Summary: The costs to those who walk away or never had a commitment to Jesus Christ
The Cost of Loss
What is the cost of walking away from God? Count the cost were are told of any endeavor we involve ourselves in. Tonight I want us to consider several costs to the person who does not know, or walks away from their commitment to Christ. These are not in any order, but all combine to a state of separation.
1. The cost of unanswered prayer. James 1:5-7 states, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord." When we go through the trials of life, the Bible says we can ask God for His help, and not only will He bring joy into the pain, but He will bring wisdom in handling the situation. But James warns, if you doubt God, then do not expect to receive anything from Him.
This person is also referred to as being double-minded. This is a person who will say something one minute and contradict it the next. Do you know people like this? James says to pray in faith believing, this means coming to God and knowing that whatever He reveals, you are going to do it. God is not answering prayers of people who are not going to do what He says so that is why you need to be willing to say, not my will God, but Yours be done.
Some people think when God answers prayer it is a suggestion they can either take or leave, but God answers prayers of people who will obey, otherwise they will receive nothing from Him.
What would you think of a man who says I am not sure if I want my wife or this other woman, but until I decide, I want my wife to stay with me, do the cooking and cleaning for me. To be understanding of me, serving me and being faithful to me while I decide which of the two women I want. Would you expect the wife to stay with a man who has these thoughts and wants her to wait out his decision? Of course not. But don’t we do the same with God? People who have backsliden and are trying to go through the motions without the emotions, desire and obedience to God might just as well forget praying because God has no obligation to them.
2. Backsliden people lose the assurance of their salvation. 2 Peter 1:8, 9 "If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true lack of knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins."
These are people who have hung out with the world crowd so much they forget whose child they are, they are not growing and maturing, opening themselves up to all kinds of doubts which will swallow them up. They have lost the comfort, the joy, the peace that goes with the certainty of being saved. And they may wallow in this state to long and lose the hope of their true calling.
3. A third cost is physical death. 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 (READ)
Follow this, the Israelites enjoyed all the benefits of God’s provisions, they were under the cloud, they had God’s guidance. They passed through the sea--they had God’s deliverance. They were baptized into Moses--they had God’s leader. They ate and drank spiritual food which is a picture of Christ--they had God’s provision. Yet they had crossed the line, it says they were laid low in the wilderness which means six feet under. How did they get to this state? It was their lack of faith, gross sin, disobedience to God. They crossed the line and paid with their lives.
How does this happen to the backslider? How many of you have ever been tired and driving down the road, dose off, then all the sudden, you sense danger, you are jerked back into an awareness of your perilous situation, coming to your senses, you avert an accident of either hitting another vehicle or driving off the road into a potentially deadly situation? What caused that alert? The Holy Spirit or a guardian angel send from God to alert you to the danger? How does a message of emanate danger reach someone who is far off the beaten track with God, who has found themselves deep in the far country from Jesus Christ? Your guardian angel could become your destroyer, it says in 1 Corinthians 10:9, 10: "Not let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer."