(1 Kings 11:26-40)
“Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father. The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph. Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you—ten tribes. And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’” Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.”
How Was Pseudo Christianity Formed?
Hello, Brothers and Sisters! I have recently been to a revival meeting. During my stay there, I also took a good look at some buildings for our new church there in Cheonan City. Evangelist Choi’s family will go down to Cheonan and start their ministries there this week. Also, we will open a new church in Jinjoo City and carry out God’s work in the vicinity of Pyeongtaek City.
Last time, I delivered a sermon on 1 Kings 11. Today, we will take a look at God’s Word in 1 Kings 11:26-40 to see how pseudo Christianity was formed.
Today, the Scripture reading tells us that Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was Solomon’s servant, rebelled against Solomon. Solomon, the son of David, had worshipped idols and engaged in activities that God detested since he became king. Solomon had taken the daughters of Gentile kings as his wives. In other words, a man chosen by God had taken the Gentile women as his wives. As a result, Israel became full of high places where Gentile gods were worshipped.
Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel. Even though the Temple of God was there in Jerusalem, countless high places were built on every mountain surrounding Jerusalem owing to Solomon’s Gentile wives. Out of the thousand women Solomon had married, only one was his official wife and the rest were his concubines. Solomon had built so many high places for his thousand wives. Solomon had built high places for his wives to worship Gentile gods and allowed them to burn incense and conduct religious services there. How many of those high places do you think were built then? There would have been thousands.
In today’s Scripture reading, various Gentile gods such as Milcom, Ashtoreth and Chemosh are mentioned. I don’t know exactly who these gods are, but the Gentile women Solomon had taken as his wives had built these high places on the mountains of Israel to burn incense and worship their respective gods as they had worshipped back in their home countries. Because Solomon’s wives forced him to allow their idolatry, he allowed them to worship such Gentile gods. That is how Jerusalem had become a city that worshipped Gentile gods. The city was probably drowned in the scent of incense. The Bible tells us that Solomon had carried out religious services for his Gentile wives. 1 Kings 11:8 says, “And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.” Since Solomon had built these high places and sacrificed to the gods of his Gentile wives, he would have built a thousand high places if each of his thousand wives had brought her own religion. Even if each of his thousand wives had not brought her own religion and only a quarter of them had done so, that is still a lot of different religions. High places for worshipping Gentile gods would have still covered the mountains of Jerusalem.
So Solomon’s heart was no longer with God and he had turned into a king that worshipped idols. He became the priest for idols and the head of all those who worshipped idols. And God made up His mind to forsake Solomon. So God incited people to rebel against Solomon. Hadad the Edomite was the first to rebel against Solomon. Then, God made Rezon the son of Eliadah rebel against Solomon, followed by Jeroboam. All these adversaries of Solomon were incited by God. God had incited these adversaries to rebel against Solomon to get rid of him.
Because David, Solomon’s father, had pleased God by faith in Him in governing his people, God did not curse Solomon himself but cursed Solomon’s son instead in order to keep his promise to David. From the 12 tribes of Israel, God took away 10 and gave them to someone other than Solomon’s son. That someone was Jeroboam. God gave 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel to Jeroboam because Solomon had worshipped other gods. Solomon’s actions had indeed brought about a great misfortune.
God had incited Jeroboam to rebel against King Solomon. King Solomon had spent 7 years building the temple of God and 14 years for his own palace. For the total of 21 years of construction, he mobilized his people to impose forced labor. Jeroboam was the one who was in charge of the construction. Jeroboam was picked to oversee the construction of Solomon’s palace and the Temple in Jerusalem because he was industrious. Today’s Scripture reading says, “The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28).
But there is a clear difference between diligence and actions inspired by true faith. Diligence is a fleshly trait whereas true faith in God is spiritual. Solomon’s selection of Jeroboam merely for his diligence by excluding his lack of faith was one of the elements which eventually deteriorated the faith of the people of Israel.
Dear fellow believers, how did the faith of the people of Israel in God deteriorate? It deteriorated by people like Solomon and Jeroboam. Jeroboam was not someone who revered God; he was not a person who feared, loved, respected, trusted in, and followed God. He was a slave to his own desires. His diligence came from his desire for a comfortable life for himself.
What Caused the Rise of Today’s Pseudo Christianity?
The answer to this question is very obvious. It’s because today’s Christian leaders have failed to embrace the gospel of the water and the spirit. Because they did not know and believe in the gospel of the water and the spirit, they could not but worship idols and golden calves, and this is how pseudo Christianity was formed.
Of course, they are keen and enthusiastic in what they do. But, despite their passion, they have no accurate knowledge in the Word of God. Nothing about them is righteous. Despite their credible façade, they have nothing righteous on the inside. Nevertheless, they are able to stir up emotions and eloquently preach as if what they are saying is the truth. Still, all they stand for is false. Like this, the non-born again can still act with such intense enthusiasm if it would benefit themselves.
God had promised Jeroboam that He would take 10 tribes from the people of Israel and give them to him. God had commanded his servant Ahijah the prophet to tear his new garment into 12 pieces and give 10 to Jeroboam by telling him that “God has decided to give these people to you. You will become king. God has chosen you.”
But what happened then? Jeroboam should have believed the Word of Jehovah and lived out his faith in accordance with His Word. However, he succumbed to his desires instead. So how did Jeroboam live out his faith after becoming the King of Israel? His true intention was revealed after he had become king. He made golden calves and set them up in Bethel and Dan, declaring to his people, “Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (1 Kings 12:28) He also made them go there and worship the golden calves, changed the Day of Atonement from the tenth day of the seventh month to the fifteenth day of the eighth month, made anyone priest for those who wanted it, and he did the same for the high priest. He had completely changed the laws of God. So we see here that pseudo Christianity had its origins in the time of Jeroboam.
The term ‘pseudo’ refers to something that is “not genuine but has the appearance of the real thing.” Pseudo Christianity seems the same as genuine Christianity in its appearance and behaviors, but it differs totally from the real one. How has today’s pseudo Christianity been formed then? Pseudo Christianity originated from King Solomon and Jeroboam’s days and has continued to be passed down through the ages to the present time. This is how all of Christianity of the entire world today has become pseudo Christianity.
One lay Christian leader in Korea has established a private 4-year Christian university after ordaining himself as a pastor and he became its president. Not long afterwards, he ran in the Korean presidential election. He ran in the presidential election twice but failed and, after that, not much was heard about that mission organization he had founded. He spent all the money of his mission organization in running in the election to pursue his own glory. He had manipulated his people for his own glory.
Today’s ministers are working for their own glory also without knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Someone says, “I am the senior pastor of a church with 3,000 members” and the other one says, “I am the moderator of a church with 100,000 members.” The origin of today’s pseudo Christianity can be attributed to people such as King Solomon. Pseudo Christianity started to form when Solomon took his thousand wives and concubines who worshipped idols. Solomon had taken a thousand Gentile women, not the women of his own country as his wives. Furthermore, he had acknowledged all the gods that his wives and concubines had believed in and permitted them to burn incense and worship idols on mountains all around the Temple in Jerusalem.
Even though God wanted to trample down Solomon and all his wives to death, He tolerated them by remembering His promise to David. This is why God gave the 10 tribes of Israel to Jeroboam. Then, after Israel was divided into two countries, North and South Israel, the kings of both nations became false believers who worshipped idols. Jeroboam started worshipping golden calves and King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, also became a false believer who worshipped golden calves and Gentile gods. They had become false believers by living to prosper only in a bodily sense; to live comfortably and build amicable relationships with their neighboring countries.
Today’s Christianity is the same. Today’s Christians are worshipping golden calves instead of God. They like to recite the Bible verses such as, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). Today’s Christian leaders are only interested in believing in Jesus to attain fleshly prosperity, promoting their churches, attracting more people to their churches and they are trying to make their churches to be admired by the people of their cities or the whole country. Such churches are these pseudo denominations and display pseudo Christianity.
True Christians are the ones who please God. Do you think God acknowledges those who merely show their enthusiasm? He doesn’t. Nonetheless, at some churches, people enthusiastically bang on big and small drums and call out “Oh, Lord” while they are fervently praying. When you hear drumming your heart gets stimulated. Then your emotions are stimulated and you become frantic. You then are prone to pray like crazy and fall into incomprehensible ecstasy. Would you try it for yourself? If someone starts drumming and says, “Let’s pray by calling Jesus’ name out loud three times,” those who are sane will get up and leave but the remaining partakers will frantically pray and sing. People start yelling louder than those next to them just because they don’t want to be outdone, and the people next to them yell even louder for the exact same reason until they both fall into a trance like state. They become lost in their senses and yell and behave in a grotesque manner.
What works at such moments? The devil works. When does God work? The Spirit of God works when we teach the Word of God, when we listen to and accept His Word of truth. Satan works when people’s senses are stimulated uncontrollably like this. This is how pseudo Christianity is formed. Like this, today’s pseudo Christianity does not enter the church from the outside but it was formed from inside the church. Pseudo Christianity was formed because church leaders have pursued fleshly prosperity and wealth without knowing the will and truth of God that is revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How did today’s Christianity become a false one? It is because Christians have only pursued fleshly desires. Christianity should be worthy of its name, but today’s Christianity has deviated far from its original nature. When people come to church, the church should preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them for their redemption. When people come to church to be atoned for their sins, each and every church should preach to them the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the very Words of God, so that they can be cleansed from their sins and be resolved of their problem of sin. But today’s churches are not doing this at all. When people come to church, they are only taught how to improve their businesses, how to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and how to receive God’s blessing. This is exactly what pseudo Christianity is all about.
There was a deaconess who raised her many sons to be ministers. When her sons were young, their senior pastor came to her house for a visitation ministry. Times were hard back then but the deaconess nevertheless killed her only chicken for that minister and prepared him a meal. And the minister ate up the chicken and went home. All the while, the woman’s sons were hiding and waiting to see if the pastor would leave a little bit of the chicken over after smelling it being cooked, but the minister had eaten it all up. So her sons just started crying. At that moment, those sons made a resolution. Each of them decided to become a minister when they grew up. Later on, these sons eventually became ministers.
So what is the lesson the woman had taught her sons? “Ministers eat well. Ministers are treated well. Ministers are rich.” That’s all. Those are what she had taught them through her act. And after learning those things, those sons became pseudo pastors. Accordingly, these sons preach now, “Today, I have flourished from God’s blessing.” They teach their congregations that they will be blessed if they serve God’s servants well. This is how today’s Christianity has become full of pseudo believers. Pseudo belief has not entered churches from the outside but has formed spontaneously from inside churches. People outside of the church do not know anything let alone the righteousness of Jesus. So-called ministers, deacons and elders don’t even know God’s Word properly. They are not even aware of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
So what do they know? They are led to believe that they will be rich if they believe in Jesus. Listen, you can be rich even if you are a Buddhist. If you work hard, you will make money. But the church is not the place to learn how to make money. False Christian leaders are evil. They are fraudsters. They are thieves. Instead of committing materialistic fraud, they commit spiritual fraud. False Christian leaders and believers are the ones who commit fraud within Christian communities. They hide behind the name of Jesus and deceive many misguided believers. These individuals are spiritual fraudsters and there are too many of them in this world.
The Reality Is That Pseudo Christianity Seems Like Genuine Christianity and Vice Versa Because Pseudo Christians Have a Great Deal of Influence over the World
The truth is that many people see churches that believe in and share the gospel of the water and the Spirit as heresy; they regard the churches that teach how to become rich and how to become successful instead of sharing the gospel of the water and the Spirit as orthodox or authentic Christianity. People tend to interpret large numbers and power as elements of authenticity. However, 99.9% of today’s Christians are pseudos. How did this happen? It happened because of people like Jeoroboam. God had blessed him with kingship and gave him the majority of the Israelites. He should have taught them in accordance with His will in order to make them worship God well, prosper, and be protected by Him. This is why God made Jeroboam king. He did not make him the King of Israel so that the people of Israel would worship him. This was not what God had intended.
It is the same with ministers. It is the ministers’ duty to guide believers to correctly understand and worship God so that they can become blessed. Their pastoral duties are to protect the sheep from the wolves, to guide them to follow the will of God, to let them become blessed both in body and in spirit, and to guide them to save others. But some pastors say, “Serve me even more. I am the senior pastor of this church of 3,000 members.” They make their congregations serve them well and pay them much money as their honorarium. That is what a pseudo pastor really is. They are swindlers. Jesus tells us that people like them are hirelings and false teachers. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that people like this are really hypocrites and whitewashed tombs. This is why we must not follow the example of Jeroboam or Solomon.
Today’s world is quite depressing. Politics in Korea is also quite depressing. President Lee is picking cabinet members for his government from the church he attends. This is why people are being sarcastic by calling the government a church. It’s understandable that he would want to appoint his fellow believers to high positions. But as the president of a nation, it is his duty to appoint people who have the necessary abilities for his cabinet. Would it not make sense to mobilize the most capable people in the country in order to let the government work more effectively? Just take a look at the past kings of Korea. Did they not send the royal envoys to invite talented strategists and men of special abilities? Did they not have them as their mentors for advice on their agendas? Even King David did not make decisions by himself. King David had had Prophet Nathan as his mentor for the running of his country. He had surrounded himself with prophets to seek the will of God and sought their advice on how to run his country. Anyway, I hope our country will become stable once again.
Dear fellow believers, the president is here for the people. He is the people’s servant. Did he not say himself that he is the servant of all the citizens? Did he not say that no servants sleep late in the morning and that he would awake early for work? In a similar vein, a minister is someone who follows the will of God. Despite what church members might say, he must follow the will of God. And he should guide them to follow the will of God. This is the duty of evangelists as well. On the contrary, pseudo ministers are prone to change their principles depending on circumstances.
God said to David, “Your heart is knit to My heart.” Why? It was because David only did what God had wanted him to do. This is why God made David the king of Israel out of His love and made all his descendants kings as well. David had risen to fight against God’s enemies even if the odds were against him and strived to glorify God even if it meant his death.
But on the contrary what was Solomon like? He made peace with other countries to avoid war. As a means of a peace treaty, he took princesses of foreign countries as his wives. How could in-laws go to war? There was not a better means of a peace treaty. This is how Solomon ran his country. And this is how pseudo Christianity originated.
We have to understand how pseudo Christianity originated. Because pseudo Christians do not know how it originated, they insist that they are orthodox Christians. I am telling you this not because people don’t know how pseudo Christianity was formed, but because you must know this fact to correctly understand the truth. I also intend to publish a book focused on pseudo Christianity and to distribute it all over the world. To do that, sermons like this must be given. I must preach and publish books on why pseudo Christianity exists. It is our responsibility to let people know this clearly.
Even in this gloomy world, we must do this. We have held a successful revival meeting this week and God has worked to redeem many souls. Now we will work harder and earn even more money and build more churches for God. To do this, we need more faithful workers. But, we will bear abundant fruits next year, twice as many as those born again this year with the number of workers we have now. After all, we are all destined to serve the gospel, so we must preach this gospel regardless of our materialistic wealth.
In Korea, establishing our churches and holding revival meeting on a large scale can make us face severe interferences. This can lead to interference with our overseas mission. That’s why we try to be as subtle as possible in our inner mission. In a way, Koreans are similar to Jews. Just as the Jews had followed Paul around to denounce and beat him, Koreans interfere with our ministries in the same way. Anyway, we are going to plant new churches and hold revival meetings ceaselessly. If more hands are needed in our work, I believe God will provide us with His workers. I believe that He will bring us souls who will receive the remission of their sins.
How was pseudo Christianity originated? We can think back to Solomon and Jeroboam for the answer to this question. What did they live for? They only lived for their flesh and did not follow the will of God. That is why they became pseudo believers and that is why today’s Christianity is plagued by pseudo Christianity. We must be aware of this fact and take care not to fall into the same fate. Even though the world becomes gloomier, we must still know and believe that Jesus Christ has died for us and apply ourselves to spreading the gospel with hope in the name of Jesus. This is how we must live. The Lord will return to us shortly.
Brothers and sisters, the world is gloomy. The UN has held a meeting to discuss the world’s food shortage issue. The entire world is in turmoil right now. But God will still watch over us. God gives us His blessings. Through the Word of today’s Scripture reading, we must all learn a lesson. We must learn our lesson from people like Solomon and Jeroboam to not fall prey to pseudo beliefs and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit even more and further. Then Jesus will soon return to us again.