Sermon Notes: “Idols in the City” part 1
Jesus said that we are “the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a CITY set on a hill.”
What does that mean? Right now, we can have God in our lives. Because while we were sinners and didn’t even know or care about God, He came to this earth lived a sinless life, took on all of our sins to justify us or make us right. That whosoever, shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The good news is that our sin is taken away and we become an eligible place for God to live. The good news is that this is a gift. He loves us and it is free. Take it!
What would it look like if we lived in unity with God and the world?
In Genesis 1, God made man in His image. To follow after God (worship) v.26 Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
- Worship God
- Rule over all created things in God’s name
Exodus 20: 3 You must not have any other god but me. (1st commandment) 4 You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. (2nd commandment) 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.
Exodus 23:24 You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars…32 “Make no treaties with them or their gods. 33 They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry.”
We read that and say. Oh yeah! The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is God. Jesus Christ is God incarnate. Emmanuel. God with us. However, God put this as the FIRST commandment because He knew it would be the hardest one to keep. The more we are in the City. The easier it is to look like, dress like, talk like, desire like …the city. He definitely wants us in the city. But, he is looking for us to keep HIM FIRST.
When Moses comes down from the mountain to meet back up with the people, the first thing he realizes is that they have made an idol golden calf!
I know what you are thinking right now… “Pastor, I have been doing really good lately. I have not made any golden calves. I have been tempted, but I have held off!!” Let’s look at what happens to us as New Testament believers. Here is what the Apostle Paul says about Christians like us:
Romans 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
In 2013 (just as in the days of Romans, people are still finding their self worth in things other than God)
A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving face and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. -Timothy Keller
An idol is anything that makes you feel: “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning. Then, I will know that I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”
We come to Jesus and we lay down the big ones. We ask him to forgive us of all the sin in our life and we are inspired/motivated by His Spirit to eliminate sinful habits and activities from our life.
We worship fervently on the weekend and some at home. (picking up Bible and then putting it back down.) We work a lot on the items of our life. Investing a lot in each one. Becoming emotionally connected to each one. Desiring to see each one of them perfected. Finding our identity in the completion and the look of these things to other people. This is the idolization of life. We go to God, Bible in order to prop these things back up and we are disappointed in God when we see Him not showing up in each item.
Sunday morning, Daily reading/prayer, accountability, serving the kingdom, all these items are in our life to refocus and recenter our thoughts around the Gospel. All these parts of our life are here to give us a soil or planting ground for His purposes. The success of failure of them in and of themselves is NOT important. His glory is not found in the perfection of our life parts, but in His gospel being revealed and his Kingdom being established.
Why do we lie, or fail to love, or break our promise, or live selfishly? Of course, the general answer is “Because we are weak and sinful,” but the specific answer is that there is something besides Jesus Christ that we feel we must have to be happy, something that is more important to our heart than God, something that is enslaving our heart through inordinate desires. The key to change (and even to self-understanding) is therefore to identify the idols of the heart. – Timothy Keller
The number one way to identify an idol is to think of the thing or things that cause you the most stress. I’m so stressed because______________. Many times we think that as Christians that we are being attacked by a spirit of darkness, but really our stress is coming from a demanding idol craving your attention. Idols are so demanding.
We have placed family on a pedestal. We have placed financial security on a pedestal. We have placed sexual fulfillment on a pedestal. We have placed being accepted by our peers on a pedestal. AND because we have deficiency in some of these areas it causes us stress and until we get it looking just right.
Galatians 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?