Posted by: missionventureministries | September 26, 2011

2 John 7-11 – WHAT IS THE BELIEVER’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE FACE OF APOSTASY?

Scripture gives us three references on this subject. The apostate the Bible talks about are not simply unbelievers, but are teachers of apostate doctrines, who propagate their destructive rejection such as denials of the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, and the second coming.

First, we read in 2 John 7-11 that the believer is not to fellowship with such an individual. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 

So if someone fits the description illustrated here, fellowship is forbidden, even to the point of not allowing the person into one’s home. 

Second, this concerns the local church. If a member is found proclaiming a destructive denial, he is to be ousted from the church as Paul stated in Galatians 1:8-9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be anathema! 

As we read in verse 9, if anyone in their church is discovered to be an apostate, he or she is to be declared anathema which means “untouchable” and they should be expelled from the church. We also find this advice in Proverbs 22:10: “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.” 

The third is where the believer is faced with a church where apostates are in control of the leadership of the church and cannot be ousted. In this case the believer’s obligation is to separate himself from apostasy. In 2 Timothy 3:5, after characterizing apostasy as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof,” Timothy is admonished from these also turn away. Timothy was urged to separate himself from such apostasy.

We also see Paul writing to the Corinthians about this: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.  “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” –  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

This is an important passage for it cautions the believer to separate himself from the apostates and not to continue to congregate with them. As we see there can be no fellowship between unrighteousness and righteousness. Believers are a part of righteousness, whereas unbelievers are part of iniquity, and there can be no fellowship between the two in the same church. 

Furthermore, there is no communion between light and darkness. Believers are of the light, but unbelievers are of the darkness. There is no common ground between the two. There can be no agreement between Christ and Satan as they have two separate areas of operation and two distinct programs. The same way, the believer is part of Christ’s program while the unbeliever is part of Satan’s. One is destined for heaven and the other is destined for hell. And there is no agreement between the temple of God and the temple of an idol. The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the unbeliever is not. Since there is no fellowship, communion or agreement in the area of worship, with an unbeliever there is an unequal yoke, therefore we are not to place ourselves in a worship situation with unbelievers. 

The command of separation involves three phases:

  • Come out from among them
  • Be separated and
  • Touch not the unclean things 

In verses 17-18 we have three promises that are given to those who comply and separate themselves:

  • I will receive you
  • I will be to you a Father and
  • You will be to me sons and daughters 

In verse 7:1 Paul concludes urging the believer, on the basis of these promises, to follow through on his separation from apostasy where necessary. 

When we study the book of Revelation we read the letters to the seven churches, the last one being written to the Laodicea or apostate church. It can hardly be denied that the majority of churches today have given in to and become a part of the apostasy. 

“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.

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