Friday, November 15, 2013

The Sign of Apostasy: The Convergence Factor

Watch MP3 PDF

What is the Convergence Factor, and why is it important to understanding our times?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2013 conference theme was Living on Borrowed Time.

One of our speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He's a prolific author of more than 60 books. He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and he specializes in the field of Apologetics. He also serves as an adjunct professor at several seminaries. Dr. Rhodes' topic at our conference was "The Sign of Apostasy" (watch).

Ron Rhodes on the Sign of Apostasy

A Different Jesus

I'm going to be talking about the epidemic of apostasy.

I want to tell you a story about a young couple. They went to a movie in the middle of the day, and as they drove off there was somebody watching the house. A robber goes around to the back of the house and he breaks a window. While he's crawling in the back window, he then hears this voice from a parrot saying, "I see you, and Jesus sees you." Well, it didn't bother the man, so he kept on breaking his way in. He's two-thirds of the way in and the parrot says again, "I see you, and Jesus sees you."

Finally, the robber is all the way in the house. The guys stands up, and as he brushes all the glass off himself, the parrot says, "I see you, and Jesus sees you. Attack Jesus!" This Doberman Pincher named Jesus roars across the room and mauls the guy. The guy dives out the window, and nobody has ever seen him again. Now that's a different Jesus.

I would like to suggest to you that this dog Jesus is not as bad as the Jesus of apostasy. You see, I say that because you can heal from a dog bite. But, if you believe in a counterfeit Jesus who preaches a counterfeit Gospel, then you've got a counterfeit salvation. It simply comes down to that, and that's just as easy to understand as can be.

The Convergence Factor

Apostasy is a rich word in the Greek. It carries the idea of a departure or a falling away, a forsaking of the truth, a defection from the truth, a revolt from the truth, and a swerving away from the truth.

Listen now, the signs of the times are so critically important. They are prophetic events that point towards the end times. They let us know that we are living in the season of the Lord's return. You might consider the signs to be Intel in advance. Powerful nations have intelligent agencies like the CIA. So too does the Bible provides us with God's Intel in advance, and He does so with signs.

The signs of the times are multiple. Categorizations include Israel and the technical signs. There are the national signs like all the nations building up to gang up on Israel, such as the Muslim nations and Russia. We've got religious and moral signs, some of which I'm going to talk about as related to apostasy. Then you've got earth and sky signs and other cosmic phenomenon.

I'm not going to touch on all of those signs, but I am going to say that apostasy fits into the larger picture of the signs of our times. You see, it would be significant if just one of these signs was coming to pass. It'd more significant still if two of these signs were coming to pass. But, the fact is, we've got multiple prophetic signs that are converging in our day. It's what I call the "convergence factor" and that leads us to believe that we are indeed living in the season of the Lord's return.

Here's the thing, we need to be thoughtful observers of the times. Remember the ancient Jews. The ancient Jews should have recognized that Jesus was the divine Messiah. Back in Isaiah we are told that when the Messiah comes on the scene the blind will see and the deaf will hear and the lame will walk. What happened when Jesus came on the scene? The blind could see, the deaf could hear, and the lame could walk. The Jewish leaders naturally should have been able to see the signs of the times, but they were blind to them. They could tell the weather was going bad by looking at the sky, but they couldn't discern the signs of the times.

We should not make the same mistake as the ancient Jewish leaders. There are many signs of the times pointing toward the Second Coming of Christ and the events that lead up to the Rapture. What we want to do is make sure that we're not ignorant of those. We want to understand what the Bible says about the signs that lead up to the Rapture so that we're prepared. That's what my study will be all about.

I firstly want to be careful here in saying Jesus is coming soon, because no one knows the day or the hour. Christ Himself told us that. No one knows the day or the hour, but we can know the general season of the Lord's return.

I secondly insist that we take a biblical approach. I've seen a lot of very sensational things said concerning the signs of the times where people read things into the Bible things that aren't there. We must take a Biblical approach on all of this topic.

I'm reminded of that second grade girl who came home from Sunday school one day. She was so excited about what she had learned. Her daddy asked her, "What did you learn in Sunday school?" The little girl replied, "Oh, Daddy, it was just so great, because you see, God created Adam first. Then God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so God put Adam to sleep and took out his brains and made a woman out of them." And all the women said — Amen! No, that's not in the Bible. That's in Second Allusions 3. No, we must remain biblical.

My goal in this lesson briefly will be fourfold. First, I want to talk about the biblical bases for end time apostasy. Second, I want to give you specific examples of apostasy in our day. Third, I want to look at statistics that reveal the severity of the problem. And then finally, I want to close briefly with an exhortation.

In the second segment of Dr. Ron Rhodes teaching on apostasy as an end times sign, he will explain the character, or lack thereof, of the empty religion of the final days.


Metamor Phesis said...

Failure is hard to admit. Epecially when it comes to the hidden things such as spritual lazynessl and sin. Hypocracy was THE numero uno sin that Jesus confronted.
A double standard. I love God but I really dont have time for poor people.
I give to the church but I cant give to that homeless man and I just dont feel led by God to open my home to him. What if hes a looser ?
I like the popular church members but ...... And so on.
What use is a the church if they are inverted toward self preservation and fearing real faith by suffering.
Test the spirit. Pull the plug on money and all its buys.
Just amagine what we will do when the dollar fails. Caos.

Billy said...

Don't give money to the "homeless" people on the street! Why? Here's why:

Two lessons:

1. When I was in my 20's I gave some money to some "homeless" guys in the park. I went into the library. When I came out they had gone to 7-11 and spent it all on beer and when sitting around drinking.

2. Many times during my life I have offered to buy a meal for a lot of "homeless" people that have the "will work for food" or "hungry vet" type of signs. The response I always got was "no thanks". They didn't want a meal. They wanted money. Recently there was a guy on the freeway with a sign begging for money that said "I don't never drink". He had a cigarette in his mouth.

My point is GIVE FOOD to the Salvation Army or similar organization in your area. FOOD, not money. That way you KNOW that you will be feeding hungry people. Give CLOTHES, not money. That way you KNOW that you will be clothing poor people. (Only give money if you can be ABSOLUTELY SURE it is going for what you intended to go for).

Billy said...

btw...I have no reservations giving financial donations to Lamb & Lion or for any minsitry needs that it highlights. I have full confidence in them. Why? Because they ask us to pray that they will be good stewards of those donations and have a reputation that give me assurances that my money will go to a good blessed cause.

Nathan Jones said...

Thanks for that shout out, Billy! We here at Lamb & Lion take our fiscal stewardship very seriously. We've just received the highest rating from Charity Navigator for the 9th consecutive year. Only 1% of charities they rate have ever received their highest rating for 9 years in a row. (more info)