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Our Idolatry; God's Jealousy (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)

Kevin Minnett  •  Redeeming Grace Bible Church
1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:03
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Any form of idolatry awakens the jealousy of God. We read in Ex. 34 you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. His name is Jealous, and His strength is unlimited. Why, Paul asks, would we pick a fight with Him? What are ways you are tempted to partake of the table of demons today? Don’t kid yourself. Idolatry is a threat in your life every day. What are the idols vying for attention and lordship in your life?

Sermon Transcript - 1 Cor 10-14-22.docx
Notes & Transcripts

1 Corinthians Chapter 10 this morning, as we make our way through this wonderful epistle from Paul to the Corinthians. This morning we’ll begin our reading in verse 14 where we ended last time. Verse 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Now, the idea of idolatry may seem remote to us in some respects, but it was rampant, rampant in Corinth. It was a tough issue, really, for the church to navigate. You’ll notice, I hope, that Paul has already spent, beginning in chapter 8, he is now still on the topic of idolatry. It was an issue, a tough issue in the church at Corinth.

For instance, they were wondering, can you eat the meat that has been used in a sacrifice to idols when it’s resold in the market. It’s a better deal, you know, it’s a better price, can’t we get the better deal? Can you go to dinner in a person’s house where meat that’s been offered to idols is being served? Can you eat that which is being offered you by your guests? Can you participate in the ceremonies themselves, the idolatrous ceremonies?

Now, idolatry as we’re seeing, wasn’t merely a theoretical issue in Corinth. It was a real life everyday problem for a Corinthian Christian. And what I want you to see though is while idolatry might seem to be far removed from us; we say, you know, I understand if maybe I was living in India this might apply. What I want you to see though is that idolatry is not far removed from our society. In fact, idolatry is no less prolific in our culture. It’s just more disguised. It’s just more disguised.

Today we worship, you our, we worship music bands, pop stars, sports teams, our bodies, our stomachs, our houses, our cars, our clothing. Just think for a moment about some of the ways that our culture idolizes the latest pop stars, as an example. The fans begin to dress like them, imitate their dress, imitate their hairstyles, sing their songs in all kinds of settings, in their car, in their home, it’s what comes to mind in the shower. They follow their tweets, their instagram posts, right? They’re followers, they’re worshipers, they are worshiping their idols. In fact, we are actually shameless idolaters in our society; we even have TV shows with the word idol right in them, right in the title and we don’t blink an eye. We will spend incredible amounts of money to be where our idols are. To wear our idols logos and so on and despite this we often fail to recognize our idolatry for what it actually is. And one of the reasons for that I think is that idolatry today is so subtle, it’s so sneaky, it’s not a wooden object that we call an idol. In fact, idolatry is really a form of enslavement. Enslavement to something we love so much that we don’t recognize it for the slavery it really is.

Now in and of themselves the things that we make idols in our lives are just that, something that we have idolized. We impose value on that thing, value that it doesn’t have in and of itself. We attach security to things, to idols. In fact, every idol that exists, that I can think of, is actually a very good thing. Often, well, the fact is that everything that exists is God’s gift to us, right? They’re gifts from God that we treat as a god. That we treat with the status of a god or God himself. We replace God with other objects of interest. We make the gifts of God into idols by worshipping the created things rather than the Creator of all things, as Paul says in Romans chapter 1.

Jerry Bridges has described that we make functional saviours out of our idols. We look to our idols to rescue us from self-constructed versions of hell. We might think, I look terrible. I look terrible – that’s my hell. And so what do I need, I need to follow the latest fashion divas. I need to follow the latest fashion magazines to save me from this hell. I need to go on, I need to follow a diet plan. I need to buy shape-defying clothing. I need to buy all kinds of cosmetics. I need these things to save me from the hell of my appearance. Giving you just one example. We can multiply the examples, where essentially, we come up with a version of something that is horrible in our eyes, something that we equate to a sort-of hell. And then we look for a savior to rescue us from that and so we run to various idols to answer to the hell of our experience.

Our kids can become our idos; our jobs; our health. We can literally make idols out of anything, our appearance, our food. Idols of our pets; of our music; of our TV shows; of social media; of gaming; of sports teams. You name it. Investing countless hours and financial time into these things.

The problem lies not in the thing that we idolize, that’s not where the problem lies. The problem lies in our hearts as always. When we begin to elevate created things to a place of lordship in our lives. Where they begin to control us, shape us. And it happens little by little, where you become, eventually its’ servant, and then finally its’ slave.

God created all things to be enjoyed and to be received with thanksgiving, the Scripture tells us, but never are these things to become a replacement for Him. Often, you will not even recognize the degree to which you become devoted and sacrifice you to your idols. Until maybe a concerned family member or a friend or a pastor or someone pulls you aside and says, lovingly, can I alert you to something? A path that you seem to be on? There’s a trajectory here in your life. You’re becoming more and more involved in this thing; this thing that’s captured your heart; this thing that’s completely fine in and of itself. Do you realize what you’re investing in this? And slowly, little by little, your investment in Christ and the things of eternity is becoming less and less.

Now Paul again has been addressing this subject of idolatry all the way beginning in chapter 8 and now he’s continuing on in this topic throughout chapter 10. And I want you to notice, again, back in verse 14 how he highlights the theme of this passage, when he says in verse 14, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people, he says. Judge for yourselves what I say. Now Paul wants his readers to listen, and consider his argument thoroughly, carefully, and so I pray that each of us will do just that this morning.

Let’s just take another moment to pray and ask the Lord for understanding as we consider this text further together.

Father, we’ve already been confronted by the reality of idolatry and realize now that idolatry isn’t just some remote thing, foreign to us. It’s a very real, regular temptation in our lives. And so Lord, may You, through Your Word, give us strength to be the sensible people that Paul is speaking to here, and to judge carefully what he wants to argue for us. That we would be instructed and equipped and that our hearts be changed and conformed more to the image of Christ. We ask this in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Now, let’s just recall here, that in the previous passage that we looked at last week. Paul had strongly cautioned against the danger of presumption, presumption. That is assuming that you are a participant with Christ while living the idolatrous life. And now he’s gone so far as to warn that even those who partake at the Lord’s Table, those who eat the loaf and drink from the cup aren’t thereby guaranteed to be truly saved. Many who identified as Israelites in the Old Testament times, people who ate of the manna, who drank from the Rock in the wilderness, who walked under the cloud and through the sea… many of them, Paul argues, were proven to be idolaters in the end. They were overthrown in the wilderness, in spite of their participation alongside believing Israel. Alongside the true Israel, many walked with them. Yes, they were descendants of Abraham but they were not truly Israelite. They were not truly the people of God. They walked alongside God’s true people, but yet they fell and proved themselves to be phonies. And Paul now having used that example, warns the believing church, the Christians gathered in New Testament congregations, he warns now in verse 12 you are not safe either, Christian, professing Christian, person that mingles among a congregation of Christians, he says, let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. Paul, as we’ve already said, is not arguing that one can lose their salvation. His concern is you may have mingled among saved people thinking you’re saved while not being saved at all. See association with God’s people is not a guarantee that you are one of them. Association with God’s people is not a guarantee that you are one of them. This is the danger of presumption. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that partaking of the Lord’s supper will protect you from the judgment of God, if you go on craving and grumbling and idolizing the way that the world does.

Paul is going to now argue shortly that actually by eating and drinking presumptuously, you are eating and drinking condemnation on yourself. But now in our text this morning, Paul goes on to argue that for the true believer the Lord’s Supper is of tremendous benefit… to guard us against idolatry. I hope you’ll follow the argument.

Look at verse 16, Paul says the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? See communion around the Lord’s Table with the gathered people of God in the Lord’s own appointed way, is an experience of deep, precious, soul-nourishing, spiritual fellowship with Christ. It is that for us. Those who eat and drink at the Table of the Lord, at the Lord’s Supper, those who do that by true faith, we have our souls nourished on the blessings that have been purchased for us by Christ’s shed blood and broken body. And so, this supper that we partake of regularly, does serve to help protect us from destruction by making us want to flee idolatry. Partaking of the True Bread, Jesus Christ, drinking of the water of life will give us an increased repugnance for the emptiness of idolatry. Drinking from broken cisterns that hold no water, that’s no comparison to drinking from a flowing spring.

Now that seems to be the flow of Paul’s argument as I understand it here. As he moves from verse 14 where he says my beloved, flee from idolatry. And then he moves directly into an argument about the nature of the Lord’s Supper. And so he says the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Now remember, Paul seems to be dealing here with some questions that had been forwarded to him by the believers in Corinth. Questions that had been raised about whether or not believers may partake at pagan feasts where idols are being worshiped. And so Paul says flee idolatry. There’s a statement that should guard you against all kinds of evil practices. Flee idolatry. Determine if this is an idolatrous act, and flee it. Flee idolatrous feasts. Feasts where demons are worshiped is what he’s going to argue.

We have a better feast. We have a better feast. We have… we feast on the True Bread. We feast… we have the One True God. We have been invited to His Table. We have the Living Fountain. Why would you want the sludge? Flee from idolatry.

Now there have been many debates and controversies that risen throughout church history regarding what exactly happens when God’s people partake of the Lord’s Supper. What actually happens in that moment? What does it actually mean to be a partaker in the body and blood of Christ at the Lord’s Supper? Well the Roman Catholic church, for instance, has taught through the centuries, a view of the Lord’s Supper that’s called transubstantiation. This is the teaching that, during what they call the mass, the bread and the wine are actually transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus. And that they are no longer bread and wine. They just retain the appearance of bread and wine. They’re actually Jesus’ body and blood. And because they believe that the bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Christ, Catholics worship and they adore the elements because to them it’s actually Christ’s body and blood. So Roman Catholics believe that communion is really a re-enactment of an actual sacrifice of Christ. Now this is an obvious contradiction to the Scripture. That which teaches that Christ died once for all, and that by the one offering He was perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Now Martin Luther, he was in the Catholic church when the Lord saved him and he began to see that many of their practices were wrong. One being how they dealt with the Lord’s Supper. And he was repulsed by the Roman Catholic view that they were actually eating Christ’s body and drinking his literal blood. But, Martin Luther was fixed on the Words of Christ and he said, “This is my Body.” And so Martin Luther believed that it was imperative to understand that the body and blood of Christ were in some way really present in the supper, while not actually becoming the elements themselves. He believed that the body and blood of Christ somehow co-exist in the elements of the Lord’s Supper. He taught that the body and blood of Christ are in, with and under the elements during communion, and I think when I read what he had to say it sounds like he couldn’t really explain what he was intending to say but he didn’t want to remove the reality of what Christ had said when he said, “This is my Body.” And so he came up with consubstantiation.

Now I think there’s a very important lesson here. We need to be very careful to limit our discussion of what actually happens in the Lord’s Supper to what the text actually says. Some people wish that the Bible said more than it does on this subject. Some people wish that the Bible explained this in more detail. And so they tend to try to force meaning here to fit their notions. I think that both the catholic and the Lutheran view, both make this same error. They’re trying to make the supper be more than the Bible says it is.

On the other hand, for others of us, there may be the temptation to want the text to say less than it does. They find that what the text actually says makes them a little bit uncomfortable because there seems to be some mystery attached to it. I think even some of us may be guilty of this error. Some of you may only understand the Lord’s Supper to be a memorial of Christ’s death. And it is that. Jesus says and you would probably stress the words of Christ, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” And so you say this is a memorial, but when you limit it to only that you fail, I think, to embrace what other passages of Scripture add to that point namely 1 Corinthians 10 which we’re looking at today. I think this is one text that often gets ignored when we’re discussing the subject of the Lord’s Supper and what is going on as we partake together. This text teaches us that there is some real sense in which partaking of the Lord’s Supper is truly partaking or communing with Christ. And so we want to look at this a little closer, so let’s do that.

Notice in verse 16 Paul refers to two actions that we perform in the Lord’s Supper. One, we bless the loaf, or the cup, we bless the cup of blessing and we break the bread, or literally, the loaf in this verse. So the cup of blessing, what is that? What’s he talking about? That’s the name that was given to the third cup in the Passover feast. I don’t know if some of you recall, maybe it was last year I did like a full illustration of what the Passover would’ve looked like and how that could’ve been transitioned into the Lord’s Supper. There were four cups, one that was never partaken of; but one is in anticipation of that future day when we drink with Christ eternally. But prior to that you had three cups. The third cup was the cup of blessing and I think vey likely this is the cup that the Lord Jesus used when He instituted communion in the upper room that night before His death.

The Gospel records that Jesus took that cup of blessing and He blessed it. Paul now says that likewise when we partake of the Lord’s supper we bless the cup. And that this cup of blessing that we bless is a participation, koinonia is the word in Greek, participation in the blood of Christ. And that the loaf that we partake of, that we break up, is a participation in the body of Christ. Now what is participation. Participation is stronger than simply remembering. This word can be translated to partake, to commune, to fellowship in, all of it is with the body and blood of Jesus. So when you take the cup at the Lord’s Supper, what are you doing? You are really communing with the blood of Christ. What does that mean? Does it mean that we are actually literally drinking the physical cup, the physical blood of Jesus? And that when we eat from the loaf that we’re actually really eating of the body of Christ as catholocism would have us believe? Or is there another meaning here? Is there another intended understanding here?

Well I think if we continue looking at Paul’s argument which he has said that sensible people can do, can judge for themselves so I’m trusting we have enough sensible people here this morning to do the work with me here. There’s two clues that we can see in the immediate context that are going to help us I think get a clearer picture of what is happening when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Paul goes on to give two illustrations to explain this. He says that a similar thing was happening when Old Testament saints, Old Testament Israelites partook at the sacrifices in verse 18. And then secondly he says a similar thing takes place when people worship idols. In the idolatrous worship of demons, something similar is happening. So he says in verse 18 consider, again, he’s making an argument, consider the people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? Paul is, what is he talking about here? He’s referring to ethnic Israelites in the Old Testament. And Paul explained that the kind of participation that we enjoy as New Testament believers in communion is similar to what happened to Israelites in the old covenant as they partook at the altar.

Now when Paul says that the Israelites were partakers of the altar, what does that mean? Does that mean that they actually ate the altar? No and this is going to help safeguard us from making the foolish mistake by saying that when we participate in the blood of Jesus we’re eating his, drinking his blood and eating His Body. See the metaphors are going to help. While taking the time to work carefully through this is going to safeguard us from foolish conclusions. Nobody, even the catholics, think that anybody eats the altar. It’s foolish. So what does it mean then that the people of Israel were participants in the altar? It means that they shared in the benefits of what happened on the altar, namely a sacrifice was made on the altar. A sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people and they participated in that. Forgiveness of sin was made, they participated in that. Guilt was removed, they participated in that. Those who share in the sacrifice participated in everything that God was doing through that altar. Now in the same way Paul says in verse 16 that a true believer participates in the body of Christ as he partakes of the bread, and he participates in the blood of Christ as he partakes of the cup. And so through means of the Lord’s Supper, those who participate by true faith, regularly receive from Christ all that is involved, all that was represented in that body and blood so the nourishment and strength and hope and joy that come from feasting our souls on all that He purchased for us on the cross. We participate in that. We share in the body and blood by sharing in the benefits that Christ’s death purchased for us. And one of the means through which Christ does that is through the supper that we partake of regularly.

Now he moves on to another illustration to help safeguard us from false conclusions but to help further illuminate our understanding of what it means to participate in Christ. We get further understanding of this when we come to verse 19 and 20. So look there at verse 19 what do I imply then? That food offered to idols in anything? Or that an idol is anything? No. I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.

Now notice in verse 20 Paul uses this word participants again, see that? This time, he uses it in relation to what? Demons. First, he’s going to help safeguard us from misinterpreting his meaning in verse 19 so he says what do I imply that food offered to idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything? No. no, he says. Paul’s argument is not with the food itself. That food is fine. That food is neutral. That food is nothing in and of itself other than what it is, food. And the idol is itself nothing in and of itself, we’ve just attached value to it. That’s what makes it an idol. In actuality an idol is nothing in itself, so the answer to the question Paul asked is, no, it is nothing.

It goes deeper than that. He says it has to do with what’s going on in the act of idolatry, the act of idol sacrifices. See on the one hand an idol is in itself nothing at all. The same piece of wood that a worshiper would worship and idolize and treat as a god, would’ve served better on your campfire. Right? And it would have, the log is nothing. The fact that somebody carved some, a face on it, makes it nothing. Hold on a second here, just thought of something. We turn this around to keep you from looking at it. This is nothing. Right? I mean somebody might attach value or attach a meaning to this. That would’ve served equally well as a pumpkin to eat, which somebody might have although it’s completely fake so they didn’t. Pumpkin pie would’ve been great, would’ve been great. So you see that nothing in and of itself is anything other than that thing. And we may use things to serve God or demons. And that’s the point here. We may serve to use things that God has given us for the glory of God or we can use them as objects of idolatry. After all this is what Paul argues in verse 26, he says the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Everything belongs to God. So the problem with idolatry is taking something that belongs to God and handing it over to the devil. You are being the middle man, the agent, who takes what is God’s and hands it to the devil. Everything belongs to God and so idolatry again is handing over to demons what rightfully belongs to God.

And Paul is saying do not get entangled in idol worship because it’s demonic, there are spiritual realities at the centre of this. We must not partake, we must not entangle ourselves with demons. See how he’s using this language of partaking here, we must not be entangled. We must not allow them to usurp the place in our lives that only Jesus Christ deserves. And so by contrast when we partake of the bread and the cup in communion, what are we doing? We’re becoming increasingly entangled with Christ. We are submitting to Him and volunteering ourselves to become more deeply in fellowship with Him, to commune with Him because we have found in Him the complete satisfaction that all the other earthly enticements seek to provide for us. And so that’s why sometimes we refer to the Lord’s Supper as communion. And if we truly commune with Christ then Paul says we must flee communion with demons. And so verses 21 and 22 now, you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

Here Paul concludes by placing these two tables in front of us. The Table of the Lord and the table of demons. You must choose one. They are rivals. They represent two diametrically opposed realities. See the believers participation at the Lord’s Supper serves as one of the means that the Lord uses. One of the chief means I would argue to guard us from the other table. Participation at the Lord’s Table helps guard us against the other table. Because in the Lord’s Supper we are served all the blessings intrinsic to Christ Himself. His Word. His people. Prayer. These things are further part of the spread, the Table that is set before us. The Lord’s Table just really represents all the things intrinsic to what Christ has purchased for us through the cross. So we partake of the satisfying bread, Christ Himself. The thirst-quenching spring, Christ Himself, partaking of Christ through the Lord’s Supper becomes this powerful antidote against the alluring and emptiness of idolatry. Notice what he says in verse 21, you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Table of the Lord and of the table of demons. You can’t. Why is this? Well because when a true believer partakes of the Table of the Lord he’s being nourished and satisfied by the Lord Himself. He’s delighting in the Lord and all the Truths intrinsic to what He has purchased for you at the cross. He’s trusting in the Lord. He’s fellowshipping with the Lord. And that’s what it means to share in the blood and body of the Lord. To sit with Christ who has promised to be in our midst when two or three are gathered in His Name. To sit with Jesus at the banquet of the benefits of his death. And in that place idols and demons lose their attraction. They lose all their power. Who wants the sludge when you have the Living Water? Who wants stale, moldy bread when you have fresh, homemade bread? Who wants the fake when you have the real?

Beloved, there are two tables in the world: God’s and the devil’s. It’s either one or the other. Many of us and we’re tempted ever day with this, we want to be able to partake from both tables. But God forbids it. And he regards all such attempts to eat from both tables as a provocation to His jealousy. And I hope that this morning is not the first time that you’re learning that jealousy is one of the attributes of God.

We read in Exodus 34, for instance, you shall not worship any other god. For the Lord whose name is jealous is a jealous God. Need more proof? I could give you more verses. That will suffice for today. His name is jealous and His strength is unlimited. Are you going to argue with Him? Why would, Paul asks, anyone want to pick a fight with Him? Any form of idolatry awakens the jealousy of God. This is a perfect attribute of God. This isn’t one of his, uh, this is one of those attributes of God that’s sort of in the basement of God. This is intrinsic, every attribute of God is intrinsic to His nature. God is a jealous God and God’s jealousy is a proper jealousy. God’s jealousy isn’t like your jealousy. God’s jealousy is intrinsic to who He is because He alone is God and He is, He alone is worthy of all adoration, worship and praise. And so when you go ahead and begin to attach value and worship to any other thing, that’s what stirs up the jealousy of God. Because nothing else is worthy, nothing else is God. In fact, God’s proper jealousy is really a love. A love that is so intense for the object of His love, namely you, that He is angry when something threatens it. When anything stands in the way of direct love and devotion to Him. When something stands in the way of the object of His love, that inspires anger. And when something threatens it, He will act. He will not stand idly by and let you drift away into some idolatrous preoccupation with something of the world, Christian. He will strike at that thing. He will destroy it and if your affections are so entwined with it you are going to get hurt in the process of. Why? Because you will find yourself crushed and hurt, crying out to God, Why did you do this to me? Why did you take away this from me? Why did you take away this person from me? I can’t live without her? Do you see, we can attach this kind of idolatrous value to people, to precious people. To people that God has given us as gifts. Where when something is taken away, when we cry out to God, how could you take this person, this thing, this job away from me? That’s proof positive that you’ve attached idolatrous value to that thing, to that job or whatever.

It is an act of love from a jealous God who will not allow you drift into that kind of preoccupation with anything else than Himself. You cannot, he argues, partake of the Table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? Let’s bring this application because I wonder what are ways that each of us is tempted to participate, to partake of the table of demons today. To attach idolatrous value to things. Don’t kid yourself. Idolatry is a threat to your life every day. So what are the idols that are vying for attention and lordship in your life? We need to ask this.

Ken Sandy wrote a book, The Peacemaker. It’s a valuable book on many fronts. But in there he defines an idol this way: “as anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled or secure.” He goes on to say “in Biblical terms it is something other than God that we set our heart on; that motivates us; that masters and rules us or that we trust, fear or serve. In short it is something we love and pursue more than God.”

And so idolatry is whatever we direct our affections, energies and hopes toward as objects of worship. Our hearts need Jesus but our flesh craves idols. Our hearts need Jesus but our flesh craves idols. And this is why growing in deeper love for Christ requires daily execution of idols. But how do we know what our idols are? Again, Ken Sandy has a very helpful list of questions that I’m gonna just drop on you and just let’s pause and think about each one briefly. These, I think, help reveal idols in our hearts. Let me just share a few of those with you. Here we go:

What am I preoccupied with? What am I preoccupied with? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?

How would I answer the question, “If only blank, then I would be happy. Then I would be fulfilled. Then I would be secure. If only I got that pay raise. If only so and so would come back from this divorce. If only, fill in the blank, I would be happy, fulfilled, secure.

Where do I put my trust? Bank account? Family member? Something else?

What do I fear?

When a certain desire is not met do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger or depression?

I’ll give you one more that he lists. Is there something I desire so much that I’m willing to disappoint or hurt others in order to have it?

So what idols allure your heart? Let me give you one other tip for identifying this. Go log into your bank account and take a look at the last three months of your life and it might dawn on you, where’s my money going. I know you have obligations, but where is my discretionary money going? Trace your week and ask what did I fill my time with? My discretionary time. See often when we recognize certain idols in our lives, instead of fleeing from them, we turn to another one. We turn to a different idol. But instead we must turn to the One True Savior and Lord to replace our affections. We must not instead turn to another idol to fill the void because it won’t. Do not provoke our jealous God to jealousy. He alone deserves our heart’s affections. Use His gifts, His wonderful gifts, not as a means to objectify in and of itself but as a means through which you see Christ more perfectly. Through which you, think about this. Take a walk on a nice day and it feels good, right? What are you going to do, worship the trees and the grass and the smell of fall? Are you going to worship that or are you going to say praise be to the Lord. This is a wonderful walk. We should do this more often. Praise the Lord for his mercy in giving us this day. Use the gifts that God has given not as objects of idolatry but as objects through which you worship God. So not as an object in themselves. If it ends at the object, that’s idolatry. If using a gift of the Lord ends in worship to God that is worship to God.

So the broken cisterns of manmade gods will never ever quench the thirst of our hearts. Only the One who said come, all who are thirsty and drink. The One who is the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Giver of eternal life, eternal riches, He alone can satisfy. And so let’s go to him. I’m going to invite the group to come and sing with us as I pray and you can be getting up on stage here as I do that.

Heavenly Father, we come to You in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for this Truth and convicting reality of idolatrous preocuppations, of idolatrous tendencies of our own hearts. Lord may the table that has been set before us in Christ and all the benefits and blessings that are ours in Him, become the centerpiece of our adoration. The object of our, of our devotion and Lord may nothing other than Him bring true satisfaction to us. We pray this now and pray your blessing as we depart now, in Jesus name. Amen.

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