The marks of apostasy in the church

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude :3-4

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;

2 Thessalonians 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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

2 Peter 2:1-2

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2 Peter 3:1-4

We are living in the last of the last days. According to the apostle Peter, the beginning of the last days began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17)  and we were warned by the apostle Paul that many will fall away from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto another Gospel (Galatians 1:6-8).  When you peruse the pages of the New Testament, most of the epistles were written to deal with and to refute false doctrines that were creeping in to the church. Paul, Peter, Jude and John were vociferous opponents of apostate teachers. It is interesting that Peter said in the Old Testament they had to deal with false prophets and in the church's era we will have to deal with false teachers.  Why were they so vociferous in their approach? Because they understood that it was not going to be the outward forces that will be the demise of the church. Study church history and you will find that demons and persecutions never stopped the church! If anything persecution and tribulation caused the church to explode and grow even more. Look at the world today and you will discover that where there are persecutions of Christians you will find bona fide believers who are walking in the power of God. You look at the Western society where there is no outward persecution of believers and you will find a lackluster church and believers who are wallowing in apathy. 

Demons and persecutions never stopped the church! If anything, persecution and tribulation caused the church to explode and grow even more.

The church is not destroyed from the outside but from within. Remember Jude was intending to write an epistle about the common salvation that we experienced but had to go to another level when he realized there were certain evil men that crept within the church. The word crept is only used one time in the Authorized Version  and it means to come in by stealth. In other words these men did not come in from left field that would cause the church to swiftly reject them. At one time they came in as receiving Christ but then they went from

  • Receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to
  • Rejecting  the Gospel of Jesus Christ to
  • Ridiculing  the Gospel of Jesus Christ to  
  • Replacing  the Gospel of Jesus Christ 

The devil knowing that outward forces did not stop the church came up with a plan to destroy the church from within. He would insert evil men in the guise of preachers to be the Trojan horse to bring the church down.  It is  apostate teaching or doctrine  that triggers the apostate church. Ladies and gentlemen the apostate church is here in our midst and you the believer must be aware of of the marks and doctrines of apostasy so you can avoid it and walk away from it because your soul is at stake. 

What is apostasy and what are its marks?

Apostasy is the falling away from and the renunciation of fundamental Christian or Biblical doctrines.  Now you need to understand there is a difference between denominational doctrine and damnable heresies as Peter said, '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...'. For example there are denominations that teach women should not wear makeup. That is just a dumb doctrine but it does not damn a soul to hell. As far as that denomination is concerned the women who wear make up are going to hell but not so in reality.  Another example of dumb doctrine is if you preach then you must wear a suit and a tie. Well that's just dumb but there are churches that will be offended if you preach without a suit and tie. It's a dumb doctrine but not  damnable heresies. So what are some of the marks of apostate doctrines? Let me list a few that are becoming more and more rampant in the modern church:

  • Denying of the deity of Jesus Christ
  • Bloodless Gospel - in other words denying the substitutionary work of Christ at the Cross
  • Denying the infallibility of the Word of God therefore denying absolutes
  • Preaching an all inclusive Gospel - denying Jesus as the only way of salvation
  • Denying the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Redefining sexuality, marriage and the family
  • Preaching pluralism, secularism, globalism, liberalism, licensism and political correctness in the church replacing the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • No more evangelism

These new doctrines have new evangelists and teachers. Their greatest voices are celebrity ministers who do not contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  liberal politicians, the news media and celebrities. The modern believer needs to understand that a president, political party, popular preacher, modern science and celebrities do not have the right to shape what  we believe. Our lives are shaped by the Scriptures. We believe what the Bible says and that is final!