Matthew 24:10-11 NIV “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”
What time was Jesus talking about in the verse above when He said, “AT THAT TIME MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH?” The time you and I are now living in; the last days, right before Christ returns. Need evidence we are living in, “THAT TIME?” Just read the 24th chapter of Matthew. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus answers a question posed by his disciples: “Tell us, what will be the sign of your coming, and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3) Jesus listed various things that would signal His return. Among them is, “MANY,” or most, would TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH, not come to it. Isn’t that what we are witnessing today? “MANY,” disowning faith in God and Jesus Christ? Jesus also said that, “MANY,” or most FALSE PROPHETS would be on the scene right before His coming, and they would mislead many. Isn’t that too what we are seeing today? Based on just these two things Jesus said would mark the last days of this world, wouldn’t it be difficult to find a true church?
THE GREAT FALLING AWAY
As we mentioned earlier Jesus prophesied that right before His return MANY would, “TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH, and WILL BETRAY AND HATE EACH OTHER.” This matches up perfectly with what’s spoken about in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 KJV “Now we beseech you, brethren, by THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and by our gathering together unto him,  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  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.”
Did you hear what the Holy Spirit said? ‘The day of Christ’s coming will not come, unless there FIRST come a FALLING AWAY.’ This is exactly what Jesus Himself uttered in Matthew 24. This time period of great rebellion against God is spoken of in many other places throughout the Bible:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 KJV “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;  And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
There it is again: God has for some time been saying that a time will come when people will no longer put up with true, sound doctrine or teaching about the faith. But will gather to themselves teachers that tell them what their itching ears want to hear. “And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY their ears from the truth.” Are you seeing from God’s written word why it’s so hard to find a good church today? Even a good person for that matter? The state of affairs we live in right now was prophesied by God long ago.
The good news is Jesus says this time period of extreme rebellion and falling away from the faith signals His speedy return. This is good news to those who follow Jesus Christ whether they’ve found a good church or not. Just because we haven’t found a good fellowship doesn’t mean we don’t have fellowship with Jesus Christ. In fact there are, “MANY,” who think they’ve found the right church but don’t have a right relationship with God. They are misled by the false prophets and prophetesses that lead their churches. Jesus said this would mark our time. Too often people seek a good fellowship or church first, instead of seeking a good fellowship or relationship with God first. They are doing it backwards. They are depending on men to get them to God, instead of looking to Jesus Christ the only true way to God:
John 14:6 NIV “Jesus answered, “I AM THE WAY and the truth and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”
Jesus says He is the only way to God. He never said your religious denomination or special group is the way to Him. And yes, we are told in the scriptures not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:24-25) But that passage did not say to meet with a bunch of religious fakers just so you can boast, “I obey God, I go to church.” And by the way, who is the, “Ourselves,” we are commanded to gather together with in Hebrews 10:24-25? True believers. Not fake Christians. The Holy Spirit would never command us to gather with phonies. In fact there are many scripture passages where He tell us the very opposite:
Romans 16:17-18 NIV “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. KEEP AWAY FROM THEM.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-13 NIV “But now I am writing to you that YOU MUST NOT ASSOCIATE WITH anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. “EXPEL THE WICKED PERSON FROM AMONG YOU.”’
2 Timothy 3:5 NIV “Having a form of godliness but denying its power. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH PEOPLE.”
2 John 1:7-11 NLT “I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.  Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.  IF ANYONE COMES TO YOUR MEETING AND DOES NOT TEACH THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST, DON’T INVITE THAT PERSON INTO YOUR HOME or give any kind of encouragement.  Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.”
Yes, we are commanded to meet with real believers (not fakers) where the true doctrine of Jesus Christ is being taught. If you find it very difficult to find this kind of fellowship in these last days I hope this article is providing some insight as to why. God Himself said:
Matthew 24:10-11 NIV “AT THAT TIME [the last days] MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH and will betray and hate each other,  and MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL appear and DECEIVE MANY PEOPLE.”
A TIME ORDAINED BY GOD
Today we are in a different time period ordained by God. This period is not the same as when the early church was experiencing all kinds of growth. No, our master Himself told us in the end time MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH, not come to it. Believe His word. We cannot make things the way we want them to be. We cannot make this or that church fellowship (the people who meet there) what we want them to be. We must accept what is and what God has ordained:
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 NIV “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”
If you find a group of believers to meet with on a regular basis who are truly teaching God’s word that’s great. By all means continue to meet with them. These are the ones you are not to forsake gathering together with. But if you haven’t found such a fellowship like that yet don’t fret. Hopefully this article has helped you see why these believers are so hard to find. Rejoice that you have Jesus Christ who is the truth, the way, and the life. (John 14:6) Remember, no one can get to God except through Him alone, not some so-called right church group. And if you know just one other true brother or sister in the faith let these words of Jesus comfort you:
Matthew 18:19-20 NLT “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.  For WHERE TWO OR THREE GATHER together as my followers, I AM THERE among them.”
Jesus said where just 2 or 3 of His followers gather together (have church) He is there among them. Do we believe Him? Or do we have to meet with 200, or 3,000 in a megachurch in order to feel like we’re worshipping God? The number of people we meet with is not what Jesus says constitutes Him being there. It can be just 2 or 3 He said. And if Jesus is not present in your meeting, are you really having church? Remember, Jesus said, “Where two or three gather together AS MY FOLLOWERS, I am there among them.” Want Jesus in your church meeting? Meet with people who follow Him.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Sometimes we can’t find a good church because we are looking in all the wrong places. We may already have a good church and not even know it. If we know just one or a few real believers we can meet with them regularly. Do not forsake gathering together with them as God commands. In the early days of the church our brothers and sisters met everywhere and often met in each other’s houses:
Romans 16:3-5 NIV “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.  They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.  Greet also THE CHURCH THAT MEETS AT THEIR HOUSE. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.”
1 Corinthians 16:19 NIV “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does THE CHURCH THAT MEETS AT THEIR HOUSE.”
Colossians 4:15 KJV “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and THE CHURCH WHICH IS IN HIS HOUSE.”
It is clear form the above passages that the, “church,” met in each other’s homes. This shows that the church is not a building but rather the believers themselves. People meet in houses, physical buildings don’t meet in physical buildings. The church is not a physical building structure as some like to think it is. The church is you: every believer in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5 NLT “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”
Don’t let anyone deceive you by causing you to feel guilty because you don’t go to their fake church. You are God’s building, His spiritual temple, His church. And when we do find others we can fellowship with it doesn’t matter where we do it or how many of us meet. It can be just 2 or 3 as Jesus said. As long as we are followers of Jesus Christ that’s all that counts. And Jesus Himself is right there in our midst.
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