Godless Worship (Amos #11)

Text: Amos 4:4-5

Not all worship is created equal.  

God’s invitation of frustration

  • Come to Bethel and transgress…
  • Bethel became a religious epicenter when Jeroboam set up the golden calf 170 years before Amos.  Jeroboam set up the golden calves to keep the people from God’s prescribed worship in Jerusalem: 1 Kings 12:25-33.  For 7 or 8 generations the people ignored the scriptures, made up their own religious practices, and in other words they continued practicing a religion while ignoring what God said about religion.  This became what we’ll call the Bethel worship experience for Israel.
  • The Lord is saying: Oh yea, come to Bethel and worship the golden cow.  It’s all the same to me. Worship is about you and what you like. When I said Jerusalem I was just kidding.  When I said no idols, that was really up to you how you want to do it. Don’t get bogged down in the details, just come to Bethel.  It’s all the same anyway.
  • Don’t let the Creator get in the way of what you’ve got going on.
  • The Lord’s sarcasm through Amos is scary.  He says:
    • Come sing your songs.
    • Come give in the offering plate.
    • Come hear someone talk about God.
    • But God hates it.  Not only is he not involved in any of the religious activities, but he is tired of their religious activities.
    • Look in Amos 5:21
    • Isaiah 1:13-16 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Multiple charges will be brought in God’s courtroom

  • …at Gilgal multiply transgression…
    • Guilt before God is not general guilt.  It is specific sin.
    • The charges continue to mount from a people who will not listen to God.
    • The scary thing is God has stopped warning Israel and has become sarcastic.
    • People treasure up wrath against the day of judgment.
  • Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
  • Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
  • Romans 2:4-6 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
  • These sins being multiplied are religious traditions that ignore God’s words.
  • Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…

Daily religious transgressions

  • …bring your sacrifices every morning…
  • Continually bringing sacrifices that were an offense to God.
  • Real sacrifices that accomplished nothing with God.

Giving tithes that God wasn’t pleased with

  • …and your tithes after three years…
  • Tithes worked like a tax.  It was how the Levites who had no inheritance were fed.
  • Except the priesthood in Bethel wasn’t made of Levites.  It originated as the basest of people.

Giving thanks to God who has been trying to warn them

  • …offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven…
  • With leaven so they’ll be able to get more out of it.

Free will offerings

  • …and proclaim and publish the free offerings…
  • Be sure the big donors get a brick with their name on it.
  • Bribery
  • Blood money
  • Judas Iscariot
  • Give to be seen of men
  • Their religion is complete farce; it’s a dog and pony show while they use God’s name.

“My style of worship”

  • …for this liketh you…
  • Worship is not a form of self expression.
  • Service to God is not a form of self expression.
  • Use God’s name then do what we want to
    • Christian music
    • Christian love
    • I’m a Christian – according to whose definition?
    • Christian church
      • Like a church that will survey the lost world on what they want in church.  God told you what He wants in a church.
      • Many years ago when I was a teenager the southern Baptist church I was a part of went on a mission trip to a church plant in Phoenix.  One of the things we did was canvass the neighborhoods with surveys about what people wanted to see in church or how church could be made better.
      • Could you find any worse advise than people who aren’t interested in church, people who have never even considered what God said about His church giving advice on what church ought to be?  Is that a joke? It’s like asking a kindergartner if he approves of the blueprints for the Hoover Dam.
    • Christian entertainer?  Because he/she said Jesus?  Because he/she thanked God? The Jews were thanking some god with their offerings, but God was nowhere near it.  Don’t be so gullible.
  • The danger in not knowing why your doing something is that you’re simply living in your own world.
    • Why do you believe your saved?
    • What makes you think your definition of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s definition?  Weren’t these people living out something they would call “their faith”?
    • Why is hearing preaching good for you?  If you’re on the other side of it, why is NOT listening to preaching good for you?


  • God’s name was being used, but he wasn’t there.
    • Israel created their own fantasy culture and lived in it now for generations.  God could not get into that world to get them to turn around, so God gave up on them.  Where is God in that mess? He is outside of it, speaking through Amos, to that culture.
  • God wasn’t going to stop them because He could not stop them at this point.
  • People get what they want
    • Israel didn’t want the Lord, but they wanted some kind of religion.  So that’s what they got, a godless religion.
    • You don’t want Jesus Christ or God then God will render unto you according to your deeds.  You will go to a place without Jesus Christ. You don’t want the mercy of God then you go to a place where there is no mercy of God.  Then you’ll say, Why isn’t God merciful. God just hates people. No, you’ve ignored all His attempts to get you to avoid judgment and you’ve pushed through those warnings.  One more opportunity for God’s mercy isn’t going to change your mind.