(Falling away from the Lord and His will)


A. Cooling off & losing “first love” for Jesus:

Rev.2:4-5 – Thou hast left thy first love…remember from whence thou art fallen, & repent…or else I will remove
Rev.3:15,16 – Thou art lukewarm, & neither cold nor hot

B. Being filled with own ways & desires:

Pro.14:14 – Backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways
Ezk.14:3,5 – These men have set up their idols in their heart…they are estranged from Me through their idols
Ezk.14:7-8 – Every one which…setteth up his idols in his heart…I will cut him off from the midst of My people
1Tim.6:9 – Hurtful lusts…drown men in perdition

C. Losing sight of the Heavenly goal in favour of temporal gain:

Pro.29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish
Mal.3:14 – Ye said, It is vain to serve God…what profit is it?
Lk.15:12,13 – Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. He (left) & wasted his substance with riotous living
Heb.12:16-17 – Esau, for one morsel of meat sold his birthright
2Pet.1:9 – He…cannot see afar off, & hath for gotten that he was purged from his old sins

D. Quitting when the going gets tough:

Mat.13:20,21 – When persecution ariseth…by & by he is offended
Jn.10:12,13 – An hireling…seeth the wolf coming, & leaveth the sheep, & fleeth. He careth not for the sheep

E. Desiring worldly pleasures & riches:

Heb.11:14-15 – If they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have…returned
Gen.19:26 – (Lot’s) wife looked back…& became a pillar of salt
Num.11:5,6 – [Lusting for things of Egypt] (See also Exo.16:3)
Psa.73:2,3 – My steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at…the prosperity of the wicked
Mat.13:22 – The care of this world, & the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word
2Tim.4:10 – Demas hath forsaken me, having loved present world
1Jn.2:15-17 – If any man love the world, love of the Father not in him
Rev.3:17 – I am rich & increased with goods & have need of nothing
(See also 1Cor.10:5,6)

F. Not grounded in or obeying the Word:

Lk.8:13 – These have no root…in time of temptation fall away
Mat.7:26-27 – [He] that heareth these sayings…& doeth them not… house upon the sand…great was the fall of it
1Tim.1:19 – Faith…which some having put away made shipwreck
2Tim.4:3,4 – They shall turn away their ears from the truth

G. Having a doubting, questioning, unbelieving attitude:

Jn.6:60,66 – Many disciples said, this is an hard saying; who can hear it? Many went back, & walked no more with Him
Rom.11:20 – Because of unbelief they were broken off
Col.2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
Heb.3:12 – Take heed, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God
Jude 5 – The Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not

H. Hardening heart to the truth:

Mat.13:15 – Ears dull of hearing…their eyes they have closed
Eph.4:18-19 – Having understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through blindness…past feeling

I. Doublemindedness & wavering:

2Chr.25:2,14 – He did that which was right, but not with a perfect heart [& soon worshipped other gods] (See Psa.78:36,37)
Psa.78:8,9 – (They) set not their heart aright…spirit was not steadfast with God…turned back in the day of battle
Hos.10:2 – Their heart is divided; now (are) they found faulty
Jam.1:6-8 – A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (See also Eph.4:14)

J. Refusing to receive correction:

Pro.14:9 – Fools make a mock at sin [as if it's not serious]
Pro.15:10 – Correction is grievous to him that forsaketh the way
Job 33:9,10 – I am clean…I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me [vs.10 "He just has it in for me."]

K. Not confessing problems & sins:

Pro.28:13 – He that covereth his sins shall not prosper
Jn.3:19b-20 – Neither cometh to light, lest his deeds be reproved
(See Isa.29:15 – & Saul’s problem in 1Sam.15:1-35.)

L. Not responding to God’s loving chastisement:

Pro.29:1 – He that being often reproved, & hardeneth his neck
Isa.1:5 – Why should ye be striken any more? Ye revolt more
Isa.57:17 – I was wroth, & smote him [but] he went on frowardly in the way of his heart
Jer.2:30a – In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction
(See also Isa.42:25; Jer.5:3; Dan.9:13.)

M. Allowing bitterness to grow:

Heb.12:15 – Lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you
(See also Jam.3:14,15; Eph.4:31.)

N. Being led astray with vain imaginations:

Jer.7:24 – They walked in the imagination of their evil heart, & went backward (See also Jer.13:10; 16:12.)

O. Idleness & gossiping:

1Tim.5:12,13 – They have cast off their faith. They learn to be idle, wandering…tattlers & busybodies
2Tim.2:16 – Vain babblings…will increase unto more ungodliness (See also Eph.1:14; 1Tim.6:20,21.)

P. Murmuring & ingratitude:

Num.14:27-30 – [Murmurers not allowed to enter the promised land]
(See also Num.11:1; 21:5,6; 1Cor.10:10; Jude 15,16a.)

Q. Fellowshipping with trouble-makers:

Pro.6:12-16,19 – Frowardness is in his heart…he soweth discord
Pro.13:20 – A companion of fools shall be destroyed
1Cor.15:33 – Evil communications corrupt good manners
Gal.5:7 – Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
(See also Lk.6:45; 1Ki.11:4.)

R. Desiring fellowship with the world:

Jam.4:4 – Whoever will be a friend of the world is enemy of God

S. A lack of fear of the Lord:

Jer.2:19b – Thou hast forsaken the Lord…My fear is not in thee


Pro.26:11 – As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth
Jer.2:13 – They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters
Jer.2:19 – Know…that it is an evil thing & bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God
Lk.9:62 – No man…looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God
Heb.10:38 – If any draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in
2Pet.2:22 – The dog is turned to his vomit & the sow to wallowing


A. They can corrupt & undermine others:

Deut.20:8 – Let him return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart
Judg.7:3 – Whoever is fearful, let him return & depart early
Acts 29:28-30 Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them
1Cor.5:6,7 – A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Purge out therefore the old leaven
(See also 2Pet.2:18,19)

B. They cannot be trusted or depended upon:

Psa.78:57 – They turned aside like a deceitful bow
Pro.25:19 – Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth & a foot out of joint
(See also Pro.23:7; Gal.2:4,5.)


Deut.28:63 – The Lord will rejoice…to bring you to nought
Josh.24:20 – If ye forsake the Lord…He will do you hurt, & consume you, after that He hath done you good
Ezra 8:22b – His power & wrath is against them that forsake Him
Jer.15:6 – Thou art gone backward: therefore will I destroy thee
Mat.5:13 – If the salt have lost savour…it is good for nothing, but to be cast out, & trodden under foot
Jn.15:6 – If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth…& is withered; &…they are burned
Heb.10:26 – If we sin wilfully after we have received the truth, there remaineth…a fearful looking for of judgment
2Pet.2:21 – Better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known…to turn
(See also Job 34:26,25; Psa.44:20-21; Pro.28:10; Jer.5:6,19.)


2Chr.30:9b – God is gracious & merciful, & will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him
Isa.54:7,8 – For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee
Isa.55:7 – Let the wicked forsake his way & return, & He will have mercy upon him
Jer.3:12 – Return, backsliding Israel…for I am merciful
Jer.3:14 – Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married to you
Jer.3:22 – Return…& I will heal your backslidings
Hos.14:4 – I will heal their backsliding…Mine anger turned away
Joel 2:12-13 – Turn ye to Me with all your heart, & with weeping…God is gracious & merciful, & of great kindness
Zech.10:6b – I will have mercy upon them: & they shall be as though I had not cast them off
(See also Job 14:7; Isa.1:18; Ezk.36:26,27; Dan.9:9.)


2Chr.7:14 – If My people…humble themselves & seek My face, & turn from their wicked ways…I will forgive
Psa.41:4 – Lord…heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee
Psa.51:3 – I acknowledge my transgressions: & my sin is before
Psa.84:10 – I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness
Psa.119:176 – I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek (me)
Jer.14:7 – Our backslidings are many…have sinned against Thee
Jer.24:7 – I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart
Ezk.36:31 – Then shall ye remember…& shall loathe yourselves…for your iniquities
Hos.6:1 – Come, let us return unto the Lord…He will heal us
Lk.15:19,21 – I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants
(See also Job 40:1-5; 42:1-6; Psa.51:all; Dan.9:3-20; Jam.4:6-10.)


A. Love the Lord & keep the Heavenly vision:

Mat.6:21 – Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
Mat.6:24 – Hate the (world), & love the (Lord)…hold to the (Lord), & despise the (world)
Col.2:6,7 – Rooted & built up in Him, & stablished in the faith
Col.3:1,2 – Set your affection on things above, not on…earth
Heb.12:2,3 – Looking unto Jesus…lest ye faint in your minds

B. Remember that serving Jesus is worth it all:

1Cor.15:58 – Be stedfast, unmoveable…in the work of the Lord, your labour is not in vain in the Lord
Gal.6:9 – Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not
Heb.10:35 – Cast not away your confidence…hath great recompense
Heb.11:26,27 – Esteeming…Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt…endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible
Jam.1:12 – Blessed is the man that endureth temptation…he shall receive the crown of life (See also 2Tim.4:7,8)
Rev.3:11 – Hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown
(See Jn.15:2-7 – about “abiding in the vine”; See also 2Cor.4:16-18; Rev.2:26-28.)

C. Trust the Lord to keep you faithful:

Psa.17:5 – Hold up my goings in Thy paths that my (feet) slip not
Psa.26:1b – I have trusted in the Lord; I shall not slide
Jude 24 – He (God) is able to keep you from falling

D. Hide the Word in your heart:

Psa.119:9 – Cleanse his way by taking heed…to Thy Word
Psa.119:11 – Word hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against
Psa.37:31 – Law of God is in his heart; none of his steps slide
Psa.119:165 – Great peace have they which love Thy law: & nothing shall offend them
(See also 2Thes.2:15; 2Pet.1:4.)

E. Forsake daydreaming & vain thoughts:

Psa.119:113 – I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love
2Cor.10:5 – Casting down imaginations, & everything that exalteth
Phi.4:8 – Whatsoever things are true…honest…think on these

F. Have conviction; know what you believe:

1Ki.18:21 – How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him
Jn.6:67-68 – Jesus (said) unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life
Acts 20:24 – None of these things move me…that I might finish (my) ministry…to testify the gospel
Rom.14:5b – Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind
2Pet.1:10 – Make your calling & election sure…shall never fall

G. Receive correction & reproof:

Psa.141:5 – Let righteous reprove me…shall be an excellent oil
Pro.6:23 – Reproofs of instruction are the way of life (See also Pro.10:17)
Pro.27:5,6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend
Heb.3:13 – Exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened
Heb.12:5-13 – Endure chastening…lest (ye) be turned out of the way

H. Confess your problems & sins:

Pro.28:13 – Whoso confesseth & forsaketh (sins) shall have mercy
Heb.12:1 – Lay aside every weight, & the sin…& run the race
Jam.5:16 – Confess your faults one to another, & pray one for
(See also Job 11:14; 1Jn.1:8-10.)

I. Withdraw yourself from those who turn away from the truth:

Psa.1:1-2 – (Walk) not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor (sit)
Psa.119:63 – I am a companion of them that fear Thee, & of them that keep Thy precepts (See also Pro.13:20)
Rom.16:17,18 – Avoid them…by fair speeches deceive the simple
Eph.5:11 – Have no fellowship with…but rather reprove them
2Thes.3:6 – Withdraw selves from brother that walketh disorderly
1Tim.6:3-5 – Perverse disputings…from such withdraw thyself
2Pet.3:17 – Beware lest ye being led away with the wicked, fall
(See also Exo.23:2a; Pro.1:10,15.)

J. Love not the world:

Rom.12:2 – Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed
Gal.6:14 – Cross of Christ, (whereby) world is crucified unto me
2Tim.2:4 – No man that warreth entangleth self with…this world
1Jn.2:15 – Love not the world, neither the things in the world
(See also Col.3:2; 1Cor.7:31.)

K. Endure hardships:

Psa.44:14-18 – All this is come upon us: yet…our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined
2Tim.2:3 – Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
Heb.11:24,25 – Choosing rather to suffer affliction…than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season
(See also Heb.12:1-3)

L. Remember how much you’ve already endured:

Gal.3:4 – Have ye suffered so many things in vain?
Heb.10:32 – Call to remembrance the former days, in which…ye en dured a great fight (See also Heb.6:11)

M. Give up personal desires, endure temptations:

Lk.9:23-25 – Whosoever will save his life shall lose it
1Cor.9:27 – I keep my body (under), & bring it into subjection: lest…I myself should be a castaway
Phi.3:7,8 – Suffered the loss of all things & count them but dung
(See also Lk.14:33; 1Tim.6:10,11; Jam.1:12; 1Pet.2:11.)

N. Be thankful & content:

Phi.4:11 – Have learned, in whatever state I am…to be content
1Thes.5:18 – In everything give thanks
1Tim.6:6-8 – Having food & raiment let us be therewith content
(See also Pro.15:16; Eccl.6:9; Heb.13:5.)

O. Forget your worldly past:

Psa.45:10 – Forget thine own people, & thy father’s house
Lk.9:60 – Let the dead bury the dead: but go thou & preach
Phi.3:13,14 – Forgetting things which are behind, I reach forward
(See also 1Pet.4:2,3)

P. Be thankful for what He’s delivered you from:

Psa.40:2 – He brought me out of an horrible pit…& set my feet upon a rock

Q. Consider what backsliding leads to:

Pro.5:8-13 – Lest thou give thy years unto the cruel…& thou mourn at the last
Pro.13:15 – The way of the transgressor is hard
Pro.21:16 – (He) shall remain in the congregation of the dead
Ezk.3:20 – Righteousness which he hath done…not be remembered
Lk.17:32 – Remember Lot’s wife [She became a pillar of salt]
1Cor.3:11-15 – If any build…wood, hay, stubble…he shall suffer loss
Gal.4:9 – How turn ye again…ye desire again to be in bondage
2Pet.2:20 – If after they have escaped the…world…they are again entangled therein, the latter end is worse
(See also Psa.106:15; Ezk.18:24; Gal.6:7,8; Rev.3:11.)


A. Try to win them back, if possible:

Jer.31:20 – Since I spake against him, I remember him still
Lk.15:4-6 – What man…having 100 sheep, if he lose one, doth not
Lk.15:20-24 – [Father rejoiced & welcomed prodigal son back home]
(See also Gal.6:1,2; 2Tim.2:24-26.)

B. Don’t give up on one-time backsliders:

Jer.31:17 – There is hope in thine end…that thy children shall come again to their own border
(See the story of Simon Peter in Lk.22:54-62; Mk.16:7; Acts 2:14,38,40.)
(See the story of John Mark in Acts 13:5,13; 14:36-40; 2Tim.4:11.)

C. But forget trying to win chronic backsliders:

Judg.10:13-14 – Ye have forsaken Me…I will deliver you no more
1Sam.15:35; 16:1 – Samuel mourned for Saul…& the Lord said…”How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him”
Jer.8:5 – Slidden back by a perpetual backsliding…they refuse to return
Hos.4:17 – Ephraim joined to idols: let him alone (See Mat.15:14)
Heb.6:4-6 – Impossible…if they shall fall away, to renew them
(See also 1Tim.6:5; Tit.3:10,11.)

D. Some people were never really part of your fellowship:

Gal.2:4 – False brethren unawares…came in privily to spy out
1Jn.2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued
Jude 4 – Men crept in…who were ordained to condemnation

E. Some backsliders become enemies of the cross:

Mat.12:30 – He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad
Phi.3:18 – For many walk…they are enemies of the cross
(Judas’ backsliding: Mat.26:14-15,47-50; 27:5.)
(Alexander’s backsliding: 1Tim.1:19,20; 2Tim.4:14,15.)

Special chapters: Num.13:31-33, 14:1-34; Neh.9:15-37; Psa.78, 106; Ezk.16; Lk.15:11-32; 2Pet.2.

30. Backsliding, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International