Living Biblically in an Apostate World

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Rom 6:4 KJV) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

One of the facts we must face is that we live in a world which is becoming more and more sinful with each passing day. This is because the world is being readied for judgment day. As Christians, unless our head is in the sand, we must confess that this world does affect us in our Christian walk. While Satan cannot have us because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, he and his kingdom can and will try to cast before us as many stumblingblocks as possible. (Eph 1:13 KJV) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

There are certain things in this world which can pave the way for the Christian to fall into both sin and apostasy. Once we identify these things, we will be able to spot the traps which are being set for the purpose of causing us to stumble and rendering our witness ineffective. The times we live in are very hard for living a Christian life but hard times does not mean impossible times nor easy capitulation. Let’s look at some of the traps which can cause us to stumble so easily. (Heb 12:1 KJV) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Once we identify these traps, we can be on our spiritual guard and avoid any spiritual deterioration.

Friendship Trap
(2 Sam 13:3 KJV) But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtle man.

Amnon was a son of David and had a half-sister named Tamar. He loved Tamar and wanted to have her but did not know how to go about it. Enter the friend Jonadab who was about to give Amnon advice on how to get her. He told Amnon to feign sickness and get Tamar to minister to him, so that is what he did. When Tamar came to minister to him, he then attacked and raped her. He then hated her instead of loving her. The moral of the scenario is that a Christian must be very careful who they befriend. It is possible and has happened many a time when friends have influenced Christians to do things which has ended up in disaster. If you have friends, then you really need to sit down and judge those friendships. You need to know which of your friends is a positive, biblical influence and which ones could eventually lead you into disaster. I have used this example before in a different article but it bears repeating. During the roaring 20’s in Chicago, there was an optometrist named Reinhardt Schwimmer who liked the company of gangsters. He had struck up friendships within the North Side Mob which was the gang of Bugs Moran. One morning he decided to close his office and go to the garage where the gangsters were hanging out waiting for a whiskey shipment. While he was there, the police had come in and raided the joint and made them all stand against the wall while they were being disarmed. Then two killers came in along with the phony police and started machine gunning all seven men and killed them all including Reinhardt Schwimmer who was not a gangster. It came to be known as the St. Valentines Day Massacre. If Schwimmer had not closed his office and gone there, he would have lived but he made a bad choice in befriending gangsters and it cost him his life. The same situation exists in the spiritual realm. If we make bad alliances, it could cost us our testimonies and get us into deep trouble. There are many Jonadabs out there and that is why we must be very careful as to whom we befriend, because it could benefit us or hurt us.

Church Trap
(Acts 20:29 KJV) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Already in the middle of the first century, the Apostle Paul had warned the Christians in Ephesus that grievous wolves were going to enter the flock and will not care about their spiritual well-being. These false teachers had to be dealt with quickly and were not to be given a hearing. Today we live in a time when anyone can start a church and make preposterous claims such as miracles or tongues or whatever. It behooves a Christian that if they are a member of a church which at one time was reasonably faithful to the word of God and had a true worshipful spirit, that if that church goes apostate, then they are to leave. The trap is that many of our friends might still remain and we might become outcasts to those relationships we have cultivated over the years. If a church goes apostate, our responsibility is to be faithful to God and His truth, not to those who are apostate and have accepted a false Gospel. If we continue to remain there it will become harder and harder to leave. Remember it was Christ who died for you and not the apostate pastor and his cronies. Don’t fall into the mindset that you owe your allegiance to an apostate church because your allegiance is to Christ.

Liberty Trap
(Gal 5:1 KJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

One of the most ridiculous understandings in Christianity is that Christian Liberty means that I can do what I want. Some take it to mean that it is okay to drink alcohol, wear suggestive clothing, run my life as I see fit, etc. The reality is that Christ did not go to the cross for the purpose of allowing us to continue in sin. He died to save us from our sins and the penalty of those sins. Christian liberty has nothing to do with living a loose lifestyle but has to do with the fact that we no longer have to keep any tenets of the law for salvation. Christ fulfilled all aspects of the Mosaic law and that means we do not have to keep it for salvation. The Christian liberty trap is only operational by those who know more about American Idol than they do their Bible. Whenever we come into contact with someone who believes Christian liberty is a license to do as we please, then you need to drop that teaching as fast as you drop them as a potential friend. (2 Th 3:6 KJV) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. Remember 2 Thessalonians 3:6 is a command to withdraw from every apostate brother not a suggestion.

Family Trap
Genesis 27:15-16 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:

The above scene is familiar to all those who have read or studied Genesis. It is the scenario where Jacob deceives Isaac with the help of his mother Rebekah. Here Jacob did not reject the nefarious method of his mother in helping to deceive Isaac. Jacob no doubt was tied to his mother as a favorite making this a dangerous family situation which eventually split the family and caused a rift between Jacob and Esau. One of the worst things that a child can fall into is the family trap where they are totally dominated by a parent or both parents. I am not talking about the normal obedience to parents which all children should give, but it is the unbridled obedience one gives that can have disastrous effects. If a family has been members of an apostate church all their lives and one of the children become truly saved, then it behooves that child to leave that church and find one that is based on the true Gospel. If a Christian stays in an apostate church, their spiritual growth will be stunted plus the true gospel will be overshadowed with false teachings. This is why it is important that a Christian does not fall into the family trap of unbridled obedience even into their adulthood. They must move from obedience to family traditions to obedience to God and that requires distancing themselves from family traditions which will become detrimental to the believer. Many times there is a big difference between family traditions and biblical obedience.

Preacher Trap
1 Corinthians 3:4 - For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

One of the greatest traps that a Christian can fall into is the preacher trap. What I mean by that is a person just sits under the teaching of one teacher or preacher and never listens to any other preacher. They never expand their biblical understanding beyond that of their teacher. I remember this happening some years ago when Harold Camping of Family Stations declared dogmatically that the Lord was going to return on May 21, 2011. His followers would not listen to any other preacher except him and as a result they all remained spiritual dwarfs and limited their biblical understanding to whatever Camping taught. Well the Lord did not return on May 21, 2011 and those followers went into a state of spiritual catalepsy and the majority fell off the face of the earth. Only a few had renounced these teachings and went back to church and resumed a normal Christian life and yet some continue to this day in following Camping’s heretical “Bible calendar.” I am a Reformed Christian and adhere to the teachings of the Doctrines of Grace. However, that does not mean I simply turn a deaf ear to those who are of the free will persuasion or pre-millennial belief. I have heard many great biblical principles from preachers like Charles Stanley or Ravi Zacharias plus there are many local preachers on the radio I listen to and hear many good teachings. While I disagree with John MacArthur on some things, his view on the dangers of the Charismatic movement are excellent. We must never limit ourselves to the “one preacher” mindset or we will miss out on many great biblical principles and thought starters. Remember no single Christian has all the truth. God has given spiritual gifts to all believers so that we may all benefit from each other.

Bible Trap
Psalms 138:2 - I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

This is a strange type of trap but it represents a great problem in the church today and among Christians. It is the problem of the corrupted modern versions of the Bible. There are many churches that have abandoned the King James Bible in favor of some modern version under the guise of easier understanding. Since when did God give His word as a book to be easily understood? 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The word “study” in 2 Timothy 2:15 not only reflects the actual study of the word of God but it also reflects a great zeal and diligence for the word of God with the desire to share it with others. It also carries with it the meaning to “do your utmost.” We see in Psalm 138:2 above that God has placed His word above His name and this means His word is of the utmost importance to Him. This is why we do not play with the word of God by accepting versions which have many omissions and changes in it because God has guaranteed a curse on those who take away from His word and those who add to it. Modern versions contain many omissions and deletions and word changes. They are based on two of the most corrupt manuscripts which differ in the Gospels alone in 3,000 places. Many have adopted the modern versions because they believe they are easier to understand yet since the inception of these modern versions in 1901 with the ASV, the church has suffered nothing but confusion and spiritual apathy. It is sad that many Christians abandon the King James Bible because their church tells them to. They may be using an NIV or an ESV and when they are confronted with the truth about these versions have decided to ignore the truth and continue on using them. This is because they have fallen into a trap of believing the propaganda of the modern bible publishers. Once a person leaves the trap of the modern bible versions and then looks back at them, they will realize how trapped they were into believing the lies of the publishers and many Christian leaders as well. Just because your church uses the modern versions does not mean you are to use them, especially if you know the truth about them.

Wine Trap
Proverbs 23:31 - Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

If there is one trap which neutralizes the witness of a Christian it is that of drinking alcohol. In Proverbs 23:31, God warns us that we are not even to look upon the red wine in the cup. Many Christians claim there are no biblical prohibitions on drinking yet, here, God tells us not to look on the wine in the cup and looking comes before drinking. In other words, there is to be total abstinence in the area of drinking alcohol. Of course, the drinker will reject such things and continue to drink his beer and other liquors. If you see a Christian and unbeliever standing together, both holding a beer in their hands, can you tell which one is the Christian? I think not! Christ did not go to the cross to give us the okay to continue the sins of our old life. There must be a change in our lives and if one drank before salvation, the idea of a new life in Christ must reject the idea of the continuation of the drinking. It is no different than if a person viewed pornography before salvation, then he needs to stop after salvation. Basically whatever our pet sin was prior to salvation, it needs to be expunged after salvation. That is why it is considered a trap because it will not let you go, therefore, you must free yourself from that trap. If God tells us not to look at the wine in the cup, or any alcohol, then we can trust that He has a very good reason for that and He will stand by us when we reject the alcohol. Before I became a Christian, I belonged to an ethnic church which sponsored a Grape Festival once a year. It was at my church that I got drunk at this festival. When I became a Christian, I rejected all those things because it brought me back into the slime pit of unbelief, from where the Lord saved me from.

If there is one thing we learned about these traps is that they are all diversions from living the straight Christian life. These things tend to take us off the path of truth and set us on a different road which will only bring us down and disallow us from growing in the faith. These traps I mentioned are only a few of the many subtle traps which can play havoc with the Christian and their walk. This is why we must have a good working knowledge of the Bible so we can recognize these traps and reject them when they attempt to divert us from our attempt to live biblically in an apostate world.