Flu Shot

This is the time of year when many get their flu shot. The doctors warn many whose health is questionable to partake of this shot every year. There are those that are young who need it. There are those who are middle aged who need it. And there are those who are more mature who are to get this shot. It will do well to take this shot so that one will not get the flu. Likewise there is a flu shot for apostasy. Listen to what Paul discusses with Timothy, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1 Timothy 4:6). The context of the verse begins with 1 Timothy 4:1. Paul gives warning that some will depart from the faith. He then proceeds with the specific departures. Some will speak lies because their conscience is seared with a hot iron. Some will forbid marrying and will not allow the eating of meats. Since Paul has given this warning he tells Timothy that reminding fellow Christians of these things will make him a good minister of Jesus Christ. He is also to feed these Christians with “words of faith and doctrine.” In doing this Paul has given Timothy the correct prescription against the before mentioned apostasy. The way that this prescription is given is by a shot in the arm, the flu shot for apostasy. Let us consider the processes for us taking this spiritual flu shot.

First, we need to expose the disease. If Timothy would remind the brethren of the things that were written before he would be a good minister of Jesus Christ. If there is no disease there is no need to take any precautions. Paul has exposed the problem of apostasy to Timothy and has given him the remedy for it. He is to remind the brethren of these things. The possibility of apostasy is as real as the flu. Some may say that they will never get the flu so therefore they do not need the shot. Then the flu comes upon them and they must suffer the consequences for not taking the shot. Likewise some may say that they will never fall spiritual speaking, but the Bible does not agree with them. 1 Corinthians 10:12 states, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” The whole book of Hebrews lets us all know of the possibility of apostasy. That is why the writer uses the word “better” so many times. He is telling the Hebrew Christians that they are now so much “better” off than they were under their past condition. Again, Paul states it explicitly that we can fall from grace. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). John warns Christians to be on the look out and watch because there are many false prophets gone out into the world 1 John 4:1. If we could not depart from the faith why then are all these warnings? This is the exposure to the fact of apostasy like we need to know about the fact of influenza.

Second, the passage tells us to nourish ourselves. Chicken soup is always good when we are sick. It builds us up when we are sick. We are taking on nourishment either to ward off the disease or we are trying to gain our strength to overcome the flu. Likewise, we are also to build up our defenses against the possibility of apostasy. We do this by partake of the Water and Bread of life. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that she ought to ask Him for a drink for He would give her living water (John 4:10). He goes on to tell her that if she will drink of this water that she will never thirst again (John 4:14). That is the kind of liquid we are to be partaking of to guard against apostasy. In John 6 Jesus is discussing with the people about different things. One of those things the people begin to discuss is a sign from heaven like the manna that God sent to nourish His people as they wander in the Wilderness those forty years. Jesus tells the people that is He is the “bread of life” and if anyone will come to Him he will never hunger (John 6:35). The proper nourishment will ward off the flu and the proper spiritual nourishment will ward off apostasy.

Thirdly, we are to live correctly. If we are going to have good health we must practice those things that health care folks tell us. We are not to go out without the proper attire when it is cold outside. We would expect the doctors and nurses practice what they tell us to do.  If we saw one of them run outside in shorts and a tee shirt when it is thirty degrees outside we would know that they are not practicing what they are want us to do. Likewise if we are going to not fall prey to those things listed by Paul we are not practicing what we are preaching. We preach purity. We preach following Jesus. We preach that we are to help others. The book of James has many ways in which we are to help others. In chapter one we are to help the fatherless and the widows. In chapter two we are to help a brother or sister who is naked or destitute of daily food. In chapter four we are not to speak evil of one another. And in chapter 5 we are to pray one for another. If we will do these things apostasy will be hard for us to follow. On the contrary side if we do not do these things then apostasy will be easier for us to follow. In Matthew 25 When Jesus is discussing the Judgment scene He talks about those who have helped others. Those there ask Jesus when they helped Him and He answers, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25: 40). When we have helped others then we are practicing what we are preaching and it is hard to go into apostasy when we are doing what the Lord has said.

Apostasy will only happen to a Christian. It cannot happen to a non-Christian. They are not in Christ and cannot fall away from Him. If a Christian has fallen then we are to treat him as a brother and not an enemy (2 Thessalonians 3:1-15).

Brethren let us take the spiritual shot so that we will not go into apostasy.

Love, Keith

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