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The Falling Away Of Christendom

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Introduction

Texts - ,
1 Timothy 4:1 NASB95
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 Thessalonians 2:1–4 NASB95
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
The believers were being misinformed that the day of the Lord has come.
Paul responds by saying that certain events must first come to pass before the day of the Lord.
the falling away and the revealing of the man of sin will precede the day of the Lord.
the falling away is a particular occasion, and it will come to its climax in the man of sin

Main Points

The nature of Apostasy

Apostasy is not as simple as going away; it is a serious matter before God.

Apostasy is unfaithfulness to God

The Hebrew word is meshubah, backsliding, backturning, apostasy, faithlessness
Jeremiah 3:6 NASB95
Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there.
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 3:8 NASB95
“And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 3:12 NASB95
“Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever.
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 2:19 NASB95
“Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the Lord your God, And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.
Jeremiah 8:8 NASB95
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.
Jeremiah 14:7 NASB95
“Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake! Truly our apostasies have been many, We have sinned against You.
apostasy, apostasies (backsliding)

Apostasy is rebellion against God

Eng. apostasy comes from the Grk. apostasia
The root word of Grk. apostasia is the Grk. word apostates (where the English apostate comes from)
apostates = rebel (a political term used for those who turn their back to the ruling authority)
apostasia = rebellion, a going against the existing authority or rule
Definitions

APOSTASY Act of rebelling against, forsaking, abandoning, or falling away from what one has believed.

apostasia (ἀποστασία, 646), “a defection, revolt, apostasy,” is used in the NT of religious apostasy;

APOSTASY. In classical Gk. apostasia is a technical term for political revolt or defection.

Joshua 22:22 NASB95
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, the Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows, and may Israel itself know. If it was in rebellion, or if in an unfaithful act against the Lord do not save us this day!
Joshua
Joshua 22:22 Brenton LXX En
God even God is the Lord, and God even God himself knows, and Israel, he shall know; if we have transgressed before the Lord by apostasy, let him not deliver us this day.
LXX is the Greek translation of the Hebrew O.T., which is here translated verbatim into English
Jeremiah 3:6 NASB95
Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there.
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 3:8 NASB95
“And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.
Jeremiah 3.6
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 3:11 NASB95
And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
Jeremiah 3:12 NASB95
“Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever.
Jeremiah
faithless (backsliding)
Jeremiah 2.18
Jeremiah 2:19 NASB95
“Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the Lord your God, And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.
Jeremiah 8:8 NASB95
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.
Jeremiah 8.8
Jeremiah 14:7 NASB95
“Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake! Truly our apostasies have been many, We have sinned against You.
apostasy, apostasies (backsliding)

Apostasy is departure from true faith

1 Timothy 4:1 NASB95
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
fall away - depart (NKJV)
The Grk. word
Grk. aphistemi - to abandon, to depart, to distance oneself
Luke 8:13 NASB95
“Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
Hebrews 3:12 NASB95
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

The Progress of Apostasy in Church History

The Progress of Apostasy in Church History

The apostle Paul used the word aphistemi and apostasia to denote departure from the faith in God and in the gospel as delivered to the apostles.

“False” men arose in the early church

False prophets, False Teachers
2 Peter 2:1 NASB95
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
False apostles
1 John 4:1 NASB95
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:6 NASB95
We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
1 John 4.1
False Apostles
Acts 20:28–29 NASB95
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Acts 20.
False Apostles
2 Corinthians 11:12–14 NASB95
But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Antichrists
2 Corinthians 11.12-14
1 John 2:18–19 NASB95
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
1 John 2.18
antichrists - anti- (instead), christ (Jesus Christ)
“antichrist” (plural) will precede the Antichrist (singular)
“they went out” - doctrinally, or the apostolic teachings
The early stage of “the apostasy” was the emergence of “false anointed ones” within the early church who brought in “false doctrines” and caused “some to depart from the faith”.

Apostasy Progressed through the Church Ages

Beyond the time of the apostles (1st Century) , the Book of Revelation gives us the picture of how apostasy progressed.
Show Illustration #1 - 7 Church Ages
The Nicolaitans
Revelation 2:6 NASB95
‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Revelation 2.
Revelation 2:15 NASB95
‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
the “deeds” in Ephesus has progressed into a “teaching” in Pergamos
The Lexham Bible Dictionary The Nicolaitans (Acts 6:5; Revelation 2:6, 15, 18–29)

According to Irenaeus, the Nicolaitans originated from Nicolaus, the proselyte of Antioch who was given church leadership in Act 6:5 (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, 1.26.3). Although Irenaeus did not initially identify Nicolaus as gnostic, he later referred to the Nicolaitans as an offset of the “falsely called knowledge” (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, 3.11.1).

The Nicolaitan doctrine introduced heirarchy and succession of leadership in the church
succession of leadership was introduced
authority and government were given to “authorized” or “ordained”individuals
Authority to study and interpret the Scripture was held by those in authority
Nicolaita - nikao, to conquer and laita, people
Doctrine of Balaam
Revelation 2:14 NASB95
‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.
Revelation 2.14
Balaam was a prophet
King Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel
Balaam’s idea: entice Israel to sin by holding a feast for idols coupled with acts of immorality
The Teaching of Balaam introduced the veneration of saints in Christianity through images and icons
The woman Jezebel
Revelation 2:20–23 NASB95
‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
Revelation 2.20-23
Jezebel was the queen of Ahab, king of Israel
Jezebel introduced Baal worship
Baal means “lord”
Jezebel represents the formation of the “apostate church”
Jezebel represents the “apostate church”
she claimed to be the true and original church of Christ
she established idolatry within Christianity, first brought in by the “Balaam teaching”
The RCC was the only Christian church that tolerates veneration of saints via images and icons
Denominationalism
Revelation 3:1–3 NASB95
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
Revelation 3.1
Name - Grk. onoma
Sardis Age was the age of Reformation, and the multiplication of churches under different “names” or denominations
Name does not equate “life”
Denominationalism is the practice or idea that one is a Christian because he/she belongs to a certain denomination
Iglesia Ni Cristo (Manalo)
Reformed churches
Baptist churches
Pentecostal churches
Orthodox churches
Ecumenism or Ecumenical Movement
Ecumenism is the movement that promotes unity among Christian churches through cooperation.
World Council of Churches
National council of churches
Federation of churches - WMB
Ecumenism is promoted by Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and more.
The Roman Church is not an official member, of WCC, but herself promotes ecumenism and claims that all churches are her “separated children”.
The Roman Church is not an official member, of WCC, but herself promotes ecumenism and claims that all churches are her “separated children”.
How did these progress of apostasy result in the last days?
A Laodicean Church - the lukewarm church
Revelation 3:14–17 NASB95
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
Revelation 3.14
a church that takes pride in material riches
a church that does not know her spiritual condition
a church that is wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked before Christ!
When Christianity is in this condition, she is ripe for the rise of the Man of Sin!

The Climax of Apostasy in the End-time

What did church history produce for the enemy?
the “apostate church” - the RCC
the lukewarm church - the denominational churches that are poor, blind and naked
When Christianity is in this condition, she is ripe for the rise of the Man of Sin!
[TO BE CONTINUED…]

Conclusion

Why is our time a “critical time”?
Because Christianity today is poor, blind, and naked
Jesus offers her what she doesn’t have
Revelation 3:18 NASB95
I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
gold tried in the fire - she has lost the true faith!
people’s faith today is mostly about material gain and earthly achivements
only real faith can bring us to the coming of the Lord
1 Peter 1:7 NASB95
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
white garments - she has lost her righteous standing before God
righteousness is imputed when we believe
the Reformers gained them with Luther’s message
Revelation 3:4 NASB95
‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
white garment - also means sanctified life
eye salve - she has lost her vision, she has no revelation!
eye salve heals the eye so it can see again
eye salve is the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 2:10–13 NASB95
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2.10-12
She doesn’t know it!
The worst kind of ignorance is when you don’t that you don’t know!
DON’T BE IGNORANT! BE INFORMED!
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