Conformity, Compromise, and Crisis in Worship

Conformity, Compromise, and Crisis in Worship

Scripture: Hebrews 5:14, 1 Kings 11:1-13, 1 Kings 18:1-46
Date: 08/20/2011  Lesson: 8
The Old Testament contains several stories that demonstrate the calamities that come when we adulterate the pure worship of God.

Lord of Our Worship by Doug Batchelor

Lord of Our Worship by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning. It is a wonderful, sunny Sabbath day here in Sacramento, California and we welcome each and every one of you this morning who are tuning in. Whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org or watching on the various television networks, it is a privilege and a joy to have you join with us this morning as we open up God's Word and we study together. But first we sing. We sing your favorite hymns.

Many of you from around the world have sent in your favorite songs and each week we do our best to get through a couple more of those, and today is no exception so we're going to sing, "bringing in the sheaves," 369, This is from monique in Alabama, jizelle in antigua and barbuda, arnold and angelin in england, karl in germany, dustin in honduras, dave in Indiana, yakeen in jamaica, jamie, jenny, jared, sandy and vern in North Carolina, maria in thailand, and roselyn, naomi and natasha in vanuatu. First, second, third stanza, 369, "bringing in the sheaves." [Music] Today is a wonderful day at central because we've just got beautiful music but it's also a really, really sad day because the people that have been helping with the music, that beautiful, beautiful, beautiful music, this is their last week. They have been part of the youth for Jesus, youth initiative here in Sacramento with the asi youth for Jesus doing evangelistic meetings around the city. And we've had 11 youth here at central church and it's just been a privilege to have you helping, seth, singing for the last 3 weeks and we're definitely going to miss you all. So I hope you've really appreciated the music that they've added as well.

Our next song 338, "redeemed, how I love to proclaim it," 338. And this is from elissa in Alabama, glynis in Arizona, cleonice in brazil, brian in California, karl and maisie in France, jean, aida, gloria, Esther in italy, lois in jamaica, enny, grace, isela in Mexico, mike in Michigan, dara in Mississippi, eden in New Jersey, joy in New York, burt and barbara in North Carolina, vern, sandie, jenny and jaime in North Carolina, pastor randy in Ohio, wilton in peru, jerusha in trinidad and tobago and terry and noemi in Washington. Three thirty-eight, all thee stanzas, "redeemed." [Music] Father in Heaven, we are redeemed and we claim it. We're just thankful for your blood that washes us clean from our sins. Father, may we just ask for that this morning, if we haven't already done so, that our hearts will be pure and as we open up Your Word and we study together that we would be hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

Father, thank you so much for loving us. You love us so much. We can't even wrap our minds around it, but just as a parent loves their child, you love us far more. Thank you. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Welcome everybody to Sacramento central church. We're glad you're here, and we want to welcome our friends who are studying with us on television or watching by satellite or on the internet. And we welcome you, those who might be some of the extended members of the Sacramento central church. And if you'd like to know more about how you can send in the hymns--we were just singing a variety of hymns, requests from around the world.

Just go to saccentral.org. And while you're there you'll notice we have an all-new website. The church's website's been completely revised and updated, and I enjoyed looking it over last night. We are continuing in a very important study dealing with the subject of worship. And today's lesson is not an exception.

We'll get to that in just a moment. Well, let me tell you what the title of the lesson is 'cause it goes with our free offer. Our lesson today is number 8, lesson 8 in your quarterly, and it deals with conformity, compromise and crisis in worship. And it just so happens Amazing Facts has a sermon book, a study book that goes along with this. We will send you a free copy, if you don't already have one, and it is called "compromise, conformity and courage.

" What a coincidence? I wonder if the author of the lesson got to read our book first? Hope so. But we wrote a book about this a few years ago. We'll send you a free copy of that, and it might help enhance your study. "Compromise, conformity and courage." Just ask for the free offer and call the number. It's 866-study-more is the acronym.

That's 866-788-3966 to request that book. Our lesson today has a memory verse, and the memory verse comes from Hebrews 5:14 and it's coming out of the new king James version. I always appreciate if you'll do that with me in chorus. If you can find that either in your lesson or if you've got a new king James version. Hebrews 5:14, you ready.

..? We, through study, need to know how to rightly divide the word of truth, and especially in today's day and age. Now when we read the history of Israel, we're gonna go through just a few examples where we see some catastrophic compromise that had to do with worship. We need to ask ourselves, are we immune to those same influences? Or are we also vulnerable as a people in a church, to lacking the courage and making the compromise? Aren't we at risk for those same things, those same dynamics? So this study is very important. One is we need to ask: how do we avoid falling into those kind of compromises in worship? And the other is we might honestly ask, have we already fallen in some areas? Is that a fair question? All right, so I tell you what, and we're gonna look at a number of verses. Matter of fact, maybe we should start right away by going to some of the verses we're gonna read.

Let me just identify, we have some microphones handy. Got one there. Why don't you get a little closer? Come over here by the edge. And got one on this side? Very good. I'm gonna give the first verse right away.

It's Genesis 6:5. Did we give that to somebody? We gave out some slips with some verses on it. Who got that? Right here, Genesis 6:5. We actually read this a couple of weeks ago, both in our sermon in another Sabbath school study, but it appears again in today's lesson for good reason. So why don't you read that for us right now? Genesis 6:5.

.. Right here at the beginning, even before the flood, because of the sin of adam, we learned that man's heart became wicked. All the thoughts and intents of his heart were wicked. And without the natural resistance of the worship. Remember, there was two different lines of worship.

You had the children of adam and seth that were worshiping according to what God has designed. Then cain, who sort of modified worship and he left from the Garden of Eden. And when the daughters of cain, called the daughters of men, began to intermarry with The Sons of God, the descendants of seth, pretty soon they gravitated right back to their compromise in worship and all the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually. Now have you ever heard it said before, everybody is really good down deep that we naturally are all good inside and we need to just kind of find that goodness on the inside? And you know I can understand why people say that because we have seen great goodness of people, sometimes especially under crisis or stress, you see, it seems like a good side comes out. And people automatically say, "well, it was buried down deep in there and they are naturally good and we are naturally good.

" I'll argue it's actually that's not the case. I think the Bible teaches that we are naturally very selfish and left to ourselves. Should the Holy Spirit be withdrawn, I think we'd be shocked at how wicked people can be. During world war ii with the genocide that happened, not only in germany and europe, but we seen in it rwanda and other places, we have been shocked by what we thought were good people could be so wicked. So I think whenever people identify goodness, they're not looking at what is at the core of people.

They're looking at the influence of God's Spirit on what is naturally an evil heart. And that's what surprises people. But that's not humans in their most natural state. When the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, what does the Bible say is the state of man? Job 5:7... It is natural for us to be troubled.

Somebody look up for me psalm 14. I think we're gonna have you read verse 2-3. Did we give that to someone? Jean has that right here. We'll let you read that in just a moment. But before I'm gonna read Isaiah 53:6.

We all know that one. "But all we like sheep have gone astray." Who knows the rest of that? "We've turned everyone to his own way." We are naturally prone to stray from God. All right, read for us psalm 14:2-3 please... Whoo. Now I'm not trying to depress you at the beginning of lesson here.

I just want you to recognize that left to ourselves, if we invent our own worship, what are we going to be prone to do? Humans in their natural state, without the Spirit of God, without the Word of God, are gonna gravitate towards selfish worship. Because in our hearts, people say, "I'm just gonna worship the way I feel in my heart." Have you heard that before? Well, what do we have in our hearts? If we separate what God's Word says about worship and say, "we're gonna be going by how we feel deep down inside," do you really trust what humans are deep down inside to design our worship? Now can you see the danger of that? What did cain do? Did he worship based on the word or based on he felt would be good? Abel did it based on the sacrificial system that God designed. All right, let me give you a few more verses. Someone look up for me, Jeremiah 13:23. Who has that one? Right up front, emily.

Just a moment and I'll let them set up for that. I'm gonna read Jeremiah 17:9... Above all things the heart is deceitful and it's--not just wicked, desperately wicked in our natural state. All right, you're gonna read for us Jeremiah 13:23 please... All right, why does it say that about the Ethiopian skin and the leopard's spots? Are leopard's spotted or Ethiopians dark because somebody-- is because of the sun exposure? Is it because someone got a palette with paints that the leopard got its spots? Is it coming from the outside or is it coming from the inside? What you're seeing on the outside is coming from the inside.

And so for man to trust what he's got on the inside to design his worship is a dangerous plan. This is why the lesson and the lesson, I'm not dreaming up these verses. You know sometimes I take liberties with the lesson, but these are verses that really come from the lesson. And so it's making a good point. John 2:25 and it says, and had no need--speaking of Jesus, "he had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.

" So if we want to know what we are naturally inside in our fallen state, who knows? Jesus does. God knows what we're like and what we need. Now think about it, if lucifer, who was a perfectly good angel that you would have loved. Nothing wrong with lucifer when God made him. If he's surrounded by perfect worship in heaven, a perfectly-designed angel had the capacity to corrupt and worship himself instead.

If adam and eve, even before their fallen state in the perfect Garden of Eden could trip and fall into wrong worship--remember what the devil said? "You will be as God." They wanted to worship themselves, didn't they? Then how about us who are now naturally born with defective dna or what it is, I don't know what it's is makes us born selfish. We're prone to self-worship now. Adam and eve and lucifer were not made that way. See what I'm saying? They were made perfect designed with a natural desire to worship God. They resisted it because of their free will and fell.

We're born with a natural desire to worship self. And you realize when you talk about worship, there's really only two directions that the compass can point. It says north and south. It's either God or self. Any worship other than God is really self-worship.

Salvation by works is trusting in yourself, your works. See what I'm saying? So Jesus knows what's in man. Let me give you some more. Psalm 146:3... And let me give you one more.

Jeremiah 17:5... All right now, we've done all this and read all these verses, I left one out I'll get to in a second, to lay a foundation for everything else we're gonna study. When we determine how we should worship and how to avoid compromising worship, where do we go? Do we find out what our favorite pastor says? I'll get on a bus. Do we find out what's convenient or comfortable? Can we trust that? Can we trust what everybody else is doing? It says all the hearts of The Sons of men are evil continually. Or do we turn to the Word of God and find out what Jesus says? So and that's the worship that's going to, not only be appropriate for God, but bless us.

One more verse, Romans 3:10-12, this is actually drawn from the old testament. I think Paul is quoting Psalms here. "As it is written: there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God." It's not natural for us in our--without the Holy Spirit. "They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." Is that clear? All right, so without God's help, we can't trust our ideas about what's right worship. God, in His Word, gave very clear plans about worship, what worship should be.

Before David died, David was a prophet. He wanted to build a temple. He designed a permanent temple based on what God had given Moses and the Holy Spirit. And he gave those plans to Solomon and charged his son to follow the Lord, obey the Lord. "Don't turn aside and God will bless you.

" Never was there a time in the history of God's church when man's worship of God was more pure and glorious than during the time of Solomon. Now think about that for a minute. They built the temple designed by God. He took from the plans that God gave Moses and then enhanced them through David. Building the temple, no chisel was even heard.

There was such solemnity. Can you imagine that, a construction site? I remember we were across the street during net New York on 34th street from a construction site where they were blasting all day long. And we were just praying they'd stop blasting before our live program went up. Very noisy construction site blasting in the rock of manhattan. But here you've got this incredible, wonder of the world that's being built and you can't even hear anything but the muffled whispers of the instructions as they grind and slide the stones into position.

There was an awe there. Seven years building the temple. He consecrates the temple. One of the greatest prayers in the Bible. So effective was his prayer that when he got down praying, the shekinah glory came down and burnt up the sacrifice.

The glory so filled the temple, the priest could not even minister in there. You remember reading that? And the people worshiped, and Jesus even refers to the days of Solomon's glory. Israel was at its zenith during that time in doing things the way God said. All of the singers--was there a problem with the music when Solomon began the temple of David? David even handmade some of the instruments. The Songs, was there any problem with The Songs that were sung in their worship service? It was done by the book and it was glorious.

It was reverent. It was powerful. It was awesome. And then something happened, compromise came in. Somebody read for me 1 Kings 11:1.

1 Kings 11:1... Matter of fact, I'm gonna ask you to include verse 4. Jump down 1 Kings 11:4. Read that for me too... So all these foreign wives that he married and he thought--he justified it.

God said don't do it. Matter of fact, you can read Deuteronomy 17:17, "neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away." Turn away from what? Heart turn away from God and that will then be seen in the worship. And Solomon, he was all-wise. He said, "you know, in order to have peace--" and they did. They had peace, but that peace was very expensive.

"In order to have peace with all the surrounding nations," he said, "we're going to marry and, you know, we'll try and have unity through these marriages." You know, they did a lot of that in europe during the time of the golden age of england. Everybody was related to everybody, and they tried to have some kind of peace through these marriages of the different monarchs. But the wives came from their hometown and they said, "well, look, I feel I'm home sick, you know? We didn't worship this way. Back in my home, worship was a lot more exciting. Solomon, honey, dear--" and then they'd go around the palace.

They'd fold their arms. They'd pout. They'd stomp their feet. Solomon would, you know, try to console them. He'd say, "what can I do for you, dear?" "Well, if you could just, you know, bring one of my idols that I'm used to seeing from my hometown and bring it to Jerusalem so I at least feel like I'm at home.

And if could just do something about the music. I'm not used to these instruments. Change the music a little bit. It needs to be a little more zippy like when we would worship ashtoreth." "And but you know we don't do things like that, honey." And she'd say, "well, I'm your..." And he said, "all right." Didn't it go something like that? Yeah, you bet it did. I could probably write the script for how that must have looked.

And you know it says when he was old, he began to cave. His convictions and his courage got weak. And when you've got 300 wives and 700 concubines, they can work on ya. Now one good man can stand up to one good woman, but one against a thousand are not good odds. You know, it says his heart was not perfect then before the Lord.

He began to compromise, and all these different wives began to bring in the different worship components from their different homelands and tried to commingle them so they'd feel more at home with the worship of the pure God. Isn't that right? Isn't that what happened? Yeah, it says they brought their idols, finally, even in the temple of the Lord. Compromise. Trivia, little bit of trivia, but you might find this interesting. I just described to you God's people going up, getting closer to the Lord, lots of ups and downs.

But when they finally reached the absolute zenith, the climax of their closeness to God fulfilling their plan for God on earth, it was during the time of Solomon. They reached the pinnacle of their glory as an earthly nation. You cannot point to a time in the history of Israel on earth when they were closer to fulfilling God's will as a nation than during that window in the first part of Solomon's reign when it says, "Solomon loved the Lord with all his heart." And God spoke to him and gave him a dream and just blessed the nation with peace and wealth. And wasn't that a great time? Those were the good ol' days. You want to hear something interesting? Trivia, 1 Kings 10:14.

The number 666 only appears a couple of times in the Bible. I think actually three times. Another time it's when they're numbering The Sons. I think it's in Nehemiah. It says, "now the weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold.

" And you go to the next chapter and it says, "but king Solomon loved many foreign women." Right after it talks about all the gold that he had amassed, it mentions that number and then it starts going downhill. I just think that's interesting. Like I said, it might not mean anything, but I think it's interesting. All right, big compromise in worship. By the way, does 666 appear later in Revelation connected with false worship? I think that's interesting.

I'll let you figure out what it might mean 'cause I'm not even sure, but I think it's interesting. Now David--I'm sorry, Solomon's not the only one that began to compromise with--through the impressions of marrying wrong. Remember The Sons of God saw the daughters of men. They married wrong and they began to worship like the people of cain. Here, Solomon began to intermarry with unbelievers and they influenced his worship.

Now, I'm not just talking about marrying out of the faith, whether you're a man or a woman here. There are other ways we marry besides matrimony with a person. We marry beliefs. We marry ideals. We get married to philosophies.

And through these forbidden marriages, it corrupts the pure worship. See what I'm saying? But we'll talk about another marriage. Somebody look up please for me, 1 Kings 21:25. You got that, David? All right, they're gonna get set for you and I'm gonna read the chapter or the verse that will set up for that. I'll be reading 1 Kings 16:31.

1 Kings 16:31, talking about wicked king ahab. "And it came to pass," now this is the northern kingdoms, "as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of jeroboam The Son of nebat," we'll talk about jeroboam in another section here, "that he," ahab, "took as wife jezebel the daughter of ethbaal, king of the sidonians." He was a king priest that worshiped baal. Here's the daughter of this priest of ethbaal, king of the sidonians; and he went and served baal and worshiped him. All right, go ahead and read for us that next verse. 1 Kings 21:25.

.. So was she influencing him? She influenced him to persecute the prophets of God? Ahab knew that baal was not the right God. She influenced him to--Elijah had to run and hide during the time of ahab. All of a sudden you've got 400 prophets of baal that are on the government payroll and no prophets of God. Did it affect the worship? When we get to the section dealing with Elijah, you'll see there's a very big distinction in how they're worshiping and all this compromise came in.

Couldn't ahab have stood up and said, "no, dear, we're not doing that. Here in Israel we worship the way God says." And he caved in, and he began to worship the way she impressed him. It says, "who his wife jezebel stirred up." Now, you can read about this also in Nehemiah. One more example of the compromise that came in. Nehemiah 13:23-27, "in those days I also saw jews who had married women of ashdod, ammon, and moab.

And half of their children spoke the language of ashdod, and could not speak the language of judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them I and cursed them--" it doesn't mean he cursed like in foul language. He just should them the verses in the Bible that talked about the curses on those marriages. "And struck some of them and pulled out their hair--" hoo. How many of you would put that on your list of what you're looking for in the new pastor of your church? "Struck them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, 'you shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons for yourselves.

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among the nations there was no king like him--" in spite of his wisdom-- oh, gotta stop right there. Does intelligence and education prevent compromise in worship? Matter of fact, historically compromise and worship often happens among the young at places of higher learning. Now did I make sense in what I just said there? So being sophisticated and wise is not a protection against vulnerability to compromise in worship. Nehemiah's saying, "Solomon, there was none like him for wisdom." But look how he compromised. So yes, even those who are wise can argue in favor of "well, but, you know, a little compromise is good.

" We need, here's the word, here's the operative word. "We need balance." You know what's often meant by balance? Balance means balance a little bit of sin with righteousness. That's what's typically meant by that. We need compromise. Now that's an operative word.

By the time this airs, who knows what will be going on in our country. But at the time of this recording, the government is in a great turmoil regarding who's gonna compromise. And there are times to compromise, not when it's compromising a principle. I'm talking about, you know, if you and your wife are saying, "I'm ordering thai food. I like it spicy.

" And she says, "I like it mild." Well, then you get it half and half, right? I mean that's a compromise you can live with. I'm not talking about compromising principles here. You understand. I just gotta go on record here what we mean by that. All right, counterfeit worship.

Next section. "And jeroboam said in his heart--" now we gotta talk about king jeroboam. Solomon, because of his compromise, the prophet ahijah said, "the Kingdom that God blessed you with and all the peace and all the good and all the blessings God gave you because you've not obeyed the Word of God, the Kingdom is gonna be torn away from you and given to your servant." Solomon had a servant. He was a very capable man named jeroboam, son of nebat. You're gonna hear that phrase a lot in the Bible as you keep reading the history of the old testament.

Jeroboam, The Son of nebat. Jeroboam The Son of nebat. It's repeated many, many times. Jeroboam started out a good man. The prophet said the Kingdom was gonna be torn away from the house of David, but David would still keep two tribes.

He ended up with judah and Benjamin and the levites. You could argue three tribes. The other ten tribes went to the north, but jeroboam was worried when God finally, The Son of Solomon, rehoboam wasn't as bright as his father. And when the people said, "are you gonna lighten our taxes?" That's what the people always say. "Are you going to tax us heavily like your father?" He said--he listened to the wrong counselors and rehoboam said, "well, my father's thigh won't be as thick as my little finger.

And my father chastised you with whips, but I'm gonna chastise you with scorpions. I'm in charge here. What do you mean telling me you're gonna pay taxes? I'll tell you what kind of taxes you're gonna pay." And they said, "oh, really? Well, look, you can tell the people of judah from the tribe of David about that, but we're gonna get ourselves another king." And the Kingdom was divided. There was a civil war that never ever recovered. There was a little bit of peace during the time of ahab and jehoshaphat, but even God said, "why would you be friends with my enemies?" He wasn't supposed to make peace and compromise with those who were compromising worship.

So ten of the tribes went and followed jeroboam, but then jeroboam began to sweat. He said, "hey, I'm in the northern kingdom. Yes, judah and the house of David, they've just got two tribes, but they've got the temple. And it will come to pass that all of the people that I've got in the northern tribes, when they have to go according to the worship and the Word of God, they've got to go to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices. That's where the annual feasts are.

That's where the levites are. And the levites are gonna start spreading treasonous thoughts about coming back to the house of David. I've gotta change the worship to keep the people." I wonder how many rulers, through history, have said the same thing. "I'm gonna do something about worship to keep the loyalty of the people." Why do you think Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image? Through united worship, he hoped to keep the people. Why do you think darius told everybody to pray to him for 30 days? Through united worship, you control the people.

That's why the caesars said they were Gods. That's why alexander finally said it. A lot of rulers through history have tried to make compromises in worship to keep the people. So jeroboam, shrewd politician as he was, he says, "they'll kill me and go back to rehoboam, king of judah. Therefore," and I'm still in 1 Kings 12.

Therefore the King asked, he asked advice. He got some advice and they said, "look, you're gonna have to have your own place of worship." I can't believe he did this. He made two calves. After all that happened to Israel making calves. You make a zebra, an elephant, not another calf.

Golden calves didn't have a very good history. He made two calves of gold and he said to the people, "it's too much for you to go all the way down to Jerusalem to worship." He actually set up to Jerusalem 'cause it was on a hill. "Here are your Gods, o Israel, which are brought to you from the land--which brought you up out of the land of Egypt." Same thing aaron said with the golden calf. And he set one up in bethel, that's the northern kingdom. And the other one he put in dan.

That was the furthest north. Make it convenient. Now notice what's happening here. "I don't want it to be inconvenient for you to have to make this pilgrimage all the way down there. We're gonna make worship more convenient.

" Have you heard that? They even got drive-thru churches. They've got automatic tellers now where you can do confession in the mall. You just kneel there and you can do it with a teller, you don't need a priest. And they've got now, they're developing an app for the iphone where you can do your confession on your phone. I don't know how-- make worship convenient.

Do you know that I heard this this week so you'll have to check out the facts. I'm just doing this from what I heard. But I've heard that there was a poll that 86% of Americans consider themselves spiritual and believers in God, but only about 30% go to religious services. A lot now are doing it on home or on their phones. It's on their computer screen, their tv screen or their phone.

And they're downloading sermons which is why, you know, it's not an accident that Amazing Facts is using one of the these big screens. People have three screens in their lives these days, tv screen, computer screen and the screen on their phone. Isn't that right? They get a lot of information there. Why? It's inconvenient. "I don't have to go all the way down to the church, traffic downtown.

" You know, we've got all these reasons. So he wanted to make it convenient. Set one up at bethel. Set one up at dan. Now this thing became a sin for the people who went to worship.

He compromised worship. For the one at dan, it was idolatry. "And he made shrines on the high places and he made priests from every class of the people." So he's not only making idols for them to worship, even though they're binging their sacrifices like they did in the south. They combined idol worship with the worship of the Hebrews. "And they made priests from every class of the people.

They also made a compromise in the place of worship." The people that led the worship, they were supposed to be from The Sons of aaron. They said, "anybody can be a priest." Or some might be saying anybody can be a pastor. Does God tell us in His Word that there's to be a distinction in who is ordained and who is not? We're having an ordination service today, and the pastors we just met in the back. And we're talking about what the manual says about what's involved in ordination 'cause we want to do it by the book. And it tells us in the Bible about how ordination should happen.

They said anybody. And just jeroboam sort of just began to hand pick who he said would be the priests. They weren't among The Sons of aaron or the levites because they were now all loyal to David. I should say the house of David. And he said, "not only that.

" It said, "jeroboam ordained a feast on the 15th day," well, that's good, "the eighth month." Well, that's bad. Feast of tabernacles was supposed to be on the 15th day of the seventh month. And he said, "we don't want to do it when they do it. We don't want to do it where they do it. We don't want to do it the way they do it.

We're gonna just gonna similar. It will be the 15th day, but we're gonna do a different month. We will have priests, but they're not The Sons of aaron's. We will offer sacrifice, but not at the temple of Jerusalem." And where do you think he got these ideas? They began to compromise with all the other nations around them and incorporate what was popular from the surrounding nations they had in the north with the worship of the Hebrews. And they said, "we'll take the best of both.

" Matter of fact, I'm guessing it says, you know, you just read it here. Don't miss this. It says, "the King asked advice." You know what he probably did? He probably sent some representatives to the seminaries of baal up in sidon. He probably sent some representatives to study how they worship. He says, "they got really exciting worship services.

Their congregations are growing over with moab and edom and ammon. We ought to send representatives and let's take some counsel. Let's find out what's working. Let's find out what's popular. And let's incorporate those things with our worship.

" Now does that sound familiar? Now, listen, I want to be the first to tell you, I think that we can learn from different people. But not when it compromises with the Word of God. That's the danger is when there are principles and worship styles that are compromising with the Word of God, then you begin to drift and you have to--is it popular to stand up and say, "can't do this, this is wrong"? That takes courage. What if everybody in your church is making that kind of compromise? Nobody wants to be unliked. If you like not being liked, something's wrong with you.

That's a bad attitude. I like being liked, don't you? So for you to stand up and say, "you know, the Bible really says we shouldn't be doing this," in a church where everybody says, "isn't this wonderful?" Does that take backbone? Yeah. That's why the lesson is about compromise, conformity in a crisis. Is this an important trait to have in the last days, that kind of courage? Are we going to be pressured? Will there be a deception so powerful that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived? We've gotta make sure our worship is Bible worship because the big question in the last days is you're gonna either worship the beast in his image or you'll be worshiping God. And so he made a compromise.

Jeroboam made a compromise in the place of worship, who was qualified to lead the worship and the time of worship. Does it say the beast's power will think to change times and laws? Jeroboam really led the way in all of those things. Now, eight times in the Bible, you're gonna find jeroboam-- by the way, who chose jeroboam to be king? God did. When he was humble in his own sight, he had an opportunity to really bring revival to the north and to do things right, but he was so afraid that the people were gonna leave him. He should have said, "God chose me as king.

That's God's problem. I'm gonna follow the Lord." But instead he said, "I'm gonna--better take things into my own hands and through my works I'll keep 'em." He then, his name became synonymous with compromise and corrupt worship through the remainder of the Bible. Eight times in the Bible it specifically says, "jeroboam The Son of nebat who made Israel sin." How would you like to have your legacy in history "made the church sin"? You know, it's amazing to me when jeroboam first set up the altar at dan and bethel, a prophet of God came to him and cursed the altar and said the bones of the priest were gonna be burned on that altar. And jeroboam says, "arrest him. Who does the think he is?" His arm froze.

He couldn't pull his arm back in. That would have told me something right there. And he said, "please, pray for me" to the prophet. The prophet prayed for him. His arm was restored.

The altar cracked. An angel karate chopped the altar. It cracked. All the ashes that were supposed to be sacred for poured out. And after all that, you know what happened when that prophet left town? Jeroboam fixed it and kept doing it.

That is rebellious, stubborn sin, isn't it? Jeroboam The Son of nebat, he said, "I don't care what God says. I'm gonna do it my way." Well, that was his legacy. All right, let's talk about Elijah and the prophets of baal. Now we've been following a transition of worship here, you notice? Things were perfect when David handed it over to Solomon in the beginning of Solomon's reign. Solomon compromised.

Jeroboam compromised. Ahab compromised through jezebel, and then you've got the northern kingdom. They don't even have the priest. Now they got The Sons of the prophets. One of them was a man from tishbe.

His name was Elijah, the tishbite. And he then Marches in and he tells ahab, "the whole land is under a curse because of your compromise. You're persecuting the prophets of God." Famine 3-1/2 years. Finally God says to Elijah, "show yourself to ahab, the people have been humbled enough where they're ready for revival." Now this is really important. We're talking about compromise of worship.

Now let's assume that maybe we've made some compromises. Have we? I think we have. I think--I'm not gonna say what you're going to expect. I think the biggest compromise that Seventh-day Adventist Christians have made along with most Christians in North America in worship is the altar now is a television set at home as opposed to the Word of God speaking to us and defining who we are. I think that the average Seventh-day Adventist Christian knows more about "American idol" than they do about Jesus.

So what brings revival? We got different altars. What brings revival? And what makes an altar? That's where you sacrifice your time. That's where you sacrifice your means. So finally God says, "they've had things hard enough." There had been an economic disaster in Israel because of a famine. It might take an economic disaster for God's people to be brought to their knees again and experience the outpouring of the Spirit.

I don't know but it's happened before. That's what it took in the past. Would you think it safe to say that famine, 3-1/2 years brought economic disaster? You read about it. Finally, God says to Elijah, "show yourself to ahab." He does. They call a big rally.

Elijah has the courage, one prophet of God, to stand up against--it's disputed about were there 400 prophets? It also talks about 450 prophets of the grove, 400 prophets of baal. It could have been 1 against 850. There were 7,000 knees that still hadn't bowed to baal, but they weren't standing up on Mount Carmel that day. Elijah's the one who had courage. And he set this proposal for them.

"Let them give us," this is 1 Kings 18:23, "let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I'll prepare the other bull, lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your Gods, I'll call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, he is God." Notice the similarities in their worship style. But one group is the prophets of baal and one is a prophet of God. There are similarities. Are there similarities between catholicism and protestantism? Do they use the name Jesus? Do they believe that Jesus died on a cross? Do they believe that Jesus rose again? Do they believe that Jesus forgives sin? Do they believe in heaven? Do they believe in a punishment in hell? I can go through a long list of similarities between protestants and catholics, right? But is there some dramatic differences in their belief system in their worship? So much so that people died for it by the millions, on both sides.

That's right, yeah, catholics were also killed by protestants. Big differences. Lot of similarities. Same mountain. Same altars.

Same sacrifice. Well, the altars may have been different. Elijah probably used 12 stones. The altar of baal may have been a little different. Lot of similarities.

Don't miss that. "You choose your bull." So they did it. They prepared it. "And they called on the name of baal from morning even till noon, saying--" now I'm gonna read everything they said from morning till noon. Actually, everything they said from morning till the evening sacrifice.

This was their doctrine. "O baal, hear us!" Now in order to say that from morning until night, am I exaggerating if I say there was some repetition involved? So for one thing, the pagans were known for vain repetition. They said over and over again, "o baal, hear us. O baal, hear us." Now there's probably music, you can bet on it. Somebody was beating a tambourine.

I can promise you that. They worked themselves up into a frenzy, didn't they? So much so that they finally stabbed themselves and blood gushed out. It's called body piercing. "O baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. They leaped on the altar cut themselves.

Elijah finally, he mocked them sanctified mocking. Saying, "cry aloud for he's a God." Trying to get the people listening to realize that baal was not a God, using irony here. Maybe he's meditating. So how did Elijah feel about their kind of meditating? Evidently in baal worship, there was also some meditation involved, right? And he's beginning to mock that, or he's busy or he's on a journey. And kind of that's deism.

He, you know, God created things and just sort of set them in motion and then left. Or perhaps he's sleeping and must be awakened. And the louder you call, that'll make a difference. That was one of their beliefs. They got into a frenzy and it just got loud, big cacophony of worship.

Nothing happened. Finally at the evening sacrifice, I gotta hurry here, Elijah says, "draw near to me." The people weren't even paying attention to the prophets of baal. They had worn themselves out. They were hoarse from their yelling. Brazen sky, no clouds, no fire, nothing.

Nothing. Just flies on the altar. Finally Elijah calls the people near. They draw near to him. He repairs the altar of the Lord with those 12 stones.

No tool had been lifted up on the stones, lest they engrave an idol or make some beast out of it. Sacrificed the oxen. Put it on the altar, saturated it with barrel after barrel of water. Filled the ditch around it. Gets on his knees, prays a prayer that takes about 20 seconds or less to answer.

Kneels down, prays this prayer. Because he does things at God's Word the way God said, fire now explodes from the heaven, comes down like an arc welder the sky, burns up the sacrifice, burns up the altar. Vaporizes all the water that was in the hole. There's nothing but a smoldering crater where his altar would be to show the sign of approval for his worship. Simple worship.

But the revival really had not happened. Of course, the people fell on their knees. They said, "the Lord he is God." They turned back to God. the Lord he is God. I would too, wouldn't you? Matter of fact, some of those prophets of baal probably started getting down on their knees and looking around too at that time.

So part of revival is not only a turning back to God. It's dealing with the evil influence that started the problem in the first place. I'll submit to you that if we want revival in our church, we're gonna have to do the same thing. We've gotta turn back to God, but there needs to be reform and change. There needs to be tangible change.

Anyway, we've run out of time and there's more to say about the Elijah message. Boy, maybe I'll get to that next week. I got a whole thing on the Elijah message I wanted to share. We are out of time. I want to remind you if you missed part of the lessons, some of the principles are covered in the book.

The book goes well with the lesson. It's called "compromise, conformity and courage." We'll send you a free copy if you ask. Just call the number 866-788-3966, and we'll be happy to send that to you. God bless you. Look forward to studying together again next Sabbath.

If you've missed of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all your television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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