Faithlife Sermons

Satan's Smorgasbord

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Does God offer us a smorgasbord when it comes to religion, or does He offer something else? What happens when we treat religion like a smorgasbord? How did Jesus treat God's commandments?

1 Satan’s Smorgasbord Let’s go to a restaurant. I like going to restaurants. I like food. Why, if I couldn’t eat food, I’d just die. Our restaurant we are going to is called “Duff’s Smorgasbord,” although now it may be called “Duff’s Original Buffet.” Have you heard of these? There may not be as many around as there used to be. There may be some locations in Florida based on my Internet search. Even though the words “smorgasbord” and “buffet” may not mean exactly what I say, I am going to use the term “smorgasbord” as if it refers to a cafeteria-style eating establishment. Some of you may have seen a “Picadilly” cafeteria in the past. I have eaten at one. It works like the name suggests, you get your tray and you set it on the metal bars and you slide your tray down as you pass all sorts of different foods. Then, when you see something you like, you tell the person behind the counter what you want and they dish it up for you, or it might just be there ready for you to pick up and put on your tray. If there is something you don’t want, you leave it alone and just keep sliding your tray. Just keep sliding. Imagine with me now as we go into our cafeteria-style restaurant, let’s call it Ham’s Cafeteria. Their slogan is, “Where the customer is king!” We hear the chatter of people talking and the clanking of silverware on dishes as people are eating. We start walking through the selection. We go over to the salad bar station first. We pick up our tray and set it down on the metal bars. We put some lettuce and cheese on our plate, and maybe some onion. We skip the olives and the tomatoes. Then we go to the entrée section. We can get steak and we can even have it cooked to the specific doneness we want. There’s a make-your-own pasta section, and even other things like fried chicken. This time we take some steak, done medium-well, and then we also pick up a dish of garlic fettucine alfredo. We leave the fried chicken. Then we come to the dessert station. There are so many cakes and puddings and pies. We pick up a slice of chocolate cake and some butterscotch pudding. We leave the pies. Now, we get to the end of the stations and the cashier. The cashier greets us and speaks. Cashier: Well it looks like you did pretty well. You have a salad. You have a steak, nice choice. And you got the chocolate cake and butterscotch pudding. Very good. Then the cashier punches some things on the register and says. Cashier: Your total today comes to your life. You: Excuse me, what was that again? Cashier: Your life. The cost of your meal is your life. You obviously think that this is ridiculous and the cost is too high. So, you leave your tray and walk out. 2 Now, let’s go to a different restaurant. You walk in and it has the same type of setup as the other smorgasbord. But once you pick up your tray and walk into the restaurant you notice something different. All the signs over the station have something to do with religion, not food. The salad station is now the salvation station. The entrée section is now the doctrine section. And the dessert section is now the commandments section. You stop an employee walking by and speak. You: Excuse me, I don’t think I have ever been to a restaurant like this. How does it work? Employee: Have you ever been to a smorgasbord or cafeteria-style restaurant before? You: Yes. Employee: It works the same way. So, you continue on and put your tray down on the metal bars at the salvation station. There’s belief in Jesus, repenting of sins, confessing Jesus as the Son of God before others, and being baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins. Well, belief in Jesus doesn’t sound so hard. I’ll take that and put it on my tray. Repenting of sins means I have to change all my habits and try to follow God, so maybe I’ll just leave that. Confessing is okay because I already believe and I can tell others that I do, so I’ll put confessing on my tray. Baptism is too controversial and many of my relatives were never baptized and they’re dead now, so I guess I won’t take baptism as essential to salvation. Next, we go over to the doctrine station. Here you can see all sorts of ideas about theology, who God is, what is truth, and what we can believe. You decide to pick up Jesus is both human and deity and put that on your tray. After all, you picked up belief in Jesus at the salvation station and these two will go together nicely. You decide to leave original sin because you can’t imagine that babies are born condemned to die. You also pick up the idea of once-saved-alwayssaved because you like the idea that once you become a Christian you can never be lost. That will definitely go on the tray. There are other ideas at the doctrine station but frankly you don’t care to spend that much time looking them over and examining them. That would take too much work and thought. Finally, we get to the commandments section. This is where we can choose which commandments of God we want to follow in our everyday lives. One part of the commandments section is fruit. We take some fruit of the Spirit like joy, and faith. But we leave other things like longsuffering and temperance because we don’t like practicing self-control. We also leave gentleness or kindness and don’t put them on our tray. Another portion of the commandments include the church. We take singing and making melody in our hearts and put that on our tray. We enjoy that. We leave edifying each other and don’t take that one. We put praying for each other on our tray, we can do that. We leave confessing our faults one to another because we don’t want to let others know about our sins. Then there is a portion of the commandments area that deals with the laws of the land or civil government. God has a command to follow the civil 3 government, but let’s see what the different laws are. We take paying taxes and put that on our tray because we know what kind of trouble we can get in when we don’t pay our taxes. We take wearing our seatbelts and put that on our tray because that could help save us in an accident. We see driving the speed limit, but we leave that one. Sure, it’s for our safety and the safety of others around us, but it’s just too inconvenient. The government has a law about wearing a mask when you are indoors with people outside of your family. That seems really inconvenient and silly, so we’ll leave that one. We’ll pick up recycling and separating trash because that’s good for the environment, so that one goes on the tray. Well our tray is pretty full and there isn’t much more that’s appealing so we will slide our tray down to the cashier. Cashier: Well it looks like you did pretty well. You have belief and confessing only for salvation. You have Jesus is God for doctrine. And you have once-saved-always saved, nice choice. And for commandments of God you have joy and faith, singing and praying in the church. And for laws of government you have taxes, your seat belt, and recycling. Very good. Then the cashier punches some things on the register and says. Cashier: Your total today comes to your soul. You: Excuse me, what was that again? Cashier: Your soul. The cost of only taking some things at this smorgasbord is your soul. You: What do you mean the cost of only taking “some things” is your soul? The cashier looks around and sees that you two are alone. Cashier: I’m not really supposed to tell you this, but you’ve heard of getting things cheaper when you buy in bulk, right? You: Yes Cashier: Well, if you only take some of the things in this smorgasbord, it costs you your soul. But if you take everything in this smorgasbord, it only costs you your life. Feeling overwhelmed and confused, you leave your tray and walk away in a daze. Trying to sort it all out you stagger outside the restaurant and look up at the sign and see in bold, blazing red neon, the words “Satan’s Smorgasbord: Where the customer is god.” What’s going on here? What just happened in our story? You have just experienced religion as many people in the world experience it. Cafeteria-style. But, before we feel too good about ourselves and start to think less of other religions in the world, remember, this type of approach is present in the Lord’s church, too. 4 The Concept of a Religious Smorgasbord The concept of picking and choosing what to believe and what to obey when it comes to religion is an old one. King Saul turned the commandments of God into a “pick and choose” smorgasbord. 1 Samuel 15:3, 9 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Then Saul had the gall to claim that he had fulfilled the commandment of the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:13-14 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? Samuel tells Saul, by not doing all of what God had commanded, Saul had not done what God commanded! 1 Samuel 15:18-19 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? Saul has the tenacity to claim that by sparing Agag even when he was told to kill Agag, that he had obeyed God. Then, he tries to pass blame for the sparing of other things on the people, as if his partial obedience was okay, but the partial obedience of the people was wrong! 1 Samuel 15:20-21 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. Saul pronounces that what Saul AND the people have done is wrong. 5 1 Samuel 15:22-23 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. Notice that Samuel says what is important is not what you thought was good to do, but instead what was important was obeying what God said to do! Rebellion against God’s commands is as the sin of witchcraft. Stubbornness against God’s command is as iniquity and idolatry! How is being stubborn in the following of God’s commands iniquity? It is rebellion against his laws. The very definition of rebellion and not following God’s laws is sin. The word “iniquity” means lawlessness. What is an outlaw? Someone who practices lawlessness, or in other words, they do not follow the laws of the land because they are an outlaw. When we are stubborn and do not follow God’s laws, we rebel against His laws and practice iniquity or lawlessness. We ignore the laws of God and become an outlaw. We sin. How is stubbornness like idolatry? Simply put, we take God off the throne and put ourselves there. By only picking and choosing what to obey, you decide what the commandments should be and you become god. At Satan’s Smorgasbord, the customer is god. Saul had just been to Satan’s Smorgasbord. He went down the line and picked up what he wanted to do and put it on his tray, and when he saw something he didn’t want to do, he just kept sliding that tray. Just kept sliding. At last Saul had the decency to admit that what he had done was sinful. By only partially obeying what God had commanded, Saul sinned. 1 Samuel 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. God Does Not Offer a Religious Smorgasbord James 2:8-11 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 6 This is not to say that when Christians sin once, they are the same as those living in sin and not even trying to obey God. We are not perfect, that we know. But if we are trying to live right and continuing to walk in the path where Jesus walked, then we can confess when we do wrong and His blood continues to cleanse us. 1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The point of the passage in James is that if you do not keep one of God’s commandments, you become a transgressor of the law, even if you were keeping other commandments of God! You were loving your neighbor? Fine. But you also have respect to persons and that makes you a transgressor of the law. You don’t commit adultery? Fine. But if you kill, then you are a transgressor of the law. King Saul, you slew some of the people you were supposed to? Fine. But you didn’t kill all of them and the spoils like you were supposed to, so you are still a transgressor. Jesus demonstrated that the keeping of some commandments was not good enough. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Noah is held up as an example of faith. Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. And the Bible makes sure to mention that Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. How much of what God commanded did Noah do? 7 God Offers a Table D’Hote When God gives His terms of salvation, His doctrine, and His commandments they are there to be followed and we do not have the liberty to pick and choose which things we will believe or obey! It is all or nothing! What was it Samuel questioned in 1 Samuel 15:22? Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices? The Lord would have delighted in it if that was what the Lord had commanded. It sounded noble to do things your way, King Saul, but God does not have as great delight in doing things your way as He does in you obeying the voice of the Lord and doing things His way! If we are at a smorgasbord and you offer to get up and get me more steak and I say I like it medium well with a little pink, and you bring back a steak so well done that it’s crispy on the outside and looks like you picked up a piece of charcoal, how much delight will that bring me? Even if you say, well I thought this is the way it should be done so I did it my way. Will I delight in your burnt offering as opposed to listening to the way I said I wanted it? What arrogance if we do the same with God! Luke 14:33 Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not some of what he has, cannot be my disciple. ???? Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord with some of your heart, some of your soul, and some of your mind. ?? 2 Corinthians 10:5 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; How many of our thoughts are to be in captivity to the obedience to Christ? According to, there are different types of meals including: • • • A la carte – you order what you want and you are charged by what you order. Prix fixe “fixed price” – you pay one price and order your meal from a specific list of available meals. Think of prefix as coming before. In a prix fixe meal, the price is determined before you even order. Table d’hote “table of the host” – the meal is pre-selected and the price is fixed If you want to sit at the table of Jesus the Christ, it will not be a smorgasbord. It will be a Table d’hote or “table of the host”. The host has determined the menu, it is pre-selected, you cannot change it, and the price is fixed. You can either take it, or leave it. 8 What Happens When We Treat Religion Like a Smorgasbord 1. We become judges of the law that will judge us. a. James 4:11 i. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. ii. Who among us has the right to judge the laws of God? b. James 2:11-12 i. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 2. We may act like or convince ourselves that some sins are worse than others. a. James 2:8-10 i. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 3. We sin a. Saul admitted that he had sinned by only partially obeying what God had said. 4. We show the world that we are no different than they are a. 1 Peter 2:12-17 i. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. ii. How many ordinances of man should I submit to for the Lord’s sake? Look at verse 13. Every one! As long as the ordinance of man does not force me to obey God, I need to submit to every one! Why? Because God said so! a. If we will not honor the laws of the land, provided they do not force us to disobey God, then we are rebelling against God’s commands to obey the civil government and we are sinning. If we will not honor the laws of the land, provided they do not force us to disobey God, then why would those outside the church want to come in? “I’m just as good as those Christians. They don’t obey the laws either.” 9 5. We endanger our soul a. James 2:10 i. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. b. Peter i. Luke 22:33-34; 54-62 1. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 2. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. 3. Peter followed Jesus until it became dangerous. When he saw the possibility of being arrested or killed, he kept sliding his tray and said “I don’t want that.” c. Romans 13:1-2 i. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. ii. Paul says that resisting the authorities of the land is resisting God! He continues by saying that those who resist shall receive damnation! If we pick and choose which commandments of the land to obey, we resist the authorities of the land and we resist God and we can incur damnation! 1. Now how serious is it to obey the speed limit? Now how serious is it to wear a mask? Now how serious is it to pay all our taxes? 2. Resisting the authorities of the land is rebelling against the authority that God has appointed. How will God react? 10 iii. Paul wrote Romans in approximately the latter half of the 1st century, when emperor Nero was in charge. How great was the Roman government to Christians during the first century? Didn’t Pilate allow Christ to be crucified for no reason? How great were the Jews in Jerusalem to Paul? In Acts 21 they tried to kill Paul for supposing that he had brought a Gentile into the temple and polluted it. iv. Did the Romans do anything stupid? Did the Jews do anything unfair? Were the ruling powers always kind to Christians? But, what did Paul write? “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1) Some Applications of a Religious Smorgasbord 1. I know that the Bible says baptism saves us in 1 Peter 3:21, but I don’t want to hold to that because it’s too demanding and I have relatives who have died who weren’t baptized. Just keep sliding your tray. 2. I know there is not authority in the Bible for the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship, but I like the sound of it and it makes me feel good. Just keep sliding. 3. I know the law says I have to wear a mask when I am indoors with people other than my family, but I don’t believe masks work and they are inconvenient and uncomfortable. If a law passed by the government is stupid, I am not going to put that law on my tray and obey it. Just keep sliding. 4. I know the Bible says to love my brethren and the fruit of the Spirit is love, and patience, and kindness, but they have made me mad because they won’t wear a mask and I’m going to tell everyone they are unloving and I’m not going to show them love anymore. Just keep sliding. 5. I know the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness or kindness, but my brother disagrees with me on politics, or wearing a mask, or how to react to a pandemic, so I’m going to tell them they are mindless or mentally ill. Or, rather than saying it to their face, I’m going to go on Facebook and let everyone in the world, including non-Christians, know what I think about my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. After all, I’m right and that means more than whether or not I treat my brothers and sisters with gentleness. Just keep sliding. 6. I know the brother in the church is behaving badly or even sinning, but I’m not going to warn them, or edify them, or encourage them to repent. Just keep sliding. 11 The Inner Problem In order to be a Christian we must be willing to forsake all we have, including our own life. Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. The cross is an instrument of death. We must be willing to give all, including our lives, in order to follow Christ. It’s all or nothing. If we are unwilling to follow Christ all the way, it shows that we have an inner problem. We have something that is preventing us from being a faithful Christian. Luke 9:57-62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Something prevented all these people from following Jesus. To how many of them did Jesus say, “That’s okay, I understand. After all, you only have to follow me when it’s convenient. You can pick and choose when to be obedient to me.”? If we have sin, iniquity, and rebellion against God’s commands, then it may show that there is an inner problem of a heart condition. Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. If I say something negative about my brother or sister in Christ, what does that say about my heart? If I forsake the assembly because I don’t want to wear a mask, or there’s a Packers game, or I just don’t want to go, what does that say about my heart? If I thumb my nose at the government when it requires me to do something that is not in contradiction to God’s will, what does that say about my heart? If I post something degrading or negative about other people on Facebook, such as implying that they are “mindless” or “mentally ill,” what does that say about my heart? If I talk negatively about others behind their back and call them “unloving,” and “unkind,” what does that say about my heart? 12 The Perfect Example of Jesus We often call Jesus our “perfect example.” By stating He was “perfect” we are stating that what He did was totally correct. By stating He is our example, we are stating that we should do like He did. How did Jesus respond to laws regarding salvation? Did He pick and choose? Jesus didn’t need to be saved because He had no sin, but He still was baptized anyway in order to fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15 Even though He didn’t need baptism for the forgiveness of sins, He still did it in order to be obedient to God. What did Jesus teach and follow regarding doctrine? Did He pick and choose what to believe? John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. Jesus taught and followed the doctrine of the Father. What did Jesus teach and follow about the commandments of God? Did He pick and choose what to obey? John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. Jesus sought to do the will of the Father. What did Jesus teach about laws or customs of the land that may have been degrading or humiliating? If a Roman soldier compelled you to carry his equipment for one mile because you were a Jew, what did Jesus say to do? Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. If we have to suffer unjustly, how did Jesus show us we should respond? 1 Peter 2:18-24 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 13 If the government tells me to go home and sew yellow crosses on my clothes so that everyone knows I’m a Christian and they can kick me for being a Christian as I walk down the street, what should I do? Does the commandment force me to be disobedient to God? No. Then I should not resist the authorities of the land that are ordained of God, and I should use that as an opportunity to suffer for Christianity, show others that I am a Christian, and show others that I am an obedient servant to the laws of the land because that’s what God wants. It doesn’t matter if I suffer, it doesn’t matter if I’m insulted, it doesn’t matter if I’m kicked, and it doesn’t matter if other people think I’m mindless or stupid. The only thing that matters is what Jesus thinks. Because when I die, I won’t answer to the governor, I won’t answer to the President, I won’t answer to the people on Facebook or any Internet meme, I won’t answer to the elders of this or any other church, I won’t answer to you, and I won’t answer to me. I will stand before the judge of the entire world, Jesus the Christ. As a preacher named TJ from the Jack’s Creek Church of Christ taught recently, “It’s not as important to be right, as it is to be holy.” Would posts on Facebook change if we kept that in mind? People on Facebook trying to tell other people they’re right. Unfortunately, they may sometimes worry too much about being right and forget about being holy. It doesn’t matter if it is wrong for the government to make me sew a yellow cross on my clothes so that people can kick me. What matter is if I am holy and pleasing to God. It didn’t matter to Jesus that He suffered wrongly. When He was reviled, He reviled not again. When He suffered, He threatened not. He committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. What does that mean? Jesus didn’t commit Himself to the people of the world who do wrong and let them be the judge of His actions, and then conform His actions to match the people of the world. Some people might shudder and say, “I won’t do things like sew a yellow cross on my clothes so that people can kick me, everyone will think I am a mindless sheep.” If you’re not a sheep then why are you following the Good Shepherd? And if people of the world are doing wrong and on a path to Hell, then why in the world does it matter to you what they think? They already think we are idiots because we are Christians. Does it really matter if they think we are slightly bigger idiots than they did before? Are you going to commit yourself to them who will not judge righteously? Jesus committed Himself to God as the one who would judge His actions righteously. In other words, it didn’t matter to Jesus what the world thought of Him, it only mattered to Him what God thought of Him. Is Jesus our perfect example? Then who are you trying to please? If Jesus, the Son of God, could not pick and choose which commandments of God to follow, then who am I to do it? 14 Back to Satan’s Smorgasbord Let’s go back and wrap up our story. We were outside of Satan’s Smorgasbord trying to figure things out. We walk back inside and realize that all the things on the smorgasbord are the commandments of God. We go back and talk to the cashier one more time. Cashier: Oh, you’re back. Ready to check out? You: No, I need some more information first. How could Satan run a smorgasbord of the commandments of God. Cashier: This is how Satan wants you to approach religion, like a smorgasbord. He doesn’t care if you’re religious, and he doesn’t care if you’re not religious, just so long as you do whatever you want and don’t listen to God. Remember, at Satan’s Smorgasbord, the customer is god. You: You said the price of picking and choosing only some things from the religious smorgasbord is my soul. What did you mean? Cashier: Satan knows that if you only pick and choose whatever you want, you are really doing whatever you want. That is exactly what he wants you to do and that means your soul is lost. You can do whatever you choose to do on Earth, but your soul is lost for eternity. By doing whatever you choose, you become a servant of sin and are separated from God. You: Yes, but you also said that if I took everything on the smorgasbord, then the cost is only my life. Cashier: That’s right. You have to agree to submit yourself to all of the commandments of God, thereby losing your life and offering it to God. You lose your life here on Earth, but when this life is over, your soul is with God for eternity. By obeying God, you become His servant and are given a place in His family and inherit eternal life with Him. Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? You: Has anyone ever come through and taken everything. Cashier: A few people come through and try to take everything. They may drop some things now and then but they are trying to submit to all the commandments. We only charge them their life, even if they dropped some things on the floor. They gave their soul over to God. You: Has anyone ever come through and taken all of the commandments of God and kept everything perfectly? 15 Cashier: Only one. Jesus Christ. The people that come through trying to submit to all the commandments on the smorgasbord are trying to follow His example. The rest don’t follow His example when they pick and choose whatever they want. They don’t try to take everything. We charge them their soul. What if Jesus had refused just one commandment of God on the smorgasbord? Where would we be? Likely, if He had chosen one thing to reject, it would have been the crucifixion. It was unjust, humiliating, and excruciating. If He had done that, we would have no perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins and we would be lost. But, even if He had just rejected one commandment and left it off his tray, even if it was not the crucifixion, He would have rebelled against God and sinned. That would have made Him an imperfect man. If He had done that, we would have no perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins and we would be lost. Jesus gave His whole mind, heart, and life over to God. If He is our perfect example, then that is what we must do. Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Satan puts out a smorgasbord. Jesus puts out a Table d’Hote. The menu is fixed and so is the price. Jesus as the host, offers a menu leading to eternal life in Heaven with God, but you must take everything on the menu. All of it. The price is your life. All of it. If you want to go to Heaven, you must submit yourself to all of God’s commandments and you must pay the full price of all your life, heart, soul, and mind. It’s all or nothing. Cashier: So, what have you decided?
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