1. AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY has saved thousands of lives by educating the public about 7 WARNING SIGNALS OF CANCER.
a. They are:
1) Unusual bleeding/discharge.
2) Lump/thickness in breast or elsewhere.
3) Sore that does not heal.
4) Change in bowel or bladder habits.
5) Persistent hoarseness or cough.
6) Indigestion/difficulty in swallowing.
7) Change in wart or mole.
b. "If your signal lasts longer than two weeks, go to your doctor to learn if it means cancer."
c. Many have heeded one or more of these WARNING SIGNALS.
1) Early detection the key in fighting cancer.
2) Untold thousands alive today because of sensitivity.
2. Early detection is important for threats to our SPIRITUAL health.
a. Apostasy, like cancer, gives warning signals.
b. We need to be educated for early detection.
c. PURPOSE: Identify 7 danger signals of SPIRITUAL CANCER (Apostasy).
I. LOSS OF APPETITE FOR THE WORD OF GOD .
A. Bible is clear that Spiritual Growth is connected w/ Bible Study.
1. "Faith comes by hearing, hearing by WOG" (Rom. 10:17).
2. "As newborn babes, desire sincere milk of Word ..." (1 Pt. 2:2).
3. Read Heb. 5:11-6:3.
B. You may have this danger signal of apostasy if:
1. Bible study of any kind is not exciting to you.
2. Not engaged in some kind of PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY.
a. NOT going to learn all you need to from B.C. & Sermons!
b. Is extent of B.S. being "spoon-fed" or learning to feed self?
3. Does it bother you if someone challenges you to deeper level?
II. NEGLECT OF PRAYER .
A. Prayer is basic to the Christian life.
1. Commanded to "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).
2. Popular Interp.: Not 24 hrs. a day .... "prayerful attitude."
3. My Interp.: Don't allow times of non-prayer to develop in life.
B. True prayer is difficult ... painful ... may require discipline.
III. FAILURE TO ATTEND CHURCH ASSEMBLIES .
A. "Coming to church" should be a DELIGHT & not just a DUTY.
1. Early X's gave priority to frequent gatherings (Acts 2:42, 46).
2. Habitual non-attendance is sin (Heb. 10:23-26).
B. Failure to attend church services one of the most noticeable danger signals of apostasy.
IV. NON-INVOLVEMENT WITH THE WORK OF THE CHURCH .
A. Every church has a struggle to involve its members in God's work.
1. What is God's work? (teaching, serve LS, BS, public prayer...)
2. ALSO involves some other things (Rom. 12:6-8; Matt. 25:35-36).
B. One of the most common complaints of Christians is:
1. "I don't feel a part of church, I don't feel involved."
2. Solution: GET INVOLVED! Don't wait to be asked. Volunteer!
V. A CRITICAL SPIRIT .
A. There's not a one of us who doesn't need to watch out for this one.
1. Matt. 7:1-5.
2. Gal. 5:13-15.
B. Can we extend mercy God has given to us to others? (Eph. 4:29-32).
VI. LACK OF REGARD FOR THE TRUTH .
A. What is truth? (John 17:17).
1. Are we willing to allow God's Word to tell us we're wrong?
2. If not, we have a lack of regard for the truth.
B. It's painful to admit we've been out of step with God's Word.
1. Some of us are never able to do it.
2. Evidence of PRIDE and not LOVE OF TRUTH (2 Thess. 2:10-12, KJV).
VII. ABSENCE OF CONCERN FOR OTHERS .
A. Hallmark of Christianity is self-giving love (Phil. 2:4).
B. To be unable to look outside of our own narrow interests to the needs and concerns of others is a serious thing indeed.
1. As with physical cancer, spiritual cancer has WARNING SIGNALS.
a. Important that we know what they are.
b. Important that early detection leads to treatment.
2. An isolated, short-term appearance of one of these symptoms does not mean we have fallen away from Christ.
a. Our security is far greater than that.
b. Persistence of the problem over a period of time is serious!
( Largely based on an article by Rubel Shelly )