Reading: Luke 9:52-62
[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
[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
[*] "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.
[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?
[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
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
[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
[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!!
[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?
[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
[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!!
[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
[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
[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?"
[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
PRAYER CHORUS 71
CHORUS NO 173
PRAYER CHORUS 112