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Are You a Samaritan?

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Are You a Samaritan?

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Are You a Samaritan?

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.85 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (1.11 GB)
MP3 Audio (93.02 MB)

The history of the Samaritan's religion holds several keys to remind and help us to worship God in Spirit and truth. This sermon encourages us to recognize these keys and continue to build a stronger, closer relationship with God.


I'd like to start with a history lesson this afternoon. If you remember what happened to ancient Israel. As they came into the promised land they became a nation. But eventually, during the Kings, that nation split in half. We had the nation of Judah in the south and Israel in the north. What happened to Israel? They didn't obey God. There weren't any of their leaders who remained faithful to God. And so, ultimately, they were overtaken. They were conquered as God had prophesied, if they didn't follow God, that would be their fate. And so ultimately, they were deported as well. And that story is told over in 2 Kings 17.

If you'd like to follow me over there, 2 Kings 17 tells that very story after this deportment and then what happened next. 2 Kings 17 talks about how Assyria took the Israelites away, but it didn't stop there, it didn't end there. The king of Assyria did something, I suppose you could say to fill in the gap that was left by deporting the people that were supposed to be God's people. So in 2 Kings 17:24, it tells us what the king did.

2 Kings 17:24 It says, "The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and dwelled in its cities."

Of course, Samaria is emphasized here because that was the capital of the northern tribes, that was the capital of Israel. And so, people were brought in, Israelites taken out, others imported into the country. And so chapter 17 describes pretty much at length what exactly happened and what was the result of that. What was the result of taking God's people away and bringing in these others who were not God's people?

So I thought it might be interesting to take a few moments to find a few lessons to learn from these new people that came in, who became known as the Samaritans. These are now going to be called the Samaritans. And it will help us to learn, and not only learn some lessons, but I think most importantly to answer the question, are you a Samaritan? Are you a Samaritan? Now, as the people are described here in 2 Kings 17, at first it sounds pretty good. It sounds pretty good when we look at verse 32.

2 Kings 17:32 It says, "So they feared the Lord." Wow, that sounds like a good thing. And of course, the word Lord here is the tetragrammaton, the eternal. This is the covenant name of God. "They feared the Lord." Now is that a good thing? Well, it depends. It depends. Notice what they did as it says, "They feared the Lord."

2 Kings 17:32 It says, "From every class..." or some translations say, "From the lowest or from all sorts of people..." It says, "They appointed for themselves priests of the high places who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high place."

Now, wait a second. You fear the Lord and you're setting up false pagan idols, worshiping them in these high places? And who are supposed to be the priests, anyway? Well, anybody we pick can be a priest, even from every single class. Whatever it takes, we'll do... Well, wait a second. This isn't the right kind of fear. This isn't the kind of fear that as Christians we're supposed to have. So when we begin to look at this Samaritan people, we find that they had a religion of fear, but not the kind of Godly fear we're supposed to have. So, let's begin with that lesson. The Samaritans had a religion of fear. In fact, verse 33.

2 Kings 17:33 It says, "They feared the Lord, yet they serve their own gods according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away."

Obviously, they didn't have the truth, they didn't have the true direction that they should have and how to worship God, who should lead that worship, who should take care of the sacrifices. They didn't have that. So, to begin with, they kind of made it up on their own. So, what kind of fear is being described here? If we look a little farther, verse 41.

2 Kings 17:41 It says, "These nations feared the Lord yet they serve their carved images." It goes on, "Also their children and their children's children have continued doing as their fathers did even to this day."

So is fearing the Lord the reality of what they did, or what kind of fear did they have? This kind of fear was a shake-in-your-boots kind of fear of the Lord. This was not a kind of love, and respect, and honor, to follow the way God wants us to worship, because obviously, they threw in whatever it took. They served idols and they mixed it all together. So when we read about the Good Samaritan in the New Testament, no wonder they were hated by the Jews, because they had this whole mixed bag, a whole assorted flavors of worship that they had combined together with a little bit of the truth, but a whole lot of falsehood. Because yes, they were afraid of the one true God, but they weren't so big on the carved. They were kind of afraid of these pagan gods too. We don't want to be punished by God, and so you have this dichotomy of what they really put into practice. It wasn't the truth, and yet there was this fear, this trembling that they had before God.

Now, we don't want to get that confused that we shouldn't fear God, because many times in scripture aren't we told we need to have a healthy fear of the Lord? Christ talked about this. If you hold your place here in 2 Kings 17. Take a look at Luke 7:16. Luke 7:16 we have the example of Jesus Christ. And He performed great wonders and miracles. And it astounded the people during that time that Christ walked the earth, and He preached, and He taught, and He healed. And this points to a specific incident that happened during the ministry of Christ. "And as Christ healed..." Notice what it says.

Luke 7:16, It says, "Fear came upon all." And what was the result? It says, "They glorified God saying a great prophet has risen up among us and God has visited His people. And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and the surrounding region.”

And so, this points to a different kind of fear. Not just a trembling kind of fear, not a kind of fear that would just bring worry and anxiety. It's not talking about that kind of fear. I think this kind of fear is pointing to an awe, pointing to this is someone we better respect because He is doing awesome, amazing miracles, and it deserves our honor. And we should revere this Messiah because of the works that He's done, and because of more importantly, who He is. This is God in the flesh. And so, we see quite a difference between an improper fear that the Samaritans had and the kind of fear that should be evoked in us. Christ brought out this healthy kind of fear of honor, and awe, and respect. Kind of the fear that's talked about in Proverbs.

If you turn with me over to Proverbs 14, notice verse 27. Proverbs 14:27 describes the healthy kind of fear that we as God's people should have. And look how different this description is than the fear of the Samaritans. Proverbs 14:27, kind of picking up in the middle of the thought here, just a short little passage. But notice the depth of what we're being told here.

Proverbs 14:27 It says, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death."

So it's an interesting thing when we consider the fear of God should lead us to life, it should bring about a perspective, not of one of just trembling and fear in the sense of I am totally frightful of what might happen, but instead we see the emphasis that moves us and motivates us to draw closer to God and ultimately lead to life. Which is a positive thing, which is a respectful thing, which is a thing that should bring about awe in us, respect for what God is doing. And in fact, it kind of reminds us of what Ecclesiastes says when it talks about, "Here's the conclusion of the whole matter." Remember that section, Ecclesiastes 12:13, what's the conclusion of the whole matter?

Ecclesiastes 12:13 It starts with, "Fear God. Fear God and keep His commandments."

This is man's all. Because that kind of fear moves us. Moves us to a spiritual perspective. So the kind of perspective that wants a desire in us to be like Christ, to develop Godly character, to put on Christ. And that kind of fear in the Lord is one that motivates us to turn away from sin, to turn away from evil, and faithfully serve God. That's a whole different kind of fear. That is not the kind of fear that ignores God when everything's going well. "Everything's great, so why do I need God?" Well, that's a Samaritan kind of a fear. "Everything's fine, so I don't have to worry about that God. I've got the God of the valley to watch over me. I've got the God of the harvest to watch..." Wait a second. They also trembled at the prospect of facing God.

So, what is our perspective? You see the Samaritans, if you've still got your place held there in 2 Kings. I'll flip back there for a moment. Here we see that wrong kind of fear exemplified as we look to verse 25. 2 Kings 17:25, As the people were brought into the land to take the place of the Israelites. It tells us at first, they didn't fear the Lord. They didn't understand that the people that were there before worshiped the true God, not a plethora of gods, not any old god, any pagan idol. Now, they didn't understand that. And so, something interesting happened that was brought about by God.

2 Kings 17:25 It says, "And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there that they did not fear the Lord. Therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them."

That's kind of interesting. God is promoting a fear among them, but instead of a fear that motivates them to praise God, and worship God, and draw closer to the true God, all it did is bring about terror. And they were paralyzed by fear. And so, when they did think about the true God, their perspective was only to tremble before Him. That's not what God intended. God wanted them to turn to Him and worship Him alone. But like the Israelites, they just didn't do it. The lions didn't even help. It's interesting in the story, they even brought in priests of the Lord so they could mix that in with what they believed, thinking that might help as well.

Well, if we sprinkle in a little bit of Christianity, that ought to be good enough. Well, that's part of the lesson. We ask ourselves, "Am I a Samaritan?" You see, part of answering that question would be facing that thought of, "Well, am I guilty of thinking of God only when I'm sick?" I only think about God when I'm going through a difficulty or trial, is that when God really comes to the forefront of my thinking? I mean, am I really only serious about God when life is full of trials, or do I really put God at forefront of my thought when everything's great, when life is easy, when the joys are just in overabundance? Is that when God really comes to our thinking, or is it just with the problems, and the challenges, and the difficult, or is it when we really are enjoying the prosperity of the blessings of living in this country? You see, the Samaritans would be turning to God only when things were going wrong.

And if that's where we're at, then our religion is no different than the Samaritans. You see, with the proper kind of fear, it should change our perspective with the deep awe, and the love, and the honor, and the respect. Respecting God's power, respecting His authority in our life. That kind of fear of the Lord should motivate us to the most important thinking that we could have. And that's thoughts of love, and respect, and honor to God. Have you ever thought of it that way? The fear of the Lord should motivate us and lead us to love God, to honor God. And so, that healthy kind of fear... Yeah, it would certainly have in mind some of the consequences for not obeying God. Yeah, we can't ignore that. But most importantly, it should lead us to love. That's the most important of the commandments, we love God and we love our neighbor as well.

And so, when we begin to consider that, that important aspect of proper fear, is something that should frame our thinking, should frame our relationship with God. The Apostle John wrote about this, all the way back in 1 John 4. Notice how he connects that together, that very thought. And I'm not sure if he had the Samaritans in mind, but certainly, you can't help but thinking that as you read this section of scripture in 1 John 4. We'll begin in verse 15. 1 John 4:15, putting that into perspective in our lives and dealing with the right kind of healthy, Godly fear.

1 John 4:15 It says, "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God..."

Well, if we stop there for a moment, what did the Samaritan say? "Well, God is a God and we're worshiping God." They could say that. They could confess that God is God. Of course, they also confessed that these other pagan gods, or Baal's god, you know, and so is Marduke, and they mixed them all to... Well, wait a second. It can't be that.

Here we see the difference. We can't mix and match. We can't have this syncretism of combining different ideas. And of course, today in our world, that's one of the challenges that we face because everybody is right. Whatever your opinion is, that's as good as their opinion. Whatever your thought is, well that's just as good as that. What your truth is, well that's good for you. But well, that's not their truth. But you see, when you connect that to a healthy fear of God, you confess Jesus is the son of God. But notice it motivates us and moves us so that God abides in Him and He and God. So it frames our relationship with God. And so as the Apostle John writes verse 16.

1 John 4:16 "We have known and believe the love that God has for us."

God is love. And he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as He is, so are we in this world. So he's focusing on love. Well, what does love have to do with the fear of the Lord? You might say, "Well, boy, those are totally opposite things." Aren't they? No. No. Here's John... You know what they call John sometimes? They call him the apostle of love. The apostle of love. But, you know, we could call him the apostle of fear as well, a right kind of Godly fear, because as he's talking about this right relationship with God, he says, "We don't have to have the shaking in your boots, anxious thoughts when it comes to the judgment because we'll all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Which we are right now in the church, we're standing before God every single day. We're being judged now. Judgment is now on the church of God. And so as we consider that in that day when Christ returns, he says, "We can have boldness." Boldness. And why is that? Well, notice what he says, verse 18.

1 John 4:18  "There is no fear in love. There's no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear."

That's the Samaritan kind of fear. That's the shaking in your boots, fearful, anxious kind of way of thinking. He says, "Fear involves torment." Well, we can cast that out because we have the right kind of fear, a love, and an honor, and respect, and awe of God because it brings us and motivates us as John says, to love God, and care about God, and obey God, and follow him. And so he says, "He who fears has not been made perfect in love." We love Him because He first loved us. So this dread, this anxiety, this fright, shouldn't characterize our relationship with God. That's a Samaritan perspective. The positive fear of the Lord that John is teaching us here, that's found throughout the Bible, that should be a key element for us to change because it should help us to have a proper and a humble perspective of ourselves, especially in our relationship to our awesome God.

Now, we read earlier, Proverbs 14:27. I kind of skipped over this on purpose. If you head back to the Proverbs for just a moment. Look at the verse before that. Proverbs 14:26. I think this particular passage brings out that concept. Yes, the Samaritans had a religion of fear, the dread, the anxiety, the fright. Not the kind of relationship we need to have with God. Proverbs 14:26 certainly brings that out.

Proverbs 14:26 It says, "In the fear of the Lord,” shaking in your boots, anxious, dread? No, it doesn't say that. It says, "In the fear of the Lord, there is strong confidence. And His children have a place of refuge."

We are safe with God. We are safe with God. That love, and that honor, and that respect, has motivated us to have a right relationship with God, a relationship of obedience, and care, and concern. And so we avoid having that wrong approach. So we don't want to be a Samaritan in that regard.

But that was just one aspect of the Samaritans. From their perspective, their religion had a form. It had a form but no substance, no righteous substance. What they did... Yeah, there were things that they practiced. If you've still got your place held in 2 Kings 17. Head back there for just a moment. 2 Kings 17: 34. It kind of describes what happened. Did they then... Because they feared the Lord, did they put righteous service into action? You know, did they obey God, did they worship the true God the way He told them He wanted to be worshiped? Well, I think you already know the answer.

2 Kings 17:34 It says, "To this day they continue practicing the former rituals." All right. They didn't give up their past. They incorporated it. It says, "Yes, they do not fear the Lord." Even though verse after verse before this they said, "They feared the Lord." No, that fear didn't motivate them to love and worship God in the true way. It says, "Nor do they follow their statutes, or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the Lord had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel."

So I think you can begin to say, even though they put certain things into practice and they mixed and matched their faith in so many different ways, it wasn't right and it wasn't acceptable before God. And when we think about mixing and matching things... Okay, there may be a form to it but no substance. There's form but no substance. If you're in politics you'd probably say, rhetoric over reality. Yeah, you all talk, but when it comes to actually doing what's right you're lacking.

Sometimes they say style over sub. You look good. Seems right. But when you really get down to the heart of the matter, is wrong, is unacceptable. And so when we consider that, we have to get beyond the facade. Boy, did the Samaritans look good? They looked very religious, but no depth. The reality, no relationship. And so, to answer that question, "Am I a Samaritan?" I mean this translates to today as well. God has certainly given us forms, a form to worship Him. He gives us the holy convocation and we come together to worship and praise Him the way that He commands. He gives us the holy days, special days of worship and honor, and respect to God. Commanded assemblies. We can't hedge on these things. He's given us prayer, and singing, giving, serving. All of those things we could say have a certain form about them. But when we think about the substance, because boy, singing could look very different. You could be singing for all the right reasons while having all the right thoughts, and yet if we go through the form of even appearing before God. Yeah, we all look the same when we show up at church, but what's the reality of your life?

You see, if we go through the form without the substance, what do you call that? Hypocritical. That's insincere, dishonest. It's phony, it's fake. It's not real. And that's something that God takes very seriously, very seriously. Christ taught about it. Matthew 15:3. He faced so many during the time of His earthly ministry that had an amazing form, but the substance of actually honoring God and worshiping Him throughout their life was without substance. It was rhetoric over reality. Definitely style over substance. And so, here in chapter 15, He's condemning the religious leadership.

Matthew 15:3-8 He says, "Why do you transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" Matthew 15:4, “God commanded saying, ‘Honor your father and mother. He who curse his father, let him be put to death.’ But do you say, ‘Whoever says to his father, whatever prophet you might have received from me…’” Well that's Corbin, that's a gift from God. Verse 7, What does Christ say about them? Hypocrites. Hypocrites. He says in verse 8, "These people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain, do they worship me?"

Well, that's not me. Is it? You know, am I a Samaritan? That's where we need to check. We need to check our perspective. We could do this even by thinking about the hymns that we sing. Here we turn to page 72 and we sing, "Oh, how love I thy law. It is ever with me. It is my medit..." Well, when's the last time you actually read Psalm 119? If I haven't read that, can I claim I really do love your law? You know, we sing... Well, we sang it this morning, or we sang it just before services here as we began. God speaks to us. Do we listen? God speaks. No doubt about that. My people hear my voice. Do we listen? Do we really listen? We sing hymn number one, "Blessed and happy is the man, but I'm totally bored at church." Or do I really focus and recognize we are in the word of God? It is God's holy inspired word. Are we really happy, or I'm not into it? I can't wait till we're done because I got plans to go out to dinner tonight. I mean, what is our perspective?

And see, God says that's an expression of whether or not we really fear the Lord. Is it really praise, is it really worship? You see, it's not about the style, but it's about the substance. And of course, if we have both, which we should, then we're emulating the example of David where he sang and wrote those words. "Lord, I will praise the with my whole heart." Psalm 138. Are we in it with our whole heart, or just the convenient part? You see, that's the challenge for us. Do we really praise God? "I will praise thee, oh eternal. I will show forth thy great works." Is our life really showing forth God's work? You see, that's a reflection of healthy fear. The fear that motivates us because we have such an awe and love for God that it's evident in who we are, and it's our identity. And so, when we sing those words and we pray, "Give ear unto my words, oh, Lord." Is it just going through the motions, or are we really all in? Is it, ah, it's just another Sabbath service, or is the substance, the heart of the matter really there?

You see, God calls on us to be authentic. He calls on us to be the real deal. Are we really genuine if we answer that question, am I a Samaritan? We cannot afford to be like them. There was certainly their perspective of form over substance. Now, when we consider their religion and we look at what it says in 2 Kings 17, there was also something that we have to be so careful about. You see, the Samaritans also had an aspect to their religion that was all about compromise. It was all about compromise. Take a look back at 2 Kings 17. We read verse 41 a little bit earlier. Yes, they had the true God, they even imparted priests to try to teach them the true way of worship and sacrifice the way the priesthood was supposed. But God was never exclusive. God was never their sole way of worship. Here it says, "Yeah, they had the true God but they had all these other gods." It says, "They served their carved images, their idols. And they continued to do that and passed it onto their children and their grandchildren." So, what we really find here is, okay, they gave God lip service, but when it came down to the heart of the matter, well, their true gods were all these idols. We probably could say they really liked them best.

We think about the fact that we're faced with the same challenges that the Samaritans had. I mean, could something like that happen today? I mean, we'd say, "No, we don't worship idols," right? "We don't set up carved images." Well, do we seek to serve God... Thinking about it a little differently, do we serve the world, do we get taken in by the world's perspective, by the culture that surrounds us, by the ideas that are anti-biblical? Does that infiltrate our thinking? I mean, is it even possible to serve God and to serve the world? I mean, can we mix God's way with the world's way? Is that even possible?

Well, according to Christ, you know what He says? Impossible. You can't have a little bit of that extra-biblical world. That isn't pos-... And claim that you serve the one true God. It can't be that way. Take a look at what Luke 16 reminds us of. Here's Christ Himself really emphasizing this very point. Notice what Christ says here. You can find these same words in Matthew as well. But in Luke 16:13, it's interesting the way that Christ approaches this concept. What does it look like to be a modern-day Samaritan? Can we mix it up? Well, you know, I'm not that bad. I'm not as bad as the world, but can I just allow a little bit and... Well, I'm mostly good, I'm mostly following God. Is that okay? Well, Christ says.

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters." He says, "For either he will hate the one and love the other, or he'll be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon, God and money."

And I think as we think about that today, we can't serve God in the ways of this world. We can't add a little bit of the world's culture, and thinking, and their moral standards, and think we're serving the one true God because, well, most of the time I'm okay, right? Yeah. We have a tendency to think that way. I mean, if you're like me, we let that infiltrate our thinking. Well, this is, you know, it's not that bad. Is it? It's not. I'm mostly okay. But yet, just before that, look what Christ said.

Luke 16:10-11 "He who is faithful in what is least, is faithful also in much. He who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore, if you've not been faithful in unrighteous mammon and money, finances, who will commit to your trust, the true riches?”

And I think for our purposes today, we could whatever it may be. Whatever may be infecting our thinking, not just money, the lesson that He's teaching here it's far-reaching. If you haven't been faithful in what is another man's, what will give you what is your own? And then, "No servant can serve two masters." No, you can't do that. So, what happens if we try to do that? Who wins? The world always wins. Always wins. There's no contest because it shows up in the things that take precedence over God in our life. And boy, can that be a whole array of things. You know, the Samaritans brought in all these various ideas of religion, all their various idol. Now, we're not infected by that, but we have our jobs, and we have our homes, and we have our entertainment, we have our recreation, we have our budget. All of those things show up when we try to rationalize, we try to justify, we try to make excuses for the wrong kinds of decisions in our life and why it affects our conduct.

And yes, it shows in our priorities, our commitment, our dedication. And we know how God feels about compromise. Samaritans had a religion of compromise and they thought, "Well, adding in all the various flavors must make it better." But God says, "No. That's not the case. That's not the case at all." In fact, if we look over just a little bit. Luke 14:33. Sometimes we call this the cost chapter. This was what we agreed to as we came to God in repentance, and we asked for His forgiveness as we repented before Him and we received God's Spirit at baptism.

Luke 14:33 Christ said, "Whoever of you who does not forsake all, all that he has, even that way of thinking." He says, "He cannot be my disciple. He cannot be my disciple."

And so, we see God set a standard for us. And He gives us the help so that we can meet that standard on our own. Yeah, Luke 14 is pretty amazing. Can we build a spiritual tower? He says, "Well, we're called to do that." We're called to build the tower. Well, do you have what it takes? Really, the answer is no. The answer is no. I don't have what it takes. Spiritually speaking, I need God, I need His Spirit. No, I cannot. With an army that I'm outnumbered by twice as many, I can't win that battle. But with God's help, by the power of His Spirit, I can overcome.

And so by the power of God's spirit, yes, we can forsake... Well, not just a little, not just most of it, but He says, "All by His power, we can. We can." And so, oftentimes throughout the Bible, we're reminded of that. That we are called to that way of thinking. We're told way back in the beginning of the Bible in Deuteronomy 6. You don't need to turn there because you know this. It says, "Love the Lord." Well, how do we love the Lord? He says, "With all your heart. All your heart, all your soul, with your entire being and with all your strength." So that's our calling. That's what God expects. Plus He doesn't expect us to do it on our own. He's there to help us and guide us. And by the power of His Spirit, it makes it possible to have the proper awe, and love, and respect for God, so that it's reflected in who we are. Because this idea of the Samaritan perspective of compromise, it can undermine our faith. And it is a serious thing. Maybe on the surface it doesn't look that bad. But the Apostle James put it in an amazing way. If you look over to James 4. James 4:1. Here we see how serious an offense it is if we take on those Samaritan perspectives of hedging or compromising. Notice the way that James kind of illustrates this very way of thinking. James 4, interesting that he starts out with this concept of the problems and difficulties that we have among ourselves.

James 4:1-3 He says, "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Well, from my own self-interest," he says. He says, "Don't they come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?" It's from a human nature point of view. A human nature kind of a thing. You know, can we worship the true God in that way? He says, "No. No. We don't follow God. If we hedge on God's way..." He says, "You lust, you don't have, you murder, you can't obtain, you fight, you war, you have because you don't ask." It's not at the forefront of our thinking. He says, "You ask you don't receive because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your pleasure."

So, he's really describing this whole attitude of compromising. Well, I'm saying I'm putting God first while I'm asking, but wait, I'm asking from a wrong motivation. I'm not asking from a perspective of fearing God that motivates me to love and respect. It's not that at all. And so he says, "You don't receive." We take on the compromise of, yeah, our culture around us. And he says, "Don't get caught up in that." And then he really, really just lays it down as he says, "How serious this is." Notice verse 4. Notice verse 4. If I read this from the Living Translation.

James 4:4 He says, "You adulterers." This attitude of compromise he connects with adultery. Adultery. Well, that's one of the big 10. Adultery is a lack of loyalty. You're not loyal to your commitment, you're not loyal to your mate, you're not loyal to God. And so he just lays it on the line and says, "You're an adulterer." You're called to a unique relationship with God and no other can have any part. Can't be that way. He says, "Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?"

Now, it's interesting adultery, certainly, that's cheating. That's cheating on your mate. We are to be married to Jesus Christ. We're to have that kind of a relationship with God that is close, and loyal, and committed. Here he says, "We're adulterers if it's not like that." But even drops it down to friendship with the world. Well, that's not adultery, I'm just friends. That's not acceptable either. It's not acceptable. And so, he shows us very clearly that relationship has to be reserved for God alone. God alone. He says, "If your aim is to enjoy this world, implication is this world's pleasures, this world's ways. You want to take that on like the Samaritans taking on all these various religious thoughts. You want to take that on?" He says, "Well, if that's the case, you can't be a friend of God."

James 4:5 It says, "What do you think the scriptures mean when they say the Holy Spirit whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful?"

See, God's given us His Spirit so we can be faithful. He's given us every tool that we can use in order to be loyal to God. And it says, "He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desire." So we can't say, "Well, God, you left me. You didn't help me out here." Now that blame is on me. I didn't turn to God, I didn't ask for, I didn't seek Him for, I didn't maintain that kind of relationship with Him. And so, he says.

James 4:7-8 "God sets Himself against the proud." Because yeah, that's our perspective if we're a friend with this world. So he says, "Humble yourselves before God." He says, "Resist the devil." And what's the equation? You see, if we humble ourselves, resist the devil, it says, "The devil will flee." He has no choice. “Draw near to God, He will draw near to you.”

Well, what an awesome statement that is. That's such a powerful, positive statement, that when we turn to God in the proper fear, it motivates us to love. And we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. He will help us in times of need as well. And so, ultimately, God is there for us when we have that right perspective. And I think in some ways as you look at the Samaritan's religion, it's kind of easy to see all the problems. Yes, there's no doubt they had a religion of fear, but wrong kind of fear. It was a religion of form, but they left out the substance. And unfortunately, they just continued to compromise.

Now, if we take an honest look at ourselves, what do we find? Do we find maybe I'm too much like a Samaritan? Well, hopefully, that motivates us to really take on the challenge. Which means we've got to get rid of any compromise of the truth of God. We know the passages Christ Himself said. In Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Is that number one priority in our life? You know, that should be our spiritual perspective. Does God come first? God's got to be first, then family, then our job. Are our priorities in the right order?

We can't hedge on the truth. We can't compromise with that. Christ said, "You'll know the truth and ultimately the truth will set us free." You see, no compromise. None of that is acceptable. And so, that should be our initial challenge to make sure we're not compromising with the truth. We're not hedging, we're not giving in to the influences around us. We are drawing near to God, and He promises to draw near to us. We are humbling ourselves before God because we are fearful of God in an awe, in respect, in a love. And if we don't obey, yes, a troubling kind of a fear as well. That is part of it. So it moves us to obedience. And when we do, it says that Satan will flee. He has no choice. He has to flee. And so, God gives us the means to overcome any form of compromise. And He also gives us the power to overcome any of the fake form that the Samaritans were guilty of.

And when you look through scripture, that's certainly part of our calling. The Apostle Paul was often criticized as being weak. And his presence was not one that caused people, you know, to respect the Apostle Paul. But nonetheless, His word, the word of God, it was one that showed what the world's values were really all about. And so, that should be our perspective. When it comes to that we must be biblical, we must follow the word of God. Don't fall for the world's packages of what seems to be good or what seems to be truth. Be authentic, be genuine, be biblical. And that should motivate us then to have the proper fear of God, the proper kind of fear. And the Proverbs describes the kind of fear that that should lead us to. Proverbs 19:23. As we overcome the challenge of compromise and form, it should motivate us to this kind of fear of God Almighty. Proverbs 19:23.

Proverbs 19:23 It says, "The fear of the Lord..." But what about the proper kind of fear? "The fear of the Lord leads to life. And he who has it will abide in satisfaction. He will not be visited with evil."

Yeah, in the long run, God is with us, and it leads to ultimately eternal life. It leads to living in the presence of God for eternity. And so, when we recognize the challenge, let's not fall for the Samaritan's religion, let's not fall for the modern-day package of what that looks like. Let's take that challenge, get rid of the compromise, get rid of the fake form, and take on the proper fear of God. Then we can truly say that we're true worshipers of God, and that we worship the one true God in spirit and in truth.