Summary: Too often Christains fall by the wayside by allowing sin to enter their lives.
INTRO. In our text, we find the deliverance of David from his enemies by God. But we see an amazing picture here of what happened in the battle. MORE DIED IN THE WOODS THAN FIGHTING IN THE BATTLE. Historians tell us that they were retreating, running from the battle.
Churches are dying all across our nation. WHY? Because of retreating from the battle. Man’s thinking has replaced “thus saith the Lord”.
Why do we see people dropping out of church? Those that are supposedly strong Christians fall by the wayside. They disregard their vows.
Why do we see homes in disarray, divided, and divorced? They retreat from their vows. Sin is scoffed at, and sin in a church will hurt it more than anything. Why should we die in battle for running the other direction. If we retreat, we are in danger of falling into pitfalls of sin, and being Casualties of God’s Army.
Does a sermon really matter to you anymore? Is it just another sermon?
Does the Word of God prick your hearts any longer? Do we know conviction or are our senses being dulled by the deceiver?
I. The Starting of the Problem - 15:1-6 (Absolom’s deceit for popularity) NO ONE GETS AWAY FROM GOD OVERNIGHT!
A. Appearance of royalty (Looks aren’t everything) vs. 1
- Just because it says Bible, doesn’t mean it is God’s Word.
- Just because they say praise doesn’t mean it is always to a Holy God.
- Just because others rationalize immodest dress doesn’t mean God does.
- Just because you do not agree with God’s Word, does not make it wrong.
(Some make the excuse “That is not my interpretation” - That sickens God)
The Word of God is the Word of God is the Word of God! I could tell you story after story of men and women who have rationalized what they want to do, and spit in God’s face with the statement - That is just your interpretation!)
ABSOLOM LOOKED AND SOUNDED APPEALING TO THE PEOPLE!
B. Sounds of Rightness - vs. 2-4
1. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is.
2. Just because it pleases you does not make it right.
I’m afraid Christians will roll over and play dead if it will make them feel good. The Only Sounds that are Right better line up with the Word of God.
C. All in the Name of Love - vs. 5-6
1. Just because someone says they love you doesn’t mean that they do!
2. Just because someone speaks of love doesn’t make them OK.
If they, or we do not line up with the Truth of God, there is no love!
The only genuine source of love is God, outside of Him, all is mere emotion and counterfeit.
II. The Selection of Allegiance - 15:10
A. People had to Identify with whom they Stood (David or Absolom).
“The greatest threat to Bible Believing churches is Compromise” - O.S. Hawkins. WE MUST DECIDE: GOD’S WAYS, OR THE WORLD’S WAYS
There is no straddling of the fences. Our appearances show our allegiance. Our level of commitment to God is evident by our lives we live. We decide with whom we identifiy. Actions really do speak louder than words.
B. People had to Decide Who they would Follow - God’s Man or Not
- They rebelled - Absolom will give us what we want!
- Those that Followed the one that God had not called, were in trouble.
The wicked rejected David and God’s Ways (David goes into hiding, Absolom received bad counsel, and the day came for battle).
III. The Seriousness of Retreating (WOODS) VS. 18:6-8 Here is the message! More died running from the battle, than actually in the fight!
A. Pitfalls (sin)
2 Pe 3:17 "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." Col 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
B. Predator (Satan) Some writings say that these soldiers were devoured by beasts. 1 Pe 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
They had followed the wrong leader and had retreated to the wrong place!
CONCL. WILL WE RETREAT IN THE BATTLE AND QUIT ON GOD? OR WILL WE KEEP OUR VOWS? WILL WE BE A CASUALTY IN THE WOODS? OR WILL WE FACE THE BATTLE AND MOVE FORWARD.
Will we let sin creep in and kill our effectiveness for Him, becoming Casualties in the Woods? Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;"