Eliseo Apablaza F.
2 Thessalonians 2: 3. Here the apostle is talking about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the time Paul wrote this epistle, the coming of the Lord seemed very imminent, and many were selling their possessions and leaving their jobs. Many were making preparations because the Lord was coming.
Paul himself had announced it in the first epistle to this same church, but here, when Paul saw the measures that the brothers were taking, he warns them, and that is what we read here in encontrarse 3: "Nobody deceive you in no way, because it will not come without that before -the Lord will not come, he means- … before the apostasy comes and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition ".
What will come before the Lord returns? The apostasy And then also, more or less at the same time, very close to the time of the apostasy, and as a culmination of the apostasy, precisely, what else is going to manifest? At the end of encontrarse 3 it says: "the man of sin, the son of perdition." Further down he says in encontrarse 8 and 9 he says "that wicked one" Who is that? That is the antichrist.
Therefore, let us not be surprised that we are beginning to see the apostasy, because she is the prelude to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this environment that we have here, in this precious meeting, it seems very out of place to speak of apostasy, because we have really been benefited, we have been blessed; we have been brought to the house of God, to the mount of Zion, where God dwells.
These words may sound strange to us. The apostasy … of what apostasy speaks to me, if we are looking to the Lord? If we are prostrating ourselves before him? If we are contemplating Jesus? If we are worshiping him? If the Holy Spirit has filled us? If love is manifesting? If the glory of the Lord has descended? What apostasy does he speak to me about?
It seems a strange subject in this environment. However, it is not, if we look at the Christian world of today.
Christianity is beginning to live in the days of apostasy.
In 2nd Timothy, chapter 3, we are shown what it will consist of or what this apostasy of the last days is: "You must also know this: that in the last days perilous times will come". The word 'dangerous' can also be translated as 'worked'.
Times worked. Times where you have to try. Tiring times. The last times for Christians will be times of exhaustion, in which there seems to be a great weight on the heart that prevents walking with agility, with excellence. Times worked, because it is hard to keep the faith, because the joy of salvation seems to be quickly lost, because it is difficult to walk in holiness, because the environment is corrupt, because sin has overflowed.
The Christians of the last days must know this: because of apostasy, the love of many will grow cold and it will be difficult to walk. They are dangerous, overwhelming times.
In encontrarse 2 you begin to explain why they will be worked or dangerous times.
Let's see encontrarse 2: "For there will be men loving themselves". Lovers of yourselves … Have you happened to meet any of these? They are idolaters, and the main fetish in their idolatry are themselves. They have an altar in their heart where they bow to their own figure.
Then he says: "greedy." In another version it says: "Lovers of themselves and of money". Instead of 'greedy' says 'and money'. Do you know any of these? Men who love money? They may have a lot of money, but they do not settle for what they have. They never settle for what they have, and what they have they keep under seven keys so they do not touch them. They do not have peace; They do not find rest. In every person they meet on the street, they see a possible thief. Each person who knocks on their door is for them someone who comes to ask for money. They look for in banks which is giving more interest, how to amass a new fortune, how to make new business. "Lovers of themselves and of money". Money as an idol.
He also says that they are vainglorious. Vanagloriosos, seeking applause, seeking to appear before others. They do not accept suffering, they like pleasure, they love to enjoy the delights of sin.
"Proud men," he says later. "Soberbios". They do not bow to anyone. The proud are haughty, proud; they're hard. His heart is harder than stone, it is like flint, like diamond. Touching them is like scratching a glass. They always remain very erect although life hits them. They may be defeated, but they are still superb. They may be on the verge of death, but they remain in their pride.
These are the men of the last days, both vainglorious and proud.
Then he says below: "implacable … cruel, haters of the good".
If we had to summarize what all these men described here are like, we could say that they are intellectually developed, self-sufficient people, successful people, people who have a very strong mind, very skilled. They can be intellectuals, they know the sciences, they have raised themselves, they have reached high stages in studies. They are intellectually strong men.
They consider that faith is futile. They believe that a man is sufficient for himself, he does not need God, if God existed. And as some say: "As it does not exist … what do we care about?". They have filled the colleges, the Universities.
Our young people are being victims of their disbelief, their haughtiness, their arrogance, their vainglory, their atheism, their humanism. Our young people, our children, are receiving the seed of death in their minds. They are being driven by strange philosophies, hollow subtleties: the New Age, humanism, uruguayo philosophies. So many strange and hollow subtleties that have arisen in this last time!
Oh, it is a heavy burden to bear them! For a child of God, it is a heavy burden to bear the short-sightedness of his sight, his darkened heart, his lost look.
They are impious. They make fun of those who believe, those who wait on God. They are the scoffers who say: "From the beginning of Creation things have been the same. Where is the promise of his coming? "-Referring to Christ. They laugh, they mock. They have theories to explain all things. And those who can not explain them, with their vain verbiage, surround the unwary to make it appear that their theories are valid, that their proofs are proven, that their assertions are correct. Oh, the vainly called science, which has made men vain, as if their principles were irrefutable! They are worshipers of science.
They are the intellectually developed.
But in Christian environments, there are also these. It is the theologians, the men full of doctrines, who fill the mind with theories, trying to explain the inexplicable. They are those who deal with a finite mind to understand an infinite God. And they are scattered throughout Christendom. And they write thick books, and they have chairs in the main places of religious instruction.
Maybe we can summarize this whole group under this characteristic: they have a developed soul, a strong mind. They do not believe the Word, they do not believe the Lord. They know many things about God, but they do not know God. They know many things about Jesus; however, they are given the vain luxury of doubting their deity, their resurrection, their virgin birth, their miracles. They have the vanity to question the holy words of God revealed in the Scriptures.
This we have to denounce: the coming apostasy is already coming. We are seeing ourselves surrounded by it.
An invasion of sensuality
But also another great characteristic of the apostasy that is manifesting is an expression of sensuality, of lasciviousness, concupiscence. It consists in a libertine expression of the passions. 2nd of Peter, chapter 2 tells us about these. This is another bunch of false teachers who introduce destructive heresies. In encontrarse 2 it says: "And many will follow their dissolutions." That is, their lascivious practices.
In encontrarse 3 it says "And by covetousness-again greed-they will make merchandise of you". Do you know any of these? If you do not know them, you will know them very soon. Men who, through greed, will make merchandise for Christians. Many have discovered that Christians are a considerable purchasing power. Christians can buy many books, they can buy a lot of music, Christians need to travel. So, there are 'Christian' companies in quotes, transport. There are bookstores that do business with Christians, there are musicians who do business with Christians.
Merchandise, traffic, commerce. "About such," says the inspired word, what does it say in encontrarse 3? About such, what? … ("already long time the condemnation does not take") … "the condemnation does not take". What else? … ("and his doom does not fall asleep") … "and his doom does not fall asleep".
Brothers: do you know how much money can be collected in a stadium full of Christians paying their entrance? … I do not want to say more about that … I do not want to say more about that. How much money can a writer earn if he writes a book that is sold by the millions? … "They will make merchandise of you".
You know that worldly writers, when they do well with a book, write a second part, and a third and a quarter, because the business is good. We are seeing it in Christian environments too. A successful book is sold by millions. So that same book is adapted for women, for children, for parents. The same book, but an adaptation for children, for women, for parents.
Did you know that there are books that are written not because God has given inspiration and said a word for his people, but because the Christian publishing industry says: "We need you to write us a book on this subject, because the brothers are asking for books on these issues "? Then the Christian writers agree, form working groups and write the book in the shortest time to reach those people who are waiting to read about the issue that concerns them.
"They will make merchandise out of greed for you". But, on them, "the condemnation does not take, and his doom does not fall asleep".
God did not forgive
Then he says that God did not forgive the angels who sinned. The angels were very close to God, they surrounded his throne, they were perfect and beautiful, they praised God with precious melodies (surely much better than what we do with our weak voices). But when the angels sinned, he says in encontrarse 4, what did God do with them ?: "… throwing them into hell, he delivered them to prisons of darkness, to be reserved for judgment." The angels who sinned were condemned to prisons of darkness.
In the days of Noah, what happened? Verse 5: "God did not forgive." God did not forgive the ancient world in the days of Noah. That is why he brought the flood on the world of the wicked. He did not forgive the old world, he did not forgive the angels.
Who did not forgive either? In encontrarse 6: "He forgave not Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes and setting them as an example to those who were to live ungodly." He did not forgive Sodom and Gomorrah.
We can ask ourselves the following question: The God who did not forgive the angels, nor the ancient world, nor forgive Sodom and Gomorrah, will he forgive the present world, the apostate Christendom? Will he forgive her?
Verse 9 says (There are two things God knows how to do very well, He has done it in the past, He will do it in the future, and He does it in the present as well): "The Lord knows how to rid the pious of temptation and reserve the unjust to be punished on the day of judgment. "
On which side are we? On which side are you? In that of the pious or in that of the unjust?
If you are in that of the pious, then the Lord will know how to free you from temptation. Hallelujah, the Lord frees us from temptation! He delivers them to the pious. Has the Lord delivered you? The Lord has delivered us! How many temptations he has delivered us! Is there anyone here who has never been tempted, nor delivered? Then you will not know what this is.
But we know what it is when the Lord delivers a temptation. Your foot was already sliding, and the Lord took you. Your mouth has already hurried to fall, to utter a curse and a lie, and the Lord has closed it to you. Your heart threatened to stray after idols, and the Lord held you back. Your foot was already on the path of evil and you felt that someone was throwing your rein at you. That is our God, who knows how to rid the pious of temptation! Blessed is the Lord!
But he reserves … Look, the word 'reservation', what does it mean? It's like he pulls them apart. He says: "Stay here for a while. Here wait. Not yet, but wait. " "He reserves them to be punished on the day of judgment."
This kind of people who are introducing themselves into Christianity, are people of nefarious conduct. "Overwhelmed by the nefarious conduct of the wicked." That word 'nefanda' …, why would it have happened to put it to the translator here, since no one understands it? Do you understand what 'nefanda' is? Do not? Me neither. It must be something bad, something negative, is not it? But it would be much clearer if I said more clearly what that means. Lot was overwhelmed by the lascivious, that is, sexually corrupted, life of the wicked in Sodom and Gomorrah.
We do not have to be shocked at these things, because Sodom and Gomorrah is around us today.
Recently in the United States, the Supreme Court of Justice decided to annul two regulations that placed restrictions on child pornography on the Internet. The Supreme Court of the United States is making it possible for perverted people to sexually exploit children and images of these perversions appear on the Internet. By six votes to three! There are six men there who will pay for their sin! "For a long time his condemnation does not take long and his doom does not fall asleep."
In the United States, three judges recently ruled out access to pornography on the Internet in Public Libraries. That is to say, any American child will be able, from the Library of his town, to accede to Internet and to see there what occurs to him. And the librarian will not be able to say: "Son, that place does not".
Recently a book written by a woman appeared in the United States; Her name is Judith Levin. In that book she defends the "sexual rights" of children. It is inspired by legislation in the Netherlands, where in the year 90, the Dutch Parliament legalized the sex between adults and children from the age of twelve, "as long as there is a mutual consent". What do you think is happening from this legislation? What do you think will happen with these books that are being published? A newspaper from the United States, the New York Times, wrote a propicio report on this book.
That's in the United States … And what are we seeing in Chile? Will this plague, the liberalization of customs, morality, take a long time? The apostasy is coming. The world is cooling the love of Christians, the world is influencing the church.
We received news about an American evangelist. I will not give your name. He divorced for the second time. He said the annulment of his marriage arose "as a result of the events that occurred before the marriage and a situation beyond his control, and that there were no moral issues involved in the matter." He added that, despite personal problems, his ministry was very successful, that he had "enjoyed" a crusade, the largest in the history of his ministry, a five-day campaign attended by some 30,000 people and where some 15,000 people accepted the Lord. He did not settle for firing his first wife: he also fired the second one! And he says he is very successful in his ministry …!
You know Billy Graham. He has a daughter named Ana. She is a woman of God. A few days ago, it occurred to him to preach against sin in an American congregation, and he specifically attacked homosexuality as one of the sins that man has to repent of, saying that the attacks of the 11th were a message from God to the United States. and that you had to repent. When she was speaking this, from the choir that was behind her, eight of the twenty choralists stopped, and left the place in a gesture of protest for what she was saying. Apparently, the eight were homosexuals. Ana Graham already began to be beaten for preaching against sin, because she received criticism in the circunscrito newspaper for what she had done.
The apostasy is coming!
"They have eyes full of adultery, they are not satisfied with sinning," says encontrarse 14 of chapter 2. "They seduce inconstant souls, they have a heart accustomed to greed, and they are children of a curse. They have forsaken the right way, and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness. "
The way of Balaam … And Judas adds: the way of Cain … the error of Balaam … the contradiction of Korah.
The postmodern evangelicalism: A denunciation
Beloved people of God, the Lord Jesus will not come unless the apostasy is first manifested, the man of sin, the wicked one. And the apostasy begins with the people of God. There are no prayers that can stop the evil, because the people of God have forgotten to pray, to intercede, to cry, to moan. The people of God are 'partying' (in quotes 'partying'). He does not have time for the Word, neither for prayer, nor for fasting, nor for moaning. He does not have time to feel overwhelmed by the nefarious behavior of the wicked, like Lot.
I have a document here. I'm going to read some parts. I did not write it. It is a document published by the news agency ICPress, of Spain. What I am going to read here was said by a Christian named César Henríquez, at a convention that happened in Venezuela a few days ago, at the beginning of. And this brother makes a denunciation: "The Christian churches are falling into the bonds of 'postmodernity'.
Postmodernity, this humanistic culture, this worldly influence is getting into the evangelical churches, he says. He is evangelical, and he says this about evangelical churches. He misses the early days when Christians "gathered together as a church to celebrate and live the faith of Jesus Christ," around Jesus Christ. The meeting of the church, he says, in the early days, around Jesus Christ, "guided his reason for being, and was at the same time a thermometer that allowed the faith of the church to be measured". But what happens now, he says, in postmodernity? In the last ten years, he says, rapid changes have been introduced "in the rigid previous liturgies", and a cultic model has been installed, which "has uniformed the churches of the different traditions." Before it was possible to distinguish what was a traditional church from a Pentecostal church where there was much hubbub. Now, he says, he is globalizing, all the evangelical churches are being uniformed in this, in their services. Since the days of the so-called 'renewal of praise', the cult "has acquired characteristics of entertainment and spectacle" … "Postmodern society has left behind the culture of the word and has embraced the culture of the image" … "The megachurches postmodernists prefer to use cinemas, where they have technical facilities that the show requires, they use professional musicians, light games, comfortable seats "…" The sermon has ceased to be the center of worship, replaced by music and singing. "
That is a characteristic of the postmodern church: it has replaced the word of God with music and song.
"Another characteristic – he says – is emotional catharsis" … "Absolutizes feelings. The large concentrations are not motivated by ideas or projects, but by the search for collective sensations. Praise, which now occupies 70% of the time of worship, becomes a space of spiritual psychotherapy "…" Spirituality is confused with emotion and the evasion of reality "…" The Bible is subordinated to experience. This production and search of sensations and emotions can help to feel good at the moment, but it does not have any kind of transcendence in life "- he adds.
"And a third characteristic – says this brother – expresses itself with the English word of fashion: 'light', which means light, frivolous, light. The 'light' culture of postmodernism expropriates the fundamental contents of things, leaving them in a vacuum, replete with inconsistencies and provoking a life without compromises or complications. "
Christians who do not compromise or complicate their lives. They attend a show, a show with lots of music, lights, colors, and a good animation from the front, a charismatic person that makes the crowds move.
I keep reading: "In this culture, the cult is emptied of its fundamental contents, so that it can be easily accepted. The gospel is presented as a product that must be offered in a format that does not scare the clientele. It must be attractive and eye-catching, and be emptied of everything that means commitment, sacrifice, effort and dedication. "
First, replace the Word with music and singing. Then, the Christian life empties itself of spirituality to become a coming and going of emotions, in a search for sensations to fill a moment, nothing more. And the third characteristic is a 'light' church, which does not commit itself. The gospel is a product: offers, welfare, happiness. There are no demands, there is no commitment, there is no cross.
Then, Brother Henríquez calls. He says: "We are bound by the gospel of Jesus Christ to celebrate prophetic cults …" (prophetic, to tell the truth, to bring the light of God, to denounce the lie and falsehood, to announce the judgments that will come) "… in the sense of denouncing everything that threatens the logic of the kingdom of God and announcing the possibilities that God offers us to be transformed instruments to transform". And he concludes: "For the saving proposal of the kingdom of God to be attractive, we do not have to trivialize it and exhibit it as a product, but deepen it, incarnate it with all its implications and its risks." So far the appointment.
The Christian life is a life of implications, of commitments, of risks, of the cross, of suffering. It is not vanity, it is not a thing that touches the cutícula, feelings and emotions. The word of God penetrates to split the soul and the spirit. The life of Christ came to get inside of us. Not to fill a moment, a good time, to momentarily evade the problems.
This is the apostasy that comes …
Brothers, that is why I said at the beginning that it is so strange to talk about these things in an environment like this, where we see the Lord, where we can contemplate him …
Remember Jesus Christ
There is a word in 2 Timothy 2: 8, with which we will end. The first phrase that appears in this encontrarse is: "Remember Jesus Christ."
Brothers, is the phrase clear? "Remember Jesus Christ …" Let's keep reading: "… of the lineage of David, raised from the dead according to my gospel, in which I suffer hardships, even prisons as a malefactor, but the word of God is not imprisoned. Therefore, I bear everything for the love of the elect, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. "
2 Timothy-we know-was written in times of apostasy. Paul had been left alone, all Asians had deserted him, and in that moment of affliction his heart was afflicted. If we have read this epistle at any time, we can perceive that his heart is afflicted! He tells Timothy, his beloved son in faith: "Remember Jesus Christ." When everyone forgets him, when everyone has turned his back on him, when the church has been transformed into a church without Christ, without a cross; when the Demas that love the world emerge -who love "this century" another translation says-, then he says: "Remember Jesus Christ … risen from the dead according to my gospel".
Christianity, church: Christ is alive! Christ was resurected! Let's not ignore it! Let's not just have a slogan with your name! Let's not read just one encontrarse with his name! He has risen from the dead, and he is here!
He must govern the life of the church, he must be the center of attraction, the reason for the meetings! Christ, and only Christ has the first place, He is our first love!
Paul seems to say to him: "Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead," as if Timothy had not known. But it was necessary to remind him: "Timothy, Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Do not forget about that. For him I suffer hardships, even prisons as an evildoer. "
Pablo suffers hardships, even prisons. Have the Christians forgotten about that? Is today's church a suffering church or is it a church of contemplation, a church that conspires with sin, goes from party to party, a widow who has forgotten her widow's clothes? Is the church a queen who feels like a queen, like that Babylon?
The church today remains like a widow on earth. His beloved is far away. The only thing she wants is a reunion with him. If there is something that makes her happy, it is the memory of her person. What is it that makes us happy? How many have gathered this morning to break bread? How many will meet in the afternoon to start the bread? Is it a heavy burden for you to approach the table? Is the bread breaking meeting something that can be replaced by something else? It has worried us in this past time, brothers, that brothers are very easily missing from the breaking of bread. They appear in this meeting, but when they break bread they do not go. Do you know what the breaking of bread means? It is the meeting for this: to remember Jesus Christ.
Church, remember Jesus Christ! Remember his pains on the cross, of his suffering in Nazareth, of his humiliation, of his rejection.
Participating in his rejection
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were from the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, before I chose you from the world, that is why the world hates you "(John 15: 18-19).
This phrase is a rarity today, because Christians rub shoulders with politicians, because Christians force to change the laws of the countries, because Christians appear on the stage with the rulers, because the great preachers have sold in some way the testimony of Christ because of human honor. One of the main Christians (my beloved also), a great evangelist of another time, after the 11th appeared to give a hybrid speech, without substance, accommodating, in the United States; only because there was behind him and in that meeting people of all religions, of all creeds, and he could not antagonize anyone.
Christians are losing the taste, the salt is fading. "The world hated me, they will hate you," said the Lord. "They have persecuted me, they will persecute you".
I ask you a question: If Christ was rejected and today's Christians are accepted, who is wrong? Somebody is wrong! Is he, Christ, wrong? Should he have become a friend of Pilate to escape death? To be ingratiated with Herod so as not to die?
Christ is being forgotten in the Christian environments themselves.
Let us remember Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem in a stable, raised as a poor child in Nazareth, helping his father in the work of his carpentry. Let us remember his baptism in the Jordan, the simplicity of his life. I had nowhere to lay my head. And his walk on the roads of Galilee, unknown, anonymous, shunning popularity. Let's remember him traveling to Jerusalem, the beloved city, the city of the great King, who rejected him, who crucified him, who humiliated him, for whom he wept.
Remember Jesus Christ in the tomb, remember Jesus Christ appearing to these women on the first day of resurrection. Let us remember Jesus Christ who restores Peter, and he tells the women to go to Galilee: "There they will see me". Let us remember Jesus Christ feeding the disciples on the shores of that sea, saying to Peter, "Do you love me?
Let us remember Jesus Christ being rejected.
No, the path of Christians will never be different, it will never be a path of roses, it will never be a 'light' path. There is no such thing as a 'light' Christianity! Christianity has a cross. The cross where the world is crucified to me and I am crucified to the world, the cross that makes separation between the dead and those who live, the cross that has stripped me of my old man, the cross that has transferred us from death to life. A Christianity without a cross is an apostate Christianity.
To mourn and to praise God
Lately news has arrived that makes people cry … The Church of Scotland is in danger of extinction: In the year 71 there were 1,133,000 faithful, in 1991 there were 770,000 faithful, in 2000 there were 607,000 faithful. If it continues like this, in the next few years the Church of Scotland will not have members. Here is another: "The Irish prefer to go to the Pub rather than to the church." Una averiguación realizada por la empresa Mintel de Irlanda concluyó que el ir al Pub es más importante que ir a la iglesia para los ciudadanos irlandeses. ¡¡Ir al Pub…!!
Es la refractación que viene…
Amados cristianos, amada iglesia: ahora más que nunca, ser cristiano será un motivo de dolor, de aflicción. Tú sabes, está ocurriendo poco muy parecido a lo que ocurría en los tiempos del Jesús, que los publicanos y las prostitutas iban delante de los fariseos y de los escribas al reino de los cielos.
Hoy día, cuando la iglesia en el mundo está siendo atraída por el mundo, está siendo tragada por el mar de este mundo, de pronto llegan algunas noticiero buenas. Decimos: Gracias, Señor, porque tú haces como quieres, y tú te burlas de la sensatez de los sabios, y dejas esos templos fastuosos donde tu nombre es ignorado y te vas a meter allá donde está aquel rockero inmundo, pervertido y lo traes tú y lo transformas. Uno de los peores rockeros, uno de los más diabólicos, Alice Cooper, ¿sabían? -los jóvenes deben acontecer audición su nombre- se ha convertido al Señor Jesucristo. ¡Bendito es el Señor! Un hombre como ése, ¡Aleluya!… Alice Cooper… Ya no se le va a ver, como se le veía antaño en los escenarios, matando animales, llevando ornamentos grotescas, derramando muerte y adorando al diablo. ¡Ahora es un hijo de Dios!
¿Saben ustedes que Jess LaVey, el hijo del fundador de la iglesia satánica en el mundo, se convirtió al Señor Jesucristo? ¡El hijo del fundador de la iglesia satánica es un creyente en el Señor Jesucristo hoy! ¡Alabamos al Señor por sus maravillas! ¡Lo alabamos por sus prodigios!
El Señor nos da sorpresas gratas que nos infunden aliento. Qué precioso es cuando el Señor Jesús toma a un hombre en su mano, lo transforma y no hay dependencia que sea tan poderosa que pueda resistir su poder. ¡Jesús es todopoderoso! ¡Jesús es el Señor! ¡Jesús corta cadenas! Da traza al ciego y transforma el corazón más endurecido.
Domingo 2 de de 2002