1 Sam 12 20-22 Turn Not Aside After Vain Things CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We’ve been talking about how to keep following the Lord and not turn aside. We first preached that we must fear the Lord. This is fearing him; not being afraid of him. Being afraid of God amounts to being afraid of the consequences of your disobedience. If nothing bad happens to you immediately after you disobey, you become more resolved in your disobedience. The fear of God is much better. Your respect for and fear of God’s power and authority, keep you from wanting to disobey him in the first place. That’ll certainly help to keep you from turning aside.
Then we preached about serving the Lord with all your heart. When you serve the Lord this way, you do everything as unto him and to please him. You wake up every morning with a conscious desire to do what he wants you to do rather than what you want to do. Serving the Lord with all of your heart will certainly help to keep you from turning aside.
Tonight, we’re going to preach about not turning after vain things. Vain things “cannot profit nor deliver,” [1 Sam 12:21]. Don’t turn after vain things:
Personal pleasure – 2 Tim 3:4, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” [Mk 8:34]. Young people who stray from church and the Lord are usually seeking personal pleasure. They have not yet experienced “contentment” in Jesus Christ. There is no personal pleasure that can hold a candle to contentment. “Godliness with contentment is GREAT gain,” [1 Tim 6:6]. When you seek personal pleasure over godly contentment, you will end up turning aside from the Lord.
Peer popularity – Jn 12:43, “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” It is not uncommon for a young Christian to turn aside from following the Lord when he or she seeks approval from his or her peers. When popularity among your peers is more important to you than approval fro God, you will turn aside from following the Lord. But beware, “A companion of fools shall be destroyed,” [Prov 13:20].
Persuasive professors – Col 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” When you start following a philosophy, a professor or another preacher, any of which are opposed to the truth, whom you believe to be smarter than the Bible and your pastor, you’re going to wind up turning aside from the Lord.
Passing pursuits – “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof…” 1 Jn 2:17. Prov 8:10-11, “Receive my instruction and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” It is not uncommon for Christians to pursue worldly success and wealth and to forsake the “durable riches,” [Prov 8:18] and “inherit(ed) substance,” [Prov 8:21] which come from following the Lord. When you place more value on the accumulation of money and possessions than you do on the instruction, wisdom and knowledge of God’s words you will turn aside from following the Lord.
Conclusion: these are four of the most common “vain” things that will cause a person to turn aside from following the Lord. Follow the Lord and “turn ye not aside,” [1 Sam 12:21].