THE SPIRIT OF GRACE
THE GREAT FALLING AWAY
“Let no man deceive you by any means:
for that day shall not come,
except there come a falling away (ἀποστασια) first,
and that man of sin be revealed”
II THESSALONIANS 2:2
Apostasy. What does it mean and what does it look like? The Greek word used here for “a falling away” is ἀποστασια, a female derivative of the Greek Word ἀποστασιον that is translated “DIVORCE” in the New Testament (see Strong’s Concordance #646 and #647). Divorce is the result of a relationship where, over a period of time, the love has died. So it is with the word APOSTASY: it is the result of a love for God that has grown cold over time. The decay is so subtle and deceptive that the heart can scarcely discern it. The reason love grows cold in this day of obscurity is that “iniquity abounds” (lawlessness) within the house hold of faith; the wages of SIN are no longer to be feared, morals are loose and boundaries become less and less sure. The preaching from the pulpit is intended to create a “seeker friendly” atmosphere. The LIVING WORD of God is no longer offensive to the proud, the arrogant, and the haughty. We are told that God is LOVE therefore HE could not possibly be angry with SIN and the suffering it causes. We are presented with a meek and gentle Jesus that we cannot seem to reconcile with the ONE who cleansed the Temple, or with the New Testament judgement that fell on Ananias and Sapphira. We tend to pass over literally hundreds of warnings given to us in the New and Old Testament from a God who HATES SIN and JUDGES INIQUITY. As a result Grace has become cheap and meaningless in the ministration of the Gospel. It is God’s estimation of SIN that gives GRACE value and import. Amazing Grace is really only known by those who have truly known within their hearts the touch and the taste of the FEAR of the LORD! (A grace that saved me from a hell- bent life style is the only reason I am here. There was and is nothing good within me yet while I was in that hellish state, so lost and so ignorant, HE CAME. That is GRACE!) We do God a tremendous disservice when we appeal to men with human reason and carnal salesmanship rather than ministering in the power and the unction of the Holy Ghost! Men like John the Baptist would be disallowed in our church services as we would consider him uncouth and reckless. Men like Jeremiah and Isaiah would be far too fanatical for our polished presentation of the Gospel. Elijah would be too far out there for the comfortable environment we have produced.
It is for this very reason that we have fallen under the spell of APOSTASY AND LOOSE LIVING! Men and women see nothing strange about sitting in a pew or a living room couch for years with little or no expression of WHO GOD IS IN THEIR LIFE! Unaware of an eternal calling to be living ministrations of power and light! Unaware that they are called FOR A PURPOSE; not to give 10% of their earnings into an offering plate but to give 100% of their lives unto the King of Kings! How can we not look at what we call “church” and wonder at the incredible contradiction between what we see today and what we see in the New Testament? Where are those who can no longer be anaesthetized by the doctrinal statements, church programs and deep sounding teachings that have rendered the people of God harmless and impotent in a world racing towards judgement? Where are the cries that are birthed out of an inconsolable grief over the lack of HIS PRESENCE AND HIS POWER IN OUR MIDST? Where are those who are grieved by the insensitivity of how we treat one another, how we act in business, in our work and in our homes in terms of walking in such a way that men would ask “what is the hope” that lies within us? Our preaching first and foremost is to be with our lives and how we conduct ourselves, by how we treat our wives or how we treat our husbands? Where are those who would sound the alarm over a divorce rate that is OVER SIXTY PERCENT? Where are the preachers in the pulpit that rise up to the challenge of divorce and remarriage within the CHURCH? Where are those who will preach the Gospel even if it means that a large percentage of the pews will be empty the next week? Where are those who preach the truth because they desire to be found faithful unto HIM rather than to be considered a successful pastor due to the size of the congregation rather than the quality of the lives to whom they minister?
We are in the DAY of APOSTASY and men know it not for the most insidious result of sin and iniquity is that it numbs the hearts of those it holds. That is why leprosy is the figure of sin in the Old Testament. People with this disease lose their body parts one at a time because they no longer have the ability to feel pain.
We are in the DAY of the falling away, when the hearts of men grow cold and indifferent, where religion replaces relationship, where traditions of men usurp obedience, and the Sunday meeting goes on whether God shows up or not. Do we not read the “love of MANY shall grow cold”, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it” and again “MANY shall say in that day LORD, LORD… And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”? Do we not read these things and tremble? Can we not give ear to the voice of God in this hour? Let us see and feel the weight of all that is transpiring around us and began to cry out to God to move afresh in HIS CHURCH.
The DAY of the Lord is at hand for the APOSTASY is growing like a cancer and men see it not just as in the days of Noah when the “flood came and took them all away”! Read carefully and you will see that it was not Noah who was taken away. It was those “who knew not”; those that lived in carelessness and were too caught up in the world to notice that the DAY of Judgement was upon them. Jesus said the Day of His return would be as it was in the days of Noah…
The Day of the Lord is at hand for we also read that Jesus said that the Day of the Lord would be as it was in the days of LOT when promiscuity and sexual perversion filled the land. Do we not see this same thing and how it has flooded the Church in our day? Where are those who will cry out unto God for HIM to pour out the “spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATION” that will bring the people of God to mourning, confession and repentance?
“And I will pour upon the house of David,
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
the spirit of grace and of supplications:
and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…
In that day shall there be a great mourning…”
ZACHARIAH 12:10 – 14
This mourning is the RESULT of the spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATIONS being poured out on the people of God! Grace to return us to a people of a broken heart, a contrite spirit and a life that once again trembles and honours God’s Word! In the pouring out of such grace upon us and the resulting response from our hearts we read of God’s response…
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness”
Even so Lord pour out upon us the “spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATIONS” that we may be turned from our carnality and carelessness. Turn us again unto the right way, the way of repentance and restoration. May we as the prodigal son return broken and contrite from the folly of our worldly ways, where we have secularized your people, we have called ourselves by other names, we have met in the name of an organization, a teacher and a movement rather than simply coming together unto THEE. We have separated ourselves from the “lesser” brethren. We have elevated ourselves against those who are blood washed in the same blood that has purchased us, and in so doing we have separated ourselves from you. Bring us again to the common faith; to the discerning of the Body of Christ. Cause us to hate the sin in our hearts more than the inconsistencies in our brothers and sisters. Work in us to will and to DO of your good pleasure. Unite those who are yours that we may once again meet in the power of your Name and the Glory of your Presence.
EVEN SO LORD COME!