Are you a Lukewarm / Backsliding “Christian”?

As I write this article, my heart is greatly sorrowful for the state of the church in America. If you would just spend some time in any city speaking with individuals about their eternity, most people say they “believe” in Jesus Christ, but what they believe is very heartbreaking and troublesome. The majority of many professing Christians in America have no clue what salvation really is, and as disciples of Jesus Christ we should be seriously concerned for the state of this “American Christianity”.

I am not claiming to be better than anyone else, and I do not have a degree in religion. However, I have been saved solely by the grace of God, and just like every born again, blood bought follower of Jesus Christ, the truth of Scripture has been revealed to me by the baptism of Holy Spirit. Over the past 2 years I have been very blessed in meeting many born again believers who desire nothing but to obey God with their lives, and who hate the evilness of this world.

As a church attendee myself growing up, I personally know what it is like to go to church, sing songs and hymns, and to deceitfully think I would be okay with God when I died. My parents took my brothers and I to church every Sunday, we also went to Awana’s and vacation Bible school. I had a good time with friends, and since I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 12 years old, most would think I must have believed in Him. I mean the pastor of the church assured me I was saved. But was I really?

I am sure a lot of people in America have experienced something similar to this in their childhood. This is what a lot of people in America think being a Christian is really all about. Sadly this is what a lot of churches in America still teach today.

I wasn’t even 14 years old yet and I still tightly embraced the things of this world. By the time I turned 21, I started living and sleeping with my girlfriend, Lisa (now my wife). Most church leaders/pastors today would assure me I was saved, and just tell me I was a “backslider”. I even had a pastor in 2005 from one of the largest Baptist churches in Charlotte, NC tell me, “it is okay you are living together because God knows you want to get married”, and then he asked me to “re-dedicate my life to Jesus”. I was given no warning of God’s wrath upon my soul. I realize now only by God’s grace that we were living in habitual unrepentant sin, and that the wrath of God abided on Lisa and me.

The Word of God is very clear that I was in love with the very things that God hated. I was in love with the world, self, sin, and sexual immorality. I was not a “backslider”. I was a God-hating, selfish sinner in the hands of a holy and just God, who only by His patience and mercy was allowing me to still breath.

James 4:4 says,

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

And 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

I was never saved to begin with. I got wrapped up in the emotions of the soft music, walked the church aisle, and said that sinners prayer. I didn’t realize that true salvation through Jesus Christ was a work I could not do, and it would also call me to die to myself, forsake this world, and forsake my own selfish desires.

Jesus taught on this very same false profession of faith.  He said in Matthew 13:7,22,

some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them…he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

Most churches in America know how to work your emotions. They can get you weeping with their tear-jerking songs and pushy alter calls. In spite of these gimmicks some people do get saved, but most people who went through this religious act, just like myself, have never forsaken their sinful lifestyle, and think they are okay with God.

These gimmicks are deceitful, man-made, and are leading droves of people down the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus never did any of this.  In fact, Jesus said very radical and harsh things because He did not want any half-hearted followers. The Lord said in Matthew 5:13-16,

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Jesus is saying that being a Christian is radical love for Him. It requires you to forsake this life to follow Him, no matter the cost, even if it cost you your own life. Salvation is not a one-time decision – it is the supernatural work of God  in the soul of a man (John 3:3), which will produce on-going fruit the rest of your life. The Word of God harshly warns us about “backsliders”, which if you are claiming to be one, I plead with you to repent.

The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. – Proverbs 14:14

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. – Matthew 5:13

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. – James 5:19-20

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. – Revelation 3:15-16

I am so thankful that I am now a child of God. Two years ago the Lord saved me, and the best part of it all, I had nothing to do with it. It was an absolute gift from God. It wasn’t a prayer that I prayed or an aisle I walked, it was nothing I did. It was only by the grace of God upon my life that saved me. As He says in Ephesians 2:8-9,

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

You see when the Lord saves you, He will give you a new heart and you will love His commands. He will write His law upon your heart to obey His commands, to forsake this world, and continue in the faith, because He now abides in you (John 3:3) (John 15) (Hebrews 10:16) (1 John 2:15) (1 John 5:3) (John 14:15). You will truly be a new creation in Jesus Christ, and all your old desires will perish (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Some of the most terrifying words the Lord Jesus spoke were to people who profess to know Him, but deny Him by their sinful lifestyle. These “Christians” claim to know Christ because of the works they have done, but He says in Matthew 7:21-23,

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

If you are relying on your own works to save you, whether it is a prayer you prayed, your baptism, money you gave, or deeds you have done, you are relying on yourself and not on the finished work of Jesus Christ. Maybe you are burdened by trying to keep His laws, or you find His commands a burden. Do you find yourself giving lip service to God, while you are still entangled by the cares and riches of this world? If you find yourself answering yes to any of these, then you need to surrender your life to Christ as only His work on the cross can save you from your sins. He is calling you to come to Him, NOW! Behold, today is the day of salvation, come to Christ and be a part of His Church for eternity:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

If you are unsure about your eternity and have not truly understood the Gospel, please click here to see how Jesus Christ can save your from your sins and from His holy wrath. You may also benefit from the video below.

In Christ, Shawn

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Comments
10 Responses to “Are you a Lukewarm / Backsliding “Christian”?”
  1. Thank you Shawn for your’s and Lisa’s testimony. You know my story and my radical saving by God, but I am saddened to say that people living that “backslidden” life you described, were the very picture of Christianity I had while I was out partying and destroying myself, they were standing right beside me telling me I was “good” enough in God’s eyes. Through false converts, I interpreted the Gospel as such, that Jesus died so that I could sin freely without consequence. I am so thankful for His Mercy and Grace to bring us out of that lifestyle. I love your heart brother, to educate those that think by saying a prayer when they were 12, they automatically have a get out of hell free card. Love you brother!

    • Shawn Pander says:

      Brian,

      I have just heard the term “backslider” so much, the Lord pressed this article upon my heart. The American church is in serious trouble, with heresy rampant all throughtout this country, I am truly blessed though to have so many brothers and sisters like yourself whom the Lord saved to hold me accountable, and to serve the Lord alongside.

      Love you too, brother

  2. A very powerful post! Thank you for sharing with us. I am a pastor, and I understand the reality of an unsaved church. There are many who fill pews today that only identify themselves in Christ with some casual, passing acknowledgement. Bereft of passion, they go on their merry way with a pseudo faith that does not save.

    My heart breaks when I hear the testimony of some who do not know the Savior but only know that they “prayed a prayer.” I’ve been asked many times if I thought a person was born-again and I know full well that I am not the one who can give credibility to their salvation. God’s word and His Spirit provide us the assurance.

    God bless you – and may this message ring out loud and clear from the pulpits across America.

  3. Phillip jr. says:

    Thank you for this. I am going to share with others. People’s eyes must be opened to the truth of the lies told by too many “pastors” and “teachers”… The whole idea of someone being a backslider contradicts the word of God.
    John 2:18-21
    Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
    [They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
    But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
    I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
    May God bless the speak truth ministry, and the word of truth put out by this ministry.
    With Love in Christ
    Phillip jr..

  4. helen says:

    Shawn,
    this article is awesome, and totally God inspired. I have felt this way since my son recently had a heart transplant 6 months ago, I felt like God gave me a second chance, again and a new spirtual heart I have struggled with religion since and am never at peace in church only comfort I find is in my Bible and talking to others about the Bible….which most dont want to listen, thank you so much I am posting this on my childrens facebook wall as well as mine….God speed Helen

    • Hi Helen,

      Thanks for commenting. May I ask why you feel you are not at peace in church? Being in a local body is critical for the born again believer’s spiritual vitality (Hebrews 10:25; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 13:35; Acts 2:42; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 4:20; 2 John 1:5).

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