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June 15, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit delivers a message from Ministry Chapel entitled “The Characteristics of an Apostate,” from Jude 3:4 and 2 Peter 2:1.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform today speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University.
I wanted to actually talk to you this morning sort of a big picture conversation today about thoughts that I've had for many many years on this mystery that you have in the Bible of people who are professing Christians who fall away from the faith, or people who who profess to be Christians, but they strangely live in real opposition or difference to what you read in the Scriptures. What I'd like to do is talk about it in general, and then I would like to bring it down to some very clear principles. Going forward, especially your own personal life in your ministry life and then also in your family life so if we can get through this in the next 23 minutes were doing very very well want to talk to you today about the characteristics of an apostate and their two books in the Bible, I'd like you to turn on when I ask one young man and one young young lady to read Scripture force this morning.
I'd love a needy young man to read Jude verses three and four. Can I get a volunteer okay will have you read and then that then I need a young lady to read second Peter chapter 2 and verse one to get up. Can I get a yes please ma'am are right here so will start right here with young men. If you'll stand up and read out boldly. If you would please so that all can hear verses three and four behold, I was there a great thank you very much please ma'am second Peter chapter 2 verse one okay thank you very much. So one of the things that we see in the book of Jews in second Peter if you go back and read them. I read them this morning in my devotions again and what you see is that they are almost.
It's almost like one road off the other whether was Jude or Peter. My son is hard to know Jude was the brother of Jesus in Peter's Peter but essentially they say essentially the same things and what they bring to the fore fraud is this oddity within the church of certain people who come into the church and they teach and profess their faith in Jesus and the grace of God, but the message in the fruit of their message is different, in other words, in instead of preaching a message of grace that brings about a transformation in the life, a life, it turns from sin and darkness to Allied of obedience and submission to becoming like Christ. They preach a message where people profess to be Christians but somehow it leads them more into a loose lifestyle and in its it's an oddity it's it's in in in we have that today and it was written 2000 years to explain that and what these two writers are dealing with is what we call the issue of apostasy. Hebrews chapter 6 verse six uses a phrase is very important. It speaks about people falling away and the idea of an apostate is a professing believer who abandons their faith and they eventually disassociate themselves with their former relationships and associations with the church on apostate is somebody who falls away from the faith, but when you read Jude and EA related axes are mystery it's it's it's an oddity it's sometimes hard to put your finger on it but they are influence in their lifestyle is really in contrast to the lifestyle of our Lord. And so the idea of the two books is the. The idea of Jude and Peter warning about apostasy warning about a falling away from the faith, and when you read through these two books and that's and I'm trying to sort of inspire you to take the time to read through this I been reading through it for 40 years and you still think through and wrestle with it that there are some very discernible characteristics about people who don't get the gospel right I can say it that way or they make a profession that their believers in it really doesn't come out in their lifestyle. Jude tells us in verse 19 they be they who separate themselves sensual, having not the spirit.
In other words, instead of them being really spirit minded people. As you read in the Scripture.
They're more fleshly oriented there more sense oriented there really not oriented in obedience to God. And so the the apostates have though.
However, they have some very clearly discernible distinguishing marks to them and in general their describe is ungodly. You. You can read that I might think I'm read that, but specifically there are three discernible characteristics about apostasy and reasonable to bring these out our. These are the very things that I would be most concerned about in my own personal life and my family and my ministry. These are things that that you want to stay away from because they are elements of those who who have fallen away from the faith and what are those things the three of them number one.
The first is a defiant attitude towards authority were to see that I just read some phrases from these two books. The second is the first is a defiant attitude toward authority.
Secondly is a defilement or they defile themselves morally.
So there's moral defilement and then number three.
They are deceitful or you can say they are dishonest with their words and the way that they live their life.
So for example we talk about false teachers and false prophets. The idea false is a dishonesty. They're not really teaching the truth for not telling you the truth. Now let me let me let me just read you some of the phrases from Jude and second Peter Gagnon do-it-yourself that really describe these three characteristics. The first one must take the idea of defiance towards authority when he just read you some of the phrases they despise dominion speak evil of dignities, railing accusations, murmurs, complainers, their mouth speaks great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because it is of advantage. In other words, there are always manipulating to get an advantage to get a head for their own personal benefit. They are mockers they despise government. They are presumptuous, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. So what you what you get in an apostate is this idea of a defying attitude towards authority and you can see it in their actions, their spirit, and especially in their words. They murmur they complain they bring accusations against guy that's first cycle is to guide you defilement. This wasn't of the phrases that you find in these two books. They defile the flesh they turned grace into lasciviousness was that mean it means that they take grace, which is like a beautiful flower an orchid you can say with this incredible sweet smell but they actually they actually twisted late they abuse it and they take grace, which is the idea of freedom and liberty. And they turn that into self selfish purposes and so historically we call that anti-no means those that are against the wall. They are filthy dreamers walking after their own lusts, delivered just lot vex with the filthy conversation of the wicked. They walk after the flash and the lust of uncleanness. They have eyes full of adultery insatiable for sin. They entice by sensual passions of the flesh. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. Many will follow their sensuality, they allure through the lust of the flesh. Too much wantonness those that were clean escape from them who who who live in error so we have the idea here of of of of a form of immorality of of the no problem with those elements okay and then he let's look at the third and that is the idea of deceitfulness. They teach error. False prophets, false teachers. They exploit you with false words through covetousness shall they with feigned vain means faker dishonest pain words make merchandise of you that is, they use their words to manipulate to get what they want sporting themselves with their own deceiving's while they feast with you, for when they speak great swelling words of vanity while they promise them liberty. They themselves are the servants of corruption so I mean, it obviously is a pretty dark picture but I remember when I was your age I remember reading these things and really wrestling through my mind.
You know, apostasy is hard to see. It's hard to figure out what this is because they come in by the side door.
You don't even know that there there. You don't even know the input going out it's it's pernicious it's it's it's like a little leaven in the law and it begins to affect things but we know it's there in history has proven that and we know it's true today so so as we look at these three qualities.
These three things that I brought out today were things that I came to understand it, your age that these are three things that that I need to really be ruthlessly against I need to be against the dishonesty I need to be against defiance and I need to be against moral defilement so I talk about three areas that that that this affects is let me talk talk to you about it. First of all personally.
These are sins that you you as a Christian. If you're a true believer you really believe that these are three areas in your own personal life that you really need to be hard on yourself.
Let's take the first one and that is an attitude towards leadership or authority.
There is no time in your life where you won't be in a position where you will have people over you and you will be responsible to be in submission and what's interesting about an apostate is that they're willing to speak evil about people when even and angels not willing to do it. Michael the Archangel would not even speak a negative word about the devil but apostate is willing to speak evil about others. You should strive to have a good relationship with the leadership you should seek in your your attitude to be in submission to the authority that is over you, you should be extremely cautious with people who, by their very spirit are critical or they murmur or they complain, and in general they treat leadership with contempt. One of my closest friends in my life is a gentleman named Dr. Marty Harris. Marty pastored the, the harvest Baptist Church on the island of Guam for I guess he was there 18 years is now the Executive Vice President of faith Baptist Bible College.
Marty and I were were really really close friends while we were students here at Bob Jones University and all the way through. We been involved in ministry now together for 40 years and when we were young and we were just married and started to have children.
We both made a decision together, never to criticize an older man in the ministry for whatever perceived failures he had in his family because we learn something that whatever you put on somebody else's plate you're going to have to eat it one day and we made a very conscientious decision to encourage one another but never be critical because we really don't know the circumstances or the situations they find themselves under so my point I'm trying to say to you as as a young person.
Looking forward to your future that I want to be supportive and stand with leadership because we're living in a day where actually defiance or that attitude especially with social media is so much more prevailing than one of support and when I read the book of Jude 3. Please read it yourself what's the spirit of an apostate. He's defiance towards authority. Second area is in the area of moral defilement and so personally.
Let me just say that you should be ruthless on yourself about avoiding moral temptations. Your own personal habits, including your thought life your eyes your ears what you look at what you look at on the Internet what you watch on television. The accessibility to moral evil today is far greater than when I sat where you set 40 years ago. It's just more accessible.
It doesn't mean that sin is greater today that was then sins always been great, but the accessibility to it and so is a Christian servant of God.
Our faith in Jesus Christ always should lead us to a godly life, our morality is going to dictate our theology, people will change their theology because they change their morality.
Your theology should be dictating your morality and so therefore as a Christian young man and a Christian young lady you should strive to live above all moral defilement. Now we live in a sinful world were going to see things. Things are going to happen. It's it's going to be there but you need to sat on yourself the highest moral standard. If you are in a dating or an engagement relationship, you should set the highest moral standards within your relationship because it is so it is natural, God, if I can be so blunt. God created us to have sex. He made us that way. That's called desire, talk about that this semester that's a part of the way God created us, but we live in a fallen world we live in a fallen culture and so therefore as Christians we should strive to live at the highest moral level possible, avoid the kind of conversations that take you down a conversation that will lead to sexual innuendos and those kind of things and then thirdly, you should be hard on yourself in the realm of your own, and I say this was a this really properly you shouldst be hard on yourself not so much in just the realm of your conscience, but in the matter of being honest.
Okay, as opposed to being dishonest to be honest with your words to be forthright to not be deceitful to tell the truth, avoiding all forms of deceit or lying or cheating or promise breaking.
You should strive to be the kind of person who your yeses yes and your no is no in your trustworthy you should be you should be in your own mind honest before God about. For example like your finances okay I believe in tithing. I I'm I'm I'm a super big proponent on tithing.
Not just because I believe it because I believe the Bible teaches us ugly pies predated the law was part of the law and I believe it was after the long so you say I don't believe in tithing. Great. Just give more than 10%. You'll be okay so but but tithing is a matter of the conscious because in most churches, and the pastor never knows what you give.
Okay so I'm a member of a local church here in the greater great well greater Greenville area and Clemson and I tie and I I give to the church.
It is a part of my conscience and I want to be honest with my conscience because if you're not the first place that you compromise is generally with your conscience using what I'm saying and being honest with yourself.
So I wanted to encourage you to strive personally then secondly, in the matter of ministry.
When you go to work for someone you should seek to be loyal to the people you work with. I was privileged to work five years with a pastor in Michigan and I made a decision that I was going to be loyal to him. It didn't mean that I agreed with every single thing but no one ever knew if I differed with because I want to be loyal I learn something that in a local church people will figure out if you're willing to listen to their criticism of the leadership I never had anyone in my church come to me and start criticizing the pastor in front of me and I sat there, listen in, agreed with him. I always blessed.
If you have an issue you need to go to the source because I'm not going to support you on your positions. You need to be honest and be a straightforward person and be a straight shooter. So when you go into a ministry where ever you go. It is crucial that you be loyal to the leader, not because he's a demigod but is just the way God is set it up.
Also in the matter of your own morality within the framework of ministry that you be above board in your relationships. If you're going to be a youth pastor or pastor of any ministry or you're involved in ministry your relationship to the opposite sex must be above for 20 years. We traveled in our ministry and evangelism. We had 57 different young people travel with us. 42 of them were Bob Jones graduate. I had many young ladies travel with us and and and if it wasn't that we just sort of work together. We literally lived together. We ate together. We traveled together. We played together. We prayed together. We were like best friends so we had a very very clear line of relational and I treated them or I wanted to treat them according to the Scripture.
The treat them like my sister.
That's what the Bible says treat younger women like a sister. And that's the way I'd salt to view them in my own life. Well, you know, unless a person is just rabidly grossly immoral you don't have relationships with your sister and so therefore you treat them that way and because I knew that we live that close together that if someone brought an accusation. It would be absolutely devastating to us and I'm thankful I'm so thankful to God and edit at the end of every year I would always thank our team member for their moral integrity with one another because we had a wonderfully just a glorious relationship with one another, but we we had very clear moral line, and so therefore is a Christian. It is so important that you you you avoid the defiance and dishonesty in the third is the idea of deceitfulness within your within your own ministry and that is the main time obtain the highest standards of integrity with in the way you communicate, to be honest and forthright to strive to be consistent with people all the time not to be two-faced speaking. One way to one person and another way to another person to treat everyone with respect. To be willing to be confrontational, if necessary, to be straightforward with one another so it works in the framework of your ministry and wake works in your in your life personally and then let me just conclude with your family in my in the raising our children.
We have we have four children two boys to girls in the raising of our family. We my wife and I decided that there would be three areas that we would be very hard on our children and these are the three areas number one, you cannot disobey authority and if you disobey authority. We are not going to support you and we taught our children. It's two against one all the time. Mom and dad against you. You never went. You're not gonna win our son Michael super stubborn super stubborn and I will go into you a story. I got stories to tell you but when he was like a year and 1/2 old. He stood up one day in his crib and he and he stood up and he looked it up and he said to me out want to get out of the crib. I said you want to see your mom mommy. He said I said say please went. I said son, if you don't say please. You will never see your mother the rest of your life that was at about 730 in the morning at 1130.
He finally said please I told you you're not gonna win. Okay defiance is unacceptable number number two dishonesty.
Now we have a lot of fun but you can't live deceit, defiance, and then defilement and that is the thing that we have been over and over with our children about what we watch on TV what we allow our relationships with one another need to be absolutely aboveboard and be committed to biblical purity. Those are three areas why because when you come back to Jude.
In second Peter, what you see.
These are the characteristics of these apostates because in it and I realize that these qualities don't make you a Christian, but they do describe the kind of person who falls away in the face. So I want to give you that. Think about it.
You can read through the book of Jude. You can read through the book of second Peter itself hope the best to help. God bless you have a great day.
You know, these daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry if you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word would you consider sending us a special financial gift today. You can easily do that through the website. The Daily Platform.com and then click on the give button on the homepage. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
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