Of course, we have always understood the "falling away," "the forsaking," and "the apostasy," as being an eventual denial of the truth of the Word of God. But what if it has another connotation? What if it also has to do with the visible Church losing what it originally had? In Acts 2:42-47, the Church is described as being a group of loving, self-sacrificing, and unified souls! We read:
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."It was their oneness of mind and love, one for another, that appealed to men, and made them open to the Gospel! If there is one thing that stands out to the lost world in their view of the Church today, it is the fact that the Church is anything but unified. I used to attend a Baptist Church that was next door to a Methodist Church; their lawns blended together except when they were mowed on different days! No wonder people are confused about a faith that is so fragmented!
Jesus wants born again believers to be unified (Jn. 17:11, 21-23)! The New Testament is replete with calls for Christians to be united (Rom. 12:16; 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27: 2:2; 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:8; 4:1; etc.). That takes work! What it does not take is compromise - Jesus hates a lukewarm church (Rev. 3:16)! It takes all those who name the name of Jesus, working to rightly divide (interpret) God's Word (2 Tim. 2:15)! AMEN!
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with ALL men" (Rom. 12:18).