Summary: A Sermon on Backsliding


Hosea 4:16


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).

c. Many people think they can go watch a movie or go to a beach full of ¾ naked people and not be affected by it!

d. I am here to tell you today that it is at the least, spiritually unhealthy!

e. At worst, it will cause you to lust.

2. Because it does matter what you hear!

a. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

b. Well, the devil knows the Scriptures, too.

c. He knows that he can affect people, not only through the eye gate, but also through the ears as well!

d. Why do you think he bombards us with his music everywhere we go?

e. Have you ever heard the song little children sing?--"O be careful, little feet…"

f. We adults would do well to remember those principles that even children understand.

g. The places we go, the people we meet, the things we see and hear, all affect our inward man—which is directly linked to backsliding!

C. Developing the Wrong Passions

1. "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4).

2. Jesus spoke these words to a church that had all the outward signs of spirituality.

3. They were correct in their doctrine and practice!

4. But they had left their honeymoon for Christ!

5. That is really the main cause for backsliding —misplaced priorities concerning people and places that lead to declining passion for the Saviour that bought you with His life and saved you from sin!

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Harry Seleji

commented on Jun 11, 2016

Thank you

Harry Seleji

commented on Jun 11, 2016

Again thank you Andrew. This is uplifting. The devil has been hiding this truth from me. I am still battling with my way to get back to God after I left Him. All in my life is been wasted by stagnation, limitation, backwardness, disappointments - no progress for the past 15 years in a foreign country(Botswana) nothing to show I am an expatriate. With this message I believe God will see me through and restore me again in His fold, even though it might look like taking time, but I will not give up until His grace is upon me. I may struggle to stop the addiction of smoking, desires of lust and drinking but I have made up my mind to go back where I belong - God's hands. God bless you.

Joe Ade

commented on Jan 6, 2020

I belong to God! I'll go back to where I belong.

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