BACKSLIDERS

 
                             Reading: Luke 9:52-62
 
    INTRODUCTION
 
    [a] I believe that ploughing a field, is not as easy as it may look!
    [b] There are  of  course,  in  many  parts  of  the country 'PLOUGHING
    COMPETITIONS' where farm workers will put their skill to the test!
    [c] One of the  most  important  tests  is  of  course how straight the
    furrows are!
    [d] It takes great attention  to  detail,  and keeping the attention on
    the job in hand! Certainly no looking over the shoulder!
    [e] To plough a straight furrow, the eyes  have to be firmly fixed on a
    point ahead. I said that for  the  Christian, that has to mean, looking
    to Christ! "Turn your   eyes   upon   Jesus,   look   full  in His
    wonderful face."
    [*] "No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is
    fit for the Kingdom of God."
    [f] The words of Jesus are very  pungent, and tell the backslider in no
    uncertain terms, that if their attention is taken up with the old life,
    then they are not fit for God's Kingdom!!
    [g] Although it's a good text, it  is  going  to be more of a launching
    pad to take us to many other Scriptures to do with the backslider.
 
    POINT 1
 
    [a] I don't think we can consider this subject, without thinking of the
    backsliding and denial of Peter!
    [b] Peter was there, in the  courtyard  of the high priest, amongst the
    'unsaved', trying desperately to be like them!
    [c] In some ways the backslider is WORSE than the unsaved person!
    They are masquerading as someone  who  doesn't  know  Christ - YET THEY
    KNOW THE TRUTH!
    [d] THEY KNOW THERE IS A HELL AT  THE END OF A CHRISTLESS LIFE, AND YET
    BY THEIR ACTIONS AND BY THEIR SILENCE,  THEY ARE GIVING THEIR FRIENDS A
    PUSH TO GET THEM THERE!
    [e] It  was  only  when  the  cock  crowed,  and  he  remembered Jesus'
    prophecy, that he was brought face to  face with his backsliding - that
    was his crisis point!
    [f] IF YOU'RE A BACKSLIDER, HAS  THE  COCK  CROWED FOR YOU YET? HAS GOD
    BROUGHT YOU FACE TO FACE WITH YOUR BACKSLIDING?
 
    POINT 2
 
    [a] There are those who seem to  think that because they have made some
    sort of decision at one time or  other,  that they can now live as they
    like, and will not be  called  into  account!  A COSY LITTLE EXPERIENCE
    THAT DEMANDS LITTLE!!
    THAT IS NOT MY READING OF SCRIPTURE
    [b] I read of a Salvation that brings about a NEW BIRTH!
    I read of a Salvation that makes a person a NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST!
    I read of LIVES TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER  OF GOD - NEVER TO BE THE SAME
    AGAIN!!
    I READ ABOUT  FAITHFULNESS TO GOD SO STRONG, IT WAS EVEN TO DEATH!!
    THAT IS BIBLE CHRISTIANITY.
    [c] Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't fit in with what I see
    at times in the careless lives of some professing Christians!!
    To some of them, commitment,  sincerity, dedication, are words reserved
    for the fanatic,  not  the  well  balanced  worldling  with a spiritual
    flavour!
    [d] Neither does it fit in with  those whose Salvation is an absolutely
    'MAGIC' experience! MAGIC! HERE  TODAY  -  GONE  TOMORROW, AND THEN RE-
    PRODUCED, LIKE A RABBIT OUT OF A HAT!!
    [*] Don't blink! You might miss it!
    There are some people who seem to need a REGULAR 'FIX' OF SIN, and then
    they just pop back  into  the  role  of  a  Christian again, and expect
    everyone to treat them as if they've never been away!!
    UNTIL OF COURSE 'THE CALL OF THE WILD' COMES AGAIN!
    [e] GOD EXPECTS HIS PEOPLE TO LIVE ACCORDING TO HIS RULES AS SET OUT IN
    THE BIBLE!
    [f] CONTINUITY AND DEPENDABILITY ARE HALLMARKS  OF A REAL EXPERIENCE OF
    CHRIST! GOD DEALS IN PERMANENCY. I DON'T  KNOW HOW MANY NEW BIRTHS SOME
    PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN HAVE!!
 
    POINT 3
 
    [a] WHAT IS A BACKSLIDER?
    [b] In the illustration of Jesus,  the ploughman, did not pay attention
    to his task,  but  allowed  his  attention  to  be  taken  up  where it
    shouldn't! He became,  an  unfit  candidate  for  the  Kingdom  of God,
    because THE LORD NEEDS PEOPLE HE CAN RELY ON! CAN HE RELY ON YOU??
    [c] Make no mistake, if you have  LEFT  YOUR  FIRST LOVE for the Lord -
    YOU ARE A BACKSLIDER!!
    [d] If you have become UNRELIABLE in His work, YOU ARE A BACKSLIDER!!
    [e] If you are no longer interested  enough in the souls of others, for
    it to cost you in sacrifice - THEN YOU ARE A BACKSLIDER!!
    [f] If you can look back to a  time, when you were more fervent for the
    Lord - when you prayed more, and  loved  to read His Word, and couldn't
    wait to tell others about Him - IF THAT IS NOT YOUR EXPERIENCE NOW THEN
    YOU ARE A BACKSLIDER!!
    [g] If your daily devotion to television soap opera, takes up more time
    than your prayer life,  and  your  Bible  reading  -  THEN  WHO HAS THE
    GREATER CLAIM ON YOUR LIFE - THE LORD, OR THE WORLD??
    [h] If we have allowed our  spiritual  priorities to get all confused -
    is that not one of the marks of a backslidden life?
 
    POINT 4
 
    [a] THE RESULTS OF A BACKSLIDDEN LIFE!
    [b] Hebrews 6:6  says   of   the   backslider,   that   "...  they
    crucify to themselves, the Son of  God  afresh  and  put Him to an open
    shame."
    [c] Now to my mind, that  is  a  powerful  verse, for it means that the
    person who truly knows  the  Lord  and  turns  their  back upon Him, is
    crucifying Him afresh by their actions!!
    [d] There are those who  believe  that  every  time they hold the mass,
    Jesus is crucified again!! That is blatantly untrue, as the Bible makes
    it very clear, that Jesus has done this ONCE FOR ALL! (Hebrews 7:27)
    On the cross He  declared,  "IT   IS   FINISHED!" THE WORK OF
    SALVATION WAS COMPLETE!
    [e] But there  is  still  the  occasion  for  the  backslider, by their
    actions to so discredit Christ, that  it  is  as if they are crucifying
    Him afresh in the sight of the  world  - holding the Saviour up to open
    shame and  ridicule!!  Giving  the  impression  before  men,  that  the
    Salvation He purchased on the cross, is nothing more than a FARCE!!
    THAT DEAR FRIENDS IS SERIOUS STUFF!!
 
    POINT 5
 
    [a] IS THERE JUDGEMENT FOR THE BACKSLIDER?
    [b] In Hebrews 10:28-31, we find a  severe warning of judgement for the
    backslider! read, " Anyone who  rejected   the  law of Moses, died
    without mercy on the  testimony   of   two   or  three  witnesses.  How
    much more severely do you think  a  man   deserves  to  be punished who
    has trampled the Son of God  under  foot,  who has treated as an unholy
    thing the blood  of  the  covenant  that  sanctified  him,  and who has
    insulted the Spirit of grace? For  we  know  Him Who said, "It  is
    mine to avenge; I  will  repay,"  and  again,  "The Lord will
    judge His  people." It is a dreadful  thing to fall into the hands
    of the living God."
    [c] There is a fallacy around  that  the  backslider will not be called
    into account, but as you can  see,  it  is speaking clearly about those
    who have experienced the cleansing  Blood!  It  says God will judge HIS
    PEOPLE!
    [d] There will be an accounting  day  -  for some that comes while they
    are still alive! Some turn  their  backs  on  God, and their lives fall
    apart at the seams!
    [e] Let us never forget as Paul  said  to the Romans in 14:10, "WE
    SHALL ALL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST."
    Again in 2 Corinthians 5:10, he   says,   "For  we must all appear
    before the Judgement Seat of Christ;  that  every  one  may receive the
    things done in his body, according to  that he hath done, whether it be
    good or bad." REMEMBER, ON  BOTH  OCCASIONS  - PAUL IS SPEAKING TO
    THE CONVERTED!!
    [f] We live in an unruly generation,  and there are many today, who are
    in the position of those  in  Titus  1:16,  "Who profess that they
    know  God;  but  in  works   they   deny  Him,  being  abominable,  and
    disobedient, and unto every good work, reprobate."
    [g] REPROBATE has one of the  biggest  list of alternatives I have ever
    seen in a Thesaurus. I've chosen a few, maybe one of them fits you!!
    HARDENED, HABITUAL, SHAMELESS, IMMORAL,  CORRUPT,  IMPURE, BLACK SHEEP,
    PRODIGAL, CHEAT, IN DISGRACE, FRAUD.
    [h] Paul uses the same word  in  2  Corinthians  13:5, and he says that
    Christ is in you, unless you  are  a reprobate! The modern translations
    bring out a very important meaning to this word.
    The New International puts  it  like  this,  "Do  you  not realise
    that Christ Jesus is in you - unless of course you fail the test."
    The Living Bible gives  a  very  striking  rendering  of verses 5-6! It
    says, "Check up on yourselves. Are  you  really Christians? Do you
    pass the test? Do you feel  Christ's  presence  and power more and more
    within you? Or  are  you   just   pretending   to   be  Christians when
    actually you aren't at all?"
 
    CONCLUSION
 
    [a] WHY DO PEOPLE BACKSLIDE?
    [b] Often it is because THE COST OF BEING A CHRISTIAN IS TOO GREAT!!
    PEOPLE ARE OFTEN NOT WILLING TO PAY THAT COST!
    IF WE TRULY LOVE THE SAVIOUR, we  will  say,  in the words of the song,
    "I'll not turn back, whatever it may cost!" (H & H no 27)
    [c] Paul said in 2 Timothy  4:10,  "Demus hath forsaken me, having
    loved this present world."
    [d] The world has always had it's  pull, and our ability to resist that
    pull, is linked directly with how much  in  love we are with the Christ
    Who suffered and died for us!
    [e] In the beginning  of  this  message,  I  asked,  "HAS THE COCK
    CROWED FOR YOU YET?" This was of  course  in  relation  to Peter's
    backsliding and denial, and  him  being  forced  to   face  up  to  it!
    "THE LORD TURNED AND LOOKED ON PETER."
    [f] Has the Spirit of God, forced you in the course of this message, to
    face up to your own faltering relationship with the Lord??
    [g] Have the courage to do something about it!
 
    APPEAL - WITH SONGSTERS SINGING "I'LL NOT TURN BACK"
 
 
    SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
    SONG                TUNE
    327                 691
    PRAYER CHORUS 71
    CHORUS NO 173
    600                 705
    PRAYER CHORUS 112
    44                  668