Summary: Conception of a religion of convenience Characteristics of a religion of convenience Consequences of a religion of convenience
The Sin of a Religion of Convenience
The passage before us describes the act which is so often described in Scripture as the "sins of Jereboam." It is referred to more than twenty times in the Word of God.
I Kings 15:30 "Because of the sins of Jereboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel to sin." I Kings 15:34 states that Baasha "walked in the way of Jereboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." I Kings 16:31 says of Ahab "and it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jereboam." II Kings 13:2 states that King Jehoahaz "followed the sins of Jereboam." II Kings 3:3 states that King Jehoram "cleaved unto the sins of Jereboam." II Kings 15:8 states that Zachariah "departed not from the sins of Jereboam."
Jereboam’s influence cast its dark shadow across fifteen reigns of the kings in Scripture. His destructive influence was felt for more than two and a half centuries. It was the prime cause of the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel.
Jereboam became the founder and the ringleader in the religion of convience.
I. Conception of the religion of convenience
Verse 26 "in the heart"
Kingdom of Israel had been divided after the of Solomon. Two tribes followed Rehoboam and ten tribes followed Jereboam. Jereboam concludes in his heart that if the people of Israel continued to go to Jerusalem to worship they would return to following Rehoboam. If they journey up to Jerusalem three times a year as in times past, sentiment would sweep them off their feet and their loyalty might turn from him to Rehoboam..
To prevent this, he devised a means to give them a religion of convenience.... a religion that did not demand much from them. "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem," he told the people. Therefore he devised of his own heart a substitute. It was probably Jereboam’s boast not that he was instituting a new religion or setting up a rival Deity, but that he was worshipping the one true God in a more rational and convenient way.
The heart of man is desperately wicked, and out of it there can never come a system of worship that meets the claims a thrice holy God and the needs of the soul. The inventions of the unrenewed heart are sure to be in opposition to the revelation of the mind of God. Any religion founded on any other book than they Bible is a false religion or cult. Any religion that exalts another book up to the status of the Bible is a false religion or cult.
It was foolish when we consider the promise of God that he had been given (see 11:38). What he did was born out of distrust of the promise of God. How often are the many things we do born out of a heart of distrust on the promises of God? Jereboam was going to trust his own skill and shrewdness rather than God’s promise.
II. Characteristics of the religion of convenience
Traits, features of a religion of convenience.
A. Way of comfort (28)
Does not want to put the people out. It was a religion of ease. It will not require much of you. It will not cost you anything! David on one occasion said, "I will not offer burnt-offerings without cost."
People are prone to laxity and when someone offers to legitimize it in the name of religion, many people find such a deal irrestible. The ancient version of "It is too much for you" is the words "but it will increase attendance."
However, Jesus never offered comfort or convenience when it came to following Him. See Luke 9:57-62. Jesus informs the scribe that following Christ was not a life of ease and comfort. Jesus was born in a stable, cradled in a manger, owed shelter to faithful friends, and was going to be buried in a borrowed grave. To follow Christ was not going to be a pleasure-journey. It was not going to be without difficulty and trials. Jesus never promised a and easy pathway. When the storms of life come, his disciples would often have no refuge but in the promises of God.
The second man Jesus asked him to follow him but the man asked for permission to go bury his . Throughout the East it was the recognized duty of the first-born to be responsible for the burial of the father. Probably the old man was not even sick, but the age-old custom provided a ready excuse whereby the con could avoid a direct refusal of Christ’s invitation, He was playing for time, feeling that when his father did die, Jesus would be far away. Had his parent been , the son would hardly have been spending time listening to an itinerant preacher; he would have been spending time attending to the funeral arrangements. The truth is this man was unwilling to respond immediately to the call of Christ. Notice his words, "Suffer ME first." This is the way of comfort and convenience. The truth is, it must Be CHRIST first! It will never be conveinienent to serve Christ