Christian Should Fear Backsliding, and Stagnating in Their Walk With God
I. Introduction (Philippians 2:12,13)
A. God puts some things inside the believer – it is all part of being born again
1. He puts His Holy Spirit in us – seals Him in
2. He puts eternal life itself in us – passed from death unto life
3. He puts a purpose – a calling – into our lives
B. He expects us to work those things out through our fingers and toes – to live differently than we did before we got saved – to BE different, through and through
C. But it doesn’t all happen naturally
1. By nature, everything hot cools off
2. Spiritual things have to be “stirred-up” and revived to be kept warm (2Pet 1:13)
D. This is going to be a warning about backsliding, and becoming carnal, and not growing, and drying up, and growing lukewarm, and then cold!
E. But then, it will be a challenge to grow and glow hot and bright in this dark day and hour
II. Message - The Dangers of Stagnation – staying the same for too long
A. Understanding Barren Lives.
1. The Barren earth at creation (Genesis 1:1-3)
2. The Parable of the fig tree – no fruit (Luke 13:1-6)
3. Barren wombs – no children
a. Sarah (Gen 11:30) - Isaac
b. Hannah (1Sam 1) - Samuel
c. Elisabeth (Luke 1:7) – John the Baptist
4. The dilemma of Barren Christians – most have no real fruit
5. We were created by God to bear fruit – and we definitely were SAVED to bear much fruit (John 15:3-8)
B. Understanding Unfruitfulness.
1. The Parable of the Thorny Soil (Matthew 13:18,22):
a. Becomes unfruitful because of stress, worries, wrong priorities, and the cares of this world
b. Boils down to the softness of the heart
2. Fruitfulness is only accomplished by:
a. Walking with God (Psalm 1:1-3)
b. Abiding in Christ. Jesus saved us to enable us to be fruitful (John 15:1,2,5) – without Him we can produce nothing of value
C. The Deceit of False Fruit.
1. To Gain the whole world’s wealth (Matthew 16:26)
2. To Have all of men’s admiration
3. To be Full of Religious Zeal (Philippians 3:4-9)
4. To only be a Hypocrite – actor – a tare – to put on a show
D. Real Christian Growth.
1. Starts with Faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:10,11)
2. You have to ADD seven Christ-like attitudes and actions – get them INTO you (2Pet 1:3-11)
3. You have to LET them work in you and through you – turn them loose (2Peter 1:8) – they are the changing power of your life
4. Growth will please you and God - Enjoy the fruit that results
1. If you don’t grow…
2. If you backslide…
3. If you cool off, and stay cooled-off…
4. You will lose big-time (2Peter 1:9-11):
a. Lose your sight – no spiritual awareness
b. Lose your memory – forgetting spiritual victories
c. Lose your progress – constantly fall back
d. Lose your heavenly rewards
F. God’s Promises.
1. God has given us Four Things
a. “Divine power” (1:3)
b. “Great and precious promises” (1:4)
c. Seven spiritual ingredients to add to our lives
d. A perfect “calling and election” (1:10)
2. With such help
a. You can’t but bear fruit (1:8) – it will come!
b. You are promised to never fall (1:10)
c. You will be rewarded in heaven (1:11)
G. A Christian’s Fruit.
1. Pleasure to God – by faith, walk the walk
2. Changed life – new creature (2Cor 5:17)
3. Godly life – more like Jesus
4. A Christian family – saved and with one heart because of your changed life!
5. Another “life” – soul-winning – spiritual children
6. Our World turned “upside down”
A. God calls it becoming “barren”, “unfruitful” when we are not what we could be – that’s when a Christian is useless to God and ends up with nothing spiritual accumulated in his/her life
1. The apostle Paul feared very few things, but one of them was becoming useless to God (1Cor 9:27)
2. Christians are called to “follow Christ” - not retire, or go on holiday, or drag your feet – that is when the devil starts his attack (like when a lion stalks a herd, he focuses on the ones that are not with the herd, or are weak, or are independent, etc)!
3. This is a day when the Christian life then must be lived with diligence.
4. Young people may not know what the word 'diligence' means. It means to NOT “go with the flow!”
a. Many people simply float along with the stream. It is so easy to do because, if that is the way the current is going, then all they need to do is bob along with everything else that is floating down the stream. No hassles, right?
b. Some churches and some Christians, for a long time have been going that way: bobbing along with the “river of life.” The tide or the stream is taking them out, and they are headed for disaster.
c. In order to go against the stream and against the tide, Christians will have to work very hard to keep their souls and minds in a right frame and attitude, if they are going to hold their ground and even make progress against the stream and against the tide of this modern world. These are the people who will gain the true blessing of God in the end.
5. Peter saw this scenario in his day. You and I, unless we are blind, must also see it today. The choice is between drifting with the stream, and the current, and with the tide on the one hand or going against it, in order to maintain high Biblical values, and in order to hear a hearty “well done” from our Lord in the end!
6. The fruit of the Christian includes:
a. The winning of a soul to Christ
b. The defeat of a sin and of Satan’s plans
7. Oh the blessing and joy of being not just a Christian, but a fruitful Christian! Wouldn’t someone here today like to have that fruit be a result of their walk with Christ? I would!
B. Remember - God Calls us to be patient Builders – fruit is not something that happens overnight!
1. Our “calling and election” is God’s perfect will and plan for your life – make it sure and steadfast so you don’t fall out!
2. What is God’s calling for Christians? What is His calling for YOU?
Bible Baptist Church
Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland