god’s at war – The god of me
We’ve been going through a series based on the book “god’s at war” by Kyle Idelman discussing the “little g
gods in our life that are at war with us and the one true living God! These little gods keep us from surrendering, sacrificing, serving and sharing our Faith in Jesus… keep us following Jesus, worshiping Jesus because we’re pursuing something or someone else!
The book is addressing an issue that’s rarely discussed or mentioned in Church today, which is Idolatry. When we think of idols and idolatry what do we think of? Statues, Golden Calf, etc…
But we’re Christians… We don’t worship Idols! Maybe, but then again, maybe Idolatry is closer to our home and heart than we realize!
- Who or what do we treasure and value the most?
- Who or what do we seek after and pursue more than anything else?
- Who or what takes up most of our time, effort, and energy? (What has my Attention, Affection, Abilities an Assets?)
- Who or what do I put my trust, confidence and hope in more than anything else?
- Who or what is the object of my worship and praise?
- Who or what do I think about (and pursue) to satisfy and fulfill that void in my heart, life?
- Who or what are some things we are NOT willing to let go of, things we think we can’t live without?
Exodus 20:3 ESV – “You shall have no other gods before me. (Before me = in my presence!)
Idolatry isn’t “an” issue… it’s “THE” issue.
In this Series we’ve looked at some “little gods”/Idols that are at war with us and the One True Living God…
– The god of pleasure
– The god of love
– The god of money
– The god of power
Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves… however, when we elevate them to god-like status and put them where God belongs there’s a serious problem.
Our thoughts, our motives, our choices and actions are determined by who or what is on the throne of our heart, mind and soul. (Look at your thoughts, choices, decisions, actions and you will see who’s on the throne!!)
It’s the root that determines the fruit!
Today we’re looking at the last of these little god’s, but probably the most dangerous and damning of our life. It’s the little god of ME!
Romans 1:18-25 ESV – 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
When we believe a lie rather than the Truth of God… when we put our faith, trust, confidence, hope in things other than God… (in those little god’s) it boils down to one thing. It’s really SELF-WORSHIP!
In the book, Kyle wrote: “The foundation of reality is that there is one God, and you are not him. Once that’s established, a choice must be made, and here it is: I know that there is the Lord God, the master of all creation. I also know there’s the god of me, the pretender to the throne. Whom will I serve? [To whom will I submit?] In my brokenness, I feel the pull to worship me. I hear the whispered lie that Adam and Eve first heard: “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Why serve? You rule. [You don’t have to submit.] You have everything you need to be your own god.
At some point in our life we all will struggle with those other little gods but the “god of me” is something we all struggle with every day, multiple times a day! You can’t get away from You!
A few symptoms of the “god of me” in our life…
Arrogance. They’re always right. Their way is always the best way. They must have their way. Manipulate to get their way.
They don’t listen to others. The god of me doesn’t listen to others. They have never uttered the phrase: “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” “I’m sorry, you were right.” “I should have listened to you.”
Insecurity. Consumed with what others think and terrified of trying and failing. They can’t help but be self-conscious, because they’re so self-absorbed. When you’re god it’s all about you!
Extremely judgmental of others because of that insecurity.
Defensiveness. The slightest suggestion, disagreement, criticism is a personal attack. Why? When you’re god you must be perfect and how dare anyone else suggest you aren’t! You’re god for crying out loud!
Loneliness or isolation. When the “god of me” is present in someone’s life they become really lonely and isolated because they can’t handle people in their life. People become our “equals.” You can’t have that as a god!
They definitely can’t handle authority or accountability. They need people in their life that constantly look up to them, and reaffirm them but not to challenge them.
The little god of me is the most damaging and damning of all the little gods, because all those other little gods exist to satisfy the “god of me!”
Jeremiah 17:5-10 NLT – This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. 6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. 7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. 9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
How many have ever been wrong about something?
How many have followed their heart and were wrong! Notice I didn’t say who, because we’ve all been wrong! (The better question… might be how many times!)
Could anything more hopeless than someone who knows they’ve been wrong (and wrong multiple times) and then puts all their Faith, Trust, Confidence and Hope in themselves as “god”… rather than the one true living God!
Is that not the craziest (saddest) thing you’ve ever heard of?! Happens all the time because like Adam and Eve we buy into satan’s lie…
The root of idolatry isn’t in our idols… it’s us! We want to be “God.” It’s Self-Worship! We want to be God in our life and in the life of others. We want to call the shots, be in control, recieve the worship and praise. And, except for satan, the “god of me” is our worst enemy.
It’s really me versus God… my flesh versus His Spirit! We are the problem. And until we realize that we’re going to continue to struggle!
Those who have allowed the little god of me on the throne of their heart are the most dangerous of all people. They are the most deceived, the most miserable, destructive, cursed, and the most evil… they are the most like satan himself. They are the spirit of the Antichrist.
If we want to get to the heart of idolatry in our life we must recognize the “god of me.” We must humble ourselves, step down from the throne… return it to the one that it rightly belongs… The King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus Christ!
We must crucify that little “god of me!” That’s what Jesus said.
Luke 9:23 CSB – 23 Then he (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, (Be His Disciple) let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. 25 For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?
- Deny ourselves. (Deny our wants, our will, and our way! How? By doing what God wants, doing His will and doing things His way!) Repentance… turning from our way to God’s way.
- Take up our cross. (As Christ was a sacrifice for us, we become a sacrifice for Him. Jesus focus and purpose was the cross. Nothing distracted Him from his focus and purpose.)
- Follow Him. (We live in obedience to God’s word, God’s will and God’s ways. If we aren’t doing that then go back to # 1.)
Baptism candidates give testimony of how the Lord has changed their lives!
Fourth in the series “gods at War” god of Pleasure
god of Love god of Money
Today “god of POWER”
Power (n) ~ New Oxford American Dictionary
- The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or
- The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of
- Physical strength and force exerted by something or
Quote: John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority. There is no worse heresy than that the oﬃce sanctifies the holder of it.”
This was a quote is from a series of letters Baron Action wrote to Bishop Creighton about the moral dilemma of how religious historians should handle the corrupt and even criminal behavior of many Popes during the Inquisition.
What about TV??
In 2011 UCLA Psychologists studied the values of TV Characters in the shows most popular with preteens over the years…
1960’s ~ Andy Griﬃth & Lucy
1970’s ~ Happy Days & Laverne and Shirley
1980’s on up ~ American Idol & Hannah Montanna, “Reality TV” (MTV use to play music videos)
1967 – 1997 ~ Top value had been “community feeling, or being a part of a group”.
**That value suddenly dropped to 11th place**
~ Second most frequent value, “being kind and helpful to others”
**dropped from 2nd to 13th place.
IN 2011 ~ The predominant message of today’s preteen shows seems to be that a successful life is all about being famous!
TV doesn’t define the culture, it reflects it!
More practical, how it plays out ~ Remember KING OF THE HILL (playground, not tv)
Just a pile of dirt… and who’s on the top!
When it’s just little kids, it doesn’t take much force to stay on top… but as the bigger kids start trying to take your position, you have to fight a lot harder!
You have to use some ??? POWER
~ are kids even allowed to play that anymore?
We’ve all got a story…..
…….We played king of the hill after walking to school 5 miles, up hill, in the snow!
….My kids went to MacDonald’s and played in a pit full of balls that had been peed and pooped on, then got out and ate a bag of french fries…. maybe they had it worse….
….all sanitized now…. rubber playgrounds…. What’s up with that?
Isn’t that really what we still do now? …. Just a adult game of King of the Hill… We call it POWER, SUCCESS, OUR ACHIEVEMENTS…. it’s just about getting on top and staying there…
And sometimes….. It’s just about CONTROL! Any self-proclaimed control freaks here today?
Let’s see how that plays out in scripture, first with David & Goliath, then David & King Saul.
1 Sam 17:12-51 is the story of the young Shepherd David taking food out to his brothers on the battlefield where he learned that Goliath had be taunting the armies of Israel and Judah for 40 days. They trembled in fear and their mighty men refused to fight him…. including King Saul!
David oﬀers to go fight the Philistine but Saul says don’t be ridiculous!!
v34-37 ~ But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
~His confidence is in the LORD, not himself. He knew what God had done before and he was confident that He would do it again!!
They walk out towards each other… David with 5 stones and a sling shot. Goliath with his armor and sword.
V41-43 ~ Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods.
~His pride and arrogance blinded him to David’s Power – capital ‘P’. Goliath’s confidence was in himself. His own power was his god, his idol…. It was all about him!
v45-47 ~ David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied (theWhy). Today the Lord will conquer you (theWho) and I will kill you and cut oﬀ your head (theHow). And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and (theWhat) the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”
Why ~ Defiled the God of heavens army.
Who ~ The Lord will conquer you
How ~ I will kill you & cut oﬀ your head
What ~ Know there is a God in Israel.
He rescues His people.
It’s the Lord’s battle.
He will give you to us!
~Even in the battle, David gives the glory to God!
As they got closer David began to run at Goliath!
v49-51 ~Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut oﬀ his head.
~God did that!! …through David!
~The faith of a shepherd unleashed the Power of heaven!
~It’s God that supplies the only Power that can have eternal IMPACT! (pun intended)
What is it that God wants to through you today?
Psalm 20:7 niv ~ Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
In Israel’s heart, the Philistine giant had become bigger than their God.
A man had become a idol.
Not all idols look like superheros…
Even the devil can become an idol if we fear his power over the LORDS!
Prov 9:10niv ~ Fear of the LORD is the begging of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The last few verses in Ch17 has King Saul asking Who this stone slingin’ shepherd!? David walking up to Saul with Goliath’s head in his hand.
Don’t you know David’s get a little swagger in his walk then!
But it wouldn’t be about himself ~ it would be “THAT’S my GOD!!!
Quick look at 1 Samuel Ch18…
David meets Jonathan, Saul’s son, and they become best friends…. more like brothers!! King Saul keeps David with him.
David was successful at whatever Saul asked of him so Saul made David commander of his Army!
Then in Vs 6-9 nlt ~When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:
“Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”
8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Saul tried to kill David the very next day, and the next, on an on Saul was trying to kill or have David killed in battle.….
He was afraid of David because he knew the LORD was with him. We are told that David remained Saul’s enemy the rest of his life.
Mr Ted has said that the LORD takes care of those things that are his!
The LORD was taking care of David!
But you’re a child of God and your power, your strength, your status, your achievements become an idol, and they are about you and bringing you praise instead of, like about the the Lord and bringing HIM praise ~ Then it’s not going to work out well for you in the long run….
We are designed TO worship, not BE worshiped!
The One True God calls up to die to ourselves, not live for ourselves!
Gal 2:20 niv ~ I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. This life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me!
Power is kind of the over arching god that is played out in what we call success and where score is kept in dollars.
If POWER is the root, the base level idol, then at best,The little gods of success and money are right there at the trunk…. but really they are all underground…. The roots that produces the fruit ~ the sin…
They can all become idols in your life.
Being successful, having money/wealth, achievements, power …not by default an idol, or even sin… but with power comes responsibility.
AS a leader, you have power. There is someone that looks up to!
…not all leaders have a title.
So what kind of fruit is on that tree? ~~ It’s got a strong root system!
Achievements are a good thing, they can make the world a better place, until the act of achieving becomes our god.
It’s not even what you achieve, it’s that you achieve… Driven for power and prestige.
Whether it’s a merit badge, making the varsity team, or getting the corner oﬃce or moving up in rank… there will always be a next thing.
… because they will always leave us hungry.
We can’t achieve enough, make enough money, have a big enough house or big enough oﬃce to satisfy our soul.
That’s why Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18 ~ So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
A few years ago a group of senior citizens ~ all at least 95 years old were asked: “If you had life to live all over again, what would you do diﬀerently?”
NO multiple Choice….
Three main themes came from them.
If I had life to live all over again:
- I would reflect more.
- If I had life to live all over again, I would risk more.
- If I had life to live all over again, I would do more things that would live on after I’m
What they were saying sounds a lot like how God calls us to live….
I wish I had slowed down a little.
If we did that, perhaps we wouldn’t end up ahead of the Lord and His plans for our lives!
Psalm 34:8 niv ~ Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 62:5-6 niv ~ Let all that I am quietly wait before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my Rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
I wish I hadn’t always played it safe, but had really gone for it occasionally.
God never calls us to do what we can do on our own! Then we’d get the glory for it.
Jesus put it like this: Matt 10:38-39 nlt ~ If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
I wish I had invested myself not trying to build my kingdom here, but in eternal realities.
Matt 6:19-21 mev ~ Jesus said: Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Jesus goes on to teach about:
Good and bad eyes…. are we seeing our heart clearly? …our motives?
God and money…. we can’t serve two masters
Worry and Anxiety…. your Father in heaven knows all your needs…
Then Jesus gives us the answer to keep HIM ON the throne of our lives, and IDOLS OFF.
Matt 6:33 mev ~ But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you.
All these things that occupy our mind, our time, our attention and our energy…. the things of this world that creep up and become idols in our lives.
God gives good gifts to His children…. but in the right time and in the right way. And as we grow in our relationship with Him, we’ll have the right motive….
Then it won’t become an little god in our lives… We’ll get the good, and HE will get the glory!
Our work, our achievements are blessed by God, and have been since Adam & Eve received their work assignments in the garden. They are ways of feeling the joy of serving God. But once they become something else, something less, they can become toxic.
Power is seductive…. It lures you into a false sense of security, significance, value and control. The reality is that power as the world defines it is fleeting.
It’s a game of king of the hill that you will eventually get knocked oﬀ of.
The only real Power we can have in a broken sinful world is through a personal, active, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ!
He demonstrated true POWER when he defeated death, sin and hell when he was nailed to a cross and died and rose from the grave on the 3rd day.
It’s only in Him that we can have power and peace and forgiveness.
Where we can live a supernatural life now and spend eternity with Him in heaven!
You want to BE SOMEBODY? Die to yourself and live for Jesus. Then HIS POWER and HIS PURPOSE is made real in your life.
For YOUR GOOD, & HIS GLORY!
god’s at war…
Sin is a problem… it separates us from God! Isaiah 59:2 NLT – It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
In this Series, “god’s at war” we’ve discovered that our Sin is an outward expression of a deeper issue…
Sin is the fruit of the tree, the fruit of my heart. Whatever’s at the root determines the fruit! The problem more often than not is Idolatry!
Idolatry is that thing (whatever that thing is) that we…
- want more than God,
- desire more than God,
- treasure more than God,
- enjoy more than God…
- love and worship more than God.
And as a result, we make bad choices, do sinful things. Things that are disobedient toward God.
And so far, we’ve looked at two specific little – god’s… the god of pleasure and the god of love…
Today we’re looking at another little g… one that is extremely powerful and influential.
- The Bible contains 500 verses on Prayer and Faith but over 2000 verses on this little god.
- 40% of the parables Jesus shared dealt with this little god.
It’s the little god of money, wealth, possessions.
Martin Luther said once that there were three conversions a person needed to experience… 1. The Head, 2. The Heart, 3. The Pocketbook
Why the Pocketbook? Because when God has you’re pocketbook, He’s got your head and your heart!
Luke 18:18-25 ESV – 18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good? ”Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.
20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done.
Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
18 “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
The way he asks the question reveals a lot… “What must “I do” to inherit eternal life? (Salvation)
- How can I “acquire… or “earn” eternal life/Salvation. (Works mentality.)
- It was about what he could do… what he could accomplish.
When you inherit something you don’t “do” anything to earn it. It’s “given” to you!
- 19 – 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.
Unless the man understands the concept of “good” on God’s level… He won’t understand the gift of eternal life. (Neither will we!)
Apart from God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit there is nothing good in this world.
- There are only Godly things or evil things.
- There are only Godly people or evil people.
- There’s only the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of satan.
- There is only the Kingdom of righteousness or the kingdom of unrighteousness!
Also, Jesus is actually revealing Himself to the man. “Only God is truly good.” He doesn’t get it… he’s blind. Salvation is standing right in front of Him!
- 20 – 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
Jesus isn’t saying that keeping the commands are the way to eternal life… that would contradict God’s word. He’s revealing the Truth to Him.
Notice the commands Jesus mentions. He begins with the commands that are about our relationships with “others.” (First 4 @ God/ Last 6 @ Others.)
- 21 – 21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
He was obedient to a religious system and what he thought was good. However, obedience to our own religious systems & beliefs isn’t obedience to God… (unless it lines up with God’s word.)
The commands were not given as a path to Salvation but to show us we needed a Savior!
Think about it… why was he there asking Jesus about eternal life, about Salvation if he was obedient to God’s commands? Something was missing!
- 22. – 22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus gets to the heart of the issue doesn’t He? He exposes or reveals the truth, exposes and reveals our inner most desires, wants, treasures and what we really worship.
That little god of money was the master of his life! Jesus was asking him to forsake, eliminate, destroy that master in his life and come to Him!
- 23-25 – 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
It’s easy to think this story is about money, wealth and possessions but it isn’t. It’s about Idolatry!
A lot of People misinterpret the story and say that Jesus wants all rich people to sell everything they have, but that’s not true. In John 3, Jesus didn’t instruct Nicodemus to sell all he had…
Jesus exposed the heart of THAT man and the heart of HIS issue. He put himself in direct competition with the little god that was winning the war, the battle in HIS life and said, “Now, You choose.”
The same applies with us. On a daily basis Jesus through the Holy Spirit confronts us, exposes the heart of the issue… and we have to choose!
Why is this little god of money (wealth & possessions) so influential and powerful? Because we look to it… to do the very thing that God wants to do for us. And we believe the lie that it will…
Lies we believe about money, wealth, possessions…
- Money will “satisfy” you.
- Money means you’re “significant.”
- Money provides “security.”
- Money will “save” you.
The fact is, Money, Wealth, Possessions won’t do any of those things. (If you think it will you’ve been deceived…) Someone once wrote…
- Money will buy the best bed but it can’t buy sleep…
- Money will be the “best” house but it can’t buy a home…
- Money will buy access to knowledge but it can’t wisdom…
- The best food, but it can’t satisfy hunger…
- Medicine but it can’t buy good health…
- Friends and Relationships but it cann’t buy unconditional love…
- Temporary happiness but can’t buy Joy…
- Religion but it can’t buy salvation…
- Can buy a passport and access to anywhere in the world… except Heaven.
We don’t know what happened to the rich young ruler? But we do know about the choice he made.
It’s one of the saddest meetings with Jesus that we read of in the Bible. Luke 18:23 – But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. (Matthew 19:22, When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.)
We can’t serve these little god’s and Jesus! It’s impossible! We have to decide. Matthew 6:24 ESV – 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mammon – greek for money, wealth or possessions.)
Paul explained the heart of the issue to Timothy in 1 Tim. 6:10:
1 Timothy 6:10 NET – 10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.
Money is morally neutral, there’s nothing wrong with money… It’s the LOVE of money… THAT is the root of all of evils! It’s my wanting, desiring, treasuring, worshipping that thing more than GOD… THAT is the “root” of all evil! Which is what? IDOLATRY!
NOTE: I think it’s safe to say the love of money, wealth, & possessions has generated more evil in this world than anything else we’ve known. It’s caused more people to lie, steal, cheat, gamble, embezzle, and murder… than any other little god we know.
This man was hungry for Eternal life, for Salvation but only as an “add on…”
- I don’t want to change anything in my life, about my life, who I am, what I do… I just need Salvation.
- I don’t want to give up anything… I’m comfortable, I’ve got a really “good thing” going on in my life… I just need Salvation.
- I don’t want to eliminate or replace these things… I just need Salvation.
Jesus says, No… You have to choose.
- It’s either that “thing” or me.
- You’re either all in for me… or you’re not in at all.
- Either I’m the Lord of all in your life or I’m not Lord at all in your life.
Exodus 3:20 – You shall have no other gods before me!
The same applies with us today. Who or what will we choose?
Review ~ gods at war ~ by Kyle Idelman Identifying the idols in our lives.Week 3gods at war ~ We cure the cough, but leave the cancer!
We treat the symptoms, but not the cause….Our cough could be any number of things, but it’s all just sin. The root of our cough ~ the root of our sin ~ is idolatry!
Exodus 20:3 ~ You shall have no other god before me. Not “before” as in first… but ‘before’ as in my presence!!
2) god of pleasure
God gives good gifts to His children! But has the gift replaced the giver? 2 Tim 3:5 …people have become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying it’s power.Food, Sex, Entertainment (god of pleasure) ~ all good with
God at this rightful place on the throne of your life. Done in God’s will, God’s way… all good gifts from Him! BUT ~ If it’s a god in your life, God won’t/can’t bless it!
Much like Howard preached about last week… Satan take the truth of God’s word and distorts it ~ until we make bad decisions based on the incorrect information we have.
Satan take the good gifts of God and makes a counterfeit that resembles the good gift. Or we take the good gift from God, and we do it at the wrong time, in the wrong way, or with the wrong intention. It’s sin… and it can become your god of pleasure…
To avoid good gifts replacing the giver follow ~ Prov 4:23 ~ Guard you heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.When a gift becomes a god, the pleasure becomes pain.Psalm 37:4 ~ Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart!
It’s in delighting in the Lord that OUR hearts desire is conformed into HIS desire for us!
Week 3: god of love
Worship was great this morning, but…Meatloaf ~ I would do anything for love / Paradise by the dash board light.
So I gotta ask you: Would you do Anything for Love?
If you would… then romantic love has officially reached god status in your life!! It’s your IDOL!The god of LoveHere’s a thought: Life was never meant to be all about romantic love.
It’s a good thing, but when we make it essential to life, then it becomes a false god. When we put all our hope in it and sacrifice so much for it, you have to ask yourself: Has this beautiful gift from God (BIG G) actually replaced Him???It’s pretty rare that it leads to “happily ever after”.
Here’s an example of that from scripture.
Reads more like a bad soap opera or maybe the precursor to reality tv.Jacob, Rachel, Leah & Laban Gen 29 (NIV)
Jacob’s dad is Isaac, Isaac’s dad is Abraham ~ pretty good blood line, BUT….Jacob falls in love with Rachel. Told her dad ~ “Ill work 7 years for you daughter Rachel” Rachel was smokin’ hot … her older sister, Leah, was not… “weak eyes”.
Vs 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. ~Isn’t that sweeeeet! (Ladies “Awwwwe” …now elbow your husband.) Rachel was a gift from God that had been turned into a idol to Jacob.
V21 ~ Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” NLT sleep with her. ESV go in to her. ~ not so subtle…. but it HAD been a 7 year engagement!!
V22-23 ~ So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. ~ life lesson ~ If your counting on someone else to bring you your wife on your wedding night…. don’t get drunk at the reception. BAD PLAN EITHER WAY!
V25 ~ When morning came, there was Leah! Jacob woke up expecting Rachel, and found Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
Jacob eventually marries Rachel as well. That worked out as well as you would expect!
Leah loves Jacob and spends her life hoping and dreaming of the day Jacob will love her back. But Jacob loves Rachel.
One thing Leah has going for her is that she is able to have children and Rachel is having trouble conceiving. Leah gives him three sons, and every time she says: Now he will finally love me. Finally we can have a real marriage…. and it never happens…
What she wanted more than anything else was LOVE. It has become the god she worshipped. It wasn’t even really Jacob anymore….
So many time it’s LOVE that we worship…. all the fairy tales ending with “and they lived happily ever after.” We put that dream on the alter and bow down to it.
Then HE doesn’t come riding in as a knight in shining armor; SHE doesn’t let out her long flowing hair to give him the way to rescue her… and the dream crumbles into disappointment, resentment and then bitterness. The good gift from God of marriage is destroyed due to expectations placed on each other, that only God can fulfill. Show grace to each other in your marriage, and all of your relationships….Heb 12:15 (esv) ~ See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; God uses his followers to be the vehicle of His grace in our day to day lives. Extend the GRACE you have received… The Grace we have received from HIM is to be passed on to those around us.
For many, if you’re single ~ just the idea of love becomes your idol. Everything gets put on hold, and nothing counts until we find that partner who is suppose to be by our side.
I read a story of a single guy that had bought a house and all he had in it was a card table in the kitchen and a mattress in the bedroom. He reasoned that his future wife would want to be a part of picking out the furniture.
He didn’t even have a girlfriend… which probably came as no surprise to anyone but him!! His imaginary furniture came with an imaginary girlfriend… 2 yrs later his life was still on hold…. A relationship that didn’t even exist was his god.
Sometimes parents turn one of God’s most precious gifts into little gods. Their children define who they are and the determine their worth. They look to their children to complete them…. Then they grow up way to fast, go to college, move out, get married and have a life of their own… Then all of a sudden the parents wonder who this man or woman is that they’re married to? It’s been so long since they’ve worked on their relationship, that it falls apart due to neglect. So, what’s the picture of love that you’re showing your children?
When we look to someone other than God to complete us and define our lives, it’s idolatry. And it will not work, because God is the only one who can complete us. WE ARE MADE FOR HIM! The gift was never intended to replace the giver!
When you make a relationship with someone else your god, it will eventually be marked with disappointment and bitterness. They are going to let you down. When you say to someone, “I want you to satisfy me; I want you to save me; I want you to be my source of significance,” what you’re really saying is “I want you to be god to me.” That much pressure on a relationship is gonna cause cracks…
Like all idols, the god of romantic love promises big and pays off in pain.
The truth is, you and I were made for a love far deeper, far richer than what any human relationship can offer.
We are made for the love of the Giver.
Back to our story in Genesis 29….
Over the years it Leah, not Rachel that gives Jacob plenty of children…The names tell the story of her disappointment and heartache she experiences in her love life.
Then in V35 there’s this twist in the story…. She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.” “This time I will praise the Lord.” Leah is taking her husband off the throne of her heart and giving God his rightful seat. The lineage of Jesus is from the tribe of Judah…
This time she puts her hope not in her husband, but in the Lord. How many times has the god of love left you brokenhearted? Maybe this time you should praise the Lord.
Leah chose to find her identity, value, and hope in the love of God. It took the rejection of her husband to help her realize the love and acceptance of God.
The void in the human heart is God-shaped, not mate-shaped.
It’s not until we are willing to receive the love of God, that we can conceive of the love of God.
We must be able to conceive how great the love of God is before we can be the conduit of HIS LOVE to our family and friends, and to a world that will die and go to hell with knowing that love for themselves.
…And isn’t that how we really want to love our spouse, our children, our friends…and according to God’s word… even our enemies?
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment in:Mark 12:30-31(niv) ~ He replied: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The Apostle John wrote ~ 1 John 4:7-10 ~ Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Since so many worship the god of love within the context of our homes and our marriages, lets look to a favorite wedding passage. Because it’s only in Christ and through Christ that we can love as God loves us!
The reality is… this is how God loves us and how we are to love others!1 Cor 13:4-8,13 (niv) ~ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.v13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
When we receive love like this, and give love like this, not only to your spouse and kids, but to all those God places in our path, then we will see transformation in our marriages, families, workplace and our world!
I have a video is a little different than what we have previously shown before communion, but it powerfully portrays God’s love on display through Jesus as he went to the cross for your sins and mine.
Jesus is loving Barabbas
It’s JESUS love towards us that should compel us to love and live our lives in obedience to HIM. And to cast out any little gods that have creeped up in our lives. Returning Jesus to His rightful place on the throne of our life.
Did God Really Say?
When did distortion of God’s word begin?……..satan in the garden
Adam and THE WOMAN (Eve hadn’t been named yet) made a bad decision due to distorted words
Here are three examples of God’s word that are easily distorted:
- No women in heaven? Revelation 8:1 (KJV)8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
- I don’t need to exercise! 1 Timothy 4:8 (KJV) For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
- The bible says I need to drink to stay healthy! 1 Timothy 5:23(KJV) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
Satan distorts God’s word in order to let things creep in and take God’s place in our heart.
- God won’t put more on you than you can bare ….here the focus is on YOU and not Him! 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NLT) 8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
- Nobody is perfect!! ……or ….Only ONE MAN was perfect! Satan distorts “Perfect” from God centered to self centered. Greek Perfect = Complete……… Hebrew = Lacking nothing. Matthew 5:48 (NLT) 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) 12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Hebrews 10:12-18 (NLT) 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, 16 “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he says,“I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” 18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
PERFECT motorcycle ………..Different for each of us but for the same purpose!
Complete(perfect) but not the same(sameness)
- Well, EVERYONE is going to sin!! Hebrews 10:26-29 (NLT) 26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.
1 John 3:1-10 (NLT) 3 1See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
Galatians 2:19-21 (NLT) 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
- Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, why are you condemning me?
John 3:17 (KJV) 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
…..only one verse away from the completed TRUTH…
John 3:18-19 (KJV) 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
A motorcycle that doesn’t run……do you spend time and money on Bling, new tires, paint?
A master mechanic ELIMINATES the things that are keeping it from running…..
NOTHING you can do will overcome the sin nature inside of you!
It is only through the power of Jesus Christ! He gives us a NEW HEART
Jesus wants to put you on like a flesh suit……then ….it may LOOK like us, but indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth – 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Titus 3:5 (NLT) 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Surrender , give up, …..just stop and turn it over to the Master.
1 Corinthians 10:13-14 (NLT) 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.
Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT) 29 Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? The creator renews the tree through the power of Jesus Christ……we just abide in the vine, He produces the fruit in our lives.
Believers produce believers……..
A tree will be known by its fruit….