Backsliding

Purpose: Most believers have a time in their life when they slide back into the ways they walked before they believed.  It is a common deflection and usually occurs because the backslider has failed to keep in fellowship, prayer and the study of the Word of God.  This lesson shows the state of the backslider and the consequence and most important it shows a way of escape and return to full fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

Outline

1. The State of the Backslider Described

2. A Common Defection

3. The Consequence of Backsliding

4. God's Gracious Appeals

5. Promises to the Backslider

6. Security of the True Believer

7. Spiritual Coldness in the Last Days

8. Watching, Praying, Escaping

Defined: Many Christians define the word backslider as one who was a faithful believer and now is involved in all sorts of sin.    The bible makes it clear that a lot of good, solid believers also fall into this category, because they are not following the Lord with 100% of everything they have.  Sadly, this is the case for many believers who genuinely think they are alright like they are. The good news is, we can all return to Him. Don't let anyone ever tell you different.

As we will see in the following verses, God requires His children to come running after Him with all their heart. Anything less is a divided heart, and shows a lack of commitment to Him which does not match up with His total commitment to us.

In Revelation 2:4, Jesus describes believers who have "left thy first love." It is important to note that this section is addressing the leader of the Church in Ephesus, so this is a believer, not an unbeliever. In other words, this is a warning to you and me, not to leave our first love.

Not being totally committed to God can lead to all sorts of sin, which we can see outwardly. For example, with David, it led to adultery and murder (see 2 Samuel chapter 11). Peter, on the other hand, exhibited verbal denial of a relationship with Christ (Matthew 26:70-74).

1. The State of the Backslider Described

Jeremiah 2:19 - Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!

2 Peter 1:9 - But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

2. A Common Defection

Hosea 11:7 – For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.

Proverbs 14:14 - Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.

Hebrews 4:11 - So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

3. The Consequence of Backsliding

2 Chronicles 24:20 - Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now he has abandoned you!”

Jeremiah 14:10 - So this is what the Lord says to his people: “You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.  Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.”

2 Timothy 2:12 - If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us.

4. God's Gracious Appeals

Jeremiah 3:22 - “My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” “Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply, “for you are the Lord our God.”

Hosea 14:1 - Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down.

5. Promises to the Backslider

Hosea 14:4 - The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.

2 Chronicles 30:9 “For if you return to the Lord, your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”

6. Security of the True Believer

Psalms 37:31 They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.

Hebrews 6:9 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.

7. Spiritual Coldness in the Last Days

Matthew 24:12 Sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold.

8. Watching, Praying, Escaping

Luke 21:36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.

 

Outline is from the Dixon Analytical Bible

Scripture is from the New Living Bible courtesy of www.biblegateway.com

Arranged and modified by HKM 09/06/2010