Summary: We can avoid our own Ichabod moments by knowing what to look for.

How To Stop Your Walk With God In Two Easy Steps

1 Samuel 4. 21-22

September 26, 2004

Chester FBC, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker

1 Introduction

A When Ridge was born I remember looking at all the different names of babies on the walls.

a Cletus, Octavious, Xavior, Mercedes, . . . we’ve all heard of odd names like Orangejello & Pajamas. (There a lot of odd names in the bible . . . there Hebrew!)

b In today’s lesson, a boy was named Ichabod for a reason.

*Hebrew, it was actually a question, "Where has the glory gone?"

*Worse than "a boy named Sue."

*Israel had wondered away from God, stop authentic worship, priests were corrupt, people were putting their faith in furniture instead of God.

*God stopped walking with Israel because of their sin.

2 Today’s message is, How to stop your walk with God in two easy steps.

A 21 And she called the boy Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel," because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken." 1 Sam 4:21-22 (NASB)

a God withdrew His glory for a time from Israel. (Essence of the Text in a Sentence)

b We can avoid our own Ichabod moment in our lives by knowing what to look for. (Essence of the Sermon in a Sentence)

B I hope you will know what steps to look for that can lead you off course in your walk with God. (Objective)

a How is your walk with God going? (Probing Question)

b Let’s look at two steps that can lead you off course in your walk with God. (Transitional Sentence)

c During the conclusion, I’m going to give you an invitation to come forward and make arrangements with God to get your walk with Him going in the right direction again, or begin walking with Him for the very first time.

d Pray

I The first step that can lead you off course in your walk with God is . . . REMOVE GOD’S PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE.

"And she called the boy Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel," because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband." 4.21 NASB

A Eli’s daughter-in-law saw his death as a turning point in her life as an Israelite.

a Eli had been a priest for forty years in Israel.

An O.T. priest was a form of Christ. He would present an annual sacrifice of blood for the atonement of sins that the nation had accumulated over a twelve month period.

Jesus offered the ultimate sacrifice for sin by shedding His blood on the cross once and for all for all sin for all humankind.

b Eli wasn’t perfect, but he was God’s man.

Verse 18 tells us that he handled the news of the death of his sons with some amount of composure . . . but the news of ark missing . . . was more than his heart could handle.

Eli’s daughter-in-law considered the death of her father-in-law as a step in the wrong direction for the nation. A step away from God.

B You and I step away from God when we step away from God’s people.

a That does not mean your pastor has to die!!

b We stop associating with, worshiping with, praying with, partnering with, God’s People!!!!

25 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. Heb 10:25 (TLB)

C Randy Frazee has written a book called "The Connecting Church." He has a son who was born without a left hand. One day in Sunday School the teacher was talking with the children about the church. To illustrate her point she folded her hands together and said, "Here’s the church, here’s the steeple; open the doors and see all the people."

a She asked the class to do it along with her – obviously not thinking about his son’s inability to pull this exercise off. Then it dawned on her that the boy wouldn’t be able to join in. Before she could do anything about it, the little boy next to his son, a friend of his from the time they were babies, reached out his left hand and said, "Let’s do it together." The two boys proceeded to join their hands together to make the church and the steeple.

b Frazee says, "This hand exercise should never be done again by an individual because the church is not a collection of individuals, but the one body of Christ."

c T.S.:As Christians, we have a cheering section encouraging us on when we are tired and calling out to us to do better when we are feeling at our best. The author of Hebrews says, "We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses." What in the world does he mean—great cloud of witnesses? The author of Hebrews is telling us that we are a part of something much richer and deeper than we know. As children of God and as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, we are a part of a family. Wanna stop walking with God, leave home! Removing God’s people will stop your walk and so will this next step.

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