Summary: Taken from Hosea 7, we find that God compares spiritual decline to the gray hairs of decay.
“Gray Hairs of Spiritual Decline”
Prov. 14:14; Hosea 7:9; Jer. 3:1
Dr. Steven G. Cook
A. Read All 3 Verses – Prov. 14:14; Hosea 7:9; Jer. 3:1
B. Illustration – Christian Life is comparable to an airplane – No Reverse; Must continue forward at a steady pace or it will spin out of control & fall.
C. Our text in deals with the problem of “Backsliding” –
1. Apostate – one who has turned his back on God & Truth – Lost
2. Backslider – one who has become cold, indifferent, lost fellowship
D. James 5:20 – “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
E. James is talking about the backslider, not the lost!
F. One reason our country is in such a terrible condition spiritually is because Fathers have failed in being Godly Leaders!
G. The Church has the responsibility of going after both the Lost & the Backslider.
H. Today, I want to speak mainly to Fathers – God has ordained the man to be the Head of the Home – not just in worldly matters, but also in spiritual matters.
I. Let us look at 3 Aspects of Backsliding – “Ere for the grace of God, we find ourselves in such a condition as was Israel.”
J. Possibly there are more Backsliders here today than we care to admit!
II. The Cause of Backsliding Is “Internal” (Prov. 14:14)
A. Read Prov. 14:14 – “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways….”
B. The Heart is the “seat of our will & emotions” – It is the control center for all that we do.
C. Jer. 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
D. The first mention of the heart is found in Gen. 6:5 – “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually.”
E. In Exodus we read that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.
F. Prov. 3:5-6 states we should “Trust in the Lord with all our hearts”.
G. Prov. 4:23 – “Keep (guard) thine heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
H. There are many examples in Scripture where men & women failed to “keep their heart with all diligence” and ultimately, they backslid!
I. Peter – denied Christ 3 times; Demas – (2 Tim. 4:10) – “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed…”
J. As Christians, we must keep moving at a steady pace, growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord, lest we spiral out of control and fall like an airplane.
K. Backsliding Begins in the Heart! – Keep (Guard) Your Heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
L. Prov. 14:14 – “The Backslider in Heart….”
M. Illustration: Elimelech the Father (Read - Ruth 1:1-2)
1. When a famine came, Elimelech failed to guard his heart.
2. There was a Move; Marriage; Misery that came as a result!
3. God promised to bless Israel with rain IF they obeyed Him; Yet Elimelech failed and became a Backslider!
4. There was a man who stayed in Bethlehem during the famine whose name was Boaz – He was a mighty man of wealth!
5. What was the difference??? Boaz did not become a Backslider!
6. Boaz trusted the Lord and God blessed him tremendously!
7. Maybe YOU have found yourself in the midst of a spiritual famine? How have YOU reacted? Have YOU found yourself moving away from God? Married to the world? Misery???
8. Or have YOU reacted faithfully as did Boaz?
N. 2 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine YOURSELVES, whether ye be in the faith: Prove YOUR Own Selves.”
O. Let us move to our 2nd Point in the message – Indications of Spiritual Decline.
III. Indications – Gray Hairs of Spiritual Decline (Hosea 7:9)
A. Illustration – Kristen compared my 5 yr. Old passport with my new Visa photo and said, “Dad, you sure have gotten a lot more gray hairs!”
B. While some of you fathers today have resigned that you are going to go bald, may I suggest that “it is not so much losing hair as it is gaining face!”
C. I used to worry about getting “gray hair”, but then again, “it is a hair!”
D. Women are more vain about “getting gray hairs” than most men – They color them, dye them, and cut them out!
E. May I submit to you that many do the same thing with gray hairs spiritually!
F. Explain Israel’s “Gray Hairs of Spiritual Decline” – Spiritual Indicators!