—The Lukewarm Backslider!DFO 16529/83
1. THE VERSE I GOT AFTER I READ THIS BOY'S LETTER REJECTING OUR OFFER OF A [SPECIAL] JOB WAS, "DEMAS HATH FORSAKEN ME, HAVING LOVED THIS PRESENT WORLD" (2Ti.4:10). Imagine‚ after all we've done & said, he's going back. As far as I'm concerned, that's almost as good as backsliding‚ when he knew that he was headed to one of our Units. (Maria: He knew he was going to go into a [higher calling]. You even wrote him a personal letter, asking how he would like to work in a [special place].—It's sad!)
2. HE'S LIKE ESAU. HE'S GOING TO REALISE ONE OF THESE DAYS WHAT HE MISSED, HOW HE SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT FOR A MESS OF POTTAGE! (Gen.25:34). And he's going to seek a place of repentance & find it not, even though he seeks it carefully with tears! (Heb.12:17). He that having put his hand to the plow & looking back is not worthy of Me (Luk.9:62). Boy, I'd be scared to death to do what he's doing! I did it a few times in my life, & I tell you, I sure got a helluva spanking for it!
3. THE SADDEST STORIES IN THE BIBLE ARE OF THE MEN WHO WERE DISAPPOINTMENTS TO GOD, the ones He gave every chance & opportunity to make good & they flubbed it & went back on it, forsook Him or forsook their job, forsook the Work because they weren't willing to forsake something else—their wives or their family or their home or their wealth or their pride or their "freedom"! There are so many stories about the guys who almost made it but didn't.
4. HE EVEN TALKED IN HIS LETTER ABOUT WHAT A RELIEF IT WAS TO MAKE THIS DECISION TO RETURN TO A NORMAL HOME!
5. BOY!—WHAT DISAPPOINTMENTS TO GOD! Everybody from Cain to Judas & a whole lot in-between‚ but at least they make such a sad‚ gloomy, dark picture that they make the others really shine like the stars, the guys who were willing to forsake all & follow Jesus & do His will, instead of the guys who went back & did their own thing. Just think how close they came, just think!
6. HE SAID HE COULDN'T SLEEP ALL NIGHT & THAT HE WAS FIGHTING ALL NIGHT. He wasn't fighting with the Devil, he was fighting with the Lord! He fought the Lord, & the Devil won! Just think‚ he came within a day of making it! Even though the Lord always has the solution & something better & even a better man for the job, you always feel sorry for the guy who almost made it.
7. I REMEMBER THAT PREACHER THAT USED TO PREACH THAT SERMON ABOUT "ALMOST, BUT LOST!" Almost, but lost! They're not lost eternally, but they're lost to the Cause. Almost, but failed. Almost, but lost the race. Almost, but lost the crown. Almost‚ but lost the reward. Isn't that sad? He really hardened his heart. He really rejected God's will, & he said it was a relief to have made the decision even if it was the wrong one! Think of that!
8. WELL I'LL TELL YOU‚ YOU MAY HAVE TEMPORARY RELIEF WHEN MAKING A DECISION EVEN IF IT'S THE WRONG ONE, BUT YOU'LL HAVE HELL TO PAY IN THE LONG RUN! The wrong decision will only give temporary relief from the strain & stress of the battle & having to make a decision. It's like saying, well, at least the battle is over, even if I lost! So it's a relief to have lost, but you'll sure suffer for it afterwards!
9. THE THING ABOUT THOSE GUYS IS THE LORD NEVER SEEMS TO EVER GIVE THEM ANOTHER CHANCE, once they fail that miserably & that badly when they've almost made it. The Lord seems to give them up & He never gives them another chance at the same opportunity. I mean He might use them somewhere somehow in some lesser capacity at some minor job that's not very important, because He can't trust them with much. But I've never seen them ever have the same opportunity again or as great an opportunity again, because once they've muffed it & once God has found out He can't trust them, He'll hardly trust them with anything. He says, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is much" (Luk.16:10). But I'll tell you, if God offers them much & they're unfaithful in that, He can hardly even trust them with that which is least after that!
10. THAT GUY NOW DISGUSTS ME & I FEEL LIKE THE LORD IN EZEKIEL 3 where He said about the righteous man that if he forsakes his righteous ways & his righteousness & turns to evil & does evil & doesn't repent of it, that the Lord will forget all of his righteousness & all the good that he did & will judge him for his evil instead!—Which again shows that the great ministry he thought he had obviously could not have been a very great ministry because his heart wasn't right with the Lord, so how could he be doing the will of God?—As the results have shown that the ministry that he was doing was not God's best nor God's highest nor the most needed‚ it was his own thing.
11. WE HAD ALREADY SAID BEFORE THAT MASS MEDIA WAS THE WRONG APPROACH & NOT THE BEST TYPE OF MINISTRY. We had cautioned against it again & again & virtually condemned it, but that was his big thing. This merely confirmed it, his wrong decision & his lack of spiritual perception & being obviously very much out of touch with the Lord, shows that he was not in touch then, which is why he was pushing the wrong thing. So he's way off the beam now. I doubt if God will trust him with hardly anything. He may even backslide.
12. WHAT'S HE GOING TO DO NOW BUT GO BACK & TRY TO GET A JOB TO SUPPORT HIS WIFE & CHILDREN FOR WHOM HE FORSOOK THE LORD & THE LORD'S WORK?—That's what most backsliders do. If they forsake the Lord & His Work for something they would rather have, for some other god before Him, God is fed up with them‚ disgusted with them, He won't have anything to do with them (Heb.10:38). He usually won't use them for hardly anything or bless them at all, so they have to go back to the System, back to the World, back to the Devil to even earn a living to support the god that they worshipped instead of the Lord, the one for whom they forsook the Lord!
13. WATCH & WAIT & SEE ! I wouldn't give him any kind of job at all! I wouldn't trust him with the slightest responsibility. Send him up to the frontline trenches, on his own. Let them pioneer, see what they can do. He claims he's a pioneer. Let's see if he's a pioneer. Now that he's forsaken the Lord & the Lord's Work, now let's see what he can do without God!
14. WELL, I'LL TELL YOU, THERE ARE PLENTY OF INSTANCES OF MESSES THAT MEN MADE IN THE BIBLE WHEN THEY TRIED TO DO IT WITHOUT THE LORD, TRIED TO DO THE LORD'S WORK WITHOUT THE LORD!—The Master's Work without the Master's power!—And they chose to do their own thing in their own way. Think of it!—All the way from Cain to Judas!
15. LOOK AT CAIN, he wouldn't offer a blood sacrifice because he would have to get it from his brother, but he was too proud to ask his brother for a sheep. So he sacrificed his own bloodless sacrifice which was totally unacceptable to the Lord. Then he got angry & killed his brother in a fit of jealous rage because the Lord wouldn't let him do it his way. The Lord demanded complete obedience.
16. YOU COULD JUST GO ALL THROUGH THE BIBLE & PICK OUT OODLES OF GUYS WHO DID THAT, WHO CHOSE THEIR OWN WAY INSTEAD OF GOD'S WAY‚ THEIR OWN THING INSTEAD OF GOD'S THING! I think some of the saddest worst examples of that are men like Esau who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, & Saul who thought he could do it his way without the Lord. Both of them lost everything because the Lord couldn't bless them for it. There are plenty of the kings who were dandy bad examples & made the same wrong choice.
17. WHEN YOU GET INTO THE NEW TESTAMENT YOU'VE GOT A NUMBER OF SAD CASES‚ PEOPLE WHO FORSOOK THE LORD & HIS WILL & went back to their wallowing in the mire & dogs to their vomit, such as the rich young ruler who came running to Jesus for Eternal Life‚ & then when the Lord told him to forsake all he went away sadly, sorrowful because he had great possessions! (Mt.19:22). And Demas who served Paul & Barnabus, but then when the battle got hot he went back, & Paul said‚ "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present World" (2Tim.4:10).
18. WOW!—I TELL YOU, I CAN'T STOMACH PEOPLE LIKE THAT! GOD HATES TO SEE PEOPLE'S BACKS! (Heb.10:38). THEY MAKE GOD SICK AT HIS STOMACH! He said, "I wish you were hot or cold, but because ye are lukewarm I will spew you out of My mouth" (Rev.3:16). It doesn't mean you're lost & not saved, it just means He just can't use you. He can't stomach you, He can't swallow you, He can't use you, so He spits you out! So you've become nothing but God's vomit!
19. THE MINUTE PEOPLE MAKE THAT DECISION, YOU DON'T WAIT A MINUTE FOR A BACKSLIDER, YOU GET THEM OUT QUICK! Even the Alliance, my old denomination, had that policy. The minute a man had turned his back on his job, they went right there & kicked him out on the spot! They wouldn't even leave him there till they got another preacher because they said he'd cause nothing but trouble! Just like we did with backsliders from TSC, we used to take them down to the bus & buy their ticket‚ pay their bus fare, put them on the bus & we were glad to get rid of them rather than have'm hanging around causing trouble & talking behind our backs & always trying to persuade other people to defect as well.
20. GIVE HIM A COUPLE HUNDRED DOLLARS & TELL HIM TO BE ON HIS WAY, go back & go pioneering on the frontline somewhere. He can't be trusted with any kind of leadership, nothing, absolutely nothing! I wouldn't trust him to lead anything‚ he's hardly worthy of leading his own family now. He that cannot rule his own house, how can he rule anything? (1Tim.3:5). And in this case that's the very thing he's doing, he's allowing his house to rule him, his wife & children to rule over him, going back on the Lord for them!
21. SO IF HE CAN'T RULE HIS OWN HOUSE, HOW CAN HE RULE THE CHURCH OF GOD? Tell him to go someplace. He can't be trusted with any kind of leadership, nothing. He has just toppled from the top to the bottom through his sad, ridiculous decision! Imagine, after all he knows & has read & been taught!—To choose [anything] over the Lord & God's Work, when he knows all about forsaking all & forsaking wife & children & home & all these things for the Lord [Mat.19:29].—And he's deliberately choosing them instead.
22. IT'S A PITIFUL CASE‚ BACKSLIDERS ARE ALL PITIFUL CASES! What a pitiful case Judas was, sickening! He didn't really think he was deciding against the Lord, he really thought maybe he was taking the middle road & going to save himself & the disciples & maybe even the Lord by turning Him in, by betraying Him‚ & you see what happened. They crucified the Lord, tried to kill the disciples & when Judas saw what a helluva mistake he had made, he went & committed suicide!
23. THERE ARE TIMES WITH CERTAIN DECISIONS THAT GOD DOESN'T GIVE YOU A SECOND CHANCE! You've missed it & that's it! Usually if He can't trust you with that, then He'll hardly trust you with anything else. In the case of a few outstanding cases of backsliding in the Scriptures & in church history where there was a tremendously great repentance, there was a great forgiveness!—But usually at the same time there was also a great punishment. David lost his son, he lost his kingdom, he lost another son, his favourite son‚ & he nearly lost everything. God let him lose everything until he saw the error of his ways & finally really repented. He was really really sorry. Then the Lord gave him one of those rare second chances. But it's very rare.
24. LIKE THE GUY WHO WANTED TO GO HOME & BURY HIS FATHER & SAY FAREWELL TO HIS FAMILY‚ YOU NEVER HEAR OF HIM AGAIN (Lk.9:61–62). And look at Naaman who said, "Lord, just pardon this one little thing." And he never did anything else for the Lord! (2Ki.5:18). That was the end. I mean they just can't be trusted with anything else! If the Lord asks them to do something for Him & they turn it down‚ then He can't trust them with anything, & you can't trust them with anything either.
25. His wife is now the boss, she'll now rule over him because he chose her & the children instead of the Lord, so he can't be trusted with any position of responsibility at all. It's going to be ashes between his teeth! (Ps.102:9-10).
26. THE PERSON THAT TOOK HIS CROWN HAD TO DO THE SAME, GIVE UP HIS WIFE & KIDS TOO. The same thing was required of him. It just shows J. was not mature, he was just a novice, that he couldn't even understand God's rules or His ways, & he's without excuse because he has certainly had the right teaching, so he knows deliberately that he's doing something that he shouldn't do. He's deliberately disobeying, failing God, forsaking the job God was about to give him to do, so he knows he's wrong, he knows it. If we sin after we have the knowledge of the truth, if we sin wilfully, God's Word says, then we have nothing but a fearful looking forward to judgement, punishment in other words (Heb.10:26-27). He's really going to go through the mill now‚ he's going to suffer the chastisements of God, if there's any hopes for him at all.
27. JUST THINK, I WAS ABOUT TO STICK MY NECK OUT FOR HIM! Thank God, God saved us from that! It reminds me a bit of that other one! Look how we stuck our necks out for him‚ did everything we could to save him & spare him & rescue him & give him another chance. He turned right around & virtually betrayed us ! Can you imagine such a thing? I mean that was a betrayal, an absolute betrayal! He should have risked his life to spare us & spare the Work! Instead of that, all he was concerned about was saving himself. He didn't care if it endangered the Work. Now I'm sick of him, fed up with him! Let him save himself! Let him get himself out of the pickle he's gotten himself into!
28. I soon found out that the safest & best way to do it was to just be nice to them, take them down to the bus & buy'm a ticket‚ put'm on a bus & ship'm hopefully as far away as possible to get rid of them!
29. SO FROM THEN ON ALL WE DID WAS SAY‚ "DO YOU WANT TO GO? OK, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? OK, PACK YOUR SUITCASE & WE'LL DRIVE YOU TO THE BUS & PAY FOR YOUR TICKET!"—AND THAT'S IT! Period. And we didn't buy any bus tickets clear across the United States either. We just said, "We'll buy your ticket to the next big city & from there on you can shift for yourself & call your folks for the bus fare or whatever." Because that's where they usually went, back home to their parents & the System!
30. SO IF HE WANTS TO GO BACK , YOU NEED TO GIVE HIM HIS BUS FARE REAL QUICK & A LITTLE MONEY. The very first thing, once he's made his decision, you should have gotten him out of there instantly, the minute he made the decision. Why the hell don't those people wake up & see the way we used to do it & know what our procedure is? Apparently they can't believe that they're really backsliders.
31. WHEN THEY MAKE A DECISION LIKE THAT I WOULDN'T WANT THEM TO SPEND ANOTHER NIGHT IN THE HOUSE! I'd be afraid to have the Devil's territory in my house overnight! And a backslider is the Devil's own territory! A backslider is nothing but a troublemaker! He can't help it. That's all he is. He's given himself over to the Devil. He's yielded to the Devil. He's going the Devil's way instead of God's way. He's dangerous to have around! I couldn't get rid of them quick enough at TSC, the last time I was running any kind of a Colony personally!
32. BOY, I'LL TELL YOU, WHEN THEY FAIL THE LORD & THEY FAIL US‚ THEY APPARENTLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A BIG FAILURE THAT IS & HOW BAD IT IS & HOW FAR THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY DOWN! Be nice about it & say‚ "OK, now since you've made your decision, what are you waiting for? Why don't you go? Here's the money!" And then warn the others not to use him in any kind of leadership whatsoever. If he wants to take his little family‚ go out to the boonies & try to pioneer, that's up to him. But I certainly would not want to put him in any kind of responsibility.
33. THE QUICKER YOU GET RID OF A BACKSLIDER THE BETTER OFF YOU ARE! Anybody who chooses [anything] over a job for the Lord is a backslider! So that's a very sad case. Of course every backslider is a sad case. They're the lukewarm that Jesus is speaking of. They've had the knowledge & the truth & they've tasted & all the rest & gone back!
34. GOD'S WORD SAYS "IT SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO RENEW THEM TO REPENTANCE" (Heb.6:4-6). They'll never be sorry enough to be trusted with another like chance. They're the lukewarm‚ & the Lord would rather you're hot & on fire for the Lord or a cold dead sinner! There's more chance for them than a lukewarm Christian who's gone back on the Lord & His Work, & He'll spew them out of His mouth! They make God sick at His stomach & He vomits them out!—God's vomit, the backsliders!
35. GOD HAVE MERCY & PROTECT US FROM BACKSLIDERS! They're the worst enemies of all & the worst reproach to God's Work & the worst possible testimony! That's why the Apostle Paul prayed that God would get them out of the way so they wouldn't be a stumbling block to others (1Cor.5:5-7). He said he'd delivered their body to the Devil that their soul might be saved; in other words, so their body couldn't cause any more trouble & at least the Lord could save their souls. But there are going to be those in Heaven who are going to be suffering everlasting shame & contempt. They're almost going to be sorry they were saved! Lord deliver us from backsliders, God's vomit!—In Jesus' name, amen.—What are you?