THE BIRTHPLACE OF BACKSLIDING!
To whom our father would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their heart turned back again into Egypt.
In the book of Acts chapter 7 we find the layman Stephen's sensational sermon.
This chapter could be effortlessly outlined like this:
I. God Provided. (verses 1-5)
II. God Protected. (verses 6-19)
III. God Prepared. (verses 20-29)
IV. God Promised. (verses 30-37)
V. God Punished. (verses 38-43)
VI. God Persisted. (verses 44-53)
VII. God's Problem. (verse 54)
VIII. God's Pleasure. (verses 55-60)
It is while the physician Luke is dealing (under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit) with "God Punished" that a person finds the point where one pulls away from God. (verse 39)
This Scripture singles out the spot where the saint tarts to slide from the Savior.
G. Campbell Morgan once wrote about our text, "He (Stephen) had declared the blindness and hardness of heart of the people, who in the old days, had turned to false gods."
The sister verse of Acts 7:39 is Proverbs 4:23.
Friend, you and I (those of us that are saved) need to discover where backsliding begins and then determine to never drift in that bad direction!
There are 3 obvious signs when backsliding starts in the believer's soul: (All found in Acts chapter 7)
I. THE APPEASEMENT OF THE CLERGY.
An obvious sign when backsliding starts in the believer's soul is the appeasement of the clergy. (verse 40) Israel was able to get brother Aaron to "sign off" on their wicked and worldly new form of "worship". NEVER FORGET, there's at least 10,000 false prophets and 10,000 non-fundamental so called "preachers" who will say "AMEN!" to whatever you want to do. Wise is the believer who listens to the preacher that says "THOU ART THE MAN" and not "YOU THE MAN"? (II Sam. 12:7) The appeasement of the clergy.
II. THE APPLAUSE OF THE CARNAL.
An obvious sign when backsliding starts in the believer's soul is the applause o the carnal. (verse 41) Israel knew they couldn't get plaudits from Moses on Mount Sinai, so they got praise from the mob that was 1,000 miles from God. The Christian life is to be spent seeking not vertical approval, but HORIZONTAL acclaim. (Mark 1:11) The applause of the carnal.
III. THE ABANDONMENT OF THE CHRIST.
An obvious sign when backsliding starts in the believer's soul is the abandonment of the Christ. (verse 42) Israel paid the high price of getting away from God, (the loss of fellowship and favor!), and it is expressed in three heart breaking words, "THEN GOD TURNED." The 100% remedy to getting cold on God is a daily walk with Deity. (Luke 24:32) The abandonment of the Christ!