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Summary: Idolatry is Two-Timing on God

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"Wild Worldly Christians" Series January 8 & 11, 2015

Two Timing on God

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

David Ward Miller

Rocky Hill Community Church

Exeter, California

[Introduction:]

When the late Charles Kuralt (of CBS’s popular “On the Road” program) died, the last thing anyone would have thought was that he was a two timer. But he was. This endearing man who took America on the back roads and out of the way places in America did not have movie-star looks and seemed like a loyal trusted family man. But his fans were shocked to learn he supported a second lover and her children from a previous marriage on an estate he bought for them in Montana while still married and living with his wife in New York. His two-timing went on for 29 years and did not come to light until he died and his shadow lover sued to get the estate he promised her.

What is a two-timer? Two timers are cheaters.

The dictionary defines two-time as a verb that means "to cheat on one's significant other."

Two-timing is a form of cheating in a relationship where a person attempts to maintain two separate romantic love relationships at once with one or both of the other two lovers not knowing about each other.

Can we two-time on God? Yes!

Two-timing on God is idolatry.

In Jeremiah 3 we learn the Lord gave a certificate of divorce to unfaithful Israel (the ten northern tribes) because of her adulteries, which meant the people worshiped other gods. The two southern tribes did not learn from Israel in the north and also "committed adultery with stone and wood' idols. Idolatry is spiritual adultery. Idolatry is two-timing on God! It is cheating on God.

Paul warns the church in Corinth about two-timing on the Lord by idolatry. This passage is rather confusing when first read, but when carefully unpacked it brings clarity to a serious issue most Christians fail to see in our lives--idolatry!

Follow along as I read 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (NIV) "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"

To apply God's truth for us from this passage we will answer three questions:

I. WHAT Are My Idol-Loves?

II. HOW Am I to Deal with My Idol-Loves?

III. WHY Abandon My Idol-Loves?

We will intentionally invest much time on the first two points that explained just two words--idolatry and flee. So don't get nervous at the initial slow pace! We will move much faster through the rest of the passage as God's word answers the third question of why?

I. WHAT Are My Idol-Loves?

Simply stated my idols are REPLACEMENTS for God.

The word "idolatry" in the original Greek comes from combining two words, one meaning "idol" and the other meaning "to worship and serve" Idolatry means "to worship and serve idols"

ILLUSTRATION It's easy for us to be dismissive of the problem of idolatry and in our American pride to even mock other countries where idolatry seems more evident. For example, in India there are some 330 million gods, which means in the second most populated nation in the world with over 1.25 billion people there are several gods for each person! But if we are honest and understand what an idol is, we have just as many or even more idols per person in America!

ILLUSTRATION While on one of my Bible lands tours in Egypt I purchased a large carved replica of the black “scarab” known as the dung beetle. I purchased it to put on my secretary's desk to remind her to " bug" any time she felt she needed to. But the ancient the Egyptians worshipped this large beetle that rolls a ball of dung, lays its eggs inside it, and then pushes the ball along the ground! That sounds foolish to us today. Yet what we worship is often just as odd. I've watched guys prioritize their time, money, pasion and energy into knocking a little white golf ball into a hole in the ground in as few hits as possible. Wonder what the ancient Egyptians would think about that?

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