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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MERCHANDISE OF FALSE TEACHERS

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Did you ever think of false prophets or false teachers as merchants, and those that are misled by their errant teaching, as merchandise? It is the business of a merchant to buy and sell goods and wares for a profit. Merchandise, then, is the products or produce by which the merchant conducts his or her trade. What are these false preachers and teachers buying? They are buying their audiences -those that listen to and accept their teaching. Such false teachers are not only purchasing their audiences, but they are also selling their goods and wares to them. They are selling false doctrine. These merchants of false doctrine are full of covetousness, and are motivated by personal glory and profit.

Peter ended Chapter 1, of this epistle, by discussing prophecy, or teaching, as proclaimed by holy men of God that spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (Vs. 21). Immediately, in chapter 2, he tells us that all people that claim to be prophets are not true preachers and teachers of God's word. Some are false prophets, and false teachers. As we study the bible, we find, in all ages, men of God - true prophets, have always had to contend with evil teachers - false prophets. Wherever we find God's word, Satan is there to counter it, and contend for the souls of mankind. In biblical ages this was true, and it is just as true today. We have those that proclaim the truth from God's will, and those that, for various reasons, teach the erring doctrines of men.

Some false preachers and teachers openly stand in pulpits throughout the world and teach false doctrine which they, themselves, originated, or they teach false doctrine that was established and sanctioned by religious bodies and institutions, to further a cause contrary to the will of God. Some false preachers and teachers are not as open, but will privily, or secretly, enter the body of Christ, His church, teaching error from within. Regardless of where false doctrine is taught, from without the church or from within, it is said of the false preachers and teachers, that many will follow their pernicious ways,the ways that lead to destruction, and are spiritually fatal. Because they claim to be Christians, but yet teach error, these false teachers cause the body of Christ, and its message of salvation, the way of truth, to be evil spoken of.

Paul said this about false teachers: For they that are such serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18). He told the Roman brethren to mark them;toidentify them, challenge them, and make them known to all members of the body of Christ), and avoid them;both their audiences as well as the false doctrine they are teaching. Paul warned the Ephesian Christians about false teachers, saying that they lie in wait to deceive by using slight, (NKJV says trickery), and cunning craftiness (Eph. 4:14).

Christian, be on guard; be watchful; beware of false teachers. Read and study the passages used in this lesson as well as many other scriptures, which warn against those that teach human-devised doctrine instead of the pure word of God. Such false teachers are motivated by a covetous desire to satisfy their own lusts. Their desires may be in the form of wealth, acclaim, or social status, all of which are attained only through creating, and continually increasing, followers that can be motivated into financially contributing toward filling their lustful desires. In order to gain such a following, it is necessary for false teachers to rely on all forms of deception. The world is full of lost souls that have been purchased by the deceit of false teachers, have accepted, or bought, the ungodly teaching of men, and have become the merchandise of false teachers. Heed the warning of Jesus Christ, Himself, when He tells us, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15).