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July 30, 2008
The question tonight has to do with an issue we see all too much in congregations everywhere—backsliding & even turning away from the Faith.
2 Peter 2:20-22—How does this apply to a backslider who comes back to God?
Let’s notice a few things:
• Peter doesn’t say they are irrevocably lost
• Peter implies the difficulty for these because they have come close to Christ but have rejected the transforming power and therefore they dull their senses to the work of the Lord. It reminds me of the parable of the sower. People can be quick to believe and fall away due to lack of discipleship. They can get tangled up in the world and lose sight of God. The hardest people to reach are the ones who seem to think Jesus didn’t work the first time. It wasn’t Jesus’ fault.
• Peter gives two proverbs. The first is Biblical and the second is cultural. Both suggest that Peter is talking about people who aren’t really converted. They put on the religious airs but don’t have a change of life or attitude.
But recognize this….
Peter had first hand knowledge of the process of backsliding which can lead to denial; he experienced them the night of Christ’s betrayal.
The process of backsliding is subtle, a gradual one that can happen without notice. To help us avoid backsliding we will examine Peter’s experiences that led to his denial of Christ and take some advice from Peter on how to avoid having the same thing happen to us.
5 Steps to Denial:
1. Pride - Matthew 26:31-35
o Peter boasts that he will not fall away and takes the first step to denial.
(Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall)
o Humility is necessary to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 18:3-4)
o Paul wrote “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” I Cor 10:12
o To Guard against pride 1 Peter 5:5-6
2. Complacency - Matthew 26:36-47
o Without diligence we can be found to be unprepared.
(Luke 21:34-36 “Be on guard, so that...day will not come on you suddenly like a trap...Keep on the alert at all times...”
o Hebrews warns us not to drift away from the word (Hebrews 2:1)
o When we are proud and complacent we can drift and take the next step
o To ward off complacency I Peter 5:8-10, 2 Peter 3:13-14
3. Distancing- Matthew 26:57-58
o Peter followed at a distance so as to not be linked to Christ and awaited the outcome
o Christ said “whoever is ashamed of Me and My words...the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him...”
o Instead of distance, be partakers of the Divine nature 2 Peter 1:4
o But if we distance ourselves from Christ we set ourselves up to take the next step
4. Worldliness- Matthew 26:58
o Peter is sitting with the followers of the High Priest (Mark 14:54) by the fire. It is easy assume the comforts of the world when separated from Christ but “Bad company corrupts good morals”I Cor 15:33
o Instead of worldliness be as an alien and stranger and abstain
o But if we find comfort in the world the next step is denial
5. Denial- Matthew 26:69-75
o Once drifted away and distanced from our Lord it is easy to deny him.
o We do not have to use words, our actions can deny Him.
o Peter faced the Lord (in the account by Luke) and realized his error. If we deny Christ, unless we repent, when we face Him it will
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