BY B. E. ECHOLS
“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!” (2 Sam. 1:19).
“And Jesus answering said ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem (a city of peace) to Jericho (a city of corruption) and FELL AMONG THIEVES which STRIPPED HIM of his raiment and WOUNDED HIM and departed leaving him HALF DEAD”‘ (Luke 10:30)
In the scriptural references just given we have an inquiry as to why Saul and the mighty men of Israel had “fallen” and been destroyed by the enemy; also a list of consequences which befell the man “who went
down” from Jerusalem to Jericho. The same question arises today when we see men and women who have been Christians of outstanding character reputation and God-given ability go down in defeat–spiritually
speaking. There is always an underlying cause for such. We can be sure of this one thing “the curse causeless shall not come” (Prov. 26:2).
Checking The Consequences
The first consequences to overtake the man who “went down” from Jerusalem to Jericho he “fell among thieves” and was robbed of everything materially that was of any value. When a Christian allows
himself to “go down” spiritually he is likewise going to be robbed of all his spiritual talents fruit and other cherished possessions and be void of that hope and assurance of seeing the Lord in peace.
The second thing the thieves did was to “strip him of his raiment.” This speaks of his having been robbed of his robe of righteousness or the “wedding garment ” referred to in Rev. 19:8. It does not take very long to lose that reputation for holy and godly living when he begins to journey downward spiritually. Such a person has forfeited his right to eternal life and a home in heaven. See I Cor. 6:9-10; Heb. 12:14; Rev. 20:6.
Thirdly the thieves wounded him. This speaks of afflictions diseases and accidents that become the lot of those who travel “the downward road” of sin and destruction. All that God-given and sustained health
often disappears possibly to never return again; also all that peace of mind and soul “which passeth all understanding” with that “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Oh what a wretched and miserable
condition for one to be in who has once “tasted of the heavenly gift (the Holy Ghost) … the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come.”
Fourthly “leaving him half dead ” or with no evidence of spiritual life, “twice dead plucked up by the roots.” Jude further describes this class of church folk as “spots in your feast of charity … clouds … without water … trees whose fruit withereth without fruit … raging waves of the sea (always raving about something and never satisfied) … wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of (that eternal) darkness … ” Oh God what an awful pit for a saint of God to fall into!
Those Seven Steps Down
1. That Sin Of Neglect Or “Do Nothing”
This is always one’s first step downward. The Christian who never neglects to pray read and study his Bible attend church regularly pay tithes promptly and helps support God’s cause otherwise never falls or
journeys downward. Every saint of God must shun those “sins of do nothing” (James 4:17) or they will fall into hurtful lusts and shameful things. For as Paul states, “How shall we escape, IF WE NEGLECT”?
2. Ceasing To Pray
There is no such thing as a prayerless Christian even if we do have some “Pennycostal Folk” who seldom ever pray. If one wants to avoid that downward plunge spiritually he must “pray without ceasing ” as
Paul admonishes. Read and comply with the following exhortations concerning prayer if you wish to secure your position in God. Col. 4:2; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 6:10, 18, I Thes. 3:10 and Isa. 40:30 31.
3. Idle Talk. Gossip…
Just let your tongue act free to gossip and down you go. Then there is all that loose tongue (gossiping) criticism judging others backbiting (censoring absent folk) tattling (peddling lies) murmuring complaining
quarreling telling jokes and foolish talk etc. that will certainly spell one’s doom. The only thing that will secure us from doing such things as just listed is a constant walk with God or a Spirit-controlled tongue. See Gal 5:16; Rom. 8:1-4 with Psa. 141:3 and Matt. 12:36 37.
4. Forsaking To Assemble For Worship
This is one of the steps downward that has also spelled doom for many of our Pentecostal folk. Any Christian has to disregard God’s Word and go contrary to same to miss any church service–when at all possible to attend. Oh brother and sister in Christ how are we to keep from falling and going down spiritually if we forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the early church folk set the example for us? See Acts 2:42; 20:7
5. Quit Tithing And Giving
One is sure to close the windows of heaven upon himself and go farther and farther away from God when he quits paying tithes and ceases to give liberally to God’s cause. See Matt. 3:8-12; Prov. 1 1:25; Acts 20:35 and 2 Cor. 9:6-8.
6. Worldly Lusts And Pleasure
Worldly lusts and pleasure includes everything that is pleasing and enticing to “line carnal man” and is repeatedly forbidden by the Holy Scriptures. Yea we are admonished and warned to “abstain from fleshly
lusts which war against the soul ” and to “love NOT the world neither he linings which are in the world.”
We do not have space to catalog everything that would come under this heading but a few reminders might help if not scorned and rejected –which has almost become the order of the day. But regardless of these
facts we still have a conviction that the watching anti listening to these ungodly and worldly radio and television programs are degrading and soul-damning. Then, it is about the same with this hunting anti
fishing as a sport and these “best dressed contests or parades ” which some Pentecostals are indulging in al some of our general church gatherings. Also these long nips and sight seeing tours–which cost enough to build a place of worship in some heather land–must be very grievous to the Lord and another step downward.
Give us five to ten more years and I doubt if we would have any more folk ready for the rapture of the church in some of our Pentecostal assemblies linen were translated in Enoch’s and Elijah’s day or
dispensations. We are certainly facing some pathetic and horrible consequences which are to follow this “cooling off period.” See Matt. 24:12:21, 22; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 6:12-17; 9:1-6; 13-19; 16:1-21; 18:45.
7. That Fateful Step–PRIDE
Pride is what brought about Satan’s downfall (Ezk. 28:13-17); also that humiliating experience of Nebuchadnezzar, the first king of the Babylonian Empire (Dan. 5:17-21).
Pride can be classified as follows: (1) the pride of face or appearance (2) the pride of race or nationality (3) the pride of place–or of where one lives worships works etc. (4) the pride of accomplishments, (5) the
pride of ignorance (6) the pride of learning or advanced education—- the most ignorant pride of all (7) the pride of superior grace anti possibly (X) the pride of humility.
The person who feels elated over any of his own talents accomplishments or possessions is certainly affected with that terrible soul-disease of pride; also the person who brags or boasts about anything–for it is pride that prompts one to do such things. Pride will dethrone any Christian and cause his downfall–often to rise no more.
A Final Exhortation And Prayer
Remember this, one always goes clown spiritually faster than he can climb back. Then, as the case is with those who hit the bottom, as described in 2 Pet. 2:20-22 few ever make a comeback and regain their
former positions with God and the church. So it pays one to slay spiritual and retain his standing with God and the church at any cost.
Oh God without you we are all complete failures. But praise Thy holy name we can all make it by Your help anti grace (2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:13). So help us Dear God, to walk close to Thee as Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24) Elijah anti others have done–in order that we might be prepared for that glorious exit of Thy Spirit-filled people from this judgment and hellbound world in Jesus name I pray. Amen!”
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