Thursday Aug 15, 2019
The Danger of Drifting
Thursday Aug 15, 2019
Thursday Aug 15, 2019
The Danger Of Drifting
When you hear the word “drift,” what comes to your mind? If you grew up in the Snowbelt, you may think about snowdrifts. If you’re into motorsports you might think about racecars intentionally skidding to navigate a tight turn, that’s called drifting. If you’re a pilot you might be thinking about wind drift, the effect the wind direction has on your intended heading. And if you didn’t sleep much last night in a few minutes you might be drifting off to sleep. The word drift can mean many things—if you catch my drift.
Drifting away can be a good thing. In 1973 Dobie Gray sang, “Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna’ get lost in your rock and roll and drift away. “If you’ve ever been at one of those nice resorts that has a lazy river, it’s nice to lay back and just drift along with the current.
But there is a kind of drifting that is dangerous. There are all kinds of warning signs on the Niagara River warning boaters of the danger of drifting too close to the falls. There is a dangerous kind of spiritual drifting that this passage addresses as well.
Hebrews 2:1-4. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
The American Standard version says in verse 2 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.
The writer is addressing this letter to believers. There is the real possibility that a believer can drift away from God and His word.
I’ve always enjoyed Tom Hanks’ acting. One of my favorite movies was “Cast Away. “Tom plays a FedEx employee named Chuck who is stranded on a deserted island. Chuck is so lonely he makes friends with a volleyball he names Wilson. Wilson is his constant companion. When he is on a raft a huge wave crashed over the raft and washes Wilson off. Chuck sees Wilson bobbing in the waves and the current is taking him away. Without thinking Chuck dives into the shark-infested waters to rescue Wilson, but the current causes him to drift away. Chuck is constantly screaming “Wilson! Wilson! I’m sorry, Wilson. “And he breaks down weeping. Tom Hanks is a pretty good actor when he can make grownups cry over a volleyball drifting away.
But there are thousands of Christians who are like Wilson. They have been slowly drifting away from a place of great joy, peace, and service for the Lord. We all know people who at one time were faithful servants of the Lord who have just drifted away from the Lord.
Drifting is something that happens slowly and gradually. But here’s the truth about spiritual drifting: You never drift toward holiness, you drift toward ungodliness. You never drift into faithfulness, you drift toward faithlessness; you never drift toward goodness, you drift toward wickedness.
It has been said that: “Most of us are not in danger of plunging into the sea of carnality. This week or next week most of us are not going to be murderers or drug addicts. The danger is not plunging into the ocean of perversity, but rather drifting away from goodness almost imperceptibly. “
Are you drifting away from God? Do you know someone who is drifting away? Let me give you four danger signs of drifting away.
1. I drift away when I listen to God’s Word but my life doesn’t change
Spiritual drift occurs when we stop paying attention to what we hear. Verse one says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
This letter was written to Jewish believers who had heard the Gospel and had turned from all the rules and rituals of Judaism to place their faith in Jesus. But they were slipping back into their old comfortable religious rituals and rules. The first time they heard the Gospel, it was revolutionary. But the more they heard it, the less amazing it seemed. It became old hat.
That can happen to Christians today. It’s like the first time you fly on an airline the flight attendants go through the pre-flight briefing, and you are listening to every word. But after you’ve flown hundreds of times, you no longer pay attention to their briefing.
James warns about the danger of being hearers of the Word, but not doers of the Word. And Jesus asked, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 )
When you stop obeying God’s Word, you face the danger of drifting away. Any one of us can drift away.
You probably recognize the hymn “Come Thou Fount,” but there’s an interesting story behind it. The words say: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing; Tune my heart to sing thy grace; Streams of mercy never ceasing; call for songs of loudest praise...” The third verse says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. “
When someone asks, “How many members does the Church of Christ have?
“A standard answer could be, “We have thousands of members, but the FBI couldn’t find half of them. “That usually gets a laugh, but it’s really not true. We know where those non-attending members are. They are sitting at home right now, or hanging out at the lake or shopping right now.
We need to lovingly remind them that there’s an eternity of different between having your name written on a church directory and having your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in heaven.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
It has been said that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car. If you love the Lord, you will want to gather with God’s people on a regular basis.
3. I drift away when complacency about sin replaces confession
Let me ask a question. What are the three areas of sin in your life that you struggle with the most? Can you answer that question? How aware are you of the presence of sin in your life? Are you daily going before the Lord and asking Him to reveal any wicked thought, attitude, or deed in your life? And then are you regularly seeking ways to overcome these temptations and weaknesses?
Once you become a Christian, sin is still present in your life. It doesn’t reign over you, but the potential to sin is still there. The Apostle John was writing to Christians when he addressed this subject: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 1:8-10)
I heard a dairy farmer say once that the hardest thing about milking cows is they don’t stay milked. One of the hardest things about walking with the Lord is that we must continually come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and confess our sin before the Lord.
4. I drift away when I forget that ending well is more important than a good start
The spiritual landscape is littered with the remains of men and women who started well, but somewhere along the track, they gave up. They left the race. They have drifted away.
The Apostle Paul had a laser focus toward finishing strong for the Lord. He wrote, However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me— to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Paul wanted to keep his eyes on the prize of finishing well for the Lord.
A great story is told about an event that took place in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The race was the women’s 5000 meter run (3.1 miles). As the runners were bunched up in the turn, New Zealand runner, Nikki Hamblin, lost her balance and fell to the track. American runner Abby D’Agostino tripped over her and fell to the track, injuring her knee. Hamblin was devastated, and momentarily thought about quitting. But she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Abby saying, “Get up! Get up! We have to finish this race. It is the Olympics!” Then leaning on each other, they limped their way to the finish line. Neither won a medal, but they are winners in other ways because they realized the importance of finishing the race.
Here’s the reality: none of us have finished yet. But if you finished your race today or tomorrow would you be finishing well? Those followers of Jesus Christ who pace themselves in the race of life and still have enough gas in the tank to sprint across the finish line will have their eyes on Jesus and will hear the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
ILL.- In the course of their conversation at a dinner party, Albert Einstein’s young neighbor asked the white-haired scientist, "What are you actually by profession?" "I devote myself to the study of physics," Einstein replied. The girl looked at him in astonishment. "You mean to say you study physics at your age?" she exclaimed. "I finished mine a year ago."
Einstein never stopped working at what he did. The same must be true of us in the spiritual realm. We all must continue to work at our salvation, maintaining, keeping at it, etc.
Ps. 139:13-14 “For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
The human body is a wonderful creation of God.
- The average human heart pumps over 1,000 gallons a day, over 55 million gallons in a lifetime. This is enough to fill 13 super tankers. The heart never sleeps, beating 2.5 billion times in a lifetime.
- The human body contains enough DNA that if it were stretched out, it would circle the sun 260 times.
- The human body uses energy very efficiently. If an average adult rides a bike for 1 hour at 10 mph, the body uses the amount of energy contained in 3 ounces of carbohydrate. If a car were this efficient with gasoline, guess what kind of gas mileage it would get? 900 MILES TO THE GALLON. Amazing body! No, awesome Creator!
I Cor. 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
ILL.- Many dads have their names on the title of the car that their child drives. The child may be 16 or 18 or even 20, but dad’s name is on the title. And I’ve known of some dads to say to their child, “If you don’t take care of that car. Or if I find you doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, I’m going to take your car away from you, like it or not. And there is nothing you can do about it.”
Right on, Dads! Sometimes that’s the only way to get some kids to straighten up. THREATEN TO TAKE THEIR WHEELS AWAY FROM THEM. Most teens today would die without their wheels.
Brothers and sisters, whether you realize it or not, God has the legal title to your body! He paid the price for your body on Calvary! And you have no legal right to do with it whatever you want!
God wants us to enjoy our bodies and at the same time He wants us to use them to honor Him and serve Him. We need to take care of our bodies as best we can!
James 2:26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
II Pet. 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....”
It is obvious that we are challenged in Scripture to maintain our faith
Robertson McQuilkin wrote a poem about finishing well. It’s entitled “Let Me Get Home Before Dark.”
I fear the Dark Spectre may come too soon— Or do I mean, too late?
That I should end before I finish; or finish, but not well.
That I should, stain your honor, shame your name, Grieve your loving heart.
Few, they tell me, finish well... Lord, let me get home before dark.
The pages of the Bible are full of great servants who didn’t finish well. Samson provides a sad example of how you can drift away from God’s power and blessing without ever realizing it. He made a sacred vow to the Lord to stay pure, and God gave him great strength. His strength was not in his hair, but in his faith in God.
But Samson was a he-man with a she-problem. He gradually turned from God’s people and got involved with a Philistine woman named Delilah. He ended up getting his hair cut in the devil’s barbershop. When the Philistine soldiers attacked him Samson jumped up to repel them as he always had. Then we see a really sad verse in Judges 16:20 Samson said, “‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.”
So, what is the solution for spiritual drifting? You need to link your life to something and someone strong and secure. You need a solid anchor. I’ve been told that the heaviest anchors ever made are the ones used on U.S. Aircraft Carriers. Each carrier has two and each one weighs. 60,000 pounds. When the navy drops those two anchors, that huge ship won’t drift in the harshest seas. We have an anchor even more powerful than that. His name is Jesus. The best way to prevent spiritual drift to stay firmly anchored to the hope we have in Jesus. The Bible says, “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)
Be aware of the danger of drifting away from God. There is a powerful question posed in this passage that you can’t ignore. You could call it the big question, or the unavoidable question, or the million dollar question. But it is a personal question that everyone who drifts away must answer seriously:
how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; (Hebrews 2:3)
So how can you escape if you ignore it? You can’t. No way. It’s hopeless without Jesus. So bind your life to the solid anchor of hope in Jesus Christ and keep from drifting away.
I DRIFT AWAY WHEN:
1. I listen to God’s Word but my life doesn’t change
2. Indifference replaces a desire to gather with believers
3. Complacency about sin replaces confession
4. I forget that ending well is more important than a good start