Jeremiah 2:26-32; Isaiah 1:1-9 (6/4/11)
We’re still reading about sin, but this week’s sin is one I am confident that no one in this Bible study is committing: apostasy. The reason I can be so confident is that people who read Bible studies are not apostate. Period. We may backslide here and there, and sometimes we may backslide a long way for a long time, but people who are still immersed in God’s word are not apostate. So you can put that right out of your mind.
Which is good, because apostasy is a very serious sin indeed. It consists of
Since other gods have no life of their own and no power to aid, let alone to save, their followers are in a world of hurt. Even apostates are not beyond the reach of God’s grace, however.
- having been saved,
- turning one’s back on God,
- publicly renouncing the faith, and, often,
- taking up the worship of other gods.
1 Kings 11:1-13 (6/7/11)
Solomon is a sad example for us all. When he came to the throne of Judah he was God’s man, so much so that God appeared twice to him in visions. But years passed, and he just … drifted away, I think. It was probably easy. Just one wife at first, homesick and missing her family and the rituals of her childhood, asking for one little shrine. What’s one little shrine?
John Wesley shows in Sermon 86
that it doesn’t matter how saintly we are, apostasy is always a danger. The problem is not that God won’t take us back if we turn back; the problem is that the path is so narrow and steep that it gets extremely difficult for us to turn around. What’s one little shrine? It’s the first step toward apostasy.
Jeremiah 7:21-28, 15:5-6 (6//8/11)
Worshipping other gods is not the only form that apostasy takes. Turning one’s back on God, stubbornly refusing to hear God’s message, and substituting one’s own ideas for God’s ideas is another type of apostasy. As we saw the other day, the key feature of apostasy is to take a deliberate action to renounce one’s faith in God.
Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:12-25 (6/9/11)
One of the critical points to remember about Judas Iscariot is that he was not chosen to be a betrayer. He was a minister and apostle who fell away and became a betrayer.
This is important for two reasons. First, Judas was not set up. He freely chose what to do with his life, and for reasons that are unknown (but not unspeculated), he chose badly.
Second, it doesn’t matter what your position in the kingdom of God is, or how close you are to God, or what opportunities for fellowship with God you might have – it’s possible to fall away and become an apostate.
I said before and, I’ll say again, that I’m confident that you are currently in no danger of apostasy. But while we live, it’s possible. Be warned.
At that time, Jesus went out to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all through the night. When day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve from among them, whom he called apostles:
- Simon, whom he called Peter;
- and Andrew his brother;
- and James, and John, and Phillip, and Bartholomew;
- and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot;
- and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, about a Sabbath-day’s walk. When they came in, they went into upper room where they were staying – Peter and John and James and Andrew; Phillip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus; and Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James. All these were continually in prayer with one mind, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his siblings.
And in those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren – there were about 120 people there – and said, “Gentlemen! Brethren! The scripture had to be fulfilled that was foretold by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who took Jesus. He was counted as one of us, and he had a part of this ministry.”
(Now this guy bought a field with the rewards of unrighteousness, and, falling headlong, he burst apart in the middle, and all his intestines spilled out. This became known to everyone living in Jerusalem, so that that field became called – in Hebrew – ‘Hakeldamach,’ that is, ‘Field of Blood.’)
“Because it is written in the Book of Psalms, Let his dwelling become a desert, and let no one live in it, and Let another take his office. So. It is necessary for a man who went around with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went here and there among us – beginning with the baptism of John until the day in which he was taken us from us – to become a witness to the resurrection with us.”
So they nominated two, Joseph Barsabbas, who was nicknamed Justus, and Matthias. They prayed, “Lord, you know all hearts. Show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away to go to his own place.”
Hosea 11:1-9 (6/10/11)
“How may I give you up, O Ephraim? how may I be your saviour, O Israel?” God's anguish about the loss of his people to apostasy is nowhere more clear or more poignant than in the prophecy of Hosea. When Hosea’s wife ran away and became a prostitute, fell on hard times, and was being sold into slavery, he went to the market and bought her back! He knew exactly how God felt about Israel.
More on The Law and Sin
The Law: Given by God
The Law: Civil and Criminal
The Law: Ethics, Morality, and Love
The Law: Written in Our Hearts
Sin: Breaking of the Law
Sin: Separation and Estrangement
Sin: Unfaithfulness to God is Adultery
The Doctrine of Original Sin
Dead in Sin
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