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Backsliding

(Falling away from the Lord and His will)

1. Spiritual problems that lead to backsliding:

A. Cooling off and losing "first love" for Jesus:

Rev.2:4-5 - Thou hast left thy first love...remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent...or else I will remove
Rev.3:15,16 - Thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot

B. Being filled with own ways and desires:

Pro.14:14 - Backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways
Ezk.14:3,5 - These men have set up their idols in their heart...they are estranged from Me through their idols
Ezk.14:7-8 - Every one which...setteth up his idols in his heart...I will cut him off from the midst of My people
1Tim.6:9 - Hurtful lusts...drown men in perdition

C. Losing sight of the Heavenly goal in favour of temporal gain:

Pro.29:18 - Where there is no vision, the people perish
Mal.3:14 - Ye said, It is vain to serve God...what profit is it?
Lk.15:12,13 - Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. He (left) and wasted his substance with riotous living
Heb.12:16-17 - Esau, for one morsel of meat sold his birthright
2Pet.1:9 - He...cannot see afar off, and hath for gotten that he was purged from his old sins

D. Quitting when the going gets tough:

Mat.13:20,21 - When persecution ariseth...by and by he is offended
Jn.10:12,13 - An hireling...seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. He careth not for the sheep

E. Desiring worldly pleasures and riches:

Heb.11:14-15 - If they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have...returned
Gen.19:26 - (Lot's) wife looked back...and became a pillar of salt
Num.11:5,6 - [Lusting for things of Egypt] (See also Exo.16:3)
Psa.73:2,3 - My steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at...the prosperity of the wicked
Mat.13:22 - The care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word
2Tim.4:10 - Demas hath forsaken me, having loved present world
1Jn.2:15-17 - If any man love the world, love of the Father not in him
Rev.3:17 - I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing
(See also 1Cor.10:5,6)

F. Not grounded in or obeying the Word:

Lk.8:13 - These have no root...in time of temptation fall away
Mat.7:26-27 - [He] that heareth these sayings...and doeth them not... house upon the sand...great was the fall of it
1Tim.1:19 - Faith...which some having put away made shipwreck
2Tim.4:3,4 - They shall turn away their ears from the truth

G. Having a doubting, questioning, unbelieving attitude:

Jn.6:60,66 - Many disciples said, this is an hard saying; who can hear it? Many went back, and walked no more with Him
Rom.11:20 - Because of unbelief they were broken off
Col.2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
Heb.3:12 - Take heed, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God
Jude 5 - The Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not

H. Hardening heart to the truth:

Mat.13:15 - Ears dull of hearing...their eyes they have closed
Eph.4:18-19 - Having understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through blindness...past feeling

I. Doublemindedness and wavering:

2Chr.25:2,14 - He did that which was right, but not with a perfect heart [and soon worshipped other gods] (See Psa.78:36,37)
Psa.78:8,9 - (They) set not their heart aright...spirit was not steadfast with God...turned back in the day of battle
Hos.10:2 - Their heart is divided; now (are) they found faulty
Jam.1:6-8 - A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (See also Eph.4:14)

J. Refusing to receive correction:

Pro.14:9 - Fools make a mock at sin [as if it's not serious]
Pro.15:10 - Correction is grievous to him that forsaketh the way
Job 33:9,10 - I am clean...I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me [vs.10 "He just has it in for me."]

K. Not confessing problems and sins:

Pro.28:13 - He that covereth his sins shall not prosper
Jn.3:19b-20 - Neither cometh to light, lest his deeds be reproved
(See Isa.29:15 - and Saul's problem in 1Sam.15:1-35.)

L. Not responding to God's loving chastisement:

Pro.29:1 - He that being often reproved, and hardeneth his neck
Isa.1:5 - Why should ye be striken any more? Ye revolt more
Isa.57:17 - I was wroth, and smote him [but] he went on frowardly in the way of his heart
Jer.2:30a - In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction
(See also Isa.42:25; Jer.5:3; Dan.9:13.)

M. Allowing bitterness to grow:

Heb.12:15 - Lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you
(See also Jam.3:14,15; Eph.4:31.)

N. Being led astray with vain imaginations:

Jer.7:24 - They walked in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward (See also Jer.13:10; 16:12.)

O. Idleness and gossiping:

1Tim.5:12,13 - They have cast off their faith. They learn to be idle, wandering...tattlers and busybodies
2Tim.2:16 - Vain babblings...will increase unto more ungodliness (See also Eph.1:14; 1Tim.6:20,21.)

P. Murmuring and ingratitude:

Num.14:27-30 - [Murmurers not allowed to enter the promised land]
(See also Num.11:1; 21:5,6; 1Cor.10:10; Jude 15,16a.)

Q. Fellowshipping with trouble-makers:

Pro.6:12-16,19 - Frowardness is in his heart...he soweth discord
Pro.13:20 - A companion of fools shall be destroyed
1Cor.15:33 - Evil communications corrupt good manners
Gal.5:7 - Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
(See also Lk.6:45; 1Ki.11:4.)

R. Desiring fellowship with the world:

Jam.4:4 - Whoever will be a friend of the world is enemy of God

S. A lack of fear of the Lord:

Jer.2:19b - Thou hast forsaken the Lord...My fear is not in thee

2. How the Lord views those who turn their backs on Him:

Pro.26:11 - As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth
Jer.2:13 - They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters
Jer.2:19 - Know...that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God
Lk.9:62 - No man...looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God
Heb.10:38 - If any draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in
2Pet.2:22 - The dog is turned to his vomit and the sow to wallowing

3. The danger of fellowshipping with those who have turned away from the Lord:

A. They can corrupt and undermine others:

Deut.20:8 - Let him return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart
Judg.7:3 - Whoever is fearful, let him return and depart early
Acts 29:28-30 Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them
1Cor.5:6,7 - A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Purge out therefore the old leaven
(See also 2Pet.2:18,19)

B. They cannot be trusted or depended upon:

Psa.78:57 - They turned aside like a deceitful bow
Pro.25:19 - Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint
(See also Pro.23:7; Gal.2:4,5.)

4. God's punishment of those who forsake Him:

Deut.28:63 - The Lord will rejoice...to bring you to nought
Josh.24:20 - If ye forsake the Lord...He will do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good
Ezra 8:22b - His power and wrath is against them that forsake Him
Jer.15:6 - Thou art gone backward: therefore will I destroy thee
Mat.5:13 - If the salt have lost savour...it is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot
Jn.15:6 - If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth...and is withered; and...they are burned
Heb.10:26 - If we sin wilfully after we have received the truth, there remaineth...a fearful looking for of judgment
2Pet.2:21 - Better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known...to turn
(See also Job 34:26,25; Psa.44:20-21; Pro.28:10; Jer.5:6,19.)

5. God's promises of mercy to those who return to Him:

2Chr.30:9b - God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him
Isa.54:7,8 - For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee
Isa.55:7 - Let the wicked forsake his way and return, and He will have mercy upon him
Jer.3:12 - Return, backsliding Israel...for I am merciful
Jer.3:14 - Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married to you
Jer.3:22 - Return...and I will heal your backslidings
Hos.14:4 - I will heal their backsliding...Mine anger turned away
Joel 2:12-13 - Turn ye to Me with all your heart, and with weeping...God is gracious and merciful, and of great kindness
Zech.10:6b - I will have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off
(See also Job 14:7; Isa.1:18; Ezk.36:26,27; Dan.9:9.)

6. Attitude for repentant prodigals to have:

2Chr.7:14 - If My people...humble themselves and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways...I will forgive
Psa.41:4 - Lord...heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee
Psa.51:3 - I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is before
Psa.84:10 - I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness
Psa.119:176 - I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek (me)
Jer.14:7 - Our backslidings are many...have sinned against Thee
Jer.24:7 - I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart
Ezk.36:31 - Then shall ye remember...and shall loathe yourselves...for your iniquities
Hos.6:1 - Come, let us return unto the Lord...He will heal us
Lk.15:19,21 - I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants
(See also Job 40:1-5; 42:1-6; Psa.51:all; Dan.9:3-20; Jam.4:6-10.)

7. How to avoid backsliding:

A. Love the Lord and keep the Heavenly vision:

Mat.6:21 - Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
Mat.6:24 - Hate the (world), and love the (Lord)...hold to the (Lord), and despise the (world)
Col.2:6,7 - Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith
Col.3:1,2 - Set your affection on things above, not on...earth
Heb.12:2,3 - Looking unto Jesus...lest ye faint in your minds

B. Remember that serving Jesus is worth it all:

1Cor.15:58 - Be stedfast, unmoveable...in the work of the Lord, your labour is not in vain in the Lord
Gal.6:9 - Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not
Heb.10:35 - Cast not away your confidence...hath great recompense
Heb.11:26,27 - Esteeming...Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt...endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible
Jam.1:12 - Blessed is the man that endureth temptation...he shall receive the crown of life (See also 2Tim.4:7,8)
Rev.3:11 - Hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown
(See Jn.15:2-7 - about "abiding in the vine"; See also 2Cor.4:16-18; Rev.2:26-28.)

C. Trust the Lord to keep you faithful:

Psa.17:5 - Hold up my goings in Thy paths that my (feet) slip not
Psa.26:1b - I have trusted in the Lord; I shall not slide
Jude 24 - He (God) is able to keep you from falling

D. Hide the Word in your heart:

Psa.119:9 - Cleanse his way by taking heed...to Thy Word
Psa.119:11 - Word hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against
Psa.37:31 - Law of God is in his heart; none of his steps slide
Psa.119:165 - Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them
(See also 2Thes.2:15; 2Pet.1:4.)

E. Forsake daydreaming and vain thoughts:

Psa.119:113 - I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love
2Cor.10:5 - Casting down imaginations, and everything that exalteth
Phi.4:8 - Whatsoever things are true...honest...think on these

F. Have conviction; know what you believe:

1Ki.18:21 - How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him
Jn.6:67-68 - Jesus (said) unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life
Acts 20:24 - None of these things move me...that I might finish (my) ministry...to testify the gospel
Rom.14:5b - Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind
2Pet.1:10 - Make your calling and election sure...shall never fall

G. Receive correction and reproof:

Psa.141:5 - Let righteous reprove me...shall be an excellent oil
Pro.6:23 - Reproofs of instruction are the way of life (See also Pro.10:17)
Pro.27:5,6 - Faithful are the wounds of a friend
Heb.3:13 - Exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened
Heb.12:5-13 - Endure chastening...lest (ye) be turned out of the way

H. Confess your problems and sins:

Pro.28:13 - Whoso confesseth and forsaketh (sins) shall have mercy
Heb.12:1 - Lay aside every weight, and the sin...and run the race
Jam.5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
(See also Job 11:14; 1Jn.1:8-10.)

I. Withdraw yourself from those who turn away from the truth:

Psa.1:1-2 - (Walk) not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor (sit)
Psa.119:63 - I am a companion of them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts (See also Pro.13:20)
Rom.16:17,18 - Avoid them...by fair speeches deceive the simple
Eph.5:11 - Have no fellowship with...but rather reprove them
2Thes.3:6 - Withdraw selves from brother that walketh disorderly
1Tim.6:3-5 - Perverse disputings...from such withdraw thyself
2Pet.3:17 - Beware lest ye being led away with the wicked, fall
(See also Exo.23:2a; Pro.1:10,15.)

J. Love not the world:

Rom.12:2 - Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed
Gal.6:14 - Cross of Christ, (whereby) world is crucified unto me
2Tim.2:4 - No man that warreth entangleth self with...this world
1Jn.2:15 - Love not the world, neither the things in the world
(See also Col.3:2; 1Cor.7:31.)

K. Endure hardships:

Psa.44:14-18 - All this is come upon us: yet...our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined
2Tim.2:3 - Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
Heb.11:24,25 - Choosing rather to suffer affliction...than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season
(See also Heb.12:1-3)

L. Remember how much you've already endured:

Gal.3:4 - Have ye suffered so many things in vain?
Heb.10:32 - Call to remembrance the former days, in which...ye en dured a great fight (See also Heb.6:11)

M. Give up personal desires, endure temptations:

Lk.9:23-25 - Whosoever will save his life shall lose it
1Cor.9:27 - I keep my body (under), and bring it into subjection: lest...I myself should be a castaway
Phi.3:7,8 - Suffered the loss of all things and count them but dung
(See also Lk.14:33; 1Tim.6:10,11; Jam.1:12; 1Pet.2:11.)

N. Be thankful and content:

Phi.4:11 - Have learned, in whatever state I am...to be content
1Thes.5:18 - In everything give thanks
1Tim.6:6-8 - Having food and raiment let us be therewith content
(See also Pro.15:16; Eccl.6:9; Heb.13:5.)

O. Forget your worldly past:

Psa.45:10 - Forget thine own people, and thy father's house
Lk.9:60 - Let the dead bury the dead: but go thou and preach
Phi.3:13,14 - Forgetting things which are behind, I reach forward
(See also 1Pet.4:2,3)

P. Be thankful for what He's delivered you from:

Psa.40:2 - He brought me out of an horrible pit...and set my feet upon a rock

Q. Consider what backsliding leads to:

Pro.5:8-13 - Lest thou give thy years unto the cruel...and thou mourn at the last
Pro.13:15 - The way of the transgressor is hard
Pro.21:16 - (He) shall remain in the congregation of the dead
Ezk.3:20 - Righteousness which he hath done...not be remembered
Lk.17:32 - Remember Lot's wife [She became a pillar of salt]
1Cor.3:11-15 - If any build...wood, hay, stubble...he shall suffer loss
Gal.4:9 - How turn ye again...ye desire again to be in bondage
2Pet.2:20 - If after they have escaped the...world...they are again entangled therein, the latter end is worse
(See also Psa.106:15; Ezk.18:24; Gal.6:7,8; Rev.3:11.)

8. The attitude to have towards backsliders:

A. Try to win them back, if possible:

Jer.31:20 - Since I spake against him, I remember him still
Lk.15:4-6 - What man...having 100 sheep, if he lose one, doth not
Lk.15:20-24 - [Father rejoiced and welcomed prodigal son back home]
(See also Gal.6:1,2; 2Tim.2:24-26.)

B. Don't give up on one-time backsliders:

Jer.31:17 - There is hope in thine end...that thy children shall come again to their own border
(See the story of Simon Peter in Lk.22:54-62; Mk.16:7; Acts 2:14,38,40.)
(See the story of John Mark in Acts 13:5,13; 14:36-40; 2Tim.4:11.)

C. But forget trying to win chronic backsliders:

Judg.10:13-14 - Ye have forsaken Me...I will deliver you no more
1Sam.15:35; 16:1 - Samuel mourned for Saul...and the Lord said..."How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him"
Jer.8:5 - Slidden back by a perpetual backsliding...they refuse to return
Hos.4:17 - Ephraim joined to idols: let him alone (See Mat.15:14)
Heb.6:4-6 - Impossible...if they shall fall away, to renew them
(See also 1Tim.6:5; Tit.3:10,11.)

D. Some people were never really part of your fellowship:

Gal.2:4 - False brethren unawares...came in privily to spy out
1Jn.2:19 - They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued
Jude 4 - Men crept in...who were ordained to condemnation

E. Some backsliders become enemies of the cross:

Mat.12:30 - He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad
Phi.3:18 - For many walk...they are enemies of the cross
(Judas' backsliding: Mat.26:14-15,47-50; 27:5.)
(Alexander's backsliding: 1Tim.1:19,20; 2Tim.4:14,15.)

Special chapters: Num.13:31-33, 14:1-34; Neh.9:15-37; Psa.78, 106; Ezk.16; Lk.15:11-32; 2Pet.2.

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