Summary: A Sermon on Backsliding
ILL: What’s a Backslider?
"Dad, what’s a backslider?" the boy asked.
"Well, Son, that’s a man who leaves our church and goes to another."
"But Dad, then what do you call a man who leaves his church and joins ours?"
"He’s a convert, Son, a convert!"
The idea of backsliding is mentioned quite a few times throughout the Bible. Sometimes it is called sliding, turning aside, turning back, falling, etc… The word actually means exactly what it sounds like it means. To backslide is to go backwards in your spiritual life!
Hosea 4:16 likens a backslider to a heifer. The backslider is like an ox that is in a double yoke. Both of the oxen are supposed to pull together to drag the cart, plow, etc… forward. The backsliding heifer decides to turn to the side or to stop in its tracks or even to go backward! Of course, this hinders not only the heifer’s progress, but also the progress of the other ox and the cart or plow itself! Can you see the application?
Jesus said for us to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him. We are supposed to be laboring together for the cause of Christ while getting to know Him more! When one of us backslides—stops doing our part in praying, devotions, giving, witnessing—the church suffers and ultimately the cause of Christ suffers!
Let us note a few things about backsliding:
I. The Causes of Backsliding
A. Spending Time with the Wrong People
1. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (I Corinthians 15:33).
2. "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father" (I Kings 11:4).
3. "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul" (Proverbs 22:24-25).
4. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20).
5. Don’t tell me that the people you hang around do not affect you!
6. The Bible teaches that we become more like the people we spend time with.
7. A wise man once said, "A year from now you will be the same person you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet!
8. Solomon, the wisest man in history, who had direct revelations from God himself, let people turn his heart away from God!
9. O! How many times have I seen Christians who were truly devoted to the Lord let someone close to them distract them and cause them to backslide!
10. I know—you value them as friends and do not want to offend them by turning down their invitation to go to places that you would not normally go!
11. Maybe they invite you to do something on Sunday, which will keep you out of church!
12. Whatever it is—do not let someone else determine your spiritual altitude!
B. Spending Time in the Wrong Places
1. Because it does matter what you see!
a. "Mine eye affecteth mine heart…" (Lamentations 3:51).
b. "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…" (Psalm 101:3).