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Looking Back

Luke 9:62 reads, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

I. Do not turn back; go toward.

A. The saints must have perseverance.

1. Perseverance is holding out steadily to the end.

2. Perseverance can be destroyed by sin–deadly sin: adultery, fornication, murder and other such deadly sins.

3. Perseverance is maintained by dwelling upon God’s love, mediating upon those who have fallen, and learning that there must be a strong, ferrant will throwing itself into perseverance.

B. The virtue of continuing.

1. The unchangeableness of God.

2. The unchangeableness of Divine charity.

3. The nature of virtue.


1. Prayer.

2. Energy.

3. Frequent reception of the Holy Communion.

4. The remembrance of heaven.

II. The Evil of looking back.

A. The man’s request. He offers himself to be a disciple of Christ, but with an exception.

B. In respect of the covenant into which they enter, or the manner of entrance into it, which is by a fixed unbounded resignation of themselves unto God. Till this be done, we are but half Christians.

1. They may destroy their covenant with God.

C. With respect to the duties of Christianity, or that part of the kingdom of God which concerns your obedience to Him, you are never fit for these things while the heart cleaves to earthly things. Our duties will have three defects:

1. They will be unpleasant.

2. They will he inconstant.

3. Imperfect in such a degree as to want sincerity.

D. In respect of the hurt that cometh from their looking back.

E. With respect to the disproportion that is between the things that tempt us to look back, and those things that are set before us.

1. The things that tempt us to look back are the pleasures of sin and the profits of the world. Both are but a temporary enjoyment (Hebrews 11:25).

2. The things that are before you are God and heaven; reconciliation with God, and the everlasting fruition of Him in glory.

III. Christ demands decision from us.

A. There, is a great work, which it becomes us all to labour in.

B. All are interested in reaping the advantages of it.

C. All must alike feed the sad consequences of neglecting it.

D. It is a work that requires immediate attention.

E. When we take up the cause of Christ, we must never allow ourselves to be diverted from it.

F. We will lose everything if we do.

G. We will never gain again all that is lost.

IV. Spiritual ploughing–Life is here figured as a field which God has set us to plough.

A. Upon it three classes of men appear.

1. There are those who move without regard to their orders or their duty. Their purpose is to live as easily and pleasantly as possible.

2. There are others trying to plough with their eyes behind them always looking back to what they think they have lost never understanding what they may lose in the future.

3. There are those who begin and continue the Christian life as the instructed ploughman runs his furrow.

B. Why is the church not stronger?

1. Some in the church are aborted in watching and in criticizing other people’s ploughing.

2. Some people are gazing back upon their own, recalling past experience, at times anxiously, which is bad.

C. Jesus’ reply to this man.

1. There is no looking back at all.

D. Reasons why men look back from the plough.

1. People do not want to give up their friends and connections.

2. People want to take one more look at sin.

3. People believe God will not cast them into hell because of sinning.

4. People want ease from spiritual anixiety and warfare. They do not want to battle against the forces of evil.

5. People want to retreat from the battle.

6. I will let no one know it (<410838>Mark 8:38).

7. I will see how others go (<194204>Psalm 42:4).

8. There are so many ways (<431406>John 14:6).

9. I have not sufficient conviction (<442425>Acts 24:25).

10. I must make myself better (<400913>Matthew 9:13).

11. I do not know how (<441631>Acts 16:31).

12. It will affect my worldly position (<401626>Matthew 16:26).

13. I shall lose my situation (<400624>Matthew 6:24).

14. I am not certain that Thou wilt forgive and receive me (<243134>Jeremiah 31:34).

15. I will wait on God’s time (<470602>2 Corinthians 6:2).

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