Choosing the path less taken and keeping the faith.
As a continuation of our Apostasy topic of last week, in the Shadows of Future Events blog series, we will now be looking at some of the other ways that apostasy manifests in our society and possibly within our own lives. It is critical therefore, to assess oneself honestly, prior to looking at others. We must always be careful not to allow worldly views to seep into our lives and beliefs. We will explore such aspects as preferring things of the world, rather than a life of faith; denial of sound doctrine; or denial of Christian liberty. As the return of Christ draws nearer, the shadows of those future events will be deeper and more obvious. We need to be alert and remain faithful.
5. Denial of the Separated Life
This refers to the denial of self-denial. This is where people prefer and love the things of the world rather than a life of faith, or following Christ’s example. It is a delusion, that they are willing to accept. It is the lure of the immediate pleasure, rather than denial; the immediate reward and instant peer approval. It is looking to the world rather than the eternal or to Christ. Many of the ‘worldly’ aspects are spelled out below.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6. Denial of Sound Doctrine
I see this as the greatest danger to people who are searching for the truth of God, and encounter apostate teachers, who deny the truth of scripture or interpret it in inappropriate and blasphemous ways. However, as innocuous as some parts may seem, this only leads down a very dangerous path.
ALWAYS check what you are taught against the Word of God. It must agree, or the teaching is wrong. So always be alert. Don’t believe what you hear until you’ve checked it against God’s Word.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Commentary from the MacArthur Study Bible on 2 Timothy 4:3-4
- not put up with. This refers to holding up under adversity, and can be translated “tolerate.”
- Paul warns Timothy that, in the dangerous seasons of this age, many people would become intolerant of the confrontive, demanding preaching of God’s Word (1:13, 14; 1Ti 1:9, 10; 6:3–5). As sound doctrine.
- their own desires . . . their itching ears. Professing Christians who are nominal believers in the church follow their own desires and flock to preachers who offer them God’s blessings apart from His forgiveness, and His salvation apart from their repentance.
- They want to be entertained by teachings that will produce pleasant sensations and leave them with good feelings about themselves.
- Their goal is that men preach “to suit their own desires.” Under those conditions, people will dictate what men preach, rather than God dictating it by His Word.
- myths. This refers to false ideologies, viewpoints, and philosophies in various forms that oppose sound doctrine (MacArthur Study Bible Notes NIV)
7. Denial of Christian Liberty
I have heard people say how restrictive the Christian lifestyle is. It always comes down to wrong teaching, lack of understanding and at times even a refusal to listen to the truth. They prefer to listen to individuals who spout rules and regulations that are all lies. Why? Because it serves to build their arsenal of the reasons of why they can deny the truth of God. These are false teachings. What God created is good and nothing is to be rejected. Marriage is good. All food is good, when taken in moderation. Enjoyment of liberty and freedom in Christ is good and available to all believers.
They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (Jesus Bible)
Commentary from MacArthur Study Bible Notes, NIV
- forbid people to marry… abstain from certain foods. A sample of the false teaching at Ephesus.
- Typically, it contained elements of truth, since Scripture commends both singleness (1Co 7:25–35) and fasting (Mt 6:16, 17; 9:14, 15).
- The deception came in making such human works a prerequisite for salvation—a distinguishing mark of all false religion.
- This ascetic teaching was probably influenced both by the Jewish sect known as the Essenes, and contemporary Greek thought (which viewed matter as evil and spirit as good).
- everything God created is good. The false teachers’ asceticism contradicted Scripture, which teaches that since God created both marriage and food (Ge 1:28–31; 2:18–24; 9:3), they are intrinsically good (Ge 1:31) and to be enjoyed with gratitude by believers.
- Obviously food and marriage are essential for life and procreation. (MacArthur Study Bible Notes NIV)
Dr. David Jeremiah, 2021. Where Do We Go From Here?
DavidJeremaiah Blog. The Bible Predicts Jesus’ Return
MacArthur, J. THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 2013 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. (MacArthur Study Bible Notes NIV)