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The Inevitability Of Idolatry - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2022 8:00 am

The Inevitability Of Idolatry - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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May 18, 2022 8:00 am

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. You see, that's the thing about an idol. It will never deliver to you what you think it's going to. Not ever. It will always fill you. It will never be what you thought it was.

You've heard all the statements. You know it. You know, I spent my whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find out what?

Leaning against the wrong building. You know, we have all of those things. You see, that's the whole idea.

It never delivers. You can't replace God with anything. And that's what idols do. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. There's sort of a good test to run when it comes to the idols of your life. When you lose it. You see, when you lose it. How do you react? You see, there's a couple ways you can react. There's a difference between sorrow and despair. Any good thing that we lose, there's sorrow.

Anything. There should be sorrow. It's a good thing and I lost it. But there's something about sorrow. You can console me. When I'm experiencing sorrow, you can console me. And when people console me and time goes by, I go through that grieving process and I come out the other side. Despair, inconsolable. You cannot console me. Why? Because I have lost the ultimate thing in my life. You see, that's what happens.

Think of the financial crisis of 2008. Why did those men kill themselves? Why? Why would they kill themselves? Because they were in despair. They had lost the ultimate thing.

What was it? I don't know. Could have been greed. But think about it this way. All those men that I used in the beginning of the sermon, they all died multi-millionaires. They had more money than they could spend the rest of their life. Not that. Maybe it was their idol was success. And now I'm viewed not as a success, but what? A failure. Maybe it was social significance.

You see, maybe it was that. I want to be that significant person in society that everybody looks up to and admires. That's what I want to be and now I'll never be that again. There's no reason for me to live.

They were in despair. You see, an idol has an ability to take a controlling position in your heart. And boy, you know what happens? You're willing to do anything for it without a second thought. Anything. Make any sacrifice.

You see, how does that work? What if work is my idol? Honey, I'm not coming home tonight. Honey, I'm going to be gone this weekend. Honey, I've got to work longer.

There's a big project coming. Honey, honey, honey. And meanwhile, a marriage disintegrates. I have children that barely know me. And why? Because I'm going to be somebody. And then we lie and we say, I'm doing it for them.

Liar. You're doing it for you because somehow you believe that that's where your meaning and purpose comes from. And God never intended it that way.

It could be family, children, career, achievement, critical acclaim, social standing, peer approval, beauty, brains, social causes, political perspectives. There are so many of us that have made idols out of politics that humans are going to be able to solve it only if they're in our party. They'll solve this world. They'll make it better. They won't.

I read the book, Human Government Fails. It's just as simple as that. There are even people in the same exact position I am and success in Christian ministry is their idol. They live for success in that ministry.

They'll do anything, compromise any theological truth in order to be successful. We're all prone to this. I mean, we can even make idols out of ideologies.

Just an idea. Back in the 19th century, right at the end of the 19th century, something was on the rise and guess what it was? The goodness of human beings.

Everybody said this is going to be great. We're evolving. Human beings are evolving.

We're getting better and better. And humans are intrinsically good. World War I and World War II had a major effect on that.

Beatrice Webb, many consider her the architect of the Britain's modern welfare state. She wrote this, somewhere in my diary, 1890 question mark, I wrote, I have staked all on the essential goodness of human nature. Now, 35 years later, I realize how permanent are the evil impulses and instincts in man and how little you can count on changing some of these. For instance, the appeal of wealth and power by any change in the social machinery. She says no amount of knowledge or science will be able to avail if we are not able to curb our bad impulses. H.G. Wells, as humanist as it gets, in his outline of history, he wrote in 1920, he praised belief in the human progress.

We are getting better and better. In 1933, in the book The Shape of Things to Come, Wells was appalled by the selfishness and violence in the European nations. He believed that the only hope for mankind was for intellectuals to seize control of the governments of the world and to run a compulsory education program stressing peace and justice and equity. In 1945, Wells wrote, A Mind at the End of its Tether. And he wrote, Homo sapiens, as he was pleased to call himself. Homo sapiens is all played out.

What happened to them? They state their hopes in the goodness of human beings. You see, that's the thing about an idol. It'll never deliver to you what you think it's going to. Not ever.

It'll always fail you. It'll never be what you thought it was. You've heard all the statements. You know it. You know, I spent my whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find out what?

Leaning against the wrong building. You know, we have all of those things. Why do you think God tells us in the wisdom literature that beauty fades? Because we're just dumb enough to believe it doesn't. God says, look, it fades. You see, that's the whole idea.

It never delivers. You can't replace God with anything. And that's what idols do. Being tempted to be an idolater is inevitable. Idolatry is birth, and it grows in the human heart. God gives priority to the sin of idolatry. Idols are much easier to make than you might think. But maybe most importantly, just as a foretaste of where we're going to go, we all have to deal with the danger of idolatry.

Even the best of us. Turning the Bibles to Genesis chapter 12. It's the call of Abram. Or we could call it the call of Abraham.

That great man of faith. This is his first call, and now the Lord said to Abram, go forth from your country and from your relatives and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you. And I will make your name great, and so that you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Could you imagine God speaking to you that way?

You're the guy. Now, he's an Ur, the Chaldees. He's likely a moon worshiper up to this point. And guess what? The next verse says, so Abraham went. Now, that's interesting. God said go, Abraham went.

We find out in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 8, the writer of Hebrews says he did not know where he was going. Just imagine that. You're in the neighborhood. You see a camel pull up with a U-Haul behind it.

And he and Sarah start pouring the stuff in. You say, Abram. Yeah, where you going? Moving. Where? I don't know.

What do you mean? Don't know. Just going. You have no idea where you're going? Nope. I'm just going to go. I'm going west.

That's all I know. Wouldn't that seem strange? By the way, what would it take to do that? We know what it takes. It takes great faith, doesn't it? He's just going to go. Now, you have to understand something else about him. He's listening to this and God says, and in you all the families of the earth are going to be blessed.

You've got to understand something about Abram. On a certain level, even at this stage of his life, he probably feels completely unfulfilled. He has no son.

He has no children at all. His life is all about your spot in the family. And it's all about what happens after you.

It all goes down to ancestors and children. You see, Abram would have seen himself as a person who was very important. His great-grandfather gave his grandfather life, who gave his father life, and he gives life. Then he gives life to a son, who gives life to a grandchild, to a great-grandchild.

And the most important thing in their life was the children, and the most important child is the firstborn son. He has none. Now, that had to really get to him. Turn with me to chapter 17 of Genesis. He hears this promise from God. And now in chapter 17, verse 1, it simply says this, Now when Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I am God Almighty.

Walk before me and be blameless. And I'm going to establish my covenant between, he says, me and you, and I will, he says, multiply you exceedingly. Now, he gets another conversation with God. But something's happened decades. This isn't just years now.

This is decades. He's 99. Now, remember, God keeps telling him this, but he's 99. He is so overwhelmed by this, and it's such an important part of his life, that he comes up with plan B, doesn't he? He decides, Ishmael. The problem's mostly Sarah's anyway, so if I take a servant girl, and I have a son, I'll have a son, Ishmael. Now, that was a big mistake.

There's no question about that. But I want you to think about it. Why did he do it? Because it's so important for him to have the son, and he's 99 years old.

And please understand this, because I know sometimes in the Bible we think, well, things are different. But you know what 99 is? Ninety-nine.

It's in Hebrew 99, it's in English 99, it's 99. That's a lot of years without a son. You see, without a son.

Now, watch how this plays itself out. Let's go to chapter 21, verse 1. Then the Lord took note of Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Esauch. Laughter. Not just because I think that Sarah laughed when she was told she would have a son, she thought that was pretty funny, but I think it's because that's what he and Sarah did the moment he was born. Just laugh.

Joy. One expositor of the Old Testament said, no man who ever lived longed for a son more than Abraham. I bet that's true. You see, that's true. By the way, is having a son a good thing? It is. It's a wonderful thing. And in this culture, it's even a greater thing. I've got an heir. You see, the legacy goes on.

This is it. I've got my son. You could imagine how he felt about him. No man probably ever loved a son more.

I could imagine this relationship. Let's go to chapter 22. And now it came about after these things that God tested Abraham and he said to him, Abraham, and he said, here I am. He said, take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac. Now, God, for the sake of brevity, could have said, hey, take Isaac.

But he doesn't. He understands Abraham's heart. He said, take your son, whom you love, your only son. You see, God knows what Abraham thinks. He loves that boy. He loves that boy. You see, do you think there's a possibility that Abraham may love the gift more than the giver?

Do you think that's possible? It certainly is. You see, the whole idea of it is Abraham could have said, now I'm fulfilled. I've got my boy. By the way, children make great idols. A very big temptation. By the way, you see that at the heart of a lot of things. Overprotectiveness. You can see that with an overprotective parent. Be careful you're not making an idol out of a child.

You see, you're raising a child for the child's good, not for yours. God's pretty clear about that. Well, he said, take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac. Go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in which I would tell you.

Horrifying. We know the story, so we read into it, but just imagine that. Offer him up. Some have read that and said, see that Old Testament God, he's bloodthirsty. He's not.

But he will not share his throne in anybody's life with any idol of any human heart, including Isaac. He said, offer him up. Now watch, there's no, Abraham, what a great way, Abraham rose early in the morning and let's go. Now, I don't know about you, but I would have said, more clarification, please. You know, what are you talking about?

No. And he said he took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son and he said, and he split wood for the burnt offering and rose and went to the place in which God had told him. On the third day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place in the distance. And Abraham said to his young men, stay here with a donkey and I and the lad will go over there and we will worship and return to you. And he said, and Abraham took the wood and the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac's back, on his son.

He took in his hand the fire and the knife and the two of them walked together. Is that a scene? Now remember, Isaac is somewhere between 1618 and 3033. I would have a tendency to see him closer to the 30 mark, some say another spot, but he's a grown man.

He's in the prime of his life. Abraham's a very old man. He has no physical control over Isaac at all.

None. In fact, as they walked up the mountain, Isaac might have been helping his dad the whole way. And on his back, he's carrying the wood that he's going to climb on. You see, he's going to climb on it.

His father is walking with him. Now we know behind the scenes as I see the imagery, I see Isaac and Abraham going up one side of Mount Moriah this way and God has a ram going up the other side. But when God has rams going up the other side, we never see them until we need them.

And so that's what happens here. Abraham said God will provide for himself the lamb and the burnt offering, my son. How do you say it to your boy? Remember, he loves this boy.

This is his only son, the one he loves. You see, but I had a hunch that Abraham was going to pass this test all along. And I found that in verse five.

Abraham said to his young men, stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go over there and we will worship and we will return to you. You see, I know God is good. I know God is good. I know God has promised me through that boy a blessing to the world, I know.

I don't know how, but I know. The writer of Hebrews helps us out, by the way. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed that God could raise the boy from the dead if that's what God was going to do.

You see, there is this man's great faith. And so what happens is they came to the place in verse nine which God had told them. Abraham built the altar and arranged the wood and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.

Climbed up there in his own accord. He stretched out his hand and he took the knife to slay his son. Don't miss this from the imagery. Think of the father. Think of the son.

Just see that. And the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham. And quickly he probably said, here I am. And he said, do not stretch out your hand against the lad and do nothing to him for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.

He's no idol. When he says fear, he doesn't mean he was afraid of God. There's a lot of different words for fear but this has the idea of reverence.

You revere me. In fact, the writer of the Psalms takes this same word for fear and converts it to love. God says, I know you love me. And here's the important point of idols.

I know you love me more than you love the boy. By the way, isn't that exactly what it said in the New Testament? They asked Jesus Christ how do you summarize the entire Old Testament and he said what? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Your neighbors yourself. Love them. What did Jesus Christ say? If you don't love me more, if you don't love me more than your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your child, even your own life, he said you can't be my disciple.

Why? Because you're an idolater. You see, God says I'm a jealous God.

I'm number one. I'm the only God and everything else is idolatry. And Abraham passes this in the most remarkable way and I can't read this story by the way by adding a little lagniappe to the story. I keep thinking out from God's perspective because in the future, his only son, the one he loves, is going to carry on his back up that mountain, the wood, and no one's going to stay the hand. They're going to nail him to the cross and he's going to scream, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

And he's going to pay the price for all of us as the sacrifice. You know what the story of Abraham and Isaac tells me? How much God loves me. Because God is saying, you know how much Abraham loves Isaac? Probably as much as any father has ever loved any son who ever lived. God is saying to you and to me, that's how much I love my son. I gave him for you. So what do you think that was like?

But no one stayed the hand. See, I'm overwhelmed by the love of God. So it's not a big thing for me to say, wait, you mean I got to love God more than anything? He loves me more than anything. Even his own son. Yes, I love him more than anything.

Yes. That's the spot he belongs in my life and in yours too. And when we put something else in that spot, we are idolaters. That's what the word of God says.

Maybe some of us need to take a walk up a mountain. And I would ask you to prayerfully consider, is there an Isaac in your life that you need to sacrifice for God? Let's pray. Father, I'm afraid that we will be like the elders of Israel when we think of idolatry, it's so easy to say to you, what idols? But Father, we can't lie to you. You see our heart. And so, Father, I pray for each and every one of us, not only just for today but in the weeks to come, that we examine our own heart and see in our own heart if there's anything there that we consider more important than you. Because if there is, Father, we need to deal with it. We need to sacrifice it.

We need to get rid of it. And not only, Father, would that please you, but that will totally bless us. Father, I pray, examine each and every one of our hearts and have us come under the conviction to answer the question, how much do we love you?

In Christ's name, amen. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called That's, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 03:00:11 / 2023-04-17 03:10:22 / 10

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