Summary: A sermon on building altars instead of idols in our lives. In this sermon we look at the example of Moses.
Building Altars instead of Idols
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ’You have seen for yourselves
that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do
not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Make an altar of earth for me
and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats
and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless
you.” Exodus 20:22 -24 (N.I.V.)
Just like the Israelites of old every believer today has the choice of either building altars
or building idols in their lives. According to our scripture text the biggest differences
between altars and idols are the following; first of all an altar is anything we build for
God while an idol is anything we build for ourselves and secondly, altars are sacrifices
we make for God while idols are substitutes we make for God. So when we really think
about it anything in our life can become either an altar or an idol.
How do we go about building altars for God instead of idols in our lives? Well we can
learn how to do so from one person who was successful in building altars instead of
idols in his own life; his name is Moses.
We are told in Hebrews 11:24-26 that “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused
to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with
the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded
disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because
he was looking ahead to his reward.” (N.I.V.)
Notice that Moses could have very easily built two idols in his life. First of all he could
have built an idol out of being known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and secondly he
could have built an idol out of the treasures of Egypt that were at his disposal. But
Moses successfully turned the idols of reputation and riches into altars for God. How did
he manage to do this?
Building altars instead of idols is a result of us making the same seven decisions Moses
made for himself in Hebrews 11:24-26.
1.The decision of faith.
“By faith Moses,…
Building altars instead of idols always begins with a decision of faith. What we
believe in our hearts will always determine what we build in our lives.
And if we really want to know what we believe we only need to look around at what
we are building.
2.The decision of maturity
“When he had grown up…”
Maturity has nothing to do with the number of years we have lived. Instead maturity
has everything to do with what we are building. Mature Christians build altars while
immature believers or non-believers don’t. The truth is the more altars you build the
more mature you are becoming.
3.The decision of choice
“He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God…
Whether we build altars or build idols is a matter of personal choice. Just know that
whenever you choose to build altars for God you may well be mistreated by others
for doing so.
4.The decision of holiness
“rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time…”
Altar builders are holiness people. Although building idols for one self may appear
enjoyable and pleasurable for a short time, it is by far, always much more enjoyable
and pleasurable in the long term to instead build altars for God.
5.The decision of Christ
“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ…”
We build altars for God rather than idols for ourselves for the sake of Christ.
Although the world may say “better to build idols” or may consider the building of
altars a disgrace we would rather be doing what God says.
6.The decision of treasure
“As of greater value than the treasures of Egypt…”
Altars for God are of far greater value to us and to those that follow after us than
Idols made from the treasures of this world. For Jesus said, “What good will it be for
a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in
exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 N.I.V.)
7.The decision of reward
“Because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Although the world may do so, God gives no rewards to those who spend their lives
building idols. God’s rewards are only for those who build altars for Him.
For those who build altars God has promised this reward; “Wherever I cause my
name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.” (Exodus 20:24)
What are we building with our lives today? Are we building altars for God or idols!