Summary: This is a very interactive sermon that looks at what an idol really is in our contemporary culture. It’s different than you might think!

American Idol

Exodus 20:4-6

© 2007 Eric Bain

NOTE: This sermon is available in audio format at

NOTE II: For this message I passed out tiny containers of Play-doh to everyone in the congregation. I had them make sculptures representing their "idols." At the end of the message, everyone destroyed their idols.


Any American Idol fans out there? I’m just curious… does any one here remember the name of the first American Idol?

• Kelly Clarkston

• 2nd – Ruben Studdard

• 3rd – Fantasia Barrino

• 4th – Carrie Underwood

• 5th – Taylor Hicks

• 6th – Jordan Sparks

A couple things to ponder…

1. A few weeks back I asked if anyone knew the 10 Commandments – no one responded. So, what does it say about us as Christians when we can’t list of the 10 Commandments, but we can list off the top American Idols?

2. What’s more… what about the fact that the Bible teaches…

You shall not make for yourself an idol!

That’s actually the 2nd Commandment… But the whole purpose behind this show is to make an “American” idol.

So, is it that we’re not only weak on our understanding of the Commands…

• But we’re also blatantly breaking them?

• Or, is it the case that the 2nd Commandment is really about something else?

o And I’m just really stretching to get you drawn in this morning – and get you to interact?

 Well, Maybe a bit of both.

o But that being the case, what is the 2nd Commandment really all about? (Repeat Command)

You shall not make for yourself an idol!

Well, that’s what we’re going to be figuring out today out today! So, grab a Bible and turn to the Book of

Exodus, Chapter 20… verse 4

Last week I talked about how the 10 Commandments are far more than…

• A set of legalistic rules…

• intended for all people…

• that were set by a some tyrannical God.

Again, that’s not what they are!

• Rather, I mentioned, it would be much more in line for us to think of the 10 Commandments as…

o 10 Rules of Life…

o that lead to the Best Possible Life!

• I said that they weren’t intended for all people… but rather, they’re intended for those that have a relationship with the living God. Those that are already following him.

• Finally, I mentioned that the 10 Commandments can be compared to a 10 pt Tune up.

o Because the intent behind them is to keep us running well…

o To breathe in new life into a faith that may be dying.

o And to keep it going… over the long haul.

You see, I would venture to bet that all of us… can use what the 10 Commandments have to offer.

That being said, do you remember what the 1st Commandment was? (encourage them)

You shall have no other gods before me!

We talked about how that means that we need to love God with all our heart… mind… soul… and with all our strength. In other words, we need to come to a place where we love him completely… and then once we get there, we need to place him at the front of the line.

You shall have no other gods before me!

Key word… Before!

You see, this isn’t saying that we don’t love other things – such as our spouse… kids… friends… jobs… our hobbies, or even that we love them any less. But rather, this is saying that we love all those other things… through the lens of our relationship with the living God!

In other words, we let our relationship with God… influence everything else that we do. That’s #1!

You shall have no other gods before me!

Alright, let’s look at the 2nd Command… beginning with Exodus, Chapter 20… verse 4

EX 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol… in the form of anything in heaven above… or on the earth beneath… or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship (serve) them!

BIG Question…

What is an idol?

And then stemming off of that…

Why would anyone with a relationship with the one true God...

make an idol and worship (serve) it?

For some insight into this, let’s just flip ahead to Exodus 32

Exodus 32, tells the story of what happened while Moses was up on the mountian getting the 10 Commandments

• You may remember from last week, there was all kinds of thunder & lightning… and smoke up on the mountian. So it was scary! And Moses had to go up there alone.

• Nontheless, he was gone for a long time. In fact, more than a month… (40 days to be exact)

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