April 28, 2024

A Word to the Backslider

Service Type:

" A Word to the Backslider "


The word backslider has a negative ring to it. Most people cringe

or tighten when the name "Judas" or the word "hypocrite" is mentioned.

So it is with the term "backslider". It's like bad breath--most people

won't tell you if you have it.


Solomon advises that, "the backslider in heart shall be filled with

his own ways (Prov. 14:14).  It is important that we realize that a

backslider is one who has lost fellowship, not salvation. The joy and

happiness depart, but not the Spirit.


When King David sinned so grievously and finally came to himself, he

prayed, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation" (Ps.  51:12). He did

not pray for his salvation to return, but his joy.


The prodigal son was still a son and was restored to the fellowship

of the home upon his return.


I recently studied in the book the adventures of Simon Peter. One

chapter in his book was an experience on backsliding.  He became self-

confident and boasted, "I will never forsake You, Lord." He was next

seen following afar off and soon was warming his hands by the enemy's

fire. An old Scottish woman said, "Peter had no business among the



A parrot got loose and flew into the corn field with the crows.  When

the farmer began to shoot crows, the parrot was wounded. While picking

up dead crows, he saw the wounded parrot and picked it up. The parrot

began to speak, "Bad company! Bad company! "


When a person lies down with dogs, he's likely to get up with fleas!

Peter's bad company and distance from the Lord's presence soon

resulted in cursing and swearing. Finally, he left the Lord to go back

to his fishing business. How sad, because it influenced several

others to do the same!




Dr. H. A. Ironside said, "If you were ever closer to the Lord than

you are right now, you're backslidden."


Just this week a young man came to me and said, "Preacher, what's wrong with me? I don't have what I used to have." He had lost his zeal and intent, he had become distracted and was miserable.


There are several identifying signs that reveal a backslidden



  1. Loss of heavenly values. When the excitement of Bible truth about

   the things of God is weak, worldly pleasures get a grip and claim

   our interest and time. The Bible gets dull, prayer is commonplace,

   church attendance does not have a pull, and living is hard. The

   problem is obvious.


  1. 2. Loss of conviction of sin.  The darkness in a restaurant is not so

   bad as our eyes adjust to it. The closer to sin we get, the less we

   see wrong with it.


  1. Lazy in service. Initiative and aggressive action is the theme of

   the Bible Christian. A tombstone in an old graveyard stated "Here

   rests John Brown. That is all he ever did."  There are thousands

   like that.


Another read:

     Here lies the body of a man who did no good,

     and if he had lived, he never would.

      Where he's gone and how he fares,

      nobody knows--and nobody cares.


  1. Putting people's word ahead of God's Word. Some are persuaded more

   by the opinion and advice of others than the plain, clear teaching

   of the Bible. They have a problem called a backslidden condition.


  1. Loss of testimony. We are to let our light shine.  Man's Christian

   character is like a tree, and his testimony is its shadow.  It all

   depends upon his relationship to the Son.  Years ago we were having

   a street meeting, and several men had given testimony of the joy of

   the Lord in their life. Several churches were represented. The

   leader asked a man standing on the edge of the crowd if he would

   give a testimony.  He bluntly answered, "I beg to be excused. I

   don't have any testimony."


A lot of others don't have one either, but they don't realize it.  I'm

sure there are many other signs, but let's move on to the...




Sin for the Christian falls into two categories--sins of omission and

sins of commission. One leads to the other. Most of the causes of

backsliding are sins of omission.


  1. Evil thinking. When a person's heart is not pure, he will begin to

   think evil. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.  Paul tells us

   to "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." A

   Christian would do well to post a guard at the doors and windows of

   his mind, lest "that which entereth into a man defileth him."


  1. Worldly attitude.  This problem is not just involvement in worldly

   pleasures or desire for possessions.  It is an attitude or spirit of

   worldliness that may subtly creep into our lives.


  1. Root of bitterness.  How sad to see a bitter person!  They have

   usually slammed the door on a lot of people who love them and are

   concerned for them. Oh, the misery of a heart filled with grudge and

   an unforgiving spirit!


  1. Self-centeredness. Some live only for themselves.  Number One is all

   that matters! They have never learned the blessing of living for

   others. Jesus said, "Love thy neighbour as thyself."


  1. Prayerlessness.  Dr. Leonard Ravenhill said, "If we are not praying,

   we're playing." A spiritual, victorious person will delight to talk

   to God in prayer and will do it at every possible opportunity.  As

   one preacher said, "I love to preach, and I'll preach at the drop of

   a hat.  If necessary, I'll drop the hat." It should be that way with

   us when it comes to praying.


  1. Gossip. Surely no one will argue that the gossip is backsliden.

   "Let all...evil speaking, be put away from you" (Eph.  4:31). Like

   leaven through bread and a drop of ink in a glass of water, gossip

   will spread out over the whole area and have its dread effect.


  1. Unbelief. To doubt is to drift. A person who is unsure will not

   boldly charge ahead and accomplish things for God.  Where seeds of

   doubt are planted, backsliding begins to grow.




If a Christian sees signs of backsliding and understands the cause

of backsliding, he surely will be interested in the pathway home.

There are some things you can do.


  1. Confess your sin to God.  We must come to ourselves like the

   prodigal and say to the Father, "I have sinned." "If we confess

   our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to

   cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

   Solomon said, ""He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but

   whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy'' (Prov.



  1. Forsake your sin. It is necessary to break with sin.  Let every man

   be fully persuaded in his own mind. There must be a humbling and

   seeking after God. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall

   humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their

   wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their

   sin, and will heal their land" (II Chron. 7:14).


My friend, if you find yourself backsliden and out of the pathway

of God's blessing, heed the call of Hosea, "Come, and let us return

unto the Lord." (Hosea 6:1).




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