The Path of Idolatry
“I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that’s just the start. I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold… Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul.
…you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised, I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways…I’ll be your master; you will be my slave, I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me, what will you do? Will you try me or not? It’s all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.”
Unbeliever – their idol leads them to hell
“Yes, I believe that, but I’m not going to tell anyone.”
Charles Peace was a gentleman who was condemned to death row in the United States. A pastor mentioned ‘hell’. Charles Peace tapped him on the shoulder and said: ‘Sir, do you mind me asking a question? Do you believe what you’re reading?’. He said: ‘Of course I believe what I’m reading’. He said: ‘If I believed what you believe, I would crawl on my hands and knees to the four corners of the world across broken glass to warn people of such an eternity’.
13% of Jesus’ recorded words are about judgement and hell.
J. C. Ryle said: “Beware of new and strange doctrines about hell and the eternity of punishment. Beware of manufacturing a God of your own – a God who is all love, but not holy – a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none.”
“I don’t like the fire and brimstone type.”
God is pleading: Deuteronomy 5:29 [NKJV] “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!”
I am not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.
Creation says bow your knee. I will not! / Conviction says surrender. I will not!
Beware of idolatry – Will you try me or not? It’s all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.”
Believer – idolatry is hell on earth – instead of joy [depression], instead of peace [anxiety], instead of Spirit-empowered living [you barely hold on].
WHY – Because you are worshipping a false god.
Kyle Idleman said, “What if I told you that every sin you are struggling with is because of idolatry.” Martin Luther adds, “You can’t violate the other nine commandments without breaking this one first (idolatry).”
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Stephen left us with this – Moses received the commands of God, but the Children of Israel did not obey… “And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.”
Idolatry: extreme reverence, love, or devotion toward something that takes a great deal of our time, energy, and resources – it becomes the CENTER of life.
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
The Path of Idolatry: ACTS 7:40 The people said, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’
STEP 1 Restlessness – idle hands. The “down” time is an “opportune” time.
What consumes your mind controls your life – when you’re bored, you want to go back to Egypt.
GOD IS GOOD, HOLY, LOVING, JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUS – the more we focus on Him the more we will reflect Him. Conversely, the more time we spend with our IDOL the more we will reflect our idol.
The prophet Hosea said, “They became an abomination like the thing they loved.”
STEP 2 They replaced God – they made a golden calf.
Application: I don’t spend much time with God anymore – something else has replaced my time. Church is a consideration and rarely a priority – something else has replaced Him – work, sports, laziness, relationships, entertainment, etc.
STEP 3 They offered a sacrifice to the idol – something was sacrificed
Most of us don’t have idols on our shelves…they are parked in the garage. We don’t pay homage to a statue in the living room, but we are mesmerized by an area affectionately known as “the entertainment center.” We don’t sacrifice things on the altar, but we do sacrifice our time (and time with of our children) on the altar of misguided priorities.
What about the sacrificing of the unborn on the altars of pleasure and convenience?
A sacrifice is always made (cf. Romans 1).
STEP 4 Pride is the catalyst: “rejoiced in the works of their own hands.”
Look at what I did…what I’m doing.
STEP 5 Idolatry causes God to withdraw – Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven
In short, God says, “You want it – you got it.”
Many seek direction from anything but God: “God help me!” He will answer.
STEP 6 Idolatry leads to bondage: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’
Confused Worshipers try to worship BOTH – Moloch and Messiah
Ariel Castro, who kidnapped three women and held them for ten years, admitted that a deep addiction to pornography influenced his actions. His idol promised pleasure but brought destruction.
Power, success, and recognition. In celebration of Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday A FEW YEARS AGO, ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson spent time with M.J. – “I would give up everything now to go back and play the game of basketball,” Jordan laments. When asked how he copes with the devastating fact that he will never be who he was, Jordan states, “You don’t. You learn to live with it.”
The man has left the court, but the addictions won’t leave the man.
STEP 7 KILL THE IDOL: Turn your attention, adoration, and focus back to God – repent, dethrone, and crush the idol.
Puritan author, John Owen, writes, “Secret lusts lie lurking in your own heart which will never give up until they are either destroyed or satisfied.”
CLOSING: Has Idolatry Polluted Your Temple?
A trip to the hospital to visit a man who was dying. The man could no longer speak, he could, however, write. His desire was to be taken off life-support, but what followed was more devastating. The man cried as he wrote. At the top of his list, he regretted that he had not spent more time with his family. He was in anguish over the fact that he had not been a better father, but instead, had built his life around other things.
IDOLATRY – “I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that’s just the start. I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold… Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul.