Avoiding the Dark Side

I didn’t get the impression that Anikan Skywalker intentionally set out to become a bad guy…he just sort of veered that way by not paying attention.

I doubt that many church leaders who become abusive set out with the thought “I hope I can destroy a lot of lives”…I sort of think those patterns develop over time.

Peter is going to blast false leaders with both barrels in our study this Sunday – 2 Peter 2:12-22

Again, this is a tough passage to teach from. Matt made a comment a few weeks back about chapter two (you can read the comment here, at the bottom of my post) that really got me thinking about a different way to approach this text.

If we want to AVOID being an abusive church or abusive leaders – it would make sense that we would go the opposite direction from what Peter describes these false leaders to be like.

So…as you read this section about how these dudes are falsely representing the kingdom of God, apply the opposite pattern. I rightly represent the kingdom of God when I __________________.

I’d be interested in what you come up with.

3 responses to “Avoiding the Dark Side”

  1. My perspective at this moment may be different than a couple of days ago. I am sitting next to my elderly mother in the hosp. She is over 90 and just had a minor heart attack. She is on oxygen and we are not sure of many things. If she can hear and understand I think I would tell her the same thing that answers your question. I would speak not about how God fits in her world, but about how she fits in God’s world.

  2. I would say that we rightly represent the kingdom of God by living outward lives that reflect the inward change that has occurred in us, not by “continuing to sin so that grace can abound.” Peter portrays these false teachers as ones who had been genuinely changed by Christ. They had “escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” But they later went back to their old ways like a dog to his vomit and tried to bring all their closest friends with them to the party.

    They abused the freedom that we have in Christ. They, like many today, look up at Christ on the cross making His ultimate act of love and flippantly turn their heads and say “Oh, thanks, man” and keep on walking along as if nothing happened. Here I take pause as again we could bash the “false teachers” all day here but this illustration fits me perfectly. When I fly off the handle at work or badmouth my boss do my coworkers look at me and say there is someone whose heart is changed by Christ, I want what he has?

    My actions and especially my thoughts frequently do not reflect a transformed heart. And by this I can lead others away from Christ. How many people cite Christians’ sinful lives as the reason for their unbelief? I think one of the biggest barriers to evangelism is that too often we Christians don’t look any different from anyone else. I know that none of us will ever do this well or come close to “getting it right,” but given the love our creator has for us, the example set before us by Christ, and the power we have in the Holy Spirit we ought to be a little closer to perfect than we are. This does not mean trying our best to follow all the rules. This means constantly stopping to reflect on Christ and remembering who we are now. Then that inward person can shine through all this outer muck and better represent the Kingdom of God. If we don’t we may find ourselves looking more and more like the dudes in these verses.

  3. I think reflecting on all of this I would have to say I best represent God’s kingdom when I don’t take matters into my own hands. I also came out of one of “those places” with leaders, who I also don’t believe initially set out to “fleece the sheep”, but ultimately fell into exactly that. I worked there, in the bookkeeping department and could not help myself from questioning some extravagant spending..The leader quickly and matter of factly informed me that “it was time for him to reap”! At the time I thought, well it must be nice pocketing all our hard earned cash just because you decided it was time for you to reap and you happen to sign all the checks….Re- thinking it now I am strongly convicted of how many times I have in essence done just that. Tired of waiting on God, taking things into my own hands. Whether it be in circumstances or interpersonal relationships, there are so many decisions we face daily that we are liable to fall into self-service if we get lazy or lax in doing like Matt said above, stop CONSTANTLY to remember who we belong to… seek and reflect Him and His ways instead of giving in to our own knee jerk reactions.. We are His now, we don’t have to depend on ourselves anymore. We desperately need to tune into His Spirit within so that we don’t mirror those we are tempted to judge..

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