Saturday, January 3, 2009

Homemade Gods

I. God Objects to Imaginary Gods

A. God isn’t seeker-sensitive; in fact, God has a genuinely focused attitude toward ultimate reality. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

B. Multiculturalism does not come from heaven; tolerance rots when it becomes approval. “That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:” (Joshua 23:7)

C. Ideas have consequences; bad theology is a deadly infectious disease. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” (Joshua 23:16)

D. History illustrates theology; Europe, having tolerated bad theology, is now dying culturally. “And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” (Judges 2:19) The faithlessness and immorality of Europe invited Islam to return.

II. God Demands Undivided Attention

A. The study of God’s Word will lead to long and prosperous life. “And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)

B. Jesus promises to be present with those teaching and observing His instruction; here is the heart of the Christian faith and experience. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)

C. When the church in Acts concentrated on basic things, it prospered. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

D. Jesus laid down the pattern of devotion for the church. “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (1 Timothy 6:13-14)

III. Heaven Rewards the Faithful

A. Let the pagans worry; God takes care of those who entrust the results to Him. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

B. Display the confidence which concludes prayer with thanksgiving for the results. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:20) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

C. Attention to Scripture is the obvious mark of good government in all of its forms—even civil government. “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:” (Deuteronomy 17:18-19)

D. The focus of pastors and elders must be on the full Bible life; remember the Puritan questions: What does it say? What does it mean? What do I do about it?Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

E. The difference between believers and unbelievers appears in their attitude toward what God says; unbelievers measure the Bible and believers measure themselves by the Bible. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:21-22)

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