Whenever somebody introduces doubt about the deity of Christ, he's departing from the faith.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Well, thank God we can be in the world, but not of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just to live in this old world. “You who are kept,” Peter says, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, God can keep you clean and victorious every minute by His grace.” Hallelujah. [chuckle] Isn’t that great?
Well, this is your friend Bob Cook and we’re looking, you and I, at 1 Timothy. We’ve come now to the fourth chapter and beginning with verse one. There’s just a little bit left over from that last verse in chapter three. The last phrase of this great verse, it says, “Without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness. God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into Glory.” That last phrase reminds us that we have a High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have an Advocate, one Who pleads our cause. We have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
Interestingly that the Spirit of God applies that particular attribute to our Lord in speaking of Him as our Advocate, because we’re unrighteous oftentimes and we have, by faith, to appropriate the perfect righteousness of Christ. So, He’s Jesus Christ the Righteous as our Advocate. Hebrews 7 says that, “He ever liveth to make intercession for us. Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” It says in His Word, “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. Lord Jesus Christ, our living, resurrected, ascended, seated at the right hand of God the Father, Savior. And He knows your name and mine and He mentions it to God the Father. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”
David Morkan said to me one day, “Bob, do you know what the job that the Lord Jesus does now?” Well, I said, “I don’t know what particular task He’s doing.” “Well,” he said, “Look at this verse.” And he showed me then to Hebrews 7, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him.” Our Lord Jesus has as His special activity now, in the time preceding His Second Coming, to take His church home to Himself, in this time, His special activity is to mention your name and mine before the Heavenly Father. Oh, that’s great. Aren’t you glad you have a living Savior? You can trust Him. You can trust Him.
Well, now we come to verse one of chapter four. Now he said, “The Spirit speaketh expressly.”
There are some things that God underscores in His Word. He does so, for example, by repetition. Anything that’s repeated in the Bible is repeated for emphasis. Not because it’s a careless reduplication, but it’s repeated for emphasis. Always take that point of view as you study your Bible. When you find anything, any truth, any statement that is repeated, it’s there for emphasis.
For example, there is an Old Testament passage that says, “The just shall live by faith.” You come to the New Testament and you find that same passage quoted three times. “The just shall live by faith.” Why? Because the only way you can deal with the Holy God is by faith. Without faith, we read in Hebrews 11, “It is impossible to please Him. For he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, faith, risks the situation on God, His Word and His will. The Spirit speaketh expressly.” This is something that God emphasizes for us. We ought to be aware of it.
Now, I’ve heard very few sermons on what we call apostasy. That phrase, “depart from the faith,”It’s the Greek root of our English word “apostasy” which means “to place oneself away from, to wander away from.” “Shall depart from the faith.” They become apostate. They have removed themselves from, they have wandered away from the faith. But He says, “The Spirit speaketh expressly.” This is important to God. Therefore, we ought to consider it all the more important to us.
Now, what is so important about this? He says, “In the latter times.” We’re living in them right now, as you know. Israel is back in the land. There’s talk of one world, one church, one government. There is distress of nations. There is lack of trade. Wars that may be fought in the future will be wars over trade, rather than over political issues, one surmises. And the events that you and I have seen in the stock market and in other areas of business only underscore the fact that what the Bible said about the end of the age is coming true.
“Perplexity” is the Greek word “aporia,” which means lack of trade. And so the business uncertainty in the whole world, when something happens in Hong Kong, the ripple effect shows up in Rio de Janeiro, and New York City, and London and so on. You understand me? The perplexity that people have about business matters and the economy in the whole world is part of what the Bible said would happen. The increase of crime, the increase of overt, frontal, unashamed inequity, the faith of people failing, all of these things are happening. And then He says in the end times, there’ll be apostasy, people will drift away from the faith.
Now, what are the identifying marks of apostasy? You want to guard against the idea that if anybody disagrees with you, you label him or her an apostate. In political circles, it used to be quite common that if someone disagreed with you, you’d say, “Well, he’s a communist.” That’s one way of downgrading somebody that disagrees with you.
Well, it’s not always true that a person is subversive simply because he holds a different political point of view, and we have to be careful about that, don’t we? The same thing is true, I think, in matters of religion. You need and I need to make room in our thinking for people who may differ with us on matters of procedure and method and approach to the whole question of the Christian life and ministry. You see, some people do it differently from you and from me, but that’s all right. We don’t have to do it their way, do we? You like a quiet service that is marked by pauses of worship and very little informality, it’s more formal, you like that. Somebody else likes an informal service that really moves and jumps, and you say to yourself, “Oh, that can’t be of the Lord.” Well, yeah, maybe it is. Maybe the Lord is just as pleased with the sincere worship of a person who may have a little higher decibel level than you. Maybe God is just as pleased with that as He is with you. And we have to make room for people who differ with us, don’t we? Just sort of a little detour there, I threw that in free.
But He said, “In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith.” What are the marks of apostasy? Here’s the first one: Departing from the faith. What is the faith? Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He rose again the third day. According to the Scriptures, that He was seen by all these different people, 500 at once, and so on. And last of all, Paul says, “Me too.”
The faith is the statement that Jesus is God and that He in human form suffered and died to pay the penalty for our sins. “God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And thus having paid the penalty for our sins, He can offer us salvation free through faith in Him. “The righteousness of God is revealed through faith in Christ,” says Paul, in Romans 3. “And therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He died for us, He rose again for us, He lives today for us, He’s coming to get us one day. The faith is the statement of the fact that Jesus, virgin born, Son of God, paid the debt and died and rose again and is today living to be our living Intercessor and that He’s coming again-that’s the faith, isn’t it?
Now, obviously, I’ve left out a lot of other things that could be put in there. But that’s the heart of it, isn’t it? Now, I said some people are going to depart from the faith. Whenever somebody introduces doubt about the deity of Christ he’s departing from the faith. When somebody introduces doubt about the authority of the Word of God, he’s departing from the faith. When somebody introduces doubt as to the way of salvation, saying, for example, that it’s Christ plus something else, Christ plus the church, or plus doing this or that or the other, that’s departing from the faith. “By grace you are saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works-” That means nothing you can do can buy salvation. So when somebody says it’s Christ plus the church, or Christ plus good works, or Christ plus penance, or Christ plus giving, or whatever it may be, or dietary laws, whatever you wish to name, that people add on- the add ons are an indication of departing from the faith. You see what I mean? Beware of the extras, stick to the basics.
Well, not only in athletics but also in the game of life. You and I had better learn to specialize in the basics. Beware of the add ons, beware of the extras, beware of the fancy things that take you away from the central Truth. Christ died for our sins, rose again and He’s there interceding for you and for me who come to God through faith in Him.
Dear Father today, keep us steady on the things that count for eternity, the basics of faith in Christ. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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