1 Peter 2. 1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
A Word of Hope
False Teachers and Their Destruction
Our reading today comes from the second letter of Simon Peter, the same Peter to whom Jesus would say, “and you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18).
In his first letter Peter is concerned with this same mission, building the church and instructs on how to deal with persecution from outside the church. In this second letter, however, Peter is concerned with false teachers that have shown up in the church and are causing division, destruction, and false doctrine.
Peter has a “pastor’s heart”, and it is something that I too hope to be known for. I take seriously the call that was placed upon my heart when I was 16 years of age and a role, I have faithfully served for more than 30 years.
It is my belief that the church always has to be wary of “false teachers” and that our “modern-day” experience of Christianity has succumbed to many who have corrupted the word of God for the word of the world, prosperity-preaching and “doctrine” that leaves out the ways of love, encouragement, compassion, kindness and peace. All the positives of life.
These themes, central to the Gospel of Jesus, are to be protected and lived out in our lives. They are the hallmarks of Christianity and are evidenced by the followers of Christ and are what called people to call Jesus, the Christ, Messiah, Savior, Good Teacher. It was what compelled the disciples to leave their nets, put down their lives, their livelihood and follow Jesus. And it was the foundations that Jesus would call the “rock” and upon which the church was build and that Peter was commissioned to “protect” and that he addresses in these two letters.
Today is “Mischief Night”, – a night that is also known as Devil’s night, Gate Night, Goosey Night, Cabbage Night, and mat Night. It is a night when teenagers and children engage in pranks and general mischief, switching shop signs, overturning water tubs and other mischievous happenings.
While it might seem that mischievousness is innocent enough, it can cause harm and confusion. Perhaps you are a witness to this yourself!
We claim Christ through faith, hope and love, as the apostle Paul would say (1Cor 13) and hold true to our “rock”, our foundation, our Christ who invites us to embrace the road less traveled and reject false doctrine that can be so evident today.
God, the same yesterday, today and forever, call us today to examine the false doctrine we may have allowed to become a part of our faith experience and return to the ways of Jesus today.
Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas
Senior Pastor Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ