Summary: Recently our church was accused of idolatry because we have a cross in our sanctuary and one in front of the church. Are our crosses idols? Can they be idols? Hmmm.....
No Idols ... Just Give Me Jesus
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Today we will be reading from Exodus 20:1-6 & 20:22-23
About a week ago Pastor Josh from PCF stopped by to tell me that there was a lady with a dog making the rounds of churches in the area. It was not the typical person stopping by for help with finances or gas to get somewhere as we usually get.
This lady was interested in debating theology from her unique perspective. It was one of those scenarios where no matter what you would say, you were wrong. Josh was not condemning her or belittling her; he just wanted to let us know what to expect.
As it turns out we needed to be at an eye appointment in Orchard Park that afternoon so we did not get to speak with her.
But, according to Josh, one of her main objections about most churches was that they had crosses and in her opinion a cross is an idol and idols are condemned in the Bible.
This, of course, got me to thinking about the crosses we have in and around the church and the cross in general. Are they idols?
What does the Bible say?
Let’s take a look at Exodus 20:1-6 & 20:22-23 to see …
(Prayer for help)
Now, we have this cross that we keep on the communion table and we have the large cross that is attached to the front of the church and perhaps a couple of small crosses scattered through the various rooms and buildings. Are these crosses idols or merely symbols reminding us of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf?
Exodus 20:4 says,
“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.”
Ok (holding up the cross from the communion table) does this look like anything that we see in heaven, that is in the sky or in outer space? No, it does not.
Does this look like anything that is naturally occurring on the earth or in the waters of the earth? No, it does not.
But, still it IS in the form of something that was found on the earth during the Roman times.
So, does that make it an idol?
Let’s read further on …
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, (Yahweh) the Lord your God, am a jealous God …”
And in Leviticus 26:1 it says,
“Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I Am (Yahweh) your God.”
(Expound on each of these questions …)
OK. So, do we bow down to this cross?
Do we worship this cross?
Do we burn incense before this cross?
Do we offer sacrifices to this cross?
Do we pray to this cross?
Do we kiss this cross?
Does anyone in this church have a shrine in their home where they have set up a cross in order to reverence and worship the cross itself?
And the answer is NO to all of the above.
So, why DO we have this and other crosses around?
We have them because they remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made so that we could be saved.
And the cross identifies us as a Christian church.
But, this cross COULD become an idol! Why?
In the book of Judges chapter 8 we see Yahweh raising up Gideon in order to defeat the Midianites. After Yahweh defeated the vast army of Midian the Israelites took a great deal of plunder.
Just listen to this unbelievable thing that happened after the deliverance brought about by Yahweh …
“The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us - you, your son and your grandson - because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.’
“But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. (Yahweh) the LORD will rule over you.’ (so far, so good, right???)