And through covetousness will they with feigned words make merchandise of you: – 2 Peter 2:3 (KJV)
What is this Scripture talking about? Who is this Scripture talking about? What is this Scripture talking about? Why is it important to me?
The Holy Spirit is writing to you and to me through the Apostle Peter. He just finished saying that no Scripture is of any private interpretation. While people may take Scripture out of context to their own destruction, God means what He says and says what He means. Everything God has ever said to us and ever will say to us is contained in the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Holy Word of God which we call the Bible. Scripture will always interpret Scripture.
Here is an example. Romans 10:13 says, “For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'" A private interpretation of that may lead people to think that all they have to do is to cry out the name of. That's it. No change in lifestyle. No being born again. No external evidence of internal new life. Just words from lips proclaiming an intellectual concept of salvation.
But on the last day, Matthew 7:21-23 says many will cry out, Lord! Lord! Didn't we? Didn't we do all these things in your name? To these Jesus will reply, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” This Scripture gives us further understanding of Romans 10:13. There is something more to salvation than just “calling on” the name of Jesus. Matthew 7:21-23 says that we must know Jesus intimately and repent of all sin, which is to repent of all lawlessness.
There are those who do not desire to turn away from their sin. There are those who desire more to have a large following, to be popular, to be heard, more than they desire for God and His Word to be glorified. They attend churches where sin is not a matter of life and death. They build churches where Jesus is a way, but not the only way. They enjoy the comfort of men's words more than the conviction of God's Word. They show forth a form of godliness, but they deny the power of God that enables people to live holy and righteous in this life.
Such people feign words. They form their own doctrines from their own personal interpretation of God's Word. They have an appearance of loving God and serving Him, but they are in error. They walk according to their own desires. They are always learning new things, but never coming to a mature and intimate knowledge of Jesus the Christ in their hearts.
They build up large followings that come after them and their own teachings more than God and His Word. They allow people to feel good about themselves in their sin. They don't take a strong stand for righteousness and holiness. They don't reprove, rebuke, instruct and discipline in love. They unite people in common sin, rather than in common deliverance from sin.
They make merchandise of you. This doesn't always mean they are after your money. They don't make merchandise of money; they make merchandise of you. Their inner boast is not in the unseen things God has built in the hearts and souls of people by His Word and His Holy Spirit. Rather their inner boast is in what they have done with God's Word, what they have built in God's Kingdom, how they have done such a better job than the other guy.
You can know them by their conregations. Very often, members of their congregations speak more of these false pastors than they do of Jesus. They speak more about all the visible, external works of their church body than they do speak of the unseen and eternal glories of God. They speak more of how smart, revelatory, down to earth, fluent, wise, easy-going, loving, kind, relevant, modern, etc. their leader is than they do speak about how glorious Jesus is in His righteousness and holiness.
Such people are lead astray. Though they regularly attend or build small or large churches, though they read the Bible, though they pray, they have missed the mark. They have twisted the Word to their own liking and their own destruction. They have not allowed Scripture to interpret Scripture, but rather have quenched the Holy Spirit by saying they just can't have an understanding of God's Word that is solid enough on which to take a stand. They have chosen to compromise with men for the sake of comfort and ease rather than to stand firmly on the Scriptures of God, rightly divided by the student who has worked diligently to show his or her self approved.
Many such people think they know the Lord Jesus, but they disobey His Word. They practice sin. They have a form of religion, but reject the Holy Spirit, the power of God. They pray but don't attend church. They do attend a church, but where the Word is compromised and the Holy Spirit is quenched. They call Jesus “Lord,” but they themselves sit on the throne of their own heart. They entertain private interpretations of the Word of God.
On the last day, far too many such people -- more than we can count – will cry out to Jesus with fervent emotion, “Lord! Lord! Didn't we?” You are just and fair! How can you not receive us? We did all these things that your Word said to do, in Your name! Jesus will turn to these and proclaim, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23)
What about you? Are you saved? Born again? Filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you allowing the Lord Jesus to set you free from sin? Are you loving Him and speaking of Him every waking moment of your life? Is He really King and Lord of your life? Or are those just titles you allow Him to have in your mind?
Time is short. Jesus is coming back soon. He is coming back for a Bride that is madly in love with Him, preparing for and telling everyone about His coming. Jesus wants you to be part of that Bride, the church of the redeemed.
Jesus is calling your name. He has something special for you today as you turn from your desires and distractions and turn to Him.
Jesus is calling your name.
What are you going to do?