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February 23, 2022 1:00 am
What will it take for us to give up today’s idols of sports, business, relationships, and fame to return to God? In Jeremiah’s day, Israel forsook God—the fountain of living water—for idols, which were like broken cisterns that hold no water. In this message, we’ll unveil three characteristics of idolatry so we can avoid the self-deception of our own idolatry. God has called us, in this cultural moment, to be satisfied in Him.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Jeremiah 213 says Israel force God the fountain of living waters hewed out broken cisterns for themselves which can hold no water for this God's judgment fell heavily in the modern church hewed out, broken cisterns stay with us from the Moody Church in Chicago this morning to win with Dr. Erwin looks her mood is clear. Teaching helps us get across the finish line. Today we continue a series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness estimates or tell us more about Babylon idolatry and you know Dave the human heart is prone to idolatry. It was Calvin who said that the human heart is basically an idol factory. We always want an idol. But eventually an idol always breaks the heart of its worshipers. That's why this series of messages is so important. I've written a book entitled God's devil and this of course relates to what was going on in Babylon and what is going on in our present culture for gift of any amount. This book can be yours. You can simply go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book, God's devil, and for now let us listen once again as we go to the Old Testament to try to understand our times is not only spiritual adultery that the people were committing and turning from the living water to the broken cisterns.
The brackish water but they were sexually immoral and that these pagan gods were very tolerant of whatever sexuality you wanted, and the problem with that tolerance which offers so much and which promises freedom. The problem with that tolerance, as it brought so much baggage and when you drink from that mountain you gag because of the guilt and because of the broken relationships and because of the emptiness and because of the sense of destruction of who you are and the self respect should have as a person.
All of those consequences are huge but the problem is your bonded to these items so you keep drinking from the debtor fountains that can hold no water, but you keep going back again again and again you see that's the problem with different views of God. I have books in my library where people have totally redefined God in accordance with human desire. Whatever it is back there was a book written, it just comes to mind as I'm preaching conversations with God. By the way, did you know that that book was written by demonic spirit. I read it. Maybe about 10 years ago, but the author said that as he was writing. The spirit came along and basically dictated it and basically what God said is I am whoever you want me to be, well, isn't that general that it was Huxley who said the reason that we accepted evolution without a lot of proof is because we didn't want to God to interfere with our sexual rate that was Huxley and I got off our back so that we can be free, but the freedom comes with a huge price on beach and you end up choking on those fountains is a hard lesson to learn, isn't it. Now the thing is that 10 give it remember the story told it maybe 10 years ago when you've been here as long as I sometimes lose a little bit of track of time about the man who was driving through a farmyard, and he noticed that on the barn. There were a bunch of targets and right smack in the middle of each target was an arrow. So we stopped to commend the farmer for being such an expert marksman, the farmer said what you saw there wasn't done by me. It was done by a village boy who is somewhat mentally challenged he comes out here he shoots arrows into my barn and then he paints the targets around them.
That's what society does. I want to do what I want to do.
I want to live the way in which I want to live and God will come along and make it all right and agreed with me very famous pornographers name, I will not mention was interviewed and I remember reading the interview in which he says my God doesn't have a problem with you see it used to be when I was younger that you said the bumper sticker said if it feels good do it now.
The bumper sticker should say if it feels good.
Believe it so that we have is a God who comes along and justifies everything that we want to do third characteristic of idolatry is willful self-deception, willful self-deception now here in the text, they say, for example, in verse 23 as they are trying to justify themselves. By the way. Notice in verse 22.
You know, of course, that I am in chapter 2 it says no you wash yourself with a lie and he was much soaked the stain of your guilt is still before me how you think there washing themselves there washing themselves with self-justification there talking among their friends and their single everybody does it. How could this be wrong and so they're trying to cleanse their consciences is not working very well. How can you say I am not unclean. I not gone after the bales look at your way in the Valley.
I know what you have done restless like a young camel running here and there a wild donkey used in the wilderness inner heat sniffing the wind and you know what the prophet goes on to say you go out looking for sin is not just that sin comes to you, but you go cruising trying to find it running toward the sin and not away from it. That's where your heart really is. That's what the prophet happens to be saying wow and then he says in verse 26 is a thief ashamed when caught so the house of Israel shall be ashamed. They their kings and so forth.
I tell you what he saying there and think about this anything that you and I are doing, which, if it were exposed, would be shameful is something that we already know to actively is wrong and all boy might be sleeping with his girlfriend totally justified. You know, because two can live more cheaply than Juan and yada yada yada.
Gaddy and on and on it goes. But when he's exposed. There is embarrassment and there is shame why because intuitively you know that it's wrong, and these people going to the hills into the mountains and saying that we are worshiping these other gods they knew down deep that they were not able to wash their soul's from the stain of guilt where does this leave us a couple of observations quickly.
First of all, would you remember that time idolatry that all idols all idols demand worship and allegiance all idols demand these pagan gods demanded worship.
They demanded allegiance the people try to get away from just occurs to me now. Remember that old story about tar baby trying to get away but it always kept sticking and they always kept coming back. They couldn't overcome their addiction. What they ended up doing. They ended up sacrificing their children to the God Malik, that's how bad it became. Because you see, once you say we are free from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all of his laws and all of his traditions and all those things and now we're free to be our own gods.
You never know where it's going to end up, but every God demands allegiance and actually idolatry is not. First of all such things that we normally think of it, certainly not the idols out on the fields because we don't have that today, but we do have sports and we do have business idols and we do have people whose whole identity is wrapped up with relationships. We have women, for example, and feel that they're totally worthless unless there is a man on their arm that also can be an idol and as a result of that you see whether or not it's money or fame or adulation or being well thought of Calvin the great theologian said that the human mind is an idol factory. It's always just generating one idol after another. And God has to come along and show those idols to us. I may have idols in my life that I am even unaware of.
But when we are serious with God, he begins to show us because he also demands allegiance and the first commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul, with all thy mind and I neighbor as thyself. Anything that we love more than God, anything that satisfies this more than God is an idol that could be our family. It could be something good.
Totally justified, but is God first. All dogs demand allegiance, and certainly these gods did. Second, the answer, the answer is to return to the Lord.
Now I'm going to jump to chapter 3 and obviously in this series we are not going to be going.
Verse by verse.
But chapter 3 verse 12 for example, return faithless Israel, declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful I will not be angry forever only acknowledge your guilt that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among the foreigners under every green tree and that you've not obeyed my voice.
Return all faithless children, for I am your master God says to you and to me today return return. Even with your idols because they're too strong for you to deal with but the Bible says in Thessalonians that we turn to God from idols in other words, God doesn't say leave your idols behind and come to me. How do you tell somebody addicted to an idol, leave it behind, and come to me know you come with your idol but you come to God to know that he's the one to forgive you and to deliver you and bring you a hope and bring you back to the satisfying fountain, but you come to God seriously with your idols know this past Friday night Rebecca and I were at a banquet.
Some of you perhaps where there were Dr. Ben Carson spoke. He is one of the most famous surgeons in America. Can you imagine at the age of 33.
He actually is head of the Nero surgical hope.
I pronounce that correctly unit at Johns Hopkins University's the first man to take two twins joined at the head and successfully separate them. What a remarkable man. He actually has the gift of eye hand coordination. That is unusual.
He also can think in three dimensions. I have no idea what that is. Bill, do you have any idea as to what it is to think in three dimensions. I think for most of us one is about all we can handle. But as a teenager growing up in poverty. He was angry you actually said.
He took a hammer to get his mother and his brother grabbed the hammer as it was held up at the back of been. And then he was going to take a knife and put it into one of his friends, but the knife hit the friends felt as he began to think about it. He said anger is going to destroy me.
He said he went into the bathroom was there for three hours reading the Scripture confessing to God seeking God regarding anger and according to his testimony. And if you were there when he left the bathroom. That was the end of his anger, God did it up right which is very neurosurgeon working on somebody for 18 hours as he has done.
It's also important that because he's getting a lot of criticism now because he said some things that were politically incorrect and one of the things that Saul Belinsky, who wrote that book radicals to help people community organizers say that you have to demonize your opposition because then when you demonize them.
They'll say something that looks very stupid and you'll get them and according to Ben Carson and Matt actually is what he was talking about. He referenced Saul Belinsky, according to him when all of this criticism comes when the Boston Globe said that he was speaking to a heat for example, he doesn't even have to reply is totally at peace because anger has been taken away. Anger can become an idol getting even with somebody can mean more to us than God I know somebody who said I'll never get right with God until these Christians make things right with me that is idolatry. Yes the Christians if they wrong you should make things right.
But even if they don't, are you telling me that your justification is more important to you than your relationship with God in your blowing God off until somebody comes and apologizes. Clearly God has second place. Idolatry is deep. It is binding.
It has many many different idols and God says I want in your heart that there be an altar and that you bow before that altar and the only altar before you bow is me.
The Lord your God, your Redeemer, that's what God is after in our lives want to conclude with a word of hope here so Pastor Luther your painting such a dismal picture. I mean, you know Judah going downhill looks a lot like America that we don't want to overplay the relationship. What about Jeremiah young man called God calls them as an God calls you and me for this moment of history to but now you're back to chapter 1, I want to show you something. Chapter 1 verse 17 this is what God said to this young prophet who was objecting to his call. Chapter 1 verse 17 and thank you for turning to it. The rustling of biblical pages makes me very happy appear. I hope I hear them often, but you address yourself for work arise say to them everything that I command you. Don't be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them while you better respond to the call and behold I make you this day, a fortified city and iron pillar of bronze walls against the whole land against the kings of Judah, it's officials that phrased in the people of the land they will fight against you, but they will not prevail against you because I'm with you, declares the Lord. I read and I say oh, when did God make Jeremiah a fortified city and iron pillar and bronze walls. She made him that before he went to work that day. He said get ready put on your close you're going to go to work.
You're going to represent me, but I'm not saying now Jeremiah go out there and be a fortified city be a bronze pillar. Whatever note, excuse me God says I have already made you that I pre-qualified you to walk in victory. The God who calls you to this moment of history is the God who supplies what you need at this moment of history. The God who calls you for this moment and calls me for this moment gives to us all we need to walk in victory. He doesn't abandon us. He is with us in one of the ways in which he strengthens us is by God's because when Jesus died on the cross. His death was so sufficient he says not only is it proof that I love you but I forgive you. I received you. You are mine come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest you come to me. The truth found come to me and drink being done with the bitter streams that make you choke in the end you come to me and I invite you to do that if you've never received Christ as your Savior.
I invite you to do that if you're a believer and you're not walking with God. Finally, get rid of those idols bow before the sovereign Lord and say I shall serve him only. No matter the cost.
Father, we ask that even as we will be participating in a moment in your table is a reminder that Jesus died for us. Help us to realize that in light of the fact that he did all that for us, old Lord God, we give ourselves to you today without reservation.
Expose the idols that we might with one heart and one mind serve you in Jesus name, amen. My friend, this is Pastor Luther.
You know the older I get, the more impressed I am with the deception of sin. Idols promise so much deliver so little. You simply don't get what you think you're going to get and you are deceived, no matter where you are today on your spiritual journey, would you make sure that you are in fellowship with God. Would you ask God to look into your heart to help you to understand and to uncover the idols that have lived within you that you have nourished, perhaps for many years. It is God who is supreme and what we need to do is to recognize that. Let me ask you a different question.
How powerful do you think our enemy is how powerful is Satan prep you've wondered about that question will it last you are getting an answer. Satan is as powerful as God allows him to be and not one whit more. That's what I've written the book entitled God's devil.
The incredible story of how Satan's rebellion serves God's purposes, I believe very deeply in spiritual warfare warfare praying but what we need to do is to pray from the standpoint of strength. We should not pray in such a way that we are filled with unbelief, wondering whether or not God can overcome our enemy for gift of any amount. This book can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 now perhaps I gave you that info to quickly.
I want you to get a pencil so that you can write it down so that this book can be yours. God's devil go to RTW offer.com and by the way, thank you so much for helping us in this ministry because together we are making a difference or if you prefer, you can pick up the phone right now. As a matter fact and you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 it's time once again for you to ask Pastor Luther a question about the Bible or the Christian life. The church is divided about how God currently treats the nation of Israel. Mitch has been looking into this and wants your take on an issue. Dr. Luther asks do you believe in replacement theology that is that the church replaces Israel and that God no longer has any special plans for the Jewish nation amidst the answer is no, I do not believe in replacement theology and you're absolutely right replacement theology says that the church actually takes the place of Israel in God's economy and God is totally finished with the nation Israel but you know when you read the Old Testament and you might want to read.
For example, Jeremiah 33 and other passages where it says so clearly that as long as sun and moon endure the nation of Israel shall remain before me and then think of it this way. Think of the words of the angel to Mary, he shall be great, he shall be called the son of the highest.
The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall rule over the kingdom of Judah, etc. now has that been fulfilled. I don't think so. And yet Jesus is going to be sitting on the throne of David. I interpret that to mean ruling from Jerusalem some day and so I don't believe in replacement theology. There are other implications to this.
I could go on a long time but just read the prophets of the Old Testament read the continual repetition of God is saying again and again. I will bring a remnant back into the land. Then ask yourself is this been fulfilled now because even after the Activities after Israel has been so disciplined by God. You still have those promises.
So I believe in a future fulfillment for Israel.
Thank you Mitch for your question. Thank you Dr. Luther if you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our email@example.com and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can write to is running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 these days. What was wrong is now right and what's called right is really wrong. Next time I'm running to win when Luther talks about a time when darkness is called light and light darkness. Thanks for listening. This is Dave Callister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church