See part 1 of this sermon on 1 Timothy 4:1.
So, we’ve looked at seven factors that are involved in apostasy, but you know the truth is that these things cannot actually cause apostasy! They are merely the catalysts that bring it about. To see why I say this, let’s go back to our definition of 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.
An apostate is someone who totally falls away from the Lord and deserts Him. So, who can be an apostate? Who’s a candidate to become an apostate and who isn’t?
Can an unbeliever become an apostate?
Can a true believer become an apostate?
Well then, who can become an apostate?
19 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 2:19 (NASB)
So, what is the fundamental cause of apostasy? Why do people really fall away from the Lord? The basic reason people fall away is that they were merely professing believers, not true believers. They attended church or a Bible study, maybe they even studied the Bible occasionally. They even claimed to follow Jesus, but the fact is they never truly followed Him with their lives.
Jesus addresses this group of people.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 ” Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 ” Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 ” Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Matt 7:16-23 (NASB)
There’s only one thing that keeps people from entering heaven. It is an unbelieving heart. An unbelieving heart keeps the professing (but not true) believer as well as the adamant atheist out of heaven.
· 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
An unbelieving heart that pretends to follow Jesus is a heart that can later fall away.
On the other hand, holding fast does not in any way make us partakers of Christ. Holding fast demonstrates that we are partakers of Christ, i.e. that we are true believers.
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ” If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
All who are truly disciples of Jesus will continue in His Word!
Genuine faith, true faith will always result in salvation and salvation is never temporary! That’s why God calls it eternal life! It is impossible for those who are truly saved to ever fall away. Why is this true? Because it is God’s power that keeps us secure, not our faithfulness. Praise the Lord that I don’t remain saved because I’m always faithful. Brothers and sisters, if keeping my salvation was based on my faithfulness, I would certainly be on my way to hell!
One of the many Bible passages that assure us that our eternal life is secure because of His faithfulness is found in…
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
29 ” My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29 (NASB)
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5
See part 1 of this sermon on 1 Timothy 4:1.