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March 12, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn preaches a message from the BJU Seminary CORE Conference titled “New Life: Hope and Help for an Addicted World.” The message is titled “Keep Yourself from Idols,” from the scripture passages Matthew 6 and 1 John 5.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform will your message preached by Dr. Sam Horn during a beach or your seminary conference titled new life hope and help for an addicted world.
The title of this message is keep yourself from idols.
I like to ask you to take your Bible this morning to Matthew chapter 6. We have been enjoying since yesterday morning. The core conference that we have every year and this year the theme of the core conference is on addictions and subtitle you can see on the screen in front of you is hope and help for an addicted world, and I have the privilege of addressing you this morning. I'm thankful to Dr. Pettit for the invitation to do so and I want to do as you are looking at Matthew six where we are going to spend our morning.
I want to lay a foundation for you as we we talk about a lying in the most familiar prayer that we have in our Christian understanding of what prayer is because I believe that part of the whole and part of the help that God is given for whatever it is that tends to enslave us in any addiction is enslavement is in this prayer and so I want to begin this morning in first John chapter 5 verse 21, where the Scripture gives a very clear and an unmistakable command that we as believers who know the Lord and who are known by him, keep ourselves from idols and so the question that I would ask if I were in your shoes or you should be asking is so how how RRA is the concept of idolatry tied to the concept of addiction. What's the connection between first John 521 this instruction to keep ourselves from idols, and the topic that were talking about in our core conference and even though you may not personally have not all the sessions I want to bring a little of that conference into you because I know as you go through your life and I go through my life working them where they need whatever it is that John is talking about in first John chapter 5 verse 21, so let me make a connection for you that that I think will will draw a line back to the prayer that were talking about that you and I know as the Lord's prayer went when we think of addiction I would suggest to you that behind every addiction in you and I may make me look at a conference like this and say will actually good that the church is talking about this and I'm thankful that the school I attend actually is addressing this, but I personally don't really struggle with that. I know that that was my thought coming into the conference and then I actually went to several sessions and as I listened to the different speakers I began to realize I need to I need to change and adjust my thinking a little bit about addiction. Behind every addiction stands a strong, compelling and unfulfilled need or desire so we just come back to that in and in sort of anchor that in your thinking behind every addiction stands a strong a compelling and unfulfilled need or desire and and and generally there are many, but you could take those unfulfilled needs or desires and put them in one of three categories you and I are are people who have a deep desire for satisfaction in our life. That's one of the reasons why the Scripture so often describes our relationship with God as intensely satisfying when you go to the Psalms, especially the psalmist will frequently talk about how deep and how joy filled is the relationship that he has with the God he is praising and so we have a deep desire for satisfaction. We also have a deep desire for us in if it gets this goes way beyond just the idea of being successful at it endeavor or being successful in a career or being successful at something that we set her hand to do.
We we have Ecclesiastes talks about this. We have an innate sense that life under the sun is is empty. It's weightless. It's it's it's lacking in significance and that creates a NASA dissonance because we are creatures created in the image of the most significant being in the universe and so as we mirror that image. There is a NASA deep desire a God place desire for significance and then of course there is our earthly desire human desire for security or for safety.
And when we turn to something or someone other than God in order to meet those needs or to satisfy those desires.
Whatever we turn to as displaced God and whatever stands in the place of God functions as an idol and you and I both know from the reading of Scripture that idols always failed to deliver what we initially think they have promised.
Idols always fail to deliver what we think they have promised and actually when we engage yourself in a form of idolatry.
When we turn to something to satisfy a desire to to me, the need to to provide significant sort of provide safety when that thing becomes our object that that answers that need or that desire, sooner or later, that object will become our master and we will be enslaved and so when John writes to people like us. He actually talks about this and he says now make sure as a believer that can keep yourself from that.
So what is going to keep us from idolatry. Let me read you what John says in the verses right before that he he wants you to know some things. For example, in verse 18. He says this we know here something that you can take to the bank. We know that whosoever is born of God's sin is not but he that is begotten of God, keep with himself, and that wicked one touches him not. The idea here is not that believers never said is that believers never give themselves over completely and wholly and willingly and joyfully to the pursuit of a lifestyle of said that's not what a believer doesn't. John says we know that because whoever is born of God's sin is not and then in verse 19 he says we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness and so not only do we know that were born of God and and the evidence of that is that we don't wholly give ourselves over to a lifestyle of sin Johnson as we know something else.
We know that the world we live in is very different than us lies in wickedness and then in verse 20 we know that the son of God has really come in the person of Jesus. That's one of the things that is been denied earlier in the book, and in one of the reasons that John writes first John we know we are firmly convinced that the son of God is come and has given us an understanding, we know these things because the spirit of God through the son of God has given to us a firm conviction that the idea of understanding that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true even in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life, and so these are things if you stop and think about it that you have believed as a believer, you have come to the place in your life, whereas a believer, you have believed the things that John just articulated and so as you as you embrace those beliefs. John says, do you not.
Here's what you need to do.
You need to keep yourself from anything that takes the place of that son, you need to take you, you need to take care you need to guard your heart from anyone or anything that becomes so important to you that you are willing to distance yourself from that son or to disobey what that son has communicated to you in the written word that he inspired through his Spirit, so keep yourself from idols. So how does the prayer in Matthew six actually help us do that. Well, when you think about the Lord's prayer in Matthew chapter 6 it it does a number of things it orients our life in a number of ways it for example there's an upward orientation of our life as we begin the prayer our father who art in heaven. There's an immediate orientation away from the world that John described as lying in wickedness.
When we cry out in prayer we are lifting ourselves out of that world, recognizing that there are no answers to the deepest needs and the deepest desires that we have is people in that world. And so we turn for help, we turn for safety. We turn for satisfaction. We turn for significance to a completely different place. We lift our eyes to the throne of heaven. And we pray to the person sitting on that road and what what Jesus does in orienting us this way is he reminds us of our true identity.
John said that we know that we are of God, and every time you begin your prayer with the phrase in our father. That phrase is intending to let you know that you have a personal a real and intimate a vital relationship with the God of heaven. It's an amazing thing when Jesus looks at these men and he says no when you pray, pray to our father.
That's a stunning state, and it orients us then there's an outward focus to the prayer our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. That's the upward focus of our prayer. Then there's the outward focus.
Thy kingdom come, and then there's an inward focus of thy will be done on earth and implication of the prayer is that is very personal that I would be a part of the doing of that will and then there is a very intimate focus where where we are asked and invited to pray for our daily bread for the pardon of our daily sins and for the protection of our our lives in the daily trials and struggles and temptations that we face and it is in that last section of the prayer that we find the line that Jesus gives is that I believe will help us to keep ourselves from idols. If it's that it's the part of the prayer that you find in Matthew chapter 6, verse 12, where Jesus invites us as part of our daily praying part of our regular communication with our heavenly father to appeal to him to forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. You and I know about forgiveness, even though in our day and age it's almost become unfashionable to talk about when when we talk about forgiveness.
There is almost a bristling that happens in the life of certain people because when we talk about forgiveness. It almost seems like were just excusing whatever it is that somebody is done in the name of just forgiving, but I want you to see that it gets built right in to the very fabric of the prayer that should guide and shape our thinking and are living when we come to the reality of keeping ourselves from idols from turning to themes and looking to people for satisfaction for security for significance and safety. Jesus said here is something that will actually keep you from that. Here is something that will help you when you recognize that idolatry is sin and you find yourself having turned to something and we do it all the time. Jesus said you pray this way, forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.
So let let's talk about that line. Briefly this morning. I want you to notice that every time you pray that line the intent of that part of the prayer is to bring us to confront the reality of our sinful now. Now think about this for a minute the prayer that Jesus is encouraging us to pray is for believers and believers have already received forgiveness when they were justified this the Scripture is very very clear about that.
Ephesians 17 in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace that ideas repeated again in Colossians chapter 1 verse 14.
So believers who have already received forgiveness are instructed to ask for daily forgive this forgiveness that we received when we became believers was permanent and it was complete.
Romans chapter 5 verse one tells us that all of her sins, past, present and future are included in that forgiveness. Therefore, having been justified by faith we have.
We right now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ so so the obvious question that you face when you come to this line and the prayers. This what connection does this line have, to a person who has already been forgiven completely thoroughly, permanently there. There is no sin in our past. There is no sin in our president and there is no sin in our future that was not included in the forgiveness that God extended to us when we came to him and we repented of our sins and we appeal to him for salvation and what we got was justification. Justification speaks to a legal standing that God grants us as as fully forgiven from the guilt and the penalty of our sin and we saw that in Romans chapter 5 verse one and then Romans chapter 8 verse 17 of Romans chapter 8 verse 30.
Talk about a time in the future when we will be freed from the very presence of sin in our lives and in our world and that the theological word for that is glorification. So between justification and glorification, both of which we currently own is the rest of our life and the rest of our life is a progressive growth toward God and away from sin and we call that sanctification and in that reality that progressive growing involves a daily repenting of whatever it is that has gotten in the way of our fellowship with our father who is in heaven and in so how do we deal with that sin. How do we confront the reality of our sin and come to grips with it. And that leads us into the second big thing that the line in the prayer does for us.
It forces us to consider the nature and the extent of our sinfulness, not think about the nature of sin.
The Bible uses a lot of different images to talk about sin. The word sin. For example, is is replete in the Scriptures, and it means to miss the mark. The word trespass is a word that is a willful, stepping over a boundary that God is established. Disobedience is an intentional disregarding or an unwillingness to hear and obey something God has said lawlessness. Another term that occurs in Scripture is to speak to the utter disregard of God's moral and ethical man just cast those aside to cast off restraints and then the word defilement that is a sin term actually points to the pollution and to the filth of said civil what connection does that have with this whole addiction when you turn to something or someone other than God to meet your need for security for safety for satisfaction or significance.
You have said in these words are intended to bring us up short and recognize the significance of our sinfulness. The nature of it and then think about the extent of that sin in our life. The term that that is used here in verse 12 is plural. Forgive us our debts.
This is a term that is drawn from the financial world to speak to an obligation or to a depth that is owed to another.
In this case to God and it is plural, and indicating that whatever our debts are.
They are multiple. We have been accruing them over time.
Think of all of the debts that you have piled up against yourself.
In the past week. Just think about this, even as a believer sins of omission. Things that you should have done and didn't sins of commission things that we should not of done and did secret sins that only God saw public sins may be that we confronted before others are in their presence.
Deliberate sins willful sins intentional sense that we planned out and that we intended and then unintentional sins that we never intended to commit but were caught up in all of these debts mount up in our hearts. The longer they remain unresolved, and they distance us from God and they overwhelm us.
At times, so how do we respond to our sinfulness week we we are called to recognize that we are called to consider the reality of it and we are called to respond to it. So how do we respond to our sinfulness in a way that will protect us from turning to an idol to relieve us from the pressure in the distance and the emptiness that comes because of them and the line in the prayer were looking at. Forgive us our debts, is intended to help us to respond to the fact that this word dad coming out of the financial world is is sort of played out there indicates that one of the things we have to do is we have to stop and we have to take stock of our life. We have to calculate out what we owe God in and in the form of these debts. And when we do, we realize that we are totally out of options there.
There is nothing we can do to make up for all of these different sins that have come in the way of our fellowship with our father and so we we have we have no other option but to turn to God and to restore that relationship to appeal to him for mercy and for forgiveness. The other option that we have us and we have no other option. That's the only legitimate option we have. We have many other options and many people turn to these illegitimate options and and whatever those illegitimate options are. They take the place of God. You are looking to that option to do what what this line points that only God can do in the minute you do that you have failed to listen to John and you have not kept your heart from idols. This is one of the things that you do as you pray this prayer. Forgive us our debts is is you sit down immensely and you ask yourself, how do I assess my relationship to God. How much do I oh who do I owe it to. What can I paint it.
If you consistently overspend and you find yourself with a mountain of debt. At some point.
To sit down and you're gonna take out a piece of paper and you get a list out all of your debts and who you owe them to, and what resources you have two answer those debts and you know it doesn't take very long. As a Christian to sit down and do that in our daily walk with God and we immediately realize Lord, thank you for forgiving me.
Thank you for justification. Thank you that there's coming a day when I will stand in your presence free from all of this. Thank you for glorification and Lord. Thank you that in the end, between you are sanctifying meet and part of that process is me coming to grips every day with the debts that I've accumulated and recognizing I have no ability to pay for those debts and so what must I do, I must confess I must repent, and therein is the power of this line in the prayer it it brings daily to our minds as we pray this prayer Lord forgive us our sins will what sins are we asking God to forgive us when it's very easy to say that line and just move on but the line is not intended to be like a magic charm that you just utter to God and say Lord you know what I know that I messed up today somehow suggest forgive me. The line is intended for you, the language of the line is 10 intended for you and for me so that we would sit down and we would assess where we stand in our fellowship with God, not in our relationship to God.
He is our father, not in our future with God that is assured. But in our daily relationship and just when we realize that we were eternally separated from God by our sins.
We had no ability to pay those sins we have no ability to pay for these so we have to come up with a repentant heart and that's the fourth thing we see here we must come with a repentant heart and receive from God the provision that he is given, you know, the provision is here is the provision forgiveness. God has made a provision a divine provision to deal with your sense, he's already dealt with them from an eternal perspective.
He has made promises to you that you will stand before him and you will enter into the joy of the Lord you will be in a place forever with him where there is no sin.
But in the middle and the right now moment of your life.
Jesus has also made a provision for our sins, and that provision is forgiveness. Now that that forgiveness comes from God that that forgiveness he is is based on the blood of Jesus. That's what was on Ephesians 17 and the condition for that forgiveness is repentance and confession. So every day we are intended by this prayer to come to God and say, God, here is where I failed. Here is where I intentionally overstep here is where I did what I should have done here is where I didn't do what I should've done and I'm coming to you with a broken and contrite heart I'm coming with repentance because I am asking for the one thing I need that I can't get from anybody else. I would suggest to you that many of the addictions in our life come because we are trying to answer the deep need of our heart for forgiveness. In some other way to let me in. With this, as we close this morning that is this how much forgiveness is available to us and to answer that question. I think we go in our minds to Matthew 18 to the story that Jesus told answer Peter when Peter asked the question how much forgiveness should I have were trying to answer the question how much forgiveness does God have an and the answer to that question is illustrated by Peter's question.
How much forgiveness should I have. Should I forgive somebody 7×7 and Jesus said Peter no that's that's not how you should forgive, you should forgive that individual 70×7. It's an immense amount and the reason that human story is so important is because it illustrates the way that God forgives. Do you see that in the text we forgive forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lord just like you told Peter to forgive immense amounts of time unthinkable amounts of time just like you told us to be unlimited in our earthly forgiving of one another. We need you to be forgiving like that for us and I think the reason that line is in the text of the prayer is to assure you that you will never exhaust God's forgiveness.
You will never frustrate God's forgiveness and at the end of the day when you turned to God and away from those things that you look too dissatisfying to keep you safe and secure.
To give you significance you keep yourself from idols and you keep yourself, by extension, from addictions and that's why the prayer forgive us our sins forgive us our debts is so essential.
Lord, thank you that you do forgive us.
Thank you as we live our life in this world that we have a sure a reliable foundation upon which to stand. That is the justification that you have given to us and declared over us and we look forward to that time when we will stand with you in your presence delivered from the very things that cause us to look for answers and places away from you.
So Lord as we live in that in between time would you help us to do what John instructed, would you help us to keep our hearts from idols and we thank you for it. In Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a message preached by Dr. Sam Horn from the beach or your seminary conference titled new life hope and help for an addicted world. Thanks again for listening and join us again next week as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform