Text:- Amos 5:21 & John 10:8.
Jesus who knows the hearts of all men said in Matthew 15:8 thus: ‘people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me‘. God had earlier said this of the Israelites in Isaiah 29:13 “Therefore the Lord said: these people draw near to me with their mouths and honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they had been taught”. The foregoing points to the religious hypocrisy of the people who were then with Jesus Christ but whose hearts were miles away from him. This is also true today as we have many people who grew up in the Church, participated in Bible study, attended all Church events and yet they have their hearts miles away from Christ. This is religious hypocrisy.
The Israelites during the days of Prophet Amos relied so much on their covenantal relationship with God believing and expecting the day God would punish the heathen for their sake. They trust in their worship of God as all what God wanted from them. They lived hypocritical lives having outward righteousness without giving-up their moral decadence. To Prophet Amos, they would not be spared on the day of the Lord which is the Day of Judgment if they failed to repent. To the prophet, as well as Isaiah in Isaiah 1:11-15, God is not interested in their religiosity without good moral standing. Outward, formal worship will not avert the threatened danger or secure the favour of God for them in the day of His visitation. In fact, religious hypocrisy is a sin in itself and will be judged.
In the parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus figuratively points to Himself as the Good Shepherd, and that his Sheep knows his voice and when he calls they follow him. Those who do not know his voice are not his own, they don’t listen to his voice nor follow him. John 8:31 says “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciplines indeed”. Anyone in the Church who is not obeying Christ’s teachings is not part of his. The result of not being part of his is to be owned by someone else, invariably that person is Satan. Reason why Jesus declared in John 10 verse 10 thus:“the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”. The wages of taking the path of Satan is eternal death.
Beloved, God will not judge us by our outward act of worship but our inward/outward reference to things of God, our holy lives and moral standards, we need to check our lives today, whose voice are we listening to? Is your worship in truth and Spirit? Do we know God whom we claim to be worshiping? And Are we genuinely born again? The wages of religious hypocrisy is spiritual and eternal death.
Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D