Backslidden In Heart
I want to start with Deuteronomy 32:15-20.
15 But Jeshurun ( "upright one a symbolic name for Israel describing her ideal character) waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
19 And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
Our main text is Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
You know we live in a time when a lot of people refer to themselves as backsliden and they use it as an excuse. People don't want to live right so they just say I'm backsliden and they aren't the least bit concerned about it. They talk about it as though it is a light thing, and that Troubles Me.
In the day we live in we need to watch out for a backsliding condition, when we look at backsliding and see what it is.
Backsliding simply means-to turn oneself away, turn back.
So we are talking about Sliding away from God, and his ways.
Notice that from our text the backslider in heart is filled with his own ways, not God's ways,
"I know what God's Word says, But". Let me start by saying we are not talking about a mere cooling down of emotion or excitement here. We are talking about a backsliden heart.
A backsliden heart is the one that is taking back that which was consecrated to God and his service. It is drawing away from his first love. The backsliding heart is drawing away from devotion to God and finding excuses for coming again under control of a self-pleasing spirit.
The backsliden in heart may keep up an outward appearance of religion. He may keep up the form and fashion, but the power of godliness is not in his heart.
Are there any signs of a backsliding heart?
1. Service that is clearly a result of habit rather than an outflowing of life from within.
2. A prayer life that has become a religious excercise instead of a spiritual fellowship. Drawing near with the lips but not the heart, like repetitious prayer.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
3. Christian duties become a burden. The backslider in heart becomes to God like a dutiful but unloving wife. She complains of the weight of care that is placed upon her.
Malachi 1:13 says, Ye said behold what a weariness it is and you brought an offering that was lame and sick and torn.
4. It gets easier to forsake the church and to skip mid-week services.
When we learn to skip mid-week service without conscience we are not far from skipping all of them.
Backsliding may be one giant step, but it rarely is. It is, in most cases, a process of one step at a time.
Samson began to brake his vows a little at a time till one day the Lord (the annointing) departed and he had become so cold that he was not even aware.(Judges 16-20)
Every summer Ministers and Pastors watch choirs fall away, Bible study attendance drop off and general attendance fall. Some return, but some never do. Some never get the opportunity.
It is much easier to continue serving the Savior than to try and start over.
Deuteronomy 32:15 says, But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked...then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his Salvation.
Jeshurun was another name for the people of Israel, "The dear upright people." Israel was in the process of backsliding. They began to forget in the fatness of their blessing who had been their provider.
It gets worse.
In Verse 17 of this chapter the scripture says, They sacrificed unto devils and not to God, to gods whom they knew not, to gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
We have some new gods today that people give their church time to: golf, boating, ballgames, etc. These things in themselves are not wrong until you put them ahead of service to the Lord.
Verse 18 says they became unmindful of the Rock that begat them, and forgot about the God that formed them.
Verse 19 says that when the Lord saw it he abhorred them.
One Hebrew translation said, "He was greatly provoked."
When you can give your time to worldly things, sacrifice your time and money to other gods, new gods, the gods of this world, and you do it at the expense of your service and devotion to the one who bled and died for you, the one who made you a new creature, don't think for one minute that God doesn't mind. He minds. He is greatly provoked, and you, my friend,
are on dangerous ground.
God said in verse 20, I'll hide my face from them and see what their end shall be.
Don't have time for church, don't have time for revival, don't have time for Bible study, and you could be well on your way to being backsliden in your heart.
When we lived at Stiversville, I had some traps set out in the woods. I walked past much of the same woods everyday. There was a huge oak tree that stood on a point. I had watched squirrels in it that fall. It had been full of acorns. One morning as I was coming by that tree it was lying on the ground. I couldn't understand why.There was no storm or wind.I went to investigate and found it had been destroyed from the inside out. Termites had infested the roots and trunk.The fall that had seemed to come so suddenly had really been the result of years of little bugs gnawing away at the heart of the tree.
Friend, don't let the bugs build up in your heart. Your faithfulness and service to God's Word is a pesticide for your heart.
Proverbs 4:23. Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life. So what is the remedy for the backsliding heart?
Turn with me to Revelation 2:2-4.
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Our first Love should be our Heavenly Father.
Mt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Now here is the remedy or the alternative.
Verse 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;
Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Today if you have had any of these symptoms, at the altar is the place to find repair.
You may say, "Dave, I can't slide away from what I never had.
"Come and taste that the Lord is gracious.
Ask Him into your heart today.
BACKSLIDDEN IN HEART