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THE CHURCH IN APOSTASY
Caution for the Church of Today

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"...those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;..." (2 Peter 3:16, 17)

Look at what is going on! The world is getting scarier. What we have called "evil" is turned around and spoken of as "good", and the "good" we know becomes the "evil"! The Bible clearly warns us of this. Paul refers to "that Day" of Christ's coming, which will follow the falling away and the revealing of the "lawless one". The Apostle is telling us to beware, less, in not believing the truth, we are condemned in having pleasure in unrighteousness.

It is nothing new. We have the testimony of Scripture on which to stand: "...I have this against you..." Jesus begins His accusations against the church of Ephesus. (Revelation 2:4a) If this statement describes the church of today, then Jesus is certainly speaking to us as well.

What is Jesus saying? The warnings begin in the Old Testament, continue through the Gospels, the Book of Acts, the epistle writings, and end in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. His statement "...you have left your first love." (Revelation 2:4b) means many things. Basically and primarily, when we turn aside from our ardor for Jesus Himself, we begin to fall away, which is the description of "apostasy". The dictionary definition is: "A defection, abandonment of what one has voluntarily professed. Total desertion of principles or faith."

    Scripture shows us natural man begins his fall soon after he receives the Truth. He is attacked by the originator of lies, Satan himself, as well as his own natural desires.

  • Can you remember what happened to the Israelites? After successfully leading them out of Egypt, Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. When he returned, these "chosen ones" had forgotten the One who delivered them and were carrying on and worshipping the golden calf which Aaron skillfully molded for them. That's what the people wanted! (Exodus 32:1-8)

  • At His baptism, having just received power from on High, Jesus Himself was tempted by the devil. Three times Jesus answered the temptor with the words, "It is written...", quoting from Scripture. (Luke 4:4, 8, 10).

  • Jesus later warned the disciples about being deceived, "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." (Matthew 24:11-12)

  • The early Church had to deal with those who began to introduce heresies. The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian Church, "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Acts 20:29, 30)

  • Paul's letters further corrected the churches of Corinth, Galatia and Ephesus: "Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkard, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9,10) "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"(Galatians 3:3) "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." (Ephesians 5:6)

FALLEN FROM ME

You who are in apostasy,
prostrate yourselves
in front of Me and repent.
For you have allowed
the evil of the world
to become your god.
You have left the truth
that is in Me
to seek pleasures
to satisfy your self-lived lives.
I came to free you
from bondages made
of your own self-desires.
Open the eyes of your understandings
to recognize these things.
Repent, and return to Me,
the only One who
can release and save.
I give you life
and that everlasting!

Constance Vanides

Finally, the hope we have is in Jesus alone. "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:13, 14)

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