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The Gospel vs. Idolatry

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2021 9:00 am

The Gospel vs. Idolatry

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 17, 2021 9:00 am

When we hear the word “idol,” we probably conjure up images of ancient statues and graven images. But idols are still with us today, they just come in different packages.


Today on Senate life with Katie Greer to see if you lose a good thing from your life and your staff. But if you lose a God thing from your life and ultimate things in your devastating you might have a preference for a lot of things you might want certain things that happened along with that, but if you're like there's no way I can be secure. There's no way I can really have a good life. There's no way that I can have joy apart from that thing that it has become an idol. The Bible teaching ministry through TD Greer.

As always, I'm your host Molly benefits okay. We've talked about this on the program a lot over the years, but when you hear the word idol when you picture is an ancient statue or a graven image most likely thought of Indiana Jones right will today. Pastor JD explains that titles are just a thing of the past.

They are still with us today and they come in different packages we are examining where idols might be lurking around in our lives. And guess what might be closer than you think today's message is called the gospel versus idolatry. It's part of our series titled Pastor JD is teaching from the book of acts chapter 19 genuinely like the movie frozen were mentors appreciated the great family film, but I swear if I hear the songs one more time I'm going to lose my mind. I don't want to build a snowman will rub my bike around the hall, every single time I asked my kids what would you like to watch every single time. Strokes like that on what gives letter know you let it go to balance my son out four years old.

He dances and prances around the house right now singing the song. My giblet was Rambo together her babies are too young for Braveheart, a rockier summit will start out on those on the there are certain things that are awesome until you hear them repeated over and over and over and over and over again. I feel like that about the movie frozen, but also feel a little like that about the subject to get into today to discuss is really the theme of the whole Bible.

And it's really the core of the essence of what it means to become a follower of Jesus, and so on those things that I thought we just really can't talk about enough of the Bible teaching the Bible faithfully and if I'm pastoring you faithfully them. This is a subject we gotta go into over and over and over again and especially this that the course and of mankind's idolatry. God created us to love him to serve him, to know him to worship him and what sin was was. We chose a bunch of other things to love and worship more than are often in the place of God. The whole story of the Bible is God challenging us in rescuing us from our worship of false gods.

When my favorite Jewish commentators in the Old Testament got them O'Shea, Alberto says that that really the whole bar use when the whole Old Testament got one sentence and that is God challenging false gods and showing are not really gods at all, when you are converted to Christ. Essentially what you're converted to is the worship of God is God really did that. They think that what it means to become a Christian is that you can work out this get out a hell free deal with call with God and in response to that you become more moral and you go to church and you tip God in offering and what it means to become a Christian essence what he's become a Christian is that you return to God as God, which means he is your delight is your foundation usual trust. The illustration of use. Over the years with you, Donna. To illustrate this is when I was in graduate school roommate had a dog great dog very loyal, faithful dog, but was really old black Labrador retriever dog ears like 210 or something. Sick is an accident and so for the last several months of its life. It is weight around our house very obedient would do groggily if you told it to do but stepping over the dog went on leaving the house and thinking that based on how most people understand what it means to become a Christian. That dog would've made a fine Christian. They didn't drink and smoke cost. We had a neutered so no one would problem anymore but needs to be a Christian is not just you become a submissive dog God yes submission is a part of becoming a Christian, but God created you to love them and to worship and that's what it means to become a follower of Jesus is that you return to God as God. If you get that concept, then you're going to see how the passage really get into today is really applicable to you.

Acts 19 is the story of the gospel going into Ephesus to see it challenge the most cherished false gods in the city to see people get violent. As a result, this story should mirror the story of God coming into your life when God comes in your life. He challenges your most precious idols and sometimes you react every bit as violently as the people did accept 19 that never really happened to you if you like, God never really made me mad God never really challenge these idols know what you're talking about. Not to start awfully negative. That might mean that you never actually let God challenge a get into what you really worship because there's always a struggle, there's always this kind of reaction it just always happened to read stories of the one really get into acts 19 and they see the temples and the idols I got all these are primitive people were not like that today were modern people don't worship, silly stuff like they did back then because they worship always means to an end right and begin that they were after was power Saxon money family stability all the things that we think make for a good life.

Today they thought made for good life then they really worship you and I worship the exact same things that they do. The only difference is that there worship was overworked and conscious. Our worship is covert and subconscious, but it's every bit is as real. Each heartlessness each part every heart in your own Parthenon Parthenon to playfully couple the statute of the God. Every heart has its own Parthenon and become a Christian means you turn on the Parthenon and you put Jesus in its place. And when it's idols when you're idols.

Your Parthenon is challenged. We react just as violently as we would ask 19 that for the story to get into is really applicable to you. Plus, this is wildly entertaining, which is what is no way to look at skip it. So, ask 19 for some give you a few Wikipedia, facts about Ephesus. Ephesus was the richest city in the richest region in the Roman Empire. It was a port city so that all trade covenants that part of Asia had to go to Ephesus. It was rich. It was multiethnic. It was cosmopolitan.

It was highly educated at largest library in the world was in Ephesus largest empathy eight or so was in the culture and sports, the largest temple in the world was in Ephesus is a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis who was the goddess of the city how to give you a little perspective. It was four times bigger than the Parthenon in Athens talk in a massive structure. It's one of the seven wonders man-made wonders of the ancient world. The statue of Artemis which was the centerpiece of the temple was carved out of a meteorite that they believed and fallen from the sky. She was the protector of the city.

She was the one they believed guaranteed their prosperity and she was the one that they put their hope in Christ, so that's what Ephesus is. It is really the pinnacle of culture in bats ancient world. Ask 19 Paul enters Ephesus with the gospel, by the way Paul is not the first one into Ephesus with the gospel.

The first guy in the Ephesus with the gospel is a guys far as we could tell me names Apollo's I cannot make this point too often or too strongly just about every time the gospel goes into a new area in the book of acts. It doesn't do so through an apostle does those who are regular guy regular woman just takes the gospel in their. The reason I keep telling you, that is, I need some of you business people to understand that God has made you the tip of the spear when it comes to evangelism.

The Holy Spirit intends to use you to take the gospel in the parts of the world that church leaders like Paul or me hard in the coming years later and actually establish the church that you planted.

You never realize about was God's intention in making you go to business is yes he wanted you to do well. He wanted you to make money for the primary thing he wanted was he wanted to use that is his way of getting into new areas and so we see this all the book of acts will Paul finally shows up verse 11. God was doing extraordinary miracles, but I am the ball so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that touched the skin were carried away to the sick, their diseases left them in the evil spirits came out of them. This is Paul zero sanctified hanky ministry. Verse 13 some of the itinerant Jewish exorcist Saul Besson. They undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those that evil spirits to say hi, ensure you by the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Steve I were doing this. Evidently there was this local Ghostbusters squad in Ephesus made the seven sons of Skiba from the firm Skiba CSU's Steve Estevan Skiba, and they see this happening and they're like really awesome discuss visas on hanky admit cast out demons so they go up to these new group sedans will have demons and alike we command you to come out in the name of Jesus and I got Paul's always talking about verse 15 one of the demons response to them Jesus I know, and Paul, I recognize, but who are you talk about the ultimate this demon says to you, throw out who you are.

My question Re: this is how they heard about Paul to be communicated at staff meetings. They say something so they fly past each other in the atmosphere like a guy what's up with All you pretty dangerous. They have a newsletter the hellish times are you know they probably just read the New York Times as of the communiqu, verse 16, when they said this when I said this the man in whom was the evil spirits leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Not really sure why he had to say and wounded because if you're in a fight you get the close. We offer you. I'm going to assume that your wounded and not just physically, by the way, if you're in a fight and you walk away without your pants. You been wounded emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, physically there's no other way you could be wounded. Verse 17 and this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks and fear fell upon them all in the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled by the way, that's a description of what an awakening the city looks like is when there's great fear of who God is, but then also Jesus becomes more glorious in his name is I am lifted up in people are drawn to in verse 18. Also, many of those who were now believers came confessing and I bulging their occult practices in a number of those who had practice magic arts brought their books together in Ephesus.

It was big business to collect spiritual incantations into books and then sell the money like secrets of the dark arts or whatever and so they brought all their Harry Potter books and stuff and they burned them just getting in the sight of all an account of the value of them and found out that it came to 50,000 pieces of silver which was so they say somewhere near $70 million of this is a big deal. Anytime there is a spiritual awakening among a group of people. When the second bank that happens after there's fear in the name of Jesus is extolled as believers to convict in secret Santa bring it forward and they began to confess it, I realize that probably you'll have a lot of books full of dark magic that you used to cast out demons by the occult, but I know that some that when God is moving in your community that so what stops it is when you have secret sin and I would say that probably in our community. There are some places that God is not working or something she's not doing and it's because it's because you have secret sin that is impeding the work of his Holy Spirit.

But when they got rid of those things. Verse 20 the word of the Lord continue to increase and prevail mightily. All this gets the attention of a businessman in Ephesus named Demetrius Demetrius on this China shop for them invisible silver statues of the goddess Artemis and he would sell the well start getting worried because everybody's becoming Christians and so do not buy little statues anymore so he gets together all the businessman from his city and he says with 25 men, you know that from this business. We have our wealth and I mean this is big business. They are you know you tourism. In addition to making the statute. Tourism is a big deal coming to worship at the temple and and I've been you have all the hotels in the restaurants in the people who sold a little bit Artemis kids you will bumper stickers that said Artemis is my copilot and how your pictures.

Artemis eating the Darwin fish with the legs on and stuff and he's like eight.

If this goes down, the world will lose our jobs and you see and hear that, not only in Ephesus with an almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away.

A great many people say that the God of Abraham's arrival God's all that" because scholars say the way that it's written in it evidently become a slogan like Paul's one line campaign speech God's plans are not really gods at all, which makes you wonder why that is not self-evident right God that you can talk with your mind or shape with your hands is not really a God could have created you and not really a God that you should be worship me before we get all snooty toward them. I think the exact same thing when I talk to somebody and they begin to object to what the Bible says about God, like, well, my dog would God would never do that. Like a God that you create with your mind is not a God that's worthy of worship. The real God ought to be able to challenge you and avenge you and make you mad. And if the real God is not doing that.

The chances are you're not worshiping God and worshiping the threat of figment of your projected imagination on your God is really just a glorified version of yourself right and insert your God never makes you mad exploit your categories and turn things upside down offends you and makes you want to leave, and chances are you've never met the real God. Right.

Demetrius goes on verse 27 there is danger.

Not only that this trait of ours becoming the disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing in it she may even be deposed from her magnificence so Demetrius whips everybody up with this frenzy in a flash mob into the amphitheater which set 25,000 people, one of the largest in the ancient world still stands today, most of it. You go on a tour of Ephesus won first place. As you go to the web small bell get in their 25,000 people come for two hours. It says that they called out in unison great is Artemis of the Ephesians grade is arts in your translation say Diana which was her nickname or whatever whatever color but I'm great is Artemis of the Ephesians for two hours just thing about this. This is a crowd about the size of the one at the Dean Dome at the UNC Duke game with the intensity like it's coming up the last couple minutes of the game. It's really close to two hours per call greatest Artemis of the Ephesians. Once I called out the cycle of messy about your brother Asia for two hours for two hours for two hours.

First 132 some credit.

One thing some another for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them did not even know what they come together, how are we here I do know a great is Artemis of Ephesians, Paul decides he wants to go in there because a 25,000 people. God calls never turn on the ground. His friends wisely tell him that's a bad idea Paul.

There's no sense going in there just to die and so wisely they keep him from doing that. Finally, the crowd disperses and Paul and his friends live another day. Okay, so I will show you five things that you need to understand about idols in your life that you can learn from this passage. Five things about idols in your life as the gospel comes into your life that you can learn from this passage and then what I want to do is show you how the gospel that Paul preached would confront these idols told will do right toward the end by five insights from idols or entitles from acts 19 to businesses and as and 80 through 88 idols or anything that promises to us a life of security and joy apart from God.

Why idols are anything a promise to us.

I life of security and joy apart from God.

You want a definition of idolatry. That's it. That's what Artemis did. She was the protector and prosper of the city with her. They believed they were guaranteed to have security and joy without her. They could not have those things. So here's my question for you. What is that in your life about what do you think if this is present in my life. I will have security and I'll have joy is an influence that I have a lot influence and maybe security me joy is its success is in physical beauty is it weighing 20 pounds less than your way right now. Is it money. Is it romance is it having children is it having your children live close by. Is it something a little more immediate like a beach house, a retirement plan. What is it that you say it.present I can have security and joy that would out that there is no security, and joy idols. As I often explain to you all is our vitals are not usually bad things there just good things that we turned in the God things, things that we believe will give us security and joy and without which we can't have security and joy. Even if we have God.

So for example of romance is that thing for you. That means that you believe the good life begins when you find that person and that without that person the good life will never really truly begin. So, for example, in the romantic comedy when Harry Met Sally, which I was a little older of a movie, but I imagine many of you have seen it in the climatic scene in when Harry Met Sally Harry comes to Sally and says when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life or somebody you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. May I will haven't seen that movie insert NT any romantic comedy ever written, ever into that spot because they're all this basically have one plot right they meet each other. They don't like each other. The extremes witty banter for about two hours. Then they get together right like to get an amen from the guys that's every single one of her by their like I can say where this is going to come but the message is clear.

New life begins when you meet that person. If you want the good life. You better find that person. If you get this you'll be happy in the flipside is also true miss this in your life is over.

So if you are single right now me ask you a question. If you're single and you really want to be married.

The question you need to ask is, could you be happy and content single I did not ask is that your preference.

I asked if you could be happy and content being single. If you could not be happy and content being single, then you probably have turned romance into idle to see if you lose a good thing from your life and your sat but if you lose a God thing from your life and ultimate thing in your devastated and there's a difference between sad and devastated.

You might have a preference for a lot of things you might want certain things happening. There's nothing wrong with that but if you're like there's no way I can be secure. There's no way I can really have a good life. There's no way that I can have joy apart from that thing that it has become an idol, could you be okay if you never really progress in your career. Could you be okay if your big ship never really comes in that there's really no substantial change in your career. From right now. You never really get the promotion in the big ship never comes. If could you be okay happy and content. If you never have kids if your health never improves. If your work never gets noticed. Your talents never get recognized if you never accomplish anything that's on your bucket list. Could you be happy and joyful. If how you suffered is never really made right in this life.

What is it that you think will give you security and joy apart from God that there's no way to have security and joy. Without that thing even if you do have God because whatever it is is your Artemis is probably the primary God in your Parthenon. B. Idols engage the deepest emotions in our hearts. Idols engage the deepest emotions in our hearts as you can see from the story. When you threaten my peoples idols. They get violent. Why because their idols are their lifeblood, their idols are the protectors of their city. What is that in your life. What is the protector of your city. What is that thing that the idea of losing it or never gaining it makes you despair again. If you lose a good thing when you're sad or mad but you lose a God thing when you are devastated.

Here's another way of coming to the same question.

Were you unable you unable to forgive you. Unable to forgive is if you're unable to forgive somebody it's because it's tied to a deep resentment that you have for that person and not deep resentments is probably triggered by the fact that they attack something that they damage something that you feel like you can be having enjoyable without another words they got here.

I anything that promises security and joy apart from God and what is it you think will give you security and joy apart from God or what is it that there's no way to have security without even if you have God that my friend is most likely you are idle and we want to help you remove it as soon as possible.

You're listening to Pastor JD Greer on Senate life. One thing this teaching series has taught us is that as followers of Christ. God is still using us today to take the gospel to the ends of the year that Jamie what if we don't feel like were qualified for that mission.

Well, welcome to the club I wanted him to say God doesn't call the equipped eclipse the call. The call comes precisely because you are unqualified when the apostle Paul was was called by God into the mission he was. He was a mess and a bad reputation but God took time to rebuild him and God took what previously had been used as an instrument of pride and selfishness and arm turn that into an instrument of blessing and love he can do the same thing for you.

That's why we provided these resources that will help you go deeper. Yeah, listening to the messages is great but but taking it a step farther to get into the concepts. That's where real transformation can occur.

So back in March we offered.

We offer volume 1 that that cover chapters 1 through eight of actually know that volume to the covers chapters 9 to 28. You can get volume 2 now it's available in JD, which is not too late to reserve your copy and I would encourage you to act on it, as I think it'll it'll help you tap into an extraordinary opportunity and talent that God has for you. This study guide will help you gain a personal understanding and your part in the great commission.

Don't miss out on getting you a copy of volume 2 today, Bible study, devotion, we donate our suggested donation amount of $25 or more helps to fuel this ministry to others can join us each day from life-changing encounter with time to give, 866-335-5226 552 24. Get Molly that event today tomorrow when castigating this message versus idolatry next Friday. JD Greer

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