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Apostate Christianity

What is apostasy? What is an apostate? There are many words that describe this circumstance, that describes an apostate. Take your pick: deserter of one’s faith; one of little faith; continual backslider; defector; traitor to one’s faith; heretic; skeptic; dissident; dissembler; nonconformist; rebel; insurgent; mutinous; defiant; opposing; separatist; radical; agnostic; freethinker; unbeliever; atheist; hypocrites; idolaters; etc.

Hypocrites are those who put on a mask and imagines himself to be what he is not; a deceiving imposter in religion. Our Lord severely rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16, chapter 23). The hypocrite's hope shall perish (Job 8:13). The Hebrew word for hypocrite means godless or profane, as found in Jer.23:11; polluted with evil. All disciples are believers, but not all believers are disciples.

Idolatry is image-worship or any divine honor paid to any created object or person other than the God of the Bible. Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Rom.1:21-25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (Rom.1:28). In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin. The first and second commandments to Israel are directed against idolatry of all forms.

In Revelation chapter 3, we see seven churches. The last church is the Laodicean church.

Rev. 3:14-22 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; [15] I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. [17] Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: [18] I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. [19] As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. [20] Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [21] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [22] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (KJV) . . . Laodicea was the richest of the seven cities, known for its banking industry, manufacture of wool, and a medical school that produced eye salve. But the city had always had a problem with its water supply. At one time an aqueduct was built to bring water to the city. By the time the water reached the city, it was neither hot nor cool, but lukewarm. The church had become as tasteless as the lukewarm water that flowed to the city.

Laodicea was the last and worst of the seven churches of Asia. Our Lord Jesus models Himself, “The Amen” (Rev.1:18), One who is steady and unchangeable in all His intentions and promises. If your religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing! We should be sincere and earnest in our devotion to Jesus. So many people who profess to be Christians are neither hot nor cold; they are lukewarm. Jesus promises a severe punishment if they keep on as they are. They give a false opinion of Christianity, like it were an unholy religion. People around them decide that it could bring no real satisfaction, or its professors would have been more staunch in their stand for the Lord, and not ready to seek pleasure or happiness from the world. Some causes of hypocrisy are indifference, self-conceit and self-delusion. Just because a person says (professes) to be a Christian, does not make them one! There is a BIG difference between what they think of themselves, and what Christ thinks of them. So many people are cheating their our owns souls! There are millions in Hell today, who once thought they were far on their way to Heaven. People just simply refuse to believe God’s Word! Please do not flatter and deceive yourselves. Professors (hypocrites) grow prouder day by day, and they become carnal (of the world); lusting for the temporary treasures the world can offer (Mat. 6:19-20). Their condition is wretched in God’s eyes. The Laodicean church was poor; miserably poor, when they thought they were rich. They were blind to their condition like millions today. They could not see the danger that lay ahead. They were not justified (Rom.3:20; 5:1) nor were they sanctified (John 17:17, 19; Ephes. 5:26; 1 Cor.1:30). They were exposed to sin and shame; their filthy rags (Isa.64:6) would defile them. They were naked, for they were without Christ, because only in Him can the soul of man find rest, peace and safety. Blessed are those who take His counsel, for all others shall perish in their sins.

Christ lets them know where they might have true riches, and how they might have them. We must receive from Christ the white raiment He purchased and provided for us; His own imputed righteousness for justification, and the garments of holiness and sanctification. If eyes are not opened to His Word and His Spirit, ears shall hear the verdict they do not want to hear, Hell! Let us examine ourselves (2 Cor.13:5) by the rule of His Word, and pray earnestly for the teaching of His Holy Spirit, to take away our pride, our prejudices, and our worldly lusts. Sinners should welcome the rebukes from God’s Word and rod, as tokens of His love for their souls.

Apostate Christianity today is like the church in Revelation; lukewarm, indifferent, not concerned with right and wrong or good and evil. They take a neutral position, live and let live, they don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to cause waves. They sit on the fence, not being able to make up their minds which side they are on. They try to serve two masters (Mat.6:24), God and self (the world, mammon). It cannot work! It will not work! TRUE Christianity is NOT a gray area. You are either black OR white. You are either for Christ OR against Him (Mat.12:30). You are either God’s child OR the devils’ child (1 John 3:8,10; Acts 13:10; Eph.2:1-5).

Apostate Christianity ignores the Bible’s teaching about discipline. Many of today’s’ churches are welcoming homosexuals with open arms, with absolutely NO rebuke of their sin. Some churches even accept homosexual pastors.

Lev.18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (KJV)

Lev.20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV)

Rom.1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (KJV)

How can anyone say it is OK when God says it is an abomination to Him? In Rom.1:24,26,28, God states three times He “gave them up” in other words, when they deserted God, God in turn deserted them. God will try to reach sinners multiple times but when a person’s wicked and corrupt lifestyle will not cease, God will finally turn away. He lets people do what they please, no matter how vile and despicable.

Also included in ignoring discipline is alternative lifestyles (living as man and wife without the benefit of marriage). This is fornication or adultery! A no-no to God! Apostate Christianity ignores what the Bible states about Jesus being the only way to salvation.

Two thirds of professing evangelicals doubt Jesus’ Words.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (KJV)

John 3:15-18 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (KJV)

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV)

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV) . . . A shocking number of people who call themselves “born again” (evangelicals) reject the above words. 68% believe that “good” people of other faiths can also go to Heaven (without Jesus).

Idolatry - - - what is it? It is bowing down to and worshipping images or any other deity. It is the worship of anything or anyone other that the True and Living Creator God of the Bible.

APOSTATES

• Described. Deut. 13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; (KJV) . . . Godless people (children of the devil) mislead people to worship useless gods.

Heb. 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (KJV) . . . Many places in the Bible warns us not to “harden” our hearts. To stubbornly set ourselves against God is to make it so that we are no longer able to turn to Him for forgiveness. The Israelites hardened their hearts when they disobeyed God’s command to conquer the Promised Land (Num.13-14; 20; Ps.95). Be careful to obey God’s Word, and not allow your heart to become hardened.

• Persecution tends to make apostates. Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. [13] They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. [14] And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. [15] But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (KJV) . . . “Path” people, like many of the religious leaders, then and now, refused to believe God’s message. “Rock” people, like many in the crowds who followed Jesus, believed His message but never got around to doing anything about it. “Thorn” people, overcome by worries and the lure of worldly treasures, leave no room in their lives for God. “Good soil” people, in contrast to all the other groups, follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Which type of soil are you?

• A worldly spirit tends to make. 2 Tim. 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. (KJV) . . . Demas had been one of Paul’s co-workers (Col. 4:14; Philemon 1:24). He had deserted Paul because he loved this world, loved worldly values and worldly pleasures. Do you love what the world has to offer . . . wealth, power, pleasure . . . even if gaining it means hurting people and neglecting the work God has given you to do?

• Never belonged to Christ to start with. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (KJV) . . . Some people may call themselves Christians, but that does not mean they are God’s children. Going to church could be just a family tradition. Maybe they like the social and business contacts they make there. Or maybe going to church is a habit. Unless going to church is a Christ-centered reason, going to worship Almighty God, you may as well stop going for it is not doing you any good. Don’t settle for less than the Best. You can become personally acquainted with Jesus Christ and become a loyal, trustworthy follower.

• TRUE believers (saints) do not become apostates. Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (KJV) . . . Better blessings belong to those who hang in there!

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (KJV) TRUE believers (Christians) are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.

• It is impossible to restore apostates. Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, [6] If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (KJV) . . . These verses refer to professors (people who claim to be Christians), NOT possessors (true born again believers) of Christ! Those referred to here were enlightened to salvation through Christ. They tasted and they were convicted by the Holy Spirit, but they fell away because they were never saved in the first place. Hebrews 6:9 makes this clear.

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (KJV) . . . IF a person is TRULY saved, they may stray, they may backslide, but they WILL come back to God. No one who is TRULY saved can ever lose their salvation (John 1:12-13; 10:27-29). Actually these verses tell me that it is impossible for a saved person to be lost. It is impossible . . . . If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance. IF a person were saved, then could be lost, it would be impossible for that person to ever be saved again.

2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. [21] For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. [22] But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (KJV) . . . Peter is NOT speaking of “born again” believers, but of a person who has learned about Christ and how to be saved, and has been influenced by Christians, but then rejects the Truth and returns to his/her sin. A person like this is worse off than before, because he/she has rejected the only way out of sin, and the only possible Way of salvation. They are like a person who can’t swim and are drowning in the ocean, but refuses to grab the life saving rope thrown to him/her. Anyone who turns away from Christ throws away his/her only means of escape.

Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. [KJV] . . . Jesus was describing the attitude of Israel and the religious leaders. To simply clean up one’s life without filling it with God leaves a lot of room for Satan to enter. Getting rid of sin in our lives is the first step, BUT, we must also take the second step: filling our lives with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was illustrating our faulty human tendency . . . our desire to reform often does not last long. It is not enough to be emptied of evil; we must then be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s new purpose in our lives.

• Guilt and punishment of apostasy. Zeph. 1:4-6 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; [5] And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; [6] And them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him. (KJV) . . . When Israel arrived in the Promised Land, God commanded that they completely rid the land of its pagan inhabitants, who worshiped idols. But Israel failed to do so, and slow but sure, they began to worship the Canaanites’ gods. The Canaanites believed in many gods that represented many aspects of life, and the chief god was Baal, symbolizing strength and fertility. God was extremely angry when His people turned from Him to Baal. More than just a statue, an idol can be anything worshipped more than God. Idol worship is common today, for people trust in themselves, money, or power but not in God. But in the end, all idols will prove worthless, and the true God will prevail. Seek God first (Mat.6:33), and have no other gods before Him (Ex.20:3). Israel worshipped the Lord God, PLUS all the other gods of the land. They added the “best” of pagan worship to true faith in God. God commands that He alone be worshiped (Ex.20:1-5); so the people committed a horrible sin. One of these other gods was Molech, the national god of the Ammonites. Molech worship included child sacrifice, an abominable sin. From the time of Moses, the Israelites had been warned about worshiping this false god (Lev.18:21; 20:5), but they refused to take heed. Because of their sins, God would destroy them.

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (KJV) . . . God never is pleased with just an outward profession, outward duties and outward services of those who do not hang in there. He sees them with great displeasure. But those who have been faithful to Him, have reason to hope for His grace to help them continue to live by faith, till they receive His Promises, salvation of their souls in Heaven with Him. Living by faith, and dying in faith, our souls are safe for ever.

2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. (KJV) The Word of Truth is the Water of Life. It refreshes all souls that receive it. But ALL deceivers (apostates, false teachers) spread and promote error. They are like wells without water! There is no truth in them. As clouds obstruct the sun light, so does the erroneous counsel of false teachers for there is no truth in their words. Christians should keep close to the Word of God, and watch against all who seek to confuse them. A state of apostasy is worse than a state of ignorance. To speak evil of the good way of God, and to charge falsely against the ONLY Way of Truth, shall bring heavy condemnation. Is your backsliding a grief to you? Continuing on it shall bring on the eternal agony of Hell. Turning back to Jesus, and staying there, shall bring eternal life in Heaven! Only Jesus can save you!

Cautions against becoming an apostate. Heb.3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (KJV) . . . Our hearts turn away from the living God (rebellion) when we stubbornly refuse to believe Him. If we persist in our unbelief, God will eventually leave us alone in our sin (see Rom.1:26-27 on page 2). But God can give us new hearts, new desires, and new spirits (Ezekiel 36:22-27). To prevent having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin (it attracts but also destroys), and encourage each other with love and concern.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (KJV) . . . Beware my friends, know this. Always be on guard so that you will not be led away by the errors of wicked people and fall from your safe position.

• Apostasy shall abound in the last days. Mat.24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (KJV) . . . False teaching and loose morals brings a destructive disease . . . the loss of true love for God and others. Sin cools your love for God and others by turning your focus on yourself and what the world can offer you. You cannot truly love if you think only of yourself.

2 Thes. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (KJV) . . . If our faith is strong, we don’t need to be afraid of what lies ahead, Antichrist is no threat to us. God is in control, and He will be victorious over the Antichrist. Our job is to be prepared for Christ’s return and to spread the Gospel so that even more people will also be prepared.

1 Tim. 4:1-3 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; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (KJV) . . . It is not enough for a teacher to appear to know what he/she is talking about, is disciplined and moral, or says that he/she is speaking for God. If his/her words contradict the Bible in ANY way, his/her teaching is false. We must guard against any teaching that causes believers to dilute or reject any aspect of their faith. Much false teaching can be very direct OR extremely subtle. False teachers were/are hypocritical liars who encouraged people to follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Satan deceives people by offering a clever imitation of the real thing. False teachers often give strict rules (such as forbidding people to marry or to eat certain foods). This makes them appear self disciplined and righteous. Strict disciplines for the body, however, CANNOT remove ANY sin (Col. 2:20-23). We must NOT be overly impressed by a teacher’s style or credentials; we must look to his/her teaching about Jesus Christ. What he/she teaches about our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the source of his/her message.

Assorted Scriptures relating to apostasy: Deut. 32:15; 1 Chron. 28:9; Isa.1:16; 1:28-65:11; Jer. 17:5-6; Eze.3:20; 18:24; 18:26; 33:12-13; 33:18; Mat.13:20-21; 24:10; 24:12; Mark 4:5-17; Luke 8:13; 11:24-26; John 15:6; Acts 7:39-43; 1 Cor. 9:27; Gal.5:4; 2 Thes. 2:3; 2:11-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3-4; 4:10; Heb.6:4-8; 10:26-29; 2 Peter 2:1; 2:15; 2:17; 2:20-22; 3:17; Jude 1:4-6

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