Summary: A sermon that details the drift that many experience at times in their Christmas experience.
"THE BACKSLIDING BELIEVER"
Zec 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
Introduction: The subject that we are examining this morning is one that you probably will not hear much about. There is very little interest in the church world today to learn what happens when a believers drifts away from the Lord but the issue is real and serious. Some of God's choicest servants have been backsliders in the Biblical sense of the world. Abraham was and so was Moses and Noah and certainly King David and the nation of Israel is characterized as a "backsliding people" and even a church can backslide for we find in Rev 2:4 that the church at Ephesus had lost its "...first love..."
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
the list goes on and on so let's look at the vision that the prophet saw and try to identify the different characters in the vision. Zechariah's vision is of the remnant who had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem. First, we have Joshua the high priest who represents all those who worship Jehovah. Second, we have the angel of the Lord which is Jesus in His pre-incarnate manifestation to which almost all Bible commentators agree. Undoubtedly one of the great truths the risen Lord revealed to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus was the many Scriptures that employ the terminology of "The Angel of the Lord". Consider: "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27 (NKJV) and third, we have Satan who is pictured
I. The Accused - Joshua
a. The charge
ILL - "It is doubtful if a moral fall is ever abrupt. People decline in religion and backslide gradually. Like descending a stairway, they go down step by step."
Backsliding is a drift, a downward progression away from the Lord.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
b. The condition
Hos 7:8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Hos 7:9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
ILL - In the Middle East, bread is baked in an interesting fashion. Having heated the hearth, the bakers sweep one corner, put the cake upon it, and cover it with embers or ashes; in a short time they turn it, cover it again, and continue this every 10 to 15 minutes until they find it sufficiently baked. If it is not turned, the bottom will be burnt, and the top unbaked, and so be good for nothing; not fit to be eaten, being nothing indeed, neither bread nor dough. The people were like a pancake burned on one side but raw on the other. Ephraim boasted themselves to be a people sacred to God and yet did not fully commit to Him. Although they took advantage of the Lord's goodness, they did not seek Him with their whole heart. Jerry Flury