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Wednesday 4 February 2015

Apostasy in the Final Days

There is an unprecedented event which will happen in the very near future. That event is the Rapture of the Ekklesia (the called out body of Christ) and every Christian should be listening in anticipation for our Lord to call us all Home. Can you imagine the joy of being snatched away from this sin-filled world and being in the presence of Jesus? What a wonder that will be! Until then we live in a fallen world with all of its struggles and strife. Though we don't know what day the Rapture will happen, we can see the signs of its approach. One of those signs is apostasy, or falling away. "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;" 2 Thessalonians 2:3. "Falling away" is translated from the Greek word "apostasia". According to Strong's Concordance it means "a falling away, defection, apostasy". When you look around at the various congregations do you see any apostasy? How about in your own congregation? There is a huge falling away - apostasy - from the pure truth of God.

Apostasy is a fact and sadly it is now in full swing. What exactly is apostasy? Any deviation from God's word is apostasy, and in these last days apostasy is running rampant. Homosexual bishops, woman preachers, New Age, emerging church, yoga, contemplative prayer, replacement theology...the list is long. None of these doctrines are Biblical, but they are seeping into our congregations. These doctrines are entering through the teaching of preachers who try to make Christianity more "user friendly", or should I say "seeker friendly". The goal is to keep the congregation happy no matter what heresy is embraced. "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; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The congregation doesn't want to hear that they are doing anything wrong, so they won't stand for listening to God's truth. Rather than standing firm on the word of God, the man in the pulpit makes life easy for the flock. He waters down God's word so as not to step on any toes. He preaches to the itching ears of the congregation and apostasy reigns.

The fact of the matter is our foundation must be built on Jesus Christ. God's Word must be the final authority in all matters and it must rule our life. As folks move away from sound doctrine the false teachers are able to change God's truth into doctrines of devils, and so the apostasy begins. "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;" 1 Timothy 4:1. We are living in the "latter times", and rather than heed Scripture, people want to do what is right in their own eyes. We can see that apostasy has a firm hold on many people.

This falling away also comes by the false teaching that all religious groups worship the same god. Well, Christianity worships one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The others follow the doctrines of devils. There is a movement which is adding to the apostasy. Some religious leaders are trying to unite all religions into one group. Christians cannot unite with any other faith or we lose our foundation. Salvation is through Christ and Christ alone. Do you think that a Muslim would ever pray in the name of Jesus? Do you think a Jehovah's Witness will ever confess the deity of Christ? "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Luke 13:23-24. There is no room for false teaching when it comes to salvation. Christians know that there is no other way of salvation except through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" John 14:6. Don't be among those who are apostate; don't fall away. Follow the strait road and do not waver. There is no other way to come unto the Father but through Jesus.

False prophets who lead the gullible down the broad road to destruction aren't new. Jesus gave a warning to be on the lookout for these wicked ones. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:15. Jesus said that there will be teachers (false prophets) who seem to be learned in God's word and will be accepted by many people as teaching biblical truth. Although their words will appear to be sound and correct, these deceivers will actually be ravening wolves (emissaries of Satan). Because of their convincing style, their ability to present themselves in a good light, and their seemingly truthful message, they will lead many down the treacherous path of apostasy. Not everyone who writes a book or stands in the pulpit speaks God's truth. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16. The false teachers/false prophets are quite adept in leading the sheep who don't know their Bible into apostasy. Although their deceptions may rely heavily on the incessant use of the name "Jesus" it's all just a facade as there's no indwelling by the Holy Spirit. Does your pastor preach the true Gospel, or is it watered down so as not to step on toes? Avoid these ravening wolves by knowing for yourself what God's word teaches. Read it...study it...apply it to your life.There was a time when the Bible was not available to ordinary people. The power hungry, government controlled clergy wouldn't preach the truth. Today we have the blessing of God's word being readily available in most languages and in easily understood translations. There is no excuse for anyone to be led into apostasy. Amos tells us there will come a famine in the land (the whole earth), but it will be a famine of hearing the Word of God. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."

Amos 8:11-12. People will seek to hear God's truth, but they will be fed counterfeit lies, as the true Word of God will have gone missing. It isn't that God's word isn't available, they just hear apostate lies instead of the words of the Lord and they don't read and study on their own. Therefore it is easy for them to be lead down the broad road of apostasy and destruction. We are in those days.

As Jesus speaks of the apostasy that will be widespread in the last days, He describes the apostates themselves. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Matthew 7:22. You might be asking yourself, "What's the problem?" It seems as if these zealots did everything correct, right? Did they not declare the name of Jesus in all their activities? They prophesied, cast out demons, and did many other wonderful works in His name. They're active, they're persuasive, and they're adept at convincing the masses of their spirituality simply by evoking the name of our Lord. So what's the problem? Just this, He (Jesus Christ) is not their Lord. Satan is able perform pseudo-miracles and wonders, and the apostates will be in league with him. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1. If you know the Scripture these purveyors of lies/false doctrines will not be able to deceive you or lead you into apostasy. They may speak of Jesus as if they know Him but Jesus Himself says "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23. Even though these folks are apparently successful in casting out demons, make prophetic predictions, and achieve a level of wondrous signs, their doctrine was one of apostasy. The Holy Spirit is not indwelling them as they never truly believed in Messiah Jesus. They have helped many to fall away, and in these last days these false teachers are everywhere.

Study God's word, not seeker friendly drivel that leads to apostasy. "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:1-2. Paul's words to Timothy are as important today as they were so long ago. Instead of approving of every type of behavior we need to reprove. That means we bring into conviction things that go against God's word. If we see a Christian who is making choices that are not Biblical, rebuke that person. That means make them aware of their sin; use Scripture and love. Patiently urge the one who is falling away to get back on track. If that person has truly accepted Christ they will heed your words because those words will be of God. If they are merely "in name only" Christians, they will continue in their apostasy. Don't compromise God's word.

Time is short. The falling away is in full swing but it has to happen before the Rapture. Then the man of sin will be revealed and Daniel's 70th week will start sometime after that. Those who continue in their apostasy will not be a part of the Rapture because they were never truly a part of the Body of Christ. Only those who know Christ as their Saviour will follow Him on that strait road to eternal life. Turn away from the doctrine of devils and know that eternal life is yours because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Don't be a part of the apostasy that is all around in these final days. Keep watching for the Lord to descend and the voice of the archangel to call you. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. I can hardly wait. 

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