God’s Response to Surface-Level Worship

God responded to Israel’s passive, surface-level worship through the prophet Amos. Today we have the same problem as the Jews in Amos’s day, including idol worshiping. We would be wise to heed the words God spoke to His children.

Podcast 7 Transcript

This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.

Welcome to another podcast of God’s Family in an Ungodly World. I’m your host, B. R. Maul, author, teacher, preacher, but most importantly, a child in God’s family. It’s great to have you here. Today’s message is going to bring us to the Old Testament book of Amos, and we’ll be in chapter five if you want to turn there.

Christian, how is your walk with the Lord Jesus? How is your relationship with the one who paid your sin debt? I hope it’s going well, but that is also why we are here today because as children of God being in God’s family, that’s what it’s about. To lean on one another, to learn from one another, so a friendly reminder.

To pray to our Lord daily because remember, praying is the gift he has given to us to speak directly to him. When Christ died, that veil was ripped revealing the Holy of Holies. That was God the father, making it quite clear because that debt is paid, we no longer have to go to a priest. We no longer have to bring sacrifices.

He will no longer just listen to the voice of the priest, but we can go to our father directly in prayer. What a privilege that is. So pray to him daily. He wants to hear from you. Also, reminder to read the Bible. God does not use prophets anymore to speak to us. Now, he uses the Holy Scriptures and because the Holy Spirit resides in us, for those who are born again, while those scriptures are revealed to us and is revealed to us in special ways, and what I mean by that is, well, it depends on the season of life that we are in, and it even depends on our personal perspective as a human being. The scriptures will speak to me on a, on a certain topic that maybe at that moment in time isn’t really speaking to you and vice versa. But that’s because the Holy Spirit, it’s not just the words that we are reading, the Holy Spirit also speaks to us, and that is why is the, the scriptures are referred to as living. Well. With that said, let’s go ahead and first take a look at the headline news. I don’t know if you have been following the headlines today, and we are in, of course, February of 2023. But recently a revival had taken place in Kentucky, small town called Wilmore.

In that small town of Wilmore is Asbury University. It seems to be a non-denominational school, and the background of that though is primarily Methodist, but they do not claim a denomination, so they still claim to be non-denominational. and what a fantastic revival that had broken out there. From what I had been able to gather it stemmed from, well, just a, another regular service at the school. There was nothing, I guess, profound about the sermon. It wasn’t smoke and lights and a big concert. It was the reading of God’s word, the speaking about God’s word in the Holy Spirit made himself present and some of the students responded to that presence.

And it seems that is how revivals begin. I would’ve loved to have been there. I would’ve loved to have been able to go there and be amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ, and also to encourage those. Who were coming to Christ, a novice journalist who took the time on video to share live footage and showing us a line that had gone blocks and blocks long the following day I read in an article that, Apparently that line had well over 3000 people in it. That’s pretty big. Because if I remember right, I think the town itself is only eight or maybe 12,000 people. That’s pretty amazing. Most of those people were not locals because people at that time had days into this revival, started coming around from all around the United States and Canada and Singapore, and apparently a few other places as well that, that is amazing. That is something to be celebrated and it brought me great joy praying, for them. It brought me great joy just listening about, you know, hearing some of the students, speak about what was going on Tremend. , and this is really what our country needs. I only pray that more revival will break out.

Revival is something that we don’t have control over. We can pray for it and make ourselves available by listening to the Lord, by listening to the Holy Spirit, but we can’t just make revival happen . And it’s interesting because some of the testimony from numerous students were similar because they would speak about how Sure.

Sometimes, you know, after the service was done that some students would, they typically will maybe hang around and sing one more song or two and then they, they stop and they go to their classes. But several testimonies claim They were compelled to stay there with really little understanding of why they just, they didn’t wanna leave.

And they answered that. They, they respected that feeling of, Hmm, something’s going on here and, and I’m gonna stick. and one student, she even said, you know, I, I thought I’d stick around. And so it felt like maybe 20 minutes or so, but wow. It turned out to be over three hours, she said. And that was common testimony of what was going on there.

And I don’t know if you, uh, had the chance to watch videos of what was going on because on social media students were sending out from their phones of course footage. Of the service itself and the revival went on, uh, for quite some time. I believe it was 12 days. That’s a very long time for a service. 12 days nonstop, 24 hours a day, and they just kept on going and going.

People would just keep coming and going and people waiting their turn to get into the service and just to worship the Lord. Some people, they didn’t even know why they were there, which is very typical if you read about revivals in the past, that’s very typical. Often people don’t understand why I’m, I’m going to this place.

I just hear that there’s, you know, maybe they hear that there’s something going on and, or some they end up there. They, they don’t even know how. And it’s the power of God. It is truly the power of God with that part, because that’s very positive. Now, unfortunately though, we have the work of the world amidst this revival and well, it comes right from the university president, I’ll read this to you.

My opinion of this is, I feel that this Asbury University leader is conflicted with what to do, but unfortunately ends up canceling and putting an end to it. But here, let me just read from this university leader, As we end this week and approach the next, I write to openly share important campus updates and new plans that have been established as an Asbury University leader.

There is a tension I am trying to faithfully navigate at this time. On one hand, I humbly recognize we are experiencing a historic moment on our campus. Never in life have I witnessed such Manifest spiritual hunger from our students to the nations to humble ourselves and seek the Lord’s face books could be and will be written.

Recounting the incredible stories and experiences of inspiring humility, alter consecration, neighborly love, and life-changing commit. When I walk into Hughes Auditorium, I have a firsthand picture of the fruit of the spirit. Now, I’ll just pause right there, and that’s what I mean by having an idea and, and apparently this is Dr. Kevin Brown, the university’s president who wrote this and, and announced this. The first thing he does is acknowledge the power at what’s going. and to the very fact that it’s even powerful enough that sure people will actually be writing about this, that this will remain in history. Now, that’s pretty huge, but then something changes a little bit here.

He continues to write. As a university, our first commitment is to foster the minds and hearts of students who have been entrusted to us and who are central to our mission. We know the last week has been a disruption to the continuity of their academic experience. Students have not only had to juggle various campus commitments, academic, athletic, extracurricular, internship with our various campus services, but also the throngs of people who have entered the dimensions of their space for some this has created a sense of being unsettled and even alienation from their campus community. While I remain profoundly grateful that staff, faculty, and students get to be a part of God’s unique and powerful work on our campus, I want to be mindful. My mandate as a fiduciary of Asbury’s resources and student-centric mission.

After much prayer and discussion with campus leadership, I am announcing our renew schedule for the next week. This schedule is an attempt to recognize and steward this beautiful historic moment of spiritual renewal while quickly moving toward a more sustainable campus experience for our student. That fosters predictability, well being, and continuity.

Uh, he goes on to say more, but in short, they basically cut it off from there. They allowed, I believe it was one more service that weekend and then kind of a rah goodbye service on that following Monday. After that, it was only to be allowed for the students. They had closed the doors to anybody outside.

That’s really unfortunate. That really saddened me. Um, it was wonderful to see how this was growing, but see, this is what we’re up against, so don’t feel alone beloved, if you, yourself, often feel like the world itself is telling you something, that you feel pressured to not speak up on behalf of your savior and for various reason.

With this here, we blatantly see, leadership has decided at this point to under the umbrella that, hey, this is, this is for the well being of our students. It’s best if we, if we stop this and return to normal, although he uses the word predictable, but just their regular routine, I think. Was a bad decision.

And the reason that’s a bad decision is because once again, that is a picture of people thinking they can do something better than God. Why not let it play out? Why not let people continue to come? Because isn’t the most important thing is the winning of soul. This is certainly a Christian university of all places.

Why not let it continue to play out? The Holy Spirit spoke to these students and continued to spread like wildfire in a dry field, but ultimately, leadership decides to put an end to it. Isn’t that something? And for what? So we can get back to our work. That is very unfortunate and it saddens me to think about it again and to even be talking about it again.

Is that not what we are doing even in our churches today? In the last podcast I talked about a man’s church, how that has transformed things, and we’re gonna talk more about that. . It’s pretty profound what God has to say about our schedule, our way of doing things, our comfort of the way we want to do things in our worship with him.

But I’m not done with this news because there’s a little more to it also, what has come out of this. Is, I don’t know too much about him, so I won’t explore it so much, but Shane Clayborne apparently, um, he is amongst the leadership in the red letter of Christians, so I know very little about them other than the fact that they have a liberal approach.

They are among the spiritual leadership. Are trying to fit the God’s church into society. They are amongst the social justice. That is the, that’s the big movement. Now. We’re seeing that, of course, in all parts of our life In schools, civil service and whatnot, people wanting to downsize the police. So social justice is not a good.

because it does not follow the righteousness of God. And for some listening to this right now, I know you’re gonna be unhappy with what I have said and what I am saying because the concept is easy to buy into. Well then everybody should be treated fairly cuz everybody’s the same. And so everybody deserves the same, to be treated the same, to have everything the same, but we’re not the same male and female.

we’re not the same. We are loved the same, but we have different attributes, different different skills, different emotions, different levels of emotions I should say. And so social justice that says, well, women can do the same as what men can do and men can do the same thing as women can do. Science is is trying hard to make it so men can become pregnant and carry a baby.

So if the same sex marriage. and, uh, the two men want to have a baby, that one of ’em can actually carry it. That’s absurd. And it’s gonna lead to just more disaster in the unnatural realm. Same thing with women wanting to be as strong as men taking testosterone and, and whatever else they take. And in the process, even women wanting to grow beards.

And so in the process, yes, sounding and looking more like a male well, but they’re not, and why should we do such things? God has given us all unique abilities, and when those abilities are applied to work with one another in the body of Christ, amazing things happen when a family, when mom and dad, man and woman, work together lovingly and abide by what God has has told us to do.

It’s amazing what a marriage can bring to the table and how it can uplift the whole family unit. So apparently Shane Clayborne has been amongst those who instead of saying homosexuality is a sin and we need to love those and help them who are struggling with that. Overcome it through prayer and supplication and just loving one another, but instead, that movement of course says, no, that’s not right, because that’s just what a person is.

They can’t help it. That’s who they are, and we are to accept them because God loves everybody just the way they are and well, there’s a half truth there . Now, the reason that’s important, I need to lay that out before I read his quote because as he had interviewed some of the students, and you know, that was some interesting to hear that what the students had to say and, and talk to one of the, uh, adjunct professors on campus.

His response to what the professor said. Thank you for facilitating this time to share the good work of the Lord. Talking to Clayborne, Clayborne responds, quote, yeah, and we’ll keep doing it y’all. We’re gonna keep trying to lean in everywhere that we see the spirit of God moving, even if that’s marching in the streets for racial justice.

Even if it’s grieving the life of, you know, someone killed by the death penalty or by the police or whatever. Clayborn takes that opportunity at the end of his podcast, his interview, to still throw in all this social justice, which is doing nothing but spreading. All over the world and in particular the United States right now because that’s the push.

Black Lives Matter and other organizations trying to convince Americans and certainly trying to teach American children that our lives are based upon the color of our skin, which is unfortunate and very. what Clayborne is saying here. Then when he says, uh, of course racial justice, we, that’s Black Lives Matter, and I won’t get into the specifics there.

Maybe some other day I’ll talk about that, but when he is also talking about, oh yeah, we’ll be there marching for with somebody dies with a death penalty, well, first of all, the death penalty is biblical. Obviously, I don’t wanna see people die, but when we take away discipline on any. Chaos occurs. So if you are a parent and if you have kids of your own, if you’re not disciplining your kids, your house is in chaos.

Your kids are doing what they wanna do, you’re trying to be their best friend, and they’re not learning right from wrong. Cuz it first and foremost starts with mom and dads. And because our society is not wanting to deal with that. Why? Because our society is pushing God. and God says, you gotta discipline your kids.

Do it while they’re young. We’re not doing our kids a favor by not disciplining them. And the same thing with a death penalty. We’re not doing ourselves a favor by not disciplining those who live beyond the law. And of course, we’re seeing that in a lot of cities these days in states that are fighting for so-called racial justice that because the color of their skin. They’re being released from jail because they’re black, and even though they might have committed crimes, it doesn’t matter. Also, he says, death by the police or whatever. Again, the police aren’t the problem. We’re always gonna have some form of corruption, but that doesn’t mean because there’s a few bad police that suddenly all the police are.

So Clayborn taking advantage of something that good revival situation. And of course he wants to make it sound like, you know, Hey, we’re there and we’re gonna do our part. Let’s move on to God’s word, the Book of Amos. The reason I want to go into this is because, beloved, we get a good idea of how God feels about man’s church on Earth because at this point he is of course the prophet Amos, and through the prophet prophet, he is speaking to Israel. Israel, of course, he is calling to repent. They have been living sinful lives. Idolatry is horrible and of course with idolatry comes a lot of sexual practices as well. That is unlawful. Do we have that problem?

We’re not dealing with the idols that God is talking about here. These idols that are made out of gold and silver carved images that they are worshiping. In fact, in Bethel, they made a place to worship God so they wouldn’t have to go to Jerusalem and they could still stick around and worship their own little gods.

And God isn’t even happy with that because they were told you go to Jerusalem. God has his plans. We are to obey his plans. We’re not trying to second guess it or think we’re gonna improve it, but that’s what they did. The Israelites were, well, sure they were worshiping him, but it was surface level worship.

Perhaps it was more of a social thing, but I think we can relate to that in our society today. We can certainly relate to that today, a very surface level worship and as for idols, our idols are not carved images, but our idols are in different forms now. Our idols are electronics, the TV, the internet, programming on TV, live streaming, whatever it is, cable, whatever it is we’re calling it.

Or you have because we have so many forms, satellite dishes. In our society, in America, it is about entertainment, right? That is our, one of our big idols in America. Entertainment, having fun, having it our way, living life to its fullest. So that’s the idols that God would be speaking to us today about and our surface level worship.

Going to church, we have these nice songs. our organs and musicians and just amazing. I mean, I’ve been to some amazing churches where, I mean, yes, the architecture is beautiful, massive pipe organs. I mean, they sound wonderful, but unfortunately the the people there, they’re not really worshiping. They’re there.

Some even singularly great, but many are not worshiping the Lord. It’s surface. And so much of our, what I am calling corporate church. The corporate church, is just that it is built like a business and people are treating it like a business. The non-believers and many of the born again children of God together with the non-believers are treating it so.

So what does God say about this, beloved? What did God say to the Israelites? And frankly, when I read, He is saying it loud and clear to us today. So I am in the book of Amos. I am in chapter five, and I’ll be reading verses 16 through 24. This is quite profound. It reads, therefore, the Lord God of hosts, the Lord says this.

There shall be wailing in all streets, and they shall say in all the highways, alas, alas, they shall call the farmer to mourn and skillful, lament to wailing. In all vineyards, there shall be wailing for I will pass through you says the Lord. I’ll pause. That’s interesting because for I will pass through you. The last time that was spoken was back in Exodus chapter 12, where the Lord announces that he will pass through Egypt and kill the firstborn passing through.

That’s where we get the pass. It’s interesting. I guess maybe even ironic, the Lord is now saying those similar words to his own people that I will pass through you. Continuing in verse 18. Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord for what good is the day of the Lord to you. It will be darkness and not light.

It will be as though a man fled from a lion and a bear met him, or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the Lord. Darkness and not light. Is it? Not very dark with no brightness in it. I’ll pause. Now, why is he saying this? God is saying this to the Israelites because the Israelite would often just assume because we are God’s chosen people, that when God comes back, he establishes his kingdom on the earth.

The Jews are all taken care of. They don’t have to worry about it. It was something they kept going back to over and. And that would get them in trouble. In the Old Testament and even in the New Testament, Jesus spoke about that and that was where the Pharisees and, and many Jews struggled with that because they just thought, because we’re his chosen people, well, we should be good.

Right? Isn’t that how many people feel today? We have that because we’re taught in Catholicism and Lutheranism that that is all part of the fact that, hey, I was baptized as a baby. I’m a good person. We go to church, we do good things. Our family’s a good family, and there’s that assumption that, Hey, I’m good. So I have nothing to worry about.

Well, what I just read right there goes to show that God is telling them, oh, you’re sitting around waiting for, for me to come. If you’re waiting for the day of the Lord and you think that it’s gonna be all this brightness for you, but it’s gonna be darkness, man, that should shake anybody up after reading Amos five.

I would think that anybody who comprehends what God is saying is, is going to double check and make sure that, yeah, I am born again because it gets. Even uglier because now what has he got to say about the way we have surface level worshiping in our churches even today? Now let’s take a look at that. Verse 21. I hate, I despise your feast days and I do not savor your sacred assemblies though you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offering.

I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fated peace offerings. Take away from me the noise of your psalm for, I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments, but let justice run down like water. And righteousness, like a mighty stream

That ends the reading. Wow. Wow. I even wrote that in my Bible. Wow. . It should make every Christian truly check where they are walking with the Lord. Because going to church doesn’t get anybody to heaven. No. Giving a lot of money when they’re going to church doesn’t get anybody to heaven. Giving a lot of money to anyone, no matter how good it is, doesn’t get anybody to heaven.

That’s can be good stuff and can be a result of when someone’s born again and and wanna worship the Lord. And so they give. , but have you ever gone to church, beloved? And even though there is a lot of excitement going around, a lot of things happening, people really visiting, perhaps even where they’re serving the coffee and donuts, there’s a lot of laughing.

But have you ever been at a church service where it just seemed numb or perhaps hollow is another way of saying it. The music is nice. , but you know, perhaps, perhaps many aren’t really singing outta love for the Lord. Perhaps when it’s prayer time. A lot of people don’t bother their heads. Maybe they’re not saying a prayer, they’re just closing their eyes, but there’s that feeling of something’s just not right.

It’s that feeling that so much that’s happening in this church, even though there’s so many people going to Sunday school, meetings, fellowship time with coffee and dessert bars talking afterwards, money being put in the plates. Announcements are made every Sunday. Here’s what’s going on. This week people needed to volunteer, and yet week after week, there’s, it just feels hollow or numb.

That’s who God is talking to when he says, I. , I despise your feast days. You know, your holidays are the Christmas programs. Is it, is it for worshiping God or is it so people can just see their kids and it looks really good and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Wow. We have things laid out. Communion done a very certain way.

We have our traditions we have all lined up and we make sure we hit every single one of ’em cuz we’re gonna impress God with our tradition. We are going to impress God Almighty with just showing up to church. But he says though you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings. Well for us it would be money in the plate.

I will not accept it. Man raise money to do all kinds of stuff. But if there’s not love, if we are not worshiping him, if we are not loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with our might or strength, he doesn’t want our money, he says, I will not accept it. It means nothing to me.

Fine. You guys got all this money. I already blessed you with a bunch of money. I don’t. and he says, take away from me the noise of your songs for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. You know, I wonder how many are in churches thinking that they are impressing God. These beautiful organs piping such magnificent sound, and some people are belting out Wonderful notes.

If there’s not love for him there, if people are not walking with him, he says, take away from me the noise. I will not hear it. Isn’t that something? And I hope this shakes somebody up. That’s somebody who is in that position where they think that they are God’s gift to the world. Because you know what?

Remember we are nothing but vapor. Our life is nothing but. That everything, everything that we have and own is from him. Nothing we got on our own. We brought nothing into this world, and we will not take anything with us when we depart, but we build these churches that are corporate. I used to use the term corporate worship when talking about that coming together.

to worship God, and I’m trying to not use it anymore because I used to use it in a positive way that corporate worship, of course, is coming together like in a church or a big gathering and for the reason of, of worshiping God. But unfortunately, corporate now has become something different. Corporate worship is organized religion.

It has become a corporate church. where there’s people on the board and the people on the board, they vote and they decide, pastor, we don’t want you speaking about that. That’s too much. We’re losing people in the pews. We need more positive preaching. We need people to feel good about themselves when they come to our church.

We want people feeling wonderful about themselves. That’s not in the Bible. There’s no place where we are to have a group of people that get together and they vote on things. No, the Holy Spirit runs the church. It’s God’s church, and the only people we should be following are the teachers that the Holy Spirit has called up to preach and teach God’s Word, and that’s that person that just loves the Lord.

And is in God’s word continuously and in his life, you can see that he is walking with the Lord. That there is nothing more important. I’m not saying sinless, not at all, but to lead people. And we went through this last week. the qualifications and those qualifications should mark every Christian other than the fact that there are few qualifications that extend beyond being a Christian, such as the ability to teach and not subject to drinking.

So there’s a few other things that are expected of leadership that God calls upon. How do you know? How do, how do we know that God has ordained someone? Because nowadays the seminaries, they claim that they ordain God’s workers because they obviously have the answers. And so they will ordain and the churches can pick through those.

But you know what? God ordains, and we can tell when someone’s been ordained because they, they need to talk about God. They need to learn. it’s a need. And God says, I am going to put this weight on you, this burden I place on you. I’m putting it there because I want you to tell others what I have told you, what I have taught you.

That’s how we know when someone is ordained by God himself. So beloved, I encourage you if you haven’t done so already, to get into a small group, a small group that is led by somebody who loves the Lord whose life reflects on that. Because like Paul said in the reading from last week that I read, they are not a novice.

Not a novice in their walk with the Lord. For those of you who are not a novice and have been walking with the Lord for quite a while. You have a responsibility to mentor and to lead. Others use that knowledge. But when it comes to being ordained, when God says, yes, I want you to lead, there’s ways that we can identify those people, and I assure you it is not through a college degree and I’m not against higher education, not at all.

I love to learn. I just love it. But we need to get away, beloved, from the corporate church, money that continues to be put into these buildings, the smoke and the lights. Some churches, they have these amazing little mini cafes, some with full menus. We do not need to make God’s word better . We don’t need to add to God’s word.

We don’t need to bring in people with lattes and pastries, big lights and big stages of productions. I enjoy that stuff. . In fact, that’s one of my favorite pastimes. I just love going to cafes and having coffee and just visiting. That is, it’s great. But what I’m saying is we really gotta. The way our churches are ran, they are being, most of them in America are being run like a corporation.

It is about bringing in the money, bringing in the people, and that is not our job. Our job is just to preach the gospel to the nations, to make disciples baptizing those disciples in the name of the Father, son, and the Holy Spirit, which means we are sharing the Triune God. And no other God. Well, beloved, I guess this about wraps up another week.

I do hope that indeed your walk with the Lord is going well. A reminder that I’m available to you if you want to visit with me, if you, if there’s any questions that you have, if there’s anything that you’re struggling with, you’re not sure about, we live in a time when the world is trying to make it.

Very difficult for Christians to walk with the Lord in every way possible. And I hope my messages, my information that I share with you is helpful and makes you think, and I know I’m not exactly the most encouraging of speakers, but I will remind you that remember, if you are born again, you are a child of God and our heavenly Father, he is a wonderful father.

He loves you so much. , I look forward to the day that I can get a hug from Jesus. I plan on just giving him the biggest bear hug I can. And if you’re not born again, if you’re not sure and you’re still thinking, I don’t know, get a hold of maybe the person that referred you to this podcast or the person who has been inviting you to come to church and to learn about the Lord and don’t wait.

Today is the day the Lord has. And we don’t know if we have tomorrow. God wants everyone in his heart, he wants everyone to go to heaven, to be in his presence for eternity. And one only needs to confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus. And in your heart know that God has raised him from the dead and you will be born again.

Well, I love you so much. Brothers and sisters who are walking with the Lord stay on the narrow path. I pray for you that you do.

And until next time,

God bless.


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