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Sermon starter
          When a person makes an initial commitment to Christ, they feel incredibly free and unburdened. Making peace with God and inviting Him into their life may cause them to feel like they never want to get off that mountaintop again. There are a number of things that can topple them off that mountain.
          The normal disappointments and losses of life can disillusion you and cause you to forget God’s presence and His love. Conflicts with family members or church leaders can cause you to slide off the mountain. Neglect of your own emotional and spiritual life can cause you to tumble. Sometimes it’s just a temptation or secret sin that can make your heart grow cold.
          Surprisingly, just doing the right thing, but without taking a much-needed rest can cause you to fall. I’ve heard the adage, “Id rather wear out than rust out.” Too many times they don’t wear out, they simply burn out and fall away. Good discipleship teaching concerning self maintenance, personal rest and refreshing of their inner spiritual lives is sorely lacking and they slip away.
          Another type of backslider is the one who substitutes outward rituals for inward spiritual reality. The actual self-examination and repentance of sin is a tedious and arduous task. Many seekers want what I call “greasy grace” when it comes to deep soul-searching and heart-felt repentance. They want the easy way out. They prefer what I call “Fast Track Evangelism.” They love easy verbal formulas, and the abbreviated “Roman Road” to salvation. Just say the rituals and add the water of baptism and you have “Instant (unconverted) Believers.” These people technically aren’t backsliders, because they never “front-slid” into the kingdom. Check my sermon notes.
          This sermon explores backsliding and how it impacts and sometimes disillusions Christian leaders. This is a Biblical study of backsliding. 
Pastor Phil  <><<
Sheepfold Ministries, November 8, 2009
Pastor Phil Roland
Luke 19:57-52
 “Much grief happens to leadership in the Body of Christ when they expect converts to act like converts to Jesus Christ, but have never truly converted ”                   Pastor Phil

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”

BACKSLIDING = APOSTASY = A-POS-TEU-O = un-faith, un-belief, un-trust

          A. Jacob was a chronic backslider – So did his generations
          B. Sampson exemplified moral corruption and failure – Judges 16
          C. David was a mid-life crisis backslider
          D. Solomon began as the world’s wisest man, ended up a fool
                    1. Influenced by his 600 wives, built/worshipped their temples
                    2. Lost God’s Favor – 1 Kings 11:1-11
          E. Peter temporarily backslid and denied Christ twice – Matt. 26:69-75
          F. Many of Christ’s early disciples – John 6:66
              “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” 1 John 2:19
          A. You must repent and be converted – Acts 3:19
              “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,
                  so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”
                    1. Many seem to fall away, but weren’t converted nor repented
                    2. Repenting is an arduous task
                    3. A seeker must do a “fearless self-examination” of own sins
                    4. SIN = HA-MAR-TA-NO = ”Missing the Mark”
5. Few want to take the inward look: too frightening
                    6. Seekers substitute Rituals and “Feel Good Sermons”
          B. Conversion is another word for the Born Again experience
                    1. If you’re not sure, you probably haven’t been converted
                    2. Peter thought he was – Luke 22:32
                      “But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you                                    are converted, strengthen your brethren.”
3. Jesus broke Peter’s heart in the conversion process
                    4. Too many unconverted, dry-eyed “saints” in the pews
                    5. Not enough converted sinners, saved by God’s Grace



          A. The NICEAN CREED – Counsel of Nicea, 325 A.D.
                    1. “We believe in one God. . . .”
                    2. All “Historic Christians” agree
          B. The APOSTLES’ CREED – Oral Tradition, dates to 225 A.D.  
              “I believe in the Father Almighty. . .”

          A. True conversion is through Faith in Jesus - John 1:12
              “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become                             children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not
                  of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
B. Jesus is God’s only way to heaven – John 14:6
             “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to        the Father except through Me.”
                    1. Paul told the Philippian Jailer – Acts 16:30
                          “So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be                                   saved, you and your household."
          2. Peter boldly declares – Acts 4:8
                      "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name                                       under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

          A. Godly heartfelt repentance – 1 John 1:9
          B. Change in Direction toward Godly Goals
          C. End evil relationships and involvement – Ephesians 5:11
             “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather
                 expose them.”
               “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Cor. 15:33
          D. Redevelop Kingdom Habits
                    1. Start at the Cross
                    2. Pick up the harness and the plow
          E. Believe God loves you – Accept His love regularly


B A C K S L I D I N G, Text:
Luke 9:57-62
57  Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go."
58  And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
59  Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60  Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."
61  And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
62  But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."







We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].


Modern Nicene Creed, cont.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic (universal) and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.



The Apostles' Creed

The basic creed of Reformed churches, as most familiarly known, is called the Apostles' Creed. It has received this title because of its great antiquity; it dates from very early times in the Church, a half century or so from the last writings of the New Testament.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Creator of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
    and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
    whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.


*The word "catholic" refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries, Sharon, PA – Pastor Phil Roland
Top Ten Things Church Hoppers Say
From Zero to Sixty by Bob Franquiz (the chapter on Church Hoppers)
10. “Pastor, I’ve been talking to a lot of people and they all say…” Translation:  “Me, my spouse and my mother think…” If they start this way, 99.9% of the time they have no one else who thinks this way, it is just the best way to complain. If someone has a complaint and uses this line with me, they need to list all of the names or my best assumption is they talked to the same person 10 times.

 9. “My old church/pastor was…” The way people come to your church is how they will leave. If your first conversation with them is all about their last church and pastor, that is how they will leave your church and how they will go to their next church.

8. “I wish you wouldn’t talk about money.” This is the best way to tell a pastor “I don’t give.”

7. “I wish you wouldn’t focus so much on what people need to do.” This means they don’t like commitment, they don’t like to be told the Bible actually tells them how to live and follow Jesus. They want to come to church, live in their sin and have no one tell them this is wrong.

6. “We want a church that’s focused on discipling people.” This means, “I want a church that’s focused on me, not people who are lost.”

5. “I should know my pastor.” This means, “In my last church, I got to know the pastor, but when the church grew, and the pastor couldn’t have dinner with us every Tuesday night, I left and came here.”

4. “We came here because we are looking for deep teaching.” This usually means their last church focused too much on actually obeying the Word. They want a church that just talks about the Rapture, the Second Coming, who the Hittites were and the identity of Theophilus.
Church Hoppers, cont.

3. “I’m looking for a church that teaches the Word.” This means, “I’m looking for a church that dispenses lots of information without challenging me to do anything.”

2. “I just need time to be fed.” This means, “I don’t want to do anything. I’m here just to sit and see what I can get out of this church, so don’t expect me to serve in any way, shape, or form.

And the number one things church hoppers say:

  1. But my old church…” This usually means they want your church to be like their old church.


Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland, 2009