(Falling away from the Lord and His will)


1. Spiritual problems that lead to backsliding:

A. Cooling off & losing "first love" for Jesus:

                Rev.2:4-5                Thou hast left thy first love...remember from whence thou art fallen, & repent...or else I will remove

                Rev.3:15,16            Thou art lukewarm, & neither cold nor hot

B. Being filled with own ways & desires:

                Pro.14:14                Backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways

                Ezk.14:3,5 These men have set up their idols in their heart...they are estranged from Me through their idols

                Ezk.14:7-8               Every one which...setteth up his idols in his heart ...I will cut him off from the midst of My people

                1Tim.6:9 Hurtful lusts...drown men in perdition

C. Losing sight of the Heavenly goal in favour of temporal gain:

                Pro.29:18                Where there is no vision, the people perish

                Mal.3:14 Ye said, It is vain to serve God...what profit is it?

                Lk.15:12,13             Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. He (left) & wasted his substance with riotous living

                Heb.12:16-17         Esau, for one morsel of meat sold his birthright

                2Pet.1:9  He...cannot see afar off, & hath for gotten that he was purged from his old sins

D. Quitting when the going gets tough:

                Mat.13:20,21          When persecution & by he is offended

                Jn.10:12,13             An hireling...seeth the wolf coming, & leaveth the sheep, & fleeth. He careth not for the sheep

E. Desiring worldly pleasures & riches:

                Heb.11:14-15         If they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have...returned

                Gen.19:26               (Lot's) wife looked back...& became a pillar of salt

                Num.11:5,6             [Lusting for things of Egypt] (See also Exo.16:3)

                Psa.73:2,3               My steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at ...the prosperity of the wicked

                Mat.13:22               The care of this world, & the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word

                2Tim.4:10               Demas hath forsaken me, having loved present world

                1Jn.2:15-17             If any man love the world, love of the Father not in him

                Rev.3:17 I am rich & increased with goods & have need of nothing

                (See also 1Cor.10:5,6)

F. Not grounded in or obeying the Word:

                Lk.8:13    These have no time of temptation fall away

                Mat.7:26-27           [He] that heareth these sayings...& doeth them not... house upon the sand...great was the fall of it

                1Tim.1:19               Faith...which some having put away made shipwreck

                2Tim.4:3,4              They shall turn away their ears from the truth

G. Having a doubting, questioning, unbelieving attitude:

                Jn.6:60,66               Many disciples said, this is an hard saying; who can hear it? Many went back, & walked no more with Him

                Rom.11:20              Because of unbelief they were broken off

                Col.2:8    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy

                Heb.3:12 Take heed, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God

                Jude 5     The Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not

H. Hardening heart to the truth:

                Mat.13:15               Ears dull of hearing...their eyes they have closed

                Eph.4:18-19            Having understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through blindness...past feeling

I. Doublemindedness & wavering:

                2Chr.25:2,14           He did that which was right, but not with a perfect heart [& soon worshipped other gods] (See Psa.78:36,37)

                Psa.78:8,9               (They) set not their heart aright...spirit was not steadfast with God...turned back in the day of battle

                Hos.10:2 Their heart is divided; now (are) they found faulty

                Jam.1:6-8                A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (See also Eph.4:14)

J. Refusing to receive correction:

                Pro.14:9  Fools make a mock at sin [as if it's not serious]

                Pro.15:10                Correction is grievous to him that forsaketh the way

                Job 33:9,10             I am clean...I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me [vs.10--"He just has it in for me."]

K. Not confessing problems & sins:

                Pro.28:13                He that covereth his sins shall not prosper

                Jn.3:19b-20            Neither cometh to light, lest his deeds be reproved

                (See Isa.29:15 & Saul's problem in 1Sam.15:1-35.)

L. Not responding to God's loving chastisement:

                Pro.29:1  He that being often reproved, & hardeneth his neck

                Isa.1:5     Why should ye be striken any more? Ye revolt more

                Isa.57:17 I was wroth, & smote him [but] he went on frowardly in the way of his heart

                Jer.2:30a In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction

                (See also Isa.42:25; Jer.5:3; Dan.9:13.)

M. Allowing bitterness to grow:

                Heb.12:15               Lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you

                (See also Jam.3:14,15; Eph.4:31.)

N. Being led astray with vain imaginations:

                Jer.7:24   They walked in the imagination of their evil heart, & went backward (See also Jer.13:10; 16:12.)

O. Idleness & gossiping:

                1Tim.5:12,13          They have cast off their faith. They learn to be idle, wandering...tattlers & busybodies

                2Tim.2:16               Vain babblings...will increase unto more ungodliness (See also Eph.1:14; 1Tim.6:20,21.)

P. Murmuring & ingratitude:

                Num.14:27-30        [Murmurers not allowed to enter the promised land]

                (See also Num.11:1; 21:5,6; 1Cor.10:10; Jude 15,16a.)

Q. Fellowshipping with trouble-makers:

                Pro.6:12-16,19        Frowardness is in his heart...he soweth discord

                Pro.13:20                A companion of fools shall be destroyed

                1Cor.15:33              Evil communications corrupt good manners

                Gal.5:7    Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

                (See also Lk.6:45; 1Ki.11:4.)

R. Desiring fellowship with the world:

                Jam.4:4   Whoever will be a friend of the world is enemy of God

S. A lack of fear of the Lord:

                Jer.2:19b Thou hast forsaken the Lord...My fear is not in thee


2. How the Lord views those who turn their backs on


                Pro.26:11                As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth

                Jer.2:13   They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters

                Jer.2:19   Know...that it is an evil thing & bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God

                Lk.9:62    No man...looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God

                Heb.10:38               If any draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in

                2Pet.2:22                The dog is turned to his vomit & the sow to wallowing


3. The danger of fellowshipping with those who have turned away from the Lord:

A. They can corrupt & undermine others:

                Deut.20:8               Let him return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart

                Judg.7:3 Whoever is fearful, let him return & depart early

                Acts 29:28-30        Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them

                1Cor.5:6,7               A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Purge out therefore the old leaven

                (See also 2Pet.2:18,19)

B. They cannot be trusted or depended upon:

                Psa.78:57                They turned aside like a deceitful bow

                Pro.25:19                Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth & a foot out of joint

                (See also Pro.23:7; Gal.2:4,5.)


4. God's punishment of those who forsake Him:

                Deut.28:63             The Lord will bring you to nought

                Josh.24:20              If ye forsake the Lord...He will do you hurt, & consume you, after that He hath done you good

                Ezra 8:22b              His power & wrath is against them that forsake Him

                Jer.15:6   Thou art gone backward: therefore will I destroy thee

                Mat.5:13 If the salt have lost is good for nothing, but to be cast out, & trodden under foot

                Jn.15:6    If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth...& is withered; &...they are burned

                Heb.10:26               If we sin wilfully after we have received the truth, there remaineth...a fearful looking for of judgment

                2Pet.2:21                Better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have turn

                (See also Job 34:26,25; Psa.44:20-21; Pro.28:10; Jer.5:6,19.)


5. God's promises of mercy to those who return to


                2Chr.30:9b             God is gracious & merciful, & will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him

                Isa.54:7,8                For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee

                Isa.55:7   Let the wicked forsake his way & return, & He will have mercy upon him

                Jer.3:12   Return, backsliding Israel...for I am merciful

                Jer.3:14   Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married to you

                Jer.3:22   Return...& I will heal your backslidings

                Hos.14:4 I will heal their backsliding...Mine anger turned away

                Joel 2:12-13            Turn ye to Me with all your heart, & with weeping...God is gracious & merciful, & of great kindness

                Zech.10:6b             I will have mercy upon them: & they shall be as though I had not cast them off

                (See also Job 14:7; Isa.1:18; Ezk.36:26,27; Dan.9:9.)


6. Attitude for repentant prodigals to have:

                2Chr.7:14                If My people...humble themselves & seek My face, & turn from their wicked ways...I will forgive

                Psa.41:4  Lord...heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee

                Psa.51:3  I acknowledge my transgressions: & my sin is before

                Psa.84:10                I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness

                Psa.119:176            I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek (me)

                Jer.14:7   Our backslidings are many...have sinned against Thee

                Jer.24:7   I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart

                Ezk.36:31                Then shall ye remember...& shall loathe yourselves...for your iniquities

                Hos.6:1   Come, let us return unto the Lord...He will heal us

                Lk.15:19,21             I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants

                (See also Job 40:1-5; 42:1-6; Psa.51:all; Dan.9:3-20; Jam.4:6-10.)


7. How to avoid backsliding:

A. Love the Lord & keep the Heavenly vision:

                Mat.6:21 Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

                Mat.6:24 Hate the (world), & love the (Lord)...hold to the (Lord), & despise the (world)

                Col.2:6,7 Rooted & built up in Him, & stablished in the faith

                Col.3:1,2 Set your affection on things above, not

                Heb.12:2,3              Looking unto Jesus...lest ye faint in your minds

B. Remember that serving Jesus is worth it all:

                1Cor.15:58              Be stedfast, the work of the Lord, your labour is not in vain in the Lord

                Gal.6:9    Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not

                Heb.10:35               Cast not away your confidence...hath great recompense

                Heb.11:26,27          Esteeming...Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt...endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible

                Jam.1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation...he shall receive the crown of life (See also 2Tim.4:7,8)

                Rev.3:11 Hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown

                (See Jn.15:2-7 about "abiding in the vine"; See also 2Cor.4:16-18; Rev.2:26-28.)

C. Trust the Lord to keep you faithful:

                Psa.17:5  Hold up my goings in Thy paths that my (feet) slip not

                Psa.26:1b               I have trusted in the Lord; I shall not slide

                Jude 24   He (God) is able to keep you from falling

D. Hide the Word in your heart:

                Psa.119:9                Cleanse his way by taking Thy Word

                Psa.119:11              Word hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against

                Psa.37:31                Law of God is in his heart; none of his steps slide

                Psa.119:165            Great peace have they which love Thy law: & nothing shall offend them

                (See also 2Thes.2:15; 2Pet.1:4.)

E. Forsake daydreaming & vain thoughts:

                Psa.119:113            I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love

                2Cor.10:5                Casting down imaginations, & everything that exalteth

                Phi.4:8    Whatsoever things are true...honest...think on these

F. Have conviction; know what you believe:

                1Ki.18:21                How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him

                Jn.6:67-68               Jesus (said) unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life

                Acts 20:24             None of these things move me...that I might finish (my) testify the gospel

                Rom.14:5b              Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind

                2Pet.1:10                Make your calling & election sure...shall never fall

G. Receive correction & reproof:

                Psa.141:5                Let righteous reprove me...shall be an excellent oil

                Pro.6:23  Reproofs of instruction are the way of life (See also Pro.10:17)

                Pro.27:5,6               Faithful are the wounds of a friend

                Heb.3:13 Exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened

                Heb.12:5-13           Endure chastening...lest (ye) be turned out of the way

H. Confess your problems & sins:

                Pro.28:13                Whoso confesseth & forsaketh (sins) shall have mercy

                Heb.12:1 Lay aside every weight, & the sin...& run the race

                Jam.5:16 Confess your faults one to another, & pray one for

                (See also Job 11:14; 1Jn.1:8-10.)

I. Withdraw yourself from those who turn away from the truth:

                Psa.1:1-2                (Walk) not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor (sit)

                Psa.119:63              I am a companion of them that fear Thee, & of them that keep Thy precepts (See also Pro.13:20)

                Rom.16:17,18         Avoid fair speeches deceive the simple

                Eph.5:11 Have no fellowship with...but rather reprove them

                2Thes.3:6               Withdraw selves from brother that walketh disorderly

                1Tim.6:3-5              Perverse disputings...from such withdraw thyself

                2Pet.3:17                Beware lest ye being led away with the wicked, fall

                (See also Exo.23:2a; Pro.1:10,15.)

J. Love not the world:

                Rom.12:2                Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed

                Gal.6:14  Cross of Christ, (whereby) world is crucified unto me

                2Tim.2:4 No man that warreth entangleth self with...this world

                1Jn.2:15  Love not the world, neither the things in the world

                (See also Col.3:2; 1Cor.7:31.)

K. Endure hardships:

                Psa.44:14-18          All this is come upon us: yet...our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined

                2Tim.2:3 Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ

                Heb.11:24,25          Choosing rather to suffer affliction...than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season

                (See also Heb.12:1-3)

L. Remember how much you've already endured:

                Gal.3:4    Have ye suffered so many things in vain?

                Heb.10:32               Call to remembrance the former days, in en dured a great fight (See also Heb.6:11)

M. Give up personal desires, endure temptations:

                Lk.9:23-25              Whosoever will save his life shall lose it

                1Cor.9:27                I keep my body (under), & bring it into subjection: lest...I myself should be a castaway

                Phi.3:7,8 Suffered the loss of all things & count them but dung

                (See also Lk.14:33; 1Tim.6:10,11; Jam.1:12; 1Pet.2:11.)

N. Be thankful & content:

                Phi.4:11  Have learned, in whatever state I be content

                1Thes.5:18             In everything give thanks

                1Tim.6:6-8              Having food & raiment let us be therewith content

                (See also Pro.15:16; Eccl.6:9; Heb.13:5.)

O. Forget your worldly past:

                Psa.45:10                Forget thine own people, & thy father's house

                Lk.9:60    Let the dead bury the dead: but go thou & preach

                Phi.3:13,14             Forgetting things which are behind, I reach forward

                (See also 1Pet.4:2,3)

P. Be thankful for what He's delivered you from:

                Psa.40:2  He brought me out of an horrible pit...& set my feet upon a rock

Q. Consider what backsliding leads to:

                Pro.5:8-13               Lest thou give thy years unto the cruel...& thou mourn at the last

                Pro.13:15                The way of the transgressor is hard

                Pro.21:16                (He) shall remain in the congregation of the dead

                Ezk.3:20  Righteousness which he hath done...not be remembered

                Lk.17:32  Remember Lot's wife [She became a pillar of salt]

                1Cor.3:11-15          If any build...wood, hay, stubble...he shall suffer loss

                Gal.4:9    How turn ye desire again to be in bondage

                2Pet.2:20                If after they have escaped are again entangled therein, the latter end is worse

                (See also Psa.106:15; Ezk.18:24; Gal.6:7,8; Rev.3:11.)


8. The attitude to have towards backsliders:

A. Try to win them back, if possible:

                Jer.31:20 Since I spake against him, I remember him still

                Lk.15:4-6                What man...having 100 sheep, if he lose one, doth not

                Lk.15:20-24            [Father rejoiced & welcomed prodigal son back home]

                (See also Gal.6:1,2; 2Tim.2:24-26.)

B. Don't give up on one-time backsliders:

                Jer.31:17 There is hope in thine end...that thy children shall come again to their own border

                (See the story of Simon Peter in Lk.22:54-62; Mk.16:7; Acts 2:14,38,40.)

                (See the story of John Mark in Acts 13:5,13; 14:36-40; 2Tim.4:11.)

C. But forget trying to win chronic backsliders:

                Judg.10:13-14        Ye have forsaken Me...I will deliver you no more

                1Sam.15:35; 16:1   Samuel mourned for Saul...& the Lord said..."How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him"


                Jer.8:5     Slidden back by a perpetual backsliding...they refuse to return

                Hos.4:17 Ephraim joined to idols: let him alone (See Mat.15:14)

                Heb.6:4-6               Impossible...if they shall fall away, to renew them

                (See also 1Tim.6:5; Tit.3:10,11.)

D. Some people were never really part of your fellowship:

                Gal.2:4    False brethren unawares...came in privily to spy out

                1Jn.2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued

                Jude 4     Men crept in...who were ordained to condemnation

E. Some backsliders become enemies of the cross:

                Mat.12:30               He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad

                Phi.3:18  For many walk...they are enemies of the cross

                (Judas' backsliding: Mat.26:14-15,47-50; 27:5.)

                (Alexander's backsliding: 1Tim.1:19,20; 2Tim.4:14,15.)


Special chapters: Num.13:31-33,14:1-34; Neh.9:15-37; Psa.78, 106; Ezk.16; Lk.15:11-32; 2Pet.2.



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