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When God Hates Church

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Religious acts mean nothing when the rest of your life isn’t in obedience to God.

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if you have your bibles.
Have you ever had a discussion with someone, a spouse, a child a coworker, whatever, and when you left that discussion you felt that you both were on the same page and that you were understanding each other well. Then next thing you know something comes up and you are like, that's not what we talked about. But the other person thinks yeah that's exactly what we a talked about.
Confusion, anger, distrust sets in. This happens all the time.
Listen to this audio clip. Maybe you have heard it already this week.
Yanny vs Laurel
How many heard Yanny? Laurel? How many of you have heard this before and at different times have heard both Yanny and Laurel?
This morning we are going to look at a passage where there was a miscommunication. What the people thought they were doing was worship acceptable to God, but what God saw was empty and worthless actions.
When God Hates Church
Big Idea:
Religious acts mean nothing when the rest of your life isn’t in obedience to God.
21 I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies.
21 I hate, I despise, your feasts!
I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies.
of your solemn assemblies.
22 Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle.
your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle.
I will have no regard
for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.
24 But let justice flow like water,
and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.
I belong to an organization. I give a significant portion of my income to this organization. This organization is lead by a man that I have a great deal of respect for. He knows what he is talking about and you can see the evidence in his life that he believes and lives according to what he teaches.
This organization meets regularly. Sometimes I am there but there are times that there are long stretches between the times I have been there. When I am there, I usually find myself getting pretty uncomfortable, but I usually feel pretty good about myself afterward.
The leader he is gifted to show me things that I can put into practice in my life and if I do, it is almost certain that my life would change for the better. But I don’t always… or even usually follow his advice.
You see I kind of like living the way I live. Sure I know that my lifestyle has caused some negative consequences but I am pretty comfortable where I am. So I’ll keep going occasionally, I’ll keep giving my money, but I may never see the positive changes I need.
I am talking about my gym membership, but I could have just as easily been describing most peoples attitude toward the church. Their religious efforts are in vain because those religious acts are disconnected from their true allegiances. The truth they have been taught and know is not consistently lived out day to day.
In our passage we see that Amos speaking on behalf of God. God describes the acts of worship that the Isrealites are accustomed to performing. He describes their feasts, their sacrifices, and their worship music and God says he HATES them. Why? Their lifestyle outside of temple, outside of the special days, outside of church, did not honor God.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.Introduction: A Catholic Bishop recently asked a Yoga group to leave there facility believing the teachings involved in yoga to be contrary to the Catholic churches teaching. The pastor of the church was outraged and proclaimed to the Bishop that Catholic teaching was mere dogma whereas yoga is a lifestyle. Sadly, for far too many in the church being a Christian is not about living a certain "lifestyle." We go to church to be made to feel good and be replenished after a wild and worldly week. Why are you here today? – Music, fellowship, good preaching? What’s church offer me? It’s not about YOU!
Historical Setting: Prophet from Judea to Israel (like me from MI – to SC). Harsh Language is used to get across a very serious point.
This morning lets look at what it will take to not have God say that He Hates our worship.
ANTE-THEME – 3 character traits, 4 results if not…
What God Hates
I. God Hates Meaningless Ceremonies - v21a I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies.
I can’t stand the stench
of your solemn assemblies.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
God had ordained certain feasts and sacrifices. These observances had a purpose and a place. But at this point they had lost their true meaning. These events had become mere traditions and rituals. Though the people continued to go through the motions, God was not pleased with their actions. In fact, their "form of worship" made Him sick and angry! Furthermore, God makes it clear that He would not accept their meaningless formalities. He says "I will not smell in your solemn assemblies"
Certain sacrifices and offerings were as a "sweet smelling savor to God". This means that they were pleasing and acceptable to Him. Now, God says "I will take no delight in the sacrifices that you offer me." Israel's worship of God had become a mere formality. Rather than doing things out of reverence and love for the Lord they did things out of habit and obligation.
For many people, attending church has become a "meaningless ceremony". Some of you are here simply because it is a habit. Some of you are here because you hold a job and because you possess a certain level of integrity, you want to honor your word. Some are here because you like the people and you look forward to seeing your friends. Some of you are here because you don't want to disappoint a spouse, relative or friend. Many people are here for different reasons, but ultimately we should be here to worship and praise the Lord. Is that really why you are here?
If you are here for any other reason you might as well just stop. You are wasting your time! Without true worship this is nothing more than a "meaningless ceremony" Jesus confronted the church at Ephesus because she had "left her first love". Here in Amos God confronts Israel because they left their first love. If you have left your first love you can rest assured God will confront you as well. If church has become a habit, a routine or a meaningless ceremony to you, then you must heed Jesus' Words in and "Remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works"
I encourage you to do what it takes to make things right because "God Despises Meaningless Ceremonies".
- Moving on to verse 22 it is also clear that:
II. God Despises Token Offerings - v22 Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle
your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
I will have no regard
for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Israel offered burnt offerings each morning and night. But they did not offer them at the right place or in the right manner according to the Law. The biggest problem was that their offerings lacked faith and repentance. God also mentions their "peace offerings". These were offerings presented to God for peace and prosperity. The Lord states that even though they bring the best and the fattest animals their offerings were rejected because their hearts remained full of sin.
The Bible has much to say about giving to the Lord. It is a wonderful thing to be a faithful giver. But according to this passage you can give regularly and you can give generously and God may still reject your offering. Some give for the wrong reasons. They think that they can buy God's favor but it doesn't work that way. Another issue is that some give in the wrong manner. They may give on a regular basis, they may give cheerfully and generously but their lives are not where they should be. Their hearts are filled with sin and corruption.
It seems that some in Israel were going above and beyond what was required. They were giving God the best that they had to offer and He still refused to accept it. If your gift is gracious but your heart is impure, just keep your money because God is not going to bless the offering. Better yet, why don't you get your heart right, be restored to a right relationship with your Heavenly Father and then present Him with your offering. When this happens God will gladly receive what you seek to give to Him!
- God despises meaningless ceremonies, He despises token offerings and verse 23 tells us that:
III. God Despises Insincere Praise - v23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
God says that their songs and hymns were nothing but "noise" to Him. Do you get the impression that God has had enough? He says "stop your singing... I don't want to hear it anymore!" God was not rebuking the quality of their performances, He was revealing the corruptness of their lives.
This means that your choir can sound like the Brooklyn Tabernacle, your instruments can rival the greatest orchestra in the country and God may still reject your praise! You can sing or play a beautiful song to the Lord yet He will not accept your praise based upon solely the way it sounds. No matter how beautiful the sound, God will turn a deaf ear if your heart is filled with sin.
It is not enough to simply participate in worship. We must prepare for worship. We must get our hearts right first, or God will despise and reject our praise. What about you, can you honestly say that you are lifting holy hands unto the Lord? Or would you be honest enough to admit that your worship has become a mere formality? If things aren't right... it is time to take the steps to make them right.
Proposition: If we truly wish to honor God we must consistently…
What God Desires:
If we truly wish to honor God we must consistently…
I. Be just (v. 24a) But let justice flow like water
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
A. What exactly is Justice?
1.GOLFING PASTOR JUSTICE:
Once there was a man who was such a golf addict that he was neglecting his job. Frequently he would call in sick as an excuse to play.
One morning, after making his usual call to the office, an angel up above spotted him on the way to the golf course and decided to teach him a lesson. "If you play golf today, you will be punished," the angel whispered in his ear.
Thinking it was only his conscience, which he had successfully whipped in the past, the fellow just smiled. "No," he said, "I’ve been doing this for years. No one will ever know. I won’t be punished."
The angel said no more and the fellow stepped up to the first tee where he promptly whacked the ball 300 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Since he had never driven the ball more than 200 yards, he couldn’t believe it. Yet, there it was. And his luck continued. Long drives on every hole, perfect putting. By the ninth hole he was six under par and was playing near-perfect golf. The fellow was walking on air.
He wound up with an amazing 61, about 30 strokes under his usual game. Wait until he got back to the office and told them about this! But, suddenly, his face fell. He couldn’t tell them. He could never tell anyone.
The angel smiled.
2. WWJD, This is not what Israel was doing
B. We need to be like refreshing waters (thirst)
1. Numerous Scripture references to water/thirst (Examples)
2. As X’s we are to be a source of refreshment to the world
II. Be righteous (v. 24b)
A. What is righteousness?
1. DefineOne of the greatest challenges confronting believers today is to communicate the message of Christ in terms that everyday people can understand. Words like “Righteousness” () have become unrecognizable to many in our culture, and even to many in the church.
Yet it’s hard to talk about the gospel—and virtually impossible to understand Romans—without coming to terms with the word “righteousness” (Greek, dikaiosuna). In fact, the New Testament uses the term in one form or another no less than 228 times, at least 40 in Romans. What, then, does “righteousness” mean and how does the gospel reveal “the righteousness of God” (v. 17)?
The word “righteous” goes back to a base, reg, meaning “move in a straight line.” Thus, “righteous” (rightwise) means “in the straight (or right) way.” Used with reference to morality, “righteous” means living or acting in the right way.
But what is the “right” way? In our society, people commonly say that everyone must determine what is right for oneself. However, Scripture offers a different standard—indeed, the ultimate standard of rightness or “righteousness,” God Himself. God’s character reveals what is absolutely right. He is the measure of moral right and wrong.
He is also the source of right living. It’s important to understand that righteousness involves more than just determining whether or not one has lived up to the perfect standard that God sets. The fact is, no one has except Jesus (; ). Thus, in a legal sense, all of us stand guilty before God. We are all “unrighteous.” We have all “sinned” (literally, “missed the mark”).
But the message of Romans is that God has done and is doing everything that needs to be done to restore things to the way He originally intended—to the right way. For example, He dealt with sin through Jesus’ death on the cross (5:6-11), and He transfers the righteousness of Christ to those who trust in Him (5:1-2). As believers, we can enjoy a restored relationship with God.
That means that we can begin to live with righteousness , that is, in a way that pleases God and fulfills His purposes for us. We can do that because He gives us the ability to do it (8:1-17). Rather than trying to “prove” ourselves good enough for Him or live up to impossible moral standards, we can relate to Him in love, expecting Him to help us as we make choices about how to live.
2. Maurice Besenger claims to be a Christian yet fights to fly the confedrate flag!
B. Like ever-flowing stream
1. Importance of consistency in our walk
2. Wilkinson Hotel Illustration Christian conference witnessing to the manager. Turns out 60% of hotel rooms paid for the sex channels that night
A. Israel’s sin – Worshipping Idols
1. Of course we don’t carry any gods
2. Money, Sex, Status, Self – we are a society of self-medicators
B. These gods can never satisfy ( – SCC)
Otherwise, God will not…
I).Delight in our festivals & assemblies (v. 21)
A).Festivals
1). In their day – fest of lights, Passover, fest of booths, Pentecost
2).Easter/Christmas/Thanks/Lord’s Supper/Baptism/Weddings
B).Assemblies
1).Their day – Sabbath,
2).Regular meetings – Sunday,
II). Accept our tithes and offerings (v. 22)
A).Do you? You need to!
1). In a worthy manor
2).Visiting Pastor Illustration
B). He doesn’t need our offerings, He wants them (v. 25)
1) The cattle on a thousand hills
2) Do you really trust God? – Where your treasure is...
III).Hear our worship (v. 23)
A). What you do not what you say
B). It’s not about the entertainment value! In fact, He may even…
IV).Exile of pseudo believers (v. 27)
A) Church at Laodicea
B) Many churches today hold their service without God
1) Shift away from light into darkness
2) The Most scary words of all time "Depart from me..."
CONCLUSION: What’s your heart like? It matters to God.
Once there was a man who was such a golf addict that he was neglecting his job. Frequently he would call in sick as an excuse to play.
One morning, after making his usual call to the office, an angel up above spotted him on the way to the golf course and decided to teach him a lesson. "If you play golf today, you will be punished," the angel whispered in his ear.
Thinking it was only his conscience, which he had successfully whipped in the past, the fellow just smiled. "No," he said, "I’ve been doing this for years. No one will ever know. I won’t be punished."
The angel said no more and the fellow stepped up to the first tee where he promptly whacked the ball 300 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Since he had never driven the ball more than 200 yards, he couldn’t believe it. Yet, there it was. And his luck continued. Long drives on every hole, perfect putting. By the ninth hole he was six under par and was playing near-perfect golf. The fellow was walking on air.
He wound up with an amazing 61, about 30 strokes under his usual game. Wait until he got back to the office and told them about this! But, suddenly, his face fell. He couldn’t tell them. He could never tell anyone.
The angel smiled.
SCRIPTURE EXAMPLES
1. Woman at the well ()
2. Jesus’ invitation ()
3. As the deer…()
Righteousness Illustration
One of the greatest challenges confronting believers today is to communicate the message of Christ in terms that everyday people can understand. Words like “Righteousness” () have become unrecognizable to many in our culture, and even to many in the church.
Yet it’s hard to talk about the gospel—and virtually impossible to understand Romans—without coming to terms with the word “righteousness” (Greek, dikaiosuna). In fact, the New Testament uses the term in one form or another no less than 228 times, at least 40 in Romans. What, then, does “righteousness” mean and how does the gospel reveal “the righteousness of God” (v. 17)?
The word “righteous” goes back to a base, reg, meaning “move in a straight line.” Thus, “righteous” (rightwise) means “in the straight (or right) way.” Used with reference to morality, “righteous” means living or acting in the right way.
But what is the “right” way? In our society, people commonly say that everyone must determine what is right for oneself. However, Scripture offers a different standard—indeed, the ultimate standard of rightness or “righteousness,” God Himself. God’s character reveals what is absolutely right. He is the measure of moral right and wrong.
He is also the source of right living. It’s important to understand that righteousness involves more than just determining whether or not one has lived up to the perfect standard that God sets. The fact is, no one has except Jesus (; ). Thus, in a legal sense, all of us stand guilty before God. We are all “unrighteous.” We have all “sinned” (literally, “missed the mark”).
But the message of Romans is that God has done and is doing everything that needs to be done to restore things to the way He originally intended—to the right way. For example, He dealt with sin through Jesus’ death on the cross (5:6-11), and He transfers the righteousness of Christ to those who trust in Him (5:1-2). As believers, we can enjoy a restored relationship with God.
That means that we can begin to live with righteousness , that is, in a way that pleases God and fulfills His purposes for us. We can do that because He gives us the ability to do it (8:1-17). Rather than trying to “prove” ourselves good enough for Him or live up to impossible moral standards, we can relate to Him in love, expecting Him to help us as we make choices about how to live.
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