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Graven Mistakes (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2021 4:00 am

Graven Mistakes (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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November 3, 2021 4:00 am

The second commandment warns against making or worshiping idols. But is this law even relevant in today’s culture? Isn’t idol worship an ancient practice? Hear the surprising answer when you study along with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The second commandment earns us not to make or worship idols. What is happening now. Today.

Why is that so important. Alister Beck answers these questions on Truth for Life as we begin part one of a message titled Raven mistakes the First Amendment deals with the object of our worship, forbidding us to worship any false God. The second commandment deals with the manner of our worship, forbidding us to worship the true God in any unworthy way, or if you like to stated positively. It is not enough to worship the correct God, but the correct God must be worshiped correctly and when we come to consider this, we come face-to-face with the whole issue of idolatry. Many of us would assume that the second commandment is somewhat anachronistic even while we were prepared to acknowledge commandment one, insofar as we may worship incorrectly in terms of a misunderstanding of God. Many of us would want to skip commandment to assuming that once we got one correct. We certainly wouldn't get too wrong.

They were in for a bit of a surprise, as will see this morning we content ourselves with the fact that since we don't have any graven images in our homes or haven't been dancing around any religious totem poles lately presumably were not in violation of the command. But what we going to discover is that the essence of idolatry is what this is addressing is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy all of God that is coming to God with imaginations which are more the product of our fertile minds and the other art of any biblical revelation, the kind of thing to which I'm referring is what we often hear people say I like to think of God as and then the ad.

Whatever it might be anything that because the preface it by saying I like to think of God as that somehow that justifies whatever they like to think of God all at the highlighter. Think of God is as as the heavenly architect or I like to think of God as the as the great timekeeper I like to think of God as just a loving father and will and when to use that word just what they're saying is I like to think of in this way and I don't like to think of them in that way, as if somehow or another just out of conceding on him can create him in the way that we want to worship him. One of the things that is apparent. I think in our generation is the lack of instruction that has a memorization is a part of it.

We can debate that I know I debated all the time with education list who tell me that learning by rote is taboo and is not a good way to learn anything.

Well I sure help me out to do the one through 12 times tables and I could never have got through New Testament Greek without learning it by rote and myriad other things and so this idea that kind of memorization is furious at his blade into our church thinking. And so we tend to kind of catch things in the air rather than to give our attention to them while if we lived in the 16th century, we would've been able to get off quite so easily, and many others would have been confronted by the Heidelberg catechism and we would be set down by our moms and our dads and we would've been regularly drilled on these following questions. This actually is question number 96 of the Heidelberg catechism so that children are already well into it. By this point the question is what is God's will for us in the second commandment answer that we in no way make any image of God, nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his work, question number 97. Maybe then not make any image of tall answer. God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Although creatures may be pretrade that God forbids making or having such images. If one's intention is to worship, then or to serve God through them question but may not images be permitted in the churches as teaching aids for the unlearning answer no, we shouldn't try to be wiser than God. He wants his people instructed by the living preaching of his word, not by idols that cannot even talk good straightforward understandable helpful and Viking and yet this morning. Most of us, even those who walk the path of righteousness would be hard-pressed to give any kind of cogent answer to those questions. More's the pity.

So what I like to do with you is to ask three simple questions of the second commandment. First of all, then what is the commandment seeing we discovered last time that God was interested in only one kind of relationship with us, namely an exclusive relationship. A relationship in which we were encountering no one other than him, and there was nothing coming between us and God. He then goes on in the second commandment to tell us that God alone is to be worshiped and that without any visual symbols of himself in accordance with how he has revealed himself as very very important because we can be successful. As I said in part number one I get make a dreadful hash of number two if you got your Bible open. You may want to turn to two Kings chapter 10 for just a moment and there we have the record of jq and his destruction of the bills these people who were worshiping bail had built a temple to bail. Jq was not pleased with this and took it upon himself to make sure that he wouldn't be doing that for much longer he comes up with a dirty little trick whereby he tells all the bail worshipers that he wants them to come because he's worshiping bail to and they were all but a common need in the temple begets them all in the temple. He gives them all new roles so they're all getting excited about how things are going. And then he tells the people that he is God surrounding the building to go in and run them through with the sorts and so he takes care of bail and is worshipers and in verse 26 of two Kings 10.

We really brought the sacred stone out of the temple of bail and burned. They demolish the sacred stone of bail and tore down the temple of bail and people abused it for a live latrine to this day, and people walk past and say you know that used to be where they worship bail day. What jq really dealt with that delete he was and he was concerned that they would be worshiping the wrong God. He want to make sure that everyone worship the right, God. So far so good.

But look at verse 28 so jq destroyed bail worship in Israel. Now the word however that introduces verse 29 is important, however, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Naboth when she had caused Israel to commit, namely the worship of the golden cobs at Bethel and then in other words, he was clear that there was only one true God who was to be worship. He got that correct but then he followed up by assuming that the true God could be worship incorrectly by means of the construction of these columns that the and set up in these pagan shrines you see, we need to understand this morning that idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God. In false ways.

We can expand this if we were talking with one another along all kinds of lines. That is why the nature of what happens here in worship has to happen within the confines of what the Bible says worship is all about. This is not a theater. This is not a performance. Rather, this is a place in which we are compelled to worship the living God in all of his glory, and all of his power and might, therefore there needs to be about our worship that which is true, not the worship of self, not the world should worship that is false, but that is true so that it is transcendent so that it begins and magnifies God in his glory.

So when people come in as we hope they will, it will not be to come into something that they immediately find acceptable. It will be to come into something that he immediately find challenging what is happening here. Here we have a company of people who are seeking to worship the true God and worship the correct God correctly. So when we deviate from that we deviate badly when God constructed the temple are commended the construction of the temple, he made sure that there was to be no representation of the deity.

You can read of this in first Kings chapter 6, he allowed for the use of color and shapes and images from the natural world fruit trees and flowers and land and water. After all the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.

There were to be no images of God himself, because it would confuse people as to the nature of what they were dealing with how people react fairly vehemently to this. I discovered folks often say that there's no problem in our having statutes or pictures of the one that were worshiping. After all, on the just and agent to worship what harm can he do. Surely, this only applies to images which somehow are contrary to God's. He has revealed himself, but when you look at the commandment you find that is in the case, God says you shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything even if it is approximating to who I am not supposed to do, even if it is your best guess at who I am and what I am.

You're not supposed to fiddle with while in every generation. People have rejected that people said, you know, and Thomas Aquinas was one in an earlier century. He said that people would be more easily moved by what they see that by what they hear what they read. And people say that all the time. The say. That's why we think that we ought to do this, we are to do that we are to use drama we ought to use these things because after all, far more will take place in an instant.

In what people see. That will take place in an hour and 1/2 of reading the Bible is not true. Or there may be more than impinges upon the senses of a man depending on the context out of which he comes.

But in terms of God revealing himself. It is the reformers had to answer it carefully. Calvin responding to the kind of things that Aquinas was saying send this because God does not speak to his every day from the heavens.

There are only the Scriptures in which he is will that is truth should be published. It is only in the Scriptures that he is will that is truth should be published.

That's why the Bible must be central is another we worship the Bible but that it is in the Bible that God has made himself known to us. It is in the incarnation that he has manifested the nature of the totality of what he is, as we will see as we bring this to a conclusion this morning that's in accord with what Scripture has to say. Isaiah chapter 14 verse 18, to whom you will you liken God or what likeness will you compare them to how you going to make anything that approximates to the Creator of the ends of the so when God establishes the building of the temple and establishes the place in which his presence was to be manifested. There was nothing in there in pagan cultures. There be some great monolithic thing people are going to go 106, but not for the no it was just a cedar place and dwell the art and in the are well the tablets and weld the law of God.

What was God saying going for me and shrines below for me and paintings for me and statutes. I'm not look for me in my word, and that's why you see the Reformation church coming out of the dark ages was at pains to make it clear to the people, something that needs to be reiterated to our day there were three things essential for a church to really exist number one. The presence of the Scriptures, proclaimed in all their fullness number two. The expression of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper number three the establishing of church discipline, and does not seem a little kind of limited. After all that had gone before the 16th century certain were Cromwell and his run in the round heads simply just a bunch of bad guys or did he have any theological underpinnings to the mental when they doing going knocking down all these things and firing cannonballs all over the place.

Why was it so important was so important because they thought that the second commandment was to be taken seriously and anything that was in violation all that should be destroy.

It was a theological underpinning for a theological underpinning which needs to be grasped again in our daily because we are living in a world of great confusion, not least of all in relationship to the nature of God. It is impossible for man to try and encapsulate the living creator God in a box in a statute or in a paved is interesting that even in the incarnation, we have no record of the physical appearance of Jesus Christ. There is no indication whether his hair was long or short. Brown eyes are blue eyes players five through six or 6 foot to another centricity is there another figure that everyone that ever walked to the stage of human history that was the boy whose record is devoid of that kind of information God deliberately left it out because imagine if Jesus actually had been 6.28 dark hair and brown eyes, and you happen to be 6.2, with dark hair and brown eyes. You preceded people thing I look a lot like this is that we be tempted to somehow circumscribe deity in our own little conceptions and the Second Amendment is dealing with.

Jesus makes this clear to the lady in the well. John chapter 4. Remember he's thirsty. The disciples go off to get something to eat for a sandwich and to bring it back for Jesus. He meets the lady in the well.

He begins a wonderful conversation with her as he begins to talk to her concerning her life and her understanding of spiritual things. The lady throws out a kind of red herring. She begins to see that this person to whom she speaking as someone extraordinary and in verse 19 of John forces. I can see that your a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain but you Jews claim the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem, so she's about to have a discussion about locations, about where worship should take place. The kind of thing that often happens to us in conversation with our neighbors and our friends. We begin to talk concerning spiritual things they want to push it out to discussions about while my grandmother used to go to the day that the church of the Sgt. Sgt. South Euclid all what a wonderful church that was for worship. You know whatever whatever reverberation there was in the area nor the no carpeting and that it was just wonderful.

The way he went around and they want to talk about that about something else and Jesus is the state survey when I talk about up here down there is what were talking God is not concerned about garrisoning Jerusalem forcible God's spirit says Jesus to the lady and they that worship him will worship him in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the father seeks God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth, the implication being that if we endeavor to introduce any kind of intermediary element. We inevitably obscure the true truth of God as he is revealed and our images and are shrines and our icons do a great disservice to his glory now is gone and ask a second question. If that is the case why is the commandment important. I was honestly important because God said everything that God is said in his word is important, but beyond that, let me say two things. This commandment is important. First of all because images dis-honor God and secondly, because images miss direct command images dishonor God and images miss direct men spend a moment or two in the first.

The real problem with statues or shrines or pictures or anything like that is not of the jointly good but it is this that no matter how good they look, no matter how grand and wonderful.

They may be, they will inevitably conceal most if not all of the truth about the nature and character of God.

See. So when we say to ourselves well I like to think of God in a certain way and my imagination is very important to me the way I think of God is very important. I am posting this to me all the time.

There is great danger in this love once I we understand this being so important to God he would've revealed himself in some other kind of way source to make it possible for us to latch onto some imaginary capacity whereby we may know God better, but he hasn't done he has revealed himself included the creative order he has revealed himself in the written word and he has revealed himself fully in the person of his son Jesus Christ and we are to look no other place nor create any other thing that would guide the doctors from that pathway is pathway of Revelation. There have been many times in the history of man when I the work of a sculptor or an artist is the latest site because the monarch whom the artist was seeking to portray judgment he had highlighted one.

I suspect, to the detriment of others and thus that the monarch said this image is singularly unhelpful.

So the artist who had done his best with a sculptor is sent packing with as little sculptor, because the King or the Queen said it doesn't do me justice going on here with that crummy painting I look far better than that. Now, the fight may be in relationship directly monitors that I may not have been the case that some of them if they're at their renditions of them are anywhere close to accurate bid they needed merciful painters Knoxville portrait painters, but nevertheless many of these artisans were thrown out because the monarch said it doesn't do me justice.

Not true, necessarily, but in God's case, always true. There is no statute that could ever be erected.

There is no painting that could ever be painted. There is nothing that could be done to visibly express God that would do anything other than diminish our view of God. I mean, is it it is it is impossible to conceive of something greater than God. Therefore, anything of which we conceive is going the inevitably lasting God. Therefore, something that is less than God to portray God is going to diminish our understanding of the guards were trying to portray and is a dead-end street and stupid its idolatry and it is ultimately blasphemy. The Bible makes it clear that we are worship correct.

God, in the correct way your listing to Truth for Life with Alastair Alistair's messages are making it increasingly clear that it's impossible for us to uphold God's law by our own efforts.

In his book pathway to freedom of God's laws guide our lives. Alastair explains that the 10 Commandments aren't meant to be a ladder. We climbed to earn God's acceptance. They are instead more like a mirror that exposes our sin and sends us to Jesus, our Savior, the one who offers hope and forgiveness and freedom in the book pathway to freedom.

There is a full chapter dedicated to each of the 10 Commandments you will better understand each of God's foundational laws. You'll get a clearer picture of why they're so important.

For example, you learn that idol worship is still alive and well in our world today by Sunday should be a holy day am not a holiday and you'll see why it's so important that we properly use God's name.

Each chapter of pathway to freedom uncovers more of our sinful nature but the good news is, it does not end there.

In the book were reminded that God has provided a way out of our predicament. In fact, the final chapter is called good news for lawbreakers and in it Alastair clearly presents the gospel offering a simple prayer for readers at the end of the book is convicting, and yet encouraging. We think this is a book you want to share with others with friends or family members.

You can request your copy of pathway to freedom when you make a donation to Truth for Life today. Just click the image of the book in our app or visit our and if you prefer you can call us at 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 about Lapine.

Thanks for listing sure to join us tomorrow for the conclusion of today's message. When will hear about the great danger inherent in man-made images, shrines or statutes that depict God, the Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life or the Learning is for Living

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