Temple Baptist Church - 1-22-2017
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
A. The “falling away” mentioned in our text is not the decline of the morality of the world. This is to be expected because we know what time it is and human nature without God will always bring about moral decline. You can expect sinners to be sinners and wickedness to increase.
B. The “falling away” described in verse 2 is a spiritual decline. A wrong spirit (disobedient to the Bible), a wrong word (a changing message from the pulpit), and a flawed authority (letters as from us).
C. This chapter describes the times in which we now live.
1. Over the past 3 decades that I have been saved, I have seen a constant, serious decline in the fundamentalism of the local church. By the way, fundamental is a good word that has been maligned in the spiritual sense. Fundamentals get the job done in sports, at work, at home, and in the local church.
2. It amazes me, though I am familiar with what the Bible says on the subject, that we have come to this place of spiritual decline. Us that are older remember the “good old days” when people all had a King James Bible and believed that it was the Word of God. We remember when pulpits were not afraid of “naming sin.” As morality failed and worldliness came into the churches, the message from the pulpits had to change also. When the message changed, the Bible also had to change because it was the Authority and the people would not accept it.
D. The phrase “falling away.” It is from this phrase that we get the commonly used word “apostasy.”
APOSTASY – to defect from or to renounce a former belief or position or to stand away from a former position.
E. Apostasy is a satanic conspiracy! It is a planned attack! It is a manned attack! It is paving the way for “that Wicked,” mentioned in verse 8, to step into the limelight and be fully accepted by the religious but unsaved. This apostasy has evolved through several mediums of which I will name two:
1. The arising of False Brethren and Prophets. We are now generations into the recruitment and infiltration of lost preachers who now permeate the pulpits of churches.
a) They are well disguised - Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
b) They are articulate and well educated - Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
c) They are well thought of in religious circles - Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
d) They are heretical - 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring indamnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
1) They have left the Word of God - Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
2) They have left the Traditions of the Church - 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
3) They have left the Old Paths of Separation - Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Their churches are characterized by worldly dress, worldly music, worldly philosophies, and worldly “converts.”)
2. The advancement of the Laodicean Church Age and, therefore, the apathy of its people.
a) The “Church” has taken a back seat to the materialistic world and the temporal outweighs the eternal.
b) The apathy of the majority of Believers. Though they realize to some degree that things are wrong, they are comfortable in the pews and do not wish to be disturbed.
c) The acceptance of shallow, charismatic, philosophical “teachers.” God’s people no longer allow strong doctrinal preaching.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
d) The avarice of the Local Church Pulpits. Preachers are afraid of losing both members and money! Men who once stood strong in fundamentalism have allowed their churches to compromise and are strangely silent! Most of the old “bastions of the faith” are gone! Churches and schools that once stood for truth and separation are now gone.
F. True believers and churches are now defamed! I have covered this issue many times but have found that one of the best teaching tools is repetition! We have not move nor have we changed! They have and, yet, they say that:
1. Bible believing churches are called cultic. We are not a cult! We are Bible believing people who still hold to the old paths of inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures.
2. Bible believing churches are called divisive. We are divisive! The Bible both creates and DEMANDS division.
3. Bible believing churches are called unloving. We are not unloving! We love both sinners and saints. We also love the Lord, the Bible, and the Old Paths. These three things take precedent over everything else.
4. Bible believing churches are called ignorant. We are neither ignorant of what God says nor are we ignorant of their devices! We have a good grip on what the Bible says and reject any theology or teaching that is contrary to Scripture.
GOD COMMANDS SEPARATION FROM APOSTASY!
1. We Must Learn To Identify Them! 1 Timothy 1:18-20 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (How do we recognize them? By measuring their ministry by God’s Word.)
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
2. We Are To Mark Them! Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (This goes over like a “lead balloon” today. Naming names is a vital part of “marking” the apostates. Without naming them, they remain safe from discovery. Wolf hunting is a vital part of the pastor’s ministry!)
MARK - AV-mark 2, take heed 1, look on 1, look at 1, consider 1; 6
1) to look at, observe, contemplate
2) to mark
3) to fix one’s eyes upon, direct one’s attention to, any one
4) to look to, take heed to thyself
3. We Are To Avoid Them! Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
2 John 10-11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
4. We Are To Reprove Them! Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Ephesians 5:8-12 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.