SermonMaking Idols before God
An all-creatures Bible Message

Making Idols before God
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
8 October 2017
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Exodus 20:1-4
Psalm 19:1-6  
Matthew 21:33-46
Philippians 3:1-14

Making idols before God does not necessarily mean that people carve or make an image of a false god that they worship in place of our One God.
People can also be making idols before God by considering anything more important than the Lord our God, and these don’t even have to be conscious decisions, for people can make idols of foods, cars, boats, and even behavioral things like gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, sports, and other similar things, because people care about them more than they care about God or following His heavenly will.
One of the most common things that people make an idol of is their craving for animal flesh, such as last week when we discussed the Israelites in the wilderness demanding animal flesh, even though God wanted them to eat the vegan bread from heaven that He made for them.
God wanted to make of them a world that reflected His heavenly will where there is no pain or death here on earth as it is in heaven, but they insisted on making idols before God by demanding animal flesh to eat.
And similar ungodly things continue to happen all around the world every single day.
Note what we are told in Exodus 20:1-4, the beginning of the Ten Commandments…

1. Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3. "You shall have no other gods before Me.

But unfortunately the people did, when they grumbled against God and demanded flesh foods.
And we continue to hear similar things today when people say that they need to eat animal flesh and by-products.
In addition, there are many more people today addicted to something than any time in history, and addictions are results of people making idols before God.

4. "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.

Even these things are still going on today, but the addictions we talked about above are far greater.
Let’s now take a look at Psalm 19:1-6, and see if we see any signs of people making idols before God…

1. The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

All of these things are in the heavenly will of God, and this is why they tell of the glory of God.

2. Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.

Yes it does, but only when people decide to be peacemaking children of God and live in His heavenly will.

3. There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4. Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
5. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6. Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

We’re talking about the truth, but the world is full of lies from the devil and the people who prefer to live in the corrupt ways of this world.
Like addictions, lies are another form of making idols before God, for most people seem to follow the lies rather than following the heavenly will of the Lord, which means that the lie is more important to them than God.
As we read Matthew 21:33-46, let’s think about what we are told in terms of whether to choose living in the heavenly will of God or the ungodly ways of this corrupted world.

33. "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey. 

Jesus spoke to the people in parables because the vast majority of them didn’t understand heavenly things and the way God wanted them to live here on earth, and because they wouldn’t listen to the truth.
They only heard the parable as a story with no meaning for them to follow.

34. "And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.
35. "And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.
36. "Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.

God created everything, but most people only use them and corrupt them much in the same manner that they treated the servants of the landowner.

37. "But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
38. "But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.'
39. "And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

This is the same way that the people treated Jesus when God sent Him to heal this corrupt world.
Furthermore, this is the same way that most people treat the animals, whom God also lovingly created.

40. "Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?" 

Here Jesus plainly asks the people a question to see how they would answer.

41. They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."

In reality, they are really condemning themselves, so Jesus responds to them...

42. Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures,
'The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes'? 
43. "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.

Because the people are making idols before God of the worldly ways around them, and not seeing themselves in this parable because of their hardness of heart, God brings the condemnation upon them that they said they deserved.

44. "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." 
45. And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.
46. And when they sought to seize Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him to be a prophet.

Note the unrepentant hardness of heart of the priests and Pharisees who seek to kill Jesus for telling them the truth, rather than repent of their evil ways.
Let’s conclude our Bible journey for today by looking at Philippians 3:1-14…

1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Paul is confident in what he writes but he is also giving the people he is writing to a warning about the evil and corrupt ways of this world, including people who are making idols before God.

2. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

The dogs that Paul is most likely referring to are the male cult prostitutes, and the false circumcision refers to the people who call themselves Jews but inside they are really followers of the devil and his minions.

3. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Then Paul tells about himself…

4. although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
5. circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;
6. as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

This is the false confidence that runs through many religious leaders of the past and present, and as Paul says, it led him to do much evil.

7. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
9. and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

Paul is also saying that he too was making idols before God until he came to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and he wants to guide the Jewish followers among them and us in the way of Jesus.

10. that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11. in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

This is what we all need to do, and to keep working at it until the day that the Lord calls us home.

12. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
13. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

In other words, don’t dwell in the past, and the things we might have been able to do better, but instead look forward to doing better in the heavenly will of God.
Look beyond all the evil that is in the world and the people who are making idols before God.

14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

This is our homecoming.
This is living in the heavenly will of God.
This will be our heavenly abode.

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