Drifting Away 

Hebrews 2:1
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

Sadly, we have all seen Christians fall by the wayside. People who at one time were walking with the Lord, but have fallen back into the life from which they were once delivered. We see this happen to new believers and old. We may have even been victims ourselves. How does that happen? I can think of at least four things that result in a person finding themselves away from the Lord.

First, we are warned against falling away. This is caused by giving into temptation instead of resisting it. One of the necessary elements of success in your Christian life is to deny the flesh’s desire for sin. When we let our guard down, or think we are mature enough to handle a little sin, we will fall captive to its snare.

Second, we are warned against walking away. Sometimes, the difficulties of life can cause us to accuse God of wrong doing. Soon, we become embittered toward Him and deliberately turn away, going back into our old life. This was a constant problem for Moses in the wilderness. As the people faced the struggles of wilderness living, they attempted, on numerous occasions, to turn back to Egypt.

Third, we are warned against being led astray. Jesus told us to be on the lookout for wolves, false prophets, false teachers and false christs. The Christian walk has no shortage of people claiming to know more than the Bible, and leading unlearned Christians away from the Lord.

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

Our text warns of a fourth danger; drifting away. We are told drifting is caused by neglect. Drifting is the danger faced by those who travel by sea. Since the surface the ship sits upon is constantly moving, and often not moving in the direction the pilot wants the vessel to go, constant attention must be given to avoid drifting into pitfalls like rocks, reef or even other ships. Anchors play an important role in keeping a ship from drifting, but another key is moving. A moving vessel will be less likely to drift into danger than a stationary one. If we want to avoid ending up on the rocks, one key is to keep moving forward with the Lord. This is possible only by keeping the first things first. If you are like me, when you first received Christ, you were told to read the Bible, pray, fellowship with others, and tell someone about your decision for Christ. Now that I have been a Christian for almost 30 years, I still need to read the Bible, pray, fellowship and tell others. The faster you are moving forward, the less likely you will be to drift away.

Pastor Jim

 

Backsliding 

Jeremiah 3:22
“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding.”

Paul warned against having an attitude toward grace that encourages sin. Some were suggesting, since God is gracious, it is okay to sin, knowing we will receive forgiveness. He put it this way,

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Romans 6:1

This attitude not only cheapens the grace of God, but also leaves a door open for sin to damage our lives. I think we often forget that sin is not bad because God forbids it, but that God forbids it because it is bad.

Jeremiah alludes to the dangers of sin when he declares, if we return to the Lord, He will “heal our backsliding.” Jeremiah understood that backsliding has grave consequences and will do us much harm. Some of the most common scars on the backslidden Christian include, shame, defeat, a shattered witness, broken families, lost years and even addictions. If we think we can toy around with sinful behavior without any consequence, then we are failing to understand the danger of sin, or the purpose of Grace.

Judah failed to heed the warnings of the prophets. They thought they could continue down a road of compromise without any lasting impact. It was not long after Jeremiah uttered these words that the nation collapsed. It would do us good to examine our lives and see if we are allowing compromise to keep us from complete commitment to Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

Never Ending Mercy 

Psalm 136:1
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

It has been suggested by many, this psalm was sung by the worship leaders of Israel, with the congregation serving as the choir. The Levites would sing a verse and the people would respond, “For His mercy endures forever.” Imagine thousands of travelers finally arriving in Jerusalem, for one of the great feasts, and the skilled musicians begin to play this psalm. The vocalists join in singing, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good”, and suddenly an explosion of voices, like the sound of rushing waters, burst forth, “For His mercy endures forever.”

Verse after verse the band leads, and the choir responds, ever being reminded of the mercy of God. I imagine throughout the week you would hear the people whistling, humming and singing this song. The main point of the Psalm, is to remind us of the never-failing nature of the mercy of God.

The writer takes us from creation, through the history of the nation, explaining that God’s mercy has never failed. The mercy that delivered the people from bondage, provided for them in the wilderness, and gave them victory in the battles of life, is the same mercy that is available to sustain them today.

The same is true of us. If we look back on our days, with the eyes of heaven, we will see that every step of our lives has been marked by the mercy of God. It was His mercy that we did not die in our folly, prior to meeting Christ. It was His mercy that led us to realize our need for Jesus. It was His mercy that provided the way for our sins to be forgiven, and eternal life received. It is His mercy that provides daily pardon for our struggles, failures, and even our out-right disobedience. It is His mercy that puts up with our slow growth, and continual backsliding, and it is His mercy that provides everything we need to grow in Christ, and overcome our easily besetting sins. It is His mercy that puts breath in our lungs, strength in our bodies, and provides for our every need. It is His mercy that keeps our marriages going, equips us to raise our children to follow Jesus, and enables us to impact others for Christ.

Years later, Jeremiah would write that the mercies of God are new every morning. Everyday, when you arise, the mercy of God is new again. You cannot overextend it, but you can enjoy it. Instead of spending the day complaining about the difficulties you are facing, or the people who make life hard, why not spend your day extolling God for His infinite mercy? One man wrote,

“When all else is changing within and around,

In God and His mercy no change can be found.”

Pastor Jim