CHURCH IS IN GREAT APOSTASY
A SIGN OF THE TIMES
“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.
NO ONE EXEMPT
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.
A DIFFERENT JESUS
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
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.” DANGER OF THE LEAVEN
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,
BEWARE OF MIRACLES
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.” WHY?
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
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.
FAITH IN LIES IS NO FAITH
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. THE LOVE OF PRETENSES
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 TRUTHA 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.
EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR
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.
A COMMAND TO SPEAK
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14,
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.
THE NEED TO JUDGE
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
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
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!NAMING NAMES
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
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?”
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.
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.
WE ARE TO JUDGE
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.
SOME TOUGH SITUATIONS
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
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?).