tony and marge abram, christian evangelist and missionaries

Tony and Marge abram
Abundant Life Crusades

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BACKSLIDING, HOW DOES ONE BECOME A BACKSLIDER?

In this outline we list a few of the many things that can hinder our spiritual growth and put us on the road to sliding back away from the Lord, His Will and Purpose for our lives. The Lord wants up to live in victory, being an over comer and to bring Glory to Him. We must be on guard and be faithful. If a disciple like Peter could lose out, we either have to be much stronger in Lord than He or we must avoid the pitfalls that he fell into. We want to grow not dry out in the Lord.

- 2 Peter 2:20-22 (KJV) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
  1. In 2 Peter 2:20-22, we read of the real possibility and serious cost of backsliding.
  2. It is interesting that we find this passage coming from the writings of Peter.
    a. For if anyone knew about dangers of backsliding, it was Peter!
    b. He learned this the night he denied Jesus!
  3. The process of backsliding is a gradual one, often overtaking a person by surprise; we need to be on guard.
    a. Let us examine what led to Peter’s denial and backsliding.
    b. Then let us see how Peter’s told us in his epistles to prevent the same from happening to us!

I. WHAT TAKES PLACE IN THE LIFE OF A BACKSLIDER!
  A. PRIDE
  - Mark 14:27-31 (KJV) 27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
    1. Peter boasts and claims he will not fall away or deny Christ!
    2. Peter takes the first step in backsliding:
    "Pride"! - Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
    3. Why is this the "first" step?
    - Matthew 18:3-4 (KJV) 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
      a. If we lose "humility", we take that first step backward
    4. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians is very important in this
    Regard - 1 Corinthians 10:11 (KJV) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

  B. LAZINESS
  - Mark 14:38 (KJV) Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
    1. We are told to keep watch, Peter kept falling asleep.
    2. It was therefore a lack of diligent preparation, which caused him to be caught off guard for what was to follow.
    3. The same thing can happen to us!
      a. Without diligence, we too can be found unprepared.
      - Luke 21:34-36 (KJV) 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
      b. More often than not, it is a "gradual drifting" that
catches us off guard. Hebrews 2:1-3 (KJV) 1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
      c. But when we are proud of ourselves, we become lazy, and that easily leads to the next step...

  C. COWARDICE
  - Mark 14:54 (KJV) And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.
    1. Now that Jesus had become unpopular..."...Peter followed Him at a distance"
      a. Peter stays far enough away so as not to be identified with Him.
      b. Peter was unprepared for facing ridicule and persecution.
    2. Without diligent preparation, we too can become guilty of
Cowardice!
      a. Ashamed to be seen carrying a Bible.
      b. Ashamed to be seen giving thanks.
      c. Ashamed to be seen with other Christians.
      d. Perhaps even ashamed to let others know that we are Christians!
      e. Ashamed to bow our hearts and ask Grace over our food.
    3. Jesus has made it clear what He thinks of "cowardice,"
  - Mark 8:38 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. Revelation 21:8 (KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
    4. When we are ashamed of Christ, it is natural for to fall into
the next step of backsliding...

  D. WORLDLINESS
  - Mark 14:54 (KJV) And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.
    1. Peter now sitting with the servants of the High Priest and warming himself by the fire.
    2. Ashamed to be seen with Christ, it becomes easy to mingle with those of the world and enjoy their comforts.
    3. But one cannot be "comforted by the fire" of the world, and not be "burned!"
      a. Close contact with that which can harm has its effects! -
      - Proverbs 6:27-29 (KJV) 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
      b. So it is we cannot "talk like the world" and walk away untouched! 1 Corinthians 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
    4. By the time we become "friends with the world," it is only a short time before we take the next and final step of backsliding...

  E. DENIAL
  - Mark 14:66-71 (KJV) 66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
    1. Away from Christ, with those in the world, Peter finds himself denying His Lord and Savior! In so doing, he has put himself in grave danger.
Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV) 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
    2. Though we may never actually deny Jesus in "words", we can easily backslide to the point of denying Him in "action"...
      a. We are called to worship Him...but make excuses why wecannot.
      b. We are called to serve Him...but render little or no service.
      c. We are called to stand by His side and suffer for His name...but stand afar off in the safety of the world’s comfort.

When we deny the Lord, our backsliding is complete; unless we repent, the only thing left is to one-day face the Lord, where we will fully realize the error of our ways!

For Peter, he fully realized his sin when the Lord turned and looked at him there in the courtyard (Luke 22:60-61 (KJV) 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.).
Imagine the feeling in Peter’s heart as those eyes of His Savior pierced his soul! Like Judas, Peter wept bitterly over his sin.

Unlike Judas, Peter had "godly sorrow" that results in true repentance.
- 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (KJV) 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.).
And years later, we find Peter writing the sort of things that would prevent us from making the same mistake he did.

II. ADVICE FROM ONE WHO LEARNED THE HARD WAY
  A. TO GUARD AGAINST "PRIDE"...
    1. Peter enjoins "humility" 1 Peter 5:5-6 (KJV) 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time
    2. Indeed, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

  B. TO GUARD AGAINST "LAZINESS"...
    1. Peter commands "diligence." 1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
    2. Note especially his words in his second epistle.
    - 2 Peter 1:5 (KJV) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
    - 2 Peter 1:10 (KJV) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
    - 2 Peter 3:14 (KJV) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

  C. INSTEAD OF "COWARDICE," LET US "glorify God."
  - 2 Peter 3:14 (KJV) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
    1. Think not of what it means to you, but what it means to God!

  D. ABSTAIN FROM "WORLDLINESS"...
  - 1 Peter 2:11 (KJV) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

  E. INSTEAD OF "DENIAL" LET US BE READY TO "give a defense."
  - 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

CONCLUSION
From Peter’s experience let us learn from him and his advice, lest one day we backslide ourselves, and in so doing, deny the Lord!
- 2 Peter 3:17-18 (KJV) 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Remember too that when Peter saw the eyes of his Lord, he realized the error of his way. Fortunately for him, there was still time to repent, but for us, when we see Jesus "face to face", the time to repent will be gone, it will be the time for judgment! If we realize that we are guilty of backsliding. Repent now; do not wait until you stand before Jesus. Do it now, so that your "face to face" encounter with Jesus will be terrific, not terrifying!

I love this old song "What A Day That Will Be"

  Words and Music by Jim Hill
  Mark 14:62
  "And Jesus said, I AM:and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
Chorus
What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
There’ll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
Chorus
What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
What a day, glorious day that will be!

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