Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Falling Away

By Benjamin H. Liles

          I know that with a title like that some would be scratching their heads like, "Okay, what's up with that? Is he about to do the same thing as Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson in recent days?"

Actually, this concerns that. The verse of the day, which is allowed to run even on my site says, "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:14, 20).

          The thing of it is many are falling away at this point in time and it makes the stoutest, the strongest heart in even the body of Christ ask the question: Is anyone immune from being targeted and taken from faith in the Messiah, Jesus? Jesus himself said, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28, Berean Study). Notice that to those who believe in Jesus Christ and remain in Him they have eternal life, they will "never perish," that "No one can snatch them out of My hand."

           There is a stark contrast between those who say and claim they belong to the Christian faith, the brotherhood of the saints, but are so easily swayed to "Kiss my marriage goodbye" or to "renounce my faith." John has words for men like these: "They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us" (1 John 2:19, Holman Christian Standard).

          So, we have it there; it's an issue of remaining. We can choose to remain in Christ, to abide faithfully in Him, to do the right thing and be so soberminded about sin and death that we cling ever tighter to Jesus Christ our Savior. Or rather, we can be like these unstable men who are doing their own thing, to leave, denounce what they say they knew, and as this writer says, "There was no king...each one did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

          What is so vastly different between the types of men? To those who remain in Christ Jesus they hold fast to the truth, but their counterparts--the popular ones--they follow the world's patterns making apologies for how they once stood, going their own way.

          I wonder if Jesus Himself had any words regarding this. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful...If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be My disciples" (John 15:1-8).

          In another gospel account we see that Jesus says, "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit" (Matthew 12:33). So, if a tree bears good fruit then the tree itself is good. Likewise, the opposite is true: a bad tree will either have no fruit whatsoever, or its fruit is bad, at best poisonous, and so far as deadly.

          And that's really where I want to go, honestly. For if your religion is pure, you abide in Christ and you're doing things in faith Christ Jesus called you to do your ministry thrives, it produces a good work, good fruit in the lives of others, and it's worth knowing and following Jesus.

          When Jesus wasn't helping those who honestly and humbly needed Him, His power and presence in their lives, having faith for Him to do powerful things, He could easily do those things. But let's look at those from the religious field. They said they followed after Abraham, but they weren't receiving those gifts Abraham had himself believed in. As Jesus put it, "but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father" (John 8:37-38, New King James).

          The full point is that those who remain in Christ, in His word, doing the things He commanded us in Him and His name, bearing the fruit of the Spirit which are as follows: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, goodness, FAITHFULNESS, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22). These are the things God doesn't prune back from a believer. But God will prune off things that don't build up or encourage the church such as "Envy, strife, jealousy, hatred, selfishness, etc."

          It reminds me of the parable Jesus gave about different soils. Within the parable Jesus says, "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain" (Mark 4:3-8). 

          Three different types of soil mentioned: seed falling on a path which birds come and eat the seed up, seed among rocky soil - not having much depth, being shallow, ultimately burned up and withering due to no root, and lastly seed that fell among the thorns - being choked out and not bearing grain. This sounds vaguely familiar. 

          So, with the way things look in this current time on society there are also three types of "churches" which aren't exactly part of the Church Christ planted; there's the Church for the "Unchurched," which churns out atheists and the like (seed falling on the path that birds eat up); then there's the Church, which this one mirrors that at Laodicea, rich, lazy, not wanting to do much for others such as Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Rob Bell, those who are part of Hillsong such as Marty Sampson and Joshua Harris as well; they are sadly as with Christ's parable "not having much depth, shallow, ultimately to be burned and withering due to no root;" and then lastly there's a worldly church, not caring for the needs of others, not bearing any fruit or any grain, such as Saddleback Church led by Rick Warren. 

          The reason I call these men, women and leaders, worship leaders out is that they do not do the actual will of God in their community or in their churches. Sadly thay are all about themselves. What they care about are being rich, being popular, having nice things at the cost of others, and in short as Solomon puts it, "Vanity, all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

          If you find yourself in any of these types of churches and you realize that's not the teaching you want or need (which I hands down pray for) go find a small church; a church that has real depth, real history behind it, a church that teaches Christ right. We need people who so desperately need Jesus Christ that their roots go down deep like the mighty oak! 

          The point of this article is to show that the so-called evangelical, pentecostal, the unchurched are not really with the Church that Christ instituted. If you want real, true, authentic Christianity you will read God's word. You will read all the parts that talk about sin and death. You will read about how much God so loved this world and these people He breathes life not only back into it, but that His desire is "To be made known" (see Ezekiel 39:7). Guys and gals, that's the whole reason Jesus Christ came to allow for the Father to be made fully known.

          It's like Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" (Luke 5:31). The people and churches I mentioned have no place or need for God or Jesus Christ. They may say their names and may prove popular at the moment, but their lips are far from God. 

         When I talk about people falling away it's because a choice is being made not clinging or adhering to the Bible, God's word. If you want and desire the truth, the real unchanging, unvarnished truth the Bible is the ultimate source. There is no other book like it. Even my own view of Jesus Christ and God can change, but God Himself never will. The same God who told Israel to put to death those who rebelled against Him is the same God who took mud, some spit and made a blind man see again. The difference is that this God that healed was just like us, a man who was to suffer in our place. 

         God, who is just and holy, who hates sin and desires it gone and done away with has provided a way for us to be with Him. But it means we give up the shallow, the feeble thoughts, the death-sentence we have over us. As it says in scripture, "The soul who sins dies" (Ezekiel 18:20). God came down from Heaven as a man in Jesus Christ, taking the wrath of the Father so that we may have righteousness, that we may have life, that we may receive sight, that we be made whole, in order that we may praise Him for the life He's given us through the Son. 

          I love the gospel of John, but then again I love His whole, entire word; but it's John who penned this: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God" (Color coded and in bold for the reader to understand the full importance and reality of what is said, John 3:16-21). 

          See the big difference between the two? Those who are not condemned are in blue and in bold; those who are condemned or in bold and red; God's righteous judgment is in yellow; those in condemnation are in black and bold. Wow, what a new term there: black and bold. Sounds like being disciplined to me, but I digress. God chastises us because He loves us so fervently and passionately. And we as His Christ-following Church ought to be fervent and passionate about Him. 

          Beloved, I know this is a very long and now tiring article, but I press you to hang in there, the end of this is near (the article I mean). We ought to hold fast and true to God's word for it sustains us in the best and worst of times. When things get tough and we go through trials and tribulations, if we are fully and deeply grounded we will remain and stand steadfast just like an old oak tree. The longer we remain in Him the more likely the fruit within us will be made visible. So stand firm, stand humbly, ask and seek God with all honesty and vigilance. If those within your church have no real answer to a question you have, GotQuestions has a ton of questions and answers there. I also highly recommend Josh and Sean McDowell as well as Ray Comfort from Living Waters ministries. 

          While I know that list is a short one, there are valid materials out there on the Christian market to help you in your walk, but it takes a discerning heart. I know I could do better myself in seeking out articles and helping in and with your faith as well. Some times I get busy and therefore get tired to where I don't post anything; so, I promise to try better and to do so to help you all out. The thing is we are so close to the Lord coming back that I want to see us win the race, as Paul writes, in seeing the return of the Lord. I pray this blesses and encourages you in this time. In the name of Jesus, amen. 

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