2 Timothy 4:1-3 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
What the faithful can do when friends, former ministry partners or family leave their first love.
One truth as a child of God that you can overwhelmingly be certain of is that you and I are living in the last days! All Biblical prophecy concerning the return of Christ have been fulfilled. The signs of the last times are all around us. My friend, we are so near to the day that the Father will send His Son. We better stop looking for the signs and start listening for the trumpet! Living for God and serving God in the last days is not an easy undertaking. For if you are going to be faithful to God and serve Him in perilous times then you better learn what it means to stand alone for Christ.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” One of the saddest signs of the last days is that there will be a falling away. The Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,” In our churches you and I are witnessing this falling away. There is a great church exodus occurring in our nation in a manner that we have never seen before. We are living in the last days! Countless believers will continue to leave good Baptist churches where they had the opportunity to be saved, baptized, and discipled. They will abandon the truths that they held so closely. They will disown those that loved them so much, that taught them the truths of God’s word. There will be people that once served so faithfully as deacons, Sunday school teachers, ushers, nursery workers, bus workers, and even as pastors who will forsake the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.
Scripture also depicts the falling away in the last days by those that have left their first love. Though they once cherished the singing of timeless hymns and the power of convicting Bible preaching, now they disregard them as relics of the past. Numerous people that held to the King James Bible as the preserved Word of God for English speaking people will walk away from the doctrine of preservation and heap to themselves teachers who use anything but the King James Bible. People that once attended all three services a week will desert their posts to find an “at your convenience” worship service that best ‘fits’ them. Those that were once strong on the doctrines of the Word of God will depart from their beliefs. Doctrines like holiness and separation will be discarded and ease and comfort will be elevated.
With the current level of spirituality in our society, or lack thereof, the great church exodus only adds to the sin problem that plagues our country. What can be done to stem the tide? What do we do when friends, former ministry partners or family leave their first love. What can the faithful do when they witness those that were raised in church or even those that raised them leave? What can the faithful do when a friend in the ministry changes and seems to have fallen away? In the last days what can you and I do to keep from falling away? Or, keep from being what the Apostle Paul called, “a castaway?” The lesson that we must learn in the last days in order to not fall away is that we must learn to stand alone for Christ.
In the last days, we can accomplish what Jesus said in Matthew 24:13, “…endure to the end,” if we learn to stand alone for Christ. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:1, “to stand fast in the Lord.” The Bible is crowded with examples of people that learned to stand alone for Christ and because of their stance in the Lord they thrived in difficult circumstances. You remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? These three young men stood alone for Christ and would not bow down to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar. God honored them and blessed their faith, a faith that seemed to be under fire! Below is some practical advice so that we can learn to stand alone for Christ:
1. Fear Not
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Do not fear others. Do not listen to what others say as they leave. Most people that leave, leave under a guise. They tend either to be bitter or backslidden. Unresolved problems will eat anyone up. We must not be a partaker of another man’s sin. 1 Timothy 5:22
2. Fear God
2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Every individual believer will give an account to God. Decisions have consequences. Those that have made the decision to quit the old paths will have to answer to God. Recognizing this truth will help to finish our course.
Focus on your Savior.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
When we focus on Christ our earthly relationships with others will be in the right place. This focus helps! Life is complicated enough. Focusing on the simplicity that is in Christ helps us put our life in order. Don’t forget that you can never expect too little from man or too much from God!
Focus on your surroundings.
We must watch out for the influence of negativity and negative people in our lives, homes, and especially our children’s lives. We are commanded to stay clear of these negative influences, 2 Timothy 3:5 “… from such turn away.” This may be difficult, specifically if family and close friends are involved. This does not mean that we avoid people, just limit the influence. We must avoid any situation that would cast negativity upon our Biblical worldview, our church, our pastor, and most importantly our Saviour. It’s a rule in our home that we only attend services and programs of churches of like faith and practice.
4. Faithfully Serve
Hebrews 3:13-14 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Serving is one of the best ways to stay close to Jesus. Despite what others are doing keep going! Keep attending your local Baptist church, keep witnessing, keep praying, and keep encouraging others to do the same! Never under estimate your impact on others. Fight the good fight of faith! Contend for the faith! Keep the faith! Lets keep going! Don’t give up now! Lets make it to the end together!
My friends, we have all that we need in Christ to finish our course. If you learn what it takes to stand for Christ you