The Anatomy of Apostasy Series – Stacey Shiflett

Watch Part 1 here

Watch Part 2 here

Watch Part 3 here

Watch Part 4 here

Watch Part 5 here

Watch Part 6 here

The Anatomy of Apostasy Sermon Series

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, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Intro: The word “apostasy” is a word we hear often, especially around here.

The word is the Greek for “falling away” that we find in our text.

Definition: apostasiaa falling away, defection, apostasy

I want to back up and let’s systematically look at this word and this concept over the next few Wednesday nights.

Part 1

I. The Expectations of Apostasy

               A. Expect a Promised Deliverance – vs. 1 “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together…”

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

In the heat of the battle, when you’re hurting, you can easily forget the promise of His return.

Don’t fall into the category of those that mock and scoff His promise to return.

  • Read II Peter 3:1-4

We have multiple passages of Scripture that teach that Jesus is coming.

Don’t forget it.

Anticipate it. Look for it.

Keep your eyes on the eastern sky – Jesus is coming again!

               B. Expect a Potential Disturbance – vs. 2 “…be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…”

Paul broke down the potential disturbances into these following categories:

                              1. Shaken in mind- the mind is the first casualty of spiritual decline

                              2. A troubling spirit – there will be plenty troubling spirits to attack your mind

TROUBLED: to cry aloud, make a noise by outcry, in the NT, to trouble, frighten, to be troubled in mind, to be frightened, alarmed

                              3. A troubling word – someone saying something; things you hear

                              4. A troubling letter – even hearing the truth from God’s man or God’s word can shake or trouble you

The uncertainty causes a child of God to be troubled.

The unpopularity causes the child of God to be troubled.

The ungodly causes the child of God to be troubled.

  • 1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

Jesus knew that prior to His return, God’s people would be troubled.

               John 14

  • 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
  • 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
  • 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

               C. Expect a Possible Deception – vs. 3 “…let no man deceive you by any means…”

The first warning Jesus gave His disciples about His coming and the end of the world was this very thing.

Matthew 24

  • 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
  • 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
  • 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Notice the words of Paul and John:

  • Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
  • 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

One of the characteristics of the last days is the level of lying and deception.

Seetext: II Thessalonians 9, 10, 11 and 12

Notice verse 13 – the emphasis placed on “BELIEF OF THE TRUTH.”

               D. Expect a Preceding Departure – vs. 3 “…except there come a falling away first…”

This phrase, “falling away” in the Greek for “apostasy.”

Several things we can notice about this.

                              1. The Unwavering Assurance – “…for that day shall not come…”

                              2. The Unmasking of the Antichrist – “…and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

                              3. The Unmistakable Apostasy – “…there come a falling away first…”

Mark it down. It will happen.

The falling away will transpire before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – vs. 1.

The falling away will occur prior to our gathering together unto Him.

The falling away – the apostasy – will precede the rapture of the church.

It will not be the unsaved, or the unbelievers.

The apostasy will occur with professing Christians.

If you believe that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, then you have to believe that the apostasy is here.

I firmly believe we are squarely between verse 3 and verse 4.

The apostasy has begun, and the son of perdition is waiting in the wings to be revealed.

In this series, we will examine the Anatomy of Apostasy.

I can assure you – it is real.

It is not called an awakening – it is apostasy.

It’s not a group of former Bible believers that have seen the light – it is apostasy.

It’s not an elite group of enlightened Christians that finally have the answer – it is apostasy.

What does it look like? What constitutes Apostasy?

What is an apostate?

We will get into it in the next few weeks.

Conclusion: I want to leave you with this. Apostasy is happening. It will get worse.

Do not be soon shaken in mind.

Do not be troubled.

Neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by a letter as from us.

Mark it down. The day of Christ is at hand.

Don’t get demoralized.

Don’t be deceived.

Don’t get distracted. Jesus is coming soon, and this has to happen before He does.

Part 2

The Examination of Apostasy

There will be a falling away from key elements.

I. Sound DoctrineSee 2 Timothy 4:1-4

  • 3 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;
  • 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

               A. The Disobedient Rejectionthey shall turn away from…

The time will come.

This is a prophetic statement.

It is my firm belief that we are there.

The word ENDURE means bear, tolerate, allow…

Definition: TURN AWAY: turn away, turn away from, put up again, turn from, bring again. Pervert, to turn away, to remove anything from anyone, to turn him away from allegiance to anyone, tempt to defect

               B. The Deceptive Replacementand shall be turned unto fables

Notice the digression of apostasy.

First, they turn away their ears from the truth. They cringe; they are repulsed.

Then, Satan consummates the deception by “turning them” unto fables.

It goes from voluntary to involuntary.

They opened the door to the deception by turning their ears away from the truth.

Satan will customize the replacement. It will be a fable that you like more than the truth.

The word FABLES means a speech, word, saying, a narrative, story, a true narrative, a fiction, a fable, an invention, a falsehood

                              1. The Nature of the Deception – “…after their own lusts…”

The word LUSTS means desires, longings.

Satan will give you a teacher that says what you want to hear.

                              2. The Number of the Deception – “…heap to themselves…”

The word HEAP means to accumulate, additional.

They are not satisfied with one liar – they want a heap of them.

They need a SUPPORT GROUP to maximize the deception; to boost their confidence.

                              3. The Nurturing of the Deception – “…having itching ears.”

They are not looking to nurture the heart/spirit/soul.

The apostasy is sense driven; sensual – see James 3:15 “…earthly, sensual, devilish.”

The Examination of Apostasy, cont’d

Part 4

We have looked at the falling away in several areas so far in this series.

We looked at a falling away from SOUND DOCTRINE.

Last week, we looked at a falling away from SCRIPTURAL DEFINITIONS.

Tonight, we will look at a falling away from SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT.

III. Spiritual Discernment

Hebrews 5

  • 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  • 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
  • 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The apostacy in this passage is found in the verse 12 in the words “are become”

They are growing backwards.

They are retreating.

One of the casualties of apostasy is DISCERNMENT.

               A. The Loss of Influence – vs. 12 …the time ye ought to be teachers…

The time had come for them to be influential to the next generation of Christians.

They had been taught and the time had come to now pass on what they had learned.

Instead of becoming teachers, they had backed up and were now not in a position to teach anybody anything.

One of the most disappointing words in this verse is the word TIME.

The time wasted.

The time when the one that preached to them and taught them was expecting them to be able to now teach others.

What a disappointment!

The time had come for them to step up and influence others, and they could not.

Instead of becoming the teacher of the class, they needed to re-enroll in the class.

               B. The Loss of Instruction…ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles…

Imagine being taught by a teacher and having to be taught all over again.

They were exposed to the truth; they heard it; they were taught it.

But they didn’t learn it.

They didn’t remember it.

They didn’t advance because of it

Paul referred to it as “dull of hearing.”

DULL: slow, sluggish, indolent, dull, languid

               C. The Loss of Insight – …who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Discernment is a by-product of maturity.

We are seeing Christians today that should be mature – should be teachers, but they are not.

They have failed to exercise what they’ve heard, and therefore, they are lacking discernment.

The Examination of Apostasy, cont’d

Part 5

Intro: We have looked at the falling away in several areas so far in this series.

  • We looked at a falling away from SOUND DOCTRINE.
  • We looked at a falling away from SCRIPTURAL DEFINITIONS.
  • We looked at a falling away from SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT.
  • Tonight, we will look at a falling away from SACRED DUTY.

IV. Sacred Duty

The message tonight is aimed directly at false teachers, false prophets and men in the ministry.

They had an opportunity to do something wonderful.

They had the platform, the people, the position to influence people.

They were entrusted with people’s confidence.

They took a position of honor and dishonored it.

They took a position of influence and injured people.

They took a position of help and used it to bring about incredible hurt.

God has a problem with false teachers and false prophets.

The Bible is filled with references to these workers of evil.

Just as Korah thought it a small thing to stand before the congregation, the apostate has fallen away from the responsibility, the honor and the opportunity to execute a sacred duty.

This is because of several key elements.

               I. Their Deliberate Forsaking

Let us be clear – preachers and teachers that fall away were never saved.

If we don’t emphasize that, we are not being true to Scripture.

Who draw back unto perdition

  • Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Let’s get one thing clear – God didn’t forsake them; they forsook God.

The Bible didn’t forsake them; they forsook the Bible.

The Bible describes the falling away of this group in several phrases.

Here are just a few:

Which have forsaken the right way

  • 2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

Turn from the holy commandment

  • 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.

They went out from us

I John 2

  • 18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
  • 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

               II. Their Despicable Failures

They failed in several key areas.

               A. Failure in their Morals

This fact is mentioned a multitude of times in many places.

  • Vs. 2 – pernicious ways
  • Vs. 9 – the unjust
  • Vs. 10 – them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness
  • Vs. 12 – They shall utterly perish in their own corruption
  • Vs. 14 – having their eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin
  • Vs. 18 – they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness
  • Vs. 19 – they are servants of corruption
  • Vs. 20 – escaped the pollutions of the world,…they are again entangled therein


  • Vs. 4 – ungodly men
  • Vs. 8 – filthy dreamers defile the flesh
  • Vs. 12 – spots in your feasts of charity

               B. Failure in their Motives

2 Peter 2

  • Vs. 3 – their motive is to make merchandise off of the people
  • Vs. 14 – covetous practices
  • Vs. 15 – following the way of Balaam…who loved the wages of unrighteousness


  • Vs. 11 – ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward
  • Vs. 16 – having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage (in order to gain)

               C. Failure in their Message

One of the common trends among those that fall away is their empty and harmful message.

The Bible stresses it in multiple places – apostates resort to empty, void, hollow words.

They are empty; void; without any substance.

God referred to them in a variety of ways to emphasize this point.

                              1. Empty Wells – 2 Peter 2:17

                              2. Empty Clouds – 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 12

                              3. Empty Trees – Jude 12

Notice the failure in their message as described in 2 Peter 2.

  • Vs. 12 – speak evil of the things that they understand not
  • Vs. 13 – sporting themselves with their own deceivings
  • Vs. 14 – beguiling unstable souls
  • Vs. 18 – for when they speak great swelling words of vanity
  • Vs. 19 – while they promise them liberty, they themselves are servants of corruption…

               III. Their Destructive Finale

These apostates may look successful and prosperous for a time, but their ending is clearly described as horrible.

Notice what the Bible says about the end of the story for apostates.

2 Peter 2

  • Vs. 1 – bring upon themselves swift destruction
  • Vs. 3 – whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not
  • Vs. 3 – and their damnation slumbereth not
  • Vs. 4 – 9 For if God spared not…
  • Vs. 12 – as natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed…
  • Vs. 12 – shall utterly perish in their own corruption
  • Vs. 13 – and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness…
  • Vs. 17 – to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever
  • Vs. 20 – they are entangled again, and overcome, the latter end is worse than…
  • Vs. 22 – turned to his own vomit again, …the sow to her wallowing in the mire.


  • Vs. 11 – they perished in the gainsayings of Korah
  • Vs. 13 – to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever

Vs. 15 – …to execute judgment upon all

The Anatomy of Apostasy Series, cont’d

Part 6

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Intro: We have looked at

  • The Explanation of Apostasy in II Thessalonians 2:1-3
  • The Examination of Apostasy
  • The Exceptions of Apostasy

The question as we close out this series is this – how do we protect ourselves from apostasy?

I want to look at three ways not to fall into the horrible pit of apostasy.

I. An Evident Confession of Salvation

Jude was writing “unto you of the common salvation.”

The word COMMON here means a collective, general audience of people that have been saved.

The single greatest protection against becoming an apostate is to be born again.

It is my conviction that true, born-again believers will not become apostates.

They may backslide, and they may fall into sin.

But the level of apostasy that we have been preaching about is clearly for unbelievers.

The comparisons in 2 Peter 2:4-8 compares the apostates to:

               Fallen angels – vs. 4

               The world of the ungodly – vs. 5

               The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – vs. 6

The comparisons in Jude:

               Ungodly men – vs. 4

               Brute beasts – vs. 10

               The blackness of darkness is reserved for ever – vs. 13

               Ungodly sinners – vs. 15

Notice who was spared the judgment:

               Noah and his family – vs. 5

               Just Lot – vs. 7

Peter believed that God would deliver the godly out of temptation and punish the unjust – vs. 9

II. An Earnest Contending for the Scripture

The following phrases are used to describe these men:

               1. They WREST the Scriptures

  • 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

They start to twist the scripture.

They are unlearned, and they are unstable.

As a result, they contort and wrestle the Scripture to accommodate their ignorance and instability.

               2. They CREEP IN

  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a deceptive and lying spirit that takes over them.

They sneak in; they creep in; they come in as innocent members and become destructive and disruptive apostates.

               3. They SPEAK EVIL of things which they know not

  • Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

The people that are EXEMPT from falling into apostasy are those that LOVE the Scriptures.

They BELIEVE the Scriptures.

They FOLLOW the Scriptures.

They earnestly contend for the faith.

They fight for the truth.

The stand for the truth.

They preach the truth.

They love the truth.

A person that will earnestly contend for the faith will not fall into apostasy.

III. An Enduring Commitment to the Savior

  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The common denominator of these false teachers and apostates is they turned against Jesus Christ.

Notice both of these passages:

  • 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Those that stay in love with Jesus will never fall back, fall away, turn back, turn aside, turn away – none of these!

SEE Jude 21-25