I. What is Idolatry?
A. Idolatry is to worship someone or something other than the one true God. (Cf. H.C. L.D. 34)
1. Who is the one true God and how do we know him?
a. His identity
1) He is Jehovah, the God of Israel in all ages.
2) He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3) He is our savior and our sovereign covenant friend.
4) He is the righteous judge of men and angels.
b. We know Him by His own revelation to us.
1) Jehovah has made Himself known as the Savior and Redeemer in Christ Jesus to Israel, a/ Centrally this revelation is through Christ Jesus, b/ But He has also made Himself known through His saving wonders, His works, in the Old Dispensation, c/ We, the believers, know Him through things created by Him and through His Son.
2) The Bible is the divinely inspired and, therefore, infallible record of this self-revelation.
2. The sin of idolatry is:
a. The rejection of God by the sinner.
a/ Idolatry is not something done in ignorance. Rom. 1:18-20
b/ Idolatry is not the worship of something in addition to the worship of God Jehovah. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Ye cannot serve two masters.
a/ Idolatry is the rejection of Jehovah as God and God alone,
b/ Idolatry is to worship another, someone or something, in the place of Jehovah and as God.
b. This worship of idolatry is:
1) Is not merely the overt form of idol worship as found today among pagan peoples. (Ex. Singapore)
2) Idolatrous worship is to place our trust or confidence in anything or someone other than Jehovah.
B. The sin of Idolatry in the Church of the Old Dispensation.
1. Some examples
a. The period of the judges.
1) Judges 2:10-13 (Please read)
2) The people served Baal and Ashtaroth
b. The period of the Kings.
1) Idolatry among the ten tribes occasioned by Israel’s rejection of the house of David, Christ, and the establishing of images in Dan and Bethel. (I Kings 12:25-33)
Idolatry among the ten tribes as the consequence of image worship. The worship of Baal in days of Ahab. I Kings 17-19
2) Idolatry in Judah
a/ In the days of King Manasseh 1/ II Kings 21:15-16
3) The worship of Molech and the sacrificing of the children to this god of the heathen, b/ The pervasive idolatry in Judah and the rejection of God’s prophets at the end of the Kingdom of Judah II Chron. 26:11-16.
2. What do we learn from this history of the Church in O.D.?
a. This history is for our instruction and warning.
b. We learn among other things:
1) That the church in the world is ever an apostatizing church. She is a self-corrupting church.
2) That man is by nature prone to idolatry. By nature we are idolaters.
II. The Modern Forms
A. Men today have their gods in our post Christian western culture.
1. Their identification
a. The gods of materialism
1) Men place their trust in possessions, wealth, in things.
2) Ultimate happiness, blessedness is had if one has his dream house, his limousine or sports car, or his yacht.
b. The gods of hedonism
1) The worship of self and the absolute refusal to be self-denying and self-sacrificing.
a/ One’s ease and relaxation is above all important,
b/ One’s pleasure and self-enjoyment is the goal of life.
c. The gods of the American sports world
1) The “star” and heroes of football, baseball, and basketball are the authoritative guides and examples unto today’s youth.
2)I have read and heard men speak of these sports figures as “gods,” have you?
3)Little children are told to pattern their life after this or that sports hero.
d. The gods of Scientism
1) The omniscient scientist is the great god of our day.
2) The world of science is viewed as possessing the powers to bring society to the longed-for utopia.
3) Men in the church without hesitancy accept as gospel truth every pronouncement of the scientific community.
4) Is the space program of our country a powerful means to promote the cause of the worship of the man of science? Are there other wonders to draw our attention and devotion away from God and Christ Jesus?
2. The fact that people today place their trust in these gods for salvation and blessedness.
a. This salvation and blessedness is:
1) Not the deliverance from sin and guilt before God. Our society has no consciousness of sin as sin.
2) Rather it is salvation from the effects of sin. Man will live in sin but would escape the certain, just, punishment of their sin in this life. What are the consequences of sin?
b. The gods will bring salvation if diligently served.
B. The Idolatry of false doctrine in the church today.
1. False doctrine is to present another god and another christ than the God and Christ of Scripture.
a. Manmade images of God which leads to idolatry
1) Images of the mind. Mental conceptions.
2) Images formed by false doctrine.
b. False doctrine represents departure from or corruption of Scripture as the infallible record of divine revelation.
1) Departure from Scripture is false doctrine about man, creation, God, and Christ Jesus in His person and work.
2) Thus, false doctrine is idolatry.
2. Note the joining together or association of the gods of our society and the false-Christ’s of the apostatizing church.
a. The apostatizing church and parachurch groups attempt to gain adherents to their false christ through the gods of this world.
1) Exceptionally gifted sports heroes are asked to promote Jesus to the young.
2) The rich, successful business man is used to make a case for Jesus as the one who can give you wealth and happiness.
b. Biblical Christianity is found to be at odds with 20th century science; thus, Scripture’s authoritative words must be limited to the sphere of redemption exclusively.
c. Can you explain why the apostatizing church today seeks the assistance of the gods of society to win adherents to their Christ?
1) Suggested answers:
a) Their false Christ of non-irresistible grace needs the persuasive powers of the gods of the sports world,
b) The false Christ of the apostate church needs the attractiveness and alluring powers of the gods of materialism.
c) Their false Christ is weak and unable to save by the Word.
2) Your suggested answers are?
III. Our Calling
A. To Know the Scripture whereby we are able to identify and reject the idolatrous forms of worship in our modern society.
B. To Worship God in Christ Jesus according to His Word.
1. To worship God according to the standard of His self-revelation.
2. The Purpose:
a. To God’s glory
b. To our salvation