Reputation over Repentance | © Fola Daniel Adelesi

Anchor Text: I Samuel 15: 25 “Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”

Preamble:

From the beginning of the world, committing a sin has never been the issue that we really have with God. Our issue has always been our attitude after the mistake has been made. When Adam and Eve sinned, Adam started the blame game. He did not take responsibility for what he did and said it was the woman God gave to him. In the text that we are looking at today, we see a character (Saul) who confessed to his sin after the Holy Spirit had confronted him. Although there was a confession, there was no repentance.

Where Saul was coming from – That is who he was before God made him a king

  1. He was a man who once had nothing – I Samuel 9:7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?
  2. He was seeking God from the beginning – I Samuel 9:18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, “Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?
  3. He was predestined by God – I Samuel 9:15 – Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, verse 16 – Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to me.
  4. He became king not by qualification but by divine ordination – I Samuel 9:21 – And Saul answered and said, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?
  5. He was looking for a donkey and was offered a throne – I Samuel 9:20 – But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father’s house?

Why and where he made a mistake – What he did after he became a king

  1. His looks deceived him – I Samuel 9:2 (And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.)
  2. He forgot where God brought him from – I Samuel 9:21 (a description of his smallness); I Samuel 15: 17 – So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel?
  3. Saul became materialistic and weak – I Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
  4. Saul claimed to have obeyed God’s instruction – And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
  5. He began to listen to men and not God – I Samuel 15: 21 – But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal. Verse 24 – Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice

God’s attempted Reconciliation – Where God tried to reach out to him after his mistake

  1. God was already angry with Saul but gave him another chance through an instruction – I Samuel 15: 1-3
  2. After messing up this last chance, God still sent a prophet to him – I Samuel 15: 10 – 11

Confronted by the Holy Spirit?

  1. While God was still not happy, Saul was not yet pronounced rejected – I Samuel 15: 10-11
  2. The sin he did not confess spoke up – I Samuel 15: 14 – But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
  3. Continuous disobedience led to his rejection – 1 Samuel 15: 23 – For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.

The fake repentance – Where he confessed to his sin but was still more concerned about reputation than his relationship

  1. Saul finally admitted he had sinned – I Samuel 15:24 – Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
  2. He also mentioned why he sinned – I feared the people and obeyed their voice
  3. The reputation request – verse 25 of 1 Samuel 15 – Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD
  4. His plea was to Samuel and not to God.
  5. He wanted to ride on Samuel’s reputation to worship God

Caution and the shades of reputation in the churches of today

Many Christians today are after reputation and the shades of reputation we seek include:

  1. I am a Christian (Christian family, nation, business). That does not mean you have a relationship with God
  2. I am a pastor’s child or child of the General Overseer. That’s not a relationship with God.
  3. I am a deacon or deaconess. You are not guaranteed a place in heaven because of title.
  4. I am a pastor or they made me a pastor. After you have preached to others, you may become a cast away if you don’t have a relationship.
  5. We are orthodox, Pentecostal, Apostolic. God is interested in relationships and not denomination
  6. We started the church together, I know the Bishop. Are you still in Christ?
  7. I can preach a better sermon. Does skill take the place of relationship with God?
  8. Our church sits 10,000 people. Are they all saved?
  9. We are on television every day and on radio every night. How has that added to the kingdom? Is it not your pocket and reputation that you are increasing?
  10. We now run 4 services. Is the Holy Spirit present in those services?

Conclusion

Let us be more conscious of true repentance. No matter who you become, if you don’t truly repent, you are wasting your time, resources and ultimately your life. Only those who seek God and not a reputation will make it to heaven. While in those days, God had intermediaries between him and men, it was still the heart of the men that determined how God dealt with them. The people where only to take the instructions of God to men and the pains of men back to God. We must be very careful because our heart is the centre of the relationship with God. God does not follow what we profess when it comes to worshipping him because he can see the hearts.

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