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Grace to You :: Unleashing God's Truth One Verse at a Time The Danger of Defection Scripture: Selected Scriptures Code: 80-58

One of the responsibilities that a pastor has is the responsibility of warning his people. The Apostle Paul wrote to the...well, actually spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus that he had not failed over a period of three years to watch and warn them with tearsnight and day. Part of the ministry is a warning emphasis. And one of the things in which you must be warned is the danger of spiritual defection. This is something that has been of grave concern to God for a long time. But it is nonetheless true even today that there are some people who come very close to a true knowledge of Christ, there are some people who come very close to the reality ofeternal life. There are some people who come very close to knowing God, some people who come very close to having their sins forgiven, but never are truly saved. Those people turn and fall away. They are defectors. Sometimes they are called apostate, knowing the truth they depart from the truth. They may depart on their own, they may become victimized because of their own failure to believe by otherthings that push them away from true saving faith, but nonetheless they are defectors. There is always a great danger in defection and always very serious and eternal consequences. To show you how God feels about this matter of spiritual defection, knowing the truth and turning from it, we could go all the way back to the first set of books ever written, the Pentateuch authored by Moses, and in inthe book of Deuteronomy in chapter 13 we read this, beginning at verse 12, "If you hear in one of your cities...God says to His people Israel...which the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city saying, Let us go and serve other gods whom you have not known, then you shall investigateand search out and inquire thoroughly. And if it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all itsbooty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. And it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt. And nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you have compassion on you and make you increase just as He has sworn to your fathers. If you will listen to the voice of the Lordyour God, keeping all His commandments which I'm commanding you today and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God."

Now the point of this text is this, if anyone comes along and leads you astray from what you know is the truth and leads a village or a city to worship a false god...slaughter all the people, destroy the city, kill all the cattle, burn all the booty and don't takeanything out of that place for your own so that God will not continue to be angry with you. That's how God feels about spiritual defection. Destroy everybody involved with it. In chapter 17 it moves from being a corporate issue in a city to being a personal matter. Deuteronomy chapter 17 and verse 2 says, "If there is found in your midst, any one of your towns which the Lord your God is giving you,a man or a woman, in any of the towns at all, who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God by transgressing His covenant, that is the outward covenant to worship the true God, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly hosts which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire...
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