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Summary: JEREMIAH WAS CALLED TO BE A PROPHET TO PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT LISTEN. HE PROPHECIED FOR OVER 40 YEARS, AND WITNESSED NO CHANGE IN SOCIETY AS DID MANY OF HIS COUNTERPARTS. THE END RESULT WOULD BE PUNISHMENT BY GOD BY EXILE TO THE BABYLONIAN NATION.

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THE PERILS OF BACKSLIDING

JEREMIAH 2-3

AS WE STUDY THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH, WE COME FACE TO FACE WITH THE REALITY THAT THE NATION THAT JEREMIAH PROPHECIED TO, IS REMARKABLY CLOSE TO OUR WORLD, AND OUR NATION TODAY.

JEREMIAH WAS CALLED TO BE A PROPHET TO PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT LISTEN. HE PROPHECIED FOR OVER 40 YEARS, AND WITNESSED NO CHANGE IN SOCIETY AS DID MANY OF HIS COUNTERPARTS. THE END RESULT WOULD BE PUNISHMENT BY GOD BY EXILE TO THE BABYLONIAN NATION.

THE EARLY CHAPTERS OF JEREMIAH SPEAK ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE NATION, AS HE SAW IT. THE NATION DID NOT TURN AGAINST GOD ALL OF A SUDDEN. IT HAPPENED OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. AT ONE TIME THEY HAD AN AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. THEY WERE STILL HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE EVEN THOUGH, AT THIS TIME THEY WERE NOT WALKING WITH HIM. THEY HAD IN FACT BACKSLIDDEN.

TODAY I WANT TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE WITH YOU TODAY. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A BACKSLIDER? HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? WHAT CAN WE DO TO CHANGE THE SITUATION? ISRAEL WAS FACING ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS THEN, JUST AS WE ARE TODAY.

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BACKSLIDE?

2. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BACKSLIDING?

3. WHAT CAN WE DO TO CHANGE THE SITUATION?

4. WHAT ARE THE REWARDS FOR US IF WE DO COME BACK TO GOD?

POINT ONE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BACKSLIDE?

I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I HAVE HAD A RATHER CONCRETE APPROACH TO THIS ISSUE. WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN MINISTRY I DID NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE WAS SUCH A POSITION. I USED TO BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE DID NOT BACKSLIDE, BUT THAT THEY NEVER HAD A SAVING ENCOUNTER WITH GOD IN THE FIRST PLACE. I WOULD ASK MYSELF, “HOW COULD A PERSON WHO HAS HAD A GENUINE SWAVING ENCOUNTER WITH GOD, TURN THEIR BACK ON HIM.” IT JUST DIDN’T SEEM POSSIBLE TO ME.

BUT ISRAEL HAD A GENUINE ENCOUNTER WITH GOD. GOD CHOSE ISRAEL TO BE HIS PEOPLE. HE CHOSE TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. IN THE BEGINNING THEY WALKED CLOSE WITH GOD,

JEREMIAH 2:3: “Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’" declares the LORD.”

THIS VERSE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE USE OF HOLY INDICATES NOT ONLY THE FACT THAT THE NATION OF ISRAEL WAS A NATION SEPARATED UNTO GOD ALONE FOR HIS SERVICE, IT SHOWS THAT ISRAEL WAS GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE.

THE “FIRSTFRUITS” ARE IMPORTANT IN THAT THEY ARE SET ASIDE AS SACRED. GOD CONSIDERED THE NATION TO BE SACRED AND SET APART BY HIM. THE FIRSTFRUITS WERE OFFERED TO GOD AND COULD NOT BE EATEN BY COMMON ISRAELITES.

GOD TOLD ABRAHAM IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS:

GENESIS 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."”

BUT NOW JEREMIAH FACES A PEOPLE WHO HAVE TURNED THEIR BACKS TOTALLY ON HE WHO LED THEM OUT OF EGYPTIAN EXILE

HE WHO LED THEM THROUGH THE RED SEA

HE WHO LED THEM THROUGH THE WILDERNESS

HE WHO LED THEM TO THE PROMISED LAND

HE WHO PROTECTED THEM FROM THEIR ENEMIES

TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED TO JUDAH, WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE TERM BACKSLIDE.

WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY DEFINES THE WORD AS:


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