3. God helps those who help themselves.
How often have you heard this phrase quoted? Too often I am afraid I have heard it prefaced with the statement, “Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible….?” And it is actually fairly common for people to not only repeat this phrase but also to believe it!
So let us ask the question – is this statement in the Bible? The answer is no. Further, a study of Scripture proves that the idea put forth in this statement is not even Biblical at all. It is a woefully erroneous statement. The Bible does not ever say anything close to this and cannot be used to defend the logic or the conclusions that might be reached from embracing this philosophy.
God gives grace to those who do not deserve it – that is why it is grace. He helps those who depend upon Him in humble submission. He resists the proud and tells us that our own righteousness amounts to a stinking filthy rag when compared to His holiness and righteousness. So no, God does not ever say that He will help those who make the effort to help themselves. God would have us depend upon Him, for without Christ we can do nothing anyway. The truth is that God helps those who DIE to themselves.
So where does this phrase come from? It originated in one of Aesop’s Fables titled “Hercules and the Wagoner.” In that fable we read:
A Wagoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. He came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. So the Wagoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. ‘O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress.” But Hercules appeared to him, and said: ‘Man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel. The gods help them that help themselves.
So from a fabled prayer to a half god/half man in Greek mythology we come around to believing that the Bible actually teaches self help.
But don’t let the secret out. If we tell the church that her members must be KILLING self instead of helping self, the “christian” bookstore might have to close up shop!
4. I don’t have to go to church because I can worship God anywhere.
Now let us discern the truth here. And it might be tricky, because within this statement is a mixture of truth and error. It is true that we can and should worship God anywhere. In the Book of Acts we see believers meeting together for worship and fellowship from house to house daily. They also gathered corporately as a body on the first day of the week to worship and commemorate the ressurection of the Lord.
Before Sunday became the last day of the weekend it used to be the first day of the week! Many calendars now even put Sunday last and Monday first in the arrangement of the week. But built upon this timely tradition, the church met together to worship on Sunday.
And then there came along those who thought they could best worship God anywhere but “at church.” Whether it be among the hills and rivers fishing, or the greens and roughs golfing, men decided that they would rather enjoy a spiritual moment in nature away from “organized religion.”
Well, considering it is the Lord that organized His church we need to understand that worship is not an option! It is an obligation. And point blank, if we love God we obey God and want to worship Him with His people. Hebrews 10:24-25 is enough to prove the necessity of meeting with the church for worship.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
How can we fulfill the “one anothers” given throughout te New Testament if we do not meet regularyl with the church?
We must admit as we look at this question that often the excuse is indeed offered by those who simply do not have any desire to obey God or His Word. We must also admit that worship is not about the place! Consider what Jesus said in John 4:19-24:
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Don’t get me wrong. I am not using this to say that we should not meet for worship. But as I have written in the past, we must understand what kind of worship God commands if we are to be pleasing to Him when we offer it to Him!