The Expansion of Apostasy
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 9/14/03
Text: "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." Jude 1:11
In our last message on apostasy we examinedÖ
Apostasy with reference to the Christian faith it is a renunciation and abandonment of the Christian faith. It is the act of departing from the Christian faith.
Apostasy began in the foundation years of the church. Acts 20:29-30 Paul warns the Ephesians elders of coming apostates after his departure Ė "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Further, Paul told Timothy that apostasy would continue to get worse and worse as the Church age progressed (2 Timothy 3:13). Apostasy will reach its apex in early the seven year Tribulation when the false prophet (or second beast) brings to fruition the Church of Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17).
That brings us to the focus of this messageÖ
The Devil and his diabolical hoard are waging an unholy war against the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and Godís children. He is waging an all out assault on the faith once delivered to the saints in an effort to advance apostasy. Letís look at what I call the four dimensions or aspects of apostasy or four assaults on the faith.
Letís consider the first dimension of apostasyÖ
First dimension of apostasy is an assault upon and a rejection of Godís Authority. Now, whether you like it or not, the authority of the triune God is absolute. Turn to Psalms 62:11 "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God." God is the ultimate authority. And of our Lord Jesus Christ read in Matthew 28:18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Despite the fact that Godís authority is absolute, there are people, even people who profess to be "Christians" that reject the authority of God. An example of this dimension is mentioned in Jude 1:11 where Core (Korah) is used as an illustration The passage says "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
If we are to understand this God breathed example of apostasy, we need to understand the definition of the old English word gainsay. It means to contradict; to speak against; to oppose in words to; to resist; to dispute. The Greek word translated gainsaying is antilogia antilogia (an-tee-log-eeí-ah; 485) which means just about the same thing if you include also the idea of disobedience and rebellion.
The context of this statement is Numbers 16. Moses and Aaron were personally called by God to lead Israel out of Egyptian captivity. Korah rebelled against God appointed authority and he incited others in leadership positions to do the same thing. He and his companions openly opposed Moses. God did not take their rebellion lightly. Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their families were swallowed up alive into Hell. Then a fire from the LORD burned up the 250 leaders who rebelled with Korah. When the Israelites complained, laying the blame at the feet of Moses for their deaths, the LORD sent a plague that will have killed all the rest of the Israelites, but Moses sent Aaron to the Tabernacle to make atonement for the sins of the people. Numbers 16:48 says, "And he [Aaron] stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed." In the time it took Aaron to get to the Tabernacle to make atonement for the people 14,700 had already died.
Rejecting Godís authority is a serious matter. Godís chief authority for us today it The Word of God, the Bible. Matthew 4:4 say, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Many Christians are deceived in their beliefs today by apostates because they do not read, study, meditate upon or understand the Word of God. Ephesians 4:14 describes what happens to weak, ungrounded ChristiansÖ "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
Christian friends, I fear for our nation. We were once a Christian nation that honored the authority of God and His Word, but that is no longer true. We are witnessing before our very eyes the results of National apostasy. Turn to Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."
The majority of churches have turned from the Bible to the beliefs, teachings and practices of the world and the occult. The worldís music blares from platform. Evolution has replaced the teaching of creation. Psychology has replaced Bible for meeting the need of the people. Inner healing and new age philosophies have replaced being filled with the Holy Spirit and discipleship. False doctrine is so rampant today that murdering unborn children has become a womanís "choice," homosexuality considered a God given "right," and the 10 Commandments are considered not fit for public viewing.
Apostasy embodies the rejection of God given authority, primarily the authority of Godís Word, but also the authority the New Testament Church (1 Timothy 3:15; Matthew 18:17) and pastoral authority (Titus 2:15; Hebrews 13:7,17).
Now we move on to the next dimension of apostasyÖ
Conceivably the most widespread areas of apostasy in the "church" today is rejecting Godís grace. The theology in many modern churches is focused on meeting peopleís needs and solving their problems. To them it is the physical body that is important. However, this is NOT the purpose of the church. The church is to put forward the Word of God and preach the Gospel.
Many so-called churches are preaching religion instead of a relationship (with Jesus Christ). They preach the gospel of works, the gospel of baptismal regeneration, the social gospel, the new age gospel, the non-repentance gospel and even the bloodless gospel. But anyone who believes these false gospels is accursed. Turn with me to Galatians 1:6-9 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Apostasy embodies rejection of the rejection of Godís grace. Again, an example of this kind of apostasy is found in Jude 1:11. "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of CainÖ" The account of the apostasy of Cain is found in Genesis 4:1-12. "The way of Cain" stands forever of one who refused the Grace of God in salvation and offered the works of his own hand. Abel offered in faith and but Cain offered a bloodless sacrifice and it is only "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son [that] cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).
Thatís all we have time for in this message. I will
conclude by saying, in this era of apostasy, we who love the Lord stand
for the authority of the Word of God and not back down regardless of the
pressure apostates exert upon us to compromise. And when it comes to the
Gospel, we must proclaim its pure truth far and wide. People need to know
that they have been lied to and they need to know the truth.