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Some Will Fall Away

 
 
 

 
 
"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, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer."
 
Good Morning my beloved,
 
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
Welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here!
 
 
I do not believe that Christian ministry can ever distance itself from true biblical teaching. There seems to be a clash going on between God’s plan and Satan’s plan. I deeply believe that God has a plan for His church, even in this season, in which we now find ourselves.. The violence of Satan’s opposition is increasing, we can witness that occurring all around us. The escalating violence in the Middle East and the coming war in the Middle East is an indication of the developing fulfillment to prophecy. All of these are developing rapidly in the present and will escalate even more in the future. 

I'm sure many of you grew up with parents who made a mark on the wall by the door to indicate your height as you grew year after year. If our Heavenly Father were to do that, would some of us be shorter instead of taller, more immature instead of more mature? Or would we stand taller than ever? As Christians, we need to grow. We need to grow.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells us "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The second step in the Great Commission is discipleship. I believe that a true Biblical church is right on discipleship. We must spread the Gospel message to others. We need to understand that. Church is not just so we have a place to gather, fellowship, eat and go home. Obviously, that is all a part of it, but there's more we are expected by our Lord to do. And, that's spread the Good News. The preaching of the Apostles confirms it. The belief of people all through human history confirms that, as well.

 

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

 Heavenly Father,

Father, we again are so thankful for Your Word, for the clear instruction You have given us, for the working power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, that we should understand it,and obey it. For over 2,000 years of history, the church has testified to the truth and people have believed it. We have believed. People are still believing it. And through our confession and testimony, many more will continue to believe. Lord, help us to boldly speak the truth, with compassion for the lost, with understanding and most of all love. The love You have shown to us, when we ourselves were lost. Lead to maintain a focus on matters of eternity. Remind us that the gospel of Jesus Christ has come to present salvation to others by grace through faith. Remind us also of all the good gifts that You have provided to us, that we might use them all, for Your glory.
In Jesus' name
Amen.
 
Today's Message: Some Will Fall Away
 
So, you will remember that chapter three ends with a reference to the church as "pillar and foundation of truth" in verse 5. And, in verse 16, Paul tells us that "Christ, the mystery of godliness, God incarnate, the very embodiment of truth." Today, in our study, we will discover that the preoccupation of chapter four is a warning against the dangers of false teaching and denial the truth of the gospel. According to verse one, in spite of the church’s role as a guardian of the truth, "some will fall away from the faith."
 
One example, that immediately comes to mind, is the cult that surfaced in the mid 1970's called "Heaven’s Gate." It headed by a man named Marshall Applewhite and a woman named Bonnie Nettles. You may recall, that on March 26, 1997, deputies of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group, including that of Applewhite, in a house, the group had participated in a mass suicide.Why would they do this? It was in order to reach what they believed was an extraterrestrial spacecraft following Comet Hale-Bopp. What an unnecessary tragedy.
 
A new Comet by the name of Leonard, was discovered on January 3, 2021, which is currently between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, heading inward. It'll reach perihelion, its closest approach to the sun, around January 3, 2022. So, we will have a whole year in which to watch this comet, as it gets brighter and brighter. I certainly hope that it does not bring about the same result as the Comet Hale-Bopp. However, in order for people to know the truth, we have to hear the truth. That's where the church comes in. That is why it is so critical, that the church teach truth. 
 
Open your Bibles with me to the Book of First Timothy, chapter four. As we study this marvelous epistle, Paul has for us some pretty intense warnings. The matter of false teaching is replete in Scripture, and there is ever and always a call for the church to deal with it.  In First Timothy is more general and fundamental. However, in II Timothy, Paul elaborated on the life of the church.
 
"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, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer."
 
In verse one Paul warns Timothy about the causes of error and how to detect it. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”

First, the Apostle Paul begins by stating that authority for his statement about this false teaching is the Holy Spirit, "But the Spirit explicitly says." The expression "the spirit says" is like saying "the scripture says." Here, Paul claims explicit divine authorization for his denunciation of these false teachers.

Secondly the timing is expressly stated as "in the latter times." I'd like you to understand, that this is not necessarily a reference to "the Last Days" but likely to some time after it was written. Like many Bible prophecies, it will have a near fulfillment, as well as a later fulfillment, which will happen a number of times throughout Church history.

Thirdly, Paul deals with the causes of this false teaching. John Stott in his commentary outlines three causes of this false teaching. The causes of this error are three-fold. First, we are told that it is diabolical in it source. Those who introduce a contrived holiness, asceticism, are acting under the instigation of  Satan. Behind the false teachers is the activity of demonic forces. 
 
The Bible reveals that the Satan is not only as a tempter, enticing people into sin, but he is a deceiver, seducing people into error. This is why otherwise intelligent and educated people can digest some pretty fantastic speculations of cults and the New Age movement. Such as love and light, reincarnation, channeling, harmonic convergence and spirit guides, et cetera. False doctrine leads to a much deadlier issue and more dangerous problem, insensitivity to sin!
 
The defection, the apostasy Paul speaks about; and particularly of antichrist, and of the apostasy which occurs through him, which is what is intended throughout Bible prophecy, especially in Daniel's prophecies, under the names of the little horn, and vile person, Daniel 7:1 and Daniel 11:1
 
Philippians 1:9-10, Paul says "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ."
 
I believe the needs that prayer today. We need to be kinder, not only to one another, but others, we need to be more obedient to Christ's commands. We need to be a bridge in bringing people to Jesus Christ. 
 
And I believe we all need a good dose of Luke chapter 6:27-31, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you." I believe that as Christians, our behavior toward others must be consistent.
 
The church desperately needs to know how to treat our enemies. We have no excuse, because not only did Jesus tell us how to treat our enemies, but He showed us. In Luke 23:34, Jesus taught us by His example, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Forgive them. Beloved, do we forgive our enemies today? Or do we lash out in hate? 
 
In verse 1, Paul says "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."
 
Beloved, we should not be surprised. We should be prepared for it, ready to recognize apostasy, it is predictable. Any doctrine that deviates from the essential teaching of the faith. This will weaken the church's testimony to the world. We must guard the doctrine of the church. The gospel message is central. Then, in verse 2, he says "by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron." In order for our conscience, to function as God intended, we must allow it to be saturated by the word of God.
 
It is my belief, that there must be no failure in the church leaders doctrine, in his duty, or in his diligence. If  as pastors, we know and respond to God's truth, we will be free from those influences that would hinder us from fulfilling our ministry. Teaching is life changing!  Not only to the extent that people understand it and appreciate its importance, but to the extent that the life of the teacher illustrates it. I believe that this is critical, a pastor can be both effective in the methods and teaching, however, if their lives do not correspond with what they say, those who listen will reject what they hear. This is clearly a major problem in today's church. The Apostle Paul is vehement that these "teachers," are hypocritical liars. He says their consciences have been seared as by a hot iron. He has nothing good to say about them and he instructs Timothy to stand up against them. I believe that we must do the same today.
 
In II Peter 1:5-8 we 're told "Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
 
Over the years that I have been a pastor, I've seen a number of professed Christians attach themselves to a church that was obviously unsound in its teaching and yet the word back from such people was consistently "They appear to follow the Bible, they talk about Jesus, so we don’t see anything wrong." This has always made me concerned about two things: First, how closely did they look? And, secondly, how well could they really know what the Bible says? 
 
In verses 3-4, Paul goes on to add "men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude" 
 
The great significance is the reminder at the end of verse three to "know the truth," the Greek word "epegnĊkosin," translated "know." is the strongest possible form of the word in Greek and is literally means to "to fully know, to know exactly."
 
I have heard a number of people, over the years, use this same argument for the use of marijuana and other natural hallucinogens, however, that it is a anomaly of the truth. God did create the plant because there may be components in it that may benefit mankind medicinally in years to come. However, the instruction for God’s people to be sober and vigilant covers this completely.
 
I Peter 5:8 says "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." It's not about what we do or don’t do. Christianity is based on what Jesus did and does. We are instructed to follow Him.

Paul tell is in verse 5,  for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. Here, Paul repeats the main theme of the last two verses. Nothing God created is evil, in and of itself. Various false teachers, particularly those adhering to Gnosticism, were teaching that physical matter was sinful. Everything God created and has given us has some good purpose. The point here is to be thankful for the privilege and opportunity to use His creation in a positive way, for His purposes and plans, not our sinful pleasure. In fact, it can be more than just good. It can be holy and used for His glory, when used as He intended. 
 
In Closing..
 
As teachers of the Word of God, there are grave issues in the way in which we deal in the Scriptures, matters of eternity. I believe that even as pastors,  we have a need to be growing and increasing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His doctrine: we must continuously be nourished up in the Words of Gospel. While we are teaching others, we also teach ourselves. 
 
May it be so...
 
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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