Delivered By
C. C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
October 30, 2016
Central Passage
1 Timothy 4:1-2
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

In 1 Timothy 4:1-2 we’re told that “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith…”   Paul does not say all will fall away or will depart.  He says some will fall away or will depart.

If these verses in 1 Timothy were the only ones speaking of apostasy…we might not think much of it.  But there is a recurring warning about apostasy in the Word of God.  Warnings about the church of the apostasy occur at regular and intermittent intervals in the Bible.  And those warnings come from both Jesus and the apostles.

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1, “But know this, in the last days perilous times will come…”

He also said in Acts 20:29, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”

Paul’s prophetic message…then and now…is that the church’s future would always be filled with peril and apostasy.  He was parroting what Jesus had said…that there is an inherent hostility between the true church…the true disciple…and the world.

Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you. ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:19-20).

Jesus also said, “…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

He further said, “I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ told us that there’s a vast distinction and an inherent hostility between His people…His church…and His children.  But why this falling away from the church by the people of God?

Jesus said in Matthew 24:11-12, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

If you’re wondering when this is going to happen…it has been happening throughout the church’s history.  And it’s happening now.

Jesus called His people to be separate from the world…but He said that in the latter times there would be a coldness…an apostasy…or a falling away on the part of those who professed to be true servants of God.  I suppose we could refer to this as global church cooling.

The Spirit…who spoke through the apostles…affirmed all of these things.  Their statements about this matter are barbed…and they have sharp edges.  For example, listen to these words from James 4:4.

“…Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Then 1 John 5:19 tells us, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”  That’s not a pleasant thought is it…that the entire world lives under the sway of Satan?  But the Word of God points out this truth.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4,“But even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

We all know who the god of this age is…the one the world follows.  It’s why Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12-13, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Paul’s admonition to Christians is to “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

We must also pay attention to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 2 verses 4-5…where the Lord speaks to one of the seven churches in Asia and says: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen…”

We must also remember what Paul wrote in Romans 10:10, that “…with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

And, of course, Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

We need to help people understand that when love for Jesus dies…the expectancy, wishing and desiring for the appearance of our Lord also dies.  Paul’s desire to be with the Lord was never made clearer than when he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

The church at Ephesus had great hope about the immediate return of the Lord.  But as the days passed men grew cold and indifferent.  There was talk that the Lord had misled the apostles…and there was talk that the apostles had misled the church.

Some in the church said there would be no kingdom of God on earth…and no coming or appearing of the Lord.  Among this group the agonizing and groaning for redemption ceased.  So the church became the mistress and pawn of the world…a part of world culture and not a part of God.

Most people have always opted for new religion…new theology…and new church.  They have sought a church based on natural law and natural religion.

There’s no faith in such thinking.  Human thinking disdains supernatural revelation…supernatural words and supernatural manifestations.  Human logic teaches that there is no personal God…simply a great, energetic dynamic force.  It teaches that no miracle is possible.  It teaches that prayer is unheard.  It teaches that the Bible is nothing more than a record of people who lived centuries ago.  It teaches that Christianity is nothing more than one of the great religions of the world.

The people who have contrived this new theology…this new church…this new religion…see it as being a church of humanity.  After all, it teaches that all of the rotes of modern philosophy, science and social studies have their center in humanity.

This new church of the apostasy dethrones Christ and deifies mankind.  It teaches that God is incarnate in people everywhere…that the difference between you and Christ is not a difference in kind…but a difference in degree.

It teaches that the fall of the human race is an impossible concept…since God and man are essentially the same…and that what is needed to further develop people is a consciousness of their divinity.

To say that the finest, most perfect person was on earth more than 2000 years ago is an insult to the modern mind…and to the new Church of the Apostasy.  It teaches that we will have a greater and better Christ.  It teaches that we will have a greater and better Bible.  It teaches that sin is nothing other than obscuration of the sun – the dirt on the image of a coin.  This church of the apostasy is one built upon the worship of humankind.

This church of the apostasy of which I speak…has a substitute for the kingdom of God…and that substitute is the kingdom of Christian socialism.

The watchword of the new faith and new religion is social righteousness.  It teaches that the kingdom of God is nothing more than a kingdom of humanity…that Christianity is nothing other than beneficent humanitarianism…that we are to no longer call people to repentance and faith in Christ…that the mission of the church is not to save souls…that the great mission of the church is to preach social righteousness.

Everything I believe…everything that’s taught in the Scriptures…is contradicted by the modern apostate church.

The Scriptures tell me there is a personal God…the Creator of heaven and earth.  But this new theology people want to embrace denies this.  It portrays God as simply an eternal energy or force…that God didn’t create anything…that matter has always existed…and that God is simply everything you see.

But the Scriptures tell me that…in addition to man…there are other created intelligences…angels, fallen angels, demons and Satan.  Scripture also tells me that there is a kingdom of darkness…which is ruled by Satan…who is an enemy of God and man…and prince of this world.

But this new theology says there are no angels…either good or evil…no demons…no Satan…no kingdom of darkness…that there’s nothing other than physical law and physical matter.

The Scriptures tell us that man fell from his original perfection and goodness…ushering in the law of sin and death…and that he needs a redeemer and savior.  The apostate church says man has evolved upward and has never fallen…needs no redemption…and is in the process of evolving into a state of highest goodness and wisdom.

The Bible tells us that the only begotten Son of God became flesh and died on the cross to redeem us from sin…that He is now our high priest and makes intercession for us with the Father.  But the apostate church teaches that we’re all alike…that Jesus simply gave us a moral ideal…but that He died like any other man.

The Bible tells us there will be a kingdom of Christ when He returns to earth…that it will reign with Him…and that all nations will dwell together in peace.  But the apostate church teaches there will be no return of Christ and no resurrection of the dead…that through processes of evolution, earth shall see a perfected humanity and a new social order in which evil will disappear and the kingdom of man shall come.

The Bible teaches us that in the final conflict Christ will triumph over Satan…and that the evil one will be cast into the bottomless pit and lake of fire with all his followers.  The apostate church teaches there is no conflict between Christ and Satan…no bottomless pit called hell…and that evil is just an imperfect good that will disappear with perfected humanity.

The true church is diametrically opposite…separate and distinct from the world…whereas the apostate church pants after the world.  It seeks to hide what the world considers the obnoxious doctrine of the Bible…words like “O you wicked men, you shall surely die.”  And “The wages of sin is death.”  And “Except you repent, you will die.”

The Church of the Apostasy tells us we’re all good.  It subscribes to Robert Louis Stevenson’s statement: “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much evil in the best of us, that it does not behoove any of us to talk about the rest of us.”

That’s garbage.  God gives us the truth…which is that humanity is rotten, depraved, damned and lost...but that people can be redeemed by belief in Jesus Christ. Except we are saved through the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we are a damned and lost humanity.

A church that identifies with the world is like the earth’s crust.  Underneath that crust is a volcanic, seething revolution between redeemed humanity and unregenerate humanity.  Unredeemed humanity can be likened to like having an ape, tiger and the lion in the same small cage.  The result is always vile and violent…ruthless and cruel.

The church that identifies itself with the world…identifies itself with government…identifies itself with certain political and social procedures…rides the tiger and cannot get off.  So as government goes down…as politics fail…as the social order disintegrates…the apostate church disintegrates.  It has no message.  It has no resurrection.  It dies in the fire.

Whether a church decays in dust…or whether it does or doesn’t fail…whether it staggers and disintegrates or not…God reigns above it all.  And because He lives…we live with Him.

The true church is an election.  It is a called-out assembly or group.  Jesus said in Matthew 24:40-42, “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

This is how God has worked throughout all time and history.  Some people are called by God…turn to Christ and are saved.  Some people are called by the Lord…turn away and are damned.

If you want to be saved…if you want to be a Christian…if you want a new heart, faith and hope…if you want to be born again…then you are part of the elect of God.

If you are not interested…want no part of Jesus…refuse to turn to Him in repentance and faith…then you are not part of the elect.

But it’s your choice.

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