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Christmas Message

Christmas Message

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


" If the Lord be God, follow bim ; but if Baal, then follow him. " — 1 Kings xviii. 21.
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


" If the Lord be God, follow bim ; but if Baal, then follow him. " — 1 Kings xviii. 21.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 20, 2013
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CHRISTMAS MESSAGEBY REV. . P. KAPP" If the Lord be God, follow bim ; but if Baal, then follow him. " — 1Kings xviii. 21.This was the challenge given by Elijah the prophet, to thetribes of Israel and their idolatrous prophets, whom he called to-gether to determine by plain proof, the respective claims of theiridols, and the God whom he served, to worship and trust. Whenthese ten tribes revolted from the authority of Rehoboam, the sonof Solomon, under the leading of Jeroboam, a man who had beenraised by Solomon to great honours, they became idolaters. Thepeculiar form of idolatry here alluded to, was probably the wor-ship of the heavenly bodies, or Sabianism, Baal being the sameas Belus, or the sun. The idol was a material one, the work of men's hands, and its w'orship called for a multitude of priests andsacrifices. Elijah wished to call the people to their reason anddue reflection upon their position. They had forsaken the wor-ship of Jehovah, who had been revealed to their fathers as theonly living and true God : and yet, they must, as he believed, haveretained some recollection of the proofs, that the revelation of thatGod was true. He regards them as still doubting and open toconviction. He would, therefore, have them judge by a fair trial,which religion was worthy of their confidence, and no longer tohalt between two opinions. Consider seriously and well what areyour hopes and your trust. "If the Lord be God, follow him;but if Baal, then follow him." The trial was made, and they ac-knowledged the Lord Jehovah to be the true God, and their God.This appeal to men, founded on the reasonableness of religion,may be made at all times. And it will be the condemnation, as380 SERMO XLV.it surely is the reproach, of those who have the gospel of Jesus
 
Christ preached to them, that they have not duly considered thismatter, and come to a wise conclusion. It must be the want of proper consideration, which mainly causes the so prevalent neglectof the concerns of the soul, and indifference to the eternal rewardsof its full submission to the religion of Christ. These weightyconcerns demand serious and earnest attention. And hence irre-ligion and worldliness have a wider dominion ; for the things of this world are presented in such attractive form, as to dazzle anddelude those, who, not being disposed to serious reflection, allowthemselves to be led in any pleasing path. In every community,and in every congregation of worshippers, there may be some towhom such appeal might be made at all seasons with solemn ear-nestness ; for the great day is approaching in which every one towhom the true God has been preached, must answer to that Godfor the use made of the light of revelation. And at this season,when the church leads us to the special consideration of the comingof Christ to judge the world which he once came to save, we mayput the question of our text to the reason and conscience of thosewho have not yet given to it a practical answer.You may wonder how the text can have any application to you,my hearers, or to any congregation of nominally Christian wor-shippers. But let us see if the sense of the words will not admitof it. And first, let us inquire what is the meaning of the wordBaal? In the address of Elijah to the people whom he had calledtogether, it was used to denote a particular form of idolatry. Butwe find the plural form of the word, Baalim, in the same chapter.And we may regard the word Baal as truly expressing any idola-try — any departure from the worship of God. At any rate, wepropose to make this application of the term to such idolatry asnow prevails in the world, in the midst of a community knownas Christian, and having Christian privileges. With this view,we beg you to bear in mind, that idolatry does not consist in wor-shipping images which represent false gods. The sin of it doesnot lie in the particular thing worshipped, or in the material of which it is made : nor does it demand any material image at all.Such devotion to the world, its riches, honours, or pleasures, asshuts out God from the mind, or steals away the heart from him,is idolatry. And we are guilty of idolatry if we set up an imagein our heart, just as much as if we set it upon our family altar.
 
SERMO XLV. 381The man who puts his heart in riches makes a god of gold.It is a golden image, as truly as was that of ebuchadnezzar.He who gives up himself to sensual pleasure, no matter whetherit be gross or refined, offers sacrifice to an idol, as surely as didthe worshippers of Moloch. The courtier, who fawns upon menhigher than himself, but like himself, created of the dust of theearth, bows down to an image of clay, enshrined in his heart.The votary of fashion, the most fickle, and least trustworthy of all the thieves which steal away the hearts of mortals, worshipsa creature of this world, and is an idolater. Whatever, then, bethe engrossing care of each individual, whether it be worldly gain,or what we call money-making, or love of money, and pride in it,or blind submission to the folly and fashion of the world (for thereare a legion of devils seeking man's overthrow) whatever, earnest-ly pursued, or fixedly clung to, draws away the heart from God,and the eternal life which God has promised to all who will cometo him through Christ Jesus — all this is idolatry — the worshipof a Baal which has turned away the heart from God.World-worship, in its many forms, is seen mingled far too closelyand largely with ostensible adoration of God, and devotion to hisservice, in the practice of persons professedly Christian. Manyof those who have taken Christian vows, which demand the re-nouncing of "the world, the flesh and the devil," show a lamenta-ble halting between two services wholly incompatible. Amidstmuch lukewarmness in religion, there is an eager coveting of thethings of this world, and fond indulgence in pleasures which rob Godof the heart, and make the Christian profession formal and life-less. Will not all whose consciences accuse them of such practicaldeparture from God, be reminded by our text of their professedchoice of the true object of worship, and in connexion with it, of the words of our Lord and Saviour, "Ye cannot serve two mas-ters?"But, the appeal comes with more power and adaptedness to

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