Eli and Being Soft on Sin
I. There are many things to admire about the man Eli
A. He judged Israel for 40 years; during which time he was God’s spokesman.
B. We find no record of any outward evil or sin in his life.
C. When Eli learns that Samuel will take his place, Eli does not rebel, grow bitter, become envious, or spiteful. Instead, Eli teaches Samuel
D. Yet listen to God’s message to Eli through the young Samuel - I Samuel 3:11-14
II. In spite of all the good things we can say about Eli, God pronounced a serious judgment against Eli.
A. Not for what Eli did, but for what he neglected to do.
B. Eli was not guilty of any great sin, but his sons were.
1. These were not secret sins; Eli was aware of them. - I Samuel 2:22-25
C. Eli’s sin was a failure to restrain his sons - I Samuel 2:29
1. Eli did not fail to restrain his sons, because he did take time to deliver a mild rebuke.
2. However, Eli did not follow through when they did not heed him.
a. His sons should have been thrown out of the priesthood.
b. Their sins were worthy of death by stoning under the Law.
c. If nothing else, their rebelliousness earned them the punishment for disobedience to parents - Deut. 21:18-21
d. How Eli was too soft, too easy toward his children.
3. No doubt Eli loved his sons, but he did not love them enough to restrain them.
D. As a result God punished Hophni, Phinehas, and Eli.
III. Pious softness is not the way of God
A. Jesus threw out the money changers from the temple - John 2:13-17
B. He harshly rebuked the Pharisees in Matthew 15 and Matthew 23
C. Pious softness fails in the home
1. Eph 6:4 - Bring your children up in the Lord
2. This includes proper instruction - Deuteronomy 6:7, 32:46
3. Proper instruction includes restraining them from evil
a. Proverbs 3:12
b. Proverbs 13:24
c. Proverbs 29:15-17
4. Children are growing up today without seeing any boundaries to their actions.
a. Some parents just cannot seem to say “No!” to their little mutchkin.
b. Many say “No” when irritated, but they never follow through with a punishment if the child disobeys.
D. Pious softness fails in society
1. Over the years, we have become very soft on crime. If you don’t believe me, they why was the nation upset that a young hoodlum was caned for spraying graffiti?
2. Governments are suppose to punish evil-doers - I Peter 2:13-14
a. This includes carrying out a death penalty - Romans 13:3-4, Genesis 9:4.
b. Oh, some states have reinstated the death penalty, but the punishment comes 15-20 years (at best) after the crime - Ecclesiastes 8:11
E. Pious softness fails in the church
1. When a Christian refuses to live in accordance with God’s Law and will not repent of his sins, we are commanded to withdraw from him
a. I Cor 5:1-5, 11-13
b. Eph 5:11
c. II Thess 3:6, 14-15
2. Yet, so many object.
3. Or they demand more time to encourage a person to repent to the point where withdrawal comes months or years after the event. (Remember Eccl. 8:11?)
a. How have we come to believe that withdraw is the end of encouragement to live right?
4. Take for instance the sin of false teaching
a. Romans 16:17
b. I Timothy 6:3-5
c. Titus 3:10-11
d. There is no delay when the sin is recognized. There is no endless one more chances.
IV. These days, there seems to be much pious softness toward denominations
A. I have seen churches advertise meetings which are held jointly with the Christian Church, the Disciples of Christ, and Baptists
B. I have seen preachers repeat the doctrines of men, saying there is no harm in using instruments to worship our God, or that baptism is not really essential for salvation.
1. You find that hard to believe? I have quotes in my files.
V. Man may change his beliefs, but God remains the same - Heb 13:8
A. His words will not pass away - Matthew 24:35
B. Jesus came to give us life - John 10:10
C. Jesus’s way gives us peace - John 14:27, Phil 4:6-7
D. But it must be Jesus’ way - John 14:6
E. John 5:39-40 - Will you not come to Jesus this day?