Apostasy in the Church- An end time prophesy 2
I greet you all in the Wonderful Name of the Most High. I trust that you are holding on to the promise of a brighter day when Jesus Christ shall physically return to this sin filled ungodly world we are living in? What a glorious day that will be when we who hold fast to this promise of a “catching away” of the Church of Jesus Christ, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18. Now of course there are many today within the Church who have abandoned this promise and say that such an event will not take place. But we who are expecting the “rapture” to take place knows that the Apostle Paul said that to them who are looking forward to his appearing will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and that when, “Christ shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” 1John 3:2. Now isn’t that something to look forward to?
The reason for my writing a follow up to the “Apostasy in the Church” sermon is because recently I received an article from a pastor friend of mine. To say the least I was very shocked at what I read, and felt the need to address this through the website for the South African reader to see, but also for the whole wide world to know what is going on in one of the largest traditional churches in the country. And the denomination I am about to speak of is none other than the former state church, The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. You may be thinking why I am writing about a denomination that has been established in South Africa for so many years. What is so wrong in the DRC to mention and be concerned about? For the simple but yet realistic and very worrying reason of what the title of this message reads, Apostasy in the Church. I am going to be quoting directly from the said article which was written by a Professor [name withheld], from the University of the North.
‘At the General Meeting of the DRC in 2002 it was decided that repentance and faith is no longer required of any person to be saved. Yet repentance of one’s sin and faith in Jesus Christ are Biblical requirements\principles that qualifies you to be saved. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23”. The Biblical commandment that sinners must repent and turn to Christ, and also place their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, is being replaced by man-made theology. This is debated in a hyper-Calvinistic manner that all children of God are chosen beforehand by God, and that He will save them by His own initiative. By the practise of the sacraments the church confirms a member’s chosen position and that gives the church the authority, that no one will be able to enter heaven without their say-so. Of course this is a man-made\church teaching and has no biblical foundation. The DRC General Meeting of 2002 decided that once the sacraments have been performed the person involved has established his\her eternal status as a covenant-child of God. It is seen as unnecessary for a covenant-child at a later stage to come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ; meaning that he\she does not need to be asked to stay after a service to ask\accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Albeit there are some evangelistic\charismatic DRC pastors who are not hyper-Calvinistic concerning these false teachings but they are well in the minority.
The following quote is from ‘the Beeld’ newspaper of 16/10/2002, pg 8. “The general church lingo that someone must repent from their sin and give their heart to Jesus is cause for serious apostasy. The general synod accepted a report that warns against such teachings as it can be seen/perceived that man is then responsible for his own salvation. But the pure Bible teaching is that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me, John 14:6”.Other misconceptions are “the way of salvation” which can be interpreted that a person has to make/take certain steps to be saved, and also that the opinion that “you must believe to be saved” can be seen misleading. This decision flows from a position taken that salvation and faith is man-made concepts [not biblical] and therefore unacceptable and unnecessary; whereas salvation will take place only by God’s grace and mercy. At the same general synod-meeting a compromise was reached concerning the authority of the Bible. They rejected the concept that the Bible is fallible man’s word concerning God, and at the same time rejected the opposite opinion of fundamentalists that the Bible is the infallible and inspired Word of God. To them it is a mixture of “words of God” and the “words of men”. Seen in this light the “socially unacceptable” Biblical teachings against such sins as homosexuality, and the use/abuse of alcohol and constant calls for repentance to all sinners must be gotten rid of. For the evangelistic\charismatic Christians who believe in the Bible, there are certain guide lines concerning man’s responsibility for his salvation. Man is not a robot that is programmed by God but is a free moral being that can decide for him/her self whether they want to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, Joshua 24:15. As concerns his salvation man is placed before a decision and must decide for himself. The mistake that Calvin made is he believed God loves only certain people and chose them for Himself. Calvin believed Christ died only for them who He chose; and they cannot repent from any sins until the Lord has regenerated/sanctified their hearts. This on-going process of salvation/sanctification as taught by the Apostle Paul is not taken seriously, because the person’s spiritual destination on the precept of “once saved always saved” is guaranteed. Even if he/she falls into deep sin/unrighteousness he/she is looked upon as just a “disobedient child of God” that will still inherit the kingdom of heaven. For this reason there is great tolerance toward sin in member’s lives.
But what does the Bible say concerning repentance? In Acts 17:30 Paul says this, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”This commandment concerning repentance is a universal omission for all men [and woman] everywhere to repent from their sin after the first appearance of Jesus. It is in this light that Paul received his godly mandate for his ministry. Jesus said to Paul, “delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee; to open eyes, and to turn them from the power of Satan, unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” Acts26:17-18.And that is precisely what the gentiles did wherever Paul preached the gospel of repentance. In his letter to the Romans he said, “Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” And to the Hebrews Paul said, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Hebrews6:1”. On the basis of the above scriptures one sees the necessity of repentance and faith in one’s salvation. Repentance takes place first before coming unto salvation, in a position of remorse, contrition and regret for one’s sin. Paul says to the Corinthians, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death” 2Corinthians 7:10. This is of course the message of Jesus Christ himself, and the New Testament confirms this. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10”, “I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luke 13:3”, “that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at ant time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them, Mark4:12”, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth; more than over ninety and nine just persons which need repentance, Luke 15:13”, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins, Matthew 1:21”.The Apostle Peter claims that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,2Peter 3:9”. So the Lord has not chosen only a certain group of people to save, and the rest to spend eternity in the lake of fire. Each human being on planet earth must decide for him/her self if they want to serve Christ. The Bible says all or whosoever will may come. People that do not come into repentance and confess their sin will die in their sin, John 8:21.That is why the Holy Spirit convicts the world of their sin and of the righteousness and judgement of God, John 16:8. How can we ever experience and accept the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus without ever experiencing forgiveness of our wicked ways through repentance and salvation. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9”.God the Father directs this invitation to all sinners in the world. Do you believe it and have you in faith reacted to the invite. Through the ages since Jesus walked the earth, many the person have tried to serve God their way. They are the one’s who believe in God and the Bible and go to church, and according to their own convictions have tried to be good Christians. They are the one’s who do not succeed in their efforts to become a participator of that heavenly kingdom, because they have rejected the foundation of repentance and faith which can only be found in Christ Jesus, Hebrews 6:1.The foundation of their life is not grounded in conversion and true faith in Christ, but their salvation is built on their baptismal certificate, church membership, their position in the church and good works. All of these church activities without true conversion and faith in Christ alone are in vain, because it does not bring about true rebirth and regeneration, John 3:3. The true Church of Jesus Christ is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, and true conversion and faith is an outflow of this. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in 1Peter 2:4-6.So in light of the DRC rejecting the Bible-concept of conversion as man-made attempts, one must now ask the question which works takes the place of the Bible concept; is it the collecting of money, service on the church-board, outings, baking of pancakes and cook-sisters or whatever.
There are going to be plenty of “form-of-godliness” ministers and lay-people who are going to futilely and in-vain try to explain their dead sacramental religion before the throne of God. A lot of their arguments are going to sound like this; “Lord, you cannot reject me, because I was a pastor/minister/preacher that preached in your Name, Matthew 7:22. Others will say, Lord I served faithfully on the church-board and was baptised and my name was on the church roll. But for such people who had no testimony of true salvation and faith Jesus will say, “ And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity, Matthew 7:23.” The works of unrighteousness is committed by everyone who rejects the deity of Christ, His finished work on Calvary, and also His conditional terms of conversion/repentance and faith in Him to receive His mercy. When the Church starts denying this truth, and tell people it is no longer applicable or even necessary to come into repentance the Bible way, they “have a form of godliness” because of their rejection of the power of the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives. The Apostle Paul warns Timothy to stay away and have nothing to do with such people. That applies to us too.
Jesus Christ has declared that we must not just do lip-service, but do the will of His Father, Matthew 7:21. And that includes, repentance/conversion, 2Peter 3:9; sanctification and holiness, 1Thessalonians 4:3+7.
My friend in light of what you have read here concerning the stand-point of the DRC concerning this all so important issue of repentance and salvation, one cannot but come to the conclusion that it has become an apostate church. I want to make a plea to the people who are members of this organisation/church to come out from amongst them, and find your self a church where the full truth of God’s Word is preached.
“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 2Thessalonians 2:3.” The man of sin that Paul is referring to in this scripture is the Antichrist who will make his appearance after a falling away within the Church, as we see it happening today. Early Christians believed that various Caesars were perceived to be that “man of sin”. During the Dark Ages and into the Reformation age, it was believed that various popes to be the “man of sin”. In Arabia around 600 AD, many believed Mohammed the Prophet of Allah to be the “man of sin” During the 20th Century, many Christians wondered if Hitler or Stalin to be the “man of sin”. Today, most Christians who study God’s Word believe that they were all typically forerunners of that man of perdition the Antichrist that will be revealed at the right time according to scripture. But regardless of whom this man of sin will be, Paul states that there will be a falling away from the fundamental truths of God’s Word namely the plan of salvation and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This man of perdition will be able to seduce and deceive humanity and even the elect of the Church. Therefore for him to be successful the Church will be in a state of apostasy. By definition, apostasy is the condition of those who once embraced the truth, but have now abandoned or forsaken it. Of course this here applies to professing Christians. Infidels, agnostics, and unbelievers have no profession from which to apostatize. That said, it is my personal opinion that most churches here in South Africa and in the world by and large are in a state of apostasy already. Let me share with you a prime example of apostasy that was revealed some time ago in an interview with former President George Bush. George Bush is a so-called professing Christian. Here is a verbatim transcript from that interview:
Q: Do we all worship the same God, Christian and Muslim?
A: I think we do. We have different routes of getting to the Almighty.
Q: Do Christians and non-Christians and Muslims go to heaven in your mind?
A: Yes they do. We have different routes of getting there.
In another interview with Al Arabiya television Bush said, “I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or whatever religion, all pray to the same God. I believe there is a universal God, I believe the God the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. I mean we all come from Abraham, and I believe in that universality. Obviously George Bush is a Universalist. His confession is not that of a Christian. Any true Christian knows that there is one mediator between God and man; Christ Jesus. And as the Muslims do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Redeemer of all mankind, then we as Christians do not and cannot be praying to the same God. Yet whilst George Bush was making these false statements there was not one outcry from anyone within the borders of the USA, or even from the Church worldwide. Yes today, the Church of Jesus Christ sits silent and still while a supposedly professing Christian President of the United States publicly denies the central doctrine of Christ and embraces the pagan doctrine of universalism. And the only explanation for this is once again, that the Church is in a state of apostasy. No wonder Jesus asked the question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8”. Finding faith and truth in the midst of apostasy would seem to be the challenge for every true child of God in these end times.
But let’s go a bit further now and speak about an institution who claims to be the only true Church and Christ’s representative here on earth. Yes I am talking about the Roman Catholic Church. Although I have written about this church in previous sermons, I feel it necessary to address this again. The membership of this church according to statistics is over 1billion, but the majority of so-called Catholics baptized into this denomination do not even regularly practice their religion. Many of these members know little of their own beliefs or they ignore it. Many integrate it with pagan religions. The RCC teaches that you are saved by grace, faith and works of merit. They believe and teach that God’s grace is something you earn by keeping the church sacraments, traditions and rituals and by doing good works. They believe that the priests are the direct successors of the apostles and have all of Christ’s authority on earth. The priests are grace dispensers and the RCC infallible. If you accumulate enough merit you will gain entrance into heaven, otherwise you will have to go through the fires of purgatory or to hell itself. The writings of the church fathers and the traditions of the RCC have equal weight with scriptures. In others words the members of this apostate religion is in the process of being saved by their works of merit. Many of the church’s traditions and practices are contrary to the scriptures of the Bible, proving that the RCC is far from being infallible. Satan that great deceiver of man with his wolves in sheep’s clothing has through the ages and very subtly infiltrated this church and corrupted it. The Catholic Church is largely a church of Pharisees and of blind ritual. Similar I may add to the Judaism of Jesus’ day that He condemned. A church of idolatry, ritual prayer, and traditions of men. There are seven sacraments in the RCC, which they believe are rituals of grace. The RCC believes that the ritual itself will dispense grace from God. Obviously they place the cart before the horse, because no spiritual grace comes from rituals, but only and by the power of the Holy Spirit which is given by God to those who listen and obey Him. Let me just share two examples of the false teachings of ritual in the RCC.
1. The sacrament of baptism of infants is not scriptural and logical.
2. The ritual of baptism is for identifying believers with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Babies do not believe. True baptism is dying with Christ and by faith being born into a new creation called the “body of Christ”
3. The sacrament of the Eucharist should be taken as a memorial and remembrance of Christ’s broken body and shed blood for us. To be administered by the priest daily to the faithful members, reminding them that the flesh and blood of Christ is real literally.
4. There is no place in the scriptures of the Bible anywhere that says we are to offer Christ’s body on the altar daily or that the bread and wine, representing Jesus’ body and blood actually becomes the physical body of Jesus. Christ died once and for all time for mankind a terrible death on the Cross satisfying the justice of God, so that you and I or whosoever may be saved.
But wait a minute one cannot write on these apostate religions without mentioning the New Age Movement. Although one cannot define the NAM as a religion, it is just what it is, a movement. It is essentially a collection of eastern influenced ideologies. It teaches that humans have evolved biologically, and must now evolve spiritually. Beyond that there is no hierarchy, doctrine, creed or membership. Man is the central figure in the NAM. He is viewed as divine, and progressing to a kind of godhood. The NAM believes that God is in everything, and everything together makes up God. Thereby man is part of God. Many of the NAM practices are designed to elevate man to a position of godhood, such as astral-projection, contacting spirit guides, and using crystals to purify your body and mind’s energy systems. New Agers believe in reincarnation and in Karma. A lot of the terms you most likely will hear are, holistic, synergistic, unity, and oneness, harmony, transformation, personal growth, human potential, awakening, networking, energy, self,etc. New Agers love to use Christian terms, but do not be fooled by this, simply because they viewed Jesus as a man who excelled at spiritual evolution and progression. The Christian terms you will hear will have a totally different meaning for the New Ager than it will for you. Here is a comparison of New Age beliefs verses Christianity.
New Age….God is an impersonal force
Christianity… God is personal. He is our Heavenly Father who loves us
New Age….God is all and in all. He is part of creation, as are all of us.
Christianity…God is the Almighty Creator of the universe, and all within it. Man is finite, and all must be saved
New Age…. There is no sin, only misunderstanding of truth.
Christianity…. Rebellion from God is sin. All have sinned and all must be saved.
New Age…. Man saves himself.
Christianity…. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Only through faith in Him are we saved.
New Age….Heaven and Hell do not exist.
Christianity….There is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell.
New Age….Jesus is a man who exemplified “Christ Consciousness, and the divinity that is man.
Christianity…Jesus is the Son of God, and is part of the triune nature of God.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws of the NAM is the release it provides from personal accountability and responsibility. They believe that each person must travel his/her own path and make their own decisions. And those decisions are never wrong, provided they’re not wrong in that person’s own mind. But as Christians we recognize the fallacy of that thinking. We know that man is finite and imperfect. In fact man has a sinful nature. It is only through faith and trust in an eternal and omnipotent God that one can be saved from sin. The NAM sees the Christian view of salvation through Christ alone as being divisive and exclusionary.But what they do not see is that salvation is a free gift to everyone. If I can categorize the NAM as a religion then I must come to the conclusion that it is an apostate [false] religion that has no foundation for anyone ever being saved.
Contrary to what the NAM beliefs are, the true Word of God teaches us that there is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell. There is only one true God, who is eternal and who created the universe and everything in it. Man is finite, imperfect and sinful. God is not impersonal, but a loving Father who loves you more than you can imagine. His love compelled Him to send His Son to die on a Cross for our sins. God is just and He has provided a path for your salvation, but you must decide to accept it. God does not want anyone to perish. Eternal life in Paradise can be yours provided you confess your sins, and accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. All through the ages since Jesus was Crucified and Resurrected, God’s message has never changed as the call resounds ever clearly that “whosoever will may come”. That is why John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” is still the same today as it was the first time it was penned.
Let’s continue with this ever important message. Deception will mark the end times and will increase in the earth to the extent that even God’s elect will be led astray and deceived, Matthew 24:24. One cannot speak about former President George Bush without mentioning his successor Barrack Obama. The recent US elections were regarded by many Biblical Christians not only in America but in many parts of the world as the most deceptive in their history. During the campaign the liberal media pulled out all the stops to succeed in promoting their candidate. Millions of unsuspecting Christians in America were deceived in voting for a man they really did not know. Reports of Christians claiming that Obama was their “Jesus” – in other words their savior, and even art works portrayed Obama as a Christ-like figure! Even our own ‘presidential candidate’ Jacob Zuma has been so inspired by Obama’s success, that he made several comparisons between himself and Jesus, hoping to draw parallels between his so-called sufferings and that of the Son of God. Matthew 24:5 Jesus warns us, “For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Obama during his campaign, in an interview with CNBC, said that Jesus is not the only path to God, there are many paths, and that hell wasn’t a real place. Barack Obama claims that his mother made him read the Bible and the Koran and other writings of other major religions. Thereby one can detect the deception of; there are many paths to God, and there is no hell. Incidentally this is also the view of Barack and Michelle Obama’s closest friend and mentor, Oprah Winfrey. Let me spell it out for you saints of the Living God. Barack Obama is nothing less than a follower of the New Age Movement as is Winfrey. Obama says he supports special rights for homosexuals, because he is informed by the Sermon on the Mount rather than some obscure passage in Romans. Of course the obscure scripture he refers too is found in Romans 1:24-27. This is the portion of scripture that the Apostle Paul spells it out in no uncertain terms concerning the matter of homosexuality and lesbianism. Obama’s distortions of Biblical Christianity even prompted Dr James Dobson to publically criticize him in what he referred to as Obama’s “fruitcake Christianity”. Obama is also noted as the most pro-abortion president-elect in America’s history. He even went so far as to say he would not want his daughters to be ‘punished with a baby” because of a crisis pregnancy.
The liberal media went so far as to launch an unprecedented attack on Sarah Palin; the running mate of the other presidential hopeful John McCain. When they found out that she was a pro-life abortion evangelical Christian mother, they mocked her for lack of experience, and compared her to Pontius Pilate while Barack Obama was elevated to Christ-like status. People do not be deceived by this ideology of the world system. Colossians 2:8, issues this timeless warning; “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Barack Obama’s deception lies in the fact that he believes in his own exaggerated abilities to bring about change. Jacob Zuma supporters believe he is the savior of South Africa and must therefore be elected as president at all cost. But these people are all under a cloud of deception and their redemption is directed in the wrong place. As believers we must insulate ourselves from the deception of the world system by focusing on Jesus Christ who is the, “Author and Finisher of our faith, Hebrew 12:2. God’s Word warns us about the condition of our hearts and the hearts of all men. Where our eyes and hearts are focused will ultimately determine our direction and destination. If Jesus Christ is not the central focus of your life, you can easily be led astray. The enemy only has to get you to draw your attention slightly away or off focus from Jesus to lead you down a path of destruction. If you are not already convinced then let me inform you about some strategies that are already at work to take your focus off Him. In the US and increasingly more so in South Africa, there is a sustained campaign to not only remove Christ as the central focus of Christmas but to remove Christmas from Christmas. The media reported on the annual switch on of the ‘festive lights’ not the ‘Christmas lights’ as it was previously known. Many companies are now wishing their clients ‘Happy Holidays or ‘Seasons’ Greetings’. In the US nativity scenes are banned from public places and this is enforced by law.
Commenting upon the imminent passage by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution called, ‘Combating Defamation of Religion’, author and international speaker Chuck Olson warns that Islamic nations, led by Saudi Arabia, are cleverly acquiring the power to criminalize any speech or behavior they deem insulting to Islam, the only religion explicitly mentioned in the resolution. Their real aim is to criminalize Christian missionary workers from spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in their Islamic countries. South Africa as you know is in election mode and every politician will suddenly become the staunchest Christian fighting for Christian values and defending the name of Jesus! They will show up in churches and promise to restore Biblical morality to save out country from impending doom and chaos. Tragically the very politicians, who will use the things of God to woo the Christian vote, are the ones responsible for the state of our nation. Because they are the ones in parliament who have in the last 5 years advanced a philosophy that is blatantly anti-family, anti-Christian and anti-God. Open up your eyes child of God the enemy is upon us seeking to destroy and deceive you and lead you astray from all we hold sacred. Keeping our focus on Jesus Christ amidst a prevailing environment of lies and deception is like a ship at sea sailing in total darkness. When you feel like a ship lost at sea, Jesus Christ the Son of God is your most faithful source of light. Psalms 119: 105 says: “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” So as the world grows darker, His light gets infinitely brighter. So keep your eyes on Him who is the Light of the World and you are guaranteed that you will not lose your way despite the storms and the darkness that surrounds you. So make sure you never take your eyes off Him.
The Apostle Timothy warns us, “Yes, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, 2Timothy 3:12-“, as many will come claiming to be the Christ trying to, “spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, Colossians 2:8.” The battle for your soul is on and the evil one will not back down, but thank God we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, Jesus Christ. Trust in Him, pray to Him for strength and believe that He is able to see you through, and accomplish that good thing that He has started in your life.