Peter warned that false prophets and teachers lead people astray. He prophesied that in the last days, the wicked would scoff at the righteous for believing that Jesus Christ would return. Peter encouraged the Saints to prepare diligently for the Savior’s Second Coming.
Write the following question on the board: Why might people choose to sin even when they know that what they are doing is wrong?
Invite students to ponder this question, and then ask a few of them to report their answers.
Explain that in 2 Peter 2 we read that the Apostle Peter warned the Saints about people who were seeking to deceive them. Invite students to look for truths as they study 2 Peter 2 that can help them recognize and avoid deceptions that lead to sin.
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 2:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Peter’s warning about who would try to deceive the Saints.
Whom did Peter warn the Saints about?
What do these false prophets and teachers teach? (Explain that “damnable heresies” [verse 1] are false and destructive teachings.)
What truth can we learn from Peter about what false teachers seek to do to us? (Help students identify a truth similar to the following: False teachers seek to deceive us. Write this truth on the board.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what false teachers teach today in order to deceive us.
“False prophets and false teachers are those who declare that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a duplicitous deceiver; they challenge the First Vision as an authentic experience. They declare that the Book of Mormon and other canonical works are not ancient records of scripture. They also attempt to redefine the nature of the Godhead, and they deny that God has given and continues to give revelation today to His ordained and sustained prophets. …
“False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships” (“Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 63, 64).
Invite students to consider times when they may have encountered teachings or messages from false teachers.
Why is it helpful to be aware of the messages and teachings of false teachers?
Summarize 2 Peter 2:4–17 by explaining that Peter gave several examples of what had happened to people who had followed false teachers in the past. Peter also gave examples of individuals who had not been influenced by false teachers. Peter then described false teachers’ wicked behavior.
Display a fishing pole and some lures or bait, or display or draw a picture of these objects on the board. (If another method of catching fish would be more familiar to your students, use objects or pictures that show that method.)
Explain that one way a fisherman catches fish is by using lures or bait to entice fish into a trap or to bite a hook. Invite students to consider how a fisherman’s techniques are like those of a false teacher.
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 2:18–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how false teachers entice Saints to follow their teachings.
How do false teachers entice and deceive Church members? (Point out that some false teachers may be sincere but have been deceived themselves.)
How are the teachings of false prophets and teachers like a fishing lure or fly?
According to verse 19, what do these false teachers promise? (“Liberty.” In other words, they teach that sin, rather than obedience to the commandments, leads to greater freedom.)
Add to the truth on the board so it reads as follows: False teachers seek to deceive us into believing that sin leads to greater liberty.
Invite students to read verse 19 again silently, looking for what happens to people who are overcome by false teachings and sin.
What happens to people who are overcome by false teachings and sin? (They become enslaved to them.)
What are some false teachings that appear to promote freedom but actually lead to bondage?
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 2:20–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter taught about those who return to sin after escaping from it.
Why do you think those who “have escaped the pollutions of the world through … Jesus Christ” (verse 20) may be tempted to return to their sinful ways?
What advice would you give to help someone remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His gospel rather than return to previous sins?
Explain that as Peter concluded his epistle he reminded the Saints of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming and taught them how to prepare for it. Summarize 2 Peter 3:1–9 by explaining that Peter taught that in the last days some people would scoff at and mock those who believed in the Second Coming.
Ask a few students to explain why they believe in the Second Coming, even though many people do not.
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 3:10–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter taught about the Second Coming. Explain that conversation in verse 11 means conduct (see 1 Timothy 4:12, footnote c) and “hasting unto” in verse 12 means awaiting something eagerly.
According to verse 10, what did Peter teach about the Second Coming?
According to verses 11–14, what counsel did Peter give the Saints to prepare them for the Second Coming? (Lead holy and godly lives, watch for and eagerly await the Second Coming, and diligently strive to be found “without spot, and blameless” [verse 14].)
Explain that the phrase “without spot, and blameless” (verse 14) means being clean from sin. Those who are clean from sin have been reconciled to God and will be found at peace with the Savior when He comes.
How would you summarize a principle Peter taught about how we can prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming? (Help students identify a principle similar to the following: We can prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming by leading godly lives and earnestly watching for His Coming. Explain that “watching” can mean we are eagerly awaiting the Savior’s Coming.)
What are some things we can do to lead godly lives as we earnestly watch for the Second Coming?
Conclude by testifying of the truths taught in 2 Peter 2–3. Invite students to seek to recognize and avoid false teachings and to prepare diligently for the Second Coming.