Monday, September 9, 2013


The Bible is clear that in the last days there will be a falling away.  In II Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul is dealing with issues concerning the time of the end.  The Thessalonian church was concerned that they had missed the return of the Lord, so Paul assures them that they have not missed it and that there were certain events that must take place before Christ comes back.  One of those things is what Paul referred to as "a falling away."

2 Thessalonians_2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 

The man of perdition is obviously the Anti-Christ who will take control of the world, but what does the falling away refer to?  Some believe it refers to the rapture of the church.  While I do emphatically believe in the rapture of the church and that it will occur before the Anti-Christ comes to power, I do not believe this passage is referring to the rapture. I believe it is referring to apostasy within the church.  
A simple definition of apostasy is basically a rejection of ones faith.  In the context of the church, apostasy would be a description of what the Apostle Paul is referring to in his letter to Timothy, the young pastor of the church in Ephesus:

2Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 
  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 
  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 
  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 
  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 

The key verse is those that have a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.  There are many who identify themselves as part of the church, but when it comes to the path to salvation, they do not believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father.  In fact, there are many leaders within the church who teach a doctrine of works.  As the church goes, so goes the culture, if the church is faithless, how can we expect the culture we are in to even care about God?  The church has lost it's voice in society and unfortunately, society has begun to shape the church.

Obviously, there are still many redeemed believers in the church who are truly the Church, but unfortunately they have become marginalized in society and are becoming marginalized within the walls of the local church.  How does this happen? I believe there are four steps to apostasy. The church, especially in America, seems to have reached that point.  The steps to apostasy are directly related to how the church deals with sin within it's own midst.

Step one: Ignore sin.  So often, within a church, people do not want to be offensive or to intrude, so we ignore  sin, even blatant sin.  Why is it that we do not care enough about each other to get involved, in a loving way, when our brother or sister falls into sin.  Once we ignore sin, it is allowed to fester and leads to the next step toward apostasy.

Step two: Tolerate sin.  Once we have ignored sin long enough, it becomes tolerated.  We make excuses for the sinners and excuses for why we do not deal with the person who is sinning.  The siren song of the world is tolerance and we develop a live and let live mentality.  Unfortunately, sin is not satisfied with simply being tolerated.  As we practice tolerance we easily slide into the next step towards apostasy.

Step three: Accept sin.  The world understands that tolerance leads to acceptance. Once we accept sin in our midst, we lose our moral authority to confront any sin.  We have no ability to engage society and have nothing to offer the lost.  When the church accepts no fault divorce, premarital sex, cohabitation, homosexual activity, illicit gambling, drunkenness, or any other direct disobedience to the word of God, we have lost our saltiness, we have lost our ability to reach the lost and we have lost the ability to offer a better path to the lost.  If we look just like the world, the world has no reason to turn to Christ.  Acceptance leads to the final step on the path to apostasy.

Step four: Condone sin.  Condoning sin moves us from the point of merely accepting sin to defending it.  Once the church begins to defend sin in the congregation, the church is apostate.  To defend sin is to actively work against Christ.  Any church that actively works against Christ cannot possibly have any ability to transform lives.  

I believe that many churches have become irrelevant because of sin that has been allowed to fester and grow into apostasy.  This is what I believe is the meaning of the the verse in II Thessalonians stated above.  

An in-depth study of the book of Jeremiah shows that most of the sins being committed by Israel which led to God's judgment are being committed by the so called church today.
The good news for true believers is that this is a major sign of the last days and we have the rapture to look forward to to rescue us from the wrath that is about to come upon the earth.

As believers, we must hold up the standard of Christ and not fall into the sin of the world around us.  The Bible challenges us to "be Holy as your Father in heaven is holy."

The remedy for this is discipleship.  When we are busy about the work of discipleship, we will be very conscious of and sensitive to sin in the lives of the people whom we are investing time in.  We will naturally be accountable to one another and we will have the relationships necessary to confront sin in each other's lives. Apostasy is the result of not loving and caring for each other enough to be involved in each others lives.  


  1. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. Matt. 24:12

    1. That passage so right and it seems to be happening all around us. Thanks for commenting.