Every person has the tendency to backslide. But we have to guard ourselves and others against this.
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
a. People's heart could be hardened within a little time (Exodus chapter 32). If let unattended, it would bring major punishment. Do not cause people to sin.
28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
35 And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
"And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
b. God himself will not punish you. But the wickedness and backsliding will punish and rebuke you.
Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
c. Talk about the evil that could result from backsliding. No person who has left the church is happy.
Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin."
d. Unfaithful could mean not coming to the church and not keeping appointments. Faithless could mean not missing meetings but need help to overcome emotions and sins. As long as you are in the church you have a chance to change. When you leave the church there is no one to help you spiritually.
The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
e. The first time you miss the meeting, whatever the reason might by is a sign of backsliding. There is every chance to miss the love and good deeds. Watch out for people who miss meeting even for the first time. They could make it a habit.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
f. We are called by His name:Christians. Backsliding people need to be
1. Humble and take help
2. Pray with others
3. Seek God's face - read the Bible
4. Turn from their wicked ways - not to miss meetings.
Then God will forgive and heal.
2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.
When people repent we need to love them freely. We need to give them help and be concerned.
Pray every day for the people who missed a meeting this week.