Watch your step please
Warning signs, you have seen them, read them, adhered to them before, right?
But what about if it is a subtle sign or so familiar a sign that you pay no mind to it?
Paul continues with the discussion regarding to the return of the Lord.
(A great day coming-1 picture)
Every chapter mentions the coming (return) of Christ
Paul refers to it as a “great day coming.”
Paul addresses some misconceptions about the great day coming, clearing up misconception that it had already come (2The2:2).
Paul explains what was to transpire before the great day coming so that they would watch their step and was recorded so that we could too
A falling away would come first (2The2:3)
Man of lawlessness would be revealed (2The2:3)
Today we are going to look at the falling away, the apostasy that Paul mentions in our passage, we will address the man of lawlessness more in another sermon.
Apostasy would come
Apostasy what does it mean? the Abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief.
But that opens the door for renunciation, what does that mean?
The formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action.
Abandonment, rejection, it was coming.
Paul warned the Ephesian elders (Act20:29-30)
Paul warned the Ephesian elders that it would come after his departure, and that it would come by forces both inside and outside the church.
Paul warned Timothy (1Tim4:1-3)
Paul’s warning to Timothy was that it would come in the latter times, some would leave the faith, others would receive false doctrine and accept it.
Even Peter issued warning (2Pt2:1-2)
False teachers would come and many would start to follow their destructive ways
So, a falling away, apostasy, was to come according to the scripture, so the next question is did it come?
It would seem it did, but let’s look at other scripture about it too.
Apostasy did come
From prophetic, to present tense to the church then, to a warning issued for us today.
In the words of John it came (1Jn2:18-19, 4:1-3)
Antichrists present and have gone out from the body.
Another word John used was false prophets
Jude agreed (Jude4)
Licentiousness: a lack of legal or moral restraints, displayed often in sexually immoral behavior
It carried forward through centuries (Act14:23, 20:17; Act10:28; Tit1:5-9, 1Pt5:1-2)
There was to be a plurality of elders in every church to oversee the church.
Names in the bible were elders, bishops, shepherds, overseers all with the same definition as show in Titus.
Other signs it came
New distinction between elders/bishops; clergy-Laity distinction; Religious holidays; church councils, creeds outside of the bible , and yes, instrumental music.
in about 150AD history shows us there was a new distinction between elders and bishops.
Bishops then had oversight of geographical area, region and oversight over multiple churches.
Religious holidays had distinction, such as Easter; then later Christmas that entered in the 3rd, 4th centuries respectively.
In 325AD you see a church counsel noted at the counsel of Nicea that decided on many doctrinal matters.
This included the creation of creeds, statements of belief that were outside of the bible.
Come the 5th Century there is the introduction of instrumental music, which was intended to enhance worship and promote unity, but it caused division because it was not under the authority of N.T. Scripture.
And it still brings division today.
Other things that could be seen was the introduction of original sin, infant baptism, penance, millenialism and even the veneration of Mary (so that means reverence given, worship given to Mary)
Present in the church today
Reformation, revelation, where restoration was needed.
Reformation movement that started with Luther, Calvin and others to reform the Roman Catholic Church; what ended up transpiring was more splinters happening an a myriad of denominations came about.
Many trading the word of God for the traditions of man.
Appeals to new revelations, such as Joseph Smith and Mormonism or others believing that special revelation would bring unity to the church and only splintered it further and lead to more confusion.
New religions popping up like Christian science, Seventh-day adventists, Jehova’s Witnesses and Pentecostal factions.
All claiming new, relevant revelation given, contrary to what God’s Word says (Rev22:18-19)
Solution to the reformation, to the revelation is the restoration that you can see in (Neh8:1-18; Lk1:13-17; Heb2:1-4; Act20:32)
With Nehemiah to a return to the word; to a pattern of worship as laid out in the scripture, just like today we have a pattern laid out for us, no longer under the law, but under grace.
With John the baptist preparing the way for the Lord (Lk1:13-17)
Now with the Hebrew writers warnings that we may learn from too.
Beware so we do not drift away
Taking heed to the word and the application is the only way to return from apostasy.
It is seen historically that a falling away was possible, a falling away, apostasy did happen, and has continued to happen just as the apostles stated would happen.
It is still possible to happen today, even within our own body of believers if we are not careful.
Apostasy (falling away) is still possible today.
History is bound to repeat itself if we do not learn from it in the first place.
Apostasy is possible today, may we heed the warning of the scriptures.
Apostasy as noted in our passage today
But also, individual apostasy that can spread to the congregation (1Tim1:18-20; 2Pt2:19-22) .
Timothy was at risk, personally of falling away, Paul told him to fight the good fight, keep the faith, don’t be like others who have shipwrecked their faith.
And gave two examples of men who were Christian brothers who fell away.
(expand; take some time to develop, to warn, to encourage)
Some good warning:
Take heed to the word as mentioned before from Heb2:1-3
Do not develop a heart of unbelief, or become callus of sin (Heb3:12-13) and hold to the confidence we have and be faithful til the end (Heb3:14).
and add this one
With the rise of Catholicism, growth of denominationalism; we need to be careful that our restoration efforts may revert back to apostasy if we are not careful and alert.
(invitation slide- take heed)
With history showing us apostasy happened, was happening and will continue to happen may we be a people who take heed to the Word of God.
Do not think lightly that apostasy cannot, will not happen, remember history will repeat itself if we do not learn from it.
Apostasy does not happen overnight, it happens overtime (expand and encourage)
Invitation (invitation slide 2) song, prayer (Exit slides)