OceanSide church of Christ

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Lesson:  Warnings Against Backsliding                                                Presenter: Mike Wencel 


Backslide: (KJV Dictionary Definition) back and slide. (1) To fall off; to apostatize; to turn gradually from the faith and practice of Christianity. (2) One who neglects his vows of obedience and falls into sin.  // Backsliding can also be defined as a loss of fervor in religious feeling and of zeal in religious duty.


Apostasy: (Webster)  An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion.  (Cyclopedia)  forsaking or renouncing religion, either by an open declaration in words, or a virtual declaration by actions.


Warnings Against Backsliding

Leviticus 26:14-17  But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.


Deuteronomy 8:10-14, 17-19 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied … then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.


Psalm 125:4-5  Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity.

        Crooked (Webster): Winding in moral conduct; devious; perverse; going out of the path of righteousness; opposed to the straight way, wandering from duty.

        cf. Matthew 7:13 - Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way   that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

        Workers of Iniquity (Vine):  Those who are involved in the ways of darkness; the doers of     evil or the creators of misfortune and disaster. The Septuagint has several translations:       lawlessness; fruitlessness; uselessness; maliciousness; sinfulness;  unrighteousness;        wickedness; injustice)


Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. 


Ezekiel 18:24  But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.


Hosea 11:7 And my people are bent on backsliding from me: though they [the prophets] called them to the most High, none at all would exalt Him.


Matthew 24:12-13   And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.


Mark 8:38  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. 


Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."


Galatians 1:6-8  I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.


Hebrews 3:12-13 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "today", lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  


Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.


2 Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.


Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.


People Who Backslid

Saul - 1 Samuel 15:11 I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments." And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.                                                                               


Solomon - 1 Kings 11:4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.


Rehoboam - 2 Chronicles 12:1-2 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord,                                      


The disciples - John 6:65-66  And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.


People Who Refused to Backslide

Job - Job 2:9-10 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.


DanielDaniel 6:10 - Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.


Shadach, Meshach and Abednego Daniel 3:17-18  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.



Leviticus 26:40-42  But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.


2 Chronicles 30:9  if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.


Jeremiah 3:12-13 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: 'Return, backsliding Israel,' says the Lord; 'I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says the Lord; 'I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God, And have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,' says the Lord.



Backsliding can occur in varying degrees, from entertaining one or two false beliefs to complete apostasy and everything in between. So just because you haven’t  totally apostatized does not mean you have not backslidden to a degree.


The causes of backsliding are:

        ■ the cares of the world        ■ harmful associations  ■ denial or “demoting” of sin

        ■ self-conceit                       ■ indulgence               ■ listening to temptations

        ■ getting caught up in liberal teachings that contradict the bible


The manifestations of backsliding are:

        ■ Indifference to prayer and self-examination  (2nd Corinthians 13:5 - Examine

            yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves...)

        ■ Trifling or unprofitable conversation (2nd Timothy 2:16 - But shun profane and idle

            babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.)

        ■ Neglect of religious duties and good works (Titus 2:7 - in all things showing yourself to

            be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility) 

        ■ Shunning the people of God (Hebrews 10:25 - not forsaking the assembling of

            ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much

            the more as you see the Day approaching.)

        ■ Associating with the world (Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but

            be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good

            and acceptable and perfect will of God.)                     

        ■ Sinning with a “clear” conscience  (1st Timothy 4:1-2 - Now the Spirit expressly says

           that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and

           doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared

           with a hot iron,)

        ■ Neglect of the Bible and one’s own spiritual growth  (2nd Timothy 2:15 - Be diligent to

           present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly

           dividing the word of truth.   Philippians 2:12b work out your own salvation with fear

           and trembling;)


The consequences of backsliding are:

        ■ Loss of character  (Matthew 5:13 - You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses     its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out       

            and trampled by men.)

■ Loss of fellowship (1st John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we

    have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us

    from all sin.)

■ Loss of fruitfulness in the kingdom (Colossians 1:10 - that you may walk worthy of

    the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the

    knowledge of God)

        ■ Loss of a well-grounded hope of eternal happiness (Colossians 1:21-23 - And you,

           who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has

           reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless,

           and above reproach in His sight if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and

           steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard)       

        ■ Loss of spiritual promises and blessings (Revelation 2:10b - Be faithful until death,         

            and I will give you the crown of life.)  

        ■ Loss of God’s approval (Hebrews 10:38 - Now the just shall live by faith; but if

            anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.

        ■ Loss of God’s ear (Proverbs 15:29 - The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the

            prayer of the righteous.


To avoid backsliding, or recover from it, we should:

        ■ Beware of the first appearance of temptation to sin    

        ■ Be dligent in prayer 

        ■ Attend worship and bible study                                             

        ■ Educate ourselves in God’s word 

        ■ Unite and fellowship with the fellow Christians                                    

        ■ Consider the awful effects of backsliding by the people already discussed

        ■ Know and heed the many warnings we have of it (studied above)

        ■ Understand how it grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30 - And do not grieve the

            Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption).