Summary: At times, the horizontal totally eclipses the vertical. What I mean is that our relationships with other people are often more important than our relationship with God. Our relationship with God becomes secondary. God is the ultimate reality. Theref
At times, the horizontal totally eclipses the vertical. What I mean is that our relationships with other people are often more important than our relationship with God. Our relationship with God becomes secondary.
God is the ultimate reality. Therefore, to be rightly aligned with Him is the most important relationship in human existence. God wants to be our 1st and greatest love. Unfortunately, whether it’s relationships or things, God often takes second place in our hearts.
ILL– The summer of 1999 while I was in Russia with a group of Nav students, something interesting was happening back home. My brother’s company was about to go public on the Nasdaq. As part of this IPO, he was able to offer each of his immediate family members 100 shares of stock for $21/share. I was in Russia and got an email from him asking if I wanted to participate. I said I would and didn’t think much more about it. The day his stock went public it climbed to $90/share. My $2100 suddenly became $9000 in just a few hours. When I saw that happen, it captivated my heart. I began watching the stock on a daily basis and in the months ahead I saw it climb to over $370/share! What I didn’t realize at the time was how this was impacting my walk with God. This stock became an idol in my life and I didn’t realize it. Remember what Jesus said in Matt. 5:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
What did God do with my new favorite idol? He took it away. Today the stock is now $3/share. It was a painful thing to see it taken away; but I want you to know that now, I’m glad God removed that idol from my life!
There was a time when idols were not an issue. That time was before the fall of man described for us in Genesis 2:8-25
"Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and things were allowed to enter. Within the human heart things have taken over." A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
God told Moses that when they took the promise land, they were to destroy its idols. (Num. 33:52; Deut. 7:5-6)
Idols made it all the way up to #2 on God’s top ten list: The 10 commandments
“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.” Ex. 20:4
John’s Last Line – The last line in a letter is often the most important. Usually we end a letters expressing our love. I often end my emails to my friends with the words “Hope to see you soon!” I want you to see a different kind of ending this morning. It’s the end of 1 John. The apostle John ends his letter with an interesting statement, six interesting words. (more on John?)
"Dear children, keep yourself from idols" 1 John 5:21
Why did he write that? John was writing to believers in the city of Ephesus. Ephesus was a city given over to the worship of idols. The temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world, was located in Ephesus, and the making and selling of idols was one of the chief occupations of the people there. Modern day America is not unlike ancient Ephesus. Our culture, in many ways, is also given over to the worship of idols.
A. IDOLS DEFINED
What are idols? The word “Idol” has no exact Hebrew equivalent. There are many (10) Hebrew words translated “idol.”
1- Aven = means emptiness, nothingness; a vain, false, wicked thing (Isa. 66:3)
2- Emah = an object of horror or terror (Jer. 50:38)
3- Elil = a thing of naught, nonentity (Lev. 19:4)
An idol is anything that is worshiped instead of the true God. In Bible times, idols were often statues of false gods made of wood, stone, or metal.
Christian author, Beth Moore says, “Anything we try to put in a place where God belongs is an idol.” In other words, anything we derive significance or life apart from Christ is an idol.
In short, an idol is a lifeless, useless substitute for the real thing.
For us, idols tend to be things…
…that our lives revolve around.
…we fear or enjoy the most
…that control our lives more than God
.…we love more than God
…we spend time and $ on.
…that give our lives the most meaning.
OR…that capture our attention and affection.
ILL- 1994 Prism / Kim Roberts – speaking of things that captured my attention