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How Many Gods Do You Serve?

There is a mind-blowing verse in 2 Kings 17:33.  “They feared the LORD and served their own gods.”  The historical context indicates that Israel’s Northern Kingdom had departed from the Lord.  God judged them, using Assyria to conquer them and carry many of them captive to other lands.  Then, to control that now almost uninhabited land, Assyria planted foreigners in the land of Israel.  These immigrants knew nothing about the Jewish religion.  They only knew that God’s name was Jehovah.  So they feared the LORD and kept on serving the false gods they had always worshiped.  God judged them using lions who slaughtered many of them.

Assyria’s solution was to send back a Jewish priest to teach the new immigrants how to worship the Lord.  But the Jewish priest knew little about worshiping the true God.  God had already judged all the priests and the people of Israel because they didn’t follow the Lord.  (2 Kings 17:13-18)

Israel was experiencing the result of their long-running rebellion against the Lord.  God judged them, and He would later judge the evil nation, Assyria.

Israel had a sin addiction that they passed on to each succeeding generation.  They wanted to be like all the other nations even though God repeatedly warned them against this.  (1 Samuel 8:4-20).  Now the Israelites were carried away to other lands.  People from other lands came to Israel.  They ignorantly worshiped the God of Israel and served their own pagan gods/idols.

In the 21st century, anything that takes first place before God is your idol.

“Christians” in our free countries in this 21st century are much the same.  We worship God and serve our own gods of wealth, fame, sports, fitness, beauty, movie stars, sports stars, self, tradition, success, or other gods.  We want the world to like and approve of us.  We want to be like everyone else.  We don’t want to be different.  Our lifestyle identifies us as fake Christians.  In countries opposed to the Christian faith, fake Christians are few.  People do not profess Christ unless they genuinely mean it and are willing to pay the price of family hostility, loss of a job, or their home or church.  It could mean imprisonment, torture, or death.

Do you consider yourself to be an “evangelical?” In 2007, the Barna group did a nationwide survey.  They reported that 8% of adult Americans were born-again evangelicals.  An evangelical is defined as a person who answered yes to these nine questions.

  • “Have you made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today?”
  • “Do you believe that when you die, you will go to Heaven because you have confessed your sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior?”
  • “Is your faith very important in your life today?”
  • “Do you have a personal responsibility to share your religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians?”
  • “Does Satan exist?”
  • “Is eternal salvation possible only through grace, not works?”
  • “Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life on earth?”
  • “Is the Bible accurate in all that it teaches?”
  • “Is God the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today?”

According to a survey by AEI Survey Center on American Life, the % of evangelicals (post-COVID) who never attended church was 33%.  The percentage of evangelicals that attend church regularly (post-Covid) was 24%.

While church attendance does not necessarily prove a person’s salvation, it indicates that these non-attending evangelicals do not regard God’s Word as essential nor God’s commands obligatory.  (Hebrews 10:25).  It reflects a disregard for the New Testament’s teaching of the importance of the local church.  It also indicates that a person does not respect the authority of God’s Word.  It may suggest that a person has elevated his own opinion above God’s Word and His commands.  His opinion has become his god or idol.

In a devotional on December 12 from the Blackaby brothers, there was this statement, “You do not simply “add Christ on” to your busy life and carry on with business as usual.  When Christ is your Lord, everything changes.” Christ IS our life.  (Colossians 3:4).

Don’t just add church to your schedule.  Stop acting like the world, talking like the world, dressing the same as the world, and smelling like the world.  Discard your old gods of money, pleasure, possessions, addictions, and success.  Things are different now.  You are a changed person.  The world around you should see that you are different from them.

Did you know that the New Testament emphasizes that there is a definite behavioral change when a person is genuinely saved?  He or she cannot continue the same as before salvation because they are a new creation in Christ.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his, And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy  2:19).  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” (1 John 2:15).

After a person is saved, his whole life focuses on getting to know the Lord intimately and serving the Lord.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) Good works do not save us, but they result from being saved.  We now love Jesus and want to serve and please Him.

Have you been saved?  Has your conversion experience changed your life?  Or, are you fearing God and serving “other gods”?  Turn to Christ today and let Him change your life.

Our testimony should be like the first-century Thessalonians who “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Dale,
    Great article and truths in your well written post. There is a lot of controversial aspects to the “attendance of physical” church that I’ve encountered throughout my years as a Christian, And I’ve been “born into the word” so I was fortunate and blessed to have parents that gave me that upbringing and attended church together as a family from youth.
    However, to this day at gatherings, the subject of attending a “real church” can bring on many a heated debate, between those who attend versus those who don’t. And if I’m being honest, a good many who don’t attend church know more about the word than those who attend.
    Great job, I enjoyed this entire piece.
    God Bless~

  2. Thank you C D,
    I always appreciate and welcome your comments. You are always an encouragement. I agree with everything you have said and I have experienced some of those discussions – and – sorry to say – many attending church members show a devastating lack of Scriptural knowledge. But that brings me to my main point. We have an obligation to not only know the Word, but obey the Word. Corporate worship is supposed to build us in the faith as we meet together – and we desperately need each other. Admittedly there are many churches that are not what they should be. In that case we need to search till we find one. We have some members of my church in Texas that drive 30-40 miles one way to attend. Now in nations restricted and hostile to the gospel, it’s an entirely a different situation – but some of those people risk their lives to meet with other Christians.

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