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Thursday, February 27, 2014
Roots of Apostasy
In the midst of this great falling away that we face, He desires for us to be warned by His holy Scripture, given by His inspiration, being profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work, by examples of those who have thus departed from us (2 Thess 2:3, 2 Tim 3:16). For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Rom 15:4). Oh dear saints the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should BELIEVE A LIE: That they all might be damned who BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, BUT HAD PLEASURE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. (2 Thess 2:7-12)
Surely these castaways have committed two evils; they have forsaken Christ, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jer 2:13). God commands us to KNOW THEREFORE AND SEE that it is an EVIL THING and BITTER, when a soul hast forsaken the LORD his God, and His fear is not found within him, when he has been allured through the lusts of his flesh, through his great wantonness, when he is brought yet again into bondage, having been overcome, having turned from the holy commandment delivered unto him, for he is as a dog turned to its vomit again and as a washed sow turned again to her wallowing in the mire (Jer 2:19, 2 Pet 2:18-22). O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake Thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters (Jer 17:13)!
Why doth a soul depart from the living Christ!?!
Thus saith the LORD, “what iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” (Jer 2:15). This is the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all Spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, who doth open His hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing, Who causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that He may bring forth food out of the earth And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart (Eph 1:3, Ps 145:16. Ps 104:14-15). The just LORD is in the midst of His people; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame (Zeph 3:5)!
“I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say” (1 Cor 10:15)
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” (1 Cor 10)
Herein this passage is conveyed the root of all apostasy and the Spiritual secret of its avoidance. These Israelites ate and drank of the LORD Jesus Christ. They had been regenerated and had experienced the salvation of the LORD both personally, corporately, and symbolically (e.g. the exodus from Egypt, the Passover, receiving manna in the desert and water from the rock). God Himself had given them bread from heaven to eat, both the carnal means of sustenance, manna, as well as the true bread from heaven which the Father giveth: the LORD Jesus Christ, He Which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. As He hath spoken, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst”. (John 6:31-35) When Jesus spoke these Words the Jew murmured at Him, and Jesus said, “Murmur not among yourselves” (John 6:41-43) Oh the woe of mankind that they do murmur against the heavenly manna, our LORD Jesus Christ! From the Israelites whose tempting of the LORD, their inquiring if He was among them, resulted in the coining of the names of the places Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling) and whose murmurings were heard of the LORD (Ex 17:7. Ex 16:7), to these Jews who murmured at the very spoken Words of the God-Man Christ, to the early apostates Ananias and Sapphira, Demas, Philetus, Hymeneus, who agreed to tempt the Spirit of the LORD (Acts 5:9), to countless present day regenerated saints who are daily impaled and hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, this has been the root of apostasy in every generation! Oh how they do murmur against the Bread sent from heaven!
The prophet Isaiah mentions the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For the LORD said, “Surely they are My people, children that will not lie:” so He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them. (Is 63:7-10).
The apostasy of that Exodus generation, and numerous future generations of Israelites is given as an example to us, as an admonition to us, to whom has come the ends of the world characterized by this GREAT FALLING AWAY, yes, this MYSTERY OF INIQUITY. From these examples we are commanded to:
Not lust after evil things
Neither let us tempt Christ
Neither murmur ye
Take heed lest we fall
Flee from idolatry
Neither let us commit fornication
Neither be ye idolaters
Not lust after evil things
Not lust after evil things
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2:22)
“14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:14-16)
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (1 Pet 2:11)
Neither be ye idolaters
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (2 Cor 6:16)
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5)
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:” (1 Pet 4:1-3)
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21)
Neither let us commit fornication
“18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Cor 6:18-20)
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;” (Eph 5:3)
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” (1 Thess 4:3)
Neither let us tempt Christ
“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev 2:16)
“20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Rev 2:20-23)
“15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Rev 3:15-17)
Neither murmur ye
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” (Phil 2:14)
Take heed lest we fall
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb 3:12)
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30)
The root of apostasy is unbelief that God Himself is sufficient, that He is powerful and merciful. For God hath spoken once; twice have His people heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto the LORD belongeth mercy: for He renderest to every man according to his work. (Ps 62:11-12) It is a despising of the feast of the LORD prepared in the desert, a detesting of the very Person of the LORD Jesus Christ. The heart which once cried, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my LORD: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;” (Phil 3:7-10) now becomes chastened beyond the point of return, the soil hardens, just as the soil of the Israelite earth turned to iron under the just punishment for their transgression of His commandments, and the living waters that once fell upon the fertile soil of their humble hearts ceases to fall under the judgment of the iron heavens (Lev 26:19) resulting in the outcome of the stony and thorny grounds: they are immediately offended when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word’s sake or the Word within them is choked by the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things (Mark 4:16-19). That very Word which was able to save their souls had they laid apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and received It with meekness, is disbelieved and rejected (James 1:21)!
The people of God who do walk before Him with a perfect heart are characterized by united exaltation of the preeminent Christ, in Whom all fullness dwells (Col 1:18-19), and thus they have learned in whatsoever state they are in, therewith to be content. They know both how to be abased, and how to abound: everywhere and in all things they are instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. They can do all things through Christ which strengthens them. (Phil 4:11-13) For God is able to make all grace abound towards them, that they, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. For surely He hath dispersed abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth for ever! (2 Cor 9:8-9) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17). Their God does and shall supply all their needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). These elect do know that He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things (Rom 8:32)? By the Spirit these saints do understand what has been freely given to them of God! For as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God! (1 Cor 2:9-12) For we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom 8:15-17, 27) The saints do receive even carnal things FROM and IN the Person of Christ, not apart from Him! Consider the rebuke of Nathan to King David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba:
“7 And Nathan said to David, t the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2 Sam 12:7-9)
The physical aspects of the blessings given to King David were not his sin; his sin was the lust in his heart that caused him to despise the commandment of the LORD and to do evil in His sight. The physical blessings given to King David, his Kingship, his wives, his deliverance (and certainly there are Spiritual aspects of these blessings) were to be wrought IN GOD, not apart from Him. When men fail to believe in the living Christ for sustenance, and come out from His covering to acquire needs and desires (whether wicked or inherently neutral (e.g. food, shelter), they have departed from Him, they do murmur in their hearts, they do tempt Christ, they do commit idolatry…such repeated occurrences result in eternal reprobation. Oh LORD have mercy! We are not to trust in anything, or desire anything outside of the living Person of the LORD Jesus Christ! For we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in us. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in us, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in us. (Rom 8:9-11)
Oh that we would now, at the present time, at this very moment hear His sayings and do them, that we may be likened unto the wise man which built his house upon a rock, that when the rain descends and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon that house; it fall not for it was founded upon a rock. God forbid that we disobey His sayings and be as the foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matt 7:24-27) The LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished (2 Pet 2:9). For blessed in the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the LORD hath promised to them that love Him (James 1:12)!
“16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.24 Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 16-25)
“You mark my words, and it won’t be long … when persecution begins in this country [USA], and it strips everything from you, and most of the evangelical church goes totally apostate, and little groups are left to be berated, THEN you will see that Christ is enough.” ~Paul Washer