Posted by: missionventureministries | August 22, 2011

WHAT IS APOSTASY? – 2 Thessalonians 2:3

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:3 

The Bible teaches us about apostasy, and it is important for us to know what this means.  Apostasy does not refer to true believers who have eternal life and then fall away, which is a contradiction in terms.  Instead, it refers to those who profess to be believers who show that they never truly believed by later renouncing the faith. The apostle John explains in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”  

Apostasy is a very real visible fact and one we should be warned about. It is not enough, the Bible says, to make an initial profession of faith; we must bear fruit and persist by means of God’s preserving grace. Jesus said, in the parable of the soils, that it is our commitment in the face of temptation and trials that reveals true versus false faith. Some people make a profession of faith without there being any real root. “When tribulation or persecution arises… he falls away.” Jesus adds, “The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” Only the one who “bears fruit” is planted in good soil and last for salvation,
(Matthew 13:21-23).  
 

In Exodus we see a generation which fell away through unbelief and died in the wilderness, never seeing the Promised Land. These were not true believers, but they were members of Israel. They had seen the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, they had tasted the heavenly manna, they had heard the very voice of God and been delivered by Him, but they still were not believers. The warning, then, is against those who are in the church but have never yielded their hearts to the word of God. There are many like these today in the church.  The light is shining before them; God’s power is evident in changed lives and answered prayers; God’s Spirit is present where they are present. And if, in spite of that, they do not believe – as many do not – it is a dreadful thing. Like Pharaoh the hardness of heart that results, endangers their ability to repent and believe.

The Bible warns us in 1 Timothy 4:1, “but the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” And Paul tells the Thessalonians that “let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” – 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

So what are some signs of apostasy?  

Religious leaders and people: 

  • Who deny and or contradict that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Deviation from the TRUTH is surely apostasy.
  • Who deny the vital Christian doctrines such as the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, and moral absolutes as found in the Bible.
  • Who reject that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 

The sad reality is that so many people participate or join churches where: 

  • “Pastors” are more concerned with growing a church instead of preaching the truth.
  • “Pastors” don’t pray and seek God’s direction for their flock, and run things under their own power. The average Christian prays 2 minutes a day, and the average “Pastor” prays 3 minutes per day.
  • “Pastors” cave in to pressures from the church in contradiction to the word of God and vice verse; churches are caving in to “Pastors” demands. True Pastors are to stand up for God’s word, no matter what the obstacles or the cost.
  • “Pastors” fail to prepare their congregations according to God’s word and rule the church in dictatorial fashion. Instead, there should be mutual accountability through a group of elders or deacons. Pastors, religious leaders, elders and deacons have the responsibility to be knowledgeable and hold fast to sound doctrine so that they may be able to both exhort and convict those in contradiction with the Bible. (1 Timothy 3:1-7) & (Titus 5:1-9)
  • “Pastors” do not teach about hell, because the truth of the gospel is that people will face damnation.
  • Professing Christians gather teachers to themselves to make them feel good. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” – 2 Timothy 4:3. 

Apostasy is all around us in varying degrees. As Christians, we need to be very sure that we are clinging to the truth of God’s word and resisting the Emergent Church, New Age, Ecumenism and the secularism that is all around us. We need to stand firm on the word of God and never be ashamed of the truth of the Gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” – Romans 1:16. 

We need to warn people against apostasy and the need to press on in the faith, bearing fruit as branches attached to the vine. Hebrews 3:12-13 therefore urges, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving hearts, leading you to fall away from the living God. But  exhort one another every day… that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

 

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