FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

ORIGINS OF THE FALLING AWAY -

LESSON 1.

 

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

 

Apostasy Already at Work 2 Thessalonians 2:7

A New Testament truism that cannot be ignored and must be recognized as absolutely true is the [ fact ] of the falling away! The Apostle Paul spoke of it with same assurance as the power of the Gospel of Christ to salvation (Romans 1:16).

This frightening fact is a lesson [for all time] to the necessity to develop a love for the truth of God's word (the only tool that can prevent falling away, then or now!); and a need to repent and return to the first works (Revelation 2:4-5). Let's take a look at some facts concerning the falling away, before we look at the historical element.

 

The Purpose of the Letters

We must first recognize that the apostasy of scripture was something that was already at work during the lives of the Apostles.

 

As the Apostle Paul would write the two letters to the Christians at Thessalonica; they had been established in the faith (singular, unifying, edifying, from the word – Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:5); however, in the short time since Paul was with them, they had been being persecuted by their fellow countrymen (1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12), and had problems in comprehension concerning the second coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18-5:1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17). Because of these problems many had become disorderly, not working, busybodies, weak, and disobedient to the word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). Paul's letters to these Christians serves as a restoration to their first love; and effectively setting them back on the right path, and acts as such for you and me today!

 

To the Christians at Corinth, the Apostle Paul would also write two letters. He had been among them for 18 months (Acts 18:11); and yet, sometime over a year later they would display virtually every form of falling away that could be imagined among a people established in the Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:15). Every step away from the foundation of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), is met head on with strict fatherly warning and discipline necessary to set them back on the right path. The second letter addresses that for the most part success in returning to their first works had been achieved (2 Corinthians 7:8-12); however, there was recognized that there was still an element among them willing to take them right back to an apostate state if they left that element unchecked (2 Corinthians 1-13). Paul's letter corrects the falling away and emboldens the righteous among them to continue to fight the battle of maintenance; and the same is true for you and me today!

 

To the Christians in Galatia, Paul wrote an immediate letter addressing an immediate need (this is noted by the absence of the customary prayer offered by Paul at the beginning of his letters; he instead gets right to the heart of the issue). There were those among them who wished to “pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10), and a careful examination of the letter, we know that these were the Judaizing teachers. These were those who wished to introduce to the Gospel of Christ the traditions of the Law of Moses. Paul's letter notes the threat of these false teachers and sets forth the truth of the [only] system of righteousness before God; faith in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. It stands as a testament to all of us to this very day that there is only a single system of righteousness and it alone is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16).

 

We can easily see a pattern of protection in the letters of the Apostles and prophets of the New Testament. This pattern of maintenance would keep the body of Christ from falling away; which was an obvious concern to these inspired writers, even while they were present and exercised a direct influence, note:

 

The Apostle Paul stated to the Christians in Thessalonica that they knew what was restraining an apostate condition among them (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Paul was referring directly to himself and the letters he has now written to them (by the Holy Spirit of God), in order to maintain them. This is also seen in the instruction concerning the importance of these letters, note:

1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God

1 Thessalonians 4:8 “Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

 

In this instruction, one can feel the direct restraint of the Apostles and faithful teachers of the truth. What has to be the question, to all who now understand this, is “Why is it different now?

The simple answer is that it shouldn't be any different!

The difficult answer comes from the recognition of the falling away by the Apostles of the Lord and where it would be born.

In our next lesson, we will examine the prophecies of the falling away and learn just where it would be born and how it would grow. After that, we will look at a brief historic view of the fulfillment of these prophecies. Finally, we will summarize this portion of our series with an understanding of the importance of restoration (a return to our first love and first works – Revelation 2:4-5), verses reformation.

 

Next: “Some Will Depart from the Faith!