ARE YOU DRIFTING?
By David J. Riggs
A. Drifting can be very dangerous because it can go completely
1. "To young men were fishing above a low dam on a river near
their hometown. As they were concentrating on catching
fish, they were unaware that they had drifted until they
were not far from the water flowing over the dam. When they
realized their situation, the current near the dam had
become too powerful for them to keep their boat from going
over. Below the dam the water was dashing with strong force
over great boulders and through crevices in the rocks.
Caught by the swirling waters under the rocks, they never
came to the surface. After days of relentless searching, the
divers finally found one body, and then, two or three days
later, the other. It was a sad occasion when these two young
men lost their lives in the bloom of youth. It was also a
sad occasion -- one tempered with hope and thanksgiving --
when I preached the funeral of one of them, the one whom I
had baptized only a week before." (By Billy Norris, from
B. Many Christians in their spiritual lives are drifting toward
I. SOME THINGS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DRIFTING.
A. It requires no effort.
1. To just stop oaring or tacking against the wind, one is free
2. This is why the Hebrew writer said, "We must give the more
B. It is an unconscious process.
1. It is possible to drift unawares. Example, in a boat on a
lake. Strong rip-tides or undercurrents are often
unnoticeable from the surface.
2. Many individual Christians have slowly drifted away.
3. Many churches have gradually drifted into error.
C. We never drift upstream or against the tide.
1. Christianity is like oaring upstream.
2. When we stand still, we go backwards. We must continue to
grow -- 2 Pet 3:18; 2:2; Matt. 5:6
D. The speed downstream increases.
1. The dangers increase with the speed of the drift. When we
can hear the noise of the waterfall, it is already too late.
2. When we lose sight of land, it is less possible to discover
that we are drifting.
3. As we move farther and farther from the Lord, we care less
and less about what we do.
E. It is dangerous to others.
1. A ship, just drifting, is a hazard to all other vessels at
sea. Ex. a "derelict" -- "a. something voluntarily
abandoned: specific, a ship abandoned on high seas; b. a
person in abandonment, ex. a person losing his sense of
duty, being negligent." (Webster)
2. Parents who are just drifting will soon lose golden
opportunities to teach their children. Eph. 6:4
3. Many are tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind
of doctrine. Eph. 4:14
F. It ends in shipwreck.
1. How will the drifting vessel do when a storm comes?
2. Heb. 2:1-3a
II. SOME COMMON SIGNS OF DRIFTING.
A. Less desire to study and meditate on the Word of God.
1. The Bible is a unique book -- a source of information that
cannot be found anywhere else.
a. Without God's revelation how can we truly know our
origin, purpose, destiny?
2. The Bible tells us how we can be saved from sin, its
dreadful consequences, and how we can live the happiest,
most useful lives.
3. It is unfortunate when one who once gladly gave time to
study of God's Word no longer has that interest.
B. Less desire to attend services and to worship God.
1. One should have the attitude of the Psalmist -- Psalm 122:1.
2. The fact that the gladness, the desire to go, is no longer
there is a strong warning that we are drifting.
C. Less interest in taking the gospel to others.
1. When one obeys the gospel, he knows God has blotted out
his sins, made him a new creature in Christ, and he wants to
tell the world about the gospel. Acts 8:4; 1 Thess. 1:8
2. When a Christian no longer has the desire to take the
message of salvation to others, he is drifting.
D. Less time and need for prayer.
1. Jesus, wanting to communicate with His Father, often
prayed. Mark 1:35; 6:46
2. This same desire is found in the hearts of children of God.
Jesus taught His disciples -- Luke 18:1.
3. When the Christian prays less and less, he is drifting more
E. Greater thrill over worldly honors.
1. Parents of a young man were excited beyond measure over a
worldly honor he had received. They had never demonstrated
such emotion over spiritual matters.
a. Within the passing time, the entire family had drifted
beyond the point of no return.
b. 1 John 2:15-17
F. Greater enjoyment in worldly pleasures.
1. Paul referred to some who were "lovers of pleasure more
than lovers of God." 2 Tim. 3:4
2. When we reach the point at which we find more pleasure in
some worldly activity than meeting with others to worship
God, we definitely are spiritually adrift.
G. Less desire to be with the people of God.
1. In a world where there is evil on every hand, Christians
need to spend much time together so they can give and
a. Consider what Jonathan did for David. 1 Sam. 23:16-18
2. Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:29; Heb. 3:13
3. When a Christian prefers the companionship of people of the
world, rather than fellow Christians, his drifting may have
him nigh to going over the dam to the rocks of spiritual
III. SOME REMEDIES AGAINST DRIFTING.
A. Continue steadily rowing, or keep patiently running. Heb. 12:1
1. It requires effort to live the Christian life.
2. Many love ease and the course of least resistance. Amos 6:1;
3. Let's not lay aside our oars, but continue to be diligent. 1
B. Guard against the riptides and undercurrents.
1. Guard against the undercurrent of temptation.
2. We have a carnal nature to reckon with. 1 Pet. 2:11
3. Man's greatest enemy can be himself. Rom. 7:18-21,24; 8:2
C. Learn to go against the tide.
1. There are many tides to sweep us away.
a. Popularity, peer pressure, the praise of men.
b. Modernism, skepticism, humanism.
c. Denominationalism - false doctrines of all kinds.
d. Liberalism -- probably the greatest enemy of the church
in our lifetime.
e. Neglect -- indifference, apathy, lack of interest and
concern. When we neglect Bible study, worship, prayer,
visiting, we will become weaker and weaker.
2. If one drifts along with the majority, he certainty will be
lost. Matt. 7:13-14
D. We must have strong anchorage.
1. We must be rooted and grounded in Christ. Col. 2:6-7
2. Our minds must be anchored to the truth. Eph. 4:14-15
3. We need an unshakened hope. Heb. 6:18-19
4. We need to be rooted and grounded in love. Eph. 3:16-18
A. As an individual Christian, am I drifting?
1. Am I headed downstream? Have I forgotten about the great
waterfall ahead? Am I oblivious to the riptides and
undercurrents that can sweep me away?
2. If so, I need to anchor down. I need to be tied to the rock
that cannot be moved.
B. Are we drifting as a church?
1. Have the tides of indifference and neglect swept us away?
Have we lost our love for truth and slowly drifted into
error. Are we nigh unto being vomited out of the Savior's
mouth because of lukewarmness?
2. If so, we need to bring our ship back to the port.
3. Let us renew our allegiance and dedication.
4. Let us give the more earnest heed to the things we know are
right. Heb. 2:1-3a