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Saturday, March 19, 2016

WORSHIPPING IDOLS IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST...





They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.  (2kings17:29-33)

THE SAMARITANS ~ Numbers of scriptures talks about the Samaritans, for instance, Luke detailed the parable of the Good Samaritan “Luke10:25-37,” While John documented Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman. (John 4) In John’s narration we learn that the relationship between Jews and the Samaritans of old were like that of cat and dog. (John4:9) It’s obvious some of us read these stories and not make an effort to find out who the Samaritans were, and why they were in such disagreement with the Jewish people of old. As we should know, every story of the bible both in the Old and New Testament have spiritually present and future interpretation; in other words, bible stories are not just written to let us know what happened in the past, however, there are hidden present and future truths lying underneath the stories. The inner reality of the bible is call the guiding light, and that is what will help our spiritual growth in this hour of gross darkness.


WHO WHERE THE SAMARITANS?


The scripture helps us to understand that Omri, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel built the city of Samaria. (1Kings16:21-28) From the era of king Omri to the time of Hoshea the city of Samaria was inhabited by the children of Israel until the ninth year of the Hoshea’s reign, Shalmaneser the king of Assyria fought against Hoshea in war and conquered Samaria, and afterward carried the children of Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes". (2Kings17:6) After the conquest of Samaria by the Assyrian kingdom, Shalmaneser (the king of Assyria) brought uncircumcised (non-Jewish) people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites; these mixed race brought in by the king of Assyria took over Samaria and dominated all its towns, cities, and villages. (2Kings17:24) So it is evidence according to the scripture that the people who replaced the Israelites in the city of Samaria were mixed race from pagan nations; they had Babylonian, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim origin; they were not Abraham’s seeds….

ABOUT THE SAMARITAN’S RELIGION

When the uncircumcised mixed ethnic groups were brought from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim by Shalmaneser (the king of Assyria) to replace the children Israel in Samaria they had no fear of the true God; the people were pure idol worshippers, and because of that YHWH (The Holy God of Israel) sent lions among them and the wild beast killed some of the people. And after that a message was sent to the Shalmaneser king of Assyria to let him know that the people whom he has sent to live in the towns of Samaria do not know the spiritual traditions of Yahweh the God of Israel, and so Yahweh (Jehovah) has sent lions among them to destroy them, because they have not worshiped Him correctly. The king of Assyria commanded that they should “send one of the Jewish captive priests back to Samaria to live there and teach the new residents the religious customs of Israel.”  Therefore, one of the Jewish priests who had been exiled from Samaria returned to Bethel and taught the new residents (The Babylonians, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim people) how to worship the Lord. However, the people after hearing about the God of Israel and how to worship him made idols of their own and started worshiping them using the name of Jehovah God of Israel. In other words, the MIXED PAGAN RACE continued to worship their various idols but instead of using the original names of their traditional deities, they changed their names according to the names of the GOD OF ISRAEL, for instance, instead of the men from Babylon to call the name of their false god “Succoth Benoth” during their ceremony they will use the name Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai, Elohim etc. (2kings17:29-32) Consider the following scripture….

They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.  (2kings17:29-33)


What does the above scripture mean by the Samaritans feared the Lord and served their own gods? King Solomon explains that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way (Proverb8:13). So “they fear the Lord and served their own gods” simply entails that the Samaritans observed some level of morality just for the sake of gaining God’s protection and physical prosperity, they want God to protect from wild beast, and to prosper their undertakings, while they refused to forsake the idolatrous system of the world; the Samaritans used God’s name to worship their Idols.  (2kings17: 34) God commanded the Israelites to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their might, and not to have other God apart from Him, (Deuteronomy6:4-5). The Samaritans learned a little from the Jewish priest that was sent to them only the external structures of the Jewish religion; they learned how to set up alter for sacrifices, burning of incense, and to perform other outward rituals, however, they lacked insight in the holy commandments of God and the willingness to follow God’s eternal principle as said Isaiah the prophet concerning hypocrisy of some Jewish people….

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men (Isaiah29:13)

The Samaritans mimicked the Jewish way of worship but they don’t know the God of Israel whom they claimed they were worshiping; they pretended to worship God all for the sake gaining material wealth, that’s is why Jesus tells the Samaritans woman at Jacob’s well that THE SAMARITANS WORSHIP WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW; but they Jews worship what they do know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John4:19-22) It is a fact, the Samaritans of old were false worshippers; pagans from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim that have no pure knowledge of God but tried to used God’s name to obtain material benefit. The Jews refused to associate with the Samaritans because they considered them Idol worshippers; as we should know, Judaism strongly prohibits any form of idolatry. In the process of time, the Samaritans developed their own system of priesthood and selected their own books that made up their bible, which included only the five books of Moses. And instead of Jerusalem remaining the place of worship during that era, the Samaritans established their spiritual center in mount Gerizim. The Samaritan fabricated religion latter became a rivalry to the true way of worshipping God, the idol worshippers out shined the Jews and began to be seen by the world as the true Israelites.


THE PRESENT TIME SAMARITAN’S RELIGION


The story of Israelite and the Samaritans is not just inside the bible to serve as history, however, this story represent something in this new dispensation. There is no doubt that the Israelites of old foreshadow the true church (the called out ones), while the Samaritans prefigured false miracle chasing Christians that have no true spiritual relationship, fellowship, and communion with Christ; their purpose of worshiping or calling God’s name is to obtain material blessings. Paul through his writings helps us to understand that the false worshipers who will mingle with Christians in the last days (now) will also raise their own kind of false priests like the ancient Samaritans, ministers who will teach them what they want to hear to strengthen their idols….

For the time will come when people will not tolerate the TRUTH, the pure teachings of Christ. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of false teachers who will teach what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to fabricated stories that aren’t true. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

It is obvious that false priests and fake worshipers have dominated today’s Christian churches, it is not many people that are genuinely serving the true God, majority are serving their Idols using God’s name; people these days want to use God’s name to accomplish their selfish interest….


IDOL WORSHIP IN THE CHURCH


It a pity most assumed that idol Worshiping mean only bowing down before a physical statue of something or someone, however, idol worshiping goes far beyond bowing down to the image of Virgin Mary, Shiva, Vishnu, statue of Buddha etc., the uppermost idol resides in the human mind. Consider the following scripture….  

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart (Ezekiel14:1-4).

The word of God supposed to occupy the center of our hearts, but when we allow other things to take the place of God in our minds, that fixation then becomes our idol; it can be your family, children, friends, job, education, fashion etc. That’s why Paul the apostle teaches that the weapons of our warfare aren’t carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Cor10:4-5). Anything occupying the center of our hearts instead of God is an idol! Anything we do without putting God first is idolatry…

Charles G. Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875) wrote the following; To serve a person is to be obedient to the will and devoted to the interests of that individual. To serve God is to make Christianity the main business of life and to devote one's self, heart, life, powers, time, influence and all to build up the Kingdom of God and advance His glory. Who are they who profess to fear the Lord but serve their own gods? Anyone who has not heartily and practically renounced the ownership of his possessions and given them up to the Lord. Suppose a gentleman were to employ a clerk who continued to attend to his own business. When asked to do what is necessary for his employer, who pays him wages, he replied, "I really have so much business of my own that I have no time to do these things." Such a servant was not serving his employer at all. His time was paid for by another, but he served himself. Where a man has not renounced the ownership of himself, not only in thought but practically, he has not taken the first step in Christianity. He is not serving the Lord but serving his own gods.

The man who does not make his business a part of God’s kingdom does not serve God. Sometimes men say that they are engaged all day in business and don't have time to serve God. They think they serve God a little while in the morning and then attend to their worldly business. They are not serving God. It is a shame for them to pretend to serve God. They are willing to give God the time before breakfast or before they go to work, but as soon as that is over, away they go. They fear the Lord enough to pray morning and night, but they serve their own gods.

Their religion is the laughing stock of hell. While they pray devoutly, they serve themselves instead of engaging in business for God. No doubt the idols are well satisfied with the arrangement, but God is wholly displeased. Many of you make religion consist in certain acts of piety that do not interfere with your selfishness. You pray in the morning with your family because you can do it then very conveniently. But don't interfere with the service of your own god or stand in the way of your getting rich and enjoying the world. The gods you serve make no complaint of being slighted or neglected for the service of Jehovah….

Multitudes of people suppose that the week is man's time and the Sabbath is God's. They think they have a right to do their own work during the week and promote their own interests, if they will only serve God on Sunday.

A celebrated preacher, in illustrating the wickedness of breaking the Sabbath, used this illustration: "Suppose a man having seven dollars in his pocket should meet a beggar in great distress and give him six dollars, keeping only one for himself. And the beggar, seeing that he retained one dollar, should turn and rob him of that--would not every heart despise his baseness?" This illustration embodies the idea that it is ungrateful to break the Sabbath since God has given to men six days for their own and only reserved the Sabbath for Himself.

You that do this do not serve God at all. If you are selfish during the week, you are selfish altogether. To suppose you had any real piety would imply that you were converted every Sunday and unconverted every Monday. But is the Sabbath a day to serve God, exclusive of other days? Is God in need of your services on Sunday to keep His work going?

God requires all your services as much on the six days as on the Sabbath! He has appropriated the Sabbath to peculiar duties and required its observance as a day of rest from toil, cares, and labors that concern the present world. But because God uses men to accomplish His purpose, and the gospel is to be spread and sustained by the things of this world, God requires you to work all the six days at your secular employments. It is all for His service as much as the worship of the Sabbath….

Sunday is no more given for the service of God than Monday. You have no more right to serve yourselves on Monday than you have on Sunday. If any of you have imagined that the six days of the week are your own time, it shows that you are supremely selfish. Do not consider that in prayer and on Sunday you are serving God if the rest of the time you are serving yourself. You have never known the radical principle of serving the Lord.

Anyone serving themselves or their own gods will make few sacrifices of personal ease and comfort. When a man enters into service, he gives up his ease and comfort for the interest of his employer. Is a man supremely devoted to the service of God when he shows that his own ease and comfort are dearer than the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? He would rather sacrifice the salvation of sinners than sit on a hard pew or be separated from his family for an hour or two!

Do you give your time and money to God's service grudgingly or by constraint? What would you think of your servant if you had to push him all the time to do anything for your interest?

Many people do everything grudgingly. If they do anything, it comes hard. If you go to one of these characters and want his time or money, it is difficult to get him interested. He does not consider the interests of Christ's Kingdom higher than his own. He may make a show of fearing the Lord, but he serves gods of his own…

Those who are aiming to elevate their own families into a different sphere by storing up wealth show that they have some other object to live for than bringing this world under the authority of Jesus Christ. They have other gods to serve. They may pretend to fear the Lord, but they serve their own gods. Many people profess to be the servants of God but are eagerly gathering property and planning to retire in the country. Has God given you a right to a perpetual Sabbath as soon as you have made a lot of money? Did God tell you, when you professed to enter His service, to work hard for so many years and then have a continual holiday? Did He promise to excuse you after that from making the most of your time and talents and let you live at ease the rest of your days? If your thoughts are set upon this, you are not serving God but your own selfishness and sloth.

You can find people who greatly love things that do them no good, and others even form artificial appetites for positively loathsome things. No arguments will prevail upon them to abandon their habits for the sake of doing good. Are such persons absorbed in the service of God? Certainly not. Will they sacrifice their lives for the Kingdom of God? Why, you cannot make them even give up bad habits to save a soul from death.

Selfishness reigns in such people. It shows the astonishing strength of selfishness. You often see selfishness showing itself in little things. The true state of a man's mind stands out so strongly that it will not give place to those great interests for which he ought to be willing to lay down his life.
People who are most readily moved to action by appeals to their own selfish interests show that they are serving their own gods.

Suppose I want a man to build a church. How can I convince him? Must I show him how it will improve the value of his property, advance his business, or gratify his selfishness in some other way? If he is more excited by these motives than he is by a desire to save perishing souls and advance the Kingdom of Christ, he has never given himself to serve the Lord. He is still serving himself. He is more influenced by his selfish interests than by all those benevolent principles on which Christianity turns. The character of a true servant of God is opposite to this….

Many people are more excited by other subjects than the Lord. You find them talking about politics or philosophy, and if you bring up Christianity, the conversation immediately stops. They would rather talk about animal feelings, showing that the Lord is not the subject that is nearest their hearts. A man is always most easily excited about that subject that lies nearest his heart. When you can talk early and late about the news and other worldly topics but cannot possibly be interested in the Lord, you know that your heart is not in it. If you pretend to be a servant of God, you are a hypocrite.

When a man is more jealous for his own fame than for God's glory, it shows that he lives for himself and serves his own god. Who is his god, himself or the Lord? Imagine a minister thrown into a fever because somebody criticizes his scholarship or his dignity, while he is as cool as ice at all the indignities thrown upon the blessed God. Is that man a follower of Paul, willing to be considered a fool for the cause of Christ? If he understood Christ, he would rejoice to have his name cast out as evil for His cause.

That which gives value to a Christian institution is the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of saints. The end for which Christ lives, and for which He has left His Church in the world, is to draw all men to Himself. This is the business to which God calls His servants. If any man is not doing this as the main object of his life, he is not serving the Lord but is serving his own gods…..

People who seek for happiness in Christianity, rather than for usefulness, are serving their own gods. Their religion is entirely selfish. They want to enjoy religion and are always asking how they can be happy and pleasurably excited in religious exercises. They will only go to meetings that will make them happy, never asking whether that is the way to do the most good or not. They are content to do nothing but sit on their cushioned pews and have the minister feed them.

Instead of seeking how to do good, they are only seeking to be happy. Their daily prayer is not that of the converted Saul of Tarsus, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do" (Acts 9:7) but, "Lord, tell me how I can be happy." Is that the Spirit of God? No. He said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God" (Psalm 40:8). Is that the spirit of the apostle Paul? No. He threw off his upper garments at once and made his arms bare for the field of labor.

Those who make their own salvation their supreme object are serving their own gods. Many people in the Church show by their conduct and their language that their leading object is to secure their own salvation. Their grand determination is to get their own soul planted on the firm battlements of the heavenly Jerusalem and walk the golden fields of Canaan above. If the Bible is not in error, all such characters will go to hell. Their religion is pure selfishness. For "Whosoever will save his life shall loose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25)….

Very little is accomplished in the world for Jesus Christ because so few do anything for Him. Jesus has few real servants in the world. How many people do you think there are in the Church that are really at work for God and striving to advance the Kingdom of Christ? The reason that Christianity advances no faster is that there are few to advance it and many to hinder it. You see a crowd of people at a fire trying to get the goods out of a store. Some are determined to get the goods, but the rest are not doing anything. They divert their attention by talking about other things or hinder the workers by finding fault with their way of doing it. The Church is very similar. Those who are trying to do the work are greatly hindered by the backwardness, the objections, and the resistance of the rest. Few Christians have the spirit of prayer. How can they have the spirit of prayer? And why should God give it to them? Suppose God gave a man engaged in his worldly scheme the spirit of prayer. Of course he would pray for things nearest his heart: his worldly schemes to serve his own gods. Will God give him the spirit of prayer for such purpose? Never!

Many professing Christians have not begun to serve the Lord at all. A man said to one of them, "Do you feel that your property and your business are all God's, and do you hold and manage them for God?" "Oh, no," he said, "I have not gone as far as that yet." Not got as far as that! That man had been professing Christianity for years and still did not consider all that he had as belonging to God! No doubt he was serving his own gods.

I insist that this is the very beginning of Christianity. What is conversion but turning from the service of the world to the service of God? And yet this man had not discovered that he was God's servant. He seemed to think it would be a big step to feel that all he had was the Lord's. You who are performing religious duties from selfish motives are in reality trying to make God your servant. If your own interests are supreme, all your services are performed to induce God to promote your interests. Why do you pray, go to church, or give money to Christian causes? You answer, "For the sake of promoting my own salvation." Indeed! Not to glorify God but to get to heaven!

Don't you think the devil would do the same if he thought he could gain his end by it--and be a devil still? The highest style of selfishness is to try to get God, with all His attributes, enlisted in the service of your mighty self! Are you serving the Lord, or are you serving your own gods? How are you doing? Have you done anything for God? Have you been living as a servant of God? Is Satan's kingdom weakened by what you have done? Could you say now, "Come with me, and I will show you this sinner converted or that backslider reclaimed or this weak saint strengthened and aided?" Could you bring living witnesses of what you have done in the service of God?

Or would your answer be, "I have been to church every Sunday and heard a great deal of good preaching, and I have generally attended the prayer meetings. I have prayed with my family and read the Bible." And in all that, you have been merely passive. You have feared the Lord and served your own gods. "Yes, but I have sold so many goods and made so much money, of which I intend to give a tenth to the missionary cause." Be not deceived. If you loved souls and were striving to serve God, you would think of souls here and do the work of God here. What are we to think of a missionary going to another country who has never said a word to a sinner at home? Does he love souls? The man that will do nothing at home is not fit to go to the mission field. And he that pretends to be saving money for missions while he will not try to save sinners here starting from his or her own home town or villages is an outrageous hypocrite! 

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