THE FALLEN CHRISTIAN'S LAW OF
1 Jno. 1:1-2:6.
1. In Jeremiah's day, the people of God fell into a very serious and sinful condition...they were backsliders. Jer. 2:19; 3:12-14,22; 8:5.
2. In the body of Christ today there are thousands in this same condition. If all such would return to the fold, every existing church building would be overflowing.
A. Because they are in this condition, the church is robbed of much good that could be done.
B. Its purpose and potential among men is weakened somewhat by these backsliders But such should not dismay or discourage us.
3. God warns against backsliding. Jno. 15:1-8; 1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 3:12; 2 Pet. 1:10. But in spite of this:
A. The Galatians had fallen. Gal. 5:4.
B. The Ephesians had left their first love. Rev. 2:4,5.
C. Simon the sorcerer sinned against God. Acts 8:18-22.
4. Apostasy, or backsliding, is no small thing. It is of paramount importance. Especially for the one who is involved in it.
A. People chatter lightly about being a backslider many times. They fail to see that their latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 2 Pet. 2:20-22.
I. LET US TAKE NOTE OF THE TERM "BACKSLIDING" AS IT IS USED IN THE BIBLE:
A. It is used fifteen times in the Old Testament.
1. Thirteen of these times are found in the Book of Jeremiah, the other two times in the Book of Hosea.
2. The meaning is given as "A turning back, or away; to turn around."
3. Mr. Webster defines it: "To slide back; to lapse morally..."
a. To illustrate this: At a dairy farm, the cows were required to cross a creek to get to the milking barn each day. When it rained, the creek became quite muddy and the banks were very slick. Some of the cows, upon reaching the near bank of the creek, would slip in the mud and slide back into the creek. Some Christians are like this. The cows that slid into the muddy creek had to be washed thoroughly before being milked.
B. The word "backsliding" is not found in the New Testament per se, but the meaning is suggested by other words in many places.
1. In the Greek of the New Testament, under the words, "fall, fallen, falling, and fell", we have the word "apostasia" from whence we get our word "apostasy."
a. It literally means, "a defection, revolt, and is used in the New Testament of religious apostasy.
1) In 2 Thes. 2:3, it is translated, 'the falling away', and signifies apostasy from the faith."
C. This was a costly sin to Israel, and is likewise true concerning God's people today. 1 Cor. 9:27.
II. THERE IS A SECOND LAW OF PARDON WE WANT TO CONSIDER.
A. The first law of pardon for the alien sinner consists of: hearing the gospel, Rom. 1:16; 10:17; believing its teaching, Heb. 11:6; repenting of sins, Acts 17:30; confessing that Christ is God's Son, Rom. 10:9,10; and being baptized for the remission of sins, Acts 2:38.
B. His second law of pardon, that which applies to a fallen child of god, is illustrated by what is required of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:18-24.
III. BUT WHAT IS THE FALLEN CHRISTIAN'S STAND BEFORE GOD?
A. He is not an alien sinner -- God's law of pardon for the alien sinner is not binding upon the fallen Christian.
B. Actually, he is an erring brother. Jas. 5:19,20; Gal. 6:1.
C. He is an unfruitful branch. Jno. 15:5,6.
D. He is walking in darkness. 1 Jno. 1:6,7.
IV. WHAT HAS THE FALLEN CHRISTIAN DONE?
A. He has fallen from grace. Rev. 2:5; Gal. 5:4.
B. He has brought reproach upon the church and his brethren. 1 Cor. 3:16,17.
C. He has put a stumbling block before others. Matt. 5:13; Rom. 1:18; 14:;21; Mal. 2:8.
D. He has yielded his members unto Satan. Rom. 6:16,17; 2 Pet. 2:18,19.
V. WHAT IS HIS CONDITION AT THE TIME?
A. His latter state if worse than the former. 2 Pet. 2:20-22.
B. In such condition, he is perishing. Acts 8:20.
C. His heart is not right before God. Acts 8:21.
D. He is in the bond of iniquity and the gall of bitterness. Acts 8:23.
E. He is wretched, miserable, naked, and blind. Rev. 3:16,17.
VI. WHAT MUST HE DO TO BE SAVED FROM THIS CONDITION?
A. He must remember from whence he has fallen. Rev. 2:4,5.
1. Accept his fallen condition as real.
B. He must repent of his wickedness. Acts 8:22.
C. He must confess his wrongs. 1 Jno. 1:9; Jas. 5:16; Psa. 32:5; Prov. 28:13,14.
D. He needs to pray and ask his brethren to pray with and for him. Acts 8:24; Jas. 5:16.
VII. WHAT DOES GOD PROMISE THE FALLEN CHRISTIAN IF HE WILL MEET HIS REQUIREMENTS?
A. He will forgive completely. 1 Jno. 1:9; Isa. 1:18.
B. He will cause His anger to fall or subside. Jer. 3:12,13.
C. He will rejoice. Lk. 15:32.
D. He will heal the backslidings. Jer. 3:22.
VIII. WHAT SHOULD WE, AS CHRISTIANS, DO FOR THE ERRING CHILD OF GOD?
A. Admonish and restore if possible. Gal. 6:1; 1 Thes. 5:14.
1. This is not just the responsibility of the preacher and the elders.
B. Snatch them from the fire, hating the very garments that are stained with sin. Jd. 22,23; Jas. 5:19,20.
C. Withdraw from them if necessary, but still admonish them as brethren. 1 Cor. 5: 1-13; Rom. 16:17,18; 2 Thes. 3:10-15.
1. The Devil is happy over the fallen child of God.
2. Remember what Paul said in 1 Cor. 9:27.
3. Be sure that you set your sails for the promised land.
By Jim Sasser
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