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Mar16WedMarch 16, 20162 Kings 17 recaps the journey of israel into captivity.7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.” Even though they had been warned by the prophets to “turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets. 14 they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence.” A couple of days ago we talked about the wisdom of Solomon. He ignored his own advice and disobeyed God. God then 2 Kings 17:21 “tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin. 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them 23 until the Lord removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.”Now what is interesting is this last part of the chapter. When “24 the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns.” So even though most of Israel was removed from the land God still expected the people to worship Him. “26 It was reported to the king of Assyria: The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”If we make a comparison to today’s church it would seem that we have the same situation. Most people going to church do not know what the Lord requires. The answer to this is most people do not know their bibles. Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Deuteronomy 6:3 “Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” “13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.”Obviously the people did not fear the Lord and did not obey and because of their sin were cast from the land just as God said he would. Now this new people were in the land and did not know what to do. “27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.” People in our day have been taught that worship is about a feeling and singing. If it does not feel good they have not worshipped. If they happen not to know the song they have not worshiped. Once again we go back to Deuteronomy 10 and loving God, fearing God and obeying God is worship, not just singing and feeling good. Jesus would say the same today. Matthew 15:7 “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”So the priest taught them but “29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. 32 They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.”Now notice the similarities to this in the church today. “34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful to keep the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies. 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”The church is filled with people who are worshipping the Lord while serving their idols. They persist in their former practices and have not changed a bit even though they attend church. They do not worship in Spirit and in Truth. They have not and will not carry their cross. We cannot continue in our former practices and expect to see the Kingdom of God. 1 John 3:6 “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” We as the church cannot live in as the world does and still be Christian. James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Our God is not a god of cheap grace. This does not mean you can live as the world does and be secure.Joshua 24:19 “Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you. 21 But the people said to Joshua, No! We will serve the Lord. 22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord. Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. 23 Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 And the people said to Joshua, We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”