- Parable #1: The Sower - Preaching the Gospel with various results.
- Parable #2: Wheat & Tares - Difficult to distinguish saved from unsaved within professing Christendom.
- Parable #3: Mustard Seed - Christendom will experience great numerical and geographic expansion from humble beginnings.
- Parable #4: Yeast in Dough - Christendom will experience internal corruption throughout the age with increasing apostasy.
- Parable #5: Hidden Treasure - Israel will remain in unbelief only to be converted in the end.
- Parable #6: Pearl of Great Price - Co-existence of righteous and wicked to be separated at the age's conclusion.
- Parable #7: The Dragnet - Good fish kept, and bad fish cast away.
- Parable #8: Householder - Old treasures to new treasures. New truth must be considered with Old Testament revelation to comprehend the totality of God's kingdom agenda.
Characteristic #2: A Massive New Testament Subject - Matt 13:33, Acts 20:29-31, all the Pauline letters, the general letters of the New Testament (Jude, Hebrews, Peter, 1 John), and Revelation all warn against lapsing back into apostasy.
Characteristic #3: It Impacts Every Major Doctrine - The faith (1 Tim 4:1), God (Jude 4), Christ & His death (2 Peter 2:1), Christ's return (2 Peter 3:3-4), Sound Doctrine (2 Tim 4:3-4), Resurrection (2 Tim 2:16-18), and God as creator (2 Peter 3:5) will all be challenged, or are now being challenged, by the predorists.
Characteristic #4: Apostasy is Internal - Acts 20:29-31. It will come from within the church, along with "savage wolves." Paul warned about this night and day with tears. Jude 4 says they "crept in unnoticed." Look for them in pulpits, Christian schools, Christian books, and magazines. They won't wear signs on their backs that read: I'M A FALSE TEACHER - FOLLOW ME.
Characteristic #5: It Knows No Limits - Exodus 32:1-10 (Aaron), Judg. 18:30 (Jonathan). Even those we least expect will become useful tools for the enemy's apostasy. We can see this in the Rules of Harvard, Est. 1636. Christian belief was once a rule for admittance to this university. Now it's a deterrent. Rev. 2:45 says Christ will take away the lamp stand. In other words, He'll remove His light from among them.
Characteristic #6: It Can Happen Quickly - The ice can melt beneath our feet. In Gal. 1:6, Paul was amazed at how soon the Galatians abandoned the doctrine of free grace. In Exodus 32:8, the Israelites turned away from God within forty days. When Rev. 2:4-5 was written only thirty-five years had passed before the Ephesus defected on their relationship with Christ.
Characteristic #7: It is Satanically Energized - Paul reminds us in 2 Cor. 11:3 how easily the serpent led Eve away from the simplicity of God's truth. In 1 Tim 4:1: "Some will depart from the faith, heeding deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons..." Satan's agenda is to cause the fall of the Christian church. He knows the three functions of the church are to 1) Glorify God, 2) Edify the saints, and 3) Evangelize the lost. He's satisfied to hinder even one of those functions.
Characteristic #8: It is Destructive - Acts 20:29 offers a graphic imagery to describe how destructive apostasy is to our church.
Characteristic #9: It Makes Life Difficult for the Man of God - The genuine article, the true man of God will be discredited by the "savage wolves." We must be cautious of the strategy of the mega churches popping up about us. Does the church lose its spirit for God to bring in the spirit of the world? 2 Tim 3:2-4, 12-13.
Characteristic #10: It Impacts Those Who Have Not Taken Preventative Measures - The pooling of ignorance just feels better than the hard truth. The strong current of apostasy pulls us in the wrong direction. If we take a passive stance, then we allow ourselves to be drawn away from the truth. Riding the current of apostasy is not like shooting the rapids. It's never that obvious. Even the true man of God can slip into that easy flow. When we're pulled away from the truth, we must call for help, aggressively move to the shoreline, use tools God gave us to thwart the river's torrent. Our tools are commands of the New Testament:
- Study God's word (2 Tim. 2:15, 3:17).
- Test all things using discernment (1 Thess. 5:21).
- Renew the mind (Rom. 12:2). Don't conform to the easy flowing trend, but transform through the intake of divine truth.
- Put on the full armor of God (Eph.6).
- Contend earnestly for the faith--and truth (Jude 3). Know what you believe and why you believe it.