Summary: In this sermon, we discuss the way that food can become an idol for us as we allow food to do for us what only God should do.

A. A certain Texas rancher had a pair of boots made, and they turned out to be too tight.

1. The bootmaker insisted on stretching them, but the rancher wouldn’t let him.

2. The rancher explained to the bootmaker his reason for wanting the boots to be too tight: “There is little in my life that is pleasurable. Every morning when I get out of bed I have to go corral the cows that busted out during the night and then mend the fences they broke. All day long, I watch as my ranch blow away in the dust. After supper I listen to the TV tell about the high price of feed and the low price of beef, all the while my wife is naggin’ me to move to town. So when I get ready for bed every night I want to look forward to the only pleasure I have had all day – pulling off the boots that are killing my feet because they are too tight.”

B. Very few of us would put up with a life that is that devoid of pleasure.

1. Just think about the place that pleasure takes in our modern lives.

2. There has always been some pleasure in life between games, stories, jokes and songs, but today pleasure has become the entire goal of daily life.

3. Today, we expect our daily work to be pleasurable, much more than our ancestors did.

4. In our day and time, if it isn’t fun, we don’t want anything to do with it.

C. In our modern culture and society, we have more leisure time and more money to spend on pleasure than any time in history.

1. Kyle Idleman writes: “People spend trillions of dollars each year trying to make themselves happy, whether it’s with food, with various forms of entertainment media, with travel, with drugs or drink, or with one of the countless other items that promise to turn your frown upside down.”

2. You might be thinking, “What surplus time? I am busier than ever!”

a. That’s true, but what are you busy doing? Quite often the answer is “chasing pleasure.”

3. Or you might be thinking, “What pleasure? My life has been and is devoid of pleasure!”

a. But even if you haven’t experienced very much pleasure in your life, you’ve probably experienced enough to know that you want more.

b. And thus begins the quest for the elusive narcotic of pleasure.

D. In our new sermon series, “Counterfeit Gods: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Our Hearts,” so far we have learned that idolatry is a problem even in our modern, sophisticated lives, because an idol is anything that takes the rightful place of God in our lives.

1. Last week, we learned that God is jealous for us and that His jealousy is a good expression of His love for us and is a protection for our wellbeing.

2. With today’s sermon, we begin to investigate the specific counterfeit gods that battle for our hearts.

3. And borrowing from Kyle Idleman’s book “gods at war,” we will for the most part, be following his outline and his grouping of counterfeit gods.

E. Idleman groups the counterfeit gods under three headings: the temple of pleasure, the temple of power, and the temple of love.

1. In the temple of pleasure, we will investigate the gods of food, sex, and entertainment.

2. There are other gods in the temple of pleasure for sure, but these are the ones that we most often find ourselves bowing down to.

3. And let me make something absolutely clear – this is something you will hear me say often during this series – all the things that can become counterfeit gods, including food, sex, and entertainment, are not sinful or evil in and of themselves.

4. In fact, all these things have the potential to be good gifts from God that draw our hearts to God all the more, but they can be turned into counterfeit gods when we mishandle them.

5. And as we move from the general topic of idolatry into specific counterfeit gods, like the one we are going to discuss today – the god of food, we move from the abstract to the concrete, and as the old saying goes: “we move from preaching to meddling.”

6. You might be interested in knowing that I have given a whole sermon on the subject of our relationship with food only one other time in my 34 years of preaching and it was back in 1996 when I preached a sermon on gluttony called “To Hell on a Cream Puff.”

a. I guess I was a little radical back in my youth!

F. How many of you remember the animated movie called “Over the Hedge”?

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