CHAPTER 16

APOSTASY: THE KEY IS LAWLESSNESS

Sometime in the future we will see the Body of Christ subjected to terrible difficulties – judgment because of
lukewarmness, persecution and betrayal. The counterfeit Christians however, who are materialistic, man-pleasing and
self-pleasing will have no part of these dealing of God. They will run from the dealings and say whatever is necessary
in order to be spared from these difficulties. They will be exposed as those who are spiritual dilatants that don’t want to
delve deeply into the heart of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but are satisfied to “taste” the things of the Spirit.
They may fall over at the touch of a hand; they might get healed by the Lord; they might experience goose bumps and
even laugh uproariously. Eventually however, they will be exposed as those who are only along for the ride. When the
ride becomes too expensive and too rough, they will leave for the company of others more sympathetic to their desire
for comfort, peace and safety. When once again it becomes dangerous to be a Christian in the dark days to come, we
will see many rebel against God’s call to endure to the end. This apostasy will be a final manifestation of the great
division that God is creating to prepare a pure and unified people.

Apostasy is not merely refusing to identify with Jesus Christ in His death, but also a sovereign work of God to purify
His Body. Rev. 3:16 illuminates our sovereign Lord’s involvement in apostasy. In this verse Jesus says, “So because
you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I WILL SPIT (VOMIT) YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH.” Notice there comes a
time when He will no longer deal with the rebellious dilatants of the visible Church. These people are the tasters or
samplers who do not want to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They are like wine tasters who sip the wine, roll it
around in their mouths and then spit it out. We see here, in the last of the seven churches, the great falling away - the
apostasy - from God’s sovereign view point and response. GOD spews out all the nauseous elements that will not lose
their own identity and be digested or absorbed into His Body. In II Thess.2:11 we even see how God will, as He did
with Saul (I Sam. 16:14),”send them a deluding influence (a lying evil spirit) so that they might believe what is false”
and be confirmed in their own hatred of the truth. In the Scriptures dealing with apostasy in II Thess.2:3 we see a man
closely connected with a concept. The concept is lawlessness and the man is a MAN OF LAWLESSNESS. The KJV
says, “Man of sin”, but virtually all modern translations use the term “man of lawlessness.” Many have identified this
individual as the Antichrist and this may be true. But for now, notice that his primary characteristic is LAW-LESS-NESS.
In the United States of America in the 21st century, we have seen a popular faction emerge in both the political realm
and the cultural realm. In the political realm we now have a national party that is virtually in support of every value that
attacks the Scriptures. This political party, the Democrat Party, has supported notions that are against virtually every
law regarding sexual conduct that is in the Scriptures. This party is far more sympathetic with the perpetrators of crime
or law breakers than it is with their victims. This party supports the suppression of LAW enforcement officers in their
pursuit of criminals. Through the machinations of their own private anti-law organization, the American Civil Liberties
Union, they have hamstrung LAW enforcement officers from arresting and incarcerating criminals. Most of the people
in this party believe that criminals are victims of either the rich, Capitalism, or America itself. Our culture has likewise
been changed. At one time LAW enforcement officers were considered to be the heroes of the people. Now, the news
media often takes the side of the criminal in any conflicts between the police and law breakers. Movies and television
shows often depict homosexuals, adulterers and rebellious children with sympathy. Record companies showcase the
criminal activity of rappers and have made heroes of criminal gangs and gang leaders. If there is any spirit hovering
over and in the midst of the culture and the political party that we have just discussed, it is the spirit of LAW-LESS-
NESS. Please understand that in order to maintain or regain political control we are likely to eventually see the
Republican Party come to embrace many or all of these anti-scriptural views that are held today by the Democrats.
Also notice that this man of lawlessness takes his seat IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD. Many are looking for the Antichrist
to actually physically seat himself in the physical, rebuilt temple of the Jews in Jerusalem. This may be so, but there is
certainly a more appropriate and immediate meaning for us to see. The temple of God is the Church of God, the visible
Body of Christ. The temple of God is the people of God, those whom He dwells within. A more important application of
this Scripture is that some day there will come forth a spiritual force or a man who will have great influence and
authority with God’s so-called people, in the so-called church that is called by His name.

These men of lawlessness, like the man of lawlessness, are closely associated with apostasy in the Church. Again see
II Thess. 2:3, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of
lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” LAW-LESS-NESS is an interesting word. The word means absence
of law as opposed to the concept of exaltation of sin. NO law. Not AGAINST holiness or FOR sin, just NO LAW.
Certainly no minister in the Church would ever preach against holiness and would never preach for sin. But by
avoiding the teaching of the law he will allow for more unholiness and more sin to dwell in his people. By classifying
potential converts as “hurting people” and “victims”, these false teachers inhibit their hearers from being taught by the
law as a school master to expose their sin.

The last forty years have produced a remarkable shift in doctrinal emphasis among the so-called Evangelical and
Charismatic churches. Currently we make sure that we preach the love of God and, of course, that is absolutely
necessary. Charismatics make sure that they preach the power of God to heal and deliver. And most of all, Evangelical
and Charismatic churches make sure that they preach the grace of God, for that is the cornerstone of our faith.
Without grace NOTHING is available to ANYONE. Not even Faith! Eph. 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved,
through faith: and that not of yourselves - it is the gift of God.” All of these doctrines are consistent with much that has
been preached since the Protestant Reformation which began almost 500 years ago. But we are missing an important
element in our Gospel preaching. We seldom use the law in our preaching. We seldom quote Scriptures that deal with
sin and in the KJV, 1John 3:4 says, “…sin is the transgression of the law.”

We must use the law to show people their utter hopelessness before a Holy and Righteous God. We must use the law
to expose sin-ridden hearts. We no longer even teach that Christians are expected or commanded to obey the law of
God. The Great Commission says in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples… teaching them to observe
ALL THAT I COMMANDED you…”
Our Gospel has become a LAW-LESS Gospel. It is not at all the same Gospel preached by Jesus or Paul. Jesus used,
among other teachings, the Sermon on the Mount to explain that the righteousness of man is totally repugnant to God.
He explained the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the corruption of our hearts. He showed us that even looking at a
woman to lust after her was breaking God’s law and was tantamount to committing adultery in our hearts. In Romans,
Paul uses the law to expose sin, and then teaches grace and faith to relieve the burden placed on us by the law. He
then directs the Romans in later chapters to obey the law in all respects, NOT FOR THEIR SALVATION, but because
it is their reasonable response to God’s great grace. This obedience exists because they are new creatures in Christ
who now possess the power to love and obey their Savior. The Scripture makes it clear that it is reasonable to honor
God and demonstrate love for Him who gave His life for them. Paul, like the Lord Jesus, and the other apostles, gives
much instruction in righteousness - he tells the people WHAT TO DO. He tells them not to associate with false
brethren. He tells them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice. He tells them not to offer the members of their body
to sin. He tells them to work, to give, to love each other, and to love God. He commands them to do many things. He
explains God’s law to them and strongly exhorts them to obey it completely.

INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

You can divide many of Paul’s epistles into roughly two sections. First he gives us INFORMATION. He tells us who
Jesus Christ is, what He thinks of us, what He has done for us, and what we can receive from Him, both in this life and
throughout eternity. This information is usually the FIRST section of many of his epistles. Romans and Ephesians are
two good examples. After Paul has given us the information regarding God’s plan and purposes for our salvation, he
then proceeds to give us instructions in righteousness. He teaches us what we are to do. He, like Jesus in the Sermon
on the Mount, gives us very personal and practical interpretations regarding the need to obey God’s law. For example,
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God...do not be conformed to this
world.” Here Paul gives general instructions and then goes on in succeeding verses and chapters to give detailed
instructions.

John reveals the relationship between our obedience to God’s law and our love for God, when he says in I John 5:3,
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not burdensome.” (His
commandments are not burdensome to a person who has been truly born-again). In John 14:23, Jesus says that those
who love God are the ones that obey God and are the ones that His Father loves. He also says that the one who does
not love Him does not obey Him.

John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘if anyone loves Me he will keep My word; and My Father will love
him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me, does not keep My word; and
the word which you hear is not Mine but our Father’s who sent Me.’”

When we read the New Testament carefully, we will see that the New Testament writers taught about God’s law
extensively. Jesus Himself says that instruction in righteousness is absolutely necessary. In the Great Commission
Jesus says, in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU; and
THEN, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Unfortunately most churches do not instruct in righteousness (except for teaching the people to give tithes and
offerings, submit to their spiritual leaders, and witness a lot). They present a virtually LAW-LESS New Testament.
Some, if they do present the law, make sure to remind the people, “We are not under law but under grace” (as if THAT
had anything to do with what Jesus, James, John, or Paul said). A good test for determining whether you are hearing
the Full Gospel is to listen for both information and instruction in righteousness. If you are continually being told only
about witnessing, the antichrist, the mark of the beast, the gifts of the Spirit, the love of God, techniques of worship,
and how to have faith, money, or healing, you are not hearing the whole Gospel. If that is all you are hearing then you
are hearing a LAWLESS gospel and you are in spiritual danger. Even if you are hearing a word which tells you who
Jesus is and who you are in Him, and yet you are not being instructed in righteousness, you are still in spiritual
danger. Even doctrinally correct teachings must be accompanied by the appropriate instructions in righteousness.
Only then will you not be hearing a lawless Gospel. On the other hand, if you are hearing only instruction in
righteousness and never told who Jesus is, and of His great love for us, you are hearing a Graceless gospel and will
fall into legalism, an equally corrupt misrepresentation of the Word of God. God’s truth is always the truth, THE
WHOLE TRUTH and nothing but the truth.

LAWLESSNESS AND GRACELESSNESS

It is important to notice that the man who is at the center of apostasy is not called a man of GRACE-LESS-NESS. He is
called a man of LAW-LESS-NESS. This man puts no restraints on the people, and as a result of his LAW-LESS
doctrine, LAW-LESS apostate people are birthed under his leadership. The focal point of the Reformation in the
sixteenth century was law verses grace; salvation by faith or salvation by works plus faith. Even though the activities of
the Pope and many of the church leaders were indeed lawless, their doctrine was legalistic and left the impossible
burden of man’s salvation resting on his own shoulders. Thus obedience to the law of God, the laws of the Roman
Catholic Church, and the law of the Popes was presented as exceedingly important, if not necessary, for salvation.
Today, in this time of unparalleled and ingenious deception, those who are falling into apostasy recognize the truth
that we are saved by God’s grace. Where the leaders are failing is in their NEGLECT of the rightful place of the law in
our Christian walk and teaching. Their law-less doctrine of demons has caused many to not have the FEAR of God in
their hearts or a proper understanding of the sin in their lives or a desire to be holy as our Father in heaven is Holy.
When proper teaching of the law is neglected, holiness is trampled underfoot and men and women are not truly born
again because they never understand how hopeless and sinful they are in God’s eyes. Instead they come to God with
a casual, “I accept You as my personal Savior.” They come with an almost reluctant, “OK God, I’ll do both you and me
a favor - I’ll get saved.” Of course they are not saved. You cannot receive the grace of God to believe in Jesus, as
your Lord and Savior, until you have received the grace of God to have His law expose your exceeding sinfulness and
hopelessness. Thus the law-less gospel, in the end, is also a grace-less gospel.

“God loves you just the way you are”, was the standard closing remark of a popular Christian TV show years ago. This
was a terrible misleading statement since the hosts did not instruct their audience in righteousness. People were led
into believing that it is not important to be a DOER of His Word and that God was not particularly concerned about
their repentance.

THIS PHILOSOPHY (God loves you just the way you are) has been the ruling philosophy in the Saul Church, and as a
result many of the people in our churches have no real love for our Lord Jesus Christ because they are not truly His.
People must be convicted of their sin before they can be born-again. They also have no knowledge, or at best a
perverted knowledge, of the meaning of our Lord’s words from John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said unto him, “If
anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode
with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’
s who sent Me.”

The Saul Church is AFRAID to teach the above-mentioned Scripture without altering its straight-forward meaning,
because they are concerned that if they teach the law they will drive many of their members away. They believe that
most of the members of their church do not like the law. All apostates either hate the law or pick and choose only the
parts they find agreeable. The Saul Church has NO concept of the Scripture that says in John, “My sheep HEAR My
voice.” They seem to have no problem enticing goats into the household of God. In fact, goats often become teachers,
worship leaders and even pastors. They don’t seem to understand that it is scripturally incorrect to cast pearls before
swine. The problem is, that many of these “converts” are not really HIS sheep! They may be the pastor’s sheep, or the
teacher’s sheep or even the evangelist’s sheep, but they are not necessarily THE LORD’S SHEEP. His sheep want
desperately to be HOLY and obedient and DESIRE the washing of the water of the Word of God. The goats may well
want to be members of a local church, have their hurts healed and be thought of as good people, but because they
were never challenged by the law of God and never truly knew Him, they will seek out a church where they are not
challenged by the law or encouraged to be righteous and holy. They will ONLY respond to a Goat Gospel, and will
only follow Goat Herders who let them eat whatever they want!

How different from the author (believed by many to be David) of Psalm 119. Listen to Psalm 119:1-6,21,34-
35,53,113,118,158-9 which says, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no
unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, that we should keep them diligently. Oh
that my ways maybe established to keep Thy statutes! Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Thy
commandments. Thou does rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Thy commandments. Give me
understanding, that I may observe Thy law, and keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Thy
commandments, for I delight in it. Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Thy law. I
hate those who are double-minded, because I love Thy law. Thou hast rejected all those who wander from Thy
statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless. I behold the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Thy
word. Consider how I love Thy precepts; revive me, O Lord, according to Thy loving kindness.” All true sons and
daughters of the Living God desire greatly to know precisely what to do to serve and manifest their love for our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. All others are ANATHEMA (accursed).

The man of lawlessness may not yet have taken his seat in the temple of God, BUT the spirit of lawlessness is already
at work in the Saul Church. This lawless spirit rules and has already paved the road for a mass exodus from the Body
of Christ. Even now this spirit has tempted many to apostatize IN THEIR HEARTS. The Great Falling Away is already
happening IN THE HEARTS of millions of Saul Christians. They have SEEN, and TOUCHED the Lord and been
TOUCHED by Him; they have TASTED and SEEN THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.” They have even “TASTED THE
HEAVENLY GIFT AND EVEN HAVE BEEN MADE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HAVE TASTED THE
GOOD WORD OF GOD AND THE POWERS OF THE AGE TO COME” (Heb 6:4-5). But they would not truly
consume Him and His salvation on His terms. Therefore, like an undigested piece of food, they will be vomited out of
His mouth. Like a hearer who does not obey, they do not have their foundation on the solid Rock. When the storms
come and the winds blow, what they have built will fall away and be destroyed.

Today at the beginning of the 21st century the people of God have more tools and aids available for the study of
Scriptures than we have ever had before. It is similar to what went on precedent to the Protestant Reformation. The
printing press allowed for men’s ideas to be exchanged and proclaimed more quickly than any time in history. We in
the 21st century have no excuse for not understanding God’s plan of salvation. God has given us every opportunity to
study and understand His Word. With the computer, truth is literally at our fingertips. God will use this great opportunity
to cleanse His Body in preparation for BOTH the judgment that will come first and the revival that will follow. In
Scripture we see this same process occurring decades before God judged Judah. Immediately before the nation of
Israel was revived under Josiah, God revealed the law to Josiah and Judah. In II Chronicles 34:1-3, 8, 15, 19-21, 26-27
we read, “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did
right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the
twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images, and the
molten images. Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan
the son of Azaliah, and Masseiah an official of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of
the Lord his God. And Hilkiah responded and said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the
house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. AND IT CAME ABOUT WHEN THE KING HEARD THE
WORDS OF THE LAW THAT HE TORE HIS CLOTHES. Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of
Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord
for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been found; for
GREAT IS THE WRATH OF THE LORD WHICH IS POURED OUT ON US BECAUSE OUR FATHERS HAVE NOT
OBSESRVED THE WORD OF THE LORD, TO DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK.” But
the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus you will say to him, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel
regarding the words which you have heard, “because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God,
when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you have humbled yourself
before Me, tore your clothes, and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord.””

Josiah was a man who, like David, sought the Lord even as a youth. Because he wanted God, the Lord revealed His
law to him. Thus Josiah learned about the terrible judgments God brings to His unrepentant people.

In the Old Testament, even before God would judge His people by turning them over to worldly enemies, He would
send His prophets. For over one hundred and fifty years, they proclaimed to the people the true meaning of the law
and the judgment that would surely come because of their disobedience. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others taught
and warned the people that obedience was not some mechanical exercise of do’s and don’ts but was the normal result
of a heart that loved God. In the New Testament Jesus taught the same thing, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount.
Of course Jesus did more than teach the truth. He, with His perfect love for the Father, obeyed His Father’s commands
without fail.

Today, once again, before God judges His unrepentant people and while he is purifying those who are after His own
heart, we see Him showing us the importance of obedience to His law. We see the Lord showing us how mechanical
and heartless and selfish most of our supposed obedience has been. Even as He is hardening the hearts of those who
will not repent, He is also convicting His own of the need to cry out to Him for new, soft hearts that hate sin and love
Him for Who He Is.

The Church of David is a Church that loves the law of the Lord. These people are not afraid of having their hearts
exposed by proper instruction of the law. These people no longer want to be lulled to sleep by receiving only
interesting information. We want to have our self-righteousness and pride exposed by instruction in His righteousness
and we WANT Him to DEAL WITH US. We want to know precisely what God desires and demands. We want to have
hearts that are sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit and are quick to respond when we are shown our sin. We will in no way
cooperate with the foul spirit of lawlessness that always leads to lovelessness for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
and ultimately to apostasy in the Church.

In our desire to obey all that God has for us in His Word, we MUST be very careful not to go beyond the content or
intention of Scripture. We MUST not give in to the CERTAIN temptation of the enemy to “make sure” that people don’t
become lukewarm by placing unscriptural and legalistic directives on them. Adding to God’s Word in this way is just as
harmful as taking away from God’s Word.

We see a great amount of lawlessness in the Church today. We see that as lawlessness has increased, most people’s
love for the Lord has grown cold. We see a growing apostasy, but we also see God dealing with His people in
judgment, because the law is no longer taught. After this judgment of God, we anticipate revival - a revival of love for
His law, a love for holiness, a true love for one another, and a love for Himself for Who He Is.
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