Dogs and Hogs

 

Dogs and Hogs
II Peter 2:18-22
 
I want to point out to you in verse 18 that he begins by saying, "For when they." The word "they" ties back to the first verse of the chapter where Simon Peter has predicted that just as there were false prophets in the olden days, there would be false teachers in our day. Beginning in verse 1 and going all the way to the end of this chapter is the most severe, scathing denunciation of the false teachers in all of the Word of God.
 
Now he is coming to the climax of the entire subject. He's coming to the heart of the matter. What he's going to do now is to show us what the basic problem of the false teacher is. He's going to show us why they believe and why they behave as they do; and he's going to use this basic problem in a most unique, interesting way.
 
As you read through this chapter you will find that Simon Peter is very graphic in the words he uses to describe the false teachers. He calls them ungodly, unjust. He says that they are cursed children. Then he says in verse 12 that they are like stupid animals. Then he gets more specific at the end by naming the animals. He says that they are like dogs and they are like hogs.
 
Keep in mind that Simon Peter is a saved man. We know before Simon Peter was saved he had a tendency to curse. In fact, after he got saved, he cussed on one occasion that we recall. 
 
 
But I was thinking as I was reading down through all of the things that Simon Peter has to say about the false teachers here, what would he have called them while he was a lost man if he called them all of this now? He says these false teachers are like dogs and they are like hogs. 
 
This passage of scripture is a scripture, especially these last few verses, which has been controversial. There are some who have taught from these verses of scriptures that it is possible for a person to be saved and to be lost again, that it is possible for people to be born again and then be unborn again. 
 
Let me say to you at the very outset of this message that you never let a controversial passage of scripture overturn the very clear teachings of the Bible. The Bible makes it very clear that when we receive Jesus as our Savior we are born again. We become a member of the family of God and that is never undone.
 
In the first few verses of chapter 1 he lays before us the security of the believer and the fact that our salvation is something which God brings about. We know from these verses of scripture here that though they may appear to teach that you can lose your salvation, if we really understand them, if we really go into them clearly, we'll see that this is not what the Bible is teaching.
 
The primary emphasis of these verses is going to be on the false teachers, their nature, and their behavior. But as you move down through them you are also going to see what sin can do in the life of a person, just how bad sin can really be and how bad life can become if you've never been born again.
I want you to notice some of the basic statements he makes in these verses about false teachers that will also apply to false professors, those who say they have been saved but they've never really been saved, those whose name may be on a church roll somewhere and yet they have never really been born again and had a change of nature.
 
First of all in verse 18 I want to point out to you that he says of false teachers their
 
I. Pronouncements are False.
 
He says in verse 18, "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity." He's talking here about the emptiness of what they say. "Great swelling words" means exaggerated. That means overly inflated words. 
 
One paraphrase puts it this way. He says that they are loud mouths full of hot air. He's saying that the false teachers may sound very verbose. They may sound very impressive. They may use big swelling words. They may have powers of oratory and spell binding speech. Yet, Simon Peter says that their words are empty. Their words are just over blown words that have no substance and no meaning and they do not contain truth.
 
It's like cotton candy. You know how sweet cotton candy tastes in your mouth. But once you got it in your mouth and after you taste that initial sweetness, there is no substance. There is nothing left.
 
He says that their words are empty. You hear them on television. They make boastful claims.
You hear them as they speak swelling words, and yet there is no real truth in the words that they speak.
 
This is in contrast, of course, to the words of the Lord Jesus. As I was thinking about the words of the false teachers, I was thinking on the other hand about the words of Jesus and the things that Jesus had to say.
 
One of the things I love about Jesus is the Bible says that the common people heard Him gladly. They could understand Jesus. Jesus made sense. Jesus spoke truth. He said on one occasion, "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and life." These are the words of Jesus, common and ordinary words. They were profound and yet they could be understood.
 
Of course, there are depths of the Christian faith and there are times when we have to go into terminology that may not be familiar with the average person. I don't think we need to dumb down the gospel in our day and take away its meaning and its substance. But it is a great compliment to me when somebody says, “I like to hear you preach because I can understand what you say." 
 
I think you should put it down where the children can understand it. If I can preach in such a way that the boys and girls can understand, then probably the Ph.D.'s in the congregation will pretty much get most of it as well.
 
He says that their pronouncements are false. They are empty words. But it is more serious than this. 
 
 
He indicates also that their words are not only empty, they don't have real meaning, but their words are also evil.
 
He says in verse 18, "They allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much debauchery, those that were clean escaped," that is, those who have just barely, recently been saved. He's saying they allure. They are out to trap people.
 
The particular word that is used here is a word that meant to bait a hook and to catch a fish. "They allure through the lusts of the flesh." He's saying that one of the things the false prophets do in their pronouncements is try to prey, to hook and beguile and to catch those who are not mature in the faith, those who have just recently come to know the Lord. They have been saved so recently that they have escaped from sinful vices, but they are not yet confirmed in Christian virtues.
 
That just brings to my attention today the importance of following through on young converts. If you lead somebody to the Lord, then that's not the end of what you do. What you do is you lead them to the Lord and then you get into a follow-up program and help them grow and mature. 
 
That's why every young convert needs to be in a Sunday School class. That's why every young convert needs to have some other believer to mentor them and train them and to help them grow in the grace. They need to be confirmed now in Christian virtues because they are very, very susceptible to the teachings, to the pronouncements of the false teachers.
 
Notice what the false teacher says to the young convert. The false teacher uses the lusts of the flesh, those appeals, those desires of our old fallen nature. By the way, you still have it after you get saved. 
 
The lusts of the flesh are still very much there in that old nature, and they are appealing and they are working on us and they are trying to pull us back to the old world. The false teacher comes along and here's what the false teacher pronounces. The false teacher says, "You now have a saved soul. You're going to heaven when you die. So it doesn't really matter what you do with your body. Now that you are saved, don't worry about all that legalism. Don't worry about all those things you are not supposed to do. Don't pay attention to those preachers who preach about sin. You can now live any way you want to. You're saved. Nothing can take that away from you. You're going to heaven when you die." 
 
The false pronouncements of the false teachers.
 
Then notice in verse 19 that he moves a step forward and says their
 
II. Promises are False.
 
This is very interesting. It says, "While they," talking about the false teachers again, "promise them," that is, this recently converted person, this new in the faith person, "liberty."
 
Here is the promise of the false teacher. The false teacher says, "Now that you are saved, you have liberty." They talk about the doctrine of Christian liberty. 
That's one of the greatest doctrines in all of the Bible. The Bible says that when you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, He sets you free.
 
I think about what Jesus said in Luke 4, verse 18. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Jesus sets the captive free. Jesus sets you free from the bondage of sin.
 
Jesus said in John 8, verses 32 and 36, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He said in verse 36, "If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
 
But it is possible to misunderstand what Christian freedom really is. This is where the false teacher makes promises relative to Christian freedom. A lot of people think that being free means that you are free to do as you please, that it really doesn't matter what you do anymore, you are free in Jesus Christ.
 
Here's the way the false teacher and the false churches go about it. They say, "At the Trinity Baptist Church they are too strict. That preacher preaches such straight truth and such straight gospel. But you don't have to be that restricted. You are free in Jesus now. You are saved. You can do as you please. Live as you like. You don't have to follow that restrictive lifestyle over there."
 
They misunderstand what Christian liberty is really all about.
In Galatians 5 I want to show you something quite interesting. Verse 1 is a great verse that we love and we like to quote. The false teacher likes to quote this verse. 
 
Did you know that the devil can quote the scripture to his choosing? Just because somebody has a Bible in their hand doesn't mean that they are necessarily a true preacher. You had better check me out when you get home and see if I'm consistent with the teachings of the Bible.
 
We love Galatians 5, verse 1, and the false teacher likes to give it to the young convert. It says, "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." They like that. "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free." 
 
But they don't follow through and quote verse 13. Verse 13 says, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh." He's saying, "Don't abuse liberty." 
 
Here's the way the false teacher does it and the false professor teaches it. Here's the way the false possessor teaches it. He says, "You are free in the Lord. Do as you please." He takes liberty and uses it as a crank to start up sin again. He uses liberty as an excuse for the flesh again.
 
There's a difference between liberty and license. Liberty is one thing. License is another thing. There are some people today who are teaching license. "Do any old way you want to do. Act just like you want to act. You are free in Jesus. 
Don't let anybody put a guilt trip on you. Do as you please. Have it your way. If it feels good, do it. Everything's alright."
 
But that's a misunderstanding of what liberty really is. Liberty is not the freedom to do as you please. Liberty is the freedom to do as Jesus pleases.
 
Listen to this statement very carefully. This is important. There is a bondage which is liberty, and there is a liberty which is bondage. I want to say it again. There is a bondage which is liberty. There is a liberty which is bondage. 
 
Christian liberty is not that you are free to do as you please. You are now free to do as Jesus pleases. When you come to Christ as your Savior, you also come to Him as the Lord of your life. He is the Lord of your life. You have committed your life to Him to do His will.
 
You say, "That's awful, preacher. Don't tell me I've got to do the will of God." Most of us have the idea the doing the will of God is kind of like taking medicine. It might be good for you, but it is an awful experience.   
 
There are a lot of people today who think it is restrictive to do the will of God, how restrictive to surrender to the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, He sets you free to be what God designed and what God intends for you to be, and the most joyful and the most liberated life you will ever live is a life doing the will of God because that's God's special plan and purpose for your life.
 
Let me ask you a question. When is a railroad car most free? Is a railroad car most free when it's on the track or when it's off the track? You say, "That railroad car is free if it could go just wherever it wanted to go." There's destruction ahead. But that railroad car was designed to be on a track, and the railroad car is most free when it on the track for which it is designed.
 
Take a piano. When is a piano player most free? When the piano player says, "I'll just hit any note I want." Or when they are restricted to the rudiments, the rules of music? Do you see what I'm saying?
 
When are you most free? You are most free when you fit the pattern for which you are designed. The false teacher promises a liberty which is bondage.
 
He says in verse 19 that they promise others liberty, but he says, "They themselves are the servants of corruption." They themselves are in the bondage of sins.
 
You read the lifestyles and the histories after they are written of some of the false teachers, and you will discover that many of these people were in tremendous bondage to sin. While they preach this "liberty" to other people, they themselves were in the bondage of sin.
 
Then he makes a very interesting statement in the last part of verse 19. "For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." He's saying that what controls you turns you into a slave. You are enslaved to whatever controls you.
 
 
Let me ask you a question? What controls you? What is it you've got to have? You are a big grown, strong man and a little old bottle of alcohol or a pack of cigarettes controls you. You're hooked and you've just got to have it.
 
Now I'm going to get real personal here. What controls you? That cup of coffee every morning? "I've just got to have my coffee!" A little cup controls you. 
 
He's saying that you've got to understand what Christian liberty is, and you've got to understand what bondage is. Jesus Christ has come to set you free. Don't let anybody tell you that means you are free to live as you please. You are free to live as God pleases.
 
Their pronouncements are false. "Great swelling words. They seek to allure through the lusts of the flesh." Their promises are false. They make promises about a liberty which is really a bondage, and they themselves are enslaved by their lusts and by their own sins. 
 
But, number three, he says their
 
III. Professions Are False
 
He's saying that they profess something which is not real. They profess something which is not genuinely true.
 
 
 
 
 
This is this controversial passage. I want you to follow it very carefully with me because I think if you will follow along and see it in the total context, you will understand very clearly what is being said in these verses of scripture. The fact that Simon Peter uses the illustration of animals, dogs and hogs, proves the point of the passage very clearly. He's talking here about the professions of the false teachers and the professions of those who claim to be saved and they have never been saved.
 
Sometime follow the use of animals in your Bible. It's a very interesting study to find the use of animals. You will find, for instance, Jesus used animals. On one occasion Jesus said this in Matthew 7, verse 6, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Jesus talked about the dogs and the hogs. Simon Peter was just repeating what the Lord had said. 
 
When you study the use of these animals in the Bible you will find very clearly that they are references to people who are unsaved. For instance, let me give you just a couple here. Philippians 3, verse 2, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." This is clearly talking about the unsaved. 
 
Revelation 22, verse 15, says, "For without," that is, outside of heaven, "are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." 
 
Saved people are never referred to as dogs or hogs. Saved people are referred to as sheep.
In I Peter 2, verse 25, it says, "For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." God's people are referred to as sheep.
 
"We are His people and the sheep of His pastures." Jesus told the parable about the shepherd who had one lost sheep, 99 in the fold, but one lost sheep; and he went out and he sought that one lost sheep and when he found it he put it up on his shoulders and carried it back to the fold. We are sheep who have been carried into the fold by the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Saved people are never called dogs and hogs. He's clearly talking now about unsaved people. I want you to notice what he says. This may help some of you in your own personal life. He makes two basic statements now about their profession. 
 
First of all, he says they reform outwardly. 
 
This is the person who claims to be saved and they've never been saved. They reform outwardly. He says in verse 20, "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world." He didn't say corruptions. 
 
In the first chapter of II Peter he says in verse 4, "By which are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Corruption is a problem on the inside. 
 
The verb form for pollution means to dye or to stain, like you would stain a piece of furniture. 
You would put a stain on the outside of that furniture. He's talking about people who reform outwardly. They escape from the pollutions, from the outward defilements of the world. In other words they cleaned up a little bit. 
 
They join the church. They are baptized. They begin to emulate the lifestyle and the standards of the other members. They live according to the standards of the church where they attend. They have escaped the pollutions, the outward stains, of the world. They have reformed themselves outwardly.
 
He says in verse 20, "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." You say, "That sounds like saved people." 
 
There are two kinds of knowledge. There's head knowledge and there is heart knowledge. I've made this statement that some people are going to miss heaven by 18 inches. They've got it up here, but they don't have it down here. There's head knowledge and there's heart knowledge.
 
The Bible says, "If thou shalt confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart." You can know about Jesus in your head and never experience Jesus in your heart. 
 
He says that they have escaped the outward defilements through a knowledge of the Lord. He's talking about the language of appearance here. They give every appearance of being saved. 
 
 
But then he says, "They are again entangled in it, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." In other words, they go to church for a while. They conform to the standards of that particular church for a while. Then the next thing you know, they are right back out there in the world. 
 
Now he says that they get entangled again. This is a very interesting word. It was a word that was used of gladiators in the Roman coliseums. The gladiators had a number of different kinds of weapons and instruments. One of the things they had was a net. They would throw a net over their opponent and would entangle their opponent in that net. He's talking about people who reform for a while. They go back out in the world, and they are entangled in the net of sin.
 
Hear me carefully. Profession does not prove possession. Let me be more specific. Profession of the faith doesn't prove possession of the faith.
 
You say, "Preacher, what about the people who join your church. Are they all saved?" I don't know. You say, "Preacher, how many members do you have?" I say, "Do you want the bragging number or who shows up?"   I'm interviewed every now about our church and its members, and I tell reporters that we've got members even the FBI couldn't locate!
 
"Preacher, are all the people that walk down the aisle making their profession of faith saved?" I don't know. "Are all those hundreds of members saved?" I don't know. "Are all your deacons saved?" I don't know. "Are all your staff members saved?" I don't know.
Here's the answer. Time will tell. Here's the difference. Profession of faith doesn't prove possession of faith, but perseverance in the faith proves possession of the faith.
 
First John 2, verse 19, says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
 
This crowd that's got their name on the church roll and they are living out here in sin, entangled by the lusts of the flesh, living in the filth of sin and they claim to be saved and they use the church as a cover for their sin, they have reformed outwardly. Many have never been born again inwardly.
 
They reform outwardly. 
 
But not only that, they return eventually
 
He says in verse 21 that it had been better for them not to have known about all of this if they turn away from the holy commandment delivered unto them. In others words, they return eventually back where they belong.
 
I want to give you some things that will help you. What's he trying to say here? Why is Peter using the example of the dog returning to its vomit? That's hard to read. Why does he use the illustration of a hog going back to the filthy hog pen? Here's why. A dog is still a dog. A hog is still a hog.
 
 
 
A dog may feel better after it empties itself of corruption, but it's still a dog. A hog may look better after you've washed it up, but it's still a hog. There has been not change of nature. Moral reformation, church membership, as good as all of these things are, they are not good unless there has been a change of nature.
 
Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son? It was about the son who went astray and he came back. Did you know that when the prodigal son came back to the father's house, the prodigal pig came with him? You do know about the prodigal pig?
 
When the prodigal son came back to the father's house the prodigal pig said, "I'll rise and go with you." The prodigal son said, "I'll rise and go to my father." The prodigal pig said, "I'll go with you." They get home and things are going good. 
 
Then several days later the prodigal pig comes to the prodigal son and says, "Hey, man, I don't like it here." "What's not to like?" "It's all these clean sheets we have to sleep on every night. I'm used to sleeping down in the mud. It's all that food on the tables in those clean plates. I'm used to getting my food down in the mud and wallowing in my food while I eat it. It's all of this fragrant perfume in the father's house. I don't like it. I like the stench of the hog pen." The prodigal pig said, "I will arise and go to my father." 
 
 
 
 
 
The prodigal pig goes lickety split back to the hog pen and the mama sow sees the pig coming and grunts a little bit and the prodigal pig jumps back in the filth and the mire of the hog pen and is perfectly happy because that's the nature of a pig.
 
Are you listening? If you are a son, sooner or later you will come to your father's house. If you are a hog, sooner or later you will return to your father's house. A dog is still a dog. A dog will always be a dog. A hog is still a hog. A hog will always be a hog. In the realm of physical nature that can't change.
 
But that's the difference between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Jesus can take dogs and hogs and by the miracle of the new birth can give a change of nature and can turn you into a sheep, into a child of God. That's what you need this morning.
 
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
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