The Portrait of an Apostate What is an Apostate anyway?
The Portrait of an Apostate,
Love Worth Finding with Adrian Rogers
************ DISCLAIMER **********
This post is for those who have an understanding of the Biblical Scriptures. however, Everyone is welcome here
In these “last days” before the return of our Lord, how will we
recognize an apostate? Jude
12-13 gives us the portrait of an apostate. He is a spiritual
felon, a spiritual criminal, someone who is dangerous and whom you must be able
to recognize. Five clear, graphic word pictures of the marks of an apostate can
be found in this passage.
spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves
without fear; clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees
whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom
is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Understand, the devil is not against religion. No, he’s immersed
in religion and uses religion! It was a religious crowd that crucified the Lord
Jesus Christ. Most people don’t need more religion. They need to turn from
religion to Jesus Christ.
When we say “earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered to the saints,” the phrase “earnestly contend” contains the word we
get “agonize” from. We’re to agonize for the faith. Some call
us narrow and bigoted. But today, once-great churches, denominations and
schools are honeycombed with apostasy and liberalism. It is
An apostate is not someone in a false cult or just an unbeliever.
Those people may be lost, but they are not “apostates.” Apostasy means “to
fall away from.” This is someone who has known the truth, then turns his
back on and opposes the truth. He has received, then rejected, the truth. An
apostate begins to ridicule the truth, then tries to replace the truth. A
survey once taken at a meeting of the National Council of Churches revealed
that of the pastors and laymen present, only half believed in the deity of
Christ! Only 1 in 4 believed in His miracles, 1 in 3 said Satan doesn’t exist,
and 1 in 3 believe there is no life after death.
Unfortunately, the apostate doesn’t just leave and start his own
church. He comes back through the side door (Jude says, “They have crept in”)
to undermine the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the church.
Not only do you need to learn how to recognize an apostate, but
you also need to know where the great battles are…those areas of truth under
Six Foundational Areas of Truth
These six fundamental doctrines must be anchored in your heart and soul.
The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus
7:14). Your eternal destiny hinges upon it. If Jesus Christ was not
born of a virgin, He was as sinful as you are. If He was sinful as you are,
there could be no blood atonement because a Holy God would not accept an unholy
sacrifice. No blood atonement, no salvation. No salvation, no regeneration. No
regeneration, no Heaven for you. And, my dear friend, without the virgin birth
of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are lost without hope.
The full deity of Christ. Jesus was not
just a great leader, a religious figure, a prophet. He was God. In Jesus
Christ, God was manifest in the flesh. “The Word was with God and the Word was
God…The Word was made flesh and dwelled among us” (John
The blood atonement. Jesus “died for our sins
according to the scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:3).
“The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The
doctrine of substitutionary death, the blood atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ
on the cross for our sins, is especially repugnant and abhorrent to the liberal
and the apostate.
The bodily resurrection of the Lord
Jesus Christ — that He literally came out of that grave. Apostate theologians
talk about the “deathless spirit of Christ that goes marching on,” fuzzy
concepts like that. Oh, my friend, I want to tell you that the faith that we
preach and believe in is the faith of an empty tomb. Never minimize the
resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The second coming of Jesus Christ — His
literal, visible return. He is coming back to earth, actually, bodily,
Lastly, the authority of the Word of God —
its inerrancy, infallibility, immutability, and impeccability. The Bible is
God’s inerrant, infallible Word.
Apostates do not like these bedrock truths. You need to be able
to recognize an apostate when you see one. To do that, you need to know what
the great fundamentals of the faith are.
These are not all the things we believe, nor
are they all of the fundamentals of the faith. But having these six basics in
your head will help you recognize an apostate
Would you be able to recognize an apostate? The book of Jude provides
five word pictures describing an apostate.
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with
you, feeding themselves without fear; clouds they are without water, carried
about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked
up by the roots. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame;
wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (v.
These five graphic descriptions create a portrait of the
apostate to hang in the gallery of our mind with the warning “Beware.”
A Dangerous Sunken Rock
“These are spots in your feasts of charity.” (v. 12)
The word used here for “spot” is found in Scripture only once
and literally means a sunken rock. Apostates are hidden rocks
beneath the surface. A rock above the water line is not nearly so dangerous.
You can say, “Hey, there’s a rock. Be careful.” Not so a rock just beneath the
surface. Have you ever been out in a boat when it’s gone aground? I have.
You’re so happy, having a wonderful time skimming along, and suddenly there’s a
horrible sound and a lurch. You look down and your feet are getting wet. Water
is coming in. A rock has ripped the belly out of the boat.
Why does Jude say apostates are rocks in your feast of love? The
early church would meet together for what they called an agape feast, a
wonderful time in God’s love boat, just sailing along, everyone so happy. Love
and fellowship — everything seems so blessed. Then suddenly, a grinding halt —
a horrible, rending sound. The old Ship of Zion is wounded in her side. What
happened? Some devilish apostate has become a rock in the river of love,
dividing that he might destroy the fellowship of God.
The thing that
holds us together is our love for Jesus Christ and our unity in the great
truths we preach. Destroy that, and you’ve destroyed the church. The Devil
hates the love, unity and fellowship of the church. He’ll put a rock in the
river of love that our ship of fellowship might go aground. We must earnestly
contend for the faith because apostasy is dangerous — like a hidden rock.
A Deceptive Waterless Cloud
“Clouds they are without water carried about of winds.” (v. 12)
In the Middle East, rain is
vitally important. How terrible to see a waterless cloud overhead, driven by
the wind, bringing not one drop of rain. Apostates are bags of wind, promising
much but producing little. “Who so boasteth himself of a false gift is
like a cloud and wind without rain”(Proverbs 25:14).
This Sunday, people will sit in an apostate church hearing an
apostate preacher — a pompous religious windbag — a cloud without water. No
Holy Spirit, no Bible truth, no conversion, no joy, no victory in Jesus there.
Many will not even know something’s missing.
A Dead, Fruitless Tree
“Trees whose fruit withereth. Without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the
roots.” (v. 12)
A Christian is to “be like a tree planted by the rivers
of water that brings forth his fruit in a season, his leaf also shall not
1:3). But an apostate is a dead tree taking up space in the garden.
Dead trees are plucked up by the roots because they are twice
dead — dead because they don’t produce any fruit and dead when they’re thrown
into the fire. Jesus said, “I’ve chosen you and ordained you that you
should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain.”There’s
no fruitfulness in the life of an apostate. He can imitate Christianity, but he
cannot bear fruit.
A Disturbed, Raging Sea
“Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.” (v. 13)
A seething sea of discontent, the apostate’s heart knows no
peace with himself or God.
“The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest,
whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to
the wicked” (Isaiah
57:20-21). When he comes into a church or denomination, he’ll be a
From his heart’s murky caverns, the apostate is a raging wave.
Before long, he will spew his foam — unrest and disquiet — leaving it on the
beach of humanity. He’s not at peace with himself and he doesn’t want to be at
peace with you…another reason apostates are so dangerous.
A Doomed, Wandering Star
“…wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (v.
A wandering star has no orbit. No longer held by the sun’s
gravitational pull, it goes wandering out into the blackness of space, into
some black hole forever — what the Bible would call a bottomless pit. That’s
what Hell will be like for the apostate. “The mist of darkness is reserved for
them forever” (2 Peter
2:17). Can you imagine? Everlasting blackness and darkness.
Our hearts should be broken for apostates. How we should pray
for them! The more I read the Word of God, the more I’m convinced it’s almost
impossible for an apostate to be saved. Having known the truth, they refused,
ridiculed, and blasphemed the truth, and many of them stand in pulpits.
God provides us with
this portrait so we’ll be able to recognize an apostate and in these last days
earnestly contend for the faith, once for all delivered to the saints.