Many times, we act as king over our own lives. We like to choose which of God’s rules to obey – selecting his rules to our preference. Yet we still pay homage to him as our friendly ‘household god’ and pursue some form of spirituality. Why bother? Because we want his blessings over our hustle. We want his power, but we don’t want his rules. Because sin loves to blend.
We still pursue some form of spirituality. Why bother? Because we want his blessings over our hustle
Sin Love To Blend
“In all the other sermons in this series there’s been sin that has been somewhat explicit, but this one is quite cunning. And the reason this happens is because sin loves to blend. So what we are gonna see in this sermon is how this happens and how we can overcome it through the gospel.”
This kind of religion empowers sin to thrive because it sin is actually being ignored. To prevent sin from thriving, to be victorious over sin forever, we do not just need God’s power and blessings, we need His rule, we need a king and a priest from God who lives forever. We need to follow him, and not try to be our own shepherd.
The Anatomy of Sin
Are you tired of constantly being defeated by sin? Are you surprised that it somehow always keeps getting victory over you? This is because we never fully understand sin and therefore underestimate it. Combating sin is crucial for Christian growth and we will only begin to be victorious when we understand the essence of sin and fight it from its roots.
This is the fifth in a five-part sermon series where we consider the biblical description of sin and learn how to be victorious over it. Pick up the other sermons here: 1. The Anatomy of Sin – The Essence; 2. Sin is Systemic; 3. Sin Hardens Your Heart; 4. Sin Blinds You; 5. Sin Loves to Blend
Text: Judges 17:1-13
Preached: 9 February 2020
Location: City Church, Lagos, Nigeria
“Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”
Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!”
3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”
4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.
5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. 6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
7 A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, 8 left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”
“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”
10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. 13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”
This is the word of the Lord.
Thank you Sharon and once again if you are here for the first time so happy to have you around. And if you’ve not been here in a while we really want to encourage you to stay behind and just talk to the people around who would like to know you more.
We’ve been doing a series and we’ve actually come to the end. Today is the final sermon in that series. It’s called the anatomy of sin. And so before we get into the final message can I just pray. And let’s ask God for his presence.
Lord God almighty. Without you we would not understand. We would not be able to see. We want to see this transfigured Christ so that at the end of this message we can say hallelujah! Hallelujah my king. So we ask for your presence. We ask your Holy Spirit to be here – move among us. To convict, to convince – but to move our wills to live better for you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Food Is Good
I have a confession to make. I like food. I do. I like food. Food is good. Amen? Food is good for us. I don’t know what plans you have for lunch or whatever but I’m thinking of going for dinner with my wife somewhere because I like food. Food is actually amazing for me because this thing that we say we like, you often think you have to process it to be able to get the taste you want. Which isn’t true.
What’s an apple? What processing do you have to give to an apple? All you need is to toss a seed into the ground and up comes and apple and you wash it – is the one thing you have to do – and eat it. But Nigerians, I know we don’t wash – you just take it in. After, when you get to hospital, you’ll be wondering why.
But, you know, apples, oranges, mangos – you know you don’t have to do anything. It’s nice on it’s own. That’s the way God gave it to us and it’s fine! Now the same things with something like yam, potato, rice – where you just have to boil it. It’s not like you are adding anything to it. As they are – God made them that way and they are nice.
But here’s another amazing thing about food. It’s when you mix it together. You see the apple, the grapes, the pawpaw, the berries and the pineapple. When you bring them together what do you have? A fruit salad. Fruit salad is nice. You just put it together and they just somehow blend together.
The same is when you bring vegetables together. You put them – toss the tomatoes, toss the lettuce, toss the sweetcorn… all of those things together and you have what? You have vegetable salad right? And we love them! We love those things.
Nigerian Foods That Blend Well…
But I don’t think about those mixtures – yes that’s for all you people who are in fit fam or what have you. When we talk about mixing food together I know we cannot do better than Ata Dudu(?). I don’t understand how these beans that you put on everything and Dudu, they couldn’t look more different. And yet, when you put them together in your mouth something just happens. Like they were meant to be together.
When I take my Dudu and beans in fact I do the mixture before it get’s to my mouth. You know press the Dudu inside the beans. Mix it so it’s wonderful. Right? Wonderful.
OK if you don’t like that one here’s the one that I know you will like. I know that they go together like they were ordained from the foundation of the world. What do you eat on Saturday morning? Look if you don’t eat this on Saturday morning there is something wrong with your house. I’ll tell you straight. What do you eat on Saturday morning? Ogi and Akara! Wonderful right? Sometimes you can bring in Moi Moi and all of that. I know a place, one restaurant in VI – they put prawns inside the Akara, and then you can dunk it inside coconut infused Ogi. Hai!
Oh my word. That’s life guys. This is life.
What I am basically trying to say is when mixture is done well, things can be phenomenal. Amen? Now that brings me to an issue that I need to get off my chest.
But There Are Some Bad Combinations!
Turn to your neighbour and say “choose your friends wisely.” This is really – it’s a real serious thing. Because I do have some friends, they are wonderful people but… I have learnt from them they have inspired me but… they grieve me. They grieve me at times and Yemi and Faye – Yemi and his wife – I need to talk to you guys. You see see guys you cannot mix Obo and Egusi together. No, no, no you can’t. And they do that. You cannot mix Ila and Efo together. They are not meant to go!
But here’s the other thing – I need to say this because I’ve seen some of you guys in this church and I am going to tell you straight up. Remember that confession thing that I was talking about? You had better listen to me now. Spaghetti or noodles you cannot have with Dudu. No. You cannot have with Dudu. You must not have it. Rice you don’t take white rice and stew. You don’t mix it with salad that has mayonnaise or salad cream. They are not meant to go. Because blended tomato and oil should not mix with salad. You don’t do that!
Turn to your neighbour and say it’s just wrong. Can you submit now? Thank you. Good.
Blending Christianity Ends in Disaster
Now what I am trying to say is that when the wrong mixture is done things can be disastrous. And when you are mixing and blend it with Christianity it always leads to a disaster.
You see in our final sermon of the series we will see how we tend to want to eat our cake and have it. We want to remain and to be seen to have our Christianity all together, while going about living in specific sin.
Sin Loves To Blend
In all the other sermons there’s been sin that has been somewhat explicit, but this one is quite cunning. And the reason this happens is because sin loves to blend. So what we are gonna see in this sermon is how this happens and how we can overcome it through the gospel.
So that takes me to the sermon we are calling sin loves to blend. And we will look at it under three headings. Blended religion, communal religion and gospel religion.
The Book of Judges
So, we are reading the book of Judges. And Judges is probably the most messed up book in the Bible. Of the books in the Bible it’s probably the most messed up book.
It’s number 7 and basically what happens in the book of Judges, it’s telling you the story of… You have these people in the first 5 books of the Bible, these people that descended from Abraham. They are now called Israel. They leave Egypt in the book of Exodus. They wander through the desert in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. By Deuteronomy they are going to their own land that God had promised them.
The 2nd Generation In The Promised Land
In the book of Joshua they actually enter into the land, defeat the people that were there, and now they settle. Now the book of Judges is what happens after the generation that entered the promised land – the lives that they lived there.
It’s divided into three sections. The first one is from Judges 1:1-3:6. And you’re basically just given an introduction. Then the larger section is from Judges 3:7-16:31 and you are seeing the life of the people called Judges. Who are deliverers who helped God’s people.
I think we had a series on that about three years ago so you can check that out. And then the final section, from Judges 17-21, the final part of the book. I think this part of the book should come with an R-18 warning. I’m not just about to read this part of the book to my 8 year old child. Like, you’d need to filter a lot of things that happened there. Because the stuff that happened there is just crazy. And it all starts with this reading that Sharon read for us in this chapter 17.
A Story About A Mixture
It’s a story about mixture. So we are introduced to this guy Micah and his family. Let’s talk about Micah’s mum first. She is not a woman of virtue. She’s that woman that you know that on the one hand they are cursing somebody (on the right hand). On the other hand they are blessing somebody else in the name of the Lord.
Do you know somebody like that? They know how to – do you know how they can say well crafted curses? Bring it down! And yet when they are blessing people you are like “ah man! This woman is a wonderful woman of God”. That’s Micah’s mum.
She noticed that some of the silver was taken away. And then she cursed! Unfortunately it was her son Micah that took the things. So he said, mum, in verse 2 “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse” The woman cursed. “—I have that silver with me; I took it.” Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!” Yaweh bless you my son.
Cursing Blended With Blessing
Cursing there, and then she is blessing. Same woman. Blessing and cursing mixed together – no problem! Salad and white rice. Anyway!
But, again, you think that was not bad. You think that’s just the way she lives – that that was just an incidental thing. But no! After she got the eleven hundred shekels back, she now took some of it, right? And you know what she wanted? She said “I want to consecrate it to Yaweh” this is verse three. I am consecrating it for the Lord. Right? And that’s to set it apart for something good for the Lord.
And Idol… For The Lord?
But you know what that something good was? She said “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver.” She used it to make an idol. Consecrated to the God who forbids the making of an idol. You cannot make this thing up. How are those two things able to exist?
Like Mother Like Son
But you know the one good thing that she did was, she raised her children well. She was able to replicate herself in her son! Because here you have this guy called Micah and Micah had a shrine at home. He had a shrine at home and in that shrine (verse 5) he said it’s not that he had one god. He had household gods. Plenty gods there. And that’s OK. He has declared he is not following the religion of his mum. In his household god’s he took one of his children to be a priest – he found out this is not good enough. Maybe the guy wasn’t anointed – you know.
A Levite Priest For Household Gods
So he now notices later that there’s a guy – a priest, a Levite. So Israel had 12 tribes. And one of those tribes – only one of those tribes – was allowed to do the holy things of God in the house of God, the temple of God. And that’s the Levites. So he now says “ah. This my son is not really a Levite. Alright. He fires his son. Right? Sometimes nepotism has its limits. So he fires his son. He now calls this Levite and he now installs him as his priest. Priest over what? Over his shrine where he has, what? Household gods.
He has this priest so he thanks God. Ah! A priest from the tribe of Levi – so I’m OK from God, even though it was over his household gods. And just to show you that he thought he was doing the right thing, why did he say he did this? He says verse 13 “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me”. Why? “Since this Levite has become my priest.”
What Is Syncretism?
This is what the technical term for this is what we call syncretism. Syncretism. What’s syncretism? Syncretism is the amalgamation, or the mixing, of different religious forms. Different religions or the forms of religion.
Buddhism x Islam
So, imagine today I say I am a Buddhist but I also say “as a Buddhist I also believe” now Buddhist’s usually don’t believe that there is existence of any personal God. Right? “but I am a Buddhist but I also believe that there is only one God and Mohammad is his prophet.”
How does that sound? That’s syncretism. Alright?
Ifá x Hinduism
Or let’s say you are an Ifá practitioner. Right? And so you believe in the Orisha. You believe in the people that have departed. They are watching over your ancestors…. But you don’t necessarily believe your ancestors come back. You can say the characters or the spirits of the ancestors can come back. You know? Be cool and all of those things.
But you don’t really believe that people come back and are something else… But, you meet this Ifá who then says “do you know I believe you can be reincarnated as a cat in your next life.” How about that? So here’s an Ifá adherent who also believes in some aspects of Hinduism, and he likes the two together. And then the other one you had a Buddhist who also believes in central tenets of Islam. This is what syncretism is.
A New Religion Is Created
Now you can’t really say with syncretism that they actually really believe that religion, or are worshiping that god. Because the forms are just so mixed together. They create a new religion on it’s own. Syncretism always creates it’s own brand new religion.
Syncretism always creates it’s own brand new religion.
But you know this doesn’t only just work for organised religions like the ones I’ve just quoted. It also works for other kinds of things that we didn’t know were religious.
Syncretism Outside of Organised Religions
So for instance take here Lagos. Lagos is called the centre of what? Excellence. Now, I want you to know that, especially if you are a Lagosian, and I say centre of excellence, that is a goal. Your goal is to be excellent. Right? But Lagos’s centre of excellence as a goal, what it really is is the centre of hustle. Do you understand what I mean? The centre of hustle.
When you enter into Lagos you enter as a hustler. A hustler. But your goal is to become an excellent person. You do understand. So how do you move from the life of being a hustler to now a life of excellence? How do you do it? I’ll tell you. You need the excellent god of the hustler. Word. alright?
The Excellent God of the Hustler
The excellent god of the hustler. What he does is that he takes somebody in his hustle. That’s why we say “God bless my hustle.” So he takes your hustle, he pours blessing on it, and over a period of time it leads to excellence. When you come to Lagos you move from the hustler to the being the excellent one! That’s how people change from being… that’s how your hustler becomes your excellency. Eh?!
We even sing it in some of our religious songs. We do! Like you know the famous one? “The most excellency is Jesus! Keep on hustling”. You’ve never heard that one before? Exactly. We mix it all up. Because this is the religion we have!
Welcome to our own syncretic religion. Because what we really want is the benefit of our hustle and what we worship is the hustle-blessing only god.
Relying on ‘Some Form of Spirituality’
What we see is that we create a new religion like Micah did. Micah believed simply by having the priest God was going to be good to him. Despite the fact that he was breaking God’s commandments about idols! And so many Lagosians believe that disobedience to God’s laws notwithstanding – so long as you have some form of spirituality… so long as you have some form of spirituality god will be good to you in your hustle.
So many Lagosians believe that disobedience to God’s laws notwithstanding – so long as you have some form of spirituality god will be good to you.
Chapels, Prophets & Prayer Meetings
Maybe you have money and are like Micah. You are not building a shrine but you are building a chapel in your house. Of maybe you don’t have too much money so you have a prophet that is on your retainer. You know that kind of – you need something just…
Or maybe you just do online church. It’s why, I think, I am not joking about this – robbers and prostitutes have prayer meetings. For God to bless their house – or – let’s bring this closer to home. Have you ever been to renew your passport in the passport office? Right? When they are doing – I have never seen people do praise and worship like those guys. They do it and they ask you guy where’s my home?
From prayer meeting to… Because that whole prayer meeting what was it? They were praying to the god of the hustle. And you are now the vessel that is going to turn their hustle into excellence!
The December 31st ‘Cross Over’
Which is why also December 31st is the most attended service of the year! Most people do they are counted on that day. Let’s talk to our selves because some of us have done this thing. December 31st you are happy because you say “I made it!” Or so, did I really make it? So now you are drinking with your friends – you guys are drinking – and then it’s like quarter to 12 and you guys have to run. Because as long as I am in church when we cross over… how do you think I made it to the end this year? It was because I was in church during the cross over.
A Domesticated God
I crossed over with God into this year. Therefore, I’m going to make it to the end of the year. That’s how we think! So long as you keep some form, and get some form, of spirituality, it doesn’t really matter what you do with your life. Because like Micah his gods were in his house. So long as you have a domesticated god he is always going to be pleased with you – no matter what you do – as long as you give him just a little bit of spirituality. Do you understand me?
If you have a domesticated god he is always going to be pleased with you – as long as you give him just a little bit of spirituality.
Our Religion in Our Culture
This thing is rampant throughout our society. In fact we don’t even know it is in our best cultural forms. I can tell you about – look guys – I spoke about a song we sing in church, how about the songs we sing outside of church? That all of us sing.
The Songs We Sing…
I can think of four songs, for instance, that show you that this is our religion. Four songs that show you that this is our religion. So think about this song. Now let me first say all the songs are very good – I like them. But they are also songs of this religion. So think about Ojuelegba for instance. What’s Ojuelegba telling us?
Ni ojuelegba / They know my story / From holdup studio / I be hustle to work
So at some point he then says “Kilodale” – I can’t sing it, I shouldn’t sing it… but how can I say it without singing it?
“Aye o le to yen o / Aye o ni double / Adura lo le se o
and then after Adura lo le se o what does he say? “Call on daddy.” Which leads you to the next song. Somebody else took that song and said – “ah. Call on daddy.” “Baba God o / Emi no fe wa Range”
Right? And then eventually he then says “answer my call”, because the other guy had told him… So answer my call.
But when he is calling who is he calling? The main God he is calling is the able god. Somebody there. The able god is able to give him that Range Rover. He is calling on the able god “sha la y’all” I want this… so you see what the real god is. The real god is the money.
I want this money. Able god. So that when this able god blesses you and you get an alert, god what? God wins. Welcome to our own religion.
This religion, it’s a syncretistic religion. It is not an atheistic religion. Because we are not saying that there is no god. What we are saying though is that this god is a domesticated god. We decide what aspect of that god we like. And then as long as I go to church, as long as I do some spiritual things, this god will be favourable to me.
Sin Thrives, Because Sin Is Ignored
But he never, ever, demands anything about my morality. And so sin is able to thrive there because sin is ignored.
What is the problem? It tells you in verse 6 that “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
So he wants a priest without having a king. What does that mean? He wants divine access without divine rule. He wants encouragement without rebuke. He wants empowerment without correction. He wants connection without instruction, empathy without submission. Prayer without order, singing without worship. Welcome to our religion.
And sin thrives in this place because it is often always ignored.
Don’t Judge Me!
A few years ago there was a tongue-speaking un-married celebrity who went on an instagram page and I kid you not, not married, on an instagram page, put some tongues that was worshiping God. Why? She was worshiping God opening for being pregnant. Unmarried.
Now I am not trying to be… this is even part of the problem. The moment you have an opinion on that – the moment you have just an opinion on that guess what you are labelled to be? Judgemental. Or you are labelled to be “religious.” “How dare you judge me? How dare you judge my relationship with God. Are you God?” “No, I am not God – God has just spoken – that’s all. And he says this is wrong.”
But you see what happens as well is we are able to compartmentalise and we say “you know what this whole morality thing I really don’t want it. But I still want this God to bless my hustle. And so I still give him something, and I still do some of the things that show that I am a Christian. But I kick out this other part that makes me uncomfortable.
We Need To Talk About Sex
Can I talk about sex? And sexual activity?
I want to talk about it because I used to think that we used to talk about it too much in church. And people in church were always bashing it. “You people in church – you are so fascinated about sex.” so let me tell you yes, we are. Because God is fascinated about sex.
God created sex. God said sex is good. God said sex is helpful. God said sexual activity is wonderful! But you do it within its own rules.
And the reason why the Church talks about this, the reason why the Bible talks about it a lot is because if people were obeying what God said about it now what is there to talk about? So I had to grow up from thinking “ah, the Church always talks about sex all the time.” Let me tell you we don’t talk enough about it.
Unmarried Christians Are Having Sex
I am talking about the church of today. We don’t talk enough about it. Because too many people – and all the stories that keep coming to me – too many people are engaging in all manner of sexual activity in the Church! But they are worshiping God.
I remember a spiritual sister of mine. Just not too long after Tosha and I returned from the UK. We came back and she wasn’t married yet – and you know she was in her early 30s just catching up and all that. And I was like so anything, any guy on the scene or whatever? She was like she is tired of that. The last 5, 6 relationships just didn’t end well. So I was like “what happened?” You know what she said? She said “I think of the 6 of them 5 of them wanted sex before they god married. And she said she can’t do it.” And I now looked at her and I said it’s your fault. It’s your fault.
Why would you be going after or dating guys that want sex before marriage? Why would you be going after unbelievers? And then she stopped and looked at me and she said “where do you think I got them from? They are all Christians that go to church!”
Stuff is happening guys. Let’s not behave as though it isn’t. And what I am trying to say is that we’ve bought into this syncretistic religion that compartmentalises what God has asked for.
When God is Not King
Why does this thing happen? I’ll tell you why it happens back in verse 6 it said there “In those days Israel had no king.” When God is not the king and you don’t have any other king guess who becomes the king? Yourself.
Everybody saw – everybody did as they saw fit. So they were the ones that then defined what was fit. What was right and what was wrong. Many times we define what was right and what was wrong according to what we desire. And this is how we install the individual as king.
I Say What Is Right And Wrong
So when there is a push back it is like… somebody’s preaching and they are like “hey that’s just not on. Is any preacher perfect?” Do you see what’s happening? You are the one now judging. You install yourself as king. We say what is right and what is wrong.
We want to have a relationship with God. As long as we define the relationship
And yet we want to have a relationship with God. As long as we define the relationship. So we say “God can I have this relationship with you through this priest? But don’ then tell me what to do with my life.”
You Are Living Under A Curse
Let me tell you quite honestly, if you continue in that way you are under a curse; God’s judgement curse. Deuteronomy 27:15, look at what it says. “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”
You see in Judges 17:4 the mum, they are giving the money to a silversmith and he made an idol. It’s called a persil in Hebrew. But what she consecrated it to was to a masekah which is an image here. Now go back to Deuteronomy 27:15 where it says “cursed is anyone who makes an persil (idol)—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work (or the masekah) of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”
We All Have A Relationship With God
You see that every single human being on earth has a relationship with God.
The questions is, is your relationship with God adversarial? Or is it a loving relationship? If you are trying to say I have a wonderful relationship with god, and yet we don’t talk about the sin issue and you are living in sin, that is the relationship that you have. It’s one, in that time it was immediate temporal judgement. But now it is eternal judgement.
Listen, self-rule – this kind of self-rule – this individualism does not lead to anything good. This individualism ruins that relationship that relationship that you were made for to have with God. The reason why some people don’t go full blown atheist is because we know that I am born to worship and have a relationship with God. It’s just that when he is demanding is too much. But I am trying to tell you that if you don’t submit in that regard, you do have a relationship – it’s just defined by that. Amen?
How Do We Get Rid of Individualism?
So how do we get rid of this individualism? Because in this Lagos this is the water that we are all drinking and swimming in. This is the air that we breathe. We want to have our own self rule. And as Christians we’ve bought into that.
So how can we combat it? Well let’s go to the second point. Second point is communal religion.
Now the answer to this is this. The solution is self-rule, or replace self-rule with God’s rule in community.
The solution to individualism is to replace self-rule with God’s rule in community
Repeat after me: replace self-rule with God’s rule in God’s community.
Self-Rule Leads To Private Religion
Now in this section Judges 17:1-21, the final section of the book of Judges, three times – it wasn’t just in Judges 17:6 that he says that they had no king. In Judges 18:1 it also repeats it. At the end of the book – Judges 21:25 it also says it. “In those days there was no king in Israel everyone did as they saw fit.” This was the problem and this problem led to self rule which also then led to a private religion.
This was Israel’s problem. The individualism that they had adopted had resulted in them having their own private religion.
The Shepherd King
So how do you combat that? Well the first thing is with that self rule you need to replace it with God’s rule. And when we talk about God’s rule as we see in the Old Testament it always uses this word “shepherding.”
Psalm 80:1 says this:
“Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
God is always described as the one sitting on the arc between the cherubim. And notice what it says here, he is the ‘Shepherd of Israel’. Mostly when we think of a shepherd we just think of somebody who is guiding us I know. But he is saying that to be a Shepherd is that he is your king.
So are you your own Shepherd or is God your Shepherd?
Think about Psalm 23 next time you read it. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He’s not just talking about him being so tender to you. He’s also saying he is the one that instructs. He is the one that rules. He is the one that is king.
So are you your own Shepherd or is God your Shepherd?
Moving From Judges To Kings
Now again, in Israel because God was not going to be physically present in the body, what did God do? God then had mediators. Mediator kings. So the book of Judges is also well positioned and written because what are the books… think of the three books that come after the book of Judges – or the next 5 books. After the book of Judges you have the book of Ruth, which at the very beginning tells you is written at the time of the Judges.
What is Ruth about? It’s about a family who God saves and does some wonderful things in. But eventually the lineage of that family at the end of the book of Ruth leads you to the person we are now going to talk about in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel – the books that follow after. That is King David.
So they move from the time of Judges to the time of kings. 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles. Because not having a king led to where they were. Now remember God is described as Shepherd and king. So when God is then appointing his ideal king what do you think he is going to describe him as?
King David, The Shepherd King
Look at Psalm 78:70-71:
“He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel his inheritance.
David ruled in God’s stead so that God’s laws could be authoritative over his people, so that they would not live under self rule as they saw fit. The king was there to say “here are the rules of this kingdom that our God has given us. And with the authority I have I have to ensure the people are living under these rules.”
The Continuing Problem of Private Religion
So to deal with the self rule we go under the rule of God and God’s mediated rule through human presence. Amen? But then the second thing is private religion.
Micah, as you notice in Judges 17:5, it says that he had some household gods – notice that – household gods. What Micah shouldn’t have done… he had household gods and a household priest. But there was the house of God at Shiloh as you see in Judges 18:31. What Micah should have done was to replace private worship, or personal private worship, with these household gods – he should have replaced that with congregational worship in the house of God.
He should have replaced his own domesticated priest with the priest of God in Shiloh.
How Does This Relate to a 21st Century Lagosian?
That’s how we deal with the self rule and we deal with the private religion. And then they say “but that’s Israel. I am not an Israelite – I am not a Jew.” I know some Igbos think they are jews but let’s leave that one aside!
But we don’t have Israel here. So how does this apply to me? Where can I find the house of God? This temple. Where can I find it? How does it relate to a 21st century Lagosian? Is there truly a house of God for us?
God’s Household Today
1 Timothy 3:15 tells us. When Paul is writing to Timothy he says “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household.” What is God’s household? He tells you: “which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
So how you are going to live this God’s rule in God’s community has to do with the church and not yourself. And so the temple – yes, that’s what it is! In fact God says where we gather together we are now that temple. Look at 1 Corinthians 3:16. What does it say? It says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
You yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst.
Why? Because a temple was a meeting place between God and man. And if God the Spirit is among us, then we, together (collectively) are God’s temple, his household.
The Church Is Not Just a Physical Structure
And so however we think about the application of this – how we get rid of the individualism to our context – it has to do with the Church. The Church isn’t a physical structure where people go. But it is a spiritual people who are structured.
The Church isn’t a physical structure where people go. But it is a spiritual people who are structured.
Church Is a Family…
And so when we think about us as a Church… why do we have to be in community? And I am not just talking about – as wonderful as it is to come on Sunday – that is part of what we do as a community. Collective worship. It’s part – it’s not all. Just like a family isn’t just made up of when they gather together to eat on the dining table. It’s part of what they do, but it’s not all if they are truly a family.
…Families Do Things together
Part of you have somebody who just comes one day they just yell out “we don’t even live as a family!” What do they mean when they say that? We don’t do things together.
So I want to ask you, are you really a member of this church? Are you really a part of the community? And the way we can diagnose that is do we do things together. Because we are called to live together as a community who love one another. Who look out for one another. Who keep one another accountable.
Are you really a part of the Church community? The way we can diagnose that is do we do things together.
That phrase “one another” do a search of it just in the epistles of the New Testament, you will see it comes over 40 times. How do you live out the commandments to one another if you just come in on a Sunday and come out?
If you don’t live out those commandments, if you are living your own commandments who is king then? You are king, but coming on Sunday gives you a modicum of spirituality.
Do Not Forsake Meeting Together
You see God gives us a community together. It’s not just to do those things. You see, you can’t see God’s full picture on your own. How do you grow? You can’t grow properly on your own. You say “oh I listen to podcasts…” Yes. That’s one thing. But you cannot… the Bible says don’t forsake the assembly of one another and let us consider where we meet together, let us consider how we can spur one another on to love and good deeds. Spiritual maturity comes when we come together. It says “don’t forsake the assembly of the saints as some people do.”
Are you part of the people that forsake? Or are you part of the people that heed that call?
Guys listen. There’s always a one another thing. And doing something – and you are doing something. And giving something, and you are giving something. You need to serve and be served. You need to give and receive. You need to rejoice alongside and be rejoiced with. You need to mourn alongside, and be mourned with.
This is how you get rid of private religion and self rule.
The Leaders and The Led
But there is one more to say about the Church which is this. That the Church, when you think about the structure – remember I said it’s a people who are structured – this community is structured into leaders and the led.
In other words remember that God mediates his rule through humans. Now look at some of these leaders. Paul speaks to – notice the name he calls them in Acts 20:17-28. Paul planted a church in the City of Ephesus and he left, came back, he didn’t come to Ephesus he went to an Island, and he sent for some people from that church. Notice, from the letters Paul sent to Ephesus for the Elders of the Church.
So they are called Elders. In verse 28 he is instructing them, what does he say? “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” So the Elders are also called what? “Overseers.” Overseers, the old word we used to use is Bishops – right? The Elders are also overseers. They are Elders because of their spiritual maturity. But they are overseers because they oversee the affairs of the house of God.
Then he then says do what? “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
The Role of ‘Under-Shepherds’
Now they are not shepherds in the same sense that God is Shepherd. They are shepherds under the true shepherd. They are what we can call under-shepherds. But they are watching over the souls of the people.
Are these people worthy of being called Elders? If they are then you imitate them. If they are worthy of imitating, then they are worthy of being submitted to.
And now you can’t just follow them willy nilly. Remember, if they are under-shepherds they must not be trying to govern you by their own laws and their own instructions that contradicts the word of God. You have to examine them. Are these people worthy of being called Elders? If they are then you imitate them. And if you can imitate them, if they are worthy of imitating, then they are worthy of being submitted to.
If They Are Worthy, Imitate Them
This is what Hebrews 13:7 tells us: “Remember your leaders, who spoke” what? Not their word but “the word of God to you.” Because they cannot mediate their own authority! They really don’t have one. Their authority is derivative.
So, remember those who spoke the word of God to you then… “Consider the outcome of their way of life” and if you’ve considered it and you find that they are good people, then you should do what? Imitate them. But if they are worthy of imitation then Hebrews 13:17:
“Have confidence in them.” Not that they are perfect, but have confidence in them if they have been qualified. “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority.” Knowing that their authority is not theirs “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
Many people want to live for themselves and say “I don’t want to do this. No, I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do.” See what it’s saying. It’s not a benefit to you.
‘Submit’ Makes Us Cringe
Now I know some of you will hear this – especially if you are still drinking of this water of individualism – you hear this and once you see one word there. it makes you cringe. It’s the word ‘submit’.
We (Rightly) Fear Abusive Leadership
Submit. Now I think I know why it makes some of us cringe. Part of the reason is some of us have been – or have seen – what we call abusive leadership. And by abusive leadership I’m talking about a kind of over-bearing and manipulative control, which is designed to exclusively serve the leader’s desires.
Abusive leadership is a kind of over-bearing and manipulative control, which is designed to exclusively serve the leader’s desires.
Notice that the leadership – the authority that God gives to these people – is to ensure the building up of the people that they lead.
But when leadership becomes over-bearing, wants to control every aspect of your life, is deceitful, is trying to manipulate you into certain things – and then what’s the end goal? The end goal is to prop up that leader. That is abusive leadership.
And if any of you have suffered that kind of leadership can I just apologise?
I don’t know whether you’ve suffered it under me. But I am just saying I can understand that. It’s a terrible thing. Many people, it takes them a lot of time to recover if you’ve been under that kind of leadership.
Abusive Leadership in The Church
Or maybe sometimes we’ve just seen people who are deviating so far away from God – we are seeing pastors who just want to build their own pockets, or build their own fame. And so when you hear the word submit you are like “I don’t think I can do that.”
If you’ve seen a platform-building, money-making kind of pastorship, can I tell you quite frankly it is wrong.
Now, if you have seen abusive leadership, you’ve been under it, or if you’ve seen a kind of platform-building, money-making kind of pastorship, can I tell you quite frankly it is wrong. And it’s not just wrong it is sinful.
We Must Examine The Leaders First
And guess what, that is why you are meant to examine the leaders first. Consider their way of life.
So let me tell you straight up, this call for you to submit to leaders, it first starts with you examining them. Examine the leaders. If they are unfit according to the word of God as you see it, do you know what you are meant to do? If you are still in that church talk about it. Try to express your view.
Anywhere you find an unhealthy leadership it is very difficult for that church to be healthy
When You Should Leave The Church
If it’s still… if they don’t, if nobody reacts and says anything, you know what you should do? After that? Leave. Because that place is not a healthy place for you to be in. And anywhere you find an unhealthy leadership it is very difficult for that church itself to be healthy. Do you understand me?
So examine it. If it is found to be unworthy of what the word of God has said, then you should leave.
When You Should Stay And Submit
But also examine it. And if you find that they are fit then you know what you should do? Even when it’s not always comfortable? You should submit to that leadership. Amen? Or else you will not be able to combat the individualism that leads to that kind of private religion that God condemns.
So as we live what God is calling us to do is to submit to healthy leadership in a healthy community. But if you keep saying “Oh, you don’t know what I’ve suffered. You don’t know…” And then you refuse to submit to any kind of leadership what you are complaining against is the structure. And guess what if you read the book of 1 Kings and 2 Kings you will find that Israel had a lot of bad kings!
God never then said “get rid of the monarchy!” Why? Because it was God that had put in that structure.
The mere fact that you have seen abuse of leadership in the church doesn’t mean that you get rid of that structure in your own mind and the function of your life. What you look for is the right kind of leadership and submit to that. Are we together?
So examine the leaders. Examine us. While you are doing that let’s examine you as well.
I am saying that because I do find that there are at least 4 kinds of identities when I look around at how people relate to Church.
So, I want you to ask yourself, which one do you belong to. Alright?
How People Relate To Church: 4 Identities
So let’s consider four identities.
1. The Loner
First one is who we call the Loner. Are you a loner? I mean I am just talking about in relation to church. Who is the loner?
The loner is that person due to many different reasons – some of which I’ve already spoken about – is that person who says “ah. I love Jesus. I do not love the Church. So my life is I do my personal devotion. I do church online.” You know church online? So they can’t preach to themselves so what they just do is that they listen to their favourite pastor in Canada or in Australia. Right?
And then – and this one is wonderful, this one happens… this is Lekki’s own thing. Lekki and VI. They are part of mid-week fellowships here and there. You know? There are fellowships all around. You say “ah. What church do you belong to?” They say “I don’t really belong to a church. There’s a group of us we meet on a Tuesday.” You know?
There is a friend of mine she goes to at least about three or four. She is a veteran. She goes to the one where they laugh in the spirit. And then she goes to another one where the Bible study can be like 3 hours – she goes all around.
But Sunday? Ah no. Organised? “Ah no no no no I don’t do that.” A loner. Because largely their Christianity is she alone or he alone with Jesus.
Are you a loner? Well first of all if you are a loner I don’t expect to see you here! So… But are you a loner? It’s not a ideal way to live.
2. The Browser
Second, not too far away from the loner is the browser. Who is the browser? Now the browser irregularly attends on Sundays. So it’s not that they are saying “no no. I want to do church on my own”. No. They really believe that there is some value in coming to church.
Now it has to work within their program. Like if they worked late on Saturday, once they wake up and they don’t really fell it – then you know…. Or who is preaching today? Ah do you remember the way that person smiled at you? You know…
So they come once in two weeks. They after two weeks they come, three weeks… after three weeks they give it another two months. You know?
And any time they come they want to ensure that the pastor knows that they came. And so they smile at the pastor. And let me tell you what the pastor does. You know what he does? He smiles back. But not for the reason they think he is smiling.
They are like “Ah! OK pastor saw me” and he is smiling and like “ay yah. When will this one go?” They browse in. And when they feel like it they browse out.
Now don’t get me wrong it is better… no. This is less worse than a loner. Right? At lease they try and come. And you are doing us a favour by coming. I am just wondering whether you are doing your own self a favour. I say this because this will be of no benefit to you.
3. The Uncommitted
Third, because there are levels. Let’s move to the next level. It’s the uncommitted.
Now let me tell you this. The uncommitted actually believes they are committed. Who is the uncommitted? The uncommitted regularly attends on Sunday. But they do nothing else.
In fact by regularly attending on Sunday they will tell you “nah this is… I am a full member of this church.”
But they are not giving regularly. Neither are they serving regularly. Or both. They don’t care to know anybody. You know they take pride – let’s say you are in a conversation – they have been going to this church for three years and you just drop one name. And they say “I don’t know who that is.” And they say it with some kind of pride – like “I don’t know people here – I just do my own thing.”
Don’t give regularly. Don’t serve regularly. They dabble in, dabble out. But there is something they find wrong in the church they will let you know and they will let you know very clearly.
Again because they feel they are committed. But actually they aren’t committed in the way God tells you too. And again, they are able to tell you the thing that is wrong, but the moment you tell them about something that you think is wrong, they immediately push back. They are very defensive. At this point you have now crossed over and they are like “well I come every Sunday. Is it because I have been smiling with you?” That’s the uncommitted.
Loner – hands up. Browser are you here? Uncommitted are you here?
I am not saying all of these to shame us. But if you continue to assume those identities make no mistake, sin will thrive.
Is God your Shepherd or are you your own shepherd?
And you say ‘”you know I don’t care what you think!” Well this thing is it’s just already thriving, I’m just saying that. Because what you are trying to say is that it’s only what you think about the religion that matters. And this is not the way god has called you to live. Is God your Shepherd or are you your own shepherd?
When you say that prayer “I am my shepherd, I shall not want” then you will want so much if you are your shepherd.
4. A Member
The final is a member. Who are the members? They are not perfect people. In fact, they are in church because – they are members because – they know they are not perfect people.
They regularly attend on Sundays and other days. They serve regularly. Even when it’s difficult for them they are learning to practice submission. They actually do care to know people because this is meant to be my family – so how can I not know the people in my family?
If I am receiving spiritually regularly – how will I not be giving regularly? How would I not be serving regularly?
If I am receiving spiritually regularly – how will I not be giving regularly? If I am receiving spiritually – how would I not be serving regularly?
But all of these things – it’s not just that they are ticking boxes, ticking boxes, ticking boxes… actually their heart is “I am made to be part of a community. And if I am meant to really integrate and be in this community, it has to affect my giving. If I am receiving spiritually from a particular place, how can I not be giving materially?
If I am receiving spiritually regularly – how will I not be giving regularly? If I am receiving spiritually – how would I not be serving regularly? How would I not know the people? How would I not care? How do I know who to pray for? How do I know who to encourage? If I am not part of this community?
So, their regular attendance, their regular service, their regular embedded-ness is with the goal of achieving God’s commandments and that which benefits them.
And let me tell you something, if you are embedded in that kind of thing – I am not saying that you will be perfectly sinless – but let me tell you that you are on your way to combatting sin.
Don’t live your life as a Christian tourist
Correction Not Condemnation
So I am asking you, as you examine the leaders, as you consider the leaders, can you consider yourself.
Which one are you? If you fall into any of the first three I am not here to condemn you, but I am here here to correct you. Can you consider going to 4? Don’t live your life as a Christian tourist. Don’t live your life as a Christian hopper; a Christian consumer.
Live your life as a member, who is embedded in community because it’s what God has commanded and it is also of benefit to you.
This is how you live under God’s rule in God’s community. Amen?
And now that takes me to my final point.
Do You Get It?
Now you may have heard all I said and then think “oh. So I get it. How I establish a relationship with God is to obey church authority and to be in community.” Wrong. That’s not what I’ve said.
That’s not what establishes your relationship. That’s you living in a relationship.
Here’s what I mean.
I don’t know if any of us here have ever been – have you ever been in a relationship with someone, in a romantic relationship with someone that you didn’t know of? And you were in a relationship with a person but you just didn’t know that you were in a relationship with a person? That you were dating were dating but the person had to tell you “do you know we are dating?”
Having A Relationship With Someone Without Knowing
You laugh about it – this thing happened to me oh? It happened to me years ago. Apparently two people were fighting and said something about Femi – it was even my parents who told me! “Ah Femi, Femi!” I had literally proposed to this person. I said “eh? It wasn’t!” I said all I used to do was to hug. I banished hugging from my life. And I was doing a sister or brother hug! And so I said OK until I meet my wife I am not going to be hugging anybody. Now I hug, because everybody knows my wife.
So apparently I was in a relationship with these people, but just – they were letting me know about it. Can I get a witness in here? OK I get it – you are the people who have a relationship with people they don’t know – I understand, I understand.
Pursuing A Deep Relationship
But here’s the thing. Let’s say I spotted – as I did spot – my wife once. And I said “that person – I like her qualities I like the things that are in her, I would love to see her impact in my life – for the rest of my life. What do I need to do to make that happen?” I would like to see that person’s impact in my life – every day of my life – in a deep way. What do I need to do to make that happen?
Here’s what I need to do to make that happen. Or here’s what I don’t do to make that happen. It’s not just… I don’t just wake up on that person’s bed, just like that, every morning. We don’t just sleep together. We don’t just eat together. Before all of those things happen, you know what happens? I have to establish that relationship first and the relationship has to be a secure relationship. That is what we call marriage.
Do you understand me?
Because as long as you are dating you know that it’s not really secure. So stop making plans. Stop thinking too much in the future. If you are dating somebody you’ve met – Beyonce says put a ring on it. You know what I mean?
As long as you are dating you know that it’s not really secure
Right. When you have a secure relationship it is within the secure relationship that you can now start to live out together and you can grow together.
Tosi’s impact on my life has happened because Tosi and I established a secure relationship. Do you understand? now the impact that she has, the day to day things that she does in my life was not how the relationship was established.
Getting the Environment Right
The relationship was established first to enable the environment for those things to then happen. Do you understand what I am saying? Everything we’ve spoken about – about our connection to God (the priestly dimension) – and also living out under God’s rule (the kingly dimension) – are the things that happen when we are in relationship with God.
But that is not how you establish the relationship with God. Amen?
If it was just a compilation of you doing what was right and being in community – and you praying and doing all those things – you will never read the perfection that enables you to establish a relationship with God. You need something else.
The Problem with Our Relationship With God
But as we said – we have a problem. The problem is in some ways, whether we are the extreme or in some other way, whether we are the lower end of the extreme, our relationship with God has already been ruined because we are under the curse of our blended sin.
How do we get rid of that?
There is the adversarial relationship we have with God – how is that turned around? If the priestly and the kingly dimension is there to grow our relationship with God, how then do we establish the environment for a secure relationship with God? You know what we need? We need a priest and a king as well.
The King and The Priest
Some will say – well that is confusing. I thought you just said that the priestly and the kingly part was to be able to grow? Yes. But the priests and the kings were also there to do some other things. So, for instance, the priests were also there to offer sacrifices for sin – so that the relationship with God was actually in tact. And then the king was there to fight against the people’s enemies.
Because of our blended sin what has then happened is that we are under the curse of sin. Sin’s consequence is death. The sin keeps us away from God. And yet there is a consequence for sin which is death. This is why we cannot have a relationship with God. What we need is a priest that can offer a sacrifice that establishes that relationship.
What we need is a king that can defeat the enemy of death. Are we together?
Ah where do we get a priest king?
Now I don’t know if you are like me, sometimes I like to fantasise about ideals. Like, what if Lagos was like Vienna? You know, what if we had trains going up and down? Both underground trains and railroad trains. You know wouldn’t that be nice?
What if I was able to employ a 3 star Michelin chef? My own personal one. It may not happen, but you never know. Somebody may be here who is a destiny maker and can make that happen for me! Sometimes I like to fantasise!
Where Do We Find Him?
Can we fantasise a little bit? Where do we get this priest, and where do we get this king?
Let me give you an ideal situation – because here’s the other thing. The other problem with the priests and the kings of the Old Testament – all the priests and kings that we see – is that they die. This priest, as we see with all the other priests. Let’s say that we need help to offer a sacrifice that helps us with our relationship with God – but how is that going to continue when the priest will eventually die? So the relationship with God cannot be secure or permanent.
And guess what, I need a king to fight sin’s consequence which is death. But all the kings died! So there is no king who can fight against death, because all of them are overcome by death! So play this fantasy game with me. What if we had an eternal priest king?
An Eternal Priest King
A priest king. So I am not saying a priest or a king. All the priests could not be king in the Old Testament. Neither could the kings be priests. But just what if? Play with me.
We could have a priest king that could never die. What if?
Well first of all actually do you know that yes, none of the Levitical priests could be king. And yes, none of the Davidic kings could be priests. But there was a priest king in the Old Testament. The guys’ name, we are reminded of him in Hebrews 7:1. You know what his name is? Melchizedek. It says this Melchizedek was “king of Salem”. But at the same time he was what? “Priest of the Most High God.”
The Order of Melchizedek
Wow! So there’s a possibility to have a priest-king. But this Melchizedek he died! He died! So can we have somebody who is a priest-king like Melchizedek, in the order of Melchizedek, who would live for ever? Well one day David was thinking about it. He too was playing this fantasy game. And he was caught into a vision and he saw that God said to him “The Lord said unto my Lord” Psalm 110 “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” That is a king – who fights the enemies.
And in Psalm 110:4 he says:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You” that lord the lowercase ‘lord.’ You – that lord who is the king, “You are a priest forever” in what? “The order of Melchizedek.”
In other words what he is saying is ‘I see – I hear what you are saying David. For you to have an everlasting relationship with me you need a priest-king. And we already have a pattern of that priest-king in Melchizedek. But now we no longer just need someone like Melchizedek. We need somebody who will last forever. Hebrews 7:15-16 also says this – thinking about this thing.
It says “and we have said” what we have said is even more clear. If another priest like Melchizedek appears. One “who has become a priest, not on the basis of regulation as to his ancestry, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.”
What if we had a priest-king that had an indestructible life? What if we had a priest-king that would offer up a sacrifice that would once and for all secure our relationships with God? What if we had a priest-king who not only stared death in its face, but conquered death itself? What if we had that priest-king? Where would we find that priest-king?
God Keeps His Promises
God is a God who keeps his promises. I can tell you, you see that priest-king, when Micah appointed his priest the priest was – though he was a Levite, he came from Bethlehem in Judah – God is saying ‘I have seen your issue. I have seen you predicament. And I have seen how you cannot achieve this victory on your own. And so, what I am going to show you is you don’t have to follow the way of Micah. You don’t have to just have your own priest. You don’t have to live as a king of yourself. I will give you an eternal priest-king in the order of Melchizedek who also comes from the line of Judah.
Let us read Hebrews 7:23-25 together.
“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives…”
King Jesus; Priest Jesus
King Jesus conquered death when Priest Jesus offered himself by taking the curse for our sins. But he secures this relationship because he rose up victorious now to rule God’s kingdom and to intercede for them forever.
King Jesus looked at the enemies: Satan, sin, death. He conquered them in his death and his resurrection. And now he is waiting for all of his enemies to be made his footstool. As Hebrews 10:12-13 says “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.”
Come to Jesus
Guys, understand this. To grow in your relationship with God, you don’t need a prophet somewhere. You don’t need more priests somewhere. You don’t need to form the religion on your own. You are not meant to call and write the rules and change them because of one perceived abuse here or one thing there.
What you need is a priest-king who takes that curse for you. Jesus is that person. He establishes the secure relationship with God, and now he is saying “let me be your king. Let me be your priest. I will intercede for you forever. My yoke as I rule is not burdensome. Do you want to develop? Do you want to take sin seriously? Live for me.”
“How do I do that Jesus?”
“The church is my body – I am the head.”
“But what about the leaders?”
“They are my under-shepherds.”
“How are they meant to rule?”
“Not as Lords, but over you as my shepherds.” Jesus says “I love you so much I died for you. But I am also so strong and mighty for you that I am risen. I can defeat all your enemies and my intersession for you will hold you together.”
Why not go to Jesus and not have your own priest? Why not go to Jesus and not be your own king? I pray that you will take this sin seriously. I pray that many of us will move – whether we are loners, whether we are browsers or uncommitted. And now become people who are members of God’s Church.
I pray also that as we consider this entire series, we will see that even though sin is deadly, even though sin is deceptive, even though sin blends, even though sin blinds, there is a God in Jesus Christ that is greater than it all.
Let us pray.