Sermons

I. "O ISRAEL, RETURN UNTO THE LORD THY GOD; FOR THOU HAST FALLEN BY THINE INIQUITY . . . I WILL HEAL THY BACKSLIDING, I WILL LOVE THEM FREELY" – HOSEA 14:1-9

A. How tender and gracious is the Lord:

1. To His backsliding people - "I will love them freely" is the divine assurance

2. "Return thou backsliding Israel" - Jer 3:12

3. "Return ye backsliding children" (v.22)

B. Our text is the special appeal of heaven's love to God's erring children:

1. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" - Jer 31:3

2. "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee" - Is 49:15

II. BACKSLIDING - ITS CAUSE, COURSE AND CURE

A. Nature of backsliding:

1. Backsliding does not erupt all at once; the prodigal son did not arrive among the swine the first day he left home

2. The course of backsliding is gradual and at times insidious - unnoticed, but it is there just the same

3. A little sin in the heart may change the current of life, though for a time being it may be impervious. Examples: neglecting family worship - Jer 10:25; losing interest in the study of the word of God. These and similar infractions in our Christian life are definite indication of backsliding

B. A happy condition,"When thou wentest after Me in the wilderness Israel was holiness unto the Lord" - Jer 2:3; these words suggest two truths:

1. That to please God we must follow Him - John 10:4; Mark 10:28

2. That in following Him we are holiness unto the Lord; this is the root of Bible Christianity. Peter spoke the truth, "To whom can we go" - John 8:68

C. A foolish step:

1. "They have forsaken Me and hewed them out cisterns - broken cisterns - Jer 2:13

2. God is the fountain of living water, and to turn to broken cisterns is folly

III. NOTE THESE RELATED FACTS

A. "I planted thee a noble vine; how art thou turned into the degenerate plant?" - Jer 2:21:

1. Forsaking God means degeneration is character and in life

2. If you have begun to pray less, you have begun to degenerate

3. If you have a growing dislike for the company of the godly, the process of degeneration has begun in your life

4. If you have lost your zeal for winning souls for Christ - degeneration has started in your life

5. These truths are set forth in John 15:1-11 study that chapter prayerful; there is the key to abiding in the Lord

B. A fruitless attempt;"Though thou wash thee...yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord" - Jer 5:22

1. It is very common for the backslider in heart to put forth effort to keep the form of godliness when the power is gone

2. But such attempts are in themselves a mark of degeneracy - a cover up - Matt 23:25-28

C. A solemn change:

1. "Thou hast taught the wicked ones thy ways; also in they skirts is found the blood of souls" - Jer 2:32-35

2. How guilty and responsible are they who depart from the truth and use their knowledge of the truth to influence others against it

3. Satan uses them to use their knowledge of the truth as Judas did to betray the Lord of glory

D. A presumptuous plea:

1. "Yet thou sayest, I am innocent, I have not sinned" (v.35)

2. When the backslider reaches this point in his backsliding, he is at the lowest level; he has lost the sense of honesty; he is in a state of spiritual mortification

E. A gracious remedy:

1. "Return thou backsliding Israel, for I am merciful, saith the Lord" - Jer 3:12; Hosea 14

2. Luke 15:18,21; I John 1:9

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