Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "Living In Times Of Spiritual Decay".
Series: Living In Times Of Spiritual Decay[#2]
THE RESULTS OF DECAY
Last week we looked at places and ways that spiritual decay begin. Spiritual decay begins with compromise. These compromises, (although very little at first) will eat away at the leadership of our churches, at the attitudes in our lives, and at the godly actions in our families. “The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ’I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?” (Judges 2:1-2).
We also saw where these compromises lead. “Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (Judges 2:3).
What was their reactions to this news? “When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD” (Judges 2:4-5).
This is where we need to pick-up.
Outward But Not Inward
Repentance Outward But Not Inward
How did they take care of this decay? Did they cry because of their remorse or did they cry because of the consequences of sin? We must understand that just because we get emotional about the consequences of our decaying churches, attitudes, and families doesn’t solve the problem. You can get “fired up” for a moment, but if that is all you do, that “fired up” feeling will go away. You can cry until your eyes are swollen shut, but if that is all you do, your eyes will be back to normal in just a little while. You can scream and yell until your voice is gone, but if that is all you do, your voice will come back.
Also notice that after the Israelites cried, they offered sacrifices to God. Just because you get spiritual all of a sudden doesn’t mean that there isn’t consequences to sin. When my children do something wrong, just because they run over and say, “I’m sorry” or cry their eyes out, doesn’t mean that they still don’t get punished.
These people thought if they sacrificed to God after they cried real loud that God would let them “off the hook”. Outward signs of repentance do not always equal inward signs of true repentance. True repentance must begin in the heart.
Just because we got “fired up” last Sunday night or just because we cried doesn’t mean that we are “off the hook”.
Results Outward But Not Inward
If there is no true repentance, which is repentance of the heart; then look where it ends up:
We must catch this! All of the areas that we looked at last week that were decaying are now affected. If there is problems in the leadership of the church, then there is going to be problems with the attitudes of the people. When there are problems with the attitude of the people, then there are problems within the godly structure of the family.
1. Because there was no inward change in the leadership, the younger generations had no leaders. No one was taught and therefore Judges 21:25 became true. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” If there is no accountability, then everyone will do their own thing.
2. Because there was no inward change in the attitudes of the people, they became hardened to the truths of God. They no longer knew what was right in the eyes of God and so replaced it with their own truths. God’s standard is not easy to live up to, but if you twist it enough you can make it fit your attitudes. The problem is: It is either God’s way or the wrong way.
3. Because there was no inward change in the families, they intermarried with foreign nations, (which God had strictly forbidden). Not only were the people not following God’s design for family, they were worshipping foreign gods just like God said would happen if they married people from foreign nations.
Opportunity But Not Forever
God Gives Opportunity
Because the Israelites had the same loving God that we have, God gave them the opportunity to change. God gave them the opportunity to be blessed with the blessings of promise He had given to Abraham and his descendants. God wanted them to be successful as a nation; but they had to do it His way. See, Judges 21:25 says that the people did their own thing because they didn’t have a king; but understand that God’s plan was that He would be their King. In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel was upset with the people because they were demanding that God give them a king so that they could be like the other nations. Samuel was angry that the people didn’t realize that God was suppose to be the King, but what did God say to Samuel? He told Samuel that they were not rejecting Samuel; but they were rejecting God.