Summary: I want to look at how falling away happens and what to make of it.
Text: 1 Tim 4:1-5, Title: Are You Being Deceived? Date/Place: WHBC, 5.20.18, AM
A. Opening illustration: The Carbonaro Effect
B. Background to passage: After Paul’s record of the early church, gospel-capturing song, he begins to give Timothy a prophetic warning about people who will be deceived by false teachers and leave the faith. The scripture has much to say about apostacy (falling away) and its damning results. It has always been a part of biblical history, as well as church history. Trends now indicate that the exodus from churches and organized religion is rising at alarming rates especially with younger generations. With the current replacement and death rates in the US combined with the apostacy predicted and occurring, passing on the baton of faith to subsequent generations of American will fail. Nations are already sending missionaries to our country because we are the fourth largest population of unchurched/lost people on the planet. Islam and cults, like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are growing by population and generational faithfulness.
C. Main thought: I want to look at how falling away happens and what to make of it.
A. How does it happen? (v. 1-2)
1. Satanic origin. Satan has been deceiving since the Garden. In fact, his name is the Deceiver. His ploy is to wrap a kernel of truth in a shroud of deception, so that the professing Christian is duped into a false version of Christianity.
• John 8:44- “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
• Ephesians 4:14- “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
• Romans 16:18- “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
• Acts 13:10- “and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
• 2 Thessalonians 2:9–10- “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
• Revelation 12:9- “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
2. Human dispersal. Some of the leadership in the church at Ephesus has already been pointed out as false teachers, a couple by name. Satan uses human instruments to spread his deceptions. We have had them throughout church history, many in ancient history (Arius, Apollinarius, Nestorius, and Sabellius) and modern (Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Charles Taze Russell, and half a dozen televangelists I could name that would upset you), as well as many throughout the middle ages.
• Mark 13:22- “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.”
• Acts 20:29–30- “29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
• 2 Corinthians 11:13–15- “13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
• Colossians 2:18- “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,”
3. Willing embrace. Those in this text were led astray, but they did not just fall into it, they embraced it. They devoted themselves, purposefully, deliberately removing oneself from one position to another.
• John 8:31- “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,”
• Colossians 1:23- “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,”
• Hebrews 3:12–14- “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”