Chapter 15 of I Samuel is the recounting of Saul leading the people of Israel in total war against the Amalekites. The
Lord, through the prophet Samuel, instructed Saul to “strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not
spare him, but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (15:3). Saul
achieves a tremendous victory for the Lord but he is only partially obedient to God’s directive. Samuel rebukes Saul
for his rebellion and tells him that in God’s eyes he has lost rulership over God’s people. In this chapter we learn a
great deal about God’s character, Saul’s character, the people’s character, and their influence on their king. I Samuel
15:9 say, “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lands, and ALL
worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” It seems as if there was a conspiracy, either vocalized or understood, between
Saul and the people to disobey God and keep the best for themselves. Without question, from the natural way of
looking at things, it was the logical thing to do. Perhaps Saul even rationalized that God did not really mean “utterly
destroy all.” Whatever his thoughts, he and the people functioned with worldly obedience using “practical” wisdom
rather than spiritual obedience to the Word of God.

In verse 15 Saul says, “the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen.” He is not merely blaming the people
but he is explaining the fact that the people were able to exert pressure on him to do their will. Possibly it was his
desire to keep the best, but the people WERE able to influence Saul and validate His disobedience to God. After all,
Saul was just being a good “servant leader.” It is important to note that before Samuel brought it up, Saul did not
reprimand the people for being disobedient.

In the last fifty years, we have seen an unspoken conspiracy between the shepherds and the sheep to spare the best
of the world. After all, it makes good sense. The Saul Church, the church that is built predominantly on the desires of
the people, understands that it is not necessary to throw out everything that the world has to offer. They openly strive
for the best. When they want qualified people to counsel God’s people, they strive for a man or woman who is
educated in the “best” wisdom of this world. Of course, they recognize that much wisdom is demonic such as
evolution, humanistic philosophy, communism, and abortion. But they do keep “the best.” They recognize, embrace,
and teach many psychological principles that come from the world. We realize that these principles originated in the
world thought stream, but we only take the best. We incorporate such ideas as “you’ve got to love yourself before you
can love anybody else” and “without a high sense of self-esteem an individual cannot be a truly whole person.”
There are many other such ideas, all of which are completely apart from and opposed to Biblical Christianity that we
embrace with equal fervor. Examples include positive confession, healing of memories, name it and claim it,
visualization etc. If anyone argues about the legitimacy of these methods they are reminded that “all truth is God’s
truth.” The people who hold this view honestly believe that the world has truth that we must use along with Scripture
to present a perfectly balanced message. The problem is that some of these truths are NOT TRUE! They believe that
these views are good science; therefore, these views are truth in the same sense that “the shortest distance between
two points is a straight line” is a true statement. Their logical error is that the so-called science of psychology changes
its views regarding the nature of man and his needs from one decade to another or from one teacher to another.
William James, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Carl Rogers all disagree violently but all are recognized as great
psychologists by the world, even though their views are totally inconsistent with each other’s and outside and contrary
to the truth of Scripture.

Concerning our own relationship with the entertainment media we’ve learned to view only the best they have to offer.
We KNOW it is not right to watch X-rated movies, but we are able to redeem some relatively clean R-rated movies on
the basis of the fact that they are good art and we are able to handle them because of our Christian maturity. Some
Christians have even rationalized watching what amounts to soft porn using this rationale. Others even allow their
children to watch such movies. With PG movies we apply this same standard of good sense. We only watch the best.
We make sure there is not too much nudity, sexual word plays, and blasphemous or dirty language. We only watch
the best semi-filthy movies. Our TV habits are very similar. The Saul Church understands that, to be able to watch
The Very Best the world has to offer, you must make slight adjustments to your integrity. But because it’s the best, it is
usually believed to be worth it.

Unfortunately, like Saul, who ultimately lost the kingdom because he desired and kept the best the world had to offer,
so the people of the Saul Church are now losing the Kingdom.

I Samuel 15:24 says, ““Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I have indeed transgressed the command of the
Lord and your words, because I feared the people and LISTENED TO THEIR VOICE.”” Even though Saul had a
problem in that he wanted to keep the best, he had what amounted to at least as big a problem in the fact that he was
a people pleaser. The people had his ear and knew that if they applied the right pressure they could get him to do
what they wanted. In fact, Saul was really more interested in pleasing the people than he was in pleasing God.
Perhaps at the time God chose Saul to be king, their desire did not affect him. But later their desire contributed to his
rebellion against God. Being a people pleaser was ultimately tragic for Saul.

The Saul Church was called into being by the voice of the people. In the same way today many important ministerial
decisions are made based upon what the people want. The pastoral staff knows that the visible Body of Christ is in
many ways like a selfish child crying for its own way. They know that many in the Church today cry, “If you won’t give
us what we want, we will go somewhere else.” They know that people demand cool worldly teachers, very little church
discipline, tolerance of most secular movies, lots of outings, psychological counseling that does not expose sin, and
above all a message that caters to their desire to enhance the outer man with worldly success, money and self-
confidence. This cry has been heard and responded to by many of the fastest growing churches in America. Can you
imagine what many of the churches would be like in terms of size if they did not give their people entertainment,
psychology, doctrines which satisfy their materialistic lusts or doctrines which emphasize their rights and privileges
instead of their responsibility? What would happen to their numbers if they decided to exercise Scriptural church
discipline and preach convicting messages? The Saul Church in our generation has unfortunately fulfilled II Timothy 4:
3. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled will
accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”

In the Jesus revival of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, a cry went up from our young people: “We want Christian rock and
roll stars just like the world has!” These Christian rockers were merely the spiritual children of earlier entertainment
groups that sang everything from country to pop gospel for Middle America. In the 40’s and 50’s Christian
entertainment was a relatively small thing. By the 60’s and 70’s a generation of young people had grown up who were
so addicted to entertainment and television that they veritably demanded to be entertained in the style to which they
had become accustomed. Thus we have experienced the influx of Christian movies, Christian rock concerts and
Christian comedians, most of which magnified the positive elements of Scripture, such as the love of God and the
blessings He had for those who would accept Him as their Savior. The Jesus Movement, in Southern California
particularly, was birthed in churches that answered this call with innumerable rock bands and doctrinally suspect
movies about the rapture. This movement, with its emphasis on entertainment and escapism from judgment was
different than any revival in the past. We had all-day rock festivals instead of all-night prayer meetings. In this revival
we did not have thousands of people crowding the altars crying out for hours in repentance and prayer. Instead, we
had tens of thousands of people crowding Disneyland on Christian Night to rock out to the sounds of the latest and
most popular Christian bands.

The good news is that some Christian singers have lately been changed from being performers into being true
ministers of the Gospel and recognize that entertainment is NOT on God’s agenda for God’s people. These men and
women who inspire and lead God’s people into true worship are part of the transition from the Saul Church to the
David Church.

I Samuel 25:24 mentions one other important characteristic of Saul with regard to the people. He says, “....I have
indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words because I FEARED THE PEOPLE and listened to their
voice.” Very likely Saul felt that the support of the people was necessary for his continuing success. Losing the
support of the people could mean losing the kingdom. Therefore, Saul feared the people. But, as Saul found out,
fearing the people was not the issue. Fear of the Lord was the real issue. Unfortunately Saul didn’t really know God
well enough to fear Him properly.

Fear of man is probably one of the most common sins among public people. In the entertainment field, if the people do
not like you, you will fail, so entertainers must do things and say things in a way that people will like. Most entertainers
fear losing the people’s support and affection. Many ministers of the Gospel are no different than other public figures
that depend upon the support of the people. They are tempted to fear people. However, because many of them have
been taught that fear does not mean fear when referring to God but simply means respect or admiration, they have
virtually no fear that their loving God would ever discipline them for fearing the people. Many ministers fear that
people would reject them if their message was not acceptable or enjoyable. If this occurred, then attendance would
drop and they would lose their authority and their reputations as successful ministers. They realize that in this
generation most people will not accept the harsh or negative words that are in the Scriptures. Many ministers quickly
are brought to a choice regarding their ministry: they must choose whether they will fear displeasing God or fear
displeasing people. Once again, they trust that God will always be merciful to them, but that the people are the ones
that could really cause them problems. Scripturally they know and are taught to fear God and not man, but
experientially they find it much easier to fear man and trust God to see their good intentions and understand their
difficult situation.

Saul Church leadership is very much like an insecure mother who gives into her teenage daughter because she is
afraid she will run away and become misused by the harsher elements of the world. We are not only afraid of losing
the people; we also are afraid of what will happen to them if they leave us. So we give them what they want because
of these two fears. Like the aforementioned mother of the rebellious teenage daughter we are so afraid that we cannot
even trust God. We keep them close to us by never really confronting them with their sin and “trust God” to change
them through prayer and His grace.

Christian leaders have another very practical fear; they are afraid of the people because they pay their salaries. If we
anger them they might leave and we would lose a portion of our financial support. Even more important to most
ministers, if we lose the people’s love, support and/or attendance, we will lose our reputations as Men of God. We
really fear and trust man more than we fear and trust God because our perception is that the people are the ones that
really hurt or help us. The people are right here and we can readily see the damage or the blessing we receive from
them. Because we are shallow in faith, we do not recognize the loss of God’s power or presence as we fail to make
pleasing Him our single hearted concern. We discount Him and take Him for granted.
The more we depend upon and fear the people the more we prove that we do not depend upon and fear God. We
must realize that God is the one who takes care of us and the people are the ones that we are to care for - on God’s
terms of course. THE PEOPLE ARE NOT OUR SOURCE OF SUPPORT OR APPROVAL. When we do His will, He
will provide for us and we will be approved unto Him.

After Samuel told Saul that he was a sinner and had lost the kingdom, Saul said to him in I Samuel 15:30, “....I have
sinned but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me that I may
worship the Lord your God.” In an earlier verse Saul had asked Samuel to go back with him and worship. Samuel
refused. This time however when Saul told him the whole truth (which was that he wanted Samuel to go back and
worship with him so that he could receive honor from the elders), Samuel went back with him. We see Saul here being
more concerned about receiving honor from men than he is about losing the kingdom or disobeying God. Earlier in the
chapter we see a telling example of Saul’s desire to be honored by the people. He wanted them to remember his great
deeds and position. I Samuel 15:12 says, ““ was told Samuel saying “Saul came to Carmel and behold HE SET UP
A MONUMENT FOR HIMSELF...”” Building a monument for yourself is certainly a way to seek honor from men. This
desire to receive honor from men had to compromise his desire for God to receive the glory.

The Saul Church is a church that desires to be honored greatly by the people. They love and seek titles and degrees,
and many frankly don’t care what the title or degree represents. We just like the honor and prestige. In the
Charismatic and Evangelical churches of today honorary doctorates are commonplace. The reasons why these
degrees are given are many: 1) long involvement with a Bible school, 2) being put in a position where it would look
better if you were called Doctor (such as assuming District leadership), 3) pastoring a large church for a reasonably
long amount of time and, 4) Fame (because of a successful book or prominent ministry). These honorary degrees
sometimes represent love and appreciation but sometimes it is just part of the Saul mutual admiration society.
We saw from the Scripture that one of the ways Saul chose to honor himself was to build himself a monument. This
egomaniacal practice is not limited to either the Bible figure Saul or the world. It has become commonplace and
perfectly acceptable to build all kinds of monuments for ourselves. The people in the Saul Church, like the people in
the world, need to honor their heroes and idols by building them shrines and monuments. The pastor or minister who
involves people in a large building program that seems to have little real purpose has rightly, in the past, been
accused of building his own kingdom or putting up a monument to himself. However, in most cases, the people
actually encouraged him to do so. Building large churches CAN be a legitimate response to the will of God or the real
need for more room! However, many larger churches are built on one of the following notions. The first notion is a
building program is good for the people because it unites them in a common cause (I actually heard this taught at a
minister’s retreat). The second notion is that if we build a larger church God will most certainly fill it (even though the
small church is not yet filled). The third notion which is the scariest reason for building a larger church is because
“God told me to build a larger church because we will need it!” Of course there are men who really do hear from the
Lord. The problem is when the pastor or leader did not really hear from the Lord and is just involving his people with
great debt when the anticipated increase never comes, the people are either deeply disappointed or feel betrayed.
Every time a church or a people honor a man of God it is not necessarily done as an idolatrous act. We should give
honor to whom honor is due. However, we must be careful that we honor men and movements because they deserve
that honor and that God wants them to be honored.

The Saul Church is church of Personalities and Stars and Egos. We must be extremely careful not to exalt ourselves.
Even more important, we must not allow the people to exalt us unduly. We of all people, the people of the phony
gospel of self-love, self-esteem and self-exaltation, will be tempted to build a monument to ourselves. We must be
sure not to consciously allow glory or inappropriate attention to fall on us, regardless of the idolatrous desires of the
people. We are the generation that must learn to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; and IT IS NO LONGER I
WHO LIVE, but Christ lives in me...” (Galatians 2:20). We are the generation that must say and practice what John the
Baptist said, “He must increase, BUT I MUST DECREASE.” (John 3:30).

The leadership of the household of God must no longer captively listen to the voice of the people. We must no longer
be influenced merely by their desires. We must no longer succumb to the fear of losing them. We have spoiled the
people of God in the same way that an undisciplined parent spoils their child because that is the way we would have
wanted to be treated ourselves! We have given the power of decision to a people who are not mature enough to know
the difference between good and evil. We ask them whether they would rather have meat and vegetables or ice
cream and candy. Quite naturally they want ice cream and candy three meals a day. Sometimes we are able to slip a
LITTLE meat and vegetables into their diet, but not too much lest they become offended. Entertainment and a
convictionless Gospel message at church are the equivalent of a steady diet of sweets. Today we know that when a
person’s diet mainly consists of sweets their chances of getting diabetes are extremely good. A little sugar is good, but
too much sugar leads to diabetes. Blindness, loss of limbs, or the inability for men to father children is the inevitable
result of diabetes. Because we have given them what they want they are in grave danger of contracting terminal
spiritual diabetes and losing the power to see spiritually, to act spiritually, and ultimately even to reproduce spiritually.
Spiritual diabetes has already set in, and we have lately seen some of the spiritual parents of the Saul Church begin
to go blind and lose their power in the Body of Christ because of self-indulgence. And we see, all around us, followers
of the self-indulgent doctrine who are themselves so blind that they will follow their blind leaders into hell itself. We
must preach a Gospel that shows the people who is to have the power. We must show them that it is the power of the
Holy Spirit that must rule according to the whole counsel of God in Scripture. We must, by good complete Gospel
teaching, wrest the power from the people and give it back to God so the people can be healthy. In the world we see
the results of letting the people have what they want: unrestrained lusts of all kinds rule both in the streets and in the
home. In the Church, because we have given the people what they want, we now see Christians who have the power
to shape their churches into the image of their own desire. However, because of the weakened condition of these
churches, they have NO power to defeat the enemy. Because of this, many church members are in great danger of
losing MUCH of their spiritual inheritance, or worse, discovering at the judgment that they never really were God’s
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