Summary: Revealing some clues to apostates and the condition of the church in the end times
2 Thessalonians 2 Key verse 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
Today we will look at apostasy and how it will increase in the last days
First of all, what is apostasy? Falling away, withdrawal from truth
Whether we admit it or not, apostasy has happened, it is still happening, and it will get worse as the age comes to a close
1 Tim 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron
This departing means defection or falling away
It is evident from scripture that apostates were around during the time of the early church; in fact there are instances where we see them in the OT too
Where we see rebellion against God’s truth, then apostasy is present
Dan 6 being a good example: the people were told not to worship anything or anyone but King Darius; a degree was signed
V10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Rev 2:15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (the church of Ephesus)
Rev 2:2 ……you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars
The Nicolaitans were reputed from early times to have been the followers of Nicolaos of Antioch, one of the seven (see Acts 6:5). We gather that they held the same error as the Balaamites, teaching to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. These were the chief matters condemned by the decree of the apostolic council (see Acts 15:29). They pretended to have a zeal for Christ, but really they opposed him.
Many Ministers, Pastors, Churches and Christians are forsaking the truth for a lie
Many don’t even know they are apostates
Matt 24:3-5 Now as He (Jesus) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what [will be] the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you
For many will come in My name, saying, ’I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
Jesus knew it was going to happen, so he warned us
Did he say a few would come? A few will be deceived? No, many!
And the apostles carried on giving the warning to the Church
Satan will come to deceive, just has he did in the past, and even more so as the day of Christ’s return draws near
So how do we know if we have fallen away, or if we are still in the truth?
We have to test everything we believe, and every preacher/teacher, including me, by the word of God, but not just find a scripture to back up our belief, but at least three, and in the context they were written
‘We are one in Christ; let us be friends with one another; but let us never be friends with one another’s error. If I be wrong, rebuke me sternly; I can bear it, and bear it cheerfully and if ye be wrong, expect the like measure from me, and neither peace nor parley with your mistakes. Let us all be true to one another, and true to Christ; and as soon as we perceive an error, though it be but as the shadow of one, let us root it out and drive it from us, lest it plague the whole body, and put leprosy into the entire fabric of the church.’
‘You will hear many men admire the preacher who deals in generalities, but when he comes to press home searching questions, by-and-by they are offended.’
Some are too busy criticizing the minister, his or her style of preaching and their doctrine and do not realize their own soul may be perishing
Many of today’s believers are idle when it comes to the reading and studying of God’s word
We want to be spoon-fed, and we take in every new ‘revelation’ that comes along without checking it out
Illustration: Dr Livingstone’s guides were either ignorant or determined to deceive him as he traveled with the gospel; he was quoted as saying he would have been better off without them; his compass was the only thing that kept him from going astray.