II Peter 2

Vs. 1, “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.”  Yikes, this is not a comforting thought, but Peter does not shy away from confronting the enemies tactics.  Question: What did this look like?  If we look at Peter’s description of destructive heresies, this would indicate that there were some who were promoting division and strife.  Heresy originally meant “to make a choice,” but then it came to mean “a sect, a party.”  So basically, destructive heresy were those who were pressuring people to side with them and cause division.  Some of us are all too familiar with this when it comes to the history of our own churches.  Part of their deception was to come in with ulterior and hidden motives from the onset.  They manipulate God’s word to deceive, for their source is the father of lies, Satan.  Because of this, they produce many false Christians who only want their idea of Christianity.

Regarding application…Turning Away.  Vs. 21, “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.”  This is a grave warning.  Peter is quite blunt to let us know that those who have known who Jesus is and have experienced the church yet turn away or in worse shape than if they had never known.  Like a dog who returns to its vomit, people would disgustingly turn back to the world (vs. 22).  Brothers and sisters, this should not be.  We should not be so quick to assume that everyone in the church has the mind of God.  That is why we should be discerning.  Remember Jesus’ exhortation, “be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).

Hosea 14

Vs. 9, “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”  God is going to allow the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to conquer their land.  But, the ways of the LORD are right.  God is calling Israel through His prophet Hosea to repent.  It is a message that is a common denominator throughout Scripture.  When we ask for forgiveness and repent, God hears us (vs. 2).  You see, there is miracle going on that is unseen.  The miracle of God’s grace to an undeserving people (vs. 4-8).  We are to be discerning and choose wisely the ways of the Lord (vs. 9)

Regarding application…Free to Choose.  Vs. 4, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”  Setting aside the controversies of election vs. free will…I want us to focus on God is choosing to love us freely.  Jesus had a choice in the desert, throughout his ministry and in the garden to do the will of the Father.  God created and chose to give His love freely.  Question: What are you choosing in your life?  Repentance or sin?  Perhaps the reason we do not choose God is because we love our life on earth too much.  We think we can do a better job.  I think of all the critics out there.  We look at the mistakes of others and are quick to judge them.  Question: Why?  Because, perhaps we think we could do a better job.  We see the mistakes of Actors, celebrities, sports stars and shake our heads.  That is our pride and that is sometimes what we do with God.  We choose ourselves and think God has it all wrong.  Brothers & Sisters…Hosea is calling us to choose to walk in the ways of the righteous.  Don’t let others, the enemy or this world influence your heart.  Let us choose freely and wisely.