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The Truth About Idolatry B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 17, 2022 4:00 am

The Truth About Idolatry B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 17, 2022 4:00 am

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You can't realize what danger your rate if you let your liberty run you while you are not going to get involved in the desert was not going to get involved in my liberties I can action hero movie you will allow your kids to see it. Should Christians boycott companies that promote policies contrary to biblical teaching.

Can you listen to non-Christian music when it comes to Christian liberty, especially with regard to gray areas. The discussion often comes down to a list of can I work can't tie questions like the ones I just gave you, but today John MacArthur will show you why your liberty is less about what you can do and more about your relationship with God and your willingness to obey him. It's all part of John's continuing study called pitfalls of Christian liberty. Now, here is John MacArthur, the truth about idolatry the truth about idolatry. Now we know in this section that were in in first Corinthians that the apostle Paul is dealing with a particular subject idolatry.

The very term to me, is repulsive. Doesn't take me very long to even turn my stomach a little bit when I begin to think about the term let alone talk about. It's a repulsive term. It fit somewhere in the category of my vocabulary with words like blasphemy, damned hell and Judas. It's one of those kind of words were those kind of words that I'm not too particularly excited about it conjures up great anxiety in my heart concerning myself with the holiness and the purity in the character of God only say something that I think is very basic. This I believe. And by this I mean idolatry is the most serious and contaminating sin. There is hope you get that idolatry is the most serious and contaminating sin. There is and the reason is because it strikes directly at the character of God that we need a close look at idolatry.

Because if it's that important. If it's the worst sin of all and if the Bible has so much to say about it and believe me I couldn't even begin to go through all the scriptures that talk about idolatry.

If that's true then we really ought to understand what this thing is first of all, anonymously give you a broad definition in a particularized look at idolatry. First of all, idolatry is liable on the character of God LI be EL it is libel is slander on the character of God by a second thought.

Idolatry is also worshiping the true God in the wrong way. Thirdly, now give you some specifics on idolatry to help you to define idolatry is worshiping any image. Now let me another idea number four of just listing these thoughts. Idolatry is worshiping angels don't ever worship angels physically idolatry is worshiping devils in Revelation 920. It says that they were in the picture of the simulation, worshiping demons and then it was on talk about idols of stone sober and wooden Nola.

So idolatry is libel against the character of God, and that is to think anything unworthy of God worshiping the true God, and a false way worshiping any idol any image idolatry is worshiping angels idolatry is worshiping demons and that goes on today doesn't.

People who believe in the Satan church and bowed out of demons and bow down to false deities and spirit beings mediums and all that we have the trappings of the will and six thought in defining idolatry. None of your thought about this, but idolatry is worshiping dead men dead men.

Any dead men venerating or worshiping dead men is idolatry, and I'll show you an interesting verse that you may not have discovered on this Psalm 106, 28, I'll just read it to you. Don't turn it.

It's just short and here he is describing again.

The typical pattern of Israel being so unfaithful to the covenant of God and falling into idolatry, says this, they joined themselves also want to bail Theodore this is a form of bail worship. Now listen and eight the sacrifices of the dead part of the worship of the bail apparently involve the worship of the dead and Israel had gotten into worshiping dead men. That is sin. That is idolatry. We are not to worship dead men.

Any dead men of any kind worship God and him only shalt thou worship the Bible said not just that he is the supreme one to be worship. He is the only one to be worship as a matter who that dead man is you know in the worship of bail were part of the worship of bail was in the gardens in the groves they went to they worship the graves and they worshiped the monuments represented the dead people. That's idolatry now want to get it much more down to our society and to what we think in terms of our own attitudes. Idolatry is any and all of this with any idol in your heart. Idolatry is any idol in your and you know you have to look at your own heart to tell what it is but I daresay if I said all right, everybody take out your pencil and do this right down the idols that you struggle with in your life. There is no thinking person who can write some debt if you have problem with ask your wife shall have no problem with she knows where you worship. She knows what you bow down to so your kids so you can be a lot of things, education some people who bowed out of education. All they wanted degrees. They just want a didn't want just the name they want the name of the whole bunch of extraneous letters on money and something about out of science.

Chad Walsh written a book called campus gods on trial and he talks about the fact that on the campuses of America. The students have God's and summing it all up. Basically the gods of modern Manor, humanism, materialism, and sex humanism. You know Billy Graham says we have in God we trust our coins in the first grade on our hearts as humanism. That's humanism it's mother, I'd rather do it myself.

That's humanism I can handle my own problems I can solve my own mysteries. I'll run my own world. That's humanism and materialism.

Another of the gods of humanity, materialism, and in the God sex that is probably the ugliest God is no different.

We were in Baalbek some time ago, and seeing the God buckets to whom the great temple of the orgies was built credible edifice worshiping sex is always been one of the gods of men so he had an idol in the heart. Now Ezekiel 14 zeros in on this Son of Man. Ezekiel 14 three. These men and is talking about the elders of Israel in verse one, the elders of Israel have set up their idols in their heart. They haven't made any stone images and they haven't made any gold and silver gods, but they have idols in their heart and they put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face. A minute.this thing between me and them all they can see is this idol. This is what they're bowing down to. They can't give me priority too busy getting an education in our day to busy making money are too busy being somebody there too busy with with their activities there too busy worshiping the God of recreational sport or whatever it is and they got that between them and me. Verse four he says that set the Lord, not every man of the house of Israel that sets up his idols in his heart and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face and comes to the prophet I the Lord will answer him. I will answer him, I'll take the house of Israel in their heart because they are estranged from me through their idols will take over Reese's out sees them. Idolatry is any idol in the heart. Now I can be specific about a couple of these. If you look with me at Ephesians 55.

I'll show you a couple of idols in the heart Ephesians 55 and Paul here suggests, this almost as an aside, but helps us to get an idea that is very, very, very important. He's talking about the fact that that as children dear children of God without a walk in love and walking in love means we avoid false love but we maintain true or false for this fornication, and all the stuff that goes with that and he goes on to do other things that we should avoid verse five assist for this. You know that no fornicator sexual sin, nor unclean person, nor covetous man parentheses who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Now here's another thing is idolatry. This is the eighth and the list idolatry is covetousness or covetousness is idolatry. Somebody who covets really is worshiping in the materialism and is it, this is money seems possessions we house or car close more money, more bonds, more stocks, bigger business or products more inventory, more, more, whatever covetousness is idolatry.

Because whenever you begin covetousness as we wanted to give a definition covetous wanting what you don't. What have that's covetous you say oh are you kidding me.

I'm not kidding.

Covetousness is wanting what you don't have your I do it I have to say that because you know that anyway course, covetous, wanting what you want to know you can be tempted to want what you don't have and reject the temptation.

That's covetousness to get to the place where you have a strong driving desire for the thing you don't pulses I have learned in whatever state I am there with to be content in order to have. I know what it is to have not. Either way, God help us to get to that level of maturity, covetousness, worshiping money, worshiping possessions and just to make sure you didn't forget that little later in the New Testament is echoed in Colossians 3, five, same statement covetousness which is idolatry. You cannot worship God in the true God in the True Way, Jesus said and also worship money God and Mammon. But I'll tell you, money gets in the way worshiping God. Read first Timothy six that it would be rich fall and demanding snares, deceitful lesson hurts temptation and that's the thing that gets in the front of you like the Israel elders of old. It you get money between your faith in God and you can't see him anymore. Or maybe your God is a is possessions or a better job or a better salary or a bigger house or whatever, whatever, and that becomes the preoccupation of your mind that stands between you and God blocks his view is another thing I want to spend too much time because the Holy Spirit is going to do with you on this as he is with me but number nine in just giving you a long list of things to define idolatry is idolatry is also lust idolatry is lust. I think this is a very helpful verse Philippians 319. Now I want to buy to panic but your terms whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly roll my and he goes on to define and whose glory is there shame, who mind earthly thing now is God is their belly could better be translated appetite and most of us would feel a little better about that. That's a little more abstract, but even better than that, I would say whose God is lust but if you want to be honest. Lust is a broad term and doesn't it can involve the belly. There are people who live for the one thing they have in mind centrally next week. You know there are people who haven't finished the meal. The reading until there already thinking about where they're going to get the next one and what it's going to be known to those people knowing of the society. The crowds us. This way we get to the place where all of a sudden we lost our perspective, it's true. People can live to eat.

But that is just that isn't all that he has in mind here and unfortunately the King James says belly and it it's really broader that it can be lust for anything some people just run around a panda sex all the just go from one sex object to the next. You know it's a magazine. When the magazine done its television program on television programs that it's it's whatever whatever whatever and that's in their mind. What time it could be lust for any direction toward any object strong desire sets up God's lust of the eyes.

Lust of the flesh writable. Well I I've given you nine things.

It will give you a fairly comprehensive look at idolatry wrong thoughts about God. Images other than God. Wrong ways of worshiping the right God worshiping angels, devils, dead men setting up idols and the heart such as covetousness and lust. That's idolatry below what is the Bible say what to do about idolatry was a say in first Corinthians 1014 do what flee also to the Corinthians, you can't realize what danger your rate if you let your liberty run you the end of it. While I'm not going to get involved in this certain last and I'm not going to get involved in covetousness. I have my liberties. I can indulge in a few of those things that both you keep exposing yourself to that stuff. The chances are you are from run. I want help little bit further to know why AutoRun by telling you what effect idolatry has on and on me.

How does idolatry affect us number one. It defiles us and what that means is it renders us sinful. It brings sin upon us, rather than righteousness.

In Ezekiel 20, verse seven it says the file, not yourselves with idols.

Idols have the filing of fact, I don't care whether it's the gods of Egypt that you're bowing down to raw you know the sun God or you're bowing down to the beetle God of Egypt and the time in which this was a indicating or whether today it's the God of golf in your heart or whatever money whatever that title is that has a defiling effect that is it interrupts righteousness and I'm talking to an unbeliever or a believer. It'll have the same effect on either.

Fortunately in graciously God forgives and keeps on cleansing the believer, but it is no less idolatrous and no less defiling. Secondly, idolatry has not only a defiling effect on the person who's involved, but it has a polluting effect on everybody around a person to worship an idol tends to tends to tear down everybody around them.

You see this in Israel a little group of people began worshiping bail and pretty soon it had national consequences. In Ezekiel chapter 36 verse 18 helps us to see that in these terms, it says work. Wherefore, I poured my fury on them for the blood that they had shed on the land and for their idols by which they had polluted it idolatry. Not only has a devastating effect on me. Whatever that title might be, but it has a polluting effect on everybody that I touch another thing about idols. They can help you anyway I keep that in mind, you don't have one idol in your life is going to be any history you certainly can't turn your money when you get into real problems. You can't turn your education, you can't turn to whatever particular point of saying you might have what you can't turn your big house or your bank account. Whatever in Isaiah think it's 46, seven, you have that indicated it says it discusses idolatry is it's really funny to see the way.

Discuss the reasons these guys are making idols, and they do all this and they carry their idols on their shoulder. Here they come with their new idol or just forge their new aoli, down the road with her new idol and they stick it in its place, and it stands there.

Isaiah said, there is and from its place, it shall not move. It'll never go anywhere.

That's the end it's there and that's it yeah one shall cry unto it yet.

Can it not answer nor save him out of his trouble idols get help get the thing for something further that he talks about in Ezekiel 44 idols not only defile you pollute everything around you can help you when you need it anyway. But idols bring upon you guilds that activates God's vengeance.

Ezekiel 4410 and this is straight.

The Levites that are gone away far from me. When Israel went astray who went astray away from me after their idols.

They shall even bear their iniquity, idolatry has culpability, that is, it has guilt connected with it when you have a false God, you ready yourself guilty in that EC brings down God's vengeance, you put yourself in a position for chastening for God to judge just to show you how he does that in Isaiah 65 two.

These are interesting terms.

Listen to this. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people that walked in a way that was not good after their own thoughts.

You see, they conjured up their own ideas of God in their own ideas of how to worship a people provoking me to anger continuing to my face. They sacrifice in gardens and they burn incense on altars of brick. The remain among the graves and the Lodge and the monuments you see there that idea of worshiping dead people that eat swine's flash and brought some abominable things in their vessels that say standby thyself come not near to me. Stay away. Don't come near me, for I am holier than now. Always wonder where that came from average Isaiah 65 five I like Dodge practices they are smoke in my nose you ever get smoke in your nose that is irritating. God says they irritate beholders written. I will not keep silence will recompense even recompense into their bosom mama to bounce it right back like a backboard right out of your iniquities, the iniquities of your fathers together, says the Lord of the burn incense on the mountains and blaspheme me on the hills and they had their idols upon the mountains therefore will I measure therefore working to their bosom. I'll bounce it right back at them right into the on this. People tells you what happens in idolatrous situations, you activate the recompense and vengeance of God, a man who loves worshiping any other than the true God or worshiping the true God in any other way that the true way through his son is in a position where God's vengeance is activated against while I'm in Isaiah also interesting verse and 57 five. This is just a fascinating look at idolatry. Can't believe how sordid this is talks about sorceress adulterers and harlots and all the gross things but it just doesn't get any more vile than verse five. This is another aspect of it. Idols defile, they pollute they give no help. They bring guilt and they demand vengeance from God and one other thing that idols do is inflame the heart.

They set me on fire spiritually speaking, they begin to consume it. They get out of control.

Verse five inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree you look yourselves on fire with this thing we say man is a fire in his heart, we mean he's got tremendous uncontrollable passion. And you know there is even an exact physical act that brought this statement, the bear, they used to at the Spring Festival day the Palestinian heathens at the at the spring festivals. They took huge trees and they hang on the trees, their sacrifices and then burned up the whole tree so that was like a metaphor for the burning of their hearts, and then the second part of the verse will just give you footnotes slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks.

The Canaanites kill their children a part of their sacrifice to the God Moloch was to take the children for example, to build a building, put a live child in a jar. Seal the jar building the wall further than that. What he's referring to here is they used to take little children at the at the festivals to Moloch and they would stick them in a leather bag and they were tight not to the top of the bag and told the children off a cliff.

That's precisely what this means slaying children the valleys under the clefts of the rocks.

That's idolatry at so far away and Israel was involved. Now that's idolatry, lighting the flames of their own burning fat Jeremiah 5038 Jeremiah says idols have driven you mad. They lost their senses and idolatry. A lifetime of worshiping the wrong things that the wrong gods in the wrong way can drive a man at the place where he cannot any longer. Think singly and that helps you to see idolatry. What's God's attitude.

Deuteronomy 725 says idolatry is an abomination. God hates Deuteronomy 1622 Deuteronomy chapter 17 God says I hate idolatry Jeremiah 8, God pours out his wrath against idolatry. He says the people who do that are going to be manure to be done on the earth. Revelation 14 Revelation 21 Revelation 22 God says is no idolater ever going to enter in the miking so beloved is only one way to react to idolatry. It's one what is run from any kind. Leave it to close with this Joshua 23 seven says this that you come not among these nations. These that remain among you own your mingle. He says please don't intermingle Mrs. Joshua's finalist just for you guys don't make mention of the name of their God's, nor cause to swear by them. Neither serve them nor bow yourselves under them, but playing to the Lord your God.

See Joshua's words are just like Paul have nothing to do with talk about going to God, love, and we have liberty but our liberty is not to see how far we can go to we get to the ends of end of the of the of our liberty right on the edge of the world's idolatry and get into temptation fall in our liberty is to let us run away from these don't let your freedom from sin turn into freedom to sin, a crucial reminder from John MacArthur as he continued his current series on grace to you titled pitfalls of Christian liberty along with teaching on the radio.

John also serves as Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary or for the lesson you just heard focused on the danger of idolatry is a temptation every Christian faces. John in those moments of temptation when sin entices a believer. What is the most effective weapon he or she has for resisting hello I you what you're talking about is a fully informed and active conscience conscience is your warning device God-given warning device a few days ago I said it's like pain in the physical world. It sums wrong with your body.

God has given you a warning system.

It's called pain. And you know something is wrong and you can deal with it you can make it right. That's critical you would want to live without pain because you could be dying and never know it. Damaging yourself and never know it. The same is true in the spiritual realm. The conscience activates your will and says whoa stop I'm going down the wrong spiritual path of danger ahead. But the conscience can only respond to what you believe to what you believe to your convictions. That is why it is critical to have biblical convictions that accurately inform your conscience look at a suicide bomber blows himself up because his conscience doesn't stop him.

His conscience is informed by lies, so your conscience can only react to whatever your belief system is as a Christian, you need a well formed sound biblical belief system so your conscience can activate all of this and a whole lot more than a book I wrote called the vanishing conscience you need to read the vanishing conscience softcover 250 pages it'll change how you view that most important gift from God, your conscience, you can order one from Grace to you today yes friend. This is one of John's classic books and you really need to read it to help make sure that you're taking sin as seriously as God expects you to pick up a copy of the vanishing conscience when you contact us today. You can order by calling toll-free 855 grace or by visiting our website again to get a copy of the vanishing conscience for yourself for a few to give away. Call 855 grace or visit If you're looking to strengthen your conscience by really expanding your understanding of biblical truth. Let me recommend the MacArthur study Bible with detailed introductions to each book of the Bible and 25,000 study notes by John MacArthur study Bible helps put Scripture in its proper historical context shows you how to apply God's word to your life. MacArthur study Bible is available in the new American Standard new King James and English standard version. There are also many non-English translations to choose from to see all of the options, go to That's our website. or you can call us at 855 grace now for John MacArthur and the entire staff on Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television Sundays on DirecTV channel 378 that's enter BTV or check our website to see if it errors in your area. Join us tomorrow for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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