Summary: APOSTASY RESULTS FROM THE POWERFUL DEMONIC DECEPTION PROMOTED BY FALSE TEACHERS WHO ARE: - OBLIVIOUS TO MORAL DISTINCTIONS AND - LEGALISTIC IN COMMANDING FALSE ASCETIC PRACTICES
APOSTASY RESULTS FROM THE POWERFUL DEMONIC DECEPTION
PROMOTED BY FALSE TEACHERS WHO ARE:
- OBLIVIOUS TO MORAL DISTINCTIONS AND
- LEGALISTIC IN COMMANDING FALSE ASCETIC PRACTICES
I. APOSTASY IS ALL AROUND US AND INCREASING
A. Inevitability of Apostasy -- Don’t be Surprised by it!
"but the Spirit explicitly says"
God wants us to be warned about the danger and to be on the Alert’;
God is clear in what He says -- make no mistake about it
B. Timing of Apostasy -- "in later times"
This is something that is going to continue to take place time and again in these latter times which began with the First Coming of Christ
C. Extent of Apostasy -- "some"
Don’t want to Exaggerate the Danger -- only some will fall prey; not all
D. Definition of Apostasy -- "will fall away from the faith"
to stand off from; fall away
Hiebert: "’The faith’ here denotes the doctrinal truths of the Christian faith. The verb
’fall away,’ or ’apostatize,’ denotes not an unintentional fall but a deliberate withdrawal
from the faith once professed. An apostate is not one who gives up his profession of being a Christian, but one who forsakes the truth of the Christian faith."
II. APOSTASY RESULTS FROM THE POWERFUL DEMONIC DECEPTION PROMOTED BY FALSE TEACHERS
Those duped will pay attention to these False Teachers because they are:
A. Energized by "deceitful spirits" -- Emphasis on the false teachers
B. Indoctrinated with "doctrines of demons" -- Emphasis on the false teaching
III. THESE FALSE TEACHERS ARE OBLIVIOUS TO MORAL DISTINCTIONS
A. Hypocritical Liars -- "by means of the hypocrisy of liars"
B. Devoid of any Conscience -- "seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron"
Hiebert: "Through their hypocrisy their conscience, from constant violation, has become seared and rendered incapable of further feeling the compunctions of conscience."
Wiersbe: "Just as a person’s flesh can be ’branded’ so that it becomes hard and without feeling, so a person’s conscience can be deadened. Whenever we affirm with our lips something that we deny with our lives (whether people know it or not), we deaden our
consciences just a little more. Jesus made it clear that it is not religious talk or even performing miracles that qualifies a person for heaven, but doing God’s will in everyday life (Matt. 7:21-29)."
Kent: (prefers an interpretation emphasizing a more radical searing) -- "The conscience has been made insensitive to right and wrong because of some radical act of perverting the truth. The conscience is man’s sensitiveness to right and wrong based on his
standard. If the standard is perverted, then its action becomes altered. It is cauterized and fails to respond. The verb … depicts this perversion of truth as a violent and radical action. The writer suggests that act to have been the time when the religious
teacher deliberately turned away from the instruction of God’s Word and permitted Satan’s demonic hosts to take control of his mind and thought."
IV. THESE FALSE TEACHERS ARE LEGALISTIC IN COMMANDING FALSE ASCETIC PRACTICES
A. "men who forbid marriage"
not talking about voluntary celibacy for the cause of Christ, but ma ndatory celibacy
B. "and advocate abstaining from foods"
Fernando: "Asceticism appeals to certain Christians who are troubled by their failures in the spiritual life. They are looking for something extra which they can do to speed their growth in godliness. Asceticism seems to provide an answer to this quest. The
struggling Christian reasons that it is because of desires for earthly things, such as sex, food, and clothing, that he keeps falling into sin. So, he tries to do away with these evil desires and join that superior band of Christians who have chosen to go ’all the way’ in their commitment to Christ."
Stedman: "The reason is that at the heart of asceticism is a conviction that self-denial
somehow pleases God. It can be very earnest, very sincere. Often Christians fall into this error in their early Christian days, thinking that if they deny themselves in some way God is going to be pleased, and their status in his sight will be advanced. That is
why some Christians love to get up early in the morning, or memorize hundreds of.verses of Scripture, or pray on their knees for long periods of time, etc. These practices, which in themselves are not wrong, nevertheless become wrong because their motive
(that of gaining God’s favor by self-denial) is wrong."
V. THE ONLY SAFEGUARD IS GRATEFULY UNDERSTANDING AND
PRACTICING THE TRUTH IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD’S WORD AND
A. Understanding the Truth -- from the Perspective of God’s Creation
1. Insight from the Goodness of Creation --
a. "which God has created to be gratefully shared in"
Asceticism is not compatible with Biblical Creationism
b. "For everything created by God is good"