Summary: People have been making up their own gods all throughout history. The Bible calls this idolatry. As Christ followers we must avoid the impulse to make God up when we do not understand Him, or reinvent Him to make Him more acceptable. He is who He is and H
Exodus 20:3-5 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "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. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
-God made man in His image, and commanded that His people not change His image, or make other gods by coming up with their own images.
-Romans 1:22-25 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen.
-People have hijacked the things God has created (animals, stars, the sun, moon, etc.) and tried to make gods out of them. Most of us don’t relate to this today, but there are ways we have tried to hijack human attributes and characteristics that we like and apply them to God. In essence we may have tried to recreate God in our own image the way we would like Him to be. It might be understandable when a cult changes God’s characteristics to add more appeal, but even branches of Christianity want to do away with hell and judgment because it does not fit their idea of who God is.
-So we have to ask the question even of ourselves, “Are there ways in which we have manufactured a tailor-made God who places a higher value on things like what political party a person may be a part of, or whether or not a person uses alcohol or tobacco or drugs, or what religious creed we subscribe to than on where a person’s heart is and how much of God’s love is flowing through it?”
-Now, we must understand that nobody on this earth has it all right. Nobody has perfect doctrine or a corner on all truth (and I think it is really cool how God can take us as imperfect as we are and work with us anyway- even in the midst of our ignorance). However, there are certain unchangeable attributes that the Bible uses to describe God. The first divine attribute that many Bible scholars have said is the only pure, stand-alone attribute of God is that of love. (This divine attribute of love actually offers one of the best cases for the Trinity that I’ve ever heard.) Each of the other divine attributes, like justice, righteousness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, etc. depends on its relationship to creation. But love preceded creation.
-Love must have an object. It does not exist in a vacuum. So who did God love through all eternity past? Love cannot be expressed in solitary oneness. God the Father loved the Son, Jesus, through all eternity past, and the Son returned that love. The Holy Spirit was/is the agent and substance of that love. So the Father has been loving His Son Jesus for all eternity past. And when we are “in Christ” we find ourselves directly in the crosshairs of His love! God has always been all about relationship. The relationship that existed for all eternity past amongst the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the heartbeat of the universe. GOD IS LOVE!!! God has always had relationship and community! And those who respond favorably to His love receive the supernatural ability to love Him back and to love others – the two most important commands in Scripture.
-John tells us that whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. Is it possible that some people do not love well because they have remade God into a god who does not love well? They serve a God who is distant and aloof. He may be an anything-goes-God or exacting and petty; He may use guilt to control people, His love may not really be unconditional but is performance-based; Some people’s God must be a republican who cannot tolerate democrats. People have made God up, or have adopted a version of Him that others have made up. Is it possible that we have remade God to be more like us, rather than changing with His help to become more like Him? Such a god is insufficient, short-sighted, and unable to equip his subjects to love completely.
-So as we minister to kids this week and return home and minister to our families and in our churches, I encourage you to really seek the God of the Bible. The woman at the well said, “Yeah, we worship God on this mountain.” Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know.”