4. The Falling Away
APOSTASY BEGINS WITH THE SEED OF APATHY CONCERNING GODS WORD.
In this sermon you may very well find that the seed of the falling away, the seed known as Apostasy, is even now being nourished by yourself at some level.
At which point in your life that seed is, is for you to judge.
Has it germinated?
Has it broken ground enough to be evident to those around you watching?
Or has it already grown into a tree baring the wrong fruit?
Jesus warned of deception as one of the principal manifestations of the last days, how will you discern deception if you do not have the truth to measure it by?
You are going to find that deception is NEVER alone, but is always accompanied with just enough truth to persuade you, how will you discern if the Bible is not part of your daily diet?
The Falling of Many
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thess 2:1-8)
Paul refers here to the falling away of the Church, this is not the Rapture of the Church, but its apostasy;
Its turning away from the truth and its turning to fables.
This ‘falling away’ must be a clear and evident sign before that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
For Paul to be referring to it to the Thessalonian Church, he is clearly expecting the Church to be able to bear witness to the truth of it.
It must be able to manifest itself, it must be able to be seen, be witnessed in the last days.
Confusion often comes when looking at passages in isolation rather that in the entire context of the Bible.
Revelation chapters 2 to 3 provide a report card to seven historical Churches.
But what we find so incredible is that each of those seven Churches are representatives of Seven identifiable Church types;
I did a series on the Seven Churches of Revelation a little while ago and it is well worth your time to listen or watch on our website.
But in short; seven Churches represented seven Church types.
It also represents seven distinct periods of history in which each of these churches are made manifest, evident for the world to see.
But not only that, they are found to be in precisely the same order on the historical timeline.
In the study we did, you will also find the sequence of the Churches are exactly true if you were to take the letter from Ephesus and travel in a clockwise direction all the way around to Laodicea.
Laodicea is the last Church of Revelation and it is also the Church that has manifested itself in large measure today.
It is the Church of the falling away.
Its description is not difficult to see;
It is the Church of telling people what they want to hear.
It is the Church of prosperity.
It is the Church of amusement and entertainment
It is the Church of signs and wonders
It is the Church of self-love and iniquity; it is the Church of “do as thou wilt”
It is the Church of today.
It is the Church where the sermon takes a back seat to the music. Where 1.5 hrs is given to music, even in a secular concert type environment, but only 15-20 minutes to the sermon.
(Perhaps that’s not a bad thing for unbiblical preachers)
It’s funny how some of the pastors of these churches use the common cliché of “less is more”, giving the impression that their messages are so deep and profound, a concentrated cordial of overpowering and sound biblical doctrine, that people will gain a deeper knowledge than otherwise.
Yet what we do find in the short messages is that they are almost always a diluted, easy to listen to, non convicting, feel good sermonettes that contain little to no doctrine at all.
As we go on you might be able to judge for yourselves.
Paul says 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thess 2:1-8)
Even in the days of Paul was this “mystery of iniquity” functioning. People were early turning away from sound doctrine and turning to fables.
Paul wrote that “we are not as many with corrupt the word of God” 2 Cor 2:17
Peter writes of them as “false teachers” saying; “even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Pet 2:1-3)
He goes on to say; “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (v12-15)
And concludes saying;
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (v17-15) 2 Peter 2
I came out of a Church that had such pastors, and I know far too many are still in places that have such pastors leading them today.
It takes THESE sorts of pastors, who have long rejected the plainness of the Bible, to scatter the flock and precipitate the falling away.
“ Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. (Jer 23:1-2)
Is The Falling Away today?
Is the sheep being scattered today?
Are the people of God growing in holiness or in corruption? What is their witness of Christ to the lost?
Is the falling away a sign for today?
The Iniquity of Many
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Tim 3:1-5)
It might come as a surprise to many people that, if we are considering the proper context of this passage, we might understand with clarity that Paul was not talking about the nature of the world, but of the Church in the last days.
Paul was writing to Timothy to encourage this young Pastor and to properly prepare him for the work of the Gospel as a minister.
He tells him in the next chapter to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;”
he goes on to speak of an exchange that people will make, that we will look at in the next point.
The words Paul uses to describe the falling away are strong words, the times her refers to are described as “Perilous times” ;
The people he refers to are “Lovers of their own selves”.
In that passage that dominates this series of messages in Matthew 24, Jesus says
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matt 24:11-12)
Indeed, the love of many will be for themselves and not for Christ. They will be self-absorbed, narcissistic and filled with pride.
Is there any evidence of this today in the Church?
Is there any evidence of this today in YOU?
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Many of the youth today believe they are the center of the world. These are those who are manifesting the truth of this passage today, and it is not an accident.
There has now long been an effort of leaders in the Laodicean Church to promote the notion of a new reformation in the Churches, called the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR.
The focus of its message is to relate to young people.
It exalts the youth who already think more highly of themselves than they ought to think.
Its interesting that when God speaks of a judgement upon the people, he says
“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable. (Isaiah 3:4-5) Easy enough to remember, Isaiah 3,4,5!
The avenue of argument they employ to convince the young, is a emphasis on experience and not on the Bible, it is drawing many people through emotion and not scripture, the focus is on ‘feelings’ and not the Word of God.
It cant be on the word of God you see.
If you paid attention in the last message you would understand that the Ord of God is the great Lie Detector.
If the focus was on that, they could never deceive them.
The tool most employed is….MUSIC;
The mantra and seductive style of Music employed has the wonderful effect of dulling the mind and lowering their guard.
VIDEO: The Youth are the Focus 2:.24Min
The Music is the Tool to draw people away from the word of God for the purpose of manipulation.
VIDEO: Altered State Of Consciousness
The Bible speaks of Satan as being able to manifest himself as an Angel of Light. We had seen this morning how many people came to believe that there were those who believed False Christ’s again and again.
These are counterfeits. Without knowledge of the truth of the Bible, Jesus words “Take heed that no man deceive you” will fall on deaf ears;
VIDEO: Satan Counterfeit
So if these things are a counterfeit, how will you ever know it is truly Jesus?
Johanna Michelson wrote a book many years ago called ‘The Beautiful Side of Evil’ and she followed “Jesus”, a spirit guide that led her into all forms of evil, but was it the Jesus of the Bible? She comments here on her experience when she had seen the same things manifesting in the Church.
VIDEO: The Vineyard Blessing
How do you know?
Simply beloved, if you are not reading your Bible from cover to cover devotionally, you are unwittingly positioning yourself to be deceived in some way.
The Exchange By Many
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim 4:3-4)
The time will come when there will be an exchange made by many and that exchange beloved will have the effect of turning many away from the truth and toward fables, stories, lies, deception.
Iniquity was the inroad.
Iniquity in the hearts and the lusts of the flesh that will turn their ears away from the truth.
Is the time Paul is writing to Timothy about happening today?
Are we living in the Time of This sign?
Beloved, there is NEVER the denial of one doctrine without its replacement,
THERE IS ALWAYS AN EXCHANGE.
You are ALLWAYS believing something to be true, and if it is not “Sound doctrine” then what is it?
As mentioned in the last message, the exchange is always for a lie.
If all we do is believe to be true what we choose to be true, then there will be MANY teachers who will come and scratch us where we are itching.
Paul wrote to the Ephesian church saying;
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive: (Eph 4:14)
If you are not anchored in the truth of the Bible, I am afraid for you.
If you do not have a helm in which you steer the journey of your life, there is no doubt in my mind that there will come a time when you will be “carried about with every wind of doctrine”
The Bible is our compass, but it does not take much to loose your bearing.
Reading the word of God will keep you and preserve you, it is a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” says the sweet Psalmist of Israel (Ps 119:105).
But if you will not endure sound doctrine, it will only take an “ALMOST RIGHT” sermon or song or film to lead you astray.
Again, if you will not ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE, if you don’t read your Bible regularly and believe it, it will only ever take an “ALMOST RIGHT” sermon, or song or film to lead you astray.
It will sound right, but it will be wrong, terribly wrong.
VIDEO: ALMOST RIGHT
Are we living in the time of the falling away?
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)
Without the Bible there is no ability to know if those ‘Certain men’ who creep in unawares preach the truth or just what we want to hear.
Are you a milk addict?
Turn to Hebrews 5:12
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It is the word of God the enables you to discern truth from error, that you remove yourself from those ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness
VIDEO: American Gospel 3min
That is a video well worth seeing.
Ungodly men have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, lustfulness, fleshly desires.
It is not the Spirit of God that these men have drawn many to, but to seducing spirits. This is YET ANOTHER sign of the Times;
Turn to 1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
There is NEVER A DENIAL of one doctrine without its replacement, there is ALWAYS AN EXCHANGE
We exchange the Spirit of God for Seducing Spirits when we willingly turn our backs on the Bible and turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness
When we give our hearts over to our own lusts, we simply have no idea how far we will fall.
VIDEO: Seducing Spirits
in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Sadly, when this occurs, we begin to love lies and have no love at all for the truth.
Are we living in a time when we can see this sign?
The Love of Lies
Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: (Ezek 13:22).
Many Pastors around the world will not tell their congregation the truth of their sin, simply because its unpopular; rather he strengthens them in their sin, preaching “grace, grace, grace” and turns to the grace of God into lasciviousness.
He would not turn the wicked from his wicked ways, but in its place he promises him life…and the people love it.
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jer 5:31)
Isaiah speaks in similar tones saying;
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: (Isa 30:9-10)
Are we living in the times of the signs?
Due to the lies many are willing to believe, the Bible also tells that God will send strong delusions.
Our passage this morning was found in 2 Thessalonians 2, lets return there as we begin to bring this sermon to a close.
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
If there is no love for the truth but only a love for lies, then during the time that is yet future, the time of Gods wrath, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Jesus also spoke of this did he not? Our passage in Matthew 24:24 he said “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
Strong delusion works together with a refusal to test the truth of a matter to the only standard that we, that the WORLD HAS, the Bible.
The strong delusion will delude many, and will build from the base the Church is creating today;
VIDEO: I held hands with the devil..again.
VIDEO: Heidi Baker….
Jude has the final word concerning these ministers of Satan.
Jude is a small book, only a chapter long and found just before the last book of the Bible.
It is a pertinent positioning of this book for a time we are evidently witnessing as the last of the last days.
Take our text from Jude 12
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea,foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speecheswhich ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Beloved an hour a day of bible reading will have you go through that book three to four times per year.
There are many Christians today who ‘tithe’ their money to the Lord, who give a tenth of their earnings to the Lord for his work;
Why not tithe your time? Why not give a tenth of your day to the Lord in Reading and Prayer? 24hrs in the day, taking two and a bit of those hours and giving it to the Lord will transform your life.