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Signs of a backsliding Christian (IV)

Green Pastures By Pastor T. O. Banso

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Last week, I started another section of this message and under how to avoid backsliding, I discussed the following: watch and pray, walk in the spirit, do regular self examination, embrace holy living, listen to and respond to anointed messages that convict sinners of sin and call back sinning Christians to the path of righteousness, and respond to God’s discipline.

I want to quickly discuss the remaining things you must do as I round off this series.

•Seek the Lord daily and don’t neglect fellowship with fellow Christians.  Don’t let the devil isolate you from the ministry of the church. He can do that by making you see faults in other Christians causing you to want to have nothing to do with them. By that, he also keeps you away from fellow Christians who can speak into your life and support you in your hours of trial, and the devil can exploit this to draw you away from God. 

Withdrawal from fellowship will deny you the protection of the church and other benefits that church membership offers. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Heb 10:25 NLT) Soldiers fight in unit not separately.

•Pray for one another. In addition to personal prayers, believers need one another’s prayer to stand and keep standing because we are all members of the body of Christ. 1 Cor 12:26 says, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” (NLT) We should be our brothers’ keeper.

It was the prayer of Jesus that saved Peter.  May be he would have ended like Judas Iscariot who committed suicide. “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’” (Luke 22:31-32 NKJV)  We need each other, and we need one another in the Christian race. Soldiers don’t fight separately; they fight as a unit.  “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.” (Eph 6:18 NLT)

•Encourage one another. This is one of the key benefits of fellowshipping with fellow believers. There are times when a believer is weary or his faith is low, encouragement from a fellow Christian becomes an energizer. According to Titus 1:9, a person to be ordained an elder/pastor/bishop is expected to be able to encourage others with right teaching based on the trustworthy message he has been taught. In fact, there are Christians who have been giving a special gift of encouragement. Rom 12:8 says, “If your gift is to encourage others, do it!” (NLT) 

Everybody needs encouragement at one point or the other. The person giving it now will soon need it. No Christian is superman. Discouragement is one reason people backslide. Christians ought to be like that apostle, Joseph or Joses named Barnabas by the other apostles, and Barnabas means son of encouragement. (Acts 4:36)  Indeed, he was an encourager. In this passage where his name is first mentioned in the Bible, it says he sold his land and brought it to the apostles. (Verse 37) We see Barnabas later being a great encouragement to Paul, John Mark and the early church. 

Christians should deliberately encourage one another. That’s why the epistles are full of words of encouragement to the church then and indeed the church today. Apostle Peter said, “My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens.” (1 Peter 5:12 NLT) Paul wrote to the Romans, “I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.” (NLT) Did you see that? The people Paul wrote to needed encouragement just as he did too. Every Christian needs encouragement. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” (Heb 10:24 NLT) And Paul, writing to the Corinthians said, “Encourage each other.” (2 Cor 13:11 NLT) Timely encouragement can save many believers from backsliding.

•Persevere in whatever hardship or persecution you’re going through.  Hardship and Persecution is another reason people backslide. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Tim 3:12 NKJV) Did you see that? Expect persecution the moment you choose to live a godly life. 

If you’ll not backslide, you must endure to the end; you must stand firm despite all persecutions. Jesus said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.  When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matt 10:22-23 NKJV)

Matt 24:12-13 says, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (NKJV) Persecution is part of the Christian package. Mark 13:12-13 says a similar thing.  “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (NKJV) Despite persecution, you mustn’t backslide; determine to endure to the end and God will help you. He’ll keep you from falling. (Jude 24) 

You must not allow hardship or persecution to abort your journey to eternity with Jesus. You’ve laid your hand to the plough; you mustn’t look back no matter what. “Let this encourage God’s holy people to endure persecution patiently and remain firm to the end, obeying his commands and trusting in Jesus.” (Rev 14:12 NLT)

2 Tim 2:3 says to endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ. Stand firm, stand strong in the faith.  Don’t go back because of any negative experience you’re going through. You won’t backslide in Jesus’ name. And if you’ve backslidden, repent and return to Jesus. The Lord will forgive you and receive you back. Always remember that your affliction is temporary. “For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” (2 Cor 4:17-18 NLT) Halleluiah, the troubles you see will soon be over!  

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God” 

I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian.  May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be.  

 

 

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