Apostasy Part 1

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1 Timothy 4:1 Sermon Outline and Notes

Apostasy in the Later Days

Text: 1 Timothy 4:1

1 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,

Tonight, we’re going to talk about falling away from the faith. The Bible calls this apostasy.

Definition of Apostasy – a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion. It is formed from two root words: aposta which means revolt and histanai which means to stand. So, it literally means to revolt against a previous stand.

Seven Ways People Fall Away. As it turns out, Scripture says that there are many things that can precede apostasy. Tonight we’ll briefly touch on a number of causes and then zero in on one or two.

1. Attraction to Idolatry

Numbers 25:1-3 where the people sacrificed to the gods of Moab

They came across some gods that were attractive to them, so they started worshiping them. Today, we’re enlightened and would never worship false idols, right? Far from it! Idol worship is alive and well in today’s world. What are some idols people worship today?

o Money – sacrifice integrity, cheat their friends or relatives, give their life to the company and sacrifice their families

o Prestige – having the nicest car or members of the finest country club, impressing people with lavish life style

o Comfort & Pleasure – massage, vacation industry, high end restaurants

o Appearance – cosmetics, finest clothes, jewelry (50,000 yuan watch, anti- aging industry

o Entertainment – video games, movies, all the latest electronic gadgets

To be sure, there’s no lack of idolatry in people’s lives today.

2. Complacency

15 ” But  Jeshurun grew fat and kicked— You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—  Then he forsook God  who made him, And scorned  the Rock of his salvation.

Deut 32:15 (NASB)

8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,

9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Prov 30:8-9

3. Marrying Unbelievers

…(Ahab) married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.

32 So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria.

33 Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

1 Kings 16:31a-33

4. Affliction and Persecution

Matt 13:20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

5. Rejecting the Truth

3 For  the time will come when they will not endure  sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and  will turn aside to myths. 2 Tim 4:3-4

No longer standing for the truth

6. Love for this Present World

1 Jn 2:15-16 If you love the world, you can be absolutely certain that you don’t love God.

10 for  Demas, having loved  this present  world, has deserted me and gone to  Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to  Galatia,  Titus to Dalmatia.

2 Tim 4:10 (67 A.D.)

Hey, Demas had seemed to be a pretty good guy.

14  Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also  Demas.

Col 4:14 (60-62 A.D.)

24 as do  Mark,  Aristarchus,  Demas,  Luke, my  fellow workers.

Philem 1:24 (60-62 A.D.)

7. Follow False Teachers

29 “I know that after my departure  savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing  the flock;

30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away  the disciples after them.

Acts 20:29-30 (NASB)

Characteristics of False Prophets – How can you recognize them?

1 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.

·   It’s not “if” false teachers will come, it’s certain that they will permeate the church!

·   They operate secretly behind the scenes. If they were to openly spread their poison, they would be quickly identified and countered by the leadership.

·   They deny the Master by either not acknowledging His Lordship or His deity. They might say He’s a great teacher or a prophet, but they wouldn’t agree that Jesus is God.

Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

·   Not just a few will be led astray by their false teaching. People are highly susceptible to false teaching! Why is that? The answer is simple enough. The wolf doesn’t go after the strongest of the fold and the leaders, instead, these false teachers, attempt to seduce the young and the weak in faith because they aren’t well grounded in the Scriptures.

3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment

·   They have a love for money. Example of televangelists.

·   While their message will contain some truth, the essence of their message is a lie, because they are like their father the devil who was a liar from the beginning.

·

10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daringself-willedthey do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,

·   The lust of the flesh is one of the characteristics that John states is of the world. These false teachers are enslaved to their lusts.

·   They have their own agenda. They are selfish and care only about their own advancement and benefits. They tend to be very authoritarian, to make sure that things are done the way they want them done.

14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sinenticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;

·

15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.

·   The benefit of a spring is that its waters bring refreshment. God’s Word brings refreshment, but these false teachers

18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,

·   There’s no room for love of Christ in their lives because they love themselves too much. They are constantly calling attention to themselves and praising themselves. Instead of making disciples for Christ, they have people following them because they are so wonderful.

·   So what’s the attraction? Why do so many people follow their false teaching? It’s because sin is attractive! These guys appeal to lustful desires and offer sensual pleasures. People like that! Having one’s lusts fulfilled is more attractive to some than the true gospel.  Look at Jesus’ ministry. When He was healing people right and left and feeding thousands with only a few loaves and fish, crowds were eager to follow Him. But then when He started talking to them about the commitment required, (like Lk 9:23) that they must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and in obedience follow Jesus in His suffering (1 Pt 2:21). So, sure, these false teachers can attract followers by catering to meeting their sinful passions.

· Luke 9:23

19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

·   They are like a drunkard promoting a seminar on temperance or maybe like a 200kg man selling a book entitled Ten Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle!

· A perfect example of empty worldly promise of freedom. 1929 Easter parade “Torches of Freedom” How many of you know what the torches of freedom were?

·   That’s what these guys are like. The promises they make are obviously lies when you examine their lives and see how utterly empty they are. Instead of freedom, what they deliver is enslavement just like they’re enslaved.

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

·   This person has sought moral reform through religion even by a general knowledge of Christ and the gospel. He has not, however, totally embraced them to be truly saved. Jesus describes what has happened in his life.

·   43 ” Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.

44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.

45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

Matt 12:43-45

21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.

22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ” A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

Both of these animals were detestable to the Jews. So Peter used them as an example of falling away!

2 Peter 2:1-22

Wow, there are so many ways to fall away from the truth and this is not even a comprehensive list. If it is so easy to fall away and so many ways to do it, how can we possibly avoid all the pitfalls and be true to the Lord all our life?

Sermon continued at part 2 of this sermon on apostasy.

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