Summary: Guarding against idols
Guarding against idols
Introduction: We learn here that this is the apostle John writing this letter. The letter is untitled and was written to no particular church. It was sent as a pastoral letter to several Gentile congregations. It was also written to all believers everywhere. Writing for the purpose to reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teachings
What the Israelites complained about the manna God miraculously provided, (Read Num 21:6). Eventually Israel repented and begged God to remove the snakes. So God told Moses to make a bronze serpent, mount it on a pole, and whoever looked at it would be healed. It was an amazing provision, and one that worked. So what became of it? The Bible says Hezekiah “(Read 2 Kings 18:4). For centuries they preserved, protected and polished it, dragging it with them everywhere, until they ended up worshipping it. Something that was once been a blessing became an idol.
Think it can’t happen? John the apostle says, “Keep away for anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. Anything or anybody can become an idol- your church, your children, your mate, your job, your home, your car, your education. Don’t get the wrong idea; there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these blessing. It’s only wrong when they begin to take God’s place!
· Here in I John 5:21, idols here may well have the sense of erroneous conceptions of God. John addressed such false notion throughout the letter. However fervent our love for others and our adherence to God’s commands, such human efforts will come to nothing apart from true understanding of God as revealed in Christ. To know Him as He is causes love and obedience to be the redeeming worshipful responses to God that He intends them to be.
· An idol is anything that substitutes for the true faith, anything that rods Christ of his full deity and humanity, any human idea that claims to be more authoritative than the Bible, any loyalty that replaces God as the center of our life.
a. A subject seldom spoken about or written on.
b. It afflicts most, if not all, men; in the church as well as outside it.
c. Since it is things that will damn the soul, we need to be admonished against it, always.
2. Covetousness Defined:
a. Inordinate (unlawful) desire. Its nature manifests itself in different ways:
i. In the eager, anxiety to get.
ii. In a reluctance to use, dispense (I Tim 6:10; Luke 12:15).
b. Idolatry (Col. 3:5)
i. The deification of our passion, lust, desire, etc,
ii. The height of desire becomes the chief end of our labors; thus, we “worship.”
iii. Since covetousness is idolatry, one who covets is an idolater.
3. The source of Covetousness
a. An evil heart
b. A carnal mind
c. A stubborn will- selfish, possessive.
4. The fruits of covetousness
a. Jesus warns us “beware of covetousness.” Why? Not only because if what it is, but because of what it does.
1. Jacob at the hands of Laban (Gen. 31)
2. Micah 2:2
3. True today.
1. Saul (1 Sam. 15:9).
b. Caused David to commit adultery (2 Sam. 11:1-5)
c. Cause men to lie.
i. Gehazi (2 Kgs. 5:20)
ii. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
iii. Prompted Achan to steal (Josh. 7).
d. Robs churches of power and strength.
i. Balaam is not the only one guilty (2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 1:11).
ii. The potential of every congregation is greatly lessened because of this sin.
e. Leads to a departure from the faith (1 Tim. 6:10).
Jesus said, “Your heart will always be where your treasure is” (Luke 12:34). And again, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34). Where you choose to invest your time, energy, and money what you talk and think about reveals what’s in your heart. Christ wants to have “first place in everything” (Col 1:18) without exception. Plus, when He’s at the center of your life every thing else is just window-dressing.