1 Samuel 8:10-22 – You Might Be A Secularized Church, If…

Posted: December 15, 2017 in Book of 1 Samuel

Some years back, Jeff Foxworthy had this schtick, You might be a redneck if…

Today I am going to usurp that phrase for a bit and say, you might be a secularized church, if…

As a member of what we may call, for the lack of a better term, “modern church”, we can get labeled as being part of the secularization of the Christian church. Although it is wholly wrong about our church, many “modern church” movement churches can exemplify that label and ruin the name of those modern churches that truly are after God’s own heart. According to Charisma magazine, there are traits of a secularized church that we must all check ourselves against in the modern church movement.

The first sign is that pastors steer away from teaching anything in the Bible that is counter to the cultural norms. The gospel is presented only in part and Jesus comes off as a buddy rather than Lord and Savior. Jesus is more of a self-help guru and purveyor of positive thoughts than he is the judge and ruler of the universe. Biblical views that are highly unpopular into today’s age of tolerance such as its views on sexuality, both unwed heterosexuality and all homosexuality, are avoided and not presented. Premarital sex and co-habitation before marriage is never challenged as against biblical morality. Thus, there are many in the pews or chairs of modern church who do not understand the Bible’s view of the sanctity of sexual relationships being restricted to the marriage bed.

Further, because of secularization where homosexuality is an acceptable relationship mode, many modern churches avoid the subject of homosexuality altogether. Or they have developed a theology that states that was an Old Testament prohibition (forgetting that Paul spoke on the issue in no uncertain terms in several of his letters to the churches). Or they develop a theology of where the it is rationalized that Jesus never directly spoke on homosexuality and they will just believe what Jesus says in the Bible and nothing else. Or they develop a theology where they say indiscriminate homosexual acts were condemned by the Bible whereas committed homosexual relationships are OK.

Further, if members of your church see living the nightclub lifestyle of partying and getting drunk where lapses in moral judgment often result as being OK. Not that there’s anything wrong with an occasional night out on the town but getting drunk and participating in hedonistic activities just like an unbeliever and thinking that its normal and OK and that we are covered by grace anyway, then, your church has become secularized. If people are allowed to assume positions of leadership in your church without any kind of vetting concerning their lifestyle choices in comparison to Scripture, then, your church has become secularized. When the church compromises biblical principles just to reach a segment of people, your church has been secularized. When your church’s primary focus is to attract large crowds and have lavish productions as the big idea rather than the truth of the gospel (which often can be countercultural), then, your church become secularized. If Jesus is presented as simply your personal Savior and not the Lord of all where all things and all peoples are subject to the one true God of the universe, then, your church has become secularized. If Jesus is not presented as the one and only way to reconcile ourselves with the Judge and Creator God then your church has become secularized.

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning is how some modern churches have sold their souls to the culture in the name of being culturally relevant and in the name of church growth when I read about how God’s people in this passage clamored to be just like the cultures surrounding them. So, with that thought in mind, let us read 1 Samuel 8:10-22 together now:

10 So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. 12 Some will be generals and captains in his army,[a] some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. 16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle[b] and donkeys for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”

21 So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, 22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

In this passage, we remember that Israel was called to be a holy nation, separate and unique among all nations (see Leviticus 20:26). The Israelites’ motive in asking for a king was to be like the nations around them. This motive was in total opposition to God’s plan. It was not that their desire for a king was wrong, but their reasons were. Often, we let other people’s values dictate our own attitudes and behavior. Have you ever made a wrong choice because you wanted to be like everyone else? Be careful that the values of your friends or heroes don’t pull you away from what God says is right. When God’s people want to be like unbelievers, they are heading for spiritual disaster.

Although there is nothing wrong with trying to be relevant in the way we attract people to our churches. There are many people who just do not connect with suits and ties and plush carpets and pews with cushions that match the carpet and stained glass windows and balconies and choirs with choir robes and pastors in robes and acolytes and symbolism and tradition and fancy ornate buildings and hymns that were written 150 to 300 years ago. Just because a church has modern music, minimalistic buildings, people coming to church in blue jeans, and preachers with jeans and their shirt-tails hanging out does not make them automatically a secularized church. But what we do to attract people cannot take precedence over the gospel.

There can be no watering down of what the Bible says. And we must preach the whole of the gospel. We must disciple our members to see that God expects us to give Him glory through out we live our lives and sometimes how we live our lives is in opposition to the culture. May we teach our people that we sometimes must decide if we are going to please God or just ignore Him and try to fit in with the secular world cause its easier.

Thank God, my senior pastor and our church leadership in our very modern church with all the hip and cool modern church trappings will never let any of that come before the truth of God’s Word. We will never participate in anything that is in opposition of God’s Word. That’s why after attracting people the way we do they are confronted with the truth of the Bible and they must make a decision – to be changed by it through the Holy Spirit or flee from our midst. Let us never become like some – a secularized church.

Amen and Amen.

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