I Did It My Way!

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Jer 44:16-17 KJV) As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. {17} But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

Jeremiah continued to bring the word of the Lord to the nation of Judah and they had refused to listen to him. In the above verses they plainly told Jeremiah that they refuse to obey the words that he brought them. In fact, they were so bold as to tell him that they were going to do whatever they pleased to do. Their rationale for not wanting to obey the Lord was based on worldly assessment. They claimed that while they were engaged in the worship of the false goddess, they had plenty of supplies, all things were going well and they had seen no evil. This is because they were so blinded by their idolatry that they could not see what evil situation they were really in.

(Jer 3:6-7 KJV) The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. {7} And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.

Judah was fast following in the footsteps of the northern kingdom which had gone into captivity with Assyria. Judah did not learn the lesson of obedience and was soon to suffer the same fate. God had warned Israel that they should turn back to Him but they were in such rebellion that they refused to do so which resulted in their captivity never to be heard from again as they were assimilated into the kingdom of Assyria and then into the world. The ten northern tribes were never to surface again. The only reason that God brought Judah back to the land was because it was through the tribe of Judah that the Lord Jesus Christ was to come. If this was not the case, then Judah would have disappeared also.

The principle which is shown in our theme verse is that these people thought they were doing well while they were being rebellious against God. Whenever people walk with the world, they will rarely face any opposition. If a person commits adultery what does the world say? Nothing they call it an affair! In fact, television glorifies every sin that is prevalent in our present society. (In fact, the fall line up for this year is going to see an increase in programs about the supernatural.) Many people take their cues from television. So the sins that people do in their lives are confirmed as part of the way of life by TV shows.

(Psa 73:3-5 KJV) For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. {4} For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. {5} They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

In verse 4 the word “bands” means “pangs, pains, or even torment.” The unbeliever seems to die with all the confidence possible while many believers do not want to die because we feel that there is much more to do. The unbeliever in the world has a comfortable position. Their problems begin after they die as they await the judgment. Just because they may die a peaceful or uneventful death does not give indication that all is well. As long as Hollywood is going to portray death as just an entrance to the other side where all our friends are, people will fear death less and less because there will be no consequences tied to it for being unsaved.

This is why the people in Jeremiah’s time were happy while they were worshipping their idols because they were doing the same thing as the surrounding nations. They were falling into the trap of prosperity by going the way of the world. The Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan who told Him that if he worships him, he will give Him all the kingdoms of the world. We see the same principle at work in Christianity today. What do I mean by that?

Ministries who offer health and wealth are not associating themselves with salvation but rather are associating themselves with the things of the world. So this is why we can see popular health and wealth preachers filling stadiums with 100,000 or more people. They are not there to get closer to the Lord, they are there to get something for nothing. When was the last time you saw thousands of people flocking to hear a preacher speak about their prayer life or how to live a holy life? If these phony ministers on TV would reshape their messages and speak only of spiritual blessings instead of material blessings, they would be standing there all alone.

How many in churches have adopted programs like the Purpose Driven Church and have seen a dramatic increase in population? Mega churches are springing up all over the world but not because they are havens of truth, they are havens of deception. They are sharing the same principles that led Judah into captivity. They are not following the true teachings of Scripture, instead they are developing their own programs and using them in the church. They claim that it is helping build their church. Judah also stated that they would do whatever comes out of their own mouth. These churches have removed the King James Bible and brought in translations that make a sinner feel at ease. These translations make a person feel comfortable. After all, if you can get rid of “Thus Saith The Lord” then you will have a happy and comfortable congregation.

Judah also said that they had everything they needed when they were worshipping the false idols. It is a frightening parallel when you read the following verse:

(Rev 3:17 KJV) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

The church at Laodicea believed that since they had all the material wealth they needed that they were in right relationship with God. However, God tells them that they are wretched, miserable, blind, and naked. If we were to look at the mega-church movement of today from God’s perspective instead of the world’s, we would see how these large churches are also wretched, miserable, poor, and naked. Then when you look at the faithful churches out there, you could count the number of congregants on your feet and hands.

We could look at the churches and easily see what problems many of them have but what about our own personal lives? Have we tried to widen the narrow way just enough to stay within the borders of truth so we don’t feel the chastising zing of God? Have we twisted a business deal just enough to stay under the law? Did our co-workers convince us to go out after work to a bar and all you had was white wine while being in a den of worldliness? After all, we say, didn’t Jesus drink wine? Have we taken the teachings of the Bible and skewed them toward whatever we wanted them to say? Concerning an action of yours, did you have to use the phrase, “technically speaking” to justify what you did?

Sometimes we all wish we had just a little bit more but that can put us in a dangerous position. Remember the church at Laodicea was “increased with goods” and that caused them to misunderstand their position. Sometimes if we have wealth, it may cause us to believe that we are in concert with the Lord’s teachings. Whether we have much or little, we always need to keep checking ourselves to make sure that we are on the straight and narrow. A good way to check your spiritual progress is to find to what the world is saying about you. If your worldly friends see you as just one of them, you are in trouble. If they see you as a religious nut or fanatic, then you are probably doing something right. Remember right with the world is wrong with God.
(1 John 2:15 KJV) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If we are walking with the Lord, we may never have an abundance of things but we will never lack what we do need. The lesson that we see above from Jeremiah is a warning to all Christians that we must obey what comes out of the mouth of God and not what comes out of our mouth. Our flesh and mind are at enmity with God and many times what we plan or say is not in keeping with the Scriptures and that is when we get into trouble. If Judah would have seen and understood what happened to the northern kingdom, they would have avoided captivity and remained faithful to the Lord. If we would see the trouble that many get in by disobeying the Lord, then we should learn from their mistakes.

However, we know that this will not happen. Unfortunately, our pride stands up and says, “that will not happen to me.” The next thing you know is we are standing there saying, “how did this happen?” It happens when we adopt the ways of the world believing that these are the ways of God. Judah would rather have kept worshipping the queen of heaven to maintain their higher level of worldly living. Let us learn from them and realize that we are just sojourners here and our real home is Heaven. We can never place our faith in the things of the world for they will let us down. This world is Satan’s kingdom and is filled with darkness so let us follow the advice of the following verse:
(Isa 2:5 KJV) O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.  (5/27/05)