Posted by: missionventureministries | August 16, 2018

THE AGE OF APOSTASY – 1 Timothy 4:1

Apostasy means the abandonment of a previous loyalty; it is a conscious defection, in biblical terms it is an act of refusing to continue to obey God’s Word. 

Throughout the history of the Church, we have seen a continual departure of people and churches from the faith of the apostles. As incredibly tragic as this has been, it should not surprise us because Paul warned: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).  

Shortly after our Lord began building His Church, the apostle John records one of the first occurrences of apostasy. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). Since then, many other professing Christians, churches, denominations, and seminaries, who once upheld the truth and authority of God’s Word, have drifted into apostasy. One of the interesting characteristics of apostasy is that it does not happen overnight and actually develops over a period of time. It has however steadily increased at an alarming pace in the last 120 years.  

Let us focus on some biblical signs that clearly show that apostasy is taking place. 

FirstGod’s word is neglected as the supreme authority of our faith. Man’s words and wisdom become as important as God’s Word. People start following “Christian” personalities instead of the Word of God. Religious leaders discard the Lord’s blue print for building His church and create their own strategy. The power of the Gospel is weakened and is being compromised by religious leaders who are more concerned with growing a church and gaining a larger following than preaching the truth. Biblical evangelism is replaced by man’s methods of conversion and thereby falsely leading people to believe, that because they performed some ritual, or said a prayer, that they are saved. Churches give people what they want instead of what they need. The pursuit of holiness and sanctification is neglected when God clearly says: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Biblical warnings to expose false teachers are ignored. Contenders for the faith are labeled as divisive and intolerant. Women are allowed to teach men.   

SecondScripture is twisted and distorted for self-serving agendas. Truth becomes subjective and relative. Doctrinal error and sin are tolerated by religious leaders who neglect their responsibility to protect the sheep. Satan sows his tares with little resistance. The Gospel becomes more all-embracing to attract more people. Expository preaching is replaced by appealing messages and jokes. 

Biblical ignorance of those sitting in the pews provides fertile ground for false teachers to prosper. The exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith is ignored (Jude 1:3). People honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8). “Infallible” men claim to be successors of the apostles and are embraced as brothers-in-Christ. Ungodly men creep in and turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (Jude 1:4). The defenders of the faith are ousted. 

Third – Ungodly entertainment, theatrical performances, dancing and distracting activities have replaced the Lord Jesus from the central focus of worship. Religious leaders are more interested in entertaining the goats than feeding the sheep. Ear-tickling messages give people what they want instead of what they need (2 Timothy 4:3). Sound doctrine and truth is suppressed for the sake of ecumenical “universal” unity. Hearts become hardened and the love for God grows cold (Matthew 24:12). Doctrinal error flourishes and is embraced with stubborn pride. There is no love for the truth and no discernment. People stand for nothing and fall for everything. A form of godliness exists, but it is void of power (2 Timothy 3:5). Idolatry is practiced and encouraged. Sin and immoral lifestyles are tolerated. Women are ordained as religious leaders.   

FourthTeaching is heavily influenced by doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). Jesus has been removed from the church. Deception is full-blown. Lying signs and wonders, including apparitions, are embraced as messages from the heavenly when they are indeed coming from Satan. Idolatry and prayers to the dead are encouraged. Those who proclaim the Gospel truth are condemned with anathema or put to death. Grace is turned into a license to sin. There is no longer any evidence of the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). God’s grace and forgiveness are sold for a price. The church’s lamp stand has been removed, and a certain terrifying judgment is now unavoidable.  

Perhaps you are in a church or denomination that is drifting into apostasy. Will Jesus Christ use you to contend earnestly for the faith and protect the sanctity of His Church? In these last days of growing apostasy and deception, we all need to heed the warning of Peter and encourage others to do the same: “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17).  

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 go forward in the faith, bearing fruit as branches attached to the vine. Hebrews 3:12-13 urges us to, “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.” 

Apostasy is defiance against God because it is a rebellion against truth; so will you defend the glory and honor of our great God and Savior and protect the purity of His Gospel? May God’s Word exhort and encourage us to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), because, the Bible warns us that “in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1) and many will have “the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). The best way to avoid apostasy and reject the teachings of apostates is to be reading the Word of God and studying it, because, the best way to identify the counterfeit is to know the genuine truth of the Scripture.

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