Summary: This message covers the leading causes to backsliding and the full-blown manifestations of backsliding in the life of a child of God. There is a cure for backsliding and it is simple and it is sure.
A. Biblical Interpretation of Backsliding.
1. Means “to flinch, to go back, it has the idea of going back, being stubborn like a heifer.” For Israel slideth back as a backslidden heifer.” Sometimes a stubborn heifer stands with extended forelegs pressed firmly to the ground. How like a heifer are some of God’s people.
2. “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared unto to him twice,” (1 Kings 11:9)
B. Personal Inclination to Backsliding. All are prone to stray away from the Lord.
1. “And my people are bent to backsliding from Me.” (Hosea 11:7)
2. “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.”
3. “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12)
C. Spiritual Illustration about Backsliding.
1. Lot in Sodom.
2. Israelites in wilderness - Deut 9:11-12
3. Demas - 2 Timothy 4:10
D. Eternal Indignation toward Backsliding. How does God react to backsliding?
1. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:19)
2. “If my children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.”
3. God will visit every backslidden child of God with chastisement!
I. THE MEANS TO BACKSLIDING
A. Misplaced Love. Misplaced affections can be a dangerous thing. People will place their loyalty where their love is. There are some dangerous love affairs -
1. “Men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Tim 3:2)
2. “The love of money” (1 Timothy 6:10)
3. “Men love darkness rather than light” (Jno 3:19)
4. “The love of the praise of men” (Matt 6:5)
5. “The love of the world” (1 Jno 2:15)
6. “Lovers of pleasure more than God” (2 Tim 3:4)
B. Misspent Time. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) Backsliding will occur when a child of God fails to make the most of his time for God. Backsliding is sure to happen when there is:
1. The Unattended Church - Hebrew 10:25 When you begin to frequently miss the church services for the slightest reason, a sure sign of backsliding. Living too far from the church is not the reason why some people don’t attend church - because they live too far from God. A backslider is a master at making excuses.
2. The Unbowed Knee - When you lose the desire to pray. How can you be both a Christian and prayerless?
3. The Unread Book - When you don’t read your Bible, are backslidden. A family had lost their little girl. The pastor wanted to read from their family Bible. When he opened it, out fell a dirt daubers nest.
II. THE MANIFESTATIONS OF BACKSLIDING
A. Unhappy in Service. A man loses his appetite for the things of God.
1. The things of God become boring to a backslider.
2. Nothing proves a Christian has a backslidden heart more than when he loses his joy of serving the Lord.
3. If your heart is not full of joy you are backslidden.
B. Unembarrassed about Sin. There is a passive indifference towards sin. Satan attempts to intimidate us with sin 3 ways -
1. Disguises its Appearance. He never wants us to see sin the way God sees it. Sin never reveals the harm of indulgence. Sin robs you of good senses. Sin makes promises it cannot keep.
2. Debate its Acceptability. What is there to debate about immorality? What is there to debate about drunkenness? What is there to debate about lying?
3. Diverts its Accountability. Satan will cause you to think you can go on with the way you live. Satan will make you to think everything is alright with you. Backslider will minimize, justify, and transfer the blame to others. Never feels like they are guilty of anything.
C. Unforgiveness toward Saints. Backsliders have a sour spirit.
1. Are mean as rattle-snakes, hard headed and fault finders.
2. Are miserable and try to make others so.
D. Unfaithful in Stewardship. Nothing reveals a man’s spiritual temperature like his attitude toward money.
1. Bumper sticker “If you love Jesus honk.” Someone answered it “If you love Jesus tithe, any fool can honk.”
2. Reason why many are miserable, unkind, unhappy is because take what God gives and refuse to give back - backslidden.
E. Unconcerned about Souls.
1. I am convinced the average church-member in the average church could care less if anyone got saved.
2. Three things most church members concerned about - How long will the sermon last. What will we eat for lunch? What’s on the television tonight?
3. When I am right with God soul winning is just as natural as breathing.