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January 17, 2022 5:00 am
Let's face it, we all struggle with sins as followers of Christ. But what if those pesky reoccurring sins that we battle are the real problem.
But if were going about it all wrong will find out that's today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with children Living on the Edges and international discipleship ministry featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram so grateful you joined us as we continue our new series doesn't work done by our guest teacher Kyle Eitel on this program he addresses what it looks like the battle against the gods of pleasure and how we can find victory in this area of our life.
So if you're looking for deeper insight into this issue.
Let me encourage you to keep listening. After this message, dear, some practical advice from Chip Duncan want to miss what he has to share with that peers are guest teacher Kyle Edelman with his message. Gods of pleasure first Kings chapter 18 idolatry is the issue. Sin is usually what we focus on, but it's just the fruits.
Idolatry is always the tree from which it grows. And so, behind every sin struggle that I have.
Behind every sin struggle that that you have is a false God that is winning the war in our lives and we asked ourselves some pretty difficult questions last week to try and identify some of the gods that are at war within you in a war within me and I hope that you found that if you struggle with jealousy is not just that your jealous person is that perhaps you've made this stuff a God in your life it if if you are anxious and worried a lot of the time it's not that you're just an anxious person. If that perhaps you've made comfort and security. A God in your life if you keep losing to lust. Maybe you've made the sex a God in your life if you struggle with gossip.
Maybe you've made what other people think of you a God in your life.
If your little bit legalistic and self-righteous. Maybe that's because you've made religious rules into a God of your life.
If your discontents maybe it's because you've made money a God in your life. If you're proud. Maybe it's because you made image of God.
If if you lack self-control. Maybe it's because you've turned pleasure into a God. And so, behind every sin that I struggle with and you struggle with is this false God that is winning the war for most of my Christian life I didn't understand it that way. Instead, my focus would always be on the sin itself and on my mental determination to stop doing that sin, but we need to get past the surface and if we scratch at that sin and if we keep scratching at it and will find underneath that sin is a false God that is sitting on the throne of our hearts and Intel that God is dethroned we will experience great frustration and tell that God is off the throne of our hearts. We will not know victory and so we try to identify some of those God's and I were talking about how do we worship the one true God for you.
The question is what are some the gods that you are struggling with what are the gods at war within you. If you're like me and most of you are and you will probably find the some of the hardest gods to defeat are the gods of pleasure we continually find ourselves bowing down to what feels good. After all, it is the mantra of our culture. If it feels good do it.
You have an appetite feed.
If you have an itch. Scratch it if you got this pleasure or desire to go ahead and satisfy it.
And so these gods of pleasure are everywhere and they are some of the most difficult to defeat in parts. In part because many of these gods are not evil or wrong in themselves instead they were gifts given to us by God himself and we turn them in to God's.
We took gifts and turn them into God's. We took a gift that God gave us and we turned it into his primary competition. Imagine your parents in any I/O we Nintendo Wii for your child to take it home and the child is ecstatic and gives you a big thank you lots of hugs it was worth every penny and your child sets up the Wii and begins to play that thing and you find great joy in seeing the pleasure that your gift brings them, but then after a few weeks, seems like that's really all they want to do was play doing and they complain about the attachments that they don't have and finally you come home from work one day and you want to spend time with your child, but your child doesn't want to spend time with you because they'd rather be playing the Wii. What happens the gifts replaced the giver at least, practically speaking, the gift means more to the person than the one who gave it.
And this is what we've done with many gifts of pleasure that God gave to us for us to enjoy, but we turn them into God's we've made them his competition and these are the gods that can be hardest to identify and to destroy us into these words from John Piper. He says the greatest enemy, for God is not poison, but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls her appetite for the banquet of heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world is not the X-rated video but the primetime dribble of triviality. We drinking every night. The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts and the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil but for the simple pleasures of her for when these replace an appetite for God himself. The idolatry is scarcely recognizable. These are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV watching and Internet surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking and all of them can become deadly substitutes for God. You see why these gods of pleasure can be so dangerous.
They are gifts often times from God himself and we turn them into his competition and if you have your Bibles turn to first Kings 18. We were in Joshua 24 and Joshua at the time was about 110 years old because there's gathers the nation of Israel together at a place called Shechem for what will be his final speech to the people and he throws down a challenge. He says everybody's gonna worship is not a matter of if you will worship you will worship so choose this day whom you will serve.
Who are you gonna worship and all the people in Joshua 24 say will we will worship the Lord God in Joshua says to them will go destroy your your idols go destroy the false gods that you brought with you out of the land of Egypt. So that's Joshua 24 now were in first Kings 18 between that time and this time hundreds of years have passed in Israel's history and a few important things have happened to me to know one. Israel has split into. They now are the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Israel. The northern kingdom was first ruled by a king named Jeroboam.
Jeroboam had a real practical problem on his hands. That is, Jerusalem, the place where people go to worship the Lord God is located in the southern kingdom. He didn't want all his people in the northern kingdom commuting to the southern kingdom. He wanted them to stay out of there so we gather the people together and he says listen. The traffic's horrible parking lot is a mess there. You don't want to have to go all the way down to Jerusalem just stay here and worship. In fact, we have these gods.
These false gods that you can worship here and he unlocks the storage building and he pulls out all these false gods and all these idols he blows the dust off and you know where they are from. They are from the land of Egypt in the days of Joshua. The people didn't destroy the God they just put it in the closet.
Does that sound familiar. They just stored it for a little while and here we are hundreds of years later those God's those false gods come back and with a vengeance. In fact, as you read through the Israel's history you find Kings come and go but they become more and more entrenched as a nation worshiping these false gods eventually first Kings 16 verse 29 says Ahab, son of Omer, he became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel for 22 years. I have sent of only did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him, and there there been some pretty evil kings before him. One of the things Ahab did was he married this woman by the name of Jezebel.
She was the princess of the Sedona hands and she comes in from his formation and Ahab essentially puts her in charge of his religious cabinet and so what she does.
She finds all the prophets of God, the Lord God that she can and she has them killed. She has them executed and then Jezebel sets up this altar to her primary God of her land name: surcease is an attempt by a an altar to bail. And then she builds bail a temporal in the northern kingdom of Israel, will God is a jealous God. Eventually he's had enough of this and he's can put a stop to it and so he calls his prophet Elijah and he says to Elijah, I want to go to Ahab and deliver a message to Ahab, and so that's what we read about in chapter 17 verse one Elijah says to the king as the Lord God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.
And so Elijah the prophet goes to the king, and says a drought is coming. Here's what you have to understand bail. The God they had been worshiping primarily was the God of rain.
He was the God of whether and so God looks at Israel as a nation and sees that the primary God there worshiping is the God of rain and God the Lord God says all right then I am going to withhold rain and this is often times what the Lord does. He sees an area has become too important to us. In fact, it is more important to us than him and he withdraws his blessing in that area. Does this sound familiar to some of you because some of you are the most frustrated in areas of life that mean the most to you because you've made them too important and God has said old okay I will remove my hand a blessing from you in that area since I since I'm not the Lord of that area and so don't be surprised if you put your marriage ahead of God. If you put your work ahead of God, your finances ahead of God. If you put your business ahead of God.
If you put your sex life ahead of God. If you put your happiness ahead of God and don't be surprised if these are the areas in which you experience the most frustration because God says oh, this is your bail.
Okay I won't send the rain what what Israel was experiencing as we read here is what theologians would call the active wrath of God the active breath of the words of God is knocking to just sit by any longer and let you live in disobedience or in idolatry. Instead, he's going to actively do something about it and he withholds the right now there are other times he doesn't always work this way. Other times when we are living in a pattern of sin or we are guilty of idolatry. We don't experience God's active wrath. We experience what's called God's passive wrath is passive wrath. This is where God says I'll just let you live with the natural consequences that come when I am not the Lord of your life and we read about this in Romans one which is all about idolatry. Three different places in Romans one assist the people exchanged God for something else. They exchanged God for this exchange God for that.
Every time we read of this exchange. They've made. We also read this and the Lord turned them over and the Lord turned them over the words God is saying if that's what you want and that's what you can have it is passive wrath where we live with the natural consequences that come in. He is not the Lord of our life. And if you're living at in a sinful pattern.
If you are guilty of idolatry, then you will experience God's active wrath, or you will experience God's passive wrath.
So the question is what is the bail in your life. Is there an area that's become too important to you, are you now experiencing God with holding up a blessing in that area and if you will turn it over to him if you will make him Lord of that area in your life, then he will often times send the rain I've seen this is a pastor many times in one example I can think of his recently I talked to a young lady she wanted more than anything else to get married. That's what she had wanted for years, desperately praying God, please send someone into my life. Got a want to be married is my dream to be a wife to be a mom. Please enter just came a point where she said okay Lord I'm to be content in you I'm in a find joy in you and whatever your timing is is okay with me. I'll keep praying about it, but this is no longer what's most she said it was about that time that God sent someone into her life. She stopped worshiping bail and God sent the rain. I want to be real clear here.
This is not a guaranteed formula okay and is not something we can go to God and say okay God I'm in a make you first in my life and then you bring that someone into my life.
That's what I really want. That's not how it works. Either he knows our hearts that he often does operate this way you stopped worshiping bail and God sent the rain and don't be surprised that in your life. There are some things that become too important to you of God sends a drought. This is true for you right now. Are you experiencing the work drought, financial drought, marriage, drought, sex, drought, happiness, drought, because God is wanting to draw your attention back to him because God wants to make sure that he is the Lord of this area and in your life and then you turn to him and you look up to him and then you feel a drop of rain fall on your face. I read this week about a young girl walks into a department store. She sees this pearl necklace. It's not real it's fake, godly and tacky really cost about $10 but she loves it she goes home she saves up her money until she has 10 bucks comes back to the store.
She buys these fake pearls education just wears them everywhere coming all the time.
She wears these pearls. These fake pearls and and they look tacky and a few of them go missing after a little while and finally her father comes to her 19 says, honey, do you love me and little girl says that you know I love you and the father says I want to give me those pearl and and the little girl says dad you can have my favorite toy which can have my pearls.
He comes to her the next nine says, honey, do you love me that I want to give me your pearls Jesus we can have my favorite doll, but you can't have my pearls next day she comes down the steps just get some tears in her eyes and she's carrying her godly tacky pearls in her hand and she says daddy you can have my pearls, want to know how much I love and then the father pulls out of his pocket velvet case and the opens for his daughter a real pearl necklace. CE was waiting for her to let go of the imitation so that he could bless her with the real thing he was raiding to see that he is the father meant the most and then he would give her the best gift of all. And I wonder how much how often we are missing out. And God's blessing in a certain area of our lives because we made it too important and if we would just give it back to him. Then God would send the rain and so God sent Elijah and says to to the king, listen, there's going to be this drought in the land, and a few years can pass there's no rain gods made his point any sense. Elijah back to Ahab, and basically Elijah sets up what you could call a cage match between God and all the gods of bail and of Asherah first Kings 18 verse 19, Elijah goes to Ahab and he says now some of the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount caramel and bring the 450 prophets of bail and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table so Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the profits on Mount caramel Mount caramel was kind of an ancient location of where God had been worshiped in the brought sacrifices to the Lord from years ago so they they decide to meet on Mount caramel verse 21 says a lie joked went before the people.
So he stands in front of this crowd, probably thousands, and he says how is what he says to the people. How long will you waiver between two opinions to this sound familiar from Joshua 24 hello there you go back and forth that the Lord is God, follow him. But if bail is God, follow him and says this but the people said what people said nothing may have to ask yourself why. Why were they silent. I see myself in this they were silent because they didn't have to choose. They wanted both so they thought it best to just say nothing at all if they wanted bail instead of God, they would've said we choose bail if they wanted God instead of bail they would've said we choose God they wanted both so they said nothing. We don't like to be forced to choose.
This is why many people don't come to church understand me and then they would say if you asked them will I love God, I really do battle go to church will will why get down to it on delegate. This is they don't want to have to choose, they don't want to put a throne on their hearts were God sits. Instead, they and I can do it too well. We much prefer instead of a throne. We prefer a loveseat loves. We invite God to sit on the loveseat of our hearts. God, you're welcome. We want you on the loveseat of her hearts understand you're expected to share that space with something or someone else listening to the first part of our guest teacher. Kyle titled message gods of pleasure series God's Jubal Joyner shortly to share some additional thoughts and application to what we've heard when you hear the word idle, you probably picture those big stone figures that people worshiped centuries ago but did you know that while most people don't bow down to man-made statues anymore. We all worship something in this series are guest teacher Kyle Edelman reveals the subtle nature of idolatry and just how rampant it is in our lives. Oftentimes without us even realizing it. He unpacks the ways we've put money, pleasure, achievements, careers, even our families in place of God and how we've allowed those false gods to satisfy control and to finance will stay with us as Kyle exposes the idols were holding onto and challenges us to take radical steps to get back to worshiping the one true God.
To learn more about the series God's at war defeating the idols the battle for your heart go to LivingontheEdge.org or call AAA 333-6003 hapless nurse Special offers ship as you've shared before the series came on your radar after you read Kyle's book God's at war because you are really challenged by it. Could you talk a little bit more about that book because I mean there's a lot of resources out there about putting God first in making Jesus a priority but there's just something different about what Kyle wrote absolutely right Dave. It's not that I don't read a lot of books from a lot of different perspectives. But if I'm going to tell people to read a book because I really believe in it. It's usually one that's deeply impacted me and I'll be honest with you I have read very few books that even talk about idolatry and some of the insights in this book I mean I really had to say. While there is an idle growing my heart in this area or that area and I think just his thought that sin is not the issue. The real issue is idols are sins are just symptoms.
And as I've gone through and actually I read it before now I'm listening to the book. It is been so encouraging and that kind of encouraging this like wow I so needed this. It's freeing me.
I get it. Thank you God and if you want to read a book that will set your year in the right direction and give you a focus to really walk with God. I could not more highly recommend what you've been moved by what Kyle's been teaching in the series. Let me encourage you to get this book it'll take you deeper into the subtle dangers of idolatry and pleasure to consider what needs to change in your life to order your copy of God's at war defeating the idols.
The battle for your heart visit LivingontheEdge.org or call AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org hapless nurse Special offers which it as I listen to this message and are struck by something Kyle said idols aren't always bad or evil.
They can be something good that we prioritize ahead of God. Don't you take a minute and explain what that can look like in our lives will Dave I can tell you I think that for serious followers of Christ. I think honestly that's where idols really they bettered my life. You know it wasn't like as I begin to really mature that the idols were these big bad terrible things. It was really good. Things like I learned to work hard and working hard is important in doing your very best into the Lord. And then I found myself becoming a workaholic because my work and how much I achieved became the God instead of that being my offering to God and your you know even the title of this message, the God of pleasure and I mean pleasure is a gift from God. A good meal is a gift from God. Sex is a gift from God given to us for marriage, when there's a wonderful, wonderful things, but they can all become idols. When we get so absorbed and focused in them that the I like this phrase instead of a means to enjoy and to thank God for they become in and they become the driving force. Never forget when I pastored earlier in my life. One of our strongest leaders on those godly people. I had a couple kids and they got really involved in soccer and is one child was very gifted and pretty soon you know why we can't get to church as much men. Pretty soon it was a traveling team that went out of the state and then I got a little bit concerned and in I talk with them I said hey you think soccer is great and yes good time with your family, but you know you you sorta disengage from church and worship and oh no no no no, you know, it's just is just a season then and then about two to half years later. I mean, I was shocked. Someone said did you hear about so-and-so in his life again and divorce. I said what I mean. I mean, these are like people that you know if you had a marriage problem.
I would send you to this couple and little by little by little, as they were taking in God's word as they miss fellowship thing that was very good family time kids in sports, became an idle and as that became an idle, then it begin to pull them apart and as I share that story Dave, I would ask each person listening to me right now. Is there any good thing in your life right now. You know, in and of itself. No problem, but is your focus in your time and your energy revolving around that now, to the neglect of your time, your energy and your love around the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that's a hard question now is not a time to be silent. Now's the time to be vocal and you privately to say to the Lord, you are my Lord I'm going to serve you and then do whatever you need to do so that your actions and your behavior in your priorities reflect that today is a great day to address any idol in your life.
Can you be so glad you did.
Just before we close. I want you to know that as a staff we asked the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is there's a way we can be helpful. We love to do that you give us a call a 8883336003 or connect with email@example.com and while you're there you'll find resources on all kinds of topics, many of them absolutely free one. Glad you've been with us and until next time, this is Dave saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge