Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Dec. 23, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
THE BACKSLIDER AT CHRISTMAS
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 3:1-6
Text: Jeremiah 3:6
Jeremiah 3:6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
Introduction: I have chosen verse 6 for this morning’s message, because of the reference to Israel backsliding UNDER EVERY GREEN TREE. Here we are at Christmas, with all of the talk about our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ, and many of God’s people not serving Him like they should. I want to bring you a message this morning called, “The Backslider at Christmas.”
The word, “backslider,” appears in one verse of scripture:
Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
The word, “backsliding,” shows up in 12 verses. All of them are in the Old Testament. Israel is called a backsliding heifer and a backsliding daughter.
I. THE REALITY OF BACKSLIDING
Although the word, “backsliding,” may not be found in the New Testament, it is definitely a New Testament practice, a BAD one.
Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
John Mark backslid. He quit during one of his missionary journeys with Paul. Demas backslid. At one point Paul indicated that everyone who was with him at a crucial time in his ministry backed out and quit.
A. It starts in the heart
- Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
B. It shows up in habits
- You stop private prayer
- You quit winning souls
- You quit reading your Bible as you should
- You stop tithing and giving like you used to
- You start missing church services and making excuses for it.
C. It spreads to others
- In nearly all of God’s churches the majority of the members are backslidden. They don’t have the joy, the love, or the desire that they had shortly after they got saved.
II. THE REASONS FOR BACKSLIDING
Jeremiah 49:4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?
- 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- 2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
- Many Christians backslide from service because of pride.
- They either didn’t get enough attention paid to them, or they didn’t LIKE what attention WAS paid to them.
- One of the BIGGEST causes of backsliding is running with the wrong crowd!
- Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
III. THE RESULTS OF BACKSLIDING
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
A. A dimmed light
- A lost testimony
- A lost radiance
- A lost joy
B. Disappointed lambs
- Our sin and service affect other Christians, especially younger ones
C. A disgusting layout
- You will end up in the pigpen just like the prodigal son did.
- You will ask yourself, “How did I get into THIS mess?” Answer: You BACKSLID into it!
IV. THE RESTORATION FROM BACKSLIDING
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
A. Realize where you are
- Hosea 4:16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.
- If there was ever a time when you were more faithful to the Lord than you are now, then you are BACKSLIDDEN.
B. Remember what you left
- Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
- God’s will is the happiest place to be!
C. Repent of your wrong decisions
- Change your mind!
- “I have sinned” – three of the most profitable words a person can utter.
D. Return to your Father
- Jeremiah 3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.
- Jeremiah 8:5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
- Luke 15:18-19 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
E. Repeat your basic Christian duties
- Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
- Bible reading, prayer, soul-winning, faithful church attendance, tithing and giving, etc.
Are YOU backslidden?
Were you once closer to the Lord, more active in His work, than you are today?
Come back, backslider!