Transcript: Episode 0060

This transcript:
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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast. I am Corey J. Mahler, and I'm still whoa. Today's Stone

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Choir is part four of our series on the state of the church. Today we're going to be discussing

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the subject of apostasy in the church and of the church. We began with the first episode

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where we discussed the nature of religion itself and in that we defined religion in terms of

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where it sources its morality, where our church is getting their right and wrong, because right

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and wrong moral claims are themselves the basis of a religion. And so within the Christian church,

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the exclusive source of such morality must necessarily be scripture. And we made the

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case in that first episode that much of what we in the church today describe as right and wrong

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is not actually sourced from scripture. Much of it is in effect sourced from the new global

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religion that's emerged really since the 60s. In the second episode we dealt specifically with

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the Judaizing heresy. The fact that so much of newly invented theology in the last generation or

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two is fundamentally trying to make Christianity more Jewish, that somehow that would make it

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more authentic. And so we gave a couple of examples and pointed out that this is pervasive

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and it's relatively new, but it's not novel, because in the first century it was the very first

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heresy that the church battled. So the fact that it would come roaring back, not a surprise,

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it's entirely believable. It's another example of how the church is departing from the historic

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Christian faith. Last week's episode was entirely about the Gnostic heresy, which was the second

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major heresy that attacked the church after Judaizing. And it went on for a couple centuries.

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And we made the case that there are significant portions of the underlying Gnostic religion of

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the first few centuries that are roaring back today inside churches. There are aspects that are

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clearly emerging in secular culture where it's not seen as religious, but in fact is

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things like transsexualism completely Gnostic from start to finish. And yet within the church,

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we find those same tendencies. So we made the case in a couple hours last week that

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that's another heresy. It's another degree of apostatizing unbelief that is emerging in the

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church. And so this last episode in this series, we're going to conclude by an extensive Bible

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study of all the passages, well not all, but a selection of passages in the Old and the New

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Testament to lay out what apostasy looks like in the church. And I want to say a couple things

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up front to preface and to frame what we're talking about. We are specifically talking when

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we're talking about apostasy this week about the church bodies. We're not talking about

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individual apostasy. I want to point this out because one, I know that there are quite a

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few people who are listening who have apostatized from the faith in the past and are coming back

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to the faith now. And we want not to burden your conscience or to beat up on you by using that word.

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In some ways, the fact that when an individual apostatizes, they have faith of some degree,

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you're baptized, you're in the church, for whatever reason you fall away. Usually it's

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probably going to be a lukewarm church or a bad church where you finally realize,

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there's nothing here for me. I don't believe any of this. When a man individually apostatizes,

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it is better than when the church does it because at least the man knows there's a before and after.

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He knows, I used to believe in God, I just don't have faith anymore. I don't believe

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any of this stuff anymore. So he knows that something happened. We're talking about a

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different type of apostasy within the church because when the church denominations are

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apostatizing as they are today, there's no overt before and after. There's no one day they

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stand up and say, we believe in God. And then the next week they say, we don't believe in God.

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Or we actually want to worship Satan or Baal or Molek or something else.

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What happens when a church apostatizes is it keeps on being the church. It keeps on saying

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we're Christian, keeps on talking about Jesus and God and love and all the Bible stuff,

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all the Jesus butter. What it doesn't do is continue in the faith of our fathers.

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It throws away scripture by bits and pieces. It throws away the confession of the historic church

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and it replaces a wholesale. But wholesale over time, not all at once. So it's really kind of a

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ship of theses theology that occurs where they'll start with little stuff like, well, you know,

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Genesis obviously, like the stuff in the very beginning about six days and, you know,

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God talking and like, that stuff's not real, obviously. It's a metaphor. Something happened,

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but we don't know what it was. And so this is a story. It begins there and by the time you get

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to the end, they're just flat out denying everything in scripture and saying, my God

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isn't like any of this stuff. So while the wholesale replacement of Christianity eventually

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becomes clear to everyone, as it's happening, it's usually gradual. It takes generations to occur.

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And so as that frog is being boiled and we're that frog, many of us don't even see it or feel it

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happening. And so the apostasy that we're speaking of today is specifically churches pretending to

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continue to be the true church, but adopting false demonic teachings. So in that sense,

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it's very different from what the individual does. So we are beating up on the denominations,

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all of them. We're going to have a few specific examples of different churches.

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We're going to beat up on some of you. We're beating up on ourselves too. Like the Lutheran

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church is a key example of this sort of apostasy today. We'll give some of those examples. So

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just at the outset, I don't want anyone to feel like they're just getting crushed by

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what we're saying about individuals. Frankly, if you are worried about apostasy or if you feel

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guilty that you have in the past, that's a good sign. That means that God remembered your baptism

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that he gave to you and he's drawing you back to him. That is the gospel. That is God saving you

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as he saved all of us. He calls us to himself and he gathered us and he gives us his things.

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That's what he does for us. It's not us doing things for him.

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So this is going to be a lot of law in this episode. We're going to hammer home the point that

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things are really bad. And I don't want this to be a downer episode in some ways is going to be.

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But fundamentally, this is a signal beacon. This is sounding an alarm. This whole series

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of these four episodes is sounding an alarm to say, this is actually happening today.

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And by the way, scripture prophesied that it would happen. Scripture tells us what God

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thinks about it happening. And scripture makes clear what he has done in all the previous cases

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where believers cease to be believers and did these things. And by the way,

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we're seeing all of that today too. So this is not hypothetical. This is not just about doctrine.

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This is about whether or not we continue to live and have God's blessings, both as human beings,

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as nations, and as church bodies with the pretense of Christian doctrine. We don't want

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there to be a pretense. We want there to actually be the Christian faith. And as we laid out in

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the first episode by wanting to reiterate here, one of the key things that you have to hold in

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mind when you're tackling this subject is that it is entirely possible for a man to simultaneously

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have a true confession and a false confession, better at odds with each other. That absolutely

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happens at the same time. And we talked about in the Judge Not episode, we can't read a man's heart

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as God can. We do not know what the final disposition of a man's soul is going to be

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when he has a false confession and a true confession. We can only warn him

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this thing that you're saying that's false is false. This is damnable. You're also saying

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this thing is true. God's going to sort that out, but for the sake of your soul, let's get rid of

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the false stuff. That's one of the first examples we're going to have is where this was absolutely

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the case back in the days of the Kings in the Old Testament, as we call it. That pattern,

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it's an actual pattern. It's not just, oh, there's an old story about the Olden times. That was

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thousands of years ago, and gosh, it's too bad they didn't do a better job. Those old stories

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are about us too. They're not just history. They're telling us what men are vulnerable to,

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what we have a tendency to do, and they also tell us exactly how God responds to it.

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God's response to the unbelief in the Old Testament is identical to his response today.

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God didn't change. He doesn't hate unbelief and idolatry any less or any differently than he did

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them. When he reveals, then, here's what I think about this stuff, and here's what I do,

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and then we see the doing happening today. We should know, yeah, that makes sense.

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God thinks very poorly of idolatry and the sacrifice of infants and all these other things.

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When we see the same consequences, it makes perfect sense.

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I hope by the end of the episode, we'll have established the case we're trying to make that

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the churches are apostatizing in real time. Every single church body, I don't care what body you're

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in, they are apostatizing to varying degrees and in varying fashions, but they are all

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participating to some degree in the worship of demons, every single one of them. Whoever's

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listening and shouting, you're no exception. Yours too. We're not going to beat up on every

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single denomination. We want to establish that this is happening everywhere, and that's the

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concern because God has promised that he will preserve his church. He has not promised that

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he's going to preserve any particular denomination. The faith will persevere until the end. There

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will be believers until the end, and some of the passages will specifically get into deal with that,

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but it does not follow that we can just do whatever we want in our lives and in our churches,

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and God's going to preserve us, because God also spends a lot of time talking about

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faithless churches having their lampstands removed. God takes away their faith. He no longer

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speaks through them. He goes elsewhere. That's a threat. That's bad news. That's both barrels

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of the law, and nobody wants to hear that because we don't want to think, I don't want that to

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happen to me or that couldn't happen to me. This series is intended to demonstrate that it is,

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in fact, happening to all of us, and not that we should then whine about it or pout or just point

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and shout and call names. We need to fix it. We need to obey God. We need to detect when these

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things are happening, and we need to do something. Again, every church has its own problems, so

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there's not a checklist for one church that's going to apply to another. We all have our own

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issues, but they're all following the same pattern. As we go through these many passages today,

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keep in mind that when Jesus is speaking and God is speaking throughout Scripture,

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He's talking to us too. He's also talking to them. A lot of this is typological as we get into

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many of these things they're talking about end times. One of the problems that has come about

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in the church is that people think, well, that happened 2,000 years ago or 3,000 years ago,

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4,000, so it can't happen again. God said it was going to happen, and it did, and that means it's

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over. When you understand that God works typologically, that He establishes a pattern

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to indicate here's the type of thing that's going on, when it happens again, that doesn't mean He

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was wrong the first time, and He's right the second time, He didn't skip anything. Sometimes God

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repeats patterns for our benefit. Some of these prophecies were certainly fulfilled in the past.

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That doesn't mean they can't be fulfilled again, and it's also certainly true when you look at

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the black letter text. Some of these prophecies have not happened yet, and the specific questions

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surrounding them were the end times. When the disciples were asking Jesus, point blank,

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when will we know when these things are happening? He gives them signs of the end of the age,

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and He says, these things will happen, and not until these things happen will the end come,

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will I return? As we talk about these things, I don't want people to get the sense that we're

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doom and gloom, or that we're talking about the end of the world. It's like right around the corner.

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We don't know. Everything that we do is hopeful that we will obey God, and whenever He shows up,

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we just want to be obeying Him. We want to believe what He said, and do what He told us to do,

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and leave the rest in His hands. If that's tomorrow, or a year from now, or a thousand years from now,

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it shouldn't change what we do today. A lot of times, you'll see doomsday calls. They're like,

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okay, the end is near. Everybody sell your stuff and go live on a hill, and just look up at the sky.

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No. If the end is near, do exactly what you should have been doing all along. That's what God wants

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for all of us. We don't want this to seem like it's an eschatological nightmare scenario. The

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eschatology is not nightmare unless you're an unbeliever, which is part of the reason for talking

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about these things. If unbelief is tolerated to the end, there are a lot of warnings in these

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prophecies. They're like, if you're asleep when I show up, you're damned. That's what Jesus warns

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people. When we warn people today, it's not as some sort of doomsday prophecy. It's just saying

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what God said and saying, hey, take this stuff seriously. When He comes, it's in His time. We

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don't worry about that. We shouldn't worry about that. What we should worry about is that we're

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actually believing and obeying Him. When we look at the church today through the lens of these

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passages, we find that we are not believing and obeying God. We're going to begin in 2 Kings 17.

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We're going to read three pretty long sections from 2 Kings. Frankly, they're too long for you

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to be able to hold in your head. That's kind of deliberate. All the citations that we have today

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are going to be in the show notes, so you can go read all these things. Like I said, this is really

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a Bible study. We want people to go and read their Bible a lot after this episode. It doesn't be right

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away. Wait a couple of days so that what we've said is faded. Go back through the verses and just

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read them. Just you and God, Him talking and you listening. You're going to reach the conclusions

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that we're presenting here because I'm not saying anything novel. As we read these first few passages

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in 2 Kings, because they're so long, I want you to use this listening exercise to help you frame

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what it is we're presenting. There are going to be numerous instances of describing the Hebrews,

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the Jews, the Israelites, committing acts of apostasy, committing acts of idolatry and unbelief.

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Every time there is a mention of some act of apostasy or unbelief, I want you to imagine a bell

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ringing. We're not going to have a soundboard. We're not going to do any sort of silly gimmicks,

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but you in your head, just imagine a bell dinging every time you hear some act of falling away,

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of disbelief, or of disobedience. Then the second category to keep in mind as we're reading these,

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every time God says, this is evil, don't do this, or God punishes them for doing a thing,

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imagine a buzzer. They're really loud, obnoxious high school buzzer in the gymnasium.

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Apostasy, a ding, punishment, a buzzer. With that in mind, as you're listening to us read these

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things, you're going to hear just a cacophony. It's going to happen over and over again. That's

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a reason for reading these passages because they're so dense with both that it really makes the point

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that this stuff happens. This is real. Here are the specific examples. The reason it's interesting

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when we're looking at 2 Kings is that these were God's people. These were the 12 tribes. At this

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point, we're talking about the two kingdoms. You have the northern kingdom with the 10,

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the southern kingdom with the two tribes, but those were descendants of Jacob. Those were the

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12 tribes of Israel. Yet this is what they were doing, and this is how God responded,

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because this framing of how bad things were then points directly to how bad things are today.

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In the 12th year of Ahaz, King of Judah, Hosea the son of Elav began to reign in Samaria over

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Israel, and he reigned nine years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord,

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yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. Against him came up Shalmancer, King of Assyria,

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and Hosea became his vassal and paid him tribute. But the King of Assyria found treachery in Hosea,

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for he had sent messengers to sow King of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the King of Assyria

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as he had done year by year. Therefore the King of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison.

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Then the King of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged

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it. In the ninth year of Hosea the King of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites

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away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities

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of the Medes. And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God,

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who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt,

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and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations, whom the Lord drove out

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before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced.

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And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord, their God, things that were not right.

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They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from Watchtower to Fortified City.

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They set up for themselves pillars in Asherim, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

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And there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried

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away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger. And they served idols,

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of which the Lord had said to them, You shall not do this. Get the Lord warned Israel and Judah

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by every prophet and every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways, and keep my commandments

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in my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to

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you by my servants the prophets. But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers

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had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant,

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that he made with their fathers, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols,

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and became false. And they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord

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had commanded them, that they should not do like them. And they abandoned all the commandments of

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the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves. And they made an

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Asherah, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they burned their sons and

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their daughters as offerings, and used divination and omens, and sold themselves to do evil in the

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sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel,

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and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.

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Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the customs that

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Israel had introduced. And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, and afflicted them,

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and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

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When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat King,

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and Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them commit great sin.

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The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them,

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until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets.

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So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.

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So as I mentioned, this is the two kingdoms. This is Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and Judah,

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the Southern Kingdom. In this moment is the end of Israel. This is the end of the Northern Kingdom.

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God destroys them. Ten tribes, ten of Jacob's sons, ten tribes had promises made to him,

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they're preserved until this day. In the Northern Kingdom, God destroyed them.

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In this moment, because of their unbelief, and if you're imagining,

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dinging, and buzzing, it was going off continuously throughout that passage,

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because they're all these different examples of their wickedness, of their unbelief before the

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Lord. And as we said in past episodes, having no other gods before God, when you understand that

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God is omniscient, everything is before him, because everything is according to his knowledge.

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So they were doing this right in front of God, in despising everything he had promised and told

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them. And so he wiped them out. And so the Northern Kingdom is gone. The ten tribes are destroyed.

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Today, when you hear about the men who call themselves Jews today, there aren't 12 different

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versions of them. There are a few different versions. We've all heard of the Ashkenazim,

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the Sephardim, some have heard of the Mizra'im. Those are all different names for the places where

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the diaspora was sent, and they effectively miscegenated with their neighbors. They were all

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wiped out. The Northern Kingdom was wiped out and became Samaria. These people, these Jews,

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became the Samaritans by mixing with their northern neighbors. It was race mixing with people who

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were not of God. After God cast them out, he abandoned them and then destroyed them by these

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means, and they vanished. They're completely gone. They cannot be reconstituted to this day.

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And so the modern person who calls himself a Jew can't possibly trace any lineage back to the

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12 tribes because they were emulated. And the same thing happened to Judah between the days of Christ

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and after the destruction of the temple. The Southern Kingdom had already been conquered.

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There was nothing left. They had no king, but they were still in Jerusalem.

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I think it's a little bit notable that when the modern state of Israel chose to reconstitute a name,

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even though they're down in Jerusalem, they were in Judah today or Judea,

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they chose the name of the Northern tribe. They chose the name of the group that had

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openly and completely apostatized and then destroyed by God for their wickedness.

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They call themselves Jews, but they don't call it Judah or Judea. I think it's interesting.

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It's not a theological point. It's just kind of, it's conspicuous when you understand the history

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where people choose to anchor themselves and choosing to anchor themselves in terms of Israel

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as being some promise thing. Well, here we see how the promise turned up. Was it God

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failing to keep his promise? No. It was a people who were so wicked and so apostate that he destroyed

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them. And that's why we're talking about this today. This was ancient apostasy, but these had

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been God's people. They had been given the law and the prophets. They were sent prophets over

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and over again. The prophet in this day was Isaiah. It'll come up in one of the other passages and

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there's a parallel description, second chronicles, and then the entire book of Isaiah,

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all talking about this period. So it's covered extensively. But the key point for this particular

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episode and the subject is that they fell away and God destroyed them. And so today,

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if we make the case, if it's true that the churches today are also falling away,

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we should believe that God will destroy us too. And I think that when we look at the current state

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of the West of Christendom, which is, Christendom is dead, but we're in the ashes of Christendom,

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when we see these very same things, these very same punishments occurring to us, to our people,

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to our lands, it's worth considering whether the same God who hated their unbelief and their

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departure from the faith would also hate our unbelief and our departure from the faith and

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would maybe punish it exactly the same way because that's how he punishes unbelief. I think it's a

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reasonable question to ask, but it's one that nobody wants to ask because we want to say, oh,

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this is just the old stuff. It's the Old Testament. That was the angry God. We got the loving God.

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No, no, there's one God. And he views this stuff the same way today as he did then because God

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doesn't change. So if it's true that the church is apostatizing, that the West has apostatized,

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I think, is pretty much inarguable, you can quibble over to what degree churches have,

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but the West is completely de-Christianized. In fact, it's almost illegal to be Christian at this

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point. And even in the churches now, the last vestiges of Christianity are being hunted down.

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So this is a live issue. This is why we're not talking about this as a historical quibble

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or some minor point. This is pointing to today. If you take our argument of face value, then

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it's happening today. But even if you don't think that, you have to wrestle with the fact that

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this is how God views these things. So if they happen, we should expect they would play out

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very similarly because God's telling us, here's what I think and here's what I do. We should take

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that seriously. Scripture is very clear that God sets both the times and the boundaries of the

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nations. And we see both of those in play here because with the case of the Northern Kingdom,

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he brings their time to an end and so takes all of their land from them. With the case of the

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Southern Kingdom, they are punished differently. We will get into that shortly.

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But that's more of an issue of partially he takes away their land because he is dividing up,

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he's already divided up after the time of Solomon, the former territory of Israel,

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ancient Israel, into two kingdoms, the Northern and the Southern Kingdom. And so that's a division.

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That's from God. That is a punishment from God for their failure, particularly Solomon's failure,

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but then the failure of his sons as well after him to follow the Lord God.

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But I want you to pay attention, particularly to one verse from that reading. Obviously,

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you can't hold the whole thing in your mind as I was going through it. That's why we encourage

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you to read it again later. But I want you to bear in mind, verse 18,

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therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight.

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None was left but the tribe of Judah only.

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That is clearly telling us that God destroyed the Northern Kingdom for their apostasy,

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for their wickedness. That's what it means to be removed out of the sight of God.

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Now, it is possible for God to turn his face away from you. Now, there are two ways to look at

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God turning his face toward you in Scripture. He can either turn his face toward you in judgment

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or he can remember you, and usually Scripture uses that phrasing of God remembered.

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It doesn't mean that God forgot. It means that he is turning toward that person or those people

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in order to aid them, in order to restore them. If God removes you out of his sight,

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God is omniscient. He sees all things. To remove you out of his sight means to destroy you utterly.

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Now, there are times where that may be a temporary judgment. In this case, it's not.

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He destroys the Northern Kingdom. It is gone. The punishment for their apostasy

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is the destruction of them as a people, as a nation.

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God has done that a number of times. Historically, we obviously see that in

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the pages of the Old Testament, when the Israelites come into the land and destroy

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some of the Canaanites, they were supposed to destroy all of the Canaanites. They failed in

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that endeavor, which is part of the reason they're being judged here, of course.

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But God destroyed them. God destroyed all of the Antediluvians, with the exception of Noah and

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his family. Only eight people from the ancient world were saved. God judges peoples, God judges

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nations, and He sets their times and their borders. And those who are faithless

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will see their time drawn to an end. God is not slow as men count slowness. He does things in

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His perfect time. That's why He waited for the wickedness of the Canaanites to be full.

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He waited for them to fill full their cup of wrath before He brought in the Israelites to

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destroy them. But that also means that you're given a period of time to repent and turn back to God.

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You don't know when that will end. You don't know how long that period will be, because God

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does not tell us. And so we should take that to heart, and we should turn back immediately to God.

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We should recognize the apostasy, the same signs we see here in Scripture we see happening today.

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So I'll move on to the second reading, which is from chapter 22, dealing now with Judah.

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Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

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His mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adiah, of Boschath. And he did what was right in

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the eyes of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of David his father. And he did not turn aside

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to the right or to the left. In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphon,

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the son of Azaliah, son of Meshalam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying,

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Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the

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house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people,

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and let it be given into the hand of the workmen, who have the oversight of the house of the Lord,

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and let them give it to the workmen, who are at the house of the Lord repairing the house,

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that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons, and let them use it for buying

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timber and quarried stone to repair the house. But no accounting shall be asked from them for

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the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.

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And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphon the secretary, I have found the book of the law in

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the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphon, and he read it. And Shaphon the secretary

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came to the king, and reported to the king, your servants have emptied out the money that was found

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in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen, who have the oversight of the house

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of the Lord. Then Shaphon the secretary told the king, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book,

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and Shaphon read it before the king. When the king heard the words of the book of the law,

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he tore his clothes, and the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphon,

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and Ahkbor the son of Makaya, and Shaphon the secretary, and Asiah the king's servant saying,

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Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this

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book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the Lord that has kindled against us, because our

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fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.

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So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Ahkbor, and Shaphon,

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and Asiah went to holda the prophetess, the wife of Shalom, the son of Tikvah,

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son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. Now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter,

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and they talked with her, and she said to them, Thus says the Lord the God of Israel.

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Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord. Behold I will bring disaster upon this place,

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and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read,

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because they have forsaken me, and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke

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me to anger, with all the work of their hands. Therefore my wrath will be kindled against this

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place, and it will not be quenched. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord,

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Thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, regarding the words that you have

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heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard

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how I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation

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and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you declares

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the Lord. Therefore behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your

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grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.

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And they brought back word to the king.

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There are a few vital points in this passage that I think speak very directly to us today.

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One, it's worth considering the beginning and ending of that passage, where it says that Josiah

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did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in ways of David's father. And at the end,

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the prophetess says to him from God, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself

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before the Lord when you heard how he spoke against this, God would show mercy specifically on Josiah.

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So God is crediting to Josiah's righteousness on account of his faith. Josiah was born,

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he was made king at age eight. For 18 years, the things that we're going to get to in the next

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and final reading from 2 Kings were going on while Josiah was king. So in a minute, we're going to

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talk about how bad that was. But I think it's notable that Josiah was seen as a faithful king

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by God, which means he was. That's not speculative. And yet when Hilkiah, the high priest, brought him

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what the workman had found, they found some portion of the Torah, maybe the whole thing.

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It doesn't say I've seen speculation on which part of it it was. Personally, it seems to me like it

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would have had to bend the whole thing, because I don't know how much of the Torah you could remove

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and tolerate what is described in the next chapter. But even if it was a portion of it,

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his response when it was discovered was to realize that his fathers had cursed them all,

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that the unbelief of the prior generations, that they would forget God's word. Because remember,

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this was literally the word of God basically buried in some rubble. It was buried somewhere in the

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temple. Guys were looking to clean out money and stuff, and they found these scrolls and took it

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to the priests. They said, hey, this looks important. No one's ever seen it, but it seems like it might

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have mattered at one point. It seems like it might be valuable because they knew how valuable scrolls

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were. They were incredibly expensive. When Hilkiah read it to Josiah, he tore his robes. He was

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filled with grief. Why? Because the word of God had literally been lost. It wasn't lost in the sense,

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oh no, we've misplaced the Bible. It was lost to the point that they weren't looking for it anymore.

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They had forgotten not only the word, but they had forgotten the existence of the word.

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And so some form of the faith still existed, because Josiah was a faithful believer,

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sort of. We're going to get into his faithlessness in the next chapter, but he was faithful in the

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sense that he was actually trying to serve God. So in the 18th year of his reign, when he was 26,

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he sent workmen in, they're cleaning out the temple. He was trying to maintain

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God's temple, and that's when they found the Bible. So I highlight this passage. We want to

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bring this to your attention, because the word of God was literally lost. And it's not like there

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was some other copy somewhere else. Remember, in the previous passages, we've seen that the

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northern kingdom was already destroyed. They were already in complete unbelief. They had nothing

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left. In the southern kingdom, something had been preserved, but it was in such shambles that they

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had literally forgotten that they had the Bible. They forgot they had it. They weren't looking for

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it. It was just out of mind. So there was some, like there was still a temple. There was still

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something like temple worship, but we get to in the next chapter, we see all the horrors that were

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going on. It's crucial to look at this, because we would think this is unbelievable. How could

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scripture possibly be misplaced or forgotten? And in those days, they only had one or two copies.

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Maybe the rest were lost. We don't know. This was the first time Josiah had ever been aware

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that this even existed. His response was the Christian response. He said,

37:44.400 --> 37:51.200
Lord, have mercy. He fell on his knees. He was horrified to realize the faithlessness of his

37:51.200 --> 37:57.120
fathers, because for generations, he had thought that what he had inherited was a faithful,

37:57.120 --> 38:03.120
God-fearing kingdom. What he found was that the faithlessness had been going on for so long that

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no one even remembered this stuff. There were bits and pieces floating around, but

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when he had the law ready, he's like, this is all new and this condemns us.

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That, I think, is pointing in some ways to what happened in the Reformation. Obviously,

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we didn't lose the Bible, but we lost a sense of what it said. And so there was a pre- and

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post-Reformation change, not in terms of doctrine being discovered, but being uncovered, because

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one of the things that the Reformers did was they went back and looked 500 and 1,000 years

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prior and said, well, when we're reading the Bible here effectively for the first time,

38:45.040 --> 38:50.320
this doesn't match church teaching. What happened? And so as they started looking at

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patristic investigations, what they found was that there were many, not all church fathers,

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but there were many church fathers who believed what the Reformers held. There were disputes,

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as there had always been disputes, as God says there will be disputes. But what had changed was

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that those disputes were forgotten and only a version that ignored what the Reformation believed

39:10.880 --> 39:18.640
to be the true confession of the faith. So one of the premises that the Reformation was illegitimate

39:18.640 --> 39:23.120
was that, well, that would never happen. Obviously, once God established the church,

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it was never going to her. This shows that this stuff happens over and over again, different forms.

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It's clearly not exactly the same as having the Bible or part of it lost in some dusty corner

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versus men simply not reading or believing it for centuries. But this recurring theme of men

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realizing that they are fathers had been faithless is part of the Christian experience as part of

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our faith to go along for a while in good conscience. Josiah was acting in good conscience

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for 18 years, and we get to it in this final chapter. It's horrifying. It's unbelievable how

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evil it was, and yet he saw these things we're going to describe with his own eyes and didn't

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see anything wrong with it. He thought he was serving God when he tolerated the most wicked

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forms of evil imaginable. That's a laundry list. If you're still doing the ringer and buzzer thing,

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you're going to go deaf by the end of this next section because it's just a nonstop stream of

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terrible things. Josiah tolerated it. The good king and the good kingdom, he looked at it and

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he didn't even know it was evil. The rediscovery of Scripture and the reading of it and the sharing

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with his people brought back the true belief in God for a generation when he died and went away.

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His son became wicked and they went right back to their old ways. This is another warning to us.

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We think, oh, well, my denomination is actually years old and they believe this and I have this

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inheritance, so it's fine. Well, if the faith is not sustained by men actually believing what was

40:58.240 --> 41:04.160
transmitted to them, it will be lost. That's not to say that the faith will die. God will preserve

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the faith, but he doesn't need us to do it. It's our duty to preserve the faith because it's what

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God has given us and we want to transmit that to future generations. But if we fail, God will

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find someone else who will do it. That's not an out for us. That's not an excuse. It's a threat.

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It's saying that we can be replaced and if we want to be a part of this and we want our children to

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be a part of it, we must preserve what we have. When we discover that the Word of God has been found

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in rubble or known as believed it for centuries, then we do what Josiah did and we repent.

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And God credited that to him as righteousness. He said that he was a good king despite the fact

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that he tolerated all this wickedness because he didn't know and as soon as he found out,

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he repented, he turned away from it. That is the response of the Christian today. If we've been

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taught something in our churches and we believed it with good conscience, when we realize that it

41:59.520 --> 42:05.360
was an error, when we realize their racism as a sin that was invented less than 100 years ago

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and we realize that that is not in fact Christian doctrine at all, we must repent

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because that false confession was to a false God. We're going to establish that in a bit.

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All these things that are being done in the church today, they're fundamentally worship

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of false gods. But this first example from the olden days of the Old Testament

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demonstrate that this stuff can and will happen and how God deals with it when it does.

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Before we move on to the reading from chapter 23, I want to go ahead and pull out

42:39.520 --> 42:42.880
one verse from this chapter the same as I did for the previous reading.

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For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us because our fathers have not obeyed

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the words of this book to do according to all that is written concerning us.

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We've gone over this a number of times in a number of episodes,

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not least of all one of the very early episodes, but both blessings and curses are generational.

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And what Woe just said makes that very obvious. If your father fails to transmit the faith to you,

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that is a generational curse and it will pass on to your children and your grandchildren

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until that is broken by some outside influence because someone else will have to come back

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and restore the faith, teach you the faith again. That is what we have seen happen

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many times throughout human history. If the faith is lost in a particular place,

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the only way it is coming back is if God sends someone to that place with the true faith to

43:44.640 --> 43:51.920
restore it. And so yes, the sins of the fathers very much can be visited and are visited on the sons.

43:51.920 --> 43:56.000
So to move on to our next reading.

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He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel,

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and he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the

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high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem. Those also who burned incense to Baal,

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to the sun and the moon, and the constellations, and all the hosts of the heavens. And he brought

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out the Asherah from the house of the Lord outside Jerusalem to the brook of Kidron,

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and burned it at the brook of Kidron, and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it

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upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes

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who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.

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And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places

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where the priests had made offerings, from Gibe to Bershiba. And he broke down the high places of

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the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city,

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which were on one's left at the gate of the city. However, the priests of the high places

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did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among

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their brothers. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinom, that no one

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might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. And he removed the horses that the

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kings of Judah had dedicated to the son at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber

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of Nathan Molech, the Chamberlain, which was in the precincts. And he burned the chariots of the

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son with fire. And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah

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had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord,

46:35.200 --> 46:40.240
he pulled down and broke in pieces, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidrone.

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And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem,

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to the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon, the king of Israel,

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had built for Ashtaret, the abomination of the Sedonians, and for Chemosh, the abomination

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of Moab, and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. And he broke in pieces the pillars,

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and cut down the Asherim, and filled their places with the bones of men.

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So, as I mentioned, this is the good kingdom. This is the kingdom of Judah. And this is a

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good king. This is King Josiah. And yet, this is what was going on in his good kingdom for 18 years,

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when he thought that he was serving God. There was literally Baal worship inside God's temple.

47:24.800 --> 47:28.720
All of these things, everything that was just rattled off, was either in the temple or around

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the temple, or somewhere in the city. All this was going on in every direction. It's indescribable

47:36.560 --> 47:42.640
how much evil was going on in this place. And for 18 years, when he thought that he was serving the

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Lord, he saw all of these things every day. He undoubtedly participated in them. He was a king.

47:48.720 --> 47:55.040
He was certainly favorable to them. He was paying for this stuff. And yet, he did not know it was

47:55.040 --> 48:01.840
evil, until Scripture was read to him. When they rediscovered the Bible, and they read it again,

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and he repented, he immediately knew all these things were idolatrous. All these things must

48:07.440 --> 48:12.960
be taken out and destroyed. And the altars of these false prophets must be defiled.

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They didn't just quietly get rid of them. This was ceremonial humiliation of these false gods,

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and of the priestesses and the priests involved in their worship.

48:25.440 --> 48:30.880
It was all destroyed, because that was faithful. And so again, God credited him as righteousness,

48:31.760 --> 48:35.200
the fact that he was capable of doing this, and that when it came to his

48:35.920 --> 48:41.120
attention, and he finally realized that he had been participating in sin, he ended it.

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That's really all any man can do. He inherited something evil. He thought it was good. He

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thought he was worshiping God. And then when he actually read Scripture, he's like,

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Lord have mercy, this is all evil. There's almost nothing that we've been doing religiously

48:55.840 --> 49:03.280
that is actually for the true God. It's all ben idolatry. This was the state of the remnant

49:03.280 --> 49:08.560
that God preserved in Judah. So again, as we just wrap up this Old Testament section,

49:08.560 --> 49:15.440
just keep in mind just how bad things could get. And yet, God would keep trying. God did not give

49:15.520 --> 49:23.040
up on his people. But this is how bad unbelief can make things. And so in the first three episodes

49:23.040 --> 49:28.240
of this series, when we talked about the false beliefs being brought into our churches, it's

49:28.240 --> 49:34.080
the same kind of idolatry. It takes a different form. But as being done the same way, they were

49:34.080 --> 49:40.560
doing it. They were worshiping Baal. They had Ashrah, totems, or whatever, inside God's temple.

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And they thought it was all hunky dory. They thought, well, this is just us being religious.

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And as long as they're being religious, it must be okay, because that's faithfulness.

49:50.240 --> 49:55.440
Scripture revealed, no, this is all evil except for the small tiny bit that was still being done

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for God. And so presumably all of the rest of those things were restored as God commanded,

50:00.960 --> 50:05.760
because they weren't missing anything anymore. It is entirely believable that this could happen again

50:06.320 --> 50:11.120
in different forms. Again, just as in the Reformation, the Bible had not been lost again,

50:11.120 --> 50:17.280
but an understanding of it was, the concept of justification that existed prior to Luther's day

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radically changed after the Reformation. And it wasn't that it was New Doctrine in the church,

50:24.160 --> 50:29.600
it's that it was a restoration of doctrine that had been lost in the church. And so when these

50:29.600 --> 50:34.960
things happen, whether they're cyclical or not, the question is not, has someone changed something,

50:35.600 --> 50:41.040
but is the change a restoration of what God established? Is it consistent with Scripture?

50:41.040 --> 50:45.600
Or is it just something completely new? And so in all the previous episodes we've done on Stone

50:45.600 --> 50:52.080
Choir talking about things like racism and feminism, things that today will get men excommunicated

50:52.080 --> 50:58.720
from so-called Christian churches, where Christian churches will say, you go to hell if you commit

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this new sin that existed for less than 200 years. That's a false confession of a false God,

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but they do it in the name of God, which is why this is all fundamentally about apostasy.

51:12.000 --> 51:20.880
Judah was apostate. Now, was it 100% apostate? No, because Josiah still had faith of some sort.

51:20.880 --> 51:26.800
It was weak, and God commended him when he saw and repented. But God was still very angry with

51:26.800 --> 51:30.000
Judah and promised that the rest of them were going to be punished for this stuff.

51:30.800 --> 51:37.920
So when we look at these things, we can't just think that God's going to let us off the hook

51:37.920 --> 51:42.800
because we had good intentions. The question is, are we actually obeying what God said?

51:43.360 --> 51:48.400
And the reason that this is a very long Bible study, this is probably going to be a longer

51:48.400 --> 51:54.480
episode than usual, but it's crucial because when you look at Scripture, it makes certain people

51:54.480 --> 51:59.600
really nervous. If nothing else, that's a good indication that you're dealing with something

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that's bad for the faith. When men start pointing to portions of Scripture that I bet ignored for

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generations and say, hey, what about this thing? It wasn't lost on a dusty shelf in the temple,

52:13.040 --> 52:16.640
it was just ignored by pastors who wanted to preach on the things that weren't

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going to cause problems. And when you ignore stuff for a generation or two, it becomes normal,

52:21.920 --> 52:27.040
and suddenly no one can preach on it anymore. And if some apathy so-called layman comes along and

52:27.040 --> 52:33.760
says, hey, what about this stuff in the Bible? Maybe this still matters too, then you have a real

52:33.760 --> 52:39.440
conflict. And that is where the church is today. The men at the top, the men that are establishing

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what will be the doctrines that are tolerated, are by and large active participants in the

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new global religion, regardless of denomination. The Pope says stuff, the Lutherans say things,

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the Methodists, Presbyterians, everybody is saying the same sort of thing. They're variations,

52:56.720 --> 53:02.320
that's not 100% unity. But when you look at where their moral compass is pointing,

53:02.320 --> 53:07.280
as we talked about in the first episode of this series, the morality is all coming from the same

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place. And it's coming from a place that is not in Scripture. Our contention is that this is itself

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apostasy. By degrees, it's apostasy in the same sense that the days of Josiah were apostate

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until he discovered the Scriptures. And then there was a restoration for a brief time,

53:26.560 --> 53:33.280
but in the very next chapter, it goes to Pottengan, his son became an unbeliever, and they all

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reverted immediately to doing the wicked things. So it's only faithful preservation

53:40.240 --> 53:43.680
that makes any of this continue. If men don't fight for it,

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if men don't fight for this every single generation, it will be lost. God shows this.

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And in the passages we're going to deal with in the New Testament in the second half of this episode,

53:56.560 --> 54:02.160
make very clear that this will continue to be a battle. So when we today say this is a problem,

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we're raising an alarm, but we're not saying anything new. We're saying the same sort of thing

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that's happened over and over again in the entire history of believers in God,

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it can happen to us too. We're not immune. We're not better than any of these guys.

54:17.680 --> 54:22.880
In some ways, we're worse because, as we said before, we have so many Bibles in our houses,

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and we have so much access, and we have more of the Word of God than we will ever possibly know

54:28.160 --> 54:33.600
what to do with. And we don't read enough. We don't believe enough. We don't take it sufficiently

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seriously. And then when these fights come up, it's just, well, whatever I feel,

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I feel like racism is hurtful. And so that's going to be where I'm actually going to expend

54:44.240 --> 54:49.200
all of my energy. The stuff that's actually in the Bible, no, I'm not so worried about that.

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Like that's old anyway. It's outdated. We have new, more important things to pursue today.

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The world has different problems that require a different morality. That's the battle. That's

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the point of all of this, that there's no new morality without a new God. And we are seeing

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new gods emerge today, but not brand new. They're the reemergence of the old gods.

55:09.520 --> 55:14.080
There's Judaizing. There's Gnosticism. And you don't have to have a category for it.

55:14.080 --> 55:18.320
It's not like if you can name the thing, suddenly you have power over it. It's not

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a name metric that we're talking about. What we're talking about is just admitting we can screw up.

55:24.960 --> 55:30.240
We can fall into the same trap as has happened over and over again because we're human.

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We're fallen sinful creatures. And Satan will recycle the same stuff over and over because

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it works. He's kind of lazy sometimes, but he can be because we just keep gobbling up the old lies.

55:42.000 --> 55:49.440
And so we are in current year in all of our churches, at least vulnerable to this.

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And the fact that we say, oh no, I'm Christian. Well, just I believed he was a believer. He

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was a believer. He thought that he was being faithful. And yet, after 18 years of tolerating

55:59.920 --> 56:06.000
all that wickedness, when Hilkiah brought him the scriptures, he realized he had not been faithful.

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He had to repent. And he was filled with sorrow and filled with horror because he had been

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a faithless king, even when he thought he was being faithful.

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So when we talk about apostasy, that's what we're talking about. A man who thinks he's

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acting in the name of God is actually getting it from somewhere else. He never even checked.

56:25.520 --> 56:29.760
Genealogy of ideas, all the little gimmicks that we've sprinkled throughout Stone Choir,

56:29.760 --> 56:34.880
it's for that purpose. Where did this stuff come from? If it didn't come from Scripture,

56:34.880 --> 56:39.280
if it came from your pagan neighbors, why are you doing it? How do you think God is going to

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respond when you behave that way? We don't have to guess. Scripture shows

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over and over what happens to a people, to a nation that does that. It's what happened there,

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and it's what's happening to us now. That is a call to repentance. This isn't just theological.

56:57.120 --> 57:01.760
This is the life and death, both temporal and eternal, for everyone involved.

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This stuff has to be gotten right. We have to take it seriously. And the first step to that

57:08.000 --> 57:14.000
is simply admitting we are not immunized against all dangers. We are not free to think whatever

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we think and believe whatever we believe without regard for Scripture, and think it's going to

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be hunky-dory because we say, I'm Christian. That's okay. That's not how the faith works.

57:23.600 --> 57:28.000
Instead of pulling out a particular verse, like I did with the previous two readings,

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instead I want to highlight a particular point of recurring theme. In this passage,

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you see a lot of the false altars in various places of worship have been set up specifically

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in the temple. Now, not all of them. You have the high places. You have the ashram and things set

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up under trees. You have things out in the valley near Jerusalem. But many of these altars and other

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places of worship are in the temple itself. And you may think, well, we don't really see that

57:58.720 --> 58:03.760
happening today. Sure, we have that happening out in our culture because, of course, we have

58:03.760 --> 58:10.720
the same false gods are worshiped in a widespread fashion in our culture that you see in all the

58:10.720 --> 58:16.720
ancient cultures. We still have Mammon and Molach and Baal. It doesn't matter if you call them by

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those names or if you call them capitalism, abortion, and the various secret societies.

58:22.400 --> 58:28.080
It's the same God, same God, same false idol worship that you see in the ancient world.

58:28.080 --> 58:36.640
But we do also have this in our churches. Now, some of the churches are very blatant about it. Some

58:36.640 --> 58:43.200
are more subtle. I can think of some very blatant ones. I won't necessarily name all of them.

58:44.560 --> 58:48.160
But I will give one example. If you are, for instance, Roman Catholic,

58:49.280 --> 58:56.720
many of your parishes that are supposedly Roman Catholic parishes in places like Mexico and some

58:56.720 --> 59:03.200
parts of Central America and now also some parts of the United States have a cult of Santa Muerta.

59:03.920 --> 59:09.200
That's a cult of death. That's paganism. I mean, neo-paganism if you want to call it that.

59:10.240 --> 59:16.560
But that is false worship that is literally taking place in your churches, in your church

59:16.560 --> 59:22.480
buildings in many cases. And it's also associated with various kinds of sexual degeneracy, which

59:22.480 --> 59:28.640
is another problem with that cult that's literally taking place in Roman Catholic churches.

59:30.000 --> 59:35.600
And I'm not just singling out the Roman Catholics for this. How many churches fly the six color

59:35.600 --> 59:42.000
so-called rainbow flag? That's worship of a false God. It may not be an altar, but it's a symbol of

59:42.000 --> 59:49.360
a false God. How many churches have put up BLM signs or put it on their sign out in front of the

59:49.360 --> 59:55.680
church? That's a symbol of a false God. How many pastors preach against racism? Find that sin in

59:55.680 --> 01:00:02.080
Scripture. If you call that which is not sin, sin, and you require people to repent of it,

01:00:02.080 --> 01:00:07.760
that's worship of a false God. How many churches do that today? Good luck finding one that does not.

01:00:09.600 --> 01:00:14.480
How many churches do we have in the United States giving sermons on supporting the so-called State

01:00:14.480 --> 01:00:21.600
of Israel who are Zionist in their orientation? That's a false God. That's dispensationalism.

01:00:21.600 --> 01:00:27.600
We went over that in a previous episode at length. That is rampant in our society.

01:00:28.640 --> 01:00:36.080
How many pastors recently or next month will give a sermon on MLK? That's worship of a false

01:00:36.080 --> 01:00:40.800
God if they aren't condemning him. A pastor who condemns him, make sure you shake his hand afterward.

01:00:40.800 --> 01:00:48.080
How many pastors will bring up Bonhoeffer and say that he was supposedly this paragon of virtue

01:00:48.080 --> 01:00:52.960
in Christian belief? We went over that in an episode. He denied the core tenets of the faith

01:00:52.960 --> 01:01:02.400
and he's burning in hell along with MLK. These false religions are rampant in the churches.

01:01:02.400 --> 01:01:06.960
It's not just in our society. The churches have largely imported it from society,

01:01:06.960 --> 01:01:14.320
but it is now in the church itself. The exact same thing that happened here in the Old Testament

01:01:14.320 --> 01:01:20.080
where they brought false gods into God's house and set up worship of those false gods

01:01:20.080 --> 01:01:25.040
in order to lend them some sort of legitimacy because now they're taking place in God's house,

01:01:25.040 --> 01:01:32.320
so they must obviously also be gods. We see the same thing happening today. We have false teachers

01:01:32.320 --> 01:01:39.200
and false priests, false pastors who are using their position of supposed authority

01:01:39.200 --> 01:01:45.600
to put a stamp on the worship of idols and false gods, and they are doing it in the name of God.

01:01:46.560 --> 01:01:50.800
Now, that's terrible news for them. On the day of judgment, we'll go very poorly for them,

01:01:51.600 --> 01:01:56.400
but it's also terrible news for the sheep who follow them because you do not get the excuse of

01:01:56.400 --> 01:02:03.840
just saying, well, I was following the instruction of my pastor. That doesn't work. It is possible for

01:02:03.840 --> 01:02:09.680
the church to apostatize and it is possible for that false church to take the sheep with it.

01:02:10.960 --> 01:02:16.240
And that is the thing against which we are warning. Another great example would of course be,

01:02:16.240 --> 01:02:21.360
I mentioned specifically Moloch and we have that today, worship of Moloch. That's what abortion is

01:02:21.920 --> 01:02:26.000
and you may be thinking, well, my pastor condemns abortion because that's one issue

01:02:26.000 --> 01:02:31.760
where some pastors still preach against it, thankfully, but they don't go far enough.

01:02:32.480 --> 01:02:37.440
And the reason they don't go far enough is because hormonal birth control is abortifatient.

01:02:38.480 --> 01:02:41.600
And you may think, well, my pastor doesn't know, neither did Josiah,

01:02:43.120 --> 01:02:48.800
but your pastor should know and Josiah should have known. Now, in the case of your pastor,

01:02:48.800 --> 01:02:52.800
there's even less excuse because the information is out there and readily accessible.

01:02:53.680 --> 01:03:00.000
I will say it again. Hormonal birth control is abortifatient, which is to say that being on

01:03:00.000 --> 01:03:06.000
hormonal birth control or having your wife, daughter, whomever, over whom you have some sort of authority,

01:03:06.720 --> 01:03:13.520
over whom you are supposed to exercise headship, if she is on it, you are worshiping a false God.

01:03:14.800 --> 01:03:21.280
That is worship of Moloch. That is the sacrifice of your children or grandchildren

01:03:22.000 --> 01:03:29.600
or nieces and nephews, whoever it happens to be in relation to you. That is the sacrifice of

01:03:29.600 --> 01:03:35.760
children to a false God. Now, it may not be that you're sacrificing it specifically to Moloch,

01:03:35.760 --> 01:03:39.840
because it may be that you're sacrificing these children in order to further your career. And

01:03:39.840 --> 01:03:46.080
so really you're worshiping Mammon. It doesn't matter. You're worshiping a false God and this is

01:03:46.080 --> 01:03:53.200
rampant in our society. And I don't believe that I have ever once heard a pastor preach against it.

01:03:54.080 --> 01:04:00.240
I've seen pastors say that we should not use birth control. I've seen pastors make arguments

01:04:00.240 --> 01:04:04.800
against it, but I have never once heard a sermon against it. Now, I know that some people probably

01:04:05.440 --> 01:04:10.640
comment on this episode with links to sermons on it, but it's rare. I'm not saying no pastor

01:04:10.640 --> 01:04:16.080
does it, but I'm saying even if your pastor condemns abortion as abortion, which he should,

01:04:16.080 --> 01:04:22.160
and that's good that he does that. He probably does not go far enough because there are other forms

01:04:22.160 --> 01:04:29.680
that it takes in our society. And so we see again this very same thing happening in our society today

01:04:29.680 --> 01:04:35.840
that we see happening here in the Old Testament. The worship of false gods is being brought into

01:04:35.920 --> 01:04:41.200
the church and there are individuals who are then worshiping those false gods. Maybe they're even

01:04:41.200 --> 01:04:47.360
doing it without their conscience really being pricked. It should be pricked somewhat, but maybe

01:04:47.360 --> 01:04:53.520
not to the degree that it would be if they knew it was false. And so yes, the harsher punishment,

01:04:53.520 --> 01:04:57.600
the harsher judgment, the stricter judgment is going to fall on those false teachers and pastors,

01:04:58.720 --> 01:05:04.960
but it also falls on the sheep who follow them. Because we have God's word. We don't even have

01:05:04.960 --> 01:05:09.520
the excuse that Josiah had. Josiah didn't have God's word because the scroll was hidden away

01:05:09.520 --> 01:05:15.680
in rubble somewhere in the temple. You have God's word. There isn't a single person listening to

01:05:15.680 --> 01:05:21.920
this who couldn't switch to another app and read God's word or open another window if you're listening

01:05:21.920 --> 01:05:26.640
to it on your computer. Whatever it happens to be, whatever device you're using to listen to this,

01:05:26.640 --> 01:05:32.320
can also read God's word and you probably have a Bible and you could certainly get one for free.

01:05:32.320 --> 01:05:38.160
We have no excuse. It is all right there. All we have to do is read and believe it.

01:05:39.440 --> 01:05:44.880
And on the subject of men holding both true and false confessions, I want to get back to

01:05:45.600 --> 01:05:48.880
something that Corey has said a number of times, the point that I can finally remember it.

01:05:50.560 --> 01:05:56.720
In the first chapter of Mark, after Jesus is baptized by John, John says,

01:05:56.720 --> 01:06:01.440
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin in the world. Jesus is tempted in the

01:06:02.000 --> 01:06:08.080
desert and then he enters his earthly ministry. The first time he goes to the synagogue, this

01:06:08.080 --> 01:06:14.080
happens. Immediately there was in the synagogue a man with an unclean spirit as a demon. And he

01:06:14.080 --> 01:06:19.760
cried out, What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know

01:06:19.760 --> 01:06:27.760
who you are, the Holy One of God. I love this passage because this is the first confession

01:06:27.760 --> 01:06:34.160
in Jesus' ministry of him as the Son of God and it's from a demon. The very first person,

01:06:34.160 --> 01:06:39.200
John, obviously confessed him when he said, Behold the Lamb of God. But after Jesus' earthly

01:06:39.200 --> 01:06:44.960
ministry had begun in earnest, he emerged from the desert, a demon was the first one to say,

01:06:44.960 --> 01:06:52.480
here comes the Son of God. This is what Corey says. This is noticia in a census. He gave notice

01:06:52.480 --> 01:06:56.240
of the fact that it was the Son of God and he ascended to the fact that you are the Holy One

01:06:56.240 --> 01:07:02.160
of God. A demon, of course, cannot say you are my God. That was what was missing, which is why

01:07:02.160 --> 01:07:08.400
he's a demon and not an angel. He's damned. All those who share his confession are damned.

01:07:09.040 --> 01:07:15.040
What's interesting about that is that it brings into light one of the problems that we have in

01:07:15.040 --> 01:07:22.960
the church today. It's something that has kind of become an online meme to which tests someone,

01:07:22.960 --> 01:07:27.760
where you say, someone says something and you get suspicious and you say,

01:07:27.760 --> 01:07:34.000
confess the Jesus Christ as Lord, or some version of that. It makes me really uncomfortable

01:07:34.000 --> 01:07:40.240
because I feel like it's really tending towards taking the Lord's name in vain to kind of make

01:07:40.240 --> 01:07:45.200
a game out of it. That's my personal bad feeling. I'm not trying to bind anyone's consciousness

01:07:45.200 --> 01:07:50.960
with my bad feelings, but I can tell you this, the real problem with it, the unavoidable problem

01:07:50.960 --> 01:07:57.040
with that particular witch test is that this demon would have passed it. To say Jesus Christ is Lord,

01:07:57.040 --> 01:08:00.000
that's basically what he said, you're the Holy One of God. What do you have to do with me?

01:08:00.960 --> 01:08:06.400
A demon can confess that. Now, part of the reason that it became a gimmick online is that it sometimes

01:08:06.400 --> 01:08:12.400
works. There are absolutely many cases where you will see someone witch tested like this,

01:08:12.400 --> 01:08:17.760
where someone will challenge them and say, confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and they flatly

01:08:17.760 --> 01:08:23.840
refuse to do it. They cannot and will not do it. Sometimes it's so clear by their response

01:08:24.480 --> 01:08:31.520
that it is a spiritual recoiling that they are prevented from saying that. That's part of why

01:08:31.520 --> 01:08:35.680
it's a problem is that sometimes it works. Sometimes you witch test someone with that

01:08:35.680 --> 01:08:41.040
particular question and they fail it. You say, aha, found one. This person was pretending to be a

01:08:41.040 --> 01:08:47.280
Christian, but they're actually not. The danger and the reason for this episode is that there are

01:08:47.280 --> 01:08:55.120
demons and there are demons inhabiting men who will not fail this test. The men who have persecuted

01:08:55.120 --> 01:09:02.160
Cory and me, who have called us damned for saying what the Bible says, who called the FBI to hand

01:09:02.160 --> 01:09:08.000
us over for being murdered, who gave my name to Antifa, they confess God. They have the same

01:09:08.000 --> 01:09:13.280
confession as this Neiman. They say that Jesus is the Holy One of God, and they mean it. They did

01:09:13.280 --> 01:09:19.920
the things that they did to us in the name of God. The notion that you can challenge someone,

01:09:19.920 --> 01:09:25.120
and if they're of another spirit, they will be unable to confess the true God in that moment,

01:09:25.120 --> 01:09:32.960
it's simply false. It's dangerous because it sows confusion and a circumstance where clarity is

01:09:32.960 --> 01:09:38.000
necessary. Some of the later passages we're going to get to specifically talk about fruits.

01:09:38.800 --> 01:09:43.760
I don't care at this point personally. I don't care what anyone says about their belief.

01:09:43.760 --> 01:09:49.200
I don't care what their confession is. Show me where they stand on these inflection points,

01:09:50.080 --> 01:09:54.880
because the man who will confess the creeds, who will say that Jesus is Lord, will say all the

01:09:54.880 --> 01:10:00.720
right things. He'll have the chivalrous, but what he won't have is he won't be able to confess the

01:10:00.720 --> 01:10:07.360
Creator who made a man a man and a woman a woman. He won't be able to confess the Creator who made

01:10:07.360 --> 01:10:15.040
him white and someone else black. That is not his God. When I look to what people are doing and

01:10:15.040 --> 01:10:20.800
what they're confessing, saying I'm Christian, saying Jesus is God, it doesn't tell me anything.

01:10:21.760 --> 01:10:27.920
I've said before, that's a terrible place to be. I don't want to have a suspicious response

01:10:27.920 --> 01:10:33.520
when someone says I'm a Christian too. That should be a source for joy. I want to get

01:10:33.520 --> 01:10:39.760
things back to the point where it can be, but as it stands today, most of the wicked people

01:10:39.760 --> 01:10:47.200
that are causing the greatest harm inside the church have a true confession. Just as Josiah had

01:10:47.200 --> 01:10:53.200
a true confession before he found scripture, he said, I serve God. I serve the temple. I'm going

01:10:53.200 --> 01:10:59.440
to do all that, but he was blind to the evil that surrounded him. He was spiritually blind,

01:10:59.440 --> 01:11:04.000
so when he saw bale worship inside God's temple, he thought, yeah, that's fine. That's good. He

01:11:04.000 --> 01:11:07.840
probably did it himself. There's no reason to believe he wouldn't have, because if he thought

01:11:07.840 --> 01:11:12.800
it were bad, he would have prevented it. It wasn't until scripture was discovered that he realized

01:11:12.800 --> 01:11:19.920
it was a bad thing. That's where the churches are. The men who say, Lord, Lord, who will cry out

01:11:19.920 --> 01:11:24.640
with the confession of that demon in the synagogue, this is interesting that demons are just hanging

01:11:24.640 --> 01:11:33.280
out in synagogues. That's kind of funny too. The fact that they're able to get by and masquerade

01:11:33.280 --> 01:11:38.240
as believers is the premise of really this entire episode, and certainly the rest of the passages

01:11:38.240 --> 01:11:42.880
we're going to go through, because everything in the New Testament that specifically calls out

01:11:44.160 --> 01:11:50.480
deception inside the church is on the lips of those who say they're believers. I want to read

01:11:50.480 --> 01:11:58.560
again a passage that we've cited many times. It's from 1 Timothy 4. The Holy Spirit expressly says

01:11:58.560 --> 01:12:04.240
that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits

01:12:04.240 --> 01:12:10.480
and teachings of demons. We've talked about this passage many times and point out how low the

01:12:10.480 --> 01:12:16.800
threshold is for what a teaching of demons is. It's abstinence of meets in saying that some men

01:12:16.800 --> 01:12:22.720
should not marry, forbidding marriage. That's a pretty low threshold. It's not saying worship

01:12:22.720 --> 01:12:28.080
Satan. It's not saying sacrifice your infants. It's saying, just don't eat meat. Scripture says

01:12:28.080 --> 01:12:34.480
that's a teaching of demons. That is from hell and leads to hell. We quote this passage all the

01:12:34.480 --> 01:12:40.240
time on Stone Choir because it's pivotal. I now want to focus for this episode on the first part

01:12:40.320 --> 01:12:46.800
of it. The Holy Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith.

01:12:47.760 --> 01:12:53.440
The devotion to the teachings of demons causes a departure from the faith. That is, it causes

01:12:53.440 --> 01:13:01.520
apostasy. When we speak of apostasy, we're only talking about inside the church. The pagan who's

01:13:01.520 --> 01:13:07.120
never heard of God, who's never believed, cannot apostatize. All these passages that we're going

01:13:07.200 --> 01:13:13.840
to talk about, the deal with falling away, the only way to fall away is to have been in the first

01:13:13.840 --> 01:13:19.760
place. This is crucial because when we're looking inside the church and everyone's saying, I'm from

01:13:19.760 --> 01:13:24.720
Jesus. I love God just as much as you. Maybe I love God more than you. You're racist. You're a Nazi.

01:13:24.720 --> 01:13:31.040
You don't love God as much as I do. I'm holier than thou. If that's true, great. Let that be an

01:13:31.040 --> 01:13:37.840
example. If it's not true, then it becomes a question of spiritual threat. That's the problem

01:13:37.840 --> 01:13:42.880
that we have now, that inside the church, the devotion to teachings of demons is coming from

01:13:42.880 --> 01:13:49.360
those who say that they're doing it for God. Also, incidentally, this is one of many passages

01:13:49.360 --> 01:13:53.360
dealing with this. We have different passages and a bunch of different books of the Bible

01:13:53.360 --> 01:13:59.200
that all say that this is in later times. At the beginning, a lot of this is going to have an

01:13:59.200 --> 01:14:07.120
eschatological tenor to it. We're not trying to make you believe the end is near. I do want

01:14:07.120 --> 01:14:11.600
you to take seriously the possibility that the end is near, not to fill you with fear,

01:14:11.600 --> 01:14:16.960
but to actually pay attention to what these passages say because proof texting is terrible.

01:14:16.960 --> 01:14:22.320
Chopping up books into chapters and then chapters into verses and then verses into phrases,

01:14:22.320 --> 01:14:28.960
sometimes you can make an important point and still be faithful to the text, but a lot of times

01:14:28.960 --> 01:14:34.800
when you rip it out of context, you lose the rest of it. When we focus on the teachings of

01:14:34.800 --> 01:14:38.960
demons, that's the important part, but the teachings of demons come in the latter times

01:14:38.960 --> 01:14:44.720
and they come inside the church. All those things happen at once, and you can make a

01:14:44.720 --> 01:14:49.360
different point at different times with different parts of it, but the point that God is presenting

01:14:49.360 --> 01:14:55.040
to us is that this is a package deal. Near the end, inside the church, the teachings of demons

01:14:55.040 --> 01:14:59.520
are going to run rampant, and if we're not seeing that today, I don't know what it could

01:14:59.520 --> 01:15:05.600
possibly look like. I am going to highlight an aspect of this verse, this section of scripture

01:15:05.600 --> 01:15:12.240
that I know will bother some of our listeners, but it is something that is important to note.

01:15:14.000 --> 01:15:19.040
I would hope that I don't have to define the word depart, but it just means leave.

01:15:19.520 --> 01:15:26.800
What God says here in this chapter of 1 Timothy is that some will depart from the faith.

01:15:28.080 --> 01:15:30.880
Think about that for a minute. Pause if you need to.

01:15:32.640 --> 01:15:37.120
But in order to depart from somewhere, you must first have been there.

01:15:39.360 --> 01:15:45.600
You cannot depart from France if you've never been in France, if you are not in France. You must be

01:15:46.400 --> 01:15:54.320
in France to depart from France. You must be at home in order to depart from your home.

01:15:56.800 --> 01:16:05.280
This verse very clearly, unambiguously, is a refutation of once saved, always saved.

01:16:06.480 --> 01:16:13.280
It is possible to apostatize. One would think that we're doing an episode on apostasy. It would be

01:16:13.280 --> 01:16:18.160
obvious that we are saying it is possible to apostatize, but there are some who contend that

01:16:18.160 --> 01:16:25.920
it is not. Scripture, throughout Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New Testament,

01:16:26.720 --> 01:16:34.880
many times in many places, warns about the danger of apostasy. Scripture is not going to warn you

01:16:34.880 --> 01:16:41.360
about something that is impossible. This is why when the issue of witchcraft comes up we'll point

01:16:41.360 --> 01:16:47.840
out Scripture doesn't warn you about witchcraft and the worship of demons and things like that,

01:16:47.840 --> 01:16:53.600
because they're false in the sense of being impossible or not real. They're false in the

01:16:53.600 --> 01:16:59.840
sense of their worship of a false God. Scripture warns you about these things because they are real,

01:16:59.840 --> 01:17:07.200
because they endanger your soul. And so when it says, some will depart from the faith,

01:17:07.200 --> 01:17:14.960
it means that it is possible to leave, to depart from the faith. There is no other way to interpret

01:17:14.960 --> 01:17:19.520
this. This is not telling you that, oh, well, there are some people who are false believers,

01:17:19.520 --> 01:17:24.720
they never really believe. No, it says they are departing from the faith. That means they were

01:17:24.720 --> 01:17:32.400
part of the faith. Apostasy is a possibility. And that is why Scripture warns about it. That's

01:17:32.400 --> 01:17:37.920
why we're doing an episode on it. That is why this is such an important topic. If it weren't

01:17:37.920 --> 01:17:44.160
possible to apostatize, if it weren't possible to depart from the faith, then we wouldn't do this

01:17:44.160 --> 01:17:50.960
episode because it would be a waste of our time and a waste of your time. But the word of God is

01:17:50.960 --> 01:17:59.680
clear. It is possible to depart from the faith. And that's why these warnings exist in Scripture.

01:17:59.760 --> 01:18:04.000
That's why we are doing this episode. That is why this is such a vitally important topic

01:18:04.000 --> 01:18:10.080
for the church today, because we see the churches departing from the faith and taking the sheep

01:18:10.080 --> 01:18:16.880
with them. And it is incumbent on those who actually believe, on those who read God's word

01:18:16.880 --> 01:18:23.760
and believe what it says, to stem this tide, to turn things around. And you cannot do that

01:18:23.760 --> 01:18:29.680
if you do not first and foremost with regard to this issue, except that apostasy is possible.

01:18:30.640 --> 01:18:34.480
Because if it's not possible, then what does it matter what the churches are doing?

01:18:34.480 --> 01:18:39.760
What does it matter what any of us are doing? If apostasy is not possible, then there's no risk

01:18:39.760 --> 01:18:46.240
here. There's no danger. There's no reason to go over this topic. But that's not what God says.

01:18:46.240 --> 01:18:50.800
His word is very clear. Some will depart from the faith.

01:18:51.520 --> 01:18:57.520
Next, I'm going to read from Jesus' words in Matthew 24. And just for the sake of brevity,

01:18:57.520 --> 01:19:01.200
just so you know, if you go back and read later, I'm going to omit one portion just

01:19:01.200 --> 01:19:03.920
for the sake of time, but it doesn't change anything.

01:19:04.960 --> 01:19:09.040
As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately saying,

01:19:09.040 --> 01:19:14.640
Tell us, when will these things be and what will the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?

01:19:15.200 --> 01:19:21.360
And Jesus answered them, See that no one leads you astray, for many will come in my name saying,

01:19:21.360 --> 01:19:27.440
I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars,

01:19:27.440 --> 01:19:31.680
see that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

01:19:32.320 --> 01:19:36.720
For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and

01:19:36.720 --> 01:19:41.120
earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

01:19:42.000 --> 01:19:45.520
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death,

01:19:45.520 --> 01:19:51.520
and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray

01:19:51.520 --> 01:19:57.280
one another and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

01:19:57.840 --> 01:20:02.000
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold,

01:20:02.560 --> 01:20:07.760
but the one who endures to the end will be saved. In this gospel, to the kingdom, we

01:20:08.000 --> 01:20:13.760
proclaim, through the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

01:20:14.800 --> 01:20:19.120
For then there will be a great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world

01:20:19.120 --> 01:20:25.840
until now, no and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be

01:20:25.840 --> 01:20:31.120
saved, but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you,

01:20:31.120 --> 01:20:37.600
look, here's the Christ, or there he is, do not believe it. For false Christ and false prophets

01:20:37.600 --> 01:20:44.720
will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

01:20:46.240 --> 01:20:51.120
So again, this is repeatedly from Jesus' own lips. Not that all of Scripture isn't,

01:20:51.120 --> 01:20:56.800
but even at that, these are the red letters. God recorded Jesus specifically saying these things,

01:20:56.800 --> 01:21:03.440
and he repeatedly warns that in the end times, false prophets and false teachers will arise

01:21:03.440 --> 01:21:08.960
to deceive the faithful. Because where else is Satan going to find God's people?

01:21:09.520 --> 01:21:13.440
See, when we talk about pagans as those who are outside of the faith, and again,

01:21:13.440 --> 01:21:18.560
when we use that term, it's not pejorative. We're not being dismissive. It's sometimes translated

01:21:18.560 --> 01:21:23.520
as gentiles in the New Testament. They're believers and they're unbelievers. They're Christians and

01:21:23.520 --> 01:21:28.720
they're pagans, to say unbelievers begging the question, so I prefer pagan because I think it's

01:21:28.720 --> 01:21:34.960
more neutral. Satan owns the pagans. He's already got them. They don't believe in God. They never

01:21:34.960 --> 01:21:40.960
did. Maybe they never will. We would like to see that change. We try to reach them with the Gospel,

01:21:40.960 --> 01:21:45.680
then with the law, to say, hey, all the problems in your life, all the things that are causing you

01:21:45.680 --> 01:21:51.840
misery and pain, there's a reason for that, because the life that you're leading is in opposition

01:21:51.840 --> 01:21:56.240
to the design of the Creator who created the universe. That's why it hurts when you do that.

01:21:56.240 --> 01:22:00.640
Stop doing that. It's bad for you. And by the way, that's also obedience to God.

01:22:01.360 --> 01:22:06.720
Learn what else God has taught you in Scripture and you'll be saved. Not by doing,

01:22:06.720 --> 01:22:13.280
but by receiving the faith that God gives freely. Pagans need to hear the Gospel. Everyone else

01:22:13.280 --> 01:22:19.600
already has. And so all these warnings about those in the church falling away, about being deceived,

01:22:20.320 --> 01:22:27.040
Satan, of course, he's going to target the church. If all the sheep are inside the sheep pen at night

01:22:27.040 --> 01:22:31.200
and there's a wolf outside the sheep pen, where does the wolf want to be? He wants to be in the

01:22:31.200 --> 01:22:37.040
sheep pen because that's where the sheep are. Satan knows that it's prowling like a roaring lion

01:22:37.040 --> 01:22:43.280
to mix these metaphors of God. When Satan is prowling, he's got to get where the juicy bits

01:22:43.280 --> 01:22:50.480
are. That's inside the sheepfold. That's inside the church. And of course, the best way to send

01:22:50.480 --> 01:22:56.400
the flock scattering, to send the sheep away so that they no longer have the protection,

01:22:56.400 --> 01:23:01.360
is for false shepherds to enter among them or for wolves to enter among them and to devour them.

01:23:01.920 --> 01:23:07.360
That's what God is warning about and it happens. It's happening today. I mentioned earlier the

01:23:07.360 --> 01:23:12.960
bit about doxing and feds being called and Antifa being involved to murder people.

01:23:14.000 --> 01:23:18.880
When you hear things like, they will deliver you up for tribulation and put you to death

01:23:18.880 --> 01:23:23.920
and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake and many will fall away and betray one

01:23:23.920 --> 01:23:30.000
another and hate one another. If that doesn't describe that sort of behavior, I don't know what

01:23:30.000 --> 01:23:35.840
does. And to be clear, I'm not saying, oh, look, I found myself in the Bible. No, I find all of us

01:23:35.840 --> 01:23:41.600
in the Bible believers and unbelievers alike. But when God says in the last days, these specific

01:23:41.600 --> 01:23:46.800
types of things will be happening when they will kill you in my name and say they're doing it service

01:23:46.800 --> 01:23:53.440
to me. When we see that actually happening inside the church, that other passage that refers to

01:23:53.440 --> 01:23:58.080
that specifically, it's talking about in the church doing that. It's not talking about the

01:23:58.080 --> 01:24:02.400
state killing people. It's talking about the church, about those who call themselves believers

01:24:03.040 --> 01:24:07.200
persecuting and killing unbelievers and saying that they're doing service to God.

01:24:09.120 --> 01:24:14.560
That's an end times prophecy. And I'm not saying, oh, look at us, we're in the Bible. I don't know,

01:24:15.200 --> 01:24:21.120
not the point. The point is, when I see those things and I compare notes with actual current

01:24:21.120 --> 01:24:25.680
events that makes me wonder, it's entirely permissible to wonder. And I don't have to have a

01:24:25.680 --> 01:24:32.080
conclusion. I don't care. It's not important to know yes or no because we don't have to worry

01:24:32.080 --> 01:24:38.000
about, oh, is this prophecy fulfilled? There's no checklist here. Prophecy specifically event

01:24:38.000 --> 01:24:44.240
times is not a checklist. It's a call to penitence. It's a call to return to the Lord and to believe

01:24:44.240 --> 01:24:49.760
him. And so that when he shows up like a thief in the night, you're not up to no good. You're not

01:24:49.760 --> 01:24:55.280
asleep. You're awake waiting for him because he said to do precisely that. That's the whole point

01:24:55.280 --> 01:25:01.840
of talking about this. But the further along humanity gets in the timeline and the worst

01:25:01.840 --> 01:25:08.240
things seem to be getting today and the more of these prophecies seem to be getting checked off

01:25:08.240 --> 01:25:13.760
that list, we don't have to worry about a checklist. It's not about comparing notes with the newspaper.

01:25:14.640 --> 01:25:19.200
It's about saying God said that when things get really bad, you'll know that the end is near.

01:25:19.840 --> 01:25:24.880
When we see things getting really bad, we should take seriously the possibility that the end is

01:25:24.880 --> 01:25:30.000
near. As I said earlier, that's not, oh no, when I saw my stuff and I wait on a hill. No.

01:25:31.280 --> 01:25:37.520
Take care of your family. Plan a garden. Tell your neighbor about Jesus. Help your brother out. Do

01:25:37.520 --> 01:25:42.000
the good things that you should have been doing all along and maybe at some point you forgot.

01:25:42.000 --> 01:25:48.240
Just do what God says to do so that whenever he shows up, he finds Christians. That's it.

01:25:48.880 --> 01:25:52.720
The Christian anticipation of the coming of Christ, the final judgment,

01:25:53.360 --> 01:25:56.960
is not about stocking up on good work so we can make it over the finish line.

01:25:57.600 --> 01:26:02.560
It's about making sure that we stay in the faith because to fail to do these good works,

01:26:02.560 --> 01:26:07.600
to fail to care for neighbor, to fail to love your own family, to love your own race,

01:26:08.400 --> 01:26:17.040
to not lose the natural affection that God has given us. Those things will separate you from the

01:26:17.040 --> 01:26:24.000
faith that will save you in the end. That's the point. It's not about who's doing better,

01:26:24.000 --> 01:26:28.800
who's doing worse. It's about us having what God wants to give us. He warns us over and over.

01:26:29.440 --> 01:26:33.120
Virtually all the rest of these passages are also going to talk about the end of the world.

01:26:33.920 --> 01:26:37.680
It's not because we went looking for those passages. When we went looking for passages

01:26:37.680 --> 01:26:43.840
talking about apostasy, about falling away, that's how God connects it. That's why this is so urgent

01:26:43.840 --> 01:26:48.800
today. In a four-part series, the next week we talk about Galatians 3.28, it's going to be a

01:26:48.800 --> 01:26:54.640
recapitulation of this episode and the previous episode in that specific context of that one verse.

01:26:56.240 --> 01:27:01.280
When these things are happening inside the church, when men are being persecuted,

01:27:01.280 --> 01:27:07.760
when God is being damned from pulpits, as we see on Twitter and we see in press releases

01:27:07.760 --> 01:27:13.440
for major denominations, saying, this God in the Bible is evil and wicked. I condemn him

01:27:13.440 --> 01:27:18.720
in the name of Christ. They're talking about a false Christ. They're confessing an antichrist.

01:27:19.600 --> 01:27:25.040
If we believe that's impossible, that he's a good man. He's got a big mustache and big crucifix.

01:27:25.040 --> 01:27:28.000
He would never do anything like that. I know he loves Jesus. He told me once,

01:27:28.880 --> 01:27:34.240
if you think that they're immunized against being able to fall away, you're calling Jesus a liar,

01:27:34.240 --> 01:27:39.360
he's warning the apostles. He's telling his inner sanctum, they're going to come after you. He's

01:27:39.360 --> 01:27:46.480
talking to us as well. It's not that this passage was only for the 12, but when he's saying directly,

01:27:46.480 --> 01:27:51.840
this is a threat to every believer in all times and all places, and it's going to get worse in the

01:27:51.840 --> 01:27:57.280
end, just believe it. Believe it and take it seriously. Then when you see the church doing

01:27:57.280 --> 01:28:03.440
things that are contrary to Scripture, let that be your concern so that we don't end up completely

01:28:03.440 --> 01:28:09.120
misplacing Scripture and having it lost somewhere in the rubble or on a dusty shelf or forgetting

01:28:09.120 --> 01:28:14.720
what it means entirely. Because the other part of the warnings about the end times is that at some

01:28:14.720 --> 01:28:21.120
point, the clock runs out and God does come back. There's no more reboots available for Christianity

01:28:21.120 --> 01:28:29.200
to sort these things out again. At some point, God returns and it is what it is. Those who are

01:28:29.200 --> 01:28:35.360
faithful will go to heaven. Those who are faithless will go to hell. As Christians, we should desire

01:28:35.440 --> 01:28:41.280
that all of our neighbors and everyone we can reach is going to be saved. We have to be faithful

01:28:41.280 --> 01:28:46.400
to be able to sell that to them, not selling in the sense of Girl Scout cookies, but selling

01:28:46.400 --> 01:28:52.400
in the sense that this is what God says and here's why it's important. Satan needs to interrupt all

01:28:52.400 --> 01:28:57.600
of that, and he'll interrupt it any way he can with a big-ticket item, with a small item. Even

01:28:57.600 --> 01:29:05.360
if the small thing takes generations before it bears fruit, he's patient. But we don't know how

01:29:05.360 --> 01:29:11.760
much longer we have before God comes back and there's no more time to fix the mess. That's why

01:29:11.760 --> 01:29:15.920
Corey and I have a sense of urgency around these things, not that we think the world's going to end

01:29:15.920 --> 01:29:21.120
tomorrow. We think that if we let these things slide for another generation, I don't believe there

01:29:21.120 --> 01:29:26.240
will be a Christian generation after that one. I don't think that there's a path from today

01:29:26.800 --> 01:29:32.640
to two generations, hence, without the next generation being Christian. That's my chief

01:29:32.640 --> 01:29:38.240
concern in the state of the church today. Pretty much guarantees that that won't happen. Now,

01:29:39.040 --> 01:29:43.760
God will preserve a remnant. He promises there will be someone who believes in the end days.

01:29:43.760 --> 01:29:49.680
I want it to be mine, my people. I want it to be everyone that we can share the gospel with.

01:29:50.560 --> 01:29:55.200
And that's not being racist. It's just saying, look, I can control what I can control,

01:29:55.200 --> 01:29:58.720
and if I can tell someone and help them understand this and they're going to believe it,

01:29:59.840 --> 01:30:04.240
so much the better. Everything else is in God's hand. We don't have to fix anything,

01:30:04.240 --> 01:30:08.880
but we have to be faithful. And in the end, if it looks the same way, that's because that's

01:30:08.880 --> 01:30:16.080
God's doing, it's not our doing. So the pressure's not on us to succeed, but the expectation is on

01:30:16.080 --> 01:30:21.600
us to be faithful and God will take care of the results. We did mention at the outset that this

01:30:21.600 --> 01:30:28.400
episode would be heavy on law, and that is very true. I would recommend that, for at least some of

01:30:28.400 --> 01:30:34.000
you, perhaps go back and listen again, or for the first time, if this is one of the first episodes

01:30:34.000 --> 01:30:40.800
to which you're listening, go back and listen to the episode on election. We will eventually,

01:30:40.800 --> 01:30:46.240
in the future, do an episode on perseverance and really that'll form a trinity, as it were,

01:30:46.240 --> 01:30:52.560
a three-part series, because they're all very intricately related, election, perseverance,

01:30:52.560 --> 01:31:01.360
and apostasy. But Woe just mentioned that Jesus was warning the apostles in this particular passage,

01:31:01.920 --> 01:31:08.960
and I want to highlight two of the apostles, because they give a great example of the possibilities,

01:31:08.960 --> 01:31:18.720
as it were. All of the apostles had faith, at one point. Most of them persevered,

01:31:19.440 --> 01:31:27.840
one of them did not. Judas fell away, Judas had faith, Judas fell away, he departed from the faith,

01:31:28.560 --> 01:31:35.680
and he despaired, and he is in hell. Peter is the other apostle I would like to highlight,

01:31:35.680 --> 01:31:42.880
because Peter also fell away from the faith. But Peter was restored, and so it is possible to be

01:31:42.880 --> 01:31:50.720
restored after falling away. Apostasy is not necessarily final, just because something isn't

01:31:50.720 --> 01:31:55.840
final doesn't mean you should say, oh well it's fine, I can repent on my deathbed. One, you don't

01:31:55.840 --> 01:32:01.440
know when that will be, and so that's a very dangerous proposition. But two, you should want

01:32:01.440 --> 01:32:06.880
to live your life, as God tells you to live it, and also there are rewards in heaven for your good

01:32:06.880 --> 01:32:13.120
works, not because they are meritorious in and of themselves, but because being in Christ, they are

01:32:13.120 --> 01:32:20.320
credited to you, and you get rewards for those in paradise. So there are reasons to be a Christian

01:32:20.320 --> 01:32:26.000
throughout your entire life, not just wait until you're like, I think I'm finally decrepit enough,

01:32:26.000 --> 01:32:32.400
I'll repent now, and then hope that you die soon afterward. That's a terrible bet, that's something

01:32:32.400 --> 01:32:38.000
that atheists will sometimes argue it's absolutely insane. But the point is that Peter fell away

01:32:39.040 --> 01:32:46.320
and was restored. But if you actually look at why he fell away, and I'm not really trying to get

01:32:46.320 --> 01:32:51.520
into the perseverance issue, but just to give a foretaste of it here as it were,

01:32:52.080 --> 01:32:57.760
and because it does relate to apostasy, the reason he fell away, if you look at it, he says,

01:32:58.880 --> 01:33:03.920
and yet I certainly will not, when he is responding to Christ saying they would all

01:33:03.920 --> 01:33:13.200
fall away from him in that hour. He relied on himself, and that's the issue. He was taking

01:33:13.200 --> 01:33:20.320
faith, which is a free gift of God sustained by God, wholly a matter of God, monogistic,

01:33:20.960 --> 01:33:25.760
and attempting to make it something that he did himself. No, I will believe hard enough that I

01:33:25.760 --> 01:33:33.840
will never fall away from you. And then he fell away. While standing in the presence practically

01:33:33.840 --> 01:33:42.800
of Christ, he fell away. So bear that in mind, it is entirely possible to fall away from the faith,

01:33:42.800 --> 01:33:49.120
and when you fall away, you can despair like Judas, not be restored and spend eternity in hell,

01:33:49.840 --> 01:33:56.160
or, like Peter, you can be reconverted to the faith and be restored to the faith

01:33:56.160 --> 01:34:04.000
and spend eternity in paradise. Our next reading is from Matthew 7.

01:34:05.680 --> 01:34:11.760
Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

01:34:11.760 --> 01:34:16.480
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes,

01:34:16.480 --> 01:34:20.800
or figs from thistles? So every healthy tree bears good fruit,

01:34:20.800 --> 01:34:26.000
but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit,

01:34:26.000 --> 01:34:31.120
nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit

01:34:31.120 --> 01:34:36.480
is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

01:34:38.640 --> 01:34:42.720
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven,

01:34:43.280 --> 01:34:46.400
but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

01:34:47.120 --> 01:34:52.640
On that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,

01:34:52.640 --> 01:34:56.640
and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?

01:34:57.520 --> 01:35:03.360
And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

01:35:04.320 --> 01:35:12.960
So we find here, just as in the earlier passage in Matthew 24, that not only is this inside the

01:35:12.960 --> 01:35:20.080
church, not only are these people who are calling out Lord, Lord, which directly eliminates possibly

01:35:20.080 --> 01:35:25.440
that we're talking about pagans, but they're performing miracles. They're doing signs and wonders.

01:35:26.160 --> 01:35:32.320
They're not just teachers. They're those who have some sort of power.

01:35:34.160 --> 01:35:36.960
Now, we don't see that sort of power today. I don't know,

01:35:37.600 --> 01:35:41.040
not making a claim one way or another whether that's going to reemerge,

01:35:41.680 --> 01:35:47.280
but we are warned specifically that the false prophets who will come in God's name,

01:35:47.280 --> 01:35:52.800
who will cry, Lord, Lord, are going to seem legitimate. And so therefore,

01:35:52.880 --> 01:35:56.960
what does this Matthew 7 passage say? It says, judge them by their fruits.

01:35:57.680 --> 01:36:04.320
What does it omit? Don't judge them by their confession. If you judge a man by his fruits,

01:36:04.320 --> 01:36:10.720
you're ignoring what he's saying. You're looking at the product that occurs downstream from what he says.

01:36:12.480 --> 01:36:18.400
So when we have pastors who go online and say, let me teach you about the Lutheran faith,

01:36:18.960 --> 01:36:23.840
and the fruit of that teaching is that men become Roman Catholic in Eastern Orthodox,

01:36:23.840 --> 01:36:31.040
or they leave the faith in other ways, that is the fruit. That is the proof of the nature of the tree.

01:36:31.760 --> 01:36:38.800
If you only pay attention to the checklist evaluation of the confession, then all these

01:36:38.800 --> 01:36:44.000
teachers are going to seem fine. All the ravenous wolves who are clothed as sheep,

01:36:44.640 --> 01:36:48.080
they're going to seem okay because their confessions are going to check out.

01:36:48.080 --> 01:36:51.440
Because Satan's not dumb. He knows what he needs to do to pass.

01:36:52.400 --> 01:36:58.160
This is spiritual traniism we're dealing with. Someone who is one thing that's masquerading

01:36:58.160 --> 01:37:04.960
as another. And the difference is that it's basically impossible for a man to present as a

01:37:04.960 --> 01:37:10.560
woman in a way that can deceive people. Although, unfortunately, it's getting so horrifically

01:37:11.360 --> 01:37:15.520
advanced now with the mutilation of flesh that sometimes you just can't tell.

01:37:16.720 --> 01:37:23.440
What happens with these spiritual trannies that are demons, that are cloaked as Christians,

01:37:24.320 --> 01:37:29.600
is that their words are going to check out. And so God specifically says,

01:37:29.600 --> 01:37:35.520
you will recognize them by their fruits. That's what I said, and I've said before. I honestly

01:37:35.520 --> 01:37:41.280
don't care what someone's confession is at this point, which is not to say that a confession

01:37:41.280 --> 01:37:49.360
doesn't matter. The confession that we have is vital, but it is not the proof. The proof is what's

01:37:49.360 --> 01:37:55.120
downstream from it. Because many of the men inside the church whose confession is entirely, well,

01:37:55.120 --> 01:38:01.280
it's not. But as a superficial reading of the creeds and whatever confession of your church body

01:38:01.280 --> 01:38:08.400
may hold, don't care how thick the book is, however close they're able to cue to the words

01:38:08.400 --> 01:38:14.560
of those confessions. When push comes to shove and you look at what's actually happening in their

01:38:14.560 --> 01:38:20.960
lives, in the lives of their children, in the lives of their congregations, what happens to people

01:38:20.960 --> 01:38:27.840
who have been exposed to their teaching five, 10, 20 years down the road, that's the fruit. The fruit

01:38:27.840 --> 01:38:35.600
is not going to lie. If there's a trail of death and destruction and misery and deceit and slander

01:38:36.880 --> 01:38:44.960
and grift and avarice, if some permutation of all those things that are incidentally also marks

01:38:44.960 --> 01:38:51.680
of the absence of the Holy Spirit, if you see a cloud of that surrounding someone, I saw today

01:38:51.760 --> 01:38:58.480
that apparently some internet pastor who has been stirring up stuff with false confessions

01:38:58.480 --> 01:39:04.160
saying that it's okay for you to bless a sodomite union, a so-called marriage. Somebody said,

01:39:04.160 --> 01:39:09.520
he's worth $15 million. I don't know if that's true or not, but I can stay with absolute certainty.

01:39:09.520 --> 01:39:16.720
No Christian pastor is worth $15 million. No Christian pastor is going to accumulate that.

01:39:16.720 --> 01:39:23.760
It's not to say no Christian can, not drawing a line on where too much wealth separates you from

01:39:23.760 --> 01:39:29.520
the kingdom of God. A pastor, the only way for a pastor to get there, it's basically the same way

01:39:29.520 --> 01:39:35.280
that a congressman could get there. When they're making 180,000 a year or whatever and living in

01:39:35.280 --> 01:39:41.600
Washington, D.C., most of the year, the only way that they go in worth less than a million and come

01:39:41.600 --> 01:39:47.840
out worth more than $50 million is when they've been practicing corrupt and wicked things.

01:39:48.960 --> 01:39:52.960
For a pastor to accrue great wealth as a result of being a pastor,

01:39:53.600 --> 01:39:59.120
tells you, he's a false prophet. I don't need to know a word out of his mouth. I don't need to

01:39:59.120 --> 01:40:06.640
know how sincere he is. For that to be the case, it's a fruit. That accumulation without using

01:40:06.640 --> 01:40:15.040
it to benefit others for a pastor, it will not happen. I know this is a tough thing to deal with

01:40:15.680 --> 01:40:20.400
in the Christian church, because again, we focus a lot of other episodes saying, look,

01:40:20.400 --> 01:40:26.240
your confession must be clear and direct. You have to say what's true. We're not disputing that.

01:40:27.040 --> 01:40:32.560
We're saying that in this specific case, where churches are apostatizing because leaders are

01:40:32.640 --> 01:40:39.520
apostatizing, because faithless demonic shepherds, like some of the men who are listening right now,

01:40:39.520 --> 01:40:44.880
because the demons inside them compel them to listen, because hell's going to get worse with

01:40:44.880 --> 01:40:48.880
every word that comes out of our mouths that they hate because it's from God, it's not from us,

01:40:49.760 --> 01:40:56.000
those men are compelled to do evil because that's what they serve. Just as we are compelled to do

01:40:56.000 --> 01:41:05.440
good because we serve God, the fruits of the stone-quired ministry, for lack of a better word,

01:41:05.440 --> 01:41:10.320
is that every week now people are joining churches, every week now babies are being baptized,

01:41:10.320 --> 01:41:14.880
adults are being baptized, people are finding faithful churches, sometimes for the first time,

01:41:14.880 --> 01:41:19.920
those are fruits, those are real fruits. You can say all manner of slander about anybody,

01:41:20.480 --> 01:41:25.520
but the only thing in our wake is that people are believing God and obeying him,

01:41:26.080 --> 01:41:32.720
and that is not giving us a shred of credit. God is doing that in spite of whatever flaws we have,

01:41:32.720 --> 01:41:38.400
but we're here to try to do these things because we know that when God's word is faithfully employed,

01:41:38.400 --> 01:41:46.320
that's what's going to happen. We have these mics and they've been blessed thus far with those

01:41:46.320 --> 01:41:52.880
fruits. You don't need to decide if we're telling the truth or not. Even if all the slander about

01:41:52.880 --> 01:41:59.920
us is true, if the fruit of what we're saying is that people are becoming Christian and becoming

01:41:59.920 --> 01:42:04.240
more engaged in their faith and they're doing a better job in their lives, what proves that the

01:42:04.240 --> 01:42:09.680
slander can't be true because God would not produce those fruits? Satan will never produce

01:42:09.680 --> 01:42:15.840
good fruit, you won't permit it. Maybe momentarily to deceive someone is in the case of these signs

01:42:15.840 --> 01:42:21.600
and wonders that false prophets are permitted, but good fruit is only going to come from a good

01:42:21.600 --> 01:42:27.440
tree. Evil fruit will always come from an evil tree. When you look at these men's lives, when

01:42:27.440 --> 01:42:32.320
you look at what happens around them, they might be the most charming guy in the world on YouTube,

01:42:32.320 --> 01:42:36.240
but when you look at what happens around them, you can see that the fruit is evil,

01:42:36.240 --> 01:42:41.200
and that tells you that your ears were deceived, that the confession that they had was false.

01:42:42.080 --> 01:42:47.520
Again, this is a tough thing in Christianity because we should be able to believe everyone,

01:42:47.520 --> 01:42:52.320
but God says, test the spirits. He says, you will recognize them by their fruits.

01:42:52.960 --> 01:42:59.040
That's a duty. That's not optional. That's what we are told by God we must do in these cases.

01:42:59.040 --> 01:43:03.840
When anyone comes along and says, hey, I want to teach you about God, this should always be

01:43:03.840 --> 01:43:09.920
your first instinct for anyone, especially us, and we say that. I'm happy to tell anyone,

01:43:09.920 --> 01:43:14.480
don't believe a word we say. Go read your Bible because you're going to come back a

01:43:14.480 --> 01:43:19.360
week or a month later and say, yep, that was right. You don't need to have an influence

01:43:20.080 --> 01:43:27.520
to reach the outcome that Scripture provides. God explains this stuff, and for the most part,

01:43:27.520 --> 01:43:32.240
we just point, hey, look, we're almost two hours in. We're just reading a bunch of Bible verses

01:43:32.240 --> 01:43:37.280
to say over and over again. In the end, teachings of demons, wolves are going to come. They're going

01:43:37.280 --> 01:43:43.920
to deceive. People will fall away. Churches will be targeted. If we're not there, I don't want to

01:43:43.920 --> 01:43:50.400
live long enough to see what it actually looks like, but for whatever days we're in now, we have a

01:43:50.400 --> 01:43:56.560
duty to God, to our families, to our neighbors, and to future generations to do the best we can.

01:43:57.200 --> 01:44:03.440
That means believing God first, obeying Him, and when it turns out the churches are falling away,

01:44:03.440 --> 01:44:09.920
the teachers are false, we have to deal with it. We have to deal with it just like a fire on a ship,

01:44:09.920 --> 01:44:14.960
because that's really what it is. It's an emergency situation that threatens everyone on board,

01:44:15.680 --> 01:44:20.960
and maybe the fire can be put out on the ship. Maybe we have to get to the lifeboats. I don't know.

01:44:21.520 --> 01:44:27.040
Different situations are currently in place for different people, but there's a fire that's

01:44:27.040 --> 01:44:34.560
indisputed. There is a fire on the ship, and some people hear the alarm, some people smell the smoke,

01:44:34.560 --> 01:44:39.680
some people are fast asleep. We're trying to wake people up and say, look, this is happening.

01:44:39.680 --> 01:44:46.160
What God said is happening. Shouldn't be a surprise to a Christian. God keeps his promises.

01:44:46.160 --> 01:44:52.400
God can't lie. As Corey said before, there's no way to structure in the English language

01:44:53.040 --> 01:44:57.840
a way to suggest that God could lie. That wouldn't be insane. It does not compute.

01:44:58.560 --> 01:45:02.960
What God says is true, and He said this stuff, so we just have to look out for it,

01:45:02.960 --> 01:45:07.760
and then deal with it when we find it. Because if we don't deal with it, if we ignore it,

01:45:07.760 --> 01:45:13.520
if we ignore these roaring lions and these ravenous wolves, they're going to continue their

01:45:13.520 --> 01:45:19.200
predation, and that's what they want. It's men who will stand up and point and say,

01:45:19.200 --> 01:45:24.800
that's a wolf that is disruptive. The men who do that, who say these things that were invented

01:45:24.800 --> 01:45:30.960
in the last 100 years are not sins. Every man who stands up and says that is going to be attacked.

01:45:30.960 --> 01:45:35.680
He will be persecuted. That's what these passages are saying. They're going to hate you

01:45:35.680 --> 01:45:41.840
for the sake of my name, for the sake of the name of Christ. Any man who is faithful will be hated

01:45:41.840 --> 01:45:48.080
in the last days for Christ's name. That's a promise. It's a good one. It's a test.

01:45:49.600 --> 01:45:53.280
It's saying, you know what? It's one or the other. You can have peace for the world,

01:45:53.280 --> 01:45:57.360
or you can have peace with God. Which one you choose will determine your eternity.

01:45:58.240 --> 01:46:01.760
It can be easy now, or it can be easy later, but you're only going to get one of them.

01:46:02.960 --> 01:46:10.400
As Will mentioned earlier, there are a number of witch tests out there in order to assess whether

01:46:10.400 --> 01:46:18.000
or not a teacher is true or false, or perhaps just a Christian. As Will mentioned, they are a

01:46:18.000 --> 01:46:25.360
somewhat mixed bag. They can be used profitably. They can be circumvented, as it were, by some

01:46:25.360 --> 01:46:34.880
of the wolves who are a little more cunning. I would like to distinguish between two separate

01:46:34.880 --> 01:46:42.560
things when it comes to applying witch tests. The first is doctrine, and the second is ministries.

01:46:43.200 --> 01:46:47.840
When it comes to doctrine, the witch tests are actually perhaps more useful,

01:46:49.120 --> 01:46:53.280
the ones that are floating around out there, one of which I happen to have created.

01:46:56.080 --> 01:46:59.600
Because those witch tests, the ones that are actually useful, the ones that are good,

01:46:59.600 --> 01:47:06.400
are a distillation of Scripture, Scripture itself being the only witch test when it comes to doctrine,

01:47:06.400 --> 01:47:12.240
because all doctrine must be judged against Scripture. And so if a doctrine is true or false,

01:47:12.320 --> 01:47:18.240
is a matter of whether or not it agrees with or disagrees with Scripture. Very simple. That's

01:47:18.240 --> 01:47:25.920
all it is. That is the one ultimate witch test, as it were, for doctrine. Some of the other ones

01:47:25.920 --> 01:47:31.280
that are good are just a distillation, a summary of Scripture that is easier to apply in a given

01:47:31.280 --> 01:47:35.600
situation, because perhaps just you can remember it, and you can ask the question more easily.

01:47:35.760 --> 01:47:44.480
When it comes to ministries, however, it's a different matter. Those more simple witch tests,

01:47:44.480 --> 01:47:51.200
as it were, do not work as well. However, we don't need to use those when it comes to a ministry,

01:47:51.200 --> 01:47:55.280
because God has given us the perfect one right here in Matthew.

01:47:56.880 --> 01:48:03.600
You check the fruit, because a good ministry, a faithful ministry, will bear good fruit.

01:48:04.320 --> 01:48:07.840
So will a faithful Christian, of course, a faithful teacher, a faithful pastor,

01:48:07.840 --> 01:48:12.480
they will have good fruit. Their ministry, and I don't mind using the word, but their ministry

01:48:14.160 --> 01:48:18.480
will bear good fruit. That is a promise from God. That is what Scripture says.

01:48:19.760 --> 01:48:26.800
However, a false ministry, a diseased tree, an evil tree, because that word is sapros,

01:48:26.800 --> 01:48:32.320
there in the Greek. It has a wide range of meaning, but it means evil, diseased, rotten,

01:48:32.320 --> 01:48:38.240
corrupt. And so it's not just diseased. It is a stronger word than that. But this evil tree

01:48:38.800 --> 01:48:46.160
will not bear good fruit. And so if you see a ministry that is bearing rotten fruit,

01:48:46.720 --> 01:48:51.920
you know it is not of God. You know it is wicked. You know it is of Satan. It doesn't matter

01:48:51.920 --> 01:48:58.000
whether it's wearing the Jesus mask, whether it's slathered itself in Jesus' butter.

01:48:58.880 --> 01:49:06.800
You look to the fruit. God has given us a perfect test when it comes to teachers, priests,

01:49:07.680 --> 01:49:14.080
pastors, various others. Anyone who has a ministry that is related to the word of God,

01:49:14.080 --> 01:49:20.400
that is related to the church, that is related to Christianity, you can test them infallibly

01:49:20.480 --> 01:49:26.880
by this test given by God. And so all you have to do, again, look to the fruit.

01:49:27.760 --> 01:49:33.280
A good ministry will bear good fruit. A good ministry will produce Christians,

01:49:33.280 --> 01:49:39.280
will produce Christians who act in a Christian manner, will produce good works. It's going right

01:49:39.280 --> 01:49:45.360
back to the issue of faith versus good works, which is false. We're not supposed to set them

01:49:45.360 --> 01:49:51.680
against each other. Again, the right way to conceive of it is, if you are a Christian,

01:49:51.680 --> 01:49:58.640
which is to say, if you have a living faith, you will produce good works. The same thing is true

01:49:58.640 --> 01:50:04.560
of a Christian ministry, of a good ministry. It will produce good works, because that is what

01:50:04.560 --> 01:50:11.280
the Spirit does through Christians. And the Spirit is going to do that through a Christian teacher

01:50:11.280 --> 01:50:17.360
or a Christian, an actually Christian teacher, an actually Christian pastor, and actually Christian

01:50:17.360 --> 01:50:25.120
ministry, because the Spirit will be at work and He will produce these good works. On the other hand,

01:50:25.840 --> 01:50:32.240
an evil ministry, a wicked tree, is not going to produce those good works, is not going to produce

01:50:32.240 --> 01:50:38.880
good fruit, because the Spirit is not working through that person. And so we have this test

01:50:38.880 --> 01:50:44.800
from God, and this is the one that we should use. And quite frankly, it's a fairly easy one to use,

01:50:45.440 --> 01:50:50.400
because most, at least, public ministries, certainly it's more difficult if it's a

01:50:50.400 --> 01:50:55.760
smaller ministry, so if you're assessing a pastor to a specific church, but even just a pastor to

01:50:55.760 --> 01:51:01.600
church, many times you can tell. If you walk into a church, and this one is going to hurt to hear

01:51:01.600 --> 01:51:06.080
for some people, but it needs to be said, if you walk into a church and there are no children,

01:51:06.880 --> 01:51:10.960
that is a bad sign. You probably should not attend that church,

01:51:12.320 --> 01:51:18.240
because children are a blessing from the Lord. And so Christians who are faithful to God

01:51:18.240 --> 01:51:24.320
obey the things that He says are necessarily going to have children in their congregations.

01:51:24.320 --> 01:51:28.880
Doesn't mean that every single Christian is going to have children, but God gives children as a

01:51:28.880 --> 01:51:33.920
blessing, and so Christian churches will have children in them inevitably. That is the way

01:51:33.920 --> 01:51:38.160
that it works. If you are faithful to God in your marriage, you wind up with children.

01:51:38.720 --> 01:51:43.280
That's how it works. It's very simple, straightforward, basic biology as it were,

01:51:43.280 --> 01:51:47.520
but of course with the blessing of God, because none of this works without God's blessing.

01:51:48.320 --> 01:51:54.160
None of the cells in your body divide without God blessing it. That's how intimately and intricately

01:51:54.160 --> 01:52:01.280
involved God is in His creation. But that is one of the sure tests for whether or not a church body

01:52:01.280 --> 01:52:05.280
is faithful, is whether or not you hear crying during the service.

01:52:07.200 --> 01:52:11.120
And there are other tests, of course. But for a public ministry, it's very simple.

01:52:11.680 --> 01:52:17.200
You can look at those who have been influenced by that ministry and see what has become of them,

01:52:17.840 --> 01:52:22.720
see what has happened in their lives with regard to their faith and the good works they have produced.

01:52:24.560 --> 01:52:31.200
So yes, test teachers, test the spirits. And again, we are saying the exact same thing with regard

01:52:31.200 --> 01:52:38.480
to the two of us. When it comes to doctrine, test what we say against Scripture, because that is

01:52:38.480 --> 01:52:45.680
the ultimate test. When it comes to whether or not we are faithful in this ministry, test the fruits,

01:52:46.400 --> 01:52:53.600
what we are producing with the ministry. That is how you can tell if we are good or evil,

01:52:53.600 --> 01:52:59.760
if we are true or false. And I believe that we have amply demonstrated that we are true teachers,

01:52:59.840 --> 01:53:05.440
because we are producing good fruit. And everything we say is consonant with Scripture and supported

01:53:05.440 --> 01:53:11.360
by the Word of God. The next passage that I want to read from Matthew 25 is another case where they

01:53:11.360 --> 01:53:17.680
cry out, Lord, Lord. Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and

01:53:17.680 --> 01:53:22.960
went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish

01:53:22.960 --> 01:53:28.240
took their lamps, they took no oil with them. But the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

01:53:28.240 --> 01:53:32.960
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But in midnight there was a

01:53:32.960 --> 01:53:38.480
cry, here is a bridegroom, come out to meet him. Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps,

01:53:38.480 --> 01:53:42.800
and the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.

01:53:42.800 --> 01:53:47.360
But the wise answered, saying, Since there will not be enough for us and for you,

01:53:47.360 --> 01:53:52.800
go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves. And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came,

01:53:53.360 --> 01:53:57.120
and those who are ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.

01:53:57.920 --> 01:54:02.640
Afterwards, the other virgins came to him, saying also, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered,

01:54:02.640 --> 01:54:09.280
Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

01:54:11.440 --> 01:54:16.720
So this is yet again a passage where we're not talking about unbelievers here. We're talking

01:54:16.720 --> 01:54:20.880
about those who cry out, Lord, Lord. Those who are expecting the return of the bridegroom.

01:54:21.440 --> 01:54:26.480
And he said, Truly, I do not know you. That's a phrase that we find repeatedly in Scripture.

01:54:27.360 --> 01:54:32.240
And again, as I said at the beginning, I want to reiterate, when we're specifically talking

01:54:32.240 --> 01:54:39.520
about apostasy this week, we're focusing on churches. None of this stuff is intended

01:54:39.520 --> 01:54:45.520
to fill individuals with dread that, oh no, maybe it's me. Am I one of the foolish virgins?

01:54:46.160 --> 01:54:50.800
To anticipate the return of God, to believe in God and His promises,

01:54:50.800 --> 01:54:55.200
to do the things that He says to do, means that you are not one of the foolish virgins.

01:54:56.000 --> 01:55:00.720
And so these parables, they're a warning in the sense that they're an admonition,

01:55:01.360 --> 01:55:07.200
but equally they're an exhortation to do that which is good. The warning is saying, hey,

01:55:07.200 --> 01:55:13.760
here's the bad outcome, but it's easily avoidable. And when you're talking about people crying out,

01:55:13.760 --> 01:55:20.240
Lord, Lord, and Jesus saying, I never knew you, what will cause that? What will cause that is a

01:55:20.320 --> 01:55:28.160
false confession. It is unbelief. It's the sort of unbelief that filled Israel and that overran

01:55:28.160 --> 01:55:34.720
most of Judah. Josiah was one of the few exceptions in those days who was a faithful king.

01:55:35.280 --> 01:55:40.960
Most of them were wicked. And even the faithful king, as we said, for 18 years tolerated

01:55:40.960 --> 01:55:46.320
Baal worship inside the temple, thought that was hunky dory. He was one of the good ones.

01:55:47.040 --> 01:55:53.840
We will not fare any better without Scripture, which is really the key lesson of that whole thing.

01:55:53.840 --> 01:55:59.200
When He found Scripture, He came to repentance. When we find Scripture, we come to repentance.

01:56:00.640 --> 01:56:06.720
When you're here in church, when you're in a podcast, it always has to accord with Scripture.

01:56:06.720 --> 01:56:12.160
Wherever you're getting it, the Bible is the norming norm. It's where everything else has

01:56:12.160 --> 01:56:17.520
to come from. There are things that can be said, that can be derived from Scripture, but unless

01:56:18.880 --> 01:56:24.720
it is constant with what God says, and unless it fulfills the same promises that God makes,

01:56:25.600 --> 01:56:30.960
you cannot trust it. There are good things that men can say that are not scriptural. There's plenty

01:56:30.960 --> 01:56:38.560
of wisdom in the world, but the only infallible word is from God's lips. And so that's why it's

01:56:38.640 --> 01:56:43.440
so important when we see these passages say, Lord, Lord, let us in, Lord, Lord,

01:56:43.440 --> 01:56:48.080
do we not prophesy and cast out demons in your name? They thought they were serving God.

01:56:49.040 --> 01:56:56.320
Now, Josiah could have led the same life, but as an unbeliever, and when the word of God was found,

01:56:57.040 --> 01:57:00.880
he could have just said, I don't recognize this. I don't want this here. Just get rid of it. It

01:57:00.880 --> 01:57:07.280
doesn't mean anything. He would not have been the man He was. He would not have been the king

01:57:07.360 --> 01:57:13.920
that God wanted him to be, but that was an entirely reasonable reaction, particularly because it was

01:57:13.920 --> 01:57:19.600
not constant with tradition. They'd forgotten Scripture. They forgot it existed. When they

01:57:19.600 --> 01:57:23.120
discovered it, they didn't know what it was. They didn't know what they found. They knew it was

01:57:23.120 --> 01:57:28.480
important. Physically, it was like, obviously, this thing is important, but it wasn't until it was read

01:57:28.480 --> 01:57:33.600
aloud that his heart was softened because it was convicted by the word of God.

01:57:34.560 --> 01:57:41.440
That is the test that we see today. When the word of God is spoken among these men who cry out,

01:57:41.440 --> 01:57:47.520
Lord, Lord, what do they say next? Some of them say, Lord, have mercy. I didn't know that.

01:57:48.240 --> 01:57:51.920
They respond the way Josiah did. They were in error to whatever degree,

01:57:51.920 --> 01:57:57.760
and when they hear what God says in Scripture, they repent. Others, when they hear what Scripture

01:57:57.760 --> 01:58:03.440
says, they call the FBI. They say, we condemn this in the name of Christ, and they condemn

01:58:03.440 --> 01:58:09.760
Scripture itself. They damn God. They literally damn God in press releases and from pulpits,

01:58:09.760 --> 01:58:16.400
because they must necessarily do so to serve their true master, because even while they have a public

01:58:16.400 --> 01:58:21.840
confession that checks all the boxes, when push comes to shove and you bring out Scripture and

01:58:21.840 --> 01:58:26.480
say, well, what about this? God said this. They say, I hate that. That's not my God. I don't recognize

01:58:26.480 --> 01:58:31.360
any of that. I can't even read this. What is this crap? This is wicked, and we condemn it

01:58:31.360 --> 01:58:36.320
in the name of Christ. There are men who will condemn God in the name of the Antichrist,

01:58:36.320 --> 01:58:40.480
and they will say they're confessing God. On the last day, they're being warned,

01:58:41.360 --> 01:58:45.680
Matt Harrison is going to cry out, Lord, Lord. Some of the pastors listening right now who are

01:58:45.680 --> 01:58:52.000
filled with malice and evil will cry out, Lord, Lord. God will say, you workers of lawlessness,

01:58:52.000 --> 01:58:59.520
I never knew you. We talk about this stuff. It's not simply that these are men who are individuals.

01:58:59.520 --> 01:59:05.680
These are men who have the authority that is perceived by the church to be speaking on behalf

01:59:05.680 --> 01:59:11.600
of God. Whether God truly gave them that authority, and they betrayed it at some point,

01:59:12.960 --> 01:59:20.960
or whether they were never true to begin with, have no idea. Don't care. Their fruits are wicked,

01:59:20.960 --> 01:59:27.280
and that is the concern. Because it's not about one guy, or two guys, or 10 guys, or 100, or an

01:59:27.280 --> 01:59:32.480
entire denomination, or all the denominations. It's about the souls and the pews who are affected

01:59:32.480 --> 01:59:38.000
by the teaching. As Corey said earlier, most people just don't know. You do the best you can

01:59:38.000 --> 01:59:43.760
with the information you're given. You hopefully try not to violate your conscience, and you try

01:59:43.760 --> 01:59:48.880
not to worry about it too much. Most people are just head down in their lives, hoping that the

01:59:48.880 --> 01:59:53.520
Jesus guys take care of the Jesus stuff, and it's sorted out, and they don't need to worry about

01:59:53.520 --> 01:59:59.360
it too much. That was basically my attitude most of my life. I trusted patriots in charge.

01:59:59.360 --> 02:00:03.600
I was told they're good men in control now. We won the election. We're doing well. Okay,

02:00:03.600 --> 02:00:08.000
good. One last thing for me to worry about. When I actually looked, I found that wasn't true.

02:00:08.000 --> 02:00:13.120
I found the fact that there was rampant evil, and that it was only by pointing to scripture

02:00:13.120 --> 02:00:18.080
that that evil could be illustrated. Because the confession was true, they were still saying,

02:00:18.080 --> 02:00:23.840
Lord, Lord, they were still slathered in Jesus, brother. It's squishing between their toes.

02:00:24.800 --> 02:00:31.840
I know that it sounds like it's something that's almost blasphemous. The reason that we say it is

02:00:31.840 --> 02:00:40.320
precisely because it is blasphemous. It is blasphemous for them to hide behind the name of God

02:00:40.320 --> 02:00:44.480
for their false teachings. It has a violation of the commandment that says,

02:00:44.960 --> 02:00:50.560
thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. There's no greater violation of that

02:00:50.560 --> 02:00:56.880
commandment than to lie in the name of the Lord, which is precisely what we're dealing with at the

02:00:56.880 --> 02:01:03.040
denominational level, at the church level, at the big ticket level. Individuals on the ground,

02:01:03.040 --> 02:01:07.280
we're all trying to do the best we can with limited and sometimes imperfect and sometimes,

02:01:07.280 --> 02:01:10.560
frankly, false information, because we believed and we didn't know any better.

02:01:11.200 --> 02:01:15.200
When the truth comes to light, when you see the scripture actually says this, that you lost

02:01:16.640 --> 02:01:20.800
whole passages out of scripture you didn't know were there. No one ever preached from them,

02:01:21.360 --> 02:01:26.480
because for many of the passages in scripture to be preached from many of the pulpits in our

02:01:26.480 --> 02:01:32.000
churches would be for the pastors to indict themselves. They can't possibly speak the

02:01:32.000 --> 02:01:38.560
whole counsel of God from the pulpit without being struck dead on the spot by God's wrath,

02:01:38.560 --> 02:01:43.600
and they know it. They just avoid those things. They'll either paper over them or they'll acknowledge

02:01:43.600 --> 02:01:48.800
them and say, that was in that moment. It's kind of cringe. There's some stuff in here that's

02:01:48.800 --> 02:01:55.280
obviously were better than that today. That's where the churches are. It's men who cry out,

02:01:55.280 --> 02:02:02.080
Lord, Lord, and then they torch scripture and they do it in the name of God. That's the point.

02:02:02.080 --> 02:02:08.240
That's the point of this four-part series is when we look at the confession, we'll see one thing

02:02:08.240 --> 02:02:12.400
in some cases. We'll see maybe something that seems Christian, or at least you can sort of

02:02:13.520 --> 02:02:19.120
gussy up to the point that it's not sub-Christian. When you look at the fruits, when you look at

02:02:19.120 --> 02:02:23.920
the passion that the men have for what their true religion is, for their competing confession,

02:02:24.720 --> 02:02:31.600
you'll find abject evil, not a little bit evil, not slightly wrong, but it's matter of dispute.

02:02:32.320 --> 02:02:41.280
Abject wickedness, the most malevolent sort of slanderous, murderous hatred and malice that any

02:02:41.280 --> 02:02:46.160
man's heart can summon. You'll find it in the very men who say that they're there speaking in the name

02:02:46.160 --> 02:02:51.360
of God. I don't know what else to say other than to do a Bible study like this where we point to

02:02:51.360 --> 02:02:55.520
scripture in a series like this where we say, look, here are all these different things that are

02:02:55.520 --> 02:03:00.400
being imported into the church and everybody has a clean conscience. We're all just sort of sailing

02:03:00.400 --> 02:03:06.880
along saying, oh, that sounds fine, like Yahweh, Yeshua, that sounds legit. That seems better

02:03:06.880 --> 02:03:13.200
than what we had before. Bit by bit and piece by piece, new sins are adopted and suddenly you have

02:03:14.960 --> 02:03:19.680
vessels to bale inside the temple. You know what? God's going to leave. It won't be God's

02:03:19.680 --> 02:03:25.920
temple anymore. It's going to be Satan's temple because the mixing of the sacred with the profane

02:03:26.640 --> 02:03:31.520
causes the sacred to cease to be. God is still sacred but he's elsewhere. He's not going to be

02:03:31.520 --> 02:03:37.920
in that place. He will not be mixed with wickedness. So on the ground, as we're trying to sort this

02:03:37.920 --> 02:03:43.280
stuff out, we just have to be faithful as best we can. That's why looking at scripture, reading

02:03:43.280 --> 02:03:49.280
scripture, pointing to scripture, when someone comes along with a scriptural argument, don't resort

02:03:49.280 --> 02:03:55.120
to the Bill of Rights. Please don't do that. Don't quote Thomas Jefferson at a man who comes to you

02:03:55.200 --> 02:04:02.480
with scripture. That's a confession of their true God. We've seen that too. That's it. That's the

02:04:02.480 --> 02:04:08.000
moment where you know I'm not dealing with a Christian, even while they're wearing a cross,

02:04:08.000 --> 02:04:12.560
even while they have a reverend in front of their name, even while they say, Lord, Lord, and say,

02:04:12.560 --> 02:04:18.000
I love Jesus. Their confession when they're confronted with scripture is what do you have

02:04:18.000 --> 02:04:24.560
to do with me, Holy One of God? They respond as the demon responded, acknowledging that it's God

02:04:24.560 --> 02:04:33.120
and hating it. So in the interest of not having this episode run too long, we will go over two more

02:04:33.120 --> 02:04:41.760
passages. We'll do 2 Peter, and then we will close out with the parable of the sower. So first from

02:04:41.760 --> 02:04:49.600
2 Peter. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among

02:04:49.600 --> 02:04:54.960
you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the master who bought them,

02:04:55.680 --> 02:05:01.360
bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality,

02:05:01.360 --> 02:05:06.640
and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed, and in their greed they will exploit

02:05:06.640 --> 02:05:12.720
you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not

02:05:12.720 --> 02:05:19.520
asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell, and committed

02:05:19.520 --> 02:05:25.680
them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment, if he did not spare the ancient world

02:05:25.680 --> 02:05:31.280
but preserve Noah, a herald of righteousness with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the

02:05:31.280 --> 02:05:37.360
world of the ungodly, if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to

02:05:37.440 --> 02:05:43.520
extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. And if he rescued

02:05:43.520 --> 02:05:49.440
righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked, for as that righteous man

02:05:49.440 --> 02:05:55.520
lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that

02:05:55.520 --> 02:06:01.440
he saw and heard. Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the

02:06:01.440 --> 02:06:06.880
unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in

02:06:06.880 --> 02:06:13.840
the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they

02:06:13.840 --> 02:06:20.000
blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a

02:06:20.000 --> 02:06:26.480
blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals,

02:06:26.480 --> 02:06:32.480
creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which

02:06:32.480 --> 02:06:38.160
they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage

02:06:38.160 --> 02:06:44.480
for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes,

02:06:44.480 --> 02:06:49.680
reveling in their deceptions while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery,

02:06:49.680 --> 02:06:55.840
insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed,

02:06:55.840 --> 02:07:02.000
accursed children. Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of

02:07:02.000 --> 02:07:08.160
Balaam, the son of Baor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression.

02:07:08.720 --> 02:07:13.200
A speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

02:07:14.480 --> 02:07:20.800
These are waterless springs and mist driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness

02:07:20.800 --> 02:07:26.800
has been reserved. For speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the

02:07:27.520 --> 02:07:32.720
flesh, those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom,

02:07:32.720 --> 02:07:38.800
but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is

02:07:38.800 --> 02:07:44.160
enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world, through the knowledge

02:07:44.160 --> 02:07:49.600
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome,

02:07:49.600 --> 02:07:55.040
the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them

02:07:55.040 --> 02:08:00.160
never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the Holy

02:08:00.160 --> 02:08:06.400
Commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them. The dog returns to

02:08:06.400 --> 02:08:11.760
its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.

02:08:13.360 --> 02:08:19.680
This passage certainly speaks to what we've been talking about. This is 2 Peter again. This is

02:08:19.680 --> 02:08:24.880
not a book that we've previously referenced, and that's part of the point that we want to make.

02:08:25.120 --> 02:08:31.120
When you acknowledge that apostasy inside the church, of the church itself, as possible,

02:08:31.760 --> 02:08:36.800
you will begin to find it everywhere. This was the entire second chapter of 2 Peter.

02:08:38.160 --> 02:08:42.880
We've gone very long. This is a longer episode than usual. It just keeps going.

02:08:42.880 --> 02:08:46.320
We could have had a dozen more passages that still wouldn't have covered everything,

02:08:46.320 --> 02:08:51.680
because that is the nature of God's warning to the church about the church.

02:08:52.560 --> 02:08:59.920
Again, I'm going to repeat this ad nauseam. When we talk about apostasy in the church,

02:08:59.920 --> 02:09:05.200
we're not talking about pagans. All of these passages are about Christians. Every one of

02:09:05.200 --> 02:09:11.920
these passages is about someone who either is or was Christian, or was at least Christian presenting

02:09:11.920 --> 02:09:18.080
when they insinuated themselves into the church. At some point, it doesn't matter which of those

02:09:18.080 --> 02:09:24.160
was the case, because the fruits themselves are destructive. When God warns us to judge the fruits,

02:09:24.880 --> 02:09:31.360
that's why you don't need to know a man's heart to know if he's producing evil in his life,

02:09:31.360 --> 02:09:35.200
and in the life of his family, and his community, and his church, wherever he is.

02:09:35.920 --> 02:09:41.440
If you can look at fruits and find evil, you know. Now, there are some men, even evil men,

02:09:41.440 --> 02:09:45.280
even men that we have gone after in the past, they produced some good fruits.

02:09:45.680 --> 02:09:51.440
When you understand where good fruit comes from, that makes sense. That's not an incongruity,

02:09:51.440 --> 02:09:58.000
because the word of God does not return to him as void. All these men who are in the church,

02:09:58.000 --> 02:10:03.840
who are speaking the word of God, God's word is efficacious all by itself, even when the men

02:10:03.840 --> 02:10:08.640
are idiots, even when they're blasphemers, even when some of them have a demon inside them.

02:10:08.640 --> 02:10:13.680
When those men speak the word of God, insofar as they leave it alone,

02:10:13.760 --> 02:10:20.240
or don't do harm to the text, God is going to work through it. Yes, it's entirely the case

02:10:20.240 --> 02:10:26.720
that you will see sometimes men who are doing evil who also produce good fruits, because God

02:10:26.720 --> 02:10:33.120
produces the good fruits. I think that's the key distinction there. Good fruit only comes from

02:10:33.120 --> 02:10:39.200
God. We don't get credit. We don't take credit. Certainly, God gives us credit when we are Christians

02:10:39.200 --> 02:10:44.800
and we obey him, and we say what God says, and then it produces good fruit according to his will.

02:10:45.840 --> 02:10:51.360
We do get credit for that, but that's not why we do it. When evil produces evil fruit,

02:10:51.920 --> 02:10:57.040
it's necessarily because it didn't come from God. Evil fruits are never produced by good doctrine,

02:10:58.000 --> 02:11:04.640
and even a doctrine that is sound in a narrow application, when it's misapplied somewhere

02:11:04.720 --> 02:11:09.760
else, can become evil. I think that's another thing that's really difficult for Christians to

02:11:09.760 --> 02:11:14.960
understand, because a guy will take some doctrine that he really has a good handle on.

02:11:15.520 --> 02:11:22.240
Protestants are extremely guilty of this. Post-Reformation, we fixed justification because

02:11:22.240 --> 02:11:28.160
we started confessing what Scripture said. The pre-Reformation sects still get justification

02:11:28.160 --> 02:11:34.880
wrong, so when it was fixed, it wasn't Luther was some repairman or any of the other reformers

02:11:34.880 --> 02:11:39.520
whoever you want to place at the head of that party. It was simply the fact that they started

02:11:39.520 --> 02:11:44.960
pointing to what Scripture said. That's what fixed it. It wasn't men coming up with new doctrines.

02:11:44.960 --> 02:11:50.560
It was men faithfully confessing that which God had previously revealed. The damage

02:11:51.360 --> 02:11:56.240
goes the opposite direction. Whatever damage we do, it's because we're not saying what God says.

02:11:56.320 --> 02:12:02.240
We're breaking whatever He did, which is why evil fruits will always prove that there's evil

02:12:02.240 --> 02:12:10.000
behind it. God will not produce evil fruit ever. He cannot. His tree is perfect. His fruit will

02:12:10.000 --> 02:12:18.240
always be good. What happens in between the tree and the fruit is a function of the last parable

02:12:18.240 --> 02:12:25.120
we're going to talk about, the sower of the seed, because there are times where God sends out His

02:12:25.120 --> 02:12:30.560
word and it comes among men and for a while it bears fruit and then it stops and it withers.

02:12:31.200 --> 02:12:36.960
As not God's failing, it's the fact that some soil is rocky. The parable goes over the

02:12:36.960 --> 02:12:41.600
permutations there. When we're looking inside the church, when we're looking at our own churches

02:12:41.600 --> 02:12:46.160
and our own denominations, at our own beliefs, our own personal beliefs, again, none of this

02:12:46.160 --> 02:12:51.520
should be an assault on you personally think, oh no, am I apostate? No one who's apostate

02:12:51.520 --> 02:12:56.800
is going to think that. It's similar to the sin against the Holy Spirit. No one who's committed

02:12:56.800 --> 02:13:02.560
the unforgivable sin cares. The last thing that would ever enter their mind, it cannot enter their

02:13:02.560 --> 02:13:08.800
mind because they've already closed that door. Nothing we've said should make anyone fearful.

02:13:08.800 --> 02:13:14.000
Oh no, I might be apostate. It should make you cautious that I should be careful about not

02:13:14.000 --> 02:13:19.520
messing around with false doctrine and false teachers and false churches because they can

02:13:19.520 --> 02:13:24.480
lead me astray and you can adopt more and more false beliefs and then you end up in a place

02:13:24.480 --> 02:13:30.000
where you can't apostatize unknowingly. But again, that shouldn't be a source of fear,

02:13:30.000 --> 02:13:35.520
it should be a source of vigilance. It's possible for Christians to be vigilant without being fearful,

02:13:36.160 --> 02:13:41.920
being awake, being watchful, being sober-minded. These are all described as fruits of the Spirit

02:13:41.920 --> 02:13:48.400
precisely because this is what they do when you are all of those things and these confrontations

02:13:48.400 --> 02:13:52.720
come up. If you're grounded in Scripture, you're going to be able to keep your head on straight.

02:13:53.280 --> 02:13:57.280
You're not going to be just completely blown away by the confusion of the matter.

02:13:58.320 --> 02:14:02.640
The Church will have these problems. God promises it will have these problems.

02:14:02.640 --> 02:14:06.480
It's not terrifying or scary to realize that we have these problems.

02:14:07.280 --> 02:14:12.640
It should in a way be comforting to at least know that God warned us. No matter what bad thing can

02:14:12.640 --> 02:14:19.840
happen in our life, in your personal life, in the Church, wherever. God foreknew the circumstance,

02:14:19.840 --> 02:14:24.560
he foreknew your particular situation. God knows everything and he warns us,

02:14:24.560 --> 02:14:30.400
I'm going to take care of you. He warns us, obey me. They're all warnings. They're saying,

02:14:30.400 --> 02:14:36.880
look, this is coming, don't fall away. Believe me, stay strong in the faith. Hold fast to the Word of

02:14:36.880 --> 02:14:42.880
God. None of that should be a source of dejection. It should be a source of joy

02:14:42.880 --> 02:14:47.200
and of mutual encouragement, which is what we hope these episodes can be.

02:14:47.200 --> 02:14:50.880
They should be mutually encouraging to all of us in all the various denominations

02:14:50.880 --> 02:14:55.280
to know that we're facing the same challenges, to know that we have the same problems,

02:14:55.280 --> 02:14:59.680
even where we have doctrinal disagreements. One of the places where we have unity

02:14:59.680 --> 02:15:04.560
is that Satan's coming after us all. That's good news because it means that there's something there

02:15:04.560 --> 02:15:10.640
from God that Satan needs to destroy. Satan would be leaving us alone if he already had everything.

02:15:11.360 --> 02:15:17.040
The disconnect between what Scripture says and what Satan is trying to do to it,

02:15:17.040 --> 02:15:21.600
that's where the fight is. It may not be the fights that we had in previous centuries.

02:15:21.600 --> 02:15:28.000
It may be new fights. It is. In fact, today, it's often new fights. Satan's trotting out the old

02:15:28.000 --> 02:15:33.920
tricks, but with new colors. People who are distracted by the shiny colors don't realize

02:15:34.000 --> 02:15:38.880
that it's the same old play. We're trying to give this playbook in these simple heuristics to say,

02:15:38.880 --> 02:15:43.760
well, yep, that's Judaizing. That seems like a form of narcissism. They're denying the body.

02:15:43.760 --> 02:15:47.840
They're doing these things. I know that that's bad. I should be on my guard.

02:15:48.880 --> 02:15:53.920
That's all it necessarily takes for us to begin to be aware in our churches that

02:15:54.560 --> 02:16:01.040
there's a problem to fix. This series has mostly been about the bad things,

02:16:01.040 --> 02:16:05.520
the things we're getting wrong. Fixing them, we haven't really talked much about it,

02:16:05.520 --> 02:16:10.640
but it's basically just believe God. If God says one thing and your church is confessing the opposite,

02:16:11.280 --> 02:16:16.000
fix the church, fix the confession, or go someplace where they get those things right.

02:16:17.040 --> 02:16:20.320
We're all in a position now where we have to do one of those things,

02:16:20.320 --> 02:16:25.200
because every church has some of these problems. God promised they would come.

02:16:25.200 --> 02:16:31.680
Whether these little end days or not, don't care. I don't lose a wink of sleep thinking about that,

02:16:31.680 --> 02:16:36.160
but it is important to acknowledge that in all these places where Scripture says,

02:16:36.160 --> 02:16:41.760
hey, this stuff is going to happen, it talks about end days. Whether that's a week, a month,

02:16:41.760 --> 02:16:46.160
a year, a century, a thousand years, don't know, don't care. It's above our pay grade.

02:16:46.720 --> 02:16:52.400
What is not above our pay grade is actually believing and obeying God. We can do that right now

02:16:52.400 --> 02:16:54.800
and trust that He will take care of the rest.

02:16:56.400 --> 02:17:03.200
If you go back and read this chapter from 2 Peter after this episode, or whenever you do that in

02:17:03.200 --> 02:17:09.520
the future, and again, we would recommend that you do that, I want you to bear one thing in

02:17:09.520 --> 02:17:18.000
particular in mind. When Scripture speaks of adultery, it doesn't just mean a violation of the

02:17:18.000 --> 02:17:22.400
Sixth Commandment. Although in this case, yes, this is a violation of the Sixth Commandment,

02:17:22.400 --> 02:17:28.880
but it is not just that. It is also a violation of the First Commandment, because adultery is used

02:17:28.880 --> 02:17:35.600
figuratively as worship of false gods. So bear that in mind when you're reading this. Of course,

02:17:35.600 --> 02:17:40.400
we can see that that is one of the senses meant here, since it is followed up immediately with

02:17:40.400 --> 02:17:47.200
Balaam, and you can read about that elsewhere in Scripture. But just as a quick aside before we move

02:17:47.280 --> 02:17:53.920
on to the parable of the sower to close out this episode, I want to mention here that I am going

02:17:53.920 --> 02:17:59.440
to include in the show notes a link to a poem by Rudyard Kipling. I am reminded of it because it

02:17:59.440 --> 02:18:04.880
references the last line in that reading from 2 Peter. It's a very good poem. I think every man

02:18:04.880 --> 02:18:08.720
should certainly have read it at least once in his life. So that will be in the show notes.

02:18:09.040 --> 02:18:17.280
But to move on to our final reading for this episode, the parable of the sower from Luke,

02:18:18.000 --> 02:18:18.720
chapter 8.

02:18:38.720 --> 02:19:03.440
And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said,

02:19:08.800 --> 02:19:21.280
Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have

02:19:21.280 --> 02:19:26.560
heard. Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not

02:19:26.560 --> 02:19:32.320
believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it

02:19:32.320 --> 02:19:38.480
with joy. But these have no root, they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.

02:19:39.520 --> 02:19:45.280
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way,

02:19:45.280 --> 02:19:50.560
they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not

02:19:50.560 --> 02:19:57.440
mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an

02:19:57.440 --> 02:20:00.720
honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

02:20:03.520 --> 02:20:08.240
One of the things that stands out in this passage is something that harkens back to an earlier one

02:20:08.240 --> 02:20:16.480
where Jesus says that the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it

02:20:16.480 --> 02:20:22.320
with joy. But these have no root, they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.

02:20:23.120 --> 02:20:27.200
One of the earlier passages from Matthew talked about a time of tribulation.

02:20:27.200 --> 02:20:33.280
It's the same thing. This is certainly a time of tribulation, not in the capital T dispensational

02:20:33.280 --> 02:20:40.560
sense, but when men are losing their jobs for refusing to use a tranny's pronouns,

02:20:41.440 --> 02:20:47.600
because it's not Christian, because it's a lie, that is a time of tribulation. Anyone who is

02:20:47.600 --> 02:20:52.720
confronted with anything like that is undergoing hatred for the sake of Christ's name,

02:20:54.000 --> 02:21:00.400
because to be faithful to God, to say what is true, to believe and confess what is true,

02:21:01.200 --> 02:21:08.240
even in the face of the world despising it, that is the ultimate time of testing of tribulation.

02:21:08.960 --> 02:21:13.680
In God warns that there will be some who, they hear the word and they believe it for a while,

02:21:13.680 --> 02:21:18.560
and then when the going gets tough, they fall away. They leave. They're not that tough.

02:21:19.360 --> 02:21:25.840
They come and they like it when it's easy, and the second it gets hard, they apostatize,

02:21:25.840 --> 02:21:30.720
they fall away. Like, nope, I'm not going to put my butt in a sling for this stuff. I don't have a God

02:21:30.720 --> 02:21:35.840
that's going to make my life difficult. I don't want any sort of God that's going to make my

02:21:35.840 --> 02:21:41.040
neighbors not like me. I want to get along with them. It's more important for me, for my community,

02:21:41.040 --> 02:21:46.800
to find me respectable for holding the right worldly opinions that is for me to say what God

02:21:46.800 --> 02:21:54.160
said. Again, when we talk about falling away, when we talk about apostasy, it should not be a source

02:21:54.160 --> 02:21:59.200
of terror for an individual, but it should be a source of warning. It can happen. Obviously,

02:21:59.200 --> 02:22:04.000
it can happen. That's not a bolt from the blue. That's not a shock to anyone. Do you believe

02:22:04.000 --> 02:22:10.640
something when it's easy and then when it gets hard? Yeah, never mind. You never really believed

02:22:10.640 --> 02:22:16.480
it in the first place. That's not actual belief. That's larping. That's putting on a costume,

02:22:16.480 --> 02:22:21.920
and as soon as taking off the costume becomes advantageous, that's what we do. We see that

02:22:21.920 --> 02:22:28.640
all the time. People are like, oh, nope, I changed my mind. Guys want to, in times when there wasn't

02:22:28.640 --> 02:22:33.520
continuous war, guys would join the military for the GI Bill or whatever, but they never actually

02:22:33.520 --> 02:22:39.520
thought they'd fight. Then when suddenly a war starts, and they're told, we need to go fight now,

02:22:39.520 --> 02:22:44.240
you're going to get blown up and die, and it's going to be terrible. I just wanted to go to

02:22:44.240 --> 02:22:49.760
college. I didn't want that. Well, too late. You signed up for a thing that has real consequences.

02:22:50.320 --> 02:22:56.560
Christianity has real consequences, and the opting in is completely different than the military.

02:22:57.280 --> 02:23:04.560
God calls on all of us to join in His word, and when we do, we should understand that it's joining

02:23:04.560 --> 02:23:10.080
a spiritual war. I think that's something that's missing from a lot of preaching today, is the

02:23:10.080 --> 02:23:16.000
notion, the recognition that this is actually spiritual war. It's something that online,

02:23:16.000 --> 02:23:21.520
I've specifically pointed out for years, I've said before. This is why personally transition

02:23:21.520 --> 02:23:27.680
from talking so much about politics to talking about this stuff, because one, I realize that the

02:23:27.680 --> 02:23:33.840
political solutions were not realistic. I don't even know how to describe that anymore. There's

02:23:33.840 --> 02:23:40.400
no path forward politically, and yet there are still political problems. The fixes will need

02:23:40.400 --> 02:23:44.080
to be spiritual, and they're going to be political too. I'm not saying like, oh, we can pray this

02:23:44.080 --> 02:23:49.760
way. No, but if we don't understand the spiritual element of the political problems,

02:23:49.760 --> 02:23:58.080
we're going to get everything downstream wrong. God is a God of everything, and truth is always

02:23:58.080 --> 02:24:05.680
true, and lies are always lies. We talked about 1 Timothy 4 with the teachings of demons being

02:24:05.680 --> 02:24:12.560
abstaining from meets and from marriage, forbidding marriage. That small ticket stuff that God says

02:24:12.560 --> 02:24:18.800
comes straight from hell. There's a much more serious list of sins that exist in the modern

02:24:18.800 --> 02:24:25.600
church than those that are teachings of demons. They're teachings from outside of the faith

02:24:26.240 --> 02:24:31.200
that God gave us. A source of morality that's not from scripture is not Christian.

02:24:31.920 --> 02:24:39.440
A source of tradition of beliefs that is Judaizing is anti-Christian. A source of beliefs and of ideas

02:24:39.440 --> 02:24:45.840
that is Gnostic in its essence is an assault on the Creator. A belief that we are immunized

02:24:45.840 --> 02:24:50.880
from being able to fall away is denying all of scripture. There are so many places where

02:24:50.880 --> 02:24:56.480
scripture is very clear that you can fall away, and here's what's going to happen. When we see it

02:24:56.480 --> 02:25:01.760
happening in the church and then we see the consequences, we have to believe it. There it is.

02:25:02.320 --> 02:25:08.080
God said it over and over again, and I see with my own eyes, admit that it's actually happening,

02:25:08.080 --> 02:25:12.640
because it's only with the admission that it's real that there's any possible hope of fixing it.

02:25:14.080 --> 02:25:18.320
The fixing, we're going to do the best we can, and God will take care of the rest.

02:25:19.280 --> 02:25:26.320
We never say these things to say, it's our problem to solve. It's our problem to confront.

02:25:26.320 --> 02:25:33.200
That's absolutely true. I hope we can solve it. I intend to solve it. I exhort others to help solve

02:25:33.200 --> 02:25:39.280
it, but God will give the growth just as He gives the growth in this parable, just as He gives the

02:25:39.280 --> 02:25:45.600
growth to those who hear stone choir and become Christian or become stronger Christians who actually

02:25:45.600 --> 02:25:52.400
start taking their faith seriously. God did that. God gives the growth. Fruits that are good

02:25:52.400 --> 02:25:58.720
are God's fruits, not ours. Evil fruits, fruits where you see nothing but gray hairs in every

02:25:58.720 --> 02:26:05.600
congregation. That's a fruit of a lamp stand being removed. That's a falling away generationally.

02:26:06.320 --> 02:26:10.800
Whatever happened, maybe it happened long ago, and it may well be that there are a lot of good

02:26:10.800 --> 02:26:17.440
pastors in those positions. They're trying to undo generations of wicked teaching. As Cory said

02:26:17.440 --> 02:26:23.280
earlier, sometimes the teaching is just not condemning birth control, which is itself evil,

02:26:23.280 --> 02:26:28.640
all by itself. Sometimes the errors are small, but they're teachings of demons nonetheless,

02:26:28.640 --> 02:26:33.520
because what do they do? They produce evil fruit. They produce churches where there are no babies

02:26:33.520 --> 02:26:39.360
crying, where there's only hearing aids and walkers. And God blessed the old for continuing in the

02:26:39.360 --> 02:26:46.240
faith. There's no mockery whatsoever there. The older generations are more closely connected to

02:26:46.240 --> 02:26:52.000
the church than the younger, but that reflects on the older as much as it does on the younger.

02:26:52.640 --> 02:26:57.600
When the elderly are still in church, but their children and their grandchildren and their great

02:26:57.600 --> 02:27:04.080
grandchildren have all apostatized, that's on them too. Josiah cried out in horror and realized

02:27:04.160 --> 02:27:09.600
his father's a betrayed him. He realized his father's a betrayed Judah, because they had not

02:27:09.600 --> 02:27:15.600
passed on the inheritance of the knowledge of the Judah in Scripture. When we as Christians today

02:27:15.600 --> 02:27:20.400
reach that point, we have to respond as Christians. We have to respond with repentance to say,

02:27:21.040 --> 02:27:26.000
I acted in good conscience, and then I realized it was wrong. I have to do better. Lord help me,

02:27:26.000 --> 02:27:31.360
and we turn to Scripture to do it. That's why I hope that ultimately this is a positive

02:27:31.440 --> 02:27:38.640
call to exhortation and belief, because what else are we going to do? It's Peter's most beautiful

02:27:38.640 --> 02:27:44.800
confession. Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. That should be on our

02:27:44.800 --> 02:27:51.840
lips all the time. What else are you going to do? Things are bad. World War III, famine, inflation.

02:27:52.560 --> 02:27:59.040
What are you going to do? Turn to God. There's nothing else that you can do to fix some problems,

02:27:59.040 --> 02:28:04.080
except trusting God. If that's all you have left, it's enough. He'll take care of it.

02:28:05.280 --> 02:28:09.280
I want to see our churches talking like this again. I want to see our pastors talking like this and

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worried about these things. I want to see our pastors and churches condemning the sins and the

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pews and not the sins in the world. It's one thing to snipe at sins that are far away,

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just as it's one thing to pretend to have love for those who are far away. To condemn the sins

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right in front of you in your own church, that's difficult. That is where you will find a true test.

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We've said in past episodes, there's a right way and a wrong way to do that. The fail to do it at

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all is to fail the test. It is to say, I choose to diminish and fade away and to lose this faith,

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because I don't think it's worth fighting for. Every Christian man must recognize that he has

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something worth fighting for, not only his faith, but also his nation, his family, his community.

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All these things are gifts from God and they all work in concert. There's no church mode

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and then separate left-hand kingdom mode with all the other stuff. It's all from God. It's all his

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blessings. When you start chipping away and say, no, I only care about the spiritual, not the physical,

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congratulations, you're a Gnostic. Churches are failing to tell people this,

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and that's why we're talking about it. We're already turning the tide. The tide has been

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turned in the last year by the number of people speaking in ways that three years ago, it was

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only the most crazy men on the internet talking about it. Today, blaspheming MLK and even Bonhoeffer

02:29:35.680 --> 02:29:41.520
is becoming normal. That's because when one man stands up and tells the truth, another man who

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also has courage maybe just didn't know when he hears it, he's like, yep, that's true. I buy that too.

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This is clearly scriptural. I'm going to stand next to this man and support what he says. It's

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my confession too. It's my belief. It doesn't take too many men standing up before all the names fade

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away and it's just a sea of faithful men acting in obedience to God as one. That's what the church is.

02:30:05.840 --> 02:30:12.000
The hierarchy is there for our benefit. It is not there to rule us. If it is not preserving

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the things of God, then it will be replaced by one that does.

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I would again recommend to all of you that you read over the passages

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that we have referenced or read in this episode, and they will be in the show notes to make that

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easy for you. But in particular, I would give you two things here at the end of this episode.

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First, I would recommend meditating on this parable. And again, that's Christian meditation is

02:30:37.440 --> 02:30:41.920
on something. It is not clear your mind. We've gone over that previously at some length.

02:30:43.920 --> 02:30:46.880
I'll give you the second item after I go over something about this parable.

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In this parable, we see three different possibilities for apostasy, for unbelief. It's a

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combination of the two. And then, of course, the fourth is having a living faith that produces

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good works. That's what it means to be productive in this case. But the three alternatives, as it

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were, to not being Christian would be the birds, the rock, and the thorns. And of course, the birds

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are Satan. And the rock is the flesh, the thorns of the world. These are the three things we always

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hear about that oppose us in our Christian faith would be the devil, the flesh, and the world.

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And that is exactly what we see here in this parable. And it's really a hierarchy of how long

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someone stays, well, in the first case, not a Christian at all, but how long someone stays

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a Christian in the second, the third case before falling away. In the case of the birds,

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in the case of Satan, the word is taken away from that person. That person never believes.

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That person is simply a pagan and remains a pagan. But the second, you have the word that falls on

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the rocks and doesn't have a root. That is the flesh. And those are the people who immediately,

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as soon as there is any sort of testing fall away, they apostatize.

02:32:16.320 --> 02:32:21.440
And then the second category of those who fall away in this parable would be those who do to

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the concerns of the world fall away at some time, at some point.

02:32:30.320 --> 02:32:36.560
And the biggest reason that we do this podcast is we want people to have a true and living faith.

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We do not want people, particularly one of the reasons we're doing this episode,

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we do not want people to fall away from the faith by importing these various false beliefs

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and just slowly becoming apostate. With the Old Testament temple, they surely didn't construct

02:32:53.600 --> 02:32:59.520
all of those altars to false gods in one day. Someone would have noticed that. They brought in

02:33:00.080 --> 02:33:08.960
an Asherah here and then a side altar there and then this symbol of this god and that symbol of

02:33:08.960 --> 02:33:14.800
that god and this statue to that one. It grew up over time because that's how Satan works,

02:33:14.800 --> 02:33:21.600
because people are less likely to notice if the change is gradual. And so what Satan does,

02:33:22.240 --> 02:33:28.640
Satan, the devil, the birds through the world, through those concerns, through those thorns,

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brings into the church these various things of the world. And then because the flesh is weak,

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because people just let it happen. Men don't stand up and stop it.

02:33:40.720 --> 02:33:44.640
You wind up becoming apostate. You wind up with an apostate church body,

02:33:45.520 --> 02:33:52.400
many apostate church bodies over time. And so I just would say meditate on this parable. Think

02:33:52.400 --> 02:33:58.400
about what exactly Christ is saying here and what we should take away from it. And we shouldn't

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take away despair. That's not the lesson here. And to double down on that point that the point is

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not despair, I would recommend that if you do not already do so, pray the Lord's prayer. Maybe stop

02:34:12.560 --> 02:34:18.480
right now or wait till the end of the episode. It's almost over. Pray the Lord's prayer at the end

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of the episode. Pray the Lord's prayer tonight. Pray it in the morning. Maybe form a habit of

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doing so. But in particular, pay attention to that third petition, because that third petition also

02:34:31.840 --> 02:34:39.120
has in the explanation from the small catechism, that tripartite division that we see here, the

02:34:39.120 --> 02:34:46.080
devil, the flesh and the world. And so I'll read the third petition from the small catechism to close

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out this episode. The third petition.

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the devil, the world and our flesh, but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in his word and in faith

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unto our end. This is his gracious and good will. Amen.

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