek is the word that means “more useful”
  40. The idea here is that it would have been more useful for them not to have known the way of righteousness
  41. Useful in what?-Useful in the work of God that they have been called to
  42. You see, when a Christian person turns to sin, it does terrible damage to the work of God
  43. The lost person looks at that Christian and says, “See God did not change them after all. This God stuff is not real!”
  44. And the usefulness of that Christian is gone
  45. On the other hand, if they had never been saved in the first place, then God is not attached to their actions and no one is led away from God by their actions
  46. It would be better or more useful if they had never been saved, than if they were saved, changed and returned to a life of sin.
  47. You hurt the work of God when you return to the sin that you were living in before you knew Jesus
  48. Sin in your life says, “God has never changed me”
  49. Sin in your life says, “The Christian life is not enough, I need more”
  50. Nobody will listen to you, because you are no different than them
  51. I cring every time I hear of another pastor that slept with the piano player
  52. Because the lost world starts laughing
  53. The lost world says “boy he really experienced a change in Jesus Christ!”
  54. And it destroys the message that I’m trying to share every day.
  55. Don’t hurt the work of God by falling back into sin!
  56. BECAUSE IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO RETURN TO THAT VOMIT AND FILTH (V. 22)
  57. In this last verse of our passage today, look at how Peter describes that old sin lifestyle
  58. It says that it happens just like the old proverb says
  59. The dog returns to its vomit
  60. That is one of the nastiest things, but it is true
  61. When a dog vomits, it smells gross, it looks gross, there is nothing appealing about vomit
  62. The dog walks away from that nasty filth for a minute or two
  63. But then that dog walks right back to it, starts to smell it and you know what they start to eat it
  64. There was some reason that came up in the first place
  65. It is not good for the dog, but the dog will eat that nastiness right back up if somebody doesn’t stop it
  66. He goes on to talk about pigs
  67. You can take a pig out of the mud
  68. You can wash it down completely to where it is spotless clean
  69. But that pigs nature is to be in the mud
  70. And the pig will always go back into the mud sooner or later and all the work that was done to clean it is for nothing
  71. That is what it is like when you go back to living in sin after you are saved
  72. It doesn’t make any since
  73. It is nasty, it is bad for you and everyone around you
  74. You know Jesus now, and you know how fowl sin is and it should smell gross to you
  75. But when you go back you are eating the vomit
  76. When you go back you are jumping back in the mud after you have been cleaned
  77. All the work God did to clean you and get you away from the vomit is for nothing
  78. You have gone right back to that nasty filth-and that is not the way it should be
  79. Don’t go back to that disgusting place every again!

CONCLUSION:  God created you and saved you to bring honor and glory to Him. He saved you from judgment by the blood of Jesus.  He deserves your submission to His authority.  Though false teachers use glowing words about living the free lifestyle of the world, their words are empty and will lead you into great bondage.  Going back to the unsaved way of life will seriously hinder the work of God that you should be trying to promote.  There is absolutely no point in going back to that nasty, filthy life when you have been cleaned and made righteous.  Stand in Christ, add to your faith, and never turn back to the lifestyle of the unsaved world.