Summary: Instruction from the book of James on reclaiming a wayward believer.

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TEXT: James 5:19-20

19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

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.

ETS: James emphasizes the importance of reclaiming wayward believers.

ESS: Christians should attempt to lead wayward believers to repent and return to the truth.

OSS: Christians will commit to reclaiming wayward believers.

PQ: What are we to do with fellow believers who go astray?

UW: truths

TITLE:#”Reclaiming the Backsliders” or “Getting the Backslider to Slide Forward”


Have you ever known someone who once served the Lord faithfully that chose a pathway of rebellion against the Lord? They now are almost as far away from Him as they can possibly be? What does the Word of God say about this issue?


A.It is possible for a believer to fall into theological error.

(2 Peter 3:17 )” You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; ”

(Proverbs 19:27 )Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

(2 Timothy 2:17-19)”And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.  Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

B. It is possible for a believer to fall into practical error.

(1 Timothy 1:19-20)” having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

The old hymn "Come, Thou Fount" was written by Robert Robinson when he was just twenty-three years old. The third verse contains a phrase, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love." Unfortunately, this phrase was prophetic for Robinson: in his later life, he lapsed into sin. While riding a stagecoach, Robinson heard a woman humming his hymn. She later engaged him in conversation and asked what he thought of the hymn. Overcome with emotion, he said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then." Since we are all "prone to wander" we need to hold each other up from the clutches of sin and the unhappiness of backsliding.

C. There is a process that is common in falling into error

1. Choosing to keep the wrong company

(1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not be eceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

2. A wayward thought that is entertained too long.

(James 1:15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death

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