September 4, 2020
2 Peter 1:19-2:3
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

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.

New International Version (NIV)
Prophets were preachers who started their sermons with, “Thus says the Lord.”  If you could meet any prophet who would it be?  Jonah?  Isaiah?  Elijah?  John the Baptist?  Which prophet is your favorite?  I know.  There are so many favorites from which to choose.  In college and seminary I studied the prophets with wonderful scholars. Hosea’s obedience and redeeming love for his wife came to life.  Jonah didn’t love people as much as God did.  Also, as I have read the prophets year by year, each has come to life to me in a different way.  In Jeremiah, again this summer, I have seen there were true prophets and false prophets.  The false prophets like Hananiah often defended the status quo.  Usually they were in the network of the kings of Israel.  The king paid them so they had to say what he wanted them to.  Predictably, they told him to do whatever he wanted, because after all, he was king.  Even kings need accountability, though.  The true prophets often ran afoul of the kings because their first allegiance was to God.  Some of them paid for their disagreement with their lives.

How do we discern the truthfulness of the prophet in real time?  In this second letter from Peter, he distinguishes between the true prophets and the false prophets.  In the morning if we get up early enough, we see a glow on the Eastern horizon.  This summer the mornings have been punctuated by Venus rising brightly in the sky before the sunrise. Just so, the true prophets are like a light shining until the day dawns and the morning star rises our hearts.  Prophets point us to God and lead us to truth.  These prophets spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  The books of prophecy were not composed on a whim but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

Have you ever read the book of Hananiah?  Remember he was the one who tried to silence Jeremiah.  How about Amaziah?  Have you seen his book?  He told Amos to go home and stop preaching even though Amos preached in obedience to God.  It turns out, we don’t have the books of the false prophets in our Bible.  Because their words did not come true, they were not preserved.  If the true prophets are like the sunrise, the false prophets were like the darkness after the sun sets.  Peter says that false prophets and false teachers were still around in the first century.  They were blind leading the blind.  They fleeced the flock and led them to destruction.

A friend of mine is teaching a course on Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Truett seminary on our campus.  Remember, Bonhoeffer stood up to Hitler and paid for it with his life.  Meanwhile there were preachers in Germany who went along to get along with the leader of the day.  Many were still alive after the war ended.  They may have lived a full lifetime and died of old age.  But I wonder who they were after the truth was revealed.  Nobody knows their names.  But we teach courses about the prophet Bonhoeffer.

Let the church be discerning today.  Prophets still prophesy in our day.  I know.  None of their words are being added to the Bible.  True prophets still speak God’s words.  They don’t call evil good or rationalize sinful behavior in themselves or anyone else for that matter.  They are not connected to any power but God’s.  For this reason, they may end up offending everybody because they always refuse to offend God.  False prophets are often those who are intoxicated by power and wealth.  They defend evil and call it good if it keeps them in a position of prestige and power.  Jesus asked, “What will a person give in exchange for their soul?”  Good question.  I’ve always thought if you sell your soul, it might be really hard to get back.   I want to believe if I were offered power to speak a lie that I would stand for God and tell the truth.  I think about it sometimes when I see the sun rise and when I see the sun set.
Pray with me:         
Father, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, your name is to be praised.  We thank you that you know every heart.  Search us today and reveal the truth about who we are. Test us and know our anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in us and lead us in the way everlasting.   Help us to never exchange the truth for a lie.  Let our yes be yes and our no be no, regardless of what people think.  Help us to know the truth, to tell the truth and to live the truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:27-28
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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