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Lesson Ten

BACKSLIDING

MEMORY VERSE: Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38.

BIBLE PASSAGE: Hebrews 10:19-39
INTRODUCTION: Often we find someone who starts off very well in the Christian race and then cools off later. Many times someone who used to be very hot for the Lord may even leave the Lord completely. When such a thing happens, thoughtful minds always ask, “who will be the next to leave the Lord?” Invariably, the answer is, “not me.” We are all kept by the grace and strength of the Lord. He is able to keep us. However, we must constantly remember the warning of 1 Cor. 10:12. Because if we deliberately refuse His grace and assistance, we will fall.

LESSON OUTLINES
1.    WHAT IS BACKSLIDING?
2a.  HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
b.    WHAT CAUSES IT?
3.    WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF BACKSLIDING?
4.    WHAT ARE GOD’S PROMISES TO A BACKSLIDER?

1.    WHAT IS BACKSLIDING?
Backsliding simply means turning away from God. (1 King 11:9). It is growing cold and leaving the first love (Rev. 2:4). It is turning from the joy and simplicity of the Gospel to salvation by law (Gal. 5:4). In other words, backsliding is growing cold and losing interest in the Lord, the Bible, prayer, church attendance and witnessing. It is turning from God and turning to the world.

2a.  HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Backsliding rarely happens suddenly. It is gradual process. It is always one backward step after another. It may take weeks, months or even years before the process is complete!.

b.    WHAT CAUSES IT?
There are so many causes of backsliding that it is impossible to list them all. We shall list as many as possible of these causes: (a) Covetousness, (Gen. 13:10). The major cause of Lot’s troubles was that he lusted for something that was not God’s will for him. (b) Pride. (Prov. 16:18). When you become too big to the controlled by your spiritual leaders, then you are on your way down. (c) Selfishness (Prov. 14:14). When you replace “Thy will be done” with “my will be done” then you are courting trouble. (d) Disobedience. (1 Sam. 15:110. Disobedience is the original sin. To obey is better than sacrifice. (e) Love of money. (Jn.13:29). As you know, the love of money is the root of all evil. When you begin to love money more than God then remember that Judas Iscariot was an Apostle! But his place was taken by someone else. (f) Ambition for power. (Acts 8:19). No man can get anything unless it be given him from above. You cannot force God to give you a position He thinks you are not fit for. Remember, godliness with contentment is a great gain. (g) Love of the world (11 Tim. 4:10). A Servant cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and please the world at the sametime. Love of the world is enmity against God.
      Added to all these causes are several others like (h) failure to pray. God command us to pray without ceasing. (i) Failure to read the Bible. God commanded us to study the Bible (11 Tim. 2:15). Infact, studying the Bible is one of the conditions for being blessed (Ps. 1:1-2). (i) Failure to attend church (Heb. 10:25). The soul needs the church as the tree needs the river (Ps. 1:3). (k) Failure to obey the Holy Spirit, thereby grieving Him (Eph.4:30). When you are led by the Holy Spirit to do anything, no matter how unreasonable it may appear to you, do it! (l) Failure to confess Christ (Mt.10:33). A dynamic witness does not find it easy to sin. For example, you cannot fight in the neighbourhood where you have recently witnessed for Christ! (m) Failure to walk in the light (1 Jn.1:7). When you begin to love darkness more than light it can only mean that your deeds are evil.

3.    WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF BACKSLIDING?
There will be a loss of joy and happiness, a loss of peace of mind and power. Murmuring and darkness will replace songs of praise and light. A backslider may never enter heaven!

4.    WHAT ARE GOD’S PROMISES TO THE BACKSLIDING?
To the backslider God says, return and be forgiven, return and be healed. (Jere. 3:22; Hos. 14:4). Are you backsliding? Return to God today! Tomorrow may be too late.

QUESTIONS
1.    What is backsliding?
2.    How does it happen?
3.    Name some of the causes?
4.    What are the results?
5.    What will God do to a repentant backslider?

FURTHER READINGS: The following passages will tell you more about backsliding: 11 Tim.1:12, Isa. 59:2, 11 Tim. 2:22, Rom. 14:7, 11 Pet. 2:6-8, Neh. 13:26.