FOR THE BACKSLIDDEN
I Samuel 12:19-25
Sunday Morning Sermon
September 20, 1998
Fair Avenue Baptist Church
Let me start by giving you some background information about this passage.
The children of Israel wanted a king like all the other nations around them. They didn’t need a king, they had the LORD. They just wanted to be like everyone else ... sound familiar?
The LORD and the prophets and leaders had tried to convince them that they didn’t need a king. Gideon knew it in Judges 8:23 when the children of Israel wanted him and his sons to be king.
“And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.”
The children of Israel were wrong in asking for a king. They were rejecting God by wanting a king to rule over them like the other nations.
Apparently to them it wasn’t a big deal. They just wanted a king. It didn’t occur to them that it was the sin of disobedience.
They wanted a king so God gave them what they wanted. But when they got a king, and all the problems that go along with a king, and especially a bad king, they didn’t like what they got.
Sometimes when you get what you want, you don’t want what you got.
Now, that brings us to the passage we read in I Samuel 12:19.
Now, they realize their sin, in fact, they called it “evil.” They now realize that their disobedience and rebellion was wrong.
What was right to them was wrong in God’s eyes. What was right to them, seemingly a small thing, was wrong in God’s eyes.
I’m not sure we recognize that same thing today. I’m not sure we think disobedience is evil and wicked. We put it down the “sin ladder” toward the bottom. We put the “bad” sins like murder and adultery at the top of our “sin ladder.” Disobedience is at the bottom.
Nevertheless, disobedience is “sin,”
It is “evil,”
It is “wicked,”
That is what is recorded for us in God’s Word.
But the children of Israel finally came to recognize their sin of disobedience.
VERSE 20 is the text of the message this morning.
The prophet Samuel says, yes, “ye have done all this wickedness,”
BUT, “yet turn not aside from following the LORD.”
Yes, you have sinned,
Yes, you have backslid,
Yes, you have disobeyed,
BUT, BUT, BUT,
Now that you have recognized your sin,
Now that you have recognized your wickedness,
Now that you have recognized your evil,
Now that you have recognized your sin of disobedience,
HOLD IT, HOLD IT,
Don’t turn away from God,
Don’t turn aside,
Just follow the LORD.
Let’s fastforward to September 1998.
Have you fallen away from God?
Have you backslid a little?
Have you been in disobedience?
Have you turned aside?
Then, have you recognized your sin?
Have you come to realize that you are away from the LORD?
Have you come to realize that you have been living in disobedience?
Are you ready to come back to the LORD?
The children of Israel were ready,
They finally realized their sin,
They came to a knowledge of the truth.
Do you need to come back to the LORD?
The message this morning has three simple points and I hope it speaks to your heart.
1. FORGET THE PAST
If you ever want to get on with your Christian life and pick up the pieces, you must forget the past.
Whatever has happened,
Whatever you have done,
Whatever baggage you are carrying,
You must leave it behind,
You must forget the past.
Even if you haven’t done anything serious,
Maybe you’ve just slid a little,
Maybe you’ve just slowed down a bit,
Maybe you haven’t fallen into deep sin,
But you must still forget the past.
The Apostle Paul,
A man with a checkered past,
A man who hated Christians,
A man who had Christians persecuted,
A man who had a bad reputation,
When you got saved,
He had to put the past behind him.
Phil. 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
If Paul can put his past behind him,
Then you must put your past behind you.
2. FOLLOW THE LORD
Samuel told the children of Israel, “turn not aside from following the LORD.” (V. 20)
He told them a few verses later in V. 24, “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart...”
First, you forget the past,
Now, follow the LORD.
Just make up your mind to follow the LORD.
Yes, it may be tough,
Yes, it may be hard,
Yes, you’ve been away from the LORD,
Yes, there are some things you want to forget,
But you must decide to follow the Lord.
As Samuel said, “Turn not aside from following the LORD.”
Look, you’re here,
You are trying to forget the past,
Just get busy following the LORD.
“Turn not aside from following the LORD.”
Get busy for the LORD.
Find something to do for Jesus.
Get involved in the LORD’s work.
If you used to do something, do it again,
If you haven’t done anything before, volunteer.
Just keep following the LORD.
3. FORGE AHEAD
Now, you simply put Number 1 & 2 together. When you can forget and follow, it’s time to forge ahead.
My dad was saved at 14 years of age. Quit school at 14. Joined the National Guard at 14 by forging his mother’s signature. He was constantly in trouble. He went before the Judge several times.
Joined the Air Force legally at 18, got married after boot camp, and moved to Alaska.
He was your normal serviceman who got into all the vices. He has tattoos like many a military man. He lived a rough life. By the time he was 26 he had traveled many a rough and tough mile.
But then he went to an old fashioned Baptist church, the Grace Baptist Church in Big Springs, Texas. He heard the preaching from Pastor Jimmy Allen. His heart was convicted.
He knew he had a checkered past,
He knew what was right,
He knew he was saved,
But it was hard.
How could he forget the past?
How could he put all that behind him?
He could not get the preaching off his mind.
He went back to church.
He heard more preaching.
The Holy Spirit continued to work on his heart.
But how could he forget the past?
How could he forget all he had done against the LORD?
But forget he did.
He began to follow the LORD.
He started going to church faithfully.
He forget his past,
He began to follow the LORD.
Then, one day, God spoke to his heart again, this time about preaching the Gospel.
So, now, not only did he have to forget the past,
not only did he have to follow the LORD,
now he was going to have to forge ahead.
He was going to move from Big Springs, Texas, to Ft. Worth, Texas, to began the Bible Baptist Seminary.
He had to forge ahead in God’s work.
And maybe you’re here this morning and you have a questionable past.
Maybe you’re here this morning and you want to forget the past and start following the LORD.
Maybe you’re here this morning and you want to forge ahead in the LORD’s work.
I’ve got three things to say:
1. Forget your past
2. Follow the LORD
3. Forge ahead
Today’s your day.