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Summary: We must beware of those things in our life that would steal glory from God.

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STEALING GOD’S GLORY

Acts 17:22-33

INTRO. (You will need your Bibles open today and I want you to follow along carefully with me during this sermon.) Our text is a familiar one. These people did not know who God is. Paul tried to show them. Some listened and some did not. The message and the results are the same today. Mankind bucks at the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. People tend to reject the idea of God’s complete holiness and perfection. (Isa. 55:8-9) - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Most people would rather imagine a God that displays their own personal likes and dislikes instead of them trying to live up to His likes and dislikes. This is idolatry. That puts most people, even Christians, in the same boat with the group at Mars Hill. Today we will see a show of identity from God that will revel that of Mt. Carmel.

I. WHO IS GOD?

Isa. 42:8-9

Isa. 45:22-23

Isa. 46:9-10 ....... From these we learn that...

A. Only God is God.

1. "In the beginning God.."

2. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." He alone is the "first and the last".

3. Only God is God. He is the great and eternal "I AM". He is the Creator of all things. (John 1:1-3)

B. God is in Control of all things.

1. (Acts. 15:18) - "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."

2. He knows all that has ever happened as well as all that ever will happen. He never sleeps. He is never caught unawares. He is the owner, master, and Lord of all things. He is never surprised and never disappointed. He is in complete control of all things at all times.

3. God is not worried about the ecology, the ozone, the threat of nuclear war, the Middle East crisis, or the price of tea in China. He is already at the end of all things and He is waiting for us.

C. God Does as He Pleases.

1. I Sam. 2:6-9

2. Job 26:7-13

3. No man commands God. God is the omnipotent ruler of all things. He comes and goes without explanation. "The most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." (Daniel)

D. God Seeks to Glorify Himself.

1. Psalm 24:1-2

2. (Prov. 16:4) - "The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."

3. Romans 1 states that all of creation sings the glory of God. The physical body of man shouts the glory of God. The angels were created to bring glory to God. Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again for the glory of God. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31).

II. WHAT IS IDOLATRY?

A. Simply put, idolatry is stealing glory that rightfully belongs to God and giving it to some other person or thing.

B. To steal God’s glory is sin.

1. 2 Chron. 33:1-7a

2. Jer. 10:1-8

3. These two may sound like extreme examples but they both have something in common.

a. (2 Chron. 33:2) "But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen"

b. (Jer. 10:2) - "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen."

4. In both cases, the sin against God occurred when the people of God began acting like the ungodly of the world.

III. IS IDOLATRY ALIVE TODAY?

A. We commit idolatry when we steal God’s glory and give it to...

1. Self -- James 4:13-15 -- All that you have and all that you are is only because of God’s boundless grace.

2. Guardian Angels -- (Psa. 33:6) - "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."

(Heb. 1:6) - "And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him." The angels were created as servants to minister to God. They neither deserve nor desire glory that rightfully belongs to the Lord.

3. Mother Nature -- Many adore the beauty of this planet as if it created itself. All the majesty of this earth was conceived in the mind of God. He deserves the credit for it.

4. Chance and Luck -- To subscribe the workings in your life (whether good or bad) to chance or dumb luck is idolatry.

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