• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Samuel A CainHuman nature frequently leads people to try to change God and His worship into something that is more pleasing to them. Man’s chief end – “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (The Westminster Shorter Catechism) – is often neglected simply for the pursuit of personal joy.

Idolatry is very appealing. Our culture actually encourages self-worship. There are “cultural Christians” who believe they can use their faith to manipulate God for their own worldly prosperity. They worship the gift not the Giver. Many in our congregations can barely sit still for 30 minutes unless they are hearing a sermon titled “Five Steps to Success” or “Seven Steps to What You Really Want”. Others run to the church that entertains them the most. They say they are there because of the worship. However, they do not include hearing God’s Word preached in their definition of “worship”. They attend because they are entertained – thus, diminishing worship to idolatry.

Even preachers can become the subject of idolatry. How many people do you know who skip church on the Sundays when their favorite pastor is not preaching? They care more about following a preacher whose style and manner of speaking is pleasing to their tastes than they do about understanding God’s Word. The idol of popularity has replaced the importance of Biblical teaching. Fun and fellowship have replaced “repent and be saved”.

If we exalt anything above the Word of God, we are living in idolatry. Even good things can become idols; it is a grave injury to God to idolize anything or anybody. The result is God’s wrath directed towards you. God will not share His glory. Colossians 3:5–6 (ESV) tells us:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

Paul writes here, by the Holy Spirit, that the wrath of God is coming on idolatry. Nothing is more dangerous than the wrath of a holy, omnipotent God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18 ESV)

Idolatry suppresses the Word of God in one way or another. Godlessness not only leads to evil acts of unrighteousness; the sinner goes to great lengths to hide and suppress the light of God’s Word. Where there is idolatry, there is growing darkness. Just as evil is most comfortable in the darkness, the idolater is so disturbed by the light of Christ that he must suppress it, destroy it, or bow his knee to the truth of God.

I write this because from time to time we need to challenge ourselves with hard questions. Are we serving God or ourselves?


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