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Summary: Idolatry is not just a pagan issue. It is not just an Old Testament or Jewish issue. • It’s a human issue. • It’s a heart issue • It’s a relationship issue.

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Idolatry

Topic: Idolatry is not just a pagan issue. It is not just an Old Testament or Jewish issue.

• It’s a human issue.

• It’s a heart issue

• It’s a relationship issue.

• An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand. IDOLATRY EXTENDS BEYOND THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES AND FALSE GODS.

It is a matter of the heart, associated with pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony (Phil 3:19), and a love for possessions (Matt 6:24).

Phil 3:17-20 NIV

18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

Matt 6:24 NIV

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.

Col 3:5 NIV

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

The problem #1 IDOLATRY IS LIKE POISONING

More than 33 years ago (1982), seven residents of the Greater Chicago area made an assumption that proved fatal. They all took a dose of Extra Strength Tylenol® that had been laced with potassium cyanide. What they thought was medicine proved to be poison. This crime is still unsolved, in spite of the fact that one man went to prison for sending an extortion letter to Johnson & Johnson and is presumed to be the guilty party by many.

Imagine the horror of taking what you thought was beneficial and discovering, too late, that it was killing you! And that, is the danger we face when we replace the healing power of the Living God with human substitutes.

• We may think some new philosophy, technology, or movement is going to save us from ourselves, but instead, it can poison us by leading us away from God.

The problem #2 IDOLATRY IS THE HIDDEN SIN DRIVING ALL OTHER SINS."

1. Unbelief in a promise of God can lead us to put our trust, hope, or even our value in something other than Him to fill that void.

The sobering fact is that we actually believe the lie that whatever our sinful selves seek after is better than Christ.

2. Idolatry IS ANYTHING WE WANT MORE THAN GOD, ANYTHING WE RELY ON MORE THAT GOD, ANYTHING WE LOOK TO FOR GREATER FULFILLMENT THAN GOD.

• "For example, why do we lie? Because we fear the disapproval of people more than we want the approval of God.

• Or because we value our reputation more than we value our relationship with God.

• Or we are trying to manipulate someone into giving us something we think we need more than we need God.

• The more visible sin (lying) is driven by an invisible turn of our hearts toward something other than God as the ultimate source of security and happiness."

The problem #3 WHERE IDOLATRY ENDS, THERE CHRISTIANITY BEGINS; AND WHERE IDOLATRY BEGINS, THERE CHRISTIANITY ENDS.

Arriving at Faith on Your Own Terms

Another poll sheds light on this paradox of increased religiosity and decreased morality. According to sociologist Robert Bellah, 81 percent of the American people also say they agree that “an individual should arrive at his or her own religious belief independent of any church or synagogue.” Thus the key to the paradox is the fact that those who claim to be Christians are arriving at faith on their own terms—terms that make no demands on behavior. A woman named Sheila, interviewed for Bellah’s Habits of the Heart, embodies this attitude. “I believe in God,” she said. “I can’t remember the last time I went to church. But my faith has carried me a long way. It’s ‘Sheila-ism.’ Just my own little voice.”

Against the Night, Charles Colson, p. 98

The problem #4 IDOLATRY CHALLENGES GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY AND HIS CARE TOWARDS US

When we invent our own ideas of God, we simply create him in our own image.

Ever since man ruined the image of God in which he had been created he has been fashioning gods in his own image.

• Jer 2:13 NIV

13 "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

• Jer 2:5 NIV

5 This is what the Lord says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and BECAME WORTHLESS themselves.

APPLICATION: HOW DOES THIS AFFECT US

1. WHEN IT COMES TO IDOLATRY, THE DANGER IS NOT IN AN ITEM… IT IS IN US.

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