Religion for Any Reason Other Than God

So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men there. “These men are peaceful toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and move about in it, for indeed, the region is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as our wives and give our daughters to them. But the men will agree to live with us and be one people only on this condition: if all our men are circumcised as they are. Won’t their herds, their possessions, and all their livestock become ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us.” All the able-bodied men listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the able-bodied men were circumcised. (Genesis 34:20-24 HCSB)

It has been a while since I wrote anything original for this thing and so I thought it was about time. And my heart has been burdened for this for a while, I have just not sat down to write out my burden and share it with the few of you who read this thing. Well, here is where my heart is at right now. Disagree if you choose. Agree if you’d like to. Stand with me or walk away. I don’t care what you do with what I am going to say. I do care that my voice is heard, and if it takes putting that here on the net, than so be it.

The American church is, or should be, in a turmoil. Too many people come to Christianity as an escape from their financial problems or an escape from depression or an escape from whatever other random troubles that they are having, and it is high time we do something about that. Christianity is not all about making you feel good. Jesus Himself even makes that clear. You don’t come to Christianity to gain anything material in this world. You come to Christianity to lose this world and gain your soul.

But look at what plasters our TV screens day in and day out on supposed Christian TV stations. TBN comes to mind…although I wonder if they are really Christian at all.

A couple of weeks ago, they were doing their telethon to raise money (because they are so poor and need the money). This lady by the name of Paula White was speaking at this point. For those of you who don’t know, Paula White writes Christian self-help books. And I don’t say that in jest because of how she writes. There is actually a section in one of my local Christian bookstores called “Self-Help” and her books are in that section. Anyway. She was ranting and raving about how people in some foreign country aren’t hearing the gospel because TBN isn’t there or something and made the statement, “God told me that if you send your money to TBN that you will not experience depression for the next 12 months”. I was shocked.

Later that same day some black guy made the statement, “Prosperity is the gospel! And if we don’t preach prosperity, people will go to hell!” By this point, I was apalled at what I was hearing on the TV coming from the mouth of people that I am sure a majority of the Christian community looks up to.

This is what I sm speaking of when I title this “Religion for Any Reason Other Than God”. None of that stuff points you to God and Christ for your salvation. Paula White’s comment points you to your money and how your money can get you out of depression. And the black guy’s comment points you, again, to money as the means for salvation. I hate to break it to you, but money is not the means to anything but damnation. As the Bible says,

If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slanders, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement among men whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain. But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:3-10 HCSB)

I am reminded of a story from the Old Testament. It is that passage I quoted at the beginning of this little message. I will quote it again so you don’t have to scroll back up.

So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men there. “These men are peaceful toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and move about in it, for indeed, the region is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as our wives and give our daughters to them. But the men will agree to live with us and be one people only on this condition: if all our men are circumcised as they are. Won’t their herds, their possessions, and all their livestock become ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us.” All the able-bodied men listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the able-bodied men were circumcised. (Genesis 34:20-24 HCSB)

These men saw that there was a great gain if they became religious like the Jews. If they joined the Jewish religion, they saw that they would gain sheep and women and money. So they gave in and the able-bodied men got circumcised and became Jewish. They didn’t do it in the name of believing in the One True God. No. They did it in the name of gaining much wealth. And their destruction soon came. Notice how the story continues.

On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords, went into the unsuspecting city, and killed every male. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went away. (Genesis 34:25-26 HCSB)

There was destruction. Just as Paul writes to Timothy, the love of money led to great pains. Not only did they have the foreskin of their penises removed, but they were later killed. I would say those things caused great pain.

Here is my point. If you are in Christianity for any reason other than that you have been called by Him to salvation, than you are not in it for the right reasons. If you’re here to get rich, than you are in the wrong. If you’re here to find a date for Saturday night, you are in the wrong. The only reason Christianity is here is because of Christ and the glorification of Him. It doesn’t exist for me and for what I can get out of it. Jesus did NOT think of me above all when He died on that cross.

The American church needs to do some reevaluating of herself. This seeker-friendly mindset is a complete waste of time. Just because your church has 10,000 members doesn’t mean you’ve won 10,000 people to the Lord. It means you’ve tickled the ears of 10,000 people and convinced them that your product is the best. Jesus is not a product to be sold. Jesus is the means to eternal life, and that can’t be baught by any price that we can give and pay. Salvation is by God 100% and until we get back to preaching that, we will be deceiving millions and leading them down that wide path that leads to eternam damnation.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 HCSB)

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