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Hotdog Faith

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2022 9:00 am

Hotdog Faith

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 21, 2022 9:00 am

In this message, we’ll see how over and over again, God’s people substituted his plan for their own, with tragic consequences.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Have you ever stopped to consider the right error of judges is implying to you that maybe the idol itself is wrong. Maybe you've chosen the wrong thing in which to find power and joy and significance. Maybe the reason that you're unhappy and love is not because you haven't found Mr.

Right, it's because ultimate happiness was not found in him anyway. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. This month, Pastor J.D. is walking us through the fascinating book of Judges in a teaching series called Broken Saviors. Today we'll see how over and over again God's people substituted his plan with their own and with tragic consequences. Does that sound familiar?

I don't think it's actually all that far off from what we're seeing today. Doing it God's way is always the best choice, but we're broken and we don't always see it that way. Our message today is creatively titled Hot Dog Faith. Now here's Pastor J.D. A lot of the stories in the book of Judges people know. Stories like Samson or Gideon and maybe even the story of Deborah. Almost nobody knows the story of Jephthah in Judges chapters 10 and 11 because it is terrible.

I mean terrible. It is going to leave you feeling deeply unsettled, downright disturbed. Sometimes at night my wife and I are putting our kids to bed and I will start in on some story. Sometimes a Bible story, sometimes a story from my life and I will look over at my wife and she'll be going you're just kind of shaking her head like this is not appropriate for kids at this age because we have a different filter for that kind of stuff.

Well let's just suffice it to say that this story would not make for a great bedtime story for your seven year old. But first before we get into it I want to talk with you about hot dogs. Americans can eat them some hot dogs can they not? On the 4th of July alone Americans consume 150 million hot dogs.

They say that if you line them up end to end they would stretch from where I am standing to Sydney Australia. Frankly we love them. Thank you for that for those of you that got that. If you have ever looked on the package where it tells you the contents of a hot dog however the first component that you will notice that goes into a hot dog is mechanically separated chicken or turkey which the USDA defines as a and I quote a paste or batter like poultry product manufactured by forcing turkey bones with attached edible tissue through a sieve under high pressure a process called advanced meat recovery. Advanced meat recovery doesn't that make your mouth water?

Other ingredients include corn syrup, beef, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium therobate, sodium nitrate and what makes it so tasty maltodextrin. Now I just know that makes you hungry and ready to get out of church and go eat something. I actually like hot dogs.

The coaches at Iron Tribe Fitness have tried to get me to stop eating them but I tell them the only reason I work out is so I that I can eat stuff like that without guilt so lay off. But the point is a hot dog is not pure meat and there are some who would say that that eating that kind of stuff is not good for you and by some I mean the medical community. Many Americans I share that because many Americans build their faith like a cheap hot dog. They take a little bit of something from this and a little bit of something from that and they mix it with a little bit of something else and the result is a concoction that you could hardly call Christian. It's more than simply bad for you it is spiritually toxic and that is what you're going to see with Jephthah today.

He's got a little bit of the meat of Christian faith that has been separated from true Christianity through advanced faith recovery system or whatever mixed with a whole lot of the sodium nitrate and the maltodextrin of his culture. Keep that in mind as we get into Judges chapter 10 we'll begin in verse 6. The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and they served the Baals and the Ashtoreth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. They forsook the Lord and they did not serve him if you were counting by the way. That's seven different kinds of gods that they served. Seven in Hebrew is of course the number of completion which is a way of saying they had completely abandoned God. There's symbolism in the seven there. So verse seven, so the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year.

Now here we see a familiar pattern. The Israelites serve false gods and they end up in slavery. We've seen that all through the book of Judges but now the author inserts a little twist. The Israelites begin crying out for deliverance to the very gods that have enslaved them. The Ammonites are the ones who enslaved them and the gods of the Ammonites are the very ones they cry out to for deliverance.

Here is what is being taught and it's very important. It's not just that idolatry leads you to enslavement. It's that your enslavement usually leads you to more and more idolatry. You see when sin enslaves you, you usually will end up looking for deliverance to the very things that put you in slavery in the first place and you think if I just try harder with these same gods then they will deliver me.

Now let me stop for a minute here because some of you think well what's that got to do with me? I don't have any idols in my house. I don't bow down to any statues and I'm not anybody's slave.

That's a great question and it brings up a really important point. One that is absolutely foundational if you're going to understand what the Bible teaches about sin that is that an idol is in the Bible. It's not just a statue to which you bow down. An idol is anything that you look to in your life for power or joy or significance apart from God. For example, some people think if I have success then I'll have power and security and safety and joy.

If I have some academic recognition or if there's some talent that I have or some gift maybe it's my personal beauty or the beauty of my spouse or maybe it's that I'm athletically fit or whatever. These things will guarantee for me power and joy and significance in the future. Now those things are all fine in and of themselves of course but when you look to them instead of God for power and joy and significance they will always enslave you. What do I mean by enslave you? Well you start to feel like you could never be happy until you have that thing and so you'll do anything to get it and that's kind of the definition of slavery is that when it speaks you obey I've got to do that what it says because I got to have it. And when you do get that thing you never feel like you have enough of it or you're always worried about losing it and so you begin to make really destructive choices to hang on to it or to get more of it. You feel like I have to be beautiful if I'm going to have power and joy and significance so I will for example starve my body even though it's bad for it so I can be a certain size because I couldn't be worth anything if I'm not don't weigh that or I'll hate myself and when I'm not at that weight or you say I need more money so I will will work until I destroy my family or I will cheat.

I'll break my intent. People by the way who cheat in business are not usually inherently dishonest people they're just people who want something so bad that they're willing to compromise their integrity to get it. William James who is not a Christian he's a post-modern philosopher said that success is the primary god of the western world and he said success is a goddess he said because no matter what you give to her she always demands more and so he said for me on the altar of success I first gave my family and said then the goddess said I need more and so I gave then my integrity and then the goddess said more he said then I finally gave my health and my life and the goddess never quit demanding more. Have you ever stopped to consider the right error of judges is implying to you that maybe the idol itself is wrong maybe you've chosen the wrong thing in which to find power and joy and significance maybe the reason that you're unhappy and love is not because you haven't found Mr. Right it's because ultimate happiness was not found in him anyway. Jeremiah chapter 2 13 probably gives you the clearest description of sin anywhere in the bible. Jeremiah 2 13 a verse I think you ought to have memorized my people have committed two evils the first evil they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters and they have hewed out evil number two cisterns for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water at all in those days water was a precious commodity and the best thing to do was to find a natural underground spring that's living water constantly flowing constantly fresh he says that was me that was god that was my love I was the one who gave you power and joy and significance and security and safety but you forsook me and then because that left you parched you started to dig out cistern now a cistern was what you would dig in the desert to collect rain water and then the problem is it would leak through the ground it would become muddy it was terrible it's not nearly what you would compare to a natural underground spring he's like so the evil number one was you forsook me and then that left your soul parched and you just dug cistern after cistern after cistern after cistern to try to get enough water to satisfy your soul it's the wrong well you think I gotta dig dig dig deeper deeper deeper deeper there's got to be some kind of satisfying water in here somewhere and god says it's the wrong well I created those things in me I'm the one who gives you power and joy and significance not those hewed out cisterns that could hold no water verse 10 the people of Israel cried out to the lord then saying we have sinned against you because we have forsaken our god and have served the false gods the lord said to the people of Israel you have forsaken me and served other gods therefore I will save you no more why don't you go cry out to the gods whom you've chosen let them save you in your time of distress for the first time in the book of Judges God says no why well see it's one thing for the wayward prodigal to come home in true repentance God will always receive someone like that but imagine a wife who has been unfaithful again and again and again and again and she is caught in the midst of her adultery and so she pleads with her husband for security and provision just until she finds somebody else to take her on that's a totally different scenario these people God sees their heart they don't want God for God they're just in pain and they want somebody anybody to make it stop there's no change of heart toward God this is a God I'm going to use you to get out of trouble there's a difference you see in using God and worshiping God this is very very important for many of you listen it is possible for you to come back to God in an idolatrous way that he will not receive I see it all the time to be quite honest with you you see a man whose marriage begins to fall apart and he panics so he runs into church and he begins to make promises to God God just give me my family back or maybe he's out of a job and so he comes in and God I'll do this I'll do whatever and the repentance looks so sincere but it's not because the moment that the danger the immediate danger is gone and he gets his family back or he gets his job back he goes back to the independent way that he was living then to begin with you see you've got to evaluate and this is a huge huge question are you using God or are you worshiping God for God because God can tell whether you come to God in pain is not really the issue you'll go to anybody you think can get you out of pain the question is will you follow him the same when the immediate danger has passed are you using God or are you worshiping God we'll return to our teaching here on summit life in just a moment but I wanted to quickly share a little bit more about our current resource this month you know sometimes we have big questions about life about faith about God and the Bible and we need to know how to give solid answers for these difficult moments because often those questions are coming from those searching for Jesus but they're stuck with a topic that just doesn't sit right in our newest resource Pastor JD quickly answers some of those questions that keep us up at night is it okay to get divorced is there such a thing as unanswered prayers you may recall volume one of this book called honest questions quick answers from two years ago we have some copies of that first book available as well if you missed getting it give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to and reserve your copies today now let's get back to today's message with Pastor JD Greer here on summit life verse 15 the people of Israel said to the Lord then we have sinned so do to us whatever seems good to you only please deliver us this day so they put away the foreign gods from among them and they serve the Lord well believe it or not they get it do you see how different what they said in verse 15 is from what they said in verse 10 in verse 10 they said we want peace from you verse 15 said we want peace with you even if it continues to mean trouble for us here do whatever you're going to do you see that's a huge difference we would rather not have trouble they say of course but having you having peace with you that's the essential part you see that's true repentance i don't care if life gets easy or life gets hard i just want you there's some people who talk as if when you come to Christ he just makes everything in your life easy oh i mean you hear them give testimonies and i think they're you know don't mean harm but oh i came to Jesus my marriage just turned awesome and my kids started to show up my bedside quoting scripture and my boss gave me a raise and we discovered oil under my house and it was just awesome you know and and listen that is not always in fact it's not usually the way that it works a friend of mine calls it a train wreck conversion god lets most people have a train wreck conversion where things in their life to start going wrong and one of his purposes in that in scripture is to see if you're coming to god for something he can do for you if you're coming to him for him and sometimes the things in your life begin to go wrong and you don't get the raise and the marriage doesn't turn immediately better because god is saying are you in this for me you in this just to use me for something are you using god or worshiping god that was the question well israel genuinely repents and so the lord becomes impatient over the misery of israel or the niv says he could bear it no longer i love that phrase because it just shows you how god feels about his people he hurts with them he says enough your pain is painful to me and he rises to his feet chapter 11 now jephthah was a mighty warrior but he was the son of a prostitute gilead who was jephthah's father had many other sons by his wife you know is is not the prostitute and when his wife's sons grew up they drove jephthah out because they said to him you shall have no inheritance in our father's house for you are the son of a prostitute so jephthah fled from his brothers and they lived in the land of tobe and worthless fellows collected around jephthah and and came out to him he becomes a kind of crime boss a land pirate is what we would call him verse four but after a time the ammonites made war against israel and so the elders of gilead went to bring jeff the back and they said hey come be our leader that we may fight against the ammonites i apologize for this but this i can't help being reminded of season seven and 24 where they go back to jack bauer and they say we don't really like you but we need you to come fight the terrorists verse seven so jack bauer said to the elders of gilead did you not hate me and drive me out of my father's house and now you come crying back to me when you're in the hour of pain no deal by the way jeff is responding just like god did jeff is like oh you didn't want me for me you just want to use me so we're safe they say i don't know we're really sorry this time if you come home you can be in charge you can i don't care who your mom is you can be head of ctu or be president for all we care whatever you want and so jeff agrees and jeff says i'm taking my talents back to cleveland at first he tries diplomacy he tries diplomacy with the ammonites and he says to the king of the ammonites why are you attacking us and the king of the ammonites says well because you took my land jeff responds with three i think rather compelling points of reasoning he says number one well as a point of fact it wasn't your land we took it was the amorites and not emma nights but amorite your name was never on the title deed so get off your high horse number two when we took their land we were simply responding to their aggression against us when we passed through their land they attacked us and we kicked their tail so we kept their land because guy had given it to us anyway number three if this land is really a gift from your god kamosh to you why don't you come and get it and verse and verse 30 said okay we're coming verse 30 jeff that i made about jeff made a vow to the lord and he said lord if you will give me the ammonites into my hand whatever comes out from the doors of my house to greet me when i return in peace from the ammonites shall belong to you the lord and i will offer it up as a burnt offering so jeff the cross over to the ammonites to fight against them and the lord indeed gave them into his hand and jeff that came to his home at misspie and behold his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances she was his only child besides her he had neither son nor daughter and as soon as he saw her coming out after the battle he tore his clothes and he said alas my daughter you have brought me very low you've become the cause of great trouble to me for i've opened my mouth to the lord and now i cannot take back my vow verse 36 and she said to him my father you have opened your mouth to the lord so do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth now that the lord has avenged you and your enemies on the ammonites so she said to her father let this thing be done for me first leave me alone for two months that i may go up on the mountains and weep for my virginity with my friends and so he said go and he sent her away for two months and she departed she and her companions and she wept for her virginity in the mountains and the end of the two months she returned to her father who did with her according to his vow that he had made sometimes commentators try to soften what has happened here they'll say like well Jephthah must have expected it to be an animal that came out of his house first and that's what he's promising to god as a burnt offering but animals will not have been kept in the house right they didn't have pets like we have pets so he's not talking about that by the way when he says whatever greets me the word he used for greet definitely connotes a human encounter it's not a word you would use with an animal so he's definitely thinking human sacrifice or they'll say commentators will say Jephthah didn't actually kill his daughter sacrificing her just meant that she had to die as a virgin like you know she just would remain unmarried for the rest of her life well if that's true why the two-month hiatus that wouldn't make any sense obviously we're talking about human sacrifice and obviously he actually burnt his daughter he killed his daughter it's just that he expected the first one out of his house would not be his daughter he thought it would be one of his many servants or one of his many comrades in arms so a couple of questions i want us to consider here is the first why did Jephthah make this vow and i'm going to show you you're thinking this has nothing to do with me it has a lot to do with you i'll show you that toward the end but why did Jephthah make this vow give you two reasons because he was desensitized to violence he was desensitized to violence this is just the way they did things human life was cheap in those days when it came to the idol obtaining the idol of military dominance now it seems unspeakably horrific to us but that's just because violence is no longer our idol of choice and before you and i shake our heads in bewilderment and say what a backwards primitive people we ought to consider that we commit similar excesses with our idols and we do not wince nearly as much when we do for example a woman can tear apart her family and devastate her kids because she finally realizes she's been married to the wrong person and that's why she's not happy and she's got to be true to herself and so she's got to go find true love even if it devastates her kids and we kind of shake our head say well she's got to be true to herself and i guess that's just what she's got to do let me talk about this for a minute because our culture idolizes romantic and sexual fulfillment to the point that anything you sacrifice on the altar to that is okay because that idol is enthroned and unquestioned for example if i as an evangelical pastor decided that i preferred sex with men and i left my wife and my kids for another man i by the end of this month i would be celebrated as a national hero i would be on ellen i would be on oprah and they would say things like well he's just being true to himself what a courageous guy to come out and just acknowledge the truth about who he is the fact that i had to abandon my family that's just the price you got to pay for true love that i devastated my family would be totally insignificant what if true love meant that it's not actually about me anymore our culture confuses true love with self-love and you can't wrap up self-idolatry in the close of romance and call that true love or in another sphere a man can neglect his wife and kids in order to get ahead and we say well that's just what it takes to get ahead to survive in this business you'll never succeed in the finance world unless you work till nine every night unless you never take days off it has been easy for me to justify the sacrifice of an awful lot on the altar of ministry success like jeff i'm like well i got to succeed i'm doing god's work and if that means i got to sacrifice relationships and family and even integrity well that's just the price i got to do your work god somebody in our culture gets pregnant at an inconvenient time and they eliminate the child in an abortion and we say well only she has the right to determine what shape her life will take and if having a kid right now and her judgment's gonna mess up her life well i guess that's okay it's just the price of freedom you see before we shake our heads and be wilderman at jeff though we should realize that we're probably not as advanced of a culture as we think we are we just got different idols number two here's the reason that he made the vow it's because this is how you pleased pagan gods that's how you please pagan gods you offered sacrifices to gain their favor the greater the sacrifice the greater favor you could earn from your god so when you needed something big from him you got to sacrifice something big but god listen to this never ever ever puts this out as a requirement to get his attention or his favor in fact he outright forbids it in deuteronomy 18 10 there shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering you say what about abraham that was a test of faith and obedience this is an attempt by jeff to pay god off to negotiate with him it's totally different here is what has happened listen jeff has mixed all kinds of sodium phosphates and poultry paste into his faith and come up with something that looks like the meat of faith but it's really not faith at all because it's totally different than how god said that we should pursue him and do his work here's the second question first question why did you have to make the vow why did jeff like keep his vow that's the second question i mean maybe you could excuse him for in his fear in his fear saying something stupid but after he saw it was his daughter for two months he sat there and considered it then he just went through with it listen to this he kept it for the exact same reason that he made it he has no concept of the grace of god he feels like he has to earn god's favor the way you earn a pagan god's favor by making sacrifices that merit it now he feels like if he doesn't keep his horrific vow then god's gonna punish him but god does not give victory or favor or salvation because we earn it never it is not by works of righteousness which we have done it is according to his mercy that he saves us he borne his own body the price for our peace it's by his sacrifice that we were healed as pastor jd greer said a moment ago our culture has made an idol out of personal choice our society celebrates when someone chooses to walk away from their family in order to be true to oneself and yet the bible exposes the folly and the consequences of this kind of self-love let's be counter-cultural in our walk with god you're listening to summit life i'd like to encourage you to get a copy of our newest resource inspired by pastor jd's ask me anything podcast our new book titled honest questions quick answers volume two tackle some tough questions from listeners like you and the answers are short and concise our goal isn't to give overly deep comprehensive responses but quick and accessible answers and if you missed volume one a couple of years ago when we offered it we've printed a new edition of that as well get your copy today when you give a financial gift of 35 or more by giving us a call at 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or give online at i'm molly vidovich be sure to listen again wednesday when you'll hear the conclusion to this message titled hot dog faith right here on summit life today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-30 17:52:36 / 2023-03-30 18:03:18 / 11

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