Good morning and welcome to Friday’s podcast. My name is Alan and I have really enjoyed recording these podcasts for you. I hope that you have got as much from listening to them as I have writing them. Next week Helen is on podcast duty. Do listen in and hear what she has carefully crafted to help us in our walk with Jesus.
It has been quite a week of Bible passages. This hasn’t been a ‘light’ week. Monday and Tuesday we looked at two aspects of the ‘unholy trinity’: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Wednesday and Thursday have been a bit of a break whilst we have considered Peter’s mission and taken a brief look at the subject of judgment. Today I want to return and finish what we started. We will consider ‘the world’.
Today’s reading is 2 Peter 2:13-22, for now, I am going to read v17-19. Before I read it, let’s consider a little context. In yesterday’s reading, the start of chapter 2, Peter began quite a long description and warning against false prophets… today’s reading…
These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
Here, Peter is talking about people who are part of the community – who would consider themselves Christians – who are leading others astray: “by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh.” Today I want to widen that brief from a handful of interlopers to the western liberal capitalist society that we live in. In short, ‘the world’ of ‘the world the flesh and the devil’ notoriety!
That verse… verse 18 could sum up the system that we live in today:
“For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.”
For our world to function we have to buy stuff. See what happens when we enter a period of lockdown: the shops shut, pubs close and the economy goes into recession. Jobs are lost and the whole system starts to wobble.
So we need to buy stuff!
So they mouth empty boastful words, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people…
Through the last century, with the growing understanding of psychology and the inner workings of the mind, advertising has changed from telling us about the attributes and qualities of an item you need… “buy our soap, it’s really soapy and cleans better than their soap” to tapping into our inner desires. We are sold deodorant on the basis of our attractiveness to the opposite sex. We are sold cars, not on how good the car is but how it makes us feel. In many ways it is style over substance.
And it is not only advertising that affects us. Remember Tuesday’s discussion about our sinful nature? Our normal way of life has shifted from one of self restraint to indulging our desires.
What was once taboo is now presented as the normal, as an acceptable way to live.
I remember watching the sitcom Friends… the first time around…! I remember the episode when the boys’ secret stash of porn was discovered. It was fun, it was a laugh… it was presented as normal, acceptable… and yet pornography has replaced money issues as the number 1 cause of marriage breakdown in our nation. It is a scourge on our society.
This is what the world does, it takes what is harmful and makes it acceptable. It shapes our thinking and slowly, subtly leads us away from Jesus, his way, the truth, and God’s abundant life.
John Mark Comer puts it like this: we are plagued by deceptive ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalised in a sinful society.
I’ll say that again.
Deceptive ideas (about what’s good, acceptable, healthy) that play to disordered desires (what we want, what we desire which is out of whack with God’s best for us) normalised in a sinful society (everyone else is doing it so why can’t we!?)
The passage goes on to say…
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
This is why Jesus came… he came to bring us freedom… to save us from the world, the flesh and the devil.
He is the way, the truth and the life…
Freedom comes when we follow Jesus… when we willingly give up our own way to follow his. We choose to become obedient to him. Literally to sit under his teaching and become subject to him.
Part of following Jesus is developing self control and self discipline. The ability to say no to things that we do not want to do, and the ability to do what we don’t want to do…
This takes effort and application, we need to be accountable and have the help of friends and we need the enabling power of the spirit – self control being one of the fruits…
Father, wake us up to the broken and defective nature of this world. Reveal its agenda and unmask its motives. Let your word inform what we hold to be good and right and true. Father, where we are struggling, help us to put into practice your instruction to repent and believe. Help us to be open and honest with our closest friends and follow your path to true freedom. Amen.
BIBLE READING: 2 Peter 2:13-22 (NIV)
They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed – an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey – an animal without speech – who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity – for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’ If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.’