Do you visualize having the power to rebuke what you assume is the enemy when things don’t go the way you plan; “blabbing and grabbing” whatever your covetous heart so desires; or going to church (strictly to be entertained) and not having to worry about being convicted by the Word of God which would constantly be diluted so that you, a faithful attendee and tither, are never made to feel guilty for how you choose to live beyond the doors of the sanctuary?
If this is the desire of one “living in the world”, it’s understandable because a sinner does not personally know Christ but rather knows of a god that has developed through the American Gospel. For both the sinner and the ungodly, God is simply a savior and genie we call upon when we’re in need. However, God does not preside as Lord over their lives. Therefore, desiring such liberty is comprehensible. For Christians, on the contrary, God is Savior as well as Lord – the master of our lives. So, to know this is the mindset of those who are currently in the church, and claim to know the Gospel of the True Christ, is disheartening!
Has the standard that God once had for His church been altered over the years? Who has assured the people of God that they can do as they please and still have TRUTH?
The actions of sinners are not for us to judge because they’ve always obeyed the enemy and are doing what the world does, but when the church begins to live or make decisions based on how it feels, and are conducting themselves contrary to the Word of God, the people are operating in Apostasy.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul prophesies that before the second return of Christ, there is a “Great Apostasy” or “Great Falling Away” to take place. He tells us of a time when those who know God will rebel, oppose His Truth and exalt themselves above the Word of the Lord. In other words, Paul was letting us know, beforehand, that prior to Jesus’ return there WILL BE many who deviate from what they originally knew to be truth to pursue their own selfish agenda. People will become lovers of themselves doing whatever they feel with no regard for the Lord or His standards.
Today’s church is in danger because what Paul prophesied over two thousand years ago is happening today. The people of God are…
1. Living lives contrary to scripture, but are convinced that they are still saved and being “blessed” by God;
2. Finding excuses for not doing the things of God, but making time for their own personal desires;
3. Becoming offended when others tell them what is in the Bible (The Truth) because it’s contrary to what they want to do or believe;
4. Going to church to be entertained and losing their appetite for the written Word because all they want to get out of church is something that will make them feel good or better about what they are in.
5. Allowing “good” excuses to keep them from attending church as they should because they really have something else they rather be doing;
6. Developing unhealthy associations with those who are ungodly – having only an outward appearance of salvation, because those relationships are their connection to the world;
7. Becoming confused about beliefs they were once certain of because questioning those beliefs give them just enough wiggle room to do the things they really want to do;
8. Being led by how they feel versus by the Spirit of God because waiting on God is humbling, requires patience, and a level of faith that they don’t have;
9. Developing an unhealthy love for self because the world has convinced them that they come first, even before God; and finally,
10. Allowing church hurt to keep them from the house of the Lord because they’re afraid of being hurt, again, by people in whom they’ve placed their faith.
The enemy knows that he can’t stop saved people from going to church and he can’t stop them from sharing the gospel. So, don’t expect him to approach the people of God in this manner. We must recognize the power of the enemy for he is cunning. He can’t (boldly) lead us away from God because we won’t follow; so, instead, he joins us – IN THE CHURCH, and subtly implements his master plan. This plan of the enemy is to get the people of God, from the top down, to the point where they feel their compromise is justifiable and they are no longer convicted by the things they once believed. His plan is to lead the people to APOSTASY!
Just as he did with Jesus, the enemy will make several attempts to entice the leaders of the church to compromise. First, he will use the secret weaknesses of leaders (like greed, power and popularity) to move them off course. The enemy knows that wherever the head goes, the body will follow. If the leader’s teachings or behavior is perverse, then so will that be of the congregation.
Then, when the enemy begins to work on those who claim to be Disciples of Christ, he is obscure. He will lure us away from God and towards the world using the desires of our own hearts. He’s betting on the fact that we will compromise for that which seems harmless. But, it is a setup! With every prompting, conviction or Word we override, we give apostasy room to slither in.
If we’re not careful, Apostasy will catch us off guard, and eventually, the things that once convicted our hearts will become comfortable. Don’t believe that you could be a victim? Think again! Just like the flu which can mask itself behind the symptoms of a cold, apostasy will deceive you into believing you are okay with God because you do the things that religious folk do. Truth is, you can be religious yet far from the Way of God. Like the influenza virus, when the symptoms of apostasy are ignored or left unaddressed, the virus becomes life-threatening. In this case, the untreated symptoms lead to spiritual suicide—an eternal separation. And according to Hebrews 6, it’s impossible for those who were saved, and fell into apostasy, to receive repentance.
Apostasy is a subtle, gradual change of one’s mindset and consequent behaviors. It does not happen suddenly; instead, apostasy gradually creeps in with every symptom or boundary that is pushed. The good news is that apostasy is preventable if you actively respond to the symptoms. In order to defeat this illness, that has cunningly spread through today’s church, we must recognize the warning signs of apostasy that are evident in our lives and aggressively respond before the symptoms complicate. The longer the flu is treated as a cold, the more complicated and grave the symptoms become.
Will you continue to tell yourself that you are alright when God has revealed that you have the symptoms of a life-threatening condition? Or will you accept the fact that you may have, in an effort to obtain the desires of your own heart, deviated from the path of holiness?
In this hour, we must take inventory of our Christian walk, heed to the warning signs, accept that we have deviated from God’s original plan, and take advantage of the opportunity He has presented for us to get back on track! Apostasy is serious! That’s why we are repeatedly warned not to be deceived or fooled into thinking that we cannot be moved off course. We must assertively respond to these life-threatening symptoms of apostasy by accepting the Truth and making adjustments to our lives through application of the Written Word. Know that God will not cease to reveal His Word, because His desire is that all men be saved; however, the Word will not save all that hear it. Instead, it will judge those who reject the Truth – even though they once knew it. God is just and will hold those accountable who choose to serve whatever they want in His House.