Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/24/2019 A.M.

 

Written IN STONE

No Worship or Service To Graven Images” - Idols

Exodus 20.4-6  Deuteronomy 5.8-10

 

We continue our study of the Ten Commandments...

 

We’re studying God’s Eternal Principles of relationships... How to please Him and get along with one another.

 

Listen to me church... These eternal principles were in effect long before they were ever written in stone at Sinai...

 

The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that God is forever the same... His eternal principles are ageless… AgEless!!

 

No...We are not under the Law of Moses...

 

No…We are not under the Law of the Patriarchs...

 

But...The Patriarchs... Israel of old... And Christians today... Are to live by eternal principles that God forever holds to be important.

 

Church... Jehovah God is not obsolete... Neither are His Principles… Neither are His principles... What was important to Him in ages past is still important to Him today.

 

Scripture tells us that the Bible is... His story... His heart... His intent... His purpose... Planned and laid out since before the beginning of the world... For instance...

 

• The principle of no other god’s before Me was evident in the Garden of Eden....

 

• The idea of... punishment for disobedience... blessings for obedience... Has always been a principle of God...

 

• The idea of... Getting along with our neighbor... Loving others... Being our brother’s keeper... Was God’s principle for Cain... And is His principle for us today...

 

• Context is everything... We are not building a boat for our salvation today...But the principle of doing what God requires for our salvation...Building our life-House upon the rock of Jesus’ teachings... Is still valid...

 

• Answering God’s call... Going where He leads... Faith... Is as much a principle today as it was in the time of... Abraham... Isaac... Jacob... In fact Abraham was called to leave the Chaldees to separate himself from idol worship... This is still our call this morning... Amen?...

 

• Moral purity... Understanding that God works all things out to our good… To our benefit… Were principles in the life of Joseph… And are still a part our relationship with God today...

 

• David’s Trust And confidence in God’s enablement killed Goliath... Our trust and confidence in God enables us to slay the ungodly giants of today’s culture...

 

• Repentance was a principle that saved the Nation of Judah in the time of Hezekiah... Repentance is still a salvational principle. No... Not returning to the Law of Moses... But turning from sin to obedience to God.

 

Church... I want you to see these Ten Commandments as Eternal Principles from the finger of God.

 

Eternal Principles that Jesus affirmed and fleshed out into a way of thinking... Not just a way of behavior.

 

Jesus maintained that our relationship with God and with one another is due to an inside righteousness...Not just outside righteousness... Not just an outside behavior… Jesus came explaining the full intent of God’s eternal principles.

 

Some object to the Sabbath Rest... As a principle that’s not repeated in the NewTestament... I beg to differ... I don’t want to be argumentative… But I want you to consider this….

 

Let me say this... this morning…

 

• Theprinciple of rest is bound up in Loving selfas we love others... There is an APPROPRIATE self love… Jesus said love others as you Love self.

 

• We are to care for this body... Paul says... The reason is because God lives in us... It’s God’s Temple.

 

• Consider this... God rested... Jesus rested... Jesus taught His disciples to rest... How much like God and Jesus do we want, really want to be?... Enough to rest?... Enough to care for this body… His temple?

 

• Work can become an idol that... We bow before... Worship and serve... More than God...

 

• Even Heaven is Biblically described as an eternal rest.

 

Indeed... Caring for our body... Caring for ourselves... is an eternal principle.

 

Set these thoughts aside for a few moments... As we consider our Second Sinai Principle...“No Worship or Service of Graven Images”... Idols.

 

So...Here we are with Israel at Mount Sinai... Place yourself there…

We’regathered around the mountain... some strange things are happening...

• The ground begins to shake beneath our feet...

• The top of the Mountain disappears in fire and a thick billowing smoke.

• There’s thunder and lightning...

• Then a strange eerie noise... A trumpet begins to sound blaring louder and louder... But we could never see the trumpeter...  

 

Speaking out of the... Thunder... Fire... Smoke... And Lighting... God is heard saying... “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. 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, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep mycommandments.

 

Come... Let’s see what we can learn…

 

First… We learn is that idolatry is forbidden.

Idolatry is not just an Old Testament issue with God... But an eternal issue.

 

Genuine Worship... Spirit and Truth Worship... God acceptable Worship... True service and obedience to Him... Excludes placing anything before Him.

 

Here is the eternal principle... Only God is worthy of worship… Read this Book again…Only God is worthy of worship.

 

Paul tells us in Philippians that there is a day coming when all idolatry will be forever banned... Will disappear from humankind... There will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the one true God... Jesus Christ… Eternal priniciple!

 

We learn that God... Created us... Made us... To be Worshipful Beings.

We humans are incurably religious... We will have a god!

 

Paul tells the Athenians that God placed within us a mechanism that calls us to worship... Something... Somebody... From one man God made every nation... That they should inhabit the whole earth... And He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live... Listen NOW... He did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him... Though He is not far from each one of us... For in Him we live and move and have our being.

 

Like the Athenians… We are created to worship and serve God.

 

Ignorance of God is the reason for idolatry.

God created us with... a desire... A built-in drive... A propensity...for worship...

 

But… If we don’t know Him appropriately… What will happen?... We’ll be given to idolatry.

 

This is the reason we’re here this morning... Isn’t it??... Isn’t it??... We came here...

• To better know and understand God...

• And know and understand His expectations of us.

 

Paul contends that this was the problem of the Gentiles... For although they knew God... They did not know Him well… Because they neither glorified Him as God or gave thanks to Him... They became foolish and futile in their thinking...They exchanged the glory of God for images... Idols... They exchanged the truth of God for a lie... And worshiped and served created things rather than the creator.

 

Church...This is the reason Bible Study is important... So that we may know God better... So that we do not fall into worshiping idols.

 

Number four... Let’s see if we can determine what is an idol.

At Sinai... An idol was something manmade that was worshiped...

 

In the New Testament... We learn that an idol can be so much more!!...

 

Listen to these Scriptures...

Acts 17.29... Therefore since we are God’s offspring... We should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone... An image made by the art and imagination of man.

 

Colossians3.5-10... Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, LISTEN NOW... which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

 

Galatians 5.18-23... If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the... sinful, FLESH... WORLDLY... nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Church... Are we listening?... In these verses... We learn that an idol can be much more than some... Graven... Shaped... Image... Much more than a Manmade object we worship...

 

• It can be our world view... A way of life... Things like… Sexual immorality...Evil desires... greed... witchcraft... Hate... Discord... Jealousy... Selfish ambitions... Envy... Drunkenness. Paul is making the point that anything that’s not the fruit of the Spirit… Not the result of God living in us… is idolatry.

 

• In Philippians... Paul says idolatry can be overeating... A god of the stomach... Gluttony… Living to eat rather than eating to live.

 

• In the Sermon on the Mount... Jesus tells us that mammon... The love of money... Things... Materialism... Is idolatry.

 

Here it is church... An idol is anything that’s placed before God... Be it Money...Power... Prestige... Politics... Popularity... Sports...

 

• Anything in our daily walk that doesn’t cause us to look and act like our creator...

 

• Anything that doesn’t cause us to have the... Mind... Heart... Disposition... Behavior… of Jesus can become an idol.

 

Even some good things can be idols...

• Sometimes we find people worshiping the Bible...

• Others worship the church or religious traditions...

• Some are found worshiping a name over a church building...

They place these things before God.

 

Listen…God condemns the placing of even good and correct things before Him... The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ Day were guilty of this and were condemned for it.

 

The Jews of old worshiped the Ark of the Covenant...  You recall that once... They thought if they brought it into a military battle that it would give them victory... IT Didn’t!!... Wrong God… faith in the wrong thing!!... Trust and confidence in the wrong thing… It’s called idoltry!!

 

So...The shapes of idols may have changed since the days of Israel at Mount Sinai...But the eternal principle remains the same... God above all else.

 

An idol is anything tangible or intangible... That we place before God... Anything that would cause us to walk in ways that are in conflict with His...Heart... Disposition... Behavior… Intent or Will.

 

Church…Here are some things God wanted us and Israel to remember…

 

1) With this principle… God was cementing this absolute truth... The Eternal Principle... There is no other before ME... Nothing made... Nothing imagined. Jesus fleshes this principle out in John fourteen saying... I am the way... I am the truth... I am the life... There is no way to please… No access to the Father God except by Me... Through Me.

 

2) Remember that only Jehovah God can grant... Forgiveness... Reconciliation... Peace... and Eternal life. No graven image... No philosophy... No world view... No other system of behavior… Can do that.

 

3) He wants us to know that the consequences of idolatry is this!!… That children raised... In an idolatrous lifestyle... In such an environment... Will become infected by such for generations to come.

 

4) Remember that God’s invitation has always been the same... Come To Me in Faith... Trust Me and My promises... Worship Me... Serve Me... And I will reward you with eternal life.

 

So... The question becomes... What will we do with His invitation?...

 

• Will we come in faith... Trusting Him and His promises?

 

• Will we be willing to forsake all other gods... Repent of all other ways of life... All other world views… And strive to Reshape our hearts into the image of Jesus?

 

• Will we complete and signify this change by the New Birth?... Having our sins forgiven?... Obtaining the gift of the Spirit?... Being raised to walk in a new life?

 

Perhaps as God’s Child... You and I have some idols that we need to get rid of...

 

My hope this morning is that we surely not go home THINKING that we are in no way guilty of IDOLATRY... For surely we are… For surely we are!!

 

So…Accept the challenge to change... As we stand and sing.