Summary: losing out with Christ
Intro: visiting with my Grandmother in Maine she began to list all the ministerial failures and laity fallings throughout the local churches in the Bangor area. It was amazing that some of the spiritual giants of that area had fallen into terrible sins. We need to be on the guard of our spiritual lives so that the enemy doesn’t devour another victim. Let’s look at people who failed in the bible, and see the areas we must guard against in our own walk with God.
GUARDING AGAINST SPIRITUAL FAILURE
1. Peter—self-confidence—Matthew 26:31-35 as we read these verses you would think that Peter could never fall. He seemed so sure of himself that he would be strong in any situation. But we see that Peter was relying on his own strength over the Lord.
a. He didn’t pray as he was asked to do.
b. When trouble came he immediately resorted to operating in the flesh over the spirit.
c. He followed from afar—this is always a step to failure, when we follow the Lord from a distance in our lives.
2. Elijah—spiritual burn-out—1 Kings 19:4 here is an amazing sight, the
Great prophet Elijah is requesting that he might die, that his work was completed. Why would this great man of God be in this depressed state in his life.
a. He was fatigued spiritually with spiritual opposition. Jezebel was after him, and he was weary in the battle. We need to realize that the battle is the Lord’s and not ours so that we can walk in victory.
b. He had come down off a spiritual high—he had just won a great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and there was a spiritual let down following this event. We must always realize that at the end of a great spiritual triumph, we must guard against a great spiritual low taking over our spirit.
c. He felt he was fighting alone—sometimes people will spiritually burn out when they think they are the only ones giving it all to God, but God revealed there were 7000 others that were remaining faithful to God also.
3. David--Spiritual Complacency—2 Samuel 11:1
Here is a very common way in which the enemy gains a foothold
into a life. David had lost his spiritual edge, he had a settled spirit
instead of a conquering one.
a. David let others fulfill his spiritual duty in his stead.
b. David rationalized that he wasn’t needed or that others could do his job or ministry just as well.
c. Lost zeal—a warning sign for all of us is the loss of spiritual zeal. The things that use to be important or fulfilling in our walk with God no longer hold that prominent place in our lives.
4.Demas—worldly distractions—2 Timothy 4:10
We aren’t told exactly what the distractions were in this fellow worker of Paul, but we know that he left ministry because of them.
a. in all our lives we have got to stay on the guard against distractions hindering our walk with God. There are so many things trying to take our time away from the work of God.
b. Present verses eternal—Paul saw everything through an eternity perspective. We must not be dominated by the present, if it interferes with eternal goals and vision.
5. Ananias, Sapphira---divided commitment—Acts 5:2—kept back a part of it—
a. here is the house divided failure. They wanted the blessing of God and the approval of man. Here is a classic method of failure. They fell into the trap of divided thinking.
b. The were almost persuaded—they gave, they gave a lot, but they held back a part for themselves. In all our lives we must make sure that we are giving our best to God.
6. Jonah 4:1—lost compassion for souls—
The failure of Jonah is one we must all guard against in our lives.
He had lost his compassion for souls, he was not moved by their
a. lost compassion for souls will cause a hardness to develop in our
b. lost compassion will cause us to end up running from what God would have us to do.
c. Lost compassion will cause us to lose the joy of our salvation