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Monday, January 11, 2010

WHY A FALSE SYSTEM OF RELIGION IS SO READILY ACCEPTED

    (1Kings 12:26-23)
 
    After Solomon's death, the nation of Israel split in two. The Northern kingdom, and the Southern Kingdom. Jeroboam ruled the ten tribes of the North, while Rehoboam ruled the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
    Jeroboam became concerned that the hearts of his people would become sympathetic toward the south when they made their three mandatory journeys to Jerusalem. To prevent that, he set up a false system of religion and told the people they did not have to journey to Jerusalem. The people readily accept it even though it was in complete violation of God's will. Why did they accept it?
    Because in most people there is a streak of softness that "easy" appeals to. Everyone likes to be comfortable, and the journey to Jerusalem was long, hard and expensive. Even in the church, few enjoy being told about self-denial or self-discipline. It is much more "comfortable" just to hear sermons on how much God loves us, and how much He sacrificed for us - - not on how much we must sacrifice for Him (Luke 14:33).
    Most people look at religion as being essential to a better life, and for this reason, Jeroboam did not try to do away with religion altogether. Instead, he gave them an "easier" way to worship. It was more convenient, less time consuming, cheaper, and more entertaining. He told them it was too much of a burden to travel all the way to Jerusalem - - they could worship just as well at home.
    Scripture tells us "This thing became a sin," because in order for them to adopt this easier, more convenient, more entertaining religion, they would have to change God's law of worship. Paul even warns us in Galatians 1:6-9, that to change God's law in anyway is to pervert it, and a perverted Gospel saves no one.
    Like our world today, these people were presented with a more convenient religion and readily swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. We don't want to hear things like, "all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2Timothy 3:12). We don't want to hear that there is "No crown without a cross" (Romans 8:16-17) - - and we don't want to wait for Paradise ... we want it right now!
    Many love celebrating the Babe being born, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. But when it comes to His death on the cross, they prefer to drench it in chocolate bunnies and surround it with Easter eggs!
    Jesus spoke many "comfortable" words during His ministry that have brought peace, hope, and spiritual healing to man.  But He also spoke some "uncomfortable" words. Consider: "Whoever preaches any other Gospel is accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9) -- that's not very appealing!  "Those who know not, and obey not the Gospel will be on the receiving end of My vengeance" (2Thessalonians 1:8) - - that's not very comforting. "I came not to bring peace, but a sword..." (Matthew 10:34-39) - - who wants to hear that?! If one is looking for "instant salvation" by means of "easy discipleship," they'll not find it in the Bible.
    Jeroboam, a once faithful servant of God, began changing God's Law, trying to make it more appealing to the public in order to get the people's devotion. That's exactly what churches are doing today. Building churches based on what people want rather than what God demands (cf. John 4:23-24). It didn't work for Jeroboam, and it won't work for anyone today.        - - Toby Miller

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