Summary: Teaching on Idolatry in Modern America
10 Commandment Series
CCCAG May 28th, 2017
The Miracle on 54th Street
As you know Tammie and I came from Kenosha Wisconsin, and lived through an interesting time in our city in 1991. There was a revival group that had started among the local Catholic’s that got filled with the Holy Spirit and became very charismatic, and yet held on to the basic tenants of their Catholic faith. They got kicked out of their local church, and found another Catholic church with a more sympathetic priest that let them have their meetings in the sanctuary. During one of these meetings, a strange thing happened.
This event at Mt Carmel became national news when it was reported that an image of Jesus began to manifest itself above the statue of Joseph in their sanctuary.
People came from all over south-eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, and even as far away as Florida and California came to see to see this phenomenon There were lines down the block with people carrying cameras, the old gigantic VHS camcorders (no battery life, huge lights), binoculars. The press was parked for a few weeks outside of the church as people came in and out, often running around the block to get back into line to see the apparition again.
Some people reported seeing Jesus with his arms open, other people saw Jesus with tears in his eyes, other saw his hands outstretched showing the holes in His hands. Others saw Mary (it is a Catholic Church after all), praying next to Jesus as this vision was seen by hundreds.
The local priest said this about what people saw- “People will see Jesus based on the need they have at the time. To those who need love or forgiveness they see outstretched arms, to those who need healing, they see the nail scarred hands, and to those who are suffering, they see the tears in His eyes”
One woman named Ann summed up her experience this way-
"When you leave here you feel so cleansed and elated," Ann said. "There's some reason for all of this. Maybe it's because there's so much turmoil in the world. Maybe he's trying to give a message."
The Milwaukee archdiocese simply stated they had no opinion, but behind the scenes had that revival group banned from all Catholic church’s in that diocese. They went on to form Living Light Church in Kenosha, and is one of the fastest growing churches in that area.
I bring up this story before we get into the text of today’s message so that we can see that there really isn’t any difference between Israel in 1200 BC when the 10 Commandments were given, and our society today when it comes to idolatry.
CS Lewis said that the modern world suffers from chronological snobbery. Chronological Snobbery is this idea is that the people of the bible were somehow inferior to the people who live in modern times- they were more superstitious, more believing in the supernatural, or less educated about the world than we are today. Some of that might be true, but human nature remains the same today as it was for these 6 million people gathered around Mt. Sinai.
But as we have seen through the (quote) Miracle on 54th Street, today we are just as prone to idolatry as they were 1200 years before Jesus was born.
As Solomon said in ECC 1:9-10
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
Our superstition and idolatry just takes different forms. We will talk about that in a minute. Let’s get to the scripture for today.
In Ex 20, we have the biggest family meeting in all of history, and Father God is giving the second of the 10 Commandments. The first commandment dealt with the object of our worship. The second commandment deals with the method of our worship.
Let’s read the text now.
Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an image 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 them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Big idea- Reasons for the 2nd Commandment
I. History- Going into the promised land, Israel will be surrounded by Idolatry