Summary: Part 5 of this series concludes the two-part message on the second commandment.
The Ten Commandments Part 5
This is part five of my series on the Ten Commandment. This morning we will continue our examination of the second commandment as found in Exodus 20:4-6. It says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Last week we looked at the definitions for “idol” and for “worship”. We saw that the word “idol” means to “idolize” something or someone. It is defined as “an object of adoration (somebody or something greatly admired or loved often to excess).” It is also defined as “an object worshiped (e.g. a statue or carved image).” To idolize means to “admire fanatically or to worship something or someone as an idol.” We also looked at the definition of the word “worship” which is defined as “revere, reverence, adore; to honor and admire profoundly and respectfully; an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity; reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.” Worship is a verb; it is an action. It is something that we choose to do. Worship starts in and comes from the heart.
As we looked at those definitions last week I reminded you that how we choose to spend our time is a good indicator of who we truly idolize and worship. The example I used last week was the amount of time we spend at church on Sunday compared to the amount of time we spend watching football on Sunday, Monday and Thursday during football season. If time is an indicator, some people worship football more than the Lord. I also gave the example of the TV show American Idol or whatever “your thing” is. Many people schedule their time around that TV program or those other things that are most important to them. I asked if we schedule time around Bible study or spending time alone with God. Whether it is American Idol, football or whatever “our thing” is, we all have things that we might be placing before the Lord which creates within our actions idol worship. This morning we’re going to close the loop on what it means to worship something or someone other than God. Please turn to Romans chapter one where Paul addresses idol worship.
Romans 1:21-25 says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” What we see here is man becoming his own standard for what is right and what is wrong. When we keep this passage in context, the “creature” that is worshipped rather than God is twofold. First and foremost it is the person who knew God’s expectations but ignored them so that they could live in the lusts that the imaginations of their minds had created. Remember Paul said that “they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and….” Man was listed in addition to the other creatures. So not only did man worship other creatures, he worshipped himself. If we were to continue reading this passage, we would see that it was the improper, unnatural and ungodly use of the human body that was being worshipped. And we see this in other passages in First Corinthians and Galatians.
The devil is very good at his job. He’s turned the human race, Christians included, into pleasure seekers. And we see this clearly in Second Timothy 3:1-5; “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, (Now listen this next part very, very carefully) lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding a form of godliness.” This is serious. Paul is not talking about sinners here. He’s talking about members of the church being this way! He may be talking about some of us. At the time Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, Timothy was the pastor of the largest church in recorded history. In verse fourteen Paul tells Timothy “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14) What was treasure Paul was talking about? It was the gospel that had been entrusted to him in order to lead the people under his responsibility. We are living in a time when the form of godliness looks so good and so inviting that it is leading Christians away from true godliness. Satan always has a counterfeit of the genuineness of God! Remember last week I talked about the Beyoncé Mass and how the pastor of the host church said that Beyoncé was a better theologian than many pastors and priests in the church today? That’s an example of a form of godliness and it’s coming from the pulpit. We have to get back to true godliness and true holiness. We have to get back to the place where the things we see and hear will either stand or crumble on what the Bible says. The Bible has to be our standard because man’s standard, man’s ways, have only one outcome – an eternity in the lake of fire. Consider what Paul wrote in Galatians chapter five.