Summary: A sermon of how we are becoming complacent in our society.
A RELIGION OF CONVENIENCE
INTRO: The woman came home in her car with automatic transmission, pushed a button and the garage door opened automatically. Her A/C had automatically started ½ hour earlier. She took a prepared meal out of her automatic defrosting freezer, placed it in her microwave with the automatic heating cycle, set the table with disposable items. Her TV automatically came on to the news, as her automatic sprinkler started in her yard. RIDICULOUS? Not really. We will do anything for more convenience. How do we let our love for convenience affect our religion? READ TEXT!
We may be in danger of making religion a matter of convenience in our lives. How can this happen? Let’s look at the example of Jereboam. A religion of Convenience:
I. OFTEN SEEKS AN EASY WAY TO DISCHARGE OBLIGATIONS (v. 28).
Jereboam said: “You have been going to Jerusalem long enough to worship.” Why bother to go there when you can worship just as well in Dan or Bethel?
Jereboam was afraid that if the people continued to go to Jerusalem, they would once again unite with David’s kingdom
So, he had two golden calves made, and placed one in each city. He said you can save time, money, and get all of the satisfactions you desire by worshiping closer to home.
The calves were not set up to be worshiped as idols. They were intended to be symbols of Jehovah.
With the electronic church, people are doing the same thing today. Satan wants to keep you out of church so that he can have more control over your life. It is much easier to turn a knob on the TV than it is to go to church.
It is also an impersonal way to worship. Yo don’t have to get involved. You don’t have to make a commitment. Satan will convince you that you don’t need to go to church to worship.
ILLUS: Service stations everywhere are installing do-it-yourself credit card pumps. No attendant is needed since the customer can make his gasoline purchase and never go inside. Soft drink machines are now on the market that will talk back to you when you make your purchase. Now, other businesses besides fast food restaurants have drive through windows for customer convenience. Banks and other financial establishments have had drive in lanes and 24-hour teller machines for quite some time. American technology is rapidly discouraging face to face contact.
Perhaps the church is the only remaining institution in society which can show concern for the individual by meeting the human need for face-to-face contact and relationships with other people.
II. SEEKS IT’S OWN GODS—DEVELOPS IT’S OWN RITUALS—CHOOSES IT’S OWN PEOPLE (vv. 28-29, 31).
Jereboam claimed that the golden calves represented that which was formed in the wilderness by Aaron. It was the golden calf (he said) that brought them out of the wilderness.
He also made priests out of people who were not sons of Levi—i.e. not God’s appointed. The words “all sorts of people” (v. 31) literally means: from the extremities of.
ILLUS: In a survey of 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses 62 said they were adults when they converted, and 42 of that 62 said that they were Baptists before their conversion to that cult.
Notice that Jereboam took council with those he knew would support his views and actions. He did not seek the advice of God.
People who do not get involved in the activities of the church will soon grow cold in their Christian life. It then becomes easy for someone to lead them astray with false teachings. What the false teacher says may sound good, but the carnal Christian cannot discern the error.
III. SEEKS A MORALITY OF IT’S OWN (v. 30).
This became a sin to Jereboam and his people because it violated the fundamental law of the O. T. religion. God not only prohibited any idol worship, but He also established the place of worship as well.
Notice that Jereboam also changed the month of the feast from what God had established.
A lowered view of God results in a diminished moral tone. The gods which displace Jehovah allow all kinds of easy and loose living.
When people forsake Jehovah, and follow the gods of their own making, morality suffers.
ILLUS: Consider the consequences of the Israelites worshiping the golden calf in the wilderness.
When we forsake the church, and when we do not attend because it is inconvenient for us to come, we give room for Satan to do his work.
Satan begins to attack the high moral standard that we have been taught, and the principles that the church stands for are questioned by Satan’s attack on our lives.
Soon, Satan has us convinced that we don’t need the church, and that we are the judge of all our actions. He tells us the lie that we answer only to ourselves.