Sunday, July 01, 2007

Isaiah 55:7 -Stop your Backsliding

Pray and Read: Isaiah 55:7

Opening thought:
Have you ever attended a health fair? You know, the kind where you go to a place with lots of booths run by different health organizations and hospitals where you can get your blood pressure, insulin levels, heart rate, body mass index, weight, and other physical health checks.

How would you check out if you went to a spiritual health fair? What would your spiritual health look like?

Contextual Notes:
To backslide means more than a lapse in morals or religious practice. It means to lose one’s fellowship with the Lord, to grow cold and indifferent to spiritual matters, or even to fall away (apostasize) from faith altogether.

There are various types of backsliding.
1. Sins of the flesh. This is the one most people think about. This is habitually giving in to sins such as immorality, drunkenness, stealing, and the like.
2. Sins of the spirit. Things such as spiritual indifference, lying, cheating, gossip, envy, selfishness, or jealousy (Galatians 5:19-21).
3. Apostasy: A conscious rejection of God’s truth as revealed in His word and in His Son.

A number of things may lead to backsliding in a person’s life:
• Disappointment at the inconsistencies perceived (real or imagined) in other Christians.
• A growing indifference in one’s relationship with Christ, or ignoring the place of God’s Word, prayer, or witnessing.
• Ignorance of the true implications of spiritual irresponsibility and practice.
• Disobedience to God’s will in one’s life, a calling or a leading.
• Willful sin which remains unconfessed.

Exposition:

1. Give up the direction you are going (55:7)
a. “let the wicked forsake his way”

2. Give up the old ways of thinking (55:7)
a. “the evil man his thoughts”

3. Turn to the Lord (55:7)
a. “Let him turn to the Lord”
b. Result: Mercy and pardon

Billy Graham: “Too many people want to have one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God, and it is like straddling a fence. You are not happy either way. Declare yourself for Christ.”

Application:
• Confess to the Lord all known sin (1 John 1:9)
• Forsake any known sin in your life (Proverbs 28:13)
• Make right any known wrongs (Acts 24:16)
• Start reading and studying the Bible and praying daily.
• Seek a Bible-teaching church for fellowship, instruction, and opportunities to serve. Put your membership there and invest your life in the Kingdom there.

Invitation:

Sources:
Billy Graham Christian Workers Handbook
Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible, 48.
ISBE, “Backslide.”
Sylvia Gunter, Living in His Presence, vol 1.