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The Church Is In Great Apostasy




“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Jesus’ return) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (Parentheses added)  2 Th. 2:3.  So, at the end of the age there will be a falling away from the faith or truth.  The Amplified Bible says there will be an “apostasy.”  Apostasy means - “an abandoning of what one has believed in, as a faith, cause, principle, etc.”  (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)  It speaks of a turning away from the doctrines espoused by the original apostles.

Deception has been so subtle and cunning that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  Mt. 24:24.   Both Jesus and the apostles constantly and vociferously warned us of the spirit of Antichrist and false doctrines. “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.”  I Ti. 4:1. It wasn’t just Paul speaking; it came directly from the Holy Spirit. 


Paul feared that if someone came preaching a different gospel, the saints would accept him.  “But I fear . . . if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”  2 Co. 11:3, 4.  In other words, do not accept another Jesus, spirit or gospel and do not tolerate those preaching such false doctrines or beliefs.  Guard against doctrines and beliefs not taught by the early Church or supported by Scripture.


If the Jesus that you worship is different from the Jesus in the Bible, are you a Christian?  Think of it.  What if the Jesus you know is an Asian female?  There have been Christian churches that claim that Jesus is more female than male.  One even features a statue of Jesus on the cross with a female body.  Others claim that Jesus was only a man and was originally Michael the archangel, and He was made into a lesser God because of His good deeds.  Still another church claims that Jesus had a brother named Lucifer.  Yet another large group claims that Jesus is an angry God and cannot be reached except through dead saints and if your sin was really bad, through His mother, Mary. 

Is your Jesus the same as the Jesus of the Bible?  This is a fundamental question.  If not, it’s a different Jesus and a different religion. 


If your doctrines, beliefs and practices are different from the ones given to us by the first apostles, is it the same Christianity as the one in the Bible?  Again, this is a fundamental question

The danger of deception through false doctrines is so great that the apostle Paul says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be asscursed.”  Gal. 1:8. 

If one of the early apostles changed the doctrines originally given by other apostles, we are not to accept it.  Paul did not exempt himself or any of the original apostles.  If even one of the original apostles came preaching something else, not originally preached by the other apostles, let him be accursed.  Why would any other human on earth be exempted?  If some super-intelligent person came hundreds of years later and changed some of the original doctrines, are we to accept it? 

Paul did not say “any” angel, but an angel from heaven!  Even God’s angels are not exempt.  Why then would any Christian be excused?  No matter how smart, popular or godly the person appears to be, do not tolerate it if he teaches doctrines or beliefs not taught by the first apostles. Turn away from such; do not “bear with him.” 


These appear to be harsh words, but Jesus warns us to “Take heed and beware of the leaven....”  Mt. 16:6.  “Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”  Mt. 16:12.  Any wrong doctrine is leaven.  “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened . . . Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I Co. 5:6-8.  Give in an inch and soon it will take a mile.  Allow a little leaven into the church and soon it is a free-for-all. 

In the end times, false prophets and false Christs will abound.  Mt. 24:11, 24.  They will be able to deceive because they are respected, famous and well-accepted in the body of Christ.  Otherwise, who would listen to them?  Even if a prophet or teacher is seemingly anointed and well-loved, do not accept a strange doctrine from him.  There have been many “anointed prophets” who ended up in error.  You may have met a few of them.  In the Old Testament, Balaam, an anointed and gifted prophet of God, fell from favor in the end.  So did King Solomon.  The prophets of Ahab (I Ki. 22:12-29) and in Jeremiah’s days were most likely “anointed” and respected. Yet, they spoke lies.  I’m not saying that all prophets lie and I am not against prophets (I believe in prophecy); I’m saying that we have the duty to test every prophecy and teaching.  I Co. 14:29, 32.


I believe in miracles and have been a witness to and participant in many miraculous healings and deliverances.  Two of our members and students raised the dead through Jesus.  But we are not to let miracles influence us.  The number of miracles a person performs has no bearing on whether his doctrines and beliefs are true.  A highly anointed prophet can speak lies unwittingly or otherwise.  God clearly warns us against such “anointing” and signs and wonders.

False prophets and Christs will do miracles and deceive many.  Mt. 24:24.  They will heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, but if their doctrine is not supported by scripture and taught by the first apostles, do not accept it.  In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, “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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”   


There’s a spiritual “poison” in untruths that silently brings death.  Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (Jn. 14:6)  Lies cause us to veer from the Way, the Truth and the Life and bring us confusion and death.  Like a fog that becomes ever thicker with each lie, false doctrines blind us from the true way and cause us to stumble and fall.  

Untruths cloud our spiritual eyes and we cannot see Jesus.  It is when we contend for the truth and love truth with all our heart that we begin to see clearly.  There is no such thing as a partial truth.  A truth is all truth or it is a lie.

Lies and truth are not just minor clashes.  It is a clash of kingdoms between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.

When we compromise the Word of God, our concept and knowledge of God is distorted and warped and Jesus becomes a different Jesus from the Jesus in the Bible.  Our acceptance of lies changes who He is.  I’ve heard New Agers arrogantly say, “I know Jesus.  She’s black.”  Are we worshiping the same Jesus?  That is why Jesus said, “Ye worship ye know not what: . . .  (b)ut the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” Jn. 4:22, 23.  Distorting the Word of God is distorting the true Jesus.


Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   Truth creates faith because the Word is truth.  Untruth begets no faith or a false faith.  If your faith is not based on truth, it is vain.  In the Boxer Rebellion of the early 1900's, the Chinese revolted against the Western powers because they were against the selling of opium to the Chinese.  The peasants had only sticks and pitchforks against the rifles and machine guns of the British, Americans, Russians, etc.  Kung fu masters convinced the Chinese that if they drank a “magic potion” they would be immune from bullets and bayonets.  As they pounded the drums, the Chinese lined up to drink the potion.  They had complete faith in it.  The next morning, they died by the thousands, cut down by machine gun bullets and bayonets.  They had faith, but it was not based on truth.  It was vain.  So too is our faith, if our faith is based on untrue doctrines and a different Jesus.

The distortion of the Word will be so great in the end times that Jesus said, “. . . (W)hen the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”  Lk. 18:8.  False doctrines pervert our faith and our Christianity is vain. The object of our faith is the Jesus of the Bible.  He is the author and finisher of our faith. 


In a world that is addicted to pretenses, distortions, false appearances, facades and falsehoods, people learn to put on a face and an image that is untrue.  We love movies and shows that warp, mislead and misrepresent reality and we are so into our “acts” that we actually think we are what we want people to believe that we are.  We boast, brag and see ourselves as more than we really are.  Peter and the other disciples bragged that they would die for Jesus.  But, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, they ran away like scared rabbits.  Truth and reality had hit them in the face.  Later, it was the Spirit of Truth that brought them back to reality and completely humbled them. 

Saul was busy persecuting and killing the saints when he met Jesus on the way to Damascus.  Ac. 9:1-7.  He fell off his high horse and It changed him completely.  Truth changes.  We read in Acts 2:1-4 that on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as a mighty, rushing wind, flames of fire sat on the heads of the disciples and they began to speak in strange tongues.  Why then do we seldom, if ever, experience such an outpouring?  Perhaps it is because of our lack of truth.  We do not see our true selves. 

Many new believers see themselves as good people who deserve salvation.  They do not see their true state as miserable humans who, but for the grace of God, deserve to go to hell.  I’ve had people tell me that they were saved because they had a particular talent and God wanted to use them. 

Lies distort and rob us of all that God wants to give us.  Christ, the hope of glory, is also, Truth the hope of glory.  The truth will make us free (Jn. 8:32) and open our eyes to see the wonders of God.  Only by loving truth can we avoid deception.


A love for truth is the only remedy for avoiding deception and it will cost you dearly in this day.  The world doesn’t want truth.  It wants lies so it can go on sinning.  Many so-called Christians will defend their lies and false doctrines unto death. 

It is the failure of the church to defend the truth that has put us in such dire straits today.  If we are not walking in truth, we will succumb to Satan’s wiles in the end.  The truths given to us by God must be worth living and dying for.  It is to those without guile (lies) that the greatest rewards are given.  In Revelation 14:1-5, the Army of God stands with the Lamb of God on the mount Sion.  “And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.”  It is not just a matter of not telling lies, but not having lies in the heart that makes one without guile.  “. . . (S)trait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Mt. 7:14. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and died because of it.  Ac. 5:5, 10.  We die slowly when we accept lie after lie; but in the end we surely die too.  Truth indeed, is a narrow path.

Finally, we must recognize that the clash between truth and lies will come to a peak at the end of the age.  It is not just a distortion of truth that is involved.  It is a battle between two kingdoms.  The more lies in the Church, the more we stray into the grasp of the evil one.  Only a love for the truth and a determined defense of truth will keep us safely outside of the snare of the fowler.  Ps. 91:3.  Our refuge and fortress is in the Truth.  His name is Jesus.


Paul says, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, . . . preach the word;  be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  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 truth, and shall be turned into fables.” 2 Ti. 4:1. “Reprove” means to refute, admonish, convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke.  “Rebuke” means to censure, admonish, forbid, charge or accuse.  “Exhort” means to beseech, entreat.  (Strong’s Concordance)  We are to be guardians of the truth and watchmen on the wall.  We are not to smile and say, “I love you brother.  I accept what you say for the sake of unity and I will not judge you.”  In instructing elders, Paul says,

. . . Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers . . . for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers . . . whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake . . . Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”  Titus 1:9,10,11,13.  (Underlining added)

We are to challenge for the truth and rebuke, refute, reprove, tell a fault, censure, forbid, charge and accuse, so that others will be saved from deception and destruction.  We speak in love, but earnestly contend for the faith.  Jude says, “. . .  ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  Jude 3.  We are not to compromise the truth that God entrusted to us, especially the elders.  Titus 2:15 says, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee.”  (Underlining added) Let no person find fault with you for earnestly contending for the faith. 


Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15,

           Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition, which he received of us. . .  And if any may obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. . . Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  (Underlining added)

We are commanded to note and withdraw from those who preach false doctrines contrary to tradition.  To “note” is to identify.  At the same time, we are not to count him as an enemy.  In Titus 3:10, Paul says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time.  After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”  Harsh words are sometimes necessary to preserve the faith.

Elders are instructed as follows: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”  (Underlining added) 1 Ti. 5:20. Paul tells us to make public the sins of others.  Instead, we have praised and embraced almost every false doctrine that comes our way.  If a brother is in grave error and is being used to deceive others, is it love to rebuke him? or is it hate?  For the sake of unity and misguided “love,” will you allow him to be accursed?  Ezekiel 3:20,21 says,

           Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

Does an earthly father not have the duty to chasten, point out errors and even take the rod of correction to his children in order to drive sin and unrighteousness out of them and to guide them in paths of righteousness?  (“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”)  Pr. 13:24.  Is a father’s chastening of his sons and daughters wrong?  No, it is love.


In order to correct, there is a need to judge.  More so must an elder in the Body of Christ warn and correct brothers in Christ who stray from righteousness and truth.  Once again, we are commanded to rebuke publicly in 1 Timothy 5:20-22: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.  I charge (command) thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”  (Parenthesis added) 

An elder is strongly commanded (“I charge thee before God”) to rebuke, chasten, point out errors and correct publicly.  Love demands correction.  Hatred allows compromise and lies, the end of which is apostasy.  Speak out or disobey God.  We have failed miserably in this regard.

Sincerity by the person uttering false doctrines is not the issue.  The issue is - is it truth? Most false prophets do not know they are false.  Balaam did not know; the four hundred prophets of Ahab did not know; the many false prophets and priests in Jeremiah’s day did not know; many modern-day “prophets” do not know.  All were probably highly respected, admired and loved in their day.  How will they know and change unless someone tells them in love?

The refusal to judge and discern has eroded and defiled the very essence and foundations of the Church - truth.  How else can one explain why many in the Church do not believe there is a Satan or evil spirits? or believe that Jesus was only a man? or that the Bible is not accurate? or that Jesus did not resurrect physically? or that the Holy Spirit is only to explain God’s power and is not a real individual? or that Jesus sinned while on earth? or that Jesus married Mary Magdalene or was having an affair with her? or that it was really Judas who died on the cross?  What blasphemy and apostasy!


In Acts 20:28,29, Luke named Ananias and Sapphira as liars.  Paul likewise never hesitated to defend the truth, even to the extent of naming names publicly and in his written letters.  In 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul named Demas as one who forsook Paul and went back to the world.  In verse 14, he named and accused Alexander the coppersmith of doing much evil.  In 2 Timothy 2:17,18, Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus as having erred in preaching false doctrines (“profane and vain babblings”).  Even fellow apostles were not exempt.  In Galatians 2:12,13,  Paul accused and rebuked Peter and Barnabas before all (verse 14).  Did it violate the scripture that says, “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm”?  I Chr. 16:22.  Surely, Peter and Barnabas were anointed of God. 

Is questioning a prophecy harming the prophet?  Are we not instructed to judge prophecies (I Co. 14:29), and taught to test (judge) the spirits, even the Holy Spirit?  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (judge) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  1 Jn. 4:1. We are instructed not to automatically accept any prophecy or word that comes from a prophet or teacher.  Test and judge it.  Prophets are to judge what the other prophets say (1 Co. 14:29, 32), to discern if it comes from the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. 1 Jn. 4:1.  It is love, not harm.


There is a movement to squelch all opposition to the introduction of false doctrines and movements by claiming that we should “touch not mine anointed” and “judge not, that ye be not judged.”  Mt. 7:1.  But if you look closely at Matthew 7:1 and the verses that follow immediately thereafter, Jesus was talking about hypocrites and people who unfairly criticize, gossip, condemn and slander people when they themselves were sinning in a bigger way.  (“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Verse 3).

Jesus was talking to hypocrites, not the guardians of truth.  If one wrongfully interprets these passages, claiming that we are not to judge, he will be in direct opposition to scriptures that say that we have the responsibility to judge and discern good and evil and to protect the cherished and precious truths God gave us.  As has been said many times, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” 

Rebuking, reproving, censuring, forbidding, charging and accusing can be done in love and concern for both the deceived and the deceiver.  We are instructed to name names and instruct the sheep to avoid them and the doctrines they espouse.  Shepherds must protect the sheep against wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Mt. 7:15.

There is a difference between unwarranted criticism, gossip and malicious slander as compared to an impersonal censure, rebuke and accusation for the purpose of correction and guidance.  For example, one can properly point out errors in doctrine by some famous televangelist without calling him a devil, or a creep.  If the intent is to maliciously and falsely slander to build up self at the expense of another, it is unrighteous.  But, if it is to protect the sheep and to point out errors for the purpose of avoiding deception, it is righteous obedience. It depends on the heart’s intent.  Sometimes the person pointing out doctrinal error is himself in error, but his heart is right.  Romans 16:17 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

The Amplified Bible’s interpretation of Matthew 7:1 is, “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.”  This rendition is slightly more accurate than what some Christians claim it to mean.  Matthew 7:1-5 applies to undue criticism and slander of others and has nothing to do with protecting the faith from false doctrines and beliefs. God will not give two commandments that directly oppose each other.  Matthew 7:1 is not contrary to scriptures telling us to guard the faith and note, rebuke, reprove, accuse, correct, refute and withdraw from those who preach a adverse gospel.  It speaks of hypocrites finding fault in others while they have worse faults themselves.


1 Corinthians 5:12, 13 says, “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth.  Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”  We are to judge those in the church, and correct where needed, especially those who would pervert the gospel or who are deceived. 

In truth, elders (and all Christians) are watchmen on the wall against those who would distort truth and preach a different gospel.  If they do not blow the trumpet, the blood of those who are destroyed because of the enemy’s lies will be on their head. Eze. 33:2-6.

When the watchman’s trumpet is blown, it is dangerous not to take warning.  Jesus is coming for a bride that is pure, unadulterated, “a glorious church without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Eph. 5:27.  False doctrines, practices and a different Jesus are spots, wrinkles and blemishes.


Imagine if the pastor brought a Catholic priest to service, put his arm around the priest and declared, “This is our brother and I love him.  Listen to him - we can all learn from our Catholic brothers and sisters.  We love Catholics and we all belong to the same family of God.  We may not agree on everything, but Catholics love Jesus too.  We are on the same side!”  Would you stand up and cheer?  Would you hug the priest and say, “We love you and we are one with you.”?  Some Protestant leaders have.

We all have the responsibility to be as the noble Bereans and search the Scriptures diligently, to see if those things spoken are true.  Ac. 17:10, 11.  Should we accept a doctrine that says that we are already gods on earth?  Many Christians accept a doctrine called the “Manifest Sons of God” (we are Christs on earth) and the “Latter Rain Movement,” (similar outcome) and few have spoken up against it, having been awed by the famous prophets that are promoting it.  What about “Once saved, always saved?” or “Pre-tribulation Rapture,” or “Dispensationalism,” or the “prosperity” doctrine, or “Christians cannot have demons,” or “tongues is of the Devil”?

Beware the spirit behind many other movements and doctrines that do not line up with the Word of truth.  I’m not saying that everything these Christians say are lies.  Many are great speakers and perhaps 95% of what they say is true; but beware the 5%.  It is our duty to search and see that everything is true. 

Perhaps we have been too lax in our attitudes towards Bible and Christian truths and too condescending to challenge those we love when they spout false doctrines that bend the truth, or support spurious movements.  Maybe we tend to “worship” famous Christians because we admire them and are awed at their “power” and when they do or say something contrary to the Bible, we accept it.  This is extremely dangerous.  It is putting people above the truth.  Not only are we allowing Satan to plant his lies in our hearts, we are disobeying God.  Certainly, we need to avoid presenting a “I’m right; you’re wrong!” face and an arrogant, prideful attitude when speaking out for truth.  Truth coming from a critical heart of self-righteousness becomes a lie too.  We need to speak the truth in love.

Now that you know what God says about false doctrines, will you earnestly contend for the truth? or will you sit back and disobey God’s command for the sake of false unity and acceptance by mankind? It’s your choice (or do you have a choice?).

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