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January 21, 2022 5:00 am
Did you know the good committed Christians have idols in their life just like everyone else, but they're harder to spot because are usually built around really good things really good people. Did you know that you can actually love someone too much when you start loving them and you love God, then that's today. Thanks for listening to this addition of Living on the Edge with shipping Living on the Edges of international discipleship start helping Christians really live like Christians, the other party series God's work taught by our guest teacher Kyle seems appropriate that this last title. Kyle probably the most sensitive love you maybe thinking how can love you. Is it a bad thing to love my friends my spouse my kids get listening as Kyle impacts how we've mistakenly made those important people in our lives. The most important thing also for some more insight into this delicate issue. Join us after the teaching for chips application.
Very honestly shares about a time where he struggled with societal not going to miss what he has to say. If you have a Bible turned out to Genesis chapter 22 for Kyle's message God's law. There are gods of war. Within each of us. They battle for the position of glory in our lives and much is at stake for whichever God is victorious against power and control over us. Ultimately, the God you choose determines your destiny yet for many of us this concept of idolatry is something that has been missed even if you grew up in the church. She likely didn't hear too much about it and I discovered as I've studied this subject in Scripture that it is the number one problem in the Bible more than a thousand verses speak to it more than 50 of the commandments in the first five books of the Bible are directed against it is one of only four sins in all of Judaism that could have the death penalty attached to it, something God took very seriously. And yet, in large part today United States it's dismissed as antiquated and irrelevant yet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything rides on this.
Everything rides on this choice that you and I will make every day of will. I worship the Lord God or will I worship some other God how we answer that question makes all the difference.
And there is a war for our worship who or what will sit on the throne of our hearts and we seen in the series that the sins that we struggle with. It's not just that there's a sin that we need to address, but there's something behind that sin. There's a false God, that's winning the war.
That explains why we struggle with that particular sin.
But what we've also seen is that idolatry in and of itself is a sin, so that there are many good things in our life.
Many blessings from God that become too important to us and therefore cause us to sin because we put them ahead of God himself wasn't what Tim Keller writes, he said, sin isn't only doing bad things. It's more fundamentally, making a good things into ultimate things. It is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing. More than on God. Sin is primarily idolatry and so here's what we've been called to do is to re-examine some of the good things in our life and ask our quest ourselves this question has this good thing in my life become a God thing in my life have I made it more important than it should be, as John Calvin explained the evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want but that we wanted too much. That is certainly true when it comes to the subject were studying today these gods of love. The evil is not in loving these things is that we love them too much.
You have your Bibles turn to Genesis 22 first book of the Bible 22 gods of love. These are the people whom we love who the people whom God has called us to love and yet they can often times replace God on the throne of our hearts. These are the gods that Augustine would've report referred to as disordered disordered love that is to say they are legitimate laws that have gotten out of order in our lives and speak precisely because they are legitimate that they can so easily become too important to us. And so, in Genesis 22 were to look at the story. It's a familiar one.
Abraham is asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac, but I want us to read this through the lens of idolatry against this way verse one. Sometime later, God tested Abraham now. The writer tips us off right here from the beginning that this is a test it's only a test. It's as if he wants us to know.
Listen what God's about ready to ask Abraham to do. He's not can actually let him do. There's no place ever in Scripture or God allowed humans to sacrifice another human. In fact, his commands were directed against it in the book of Deuteronomy, so he tests Abraham and he said to him, Abraham, here I am.
Abraham replied and God said, take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.
I will tell you about. So God says I want to take this all three day journey north to an area called Mariah there's a specific hill a mountain there where I want you to sacrifice your son so he's asking Abraham for for everything. Just as a reminder, Sarah and Abraham had been promised. This boy decades earlier when he was hundred and she was 91.
There is still no child and that God kept his promise and he worked an incredible miracle and she became pregnant with this little boy and they named him Isaac. Isaac's name means laughter and I'm sure that he brought all kinds of laughter to the his home and they were probably like any other parents would go in at night just to watch him sleep just to make sure he's still breathing made maybe they would set on the front porch and watch him play and how many times a day would they say to their son Isaac.
Be careful, be careful because they just couldn't imagine if anything happened to him and they would feel his little arm squeeze tightly around their neck and they would say to their son. I love you have some of these people in your life. People that just mean everything to you. I know love is a word that's become pretty common.
But who is it that you just would have a hard time imagining living life without maybe for you. Like Abraham and Isaac.
It's it's a child's they can quickly become a reason for living there something about it when you look into their eyes when you see their smiling when they're a baby and then you feel that little fingers wrapped tightly around your pinky making become a reason for getting up your reason for working they can become your everything for maybe for you it's a husband or a wife or maybe it's the pursuit of a husband or a wife that has become a God for you. After all, in our culture, romantic love is held up as the ultimate human experience. There's all kinds of books that have been written with love as the subject. Many movies have love as the plot line. The romantic love has inspired works of poetry and art it. It is been the theme of almost every song you can forget songs like Whitney Houston singing I will always love you and who can forget songs like Celine Dion from the Titanic when she sings my heart will go on. Even if you want to forget those it's very difficult. I feel like I've made an honest effort, and I still can't forget them, forget these things are the Beatles singing I and I love her. Stevie wonder declaring that you are the sunshine of my life or there was the young classic for meatloaf I would do anything for love. Remember that song I would do anything for love the course with a but I won't do that. I never could figure out what that was. I listen to that song a lot will.
What will you do meatloaf. We do not, will you not care to remotely not change your name what is I don't know he won't do it. Would you sing these songs to say I would do anything for you to for Abraham and Isaac are stair. It was Isaac. Isaac was God's greatest gift to them and it also turns out that it's God's greatest test for them and this is what you'll find is well. It is your greatest blessings that can also become your greatest test and so are you like me to have it to have a spouse that you just don't deserve need you. Do you have a job that you love or maybe for you.
You have financial blessings and you can afford every convenience and gods blessed you and that way maybe he's blessed you with the child. Maybe he's blessed you with the special gift in some way or another will be these points of blessing carry with them a test of your allegiance will this blessing become competition for God or will this blessing draw you closer to him. Will this blessing become your primary affection or will this blunt blessing because your affection for God to increase were about ready to find out with Abraham and Sarah and their son Isaac, verse three begins early the next morning Abraham shows us something here about feeding and conquering the gods that are war within us. He doesn't put it off. He doesn't wait early the next morning he wakes up he obeys God, you keep reading there. He takes a couple servants with him.
Here's what I want you to notice Abraham was very wealthy man. He was one of the wealthiest men of his day and that God does not say to him, go sell everything you have and give it to the poor. Why, because money for Abraham was not a false God it was not competing for the position of glory in his life. Instead, God puts himself in direct competition with his son Isaac and says you can have to choose verse, verse five says to the servant stay here with the donkey. While I am the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.
I want you to notice the word worship here because this is the first time it's used in the Bible there's a principal and hermeneutics that when you're interpreting Scripture. And you're trying to understand the meaning of a word you should pay attention to the first time that word is used. This is the first time the word worship is used in the Bible and it's used to describe a man who was sacrificing something great for God. It's used to describe a man who is declaring with his life that God is what matters most is a worship is not just something that takes place here when we gather together and when we sing, but worship takes place every day.
When we make some kind of declaration that says God you matter more to me than this.
Every day we have an opportunity to work to worship when we say God your what matters most and says the two of them went on together. Verse seven Isaac spoke up, probably 15-ish at the time midteens. He knows what's going on, something's not writing says to his father. Father yes my son, Abraham replied the fire in the water here Isaac said. But where is the lamb for the burnt offering. Abraham answered God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son, and the two of them went on together. Verse nine when they reached the place got a told him about Abraham built an altar there and arranged wood on it.
He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. When he reached out his hand. He took the knife to slay his son and put yourself in his position just for a moment with this knife raised.
I want us to push pause on the story and talk about our disordered lives have, how would you do with a test like this. Truly this is a test of the first to the 10 Commandments you shall have no other gods before you, you shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in an idol can certainly take on the form of someone we love. And for me it often.if you want to know where I am the most guilty of idolatry. What area on the most of this is that there been times in my life where I have made people that I love more important than my relationship with God.
There's been times where I've looked at my relationship with a person to do for me what God wants to do for me.
I was talking to a young mom this week.
She told me that her children had become for her, a false goddess of what you mean you mean you just make them too high the priority, she said, is not so much that she said it's that I have given them control of my life. I've given the controls of my life over to my kids and and they have the power to determine whether I have a good day or a bad day, I've given the controls of my life over to my children and they can they can determine whether an angry person whether I'm a depressed person wearing it. Whether I'm a person who is in despair, she's recognizing that the joy of the Lord isn't her strength.
The joy of her children had become her strength.
She wasn't feeling very strong. She's right by definition whatever has control over you is your God is our relationship that determines whether or not you're a joyful person, whether or not your content person and then she went on to explain that for her. She was living to please her kids that in her life. Everything revolved around making her children happy that by definition, is your God, what you live to please that your that is your God, so maybe that's true for you made. Maybe it's a child.
Maybe it's a spouse that has replaced God as the controller of your life.
When we begin to describe divine attributes to something or someone they become a false God for us. So when we look to a relationship as our source of satisfaction are source of significance. Our source of security. When we look to relationship for salvation. We are making that relationship. A God and God is jealous because he wants to do those things for us.
He wants to be our source of significance and security and satisfaction, and he wants to be our salvation.
There's some pretty graphic language in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel to help us understand how it feels to God when we are guilty of idolatry. The picture that is painted for us is one of us having an affair on God.
That's how he feels when we make something more important to him. In the Old Testament God sees it as spiritual adultery is jealous. He's hurt. He's angry some of you understand the pain of unfaithfulness because the person who vowed their life to you. You found was sleeping with someone else. Your husband or your wife sharing intimate moments with another giving their body to another person in the pain that you felt the anger that you felt the hurt that you felt.
It's hard to imagine anything worse. And God says this is what you've done to me.
This is how you've made me feel by your disordered blogs and illustration.
I've used a few years ago I think helps paint a picture of how God feels. Imagine that you walk into a restaurant nice candlelit romantic type restaurant and you see me sitting at a table for two with a woman not married to. Just imagine you're just magic. So I'm sitting there was someone who's not my wife having this dates this candlelit dinner. You come over and and you your quick just to be you not to accuse me citizen your wife what what what are you doing where's your wife and I solicit my wife's home. This is my date night with this lady.
My wife and I have a date night on Tuesday night just just relax. Everything's fine and you go away and you're angry and you're upset and so you call my wife to tell her what's happened, but just imagine I go home.
My wife meets me at the door, gives me a big hug and she says, honey, did you have a nice time on your date watch is ridiculous that she would never say that because the attention I was supposed to be hers.
I was giving to someone else. The affection that belong to her. I was giving to another. The money that should've been spent on her. I was spending on someone else. My wife would not say to me honey did you have a nice time on your date she wouldn't say that my wife would not my wife would not say hey I don't mind if you date other people as well, as long as you you love me the most. I don't mind if you see others as long as I'm first place in your life.
She wouldn't say that this is how God loves us. He says I'm not going to share you not to share you and and so is not enough just to have God in first place he wants there to be no 2nd Pl., Luke 14. Jesus has large crowds following him. I think large crowds always made him a little uncomfortable he what he was never that concerned about the size of the crowd.
He was much more concerned about the level of commitment in the crowd and so he would say things when the crowd would get big to make people you know go away. Here's what he says Luke 14 verse 26 we read Jesus says if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brother and sisters is even his own life he cannot be my disciple. You don't hate your mom and your dad your husband your wife or children your brothers if you don't hate them. You can follow me. Don't call yourself my follower. What you do with that hate really in the Bible consistently tells us that these are the people we should love if you think you need to understand one word that's translated hate here in Jewish culture was meant to communicate a lesser love the new living translation puts it a little more accurately, it says you must hate everyone else.
By comparison, the other thing for us is that we tend to equate words like love and hate with emotion with feeling. I love you I hate you is full of emotion, not true in the first century. These words were not meant to communicate in emotion or feeling they were meant to communicate a level of commitments and so what Jesus is saying is your commitment to meet your level of commitments to me said beat should be such that there really is no other commitment and here's what we discover when we get this commitment right and all these other relationships start to be relationships that honor God that they were meant to be. When God gave him to us for listening to the first part of our guest teacher Kyle vitamins message gods of love from a series God's at war Jubal Joyner shortly to share some additional thoughts and application to what we've heard when you hear the word idle, you probably picture those big stone figures that people worshiped centuries ago but did you know that while most people don't bow down to man-made statues anymore. We all worship something in the series are guest teacher Kyle Edelman reveals the subtle nature of idolatry and just how rampant it is in our lives.
Oftentimes without us even realizing it. He unpacks the ways we've put money, pleasure, achievements, careers, even our families in place of God and how we've allowed those false gods to satisfy control and to finance will stay with us as Kyle exposes the idols were holding onto and challenges us to take radical steps to get back to worshiping the one true God.
To learn more about the series God's at war defeating the idols the battle for your heart go to LivingontheEdge.org or call AAA 333-6003 Listeners, special offers ship as you've shared before the series came on your radar after you read Kyle's book God's at war because you are really challenged by it.
Could you talk a little bit more about that book because I mean there's a lot of resources out there about putting God first in making Jesus a priority but there's just something different about what Kyle wrote absolutely right Dave. It's not that I don't read a lot of books from a lot of different perspectives. But if I'm going to tell people to read a book because I really believe in it. It's usually one that's deeply impacted me and I'll be honest with you I have read very few books that even talk about idolatry and some of the insights in this book I mean I really had to say. While there's an idle growing my heart in this area or that area and I think just his thought that sin is not the issue. The real issue is idols are sins are just symptoms.
And as I've gone through and actually I read it before now I'm listening to the book. It is been so encouraging and that kind of encouraging this like wow I so needed this. It's freeing me. I get it. Thank you God and if you want to read a book that will set your year in the right direction and give you a focus to really walk with God.
I could not more highly recommend will you've been moved by what Kyle's been teaching in the series. Let me encourage you to get this book it'll take you deeper into the subtle dangers of idolatry and pleasure to consider what needs to change in your life to order your copy of God's at war defeating the idols. The battle for your heart visit LivingontheEdge.org or call AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org app listeners tap special offers which if I don't know that Kyle is taught us anything more challenging than this idea that we can love someone, to the degree that they become more important than God. Could you help us think this through. Because this is a pretty delicate subject. Dave, you're right. I think this is one of the most sensitive issues of all unit especially heard the story that Kyle told about about the mom and her kids and I would just say, in fact, let me share a story that might be helpful to people in negotiating, not allowing another person to take their rightful spot that the Lord Jesus has to have in our heart because this is a very subtle one, and it's a tough one but boy it's a really important one to address. I remember a season in my life where I was pastoring a church and the church had just exploded and it was a great season. We had great friends and we been there. Well over a decade and the Lord that had given me a very clear mandate about this is your calling. This is what I want you to do and it was going to be pretty impossible to do that at one local church. I got a tap on the shoulder to lead international organization that was in a server like 50,000 churches in America and then others around the world and trees and I talked about it and I will say that you know like 99% of all of our major decisions.
We both prayed, came to the same place move forward and on this one. It was Chip. I don't leave you know it's been all these years you know the church is well our kids are still here. Some of them I you know that's not for me. It was like oh well, so I prayed and prayed and you know often that that can be assigned.
It you know the Lord is not in it and that wasn't the case in this one. And I remember agonizing and praying and fasting and discussing and as she softened to the point of of course I will do what God wants us to do.
I don't have any leading chip.
I don't think I can think about this in an objective manner.
My emotions are so tied to the things here.
You know whatever God leads you to do all certainly you to follow and will be in it together but my heart's not in and that and I remember sitting on the floor in the LAX airport because I got down to the final day I had to give them an answer. It was the first time in my adult life where I was at a crossroads, and I knew this is what Jesus wants and the other direction. This is what Teresa wants and I agonized and I felt like if I say no to the Lord.
That is just willful disobedience but if I say yes to the Lord. I'm can have a very, very unhappy wife and I like to end the story by saying I said yes to the Lord, which I did and that then Teresa came around in three months and everything was great and that is not what happened.
It was super challenging. She did not have a good transition. It was really hard and what I realize was she became an idol.
My life, I will.
I so wanted to please her. I wanted to be a good husband that God put me to the test and this is a hard one, but I'd really ask you to listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit because when that person becomes an idol in your life they can't deliver what you need there just a person their finite and you unconsciously will put more and more pressure on them and it will ruin the relationship instead of make it and I can now look back and both of us.
We saw so many good things, but it was so hard, so all I want to say is, as Kyle pointed out, hating mother, brother, sister, is not an emotional statement, it's a loyalty statement.
What is really saying is, there can't be any loyalty higher than the will of God and the Lord Jesus Christ on the throne of your heart. Is there any person in your life right now that holds that position. This not Jesus, and if so, let me encourage you repent today don't it'll ruin the relationship eventually and it will disqualify you from getting God's best, and I don't want that for you neither to see as we wrap up this program just a quick but important thought Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue encouraging Christians to live like Christians. So, would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so people around you can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge to set up a recurring donation, call us at AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org app listeners tap donate. Thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do will join us again next time as our guest teacher Kyle Heideman continues to seriously God for its overemphasis. Dave saying thanks for listing to this Edition of Living on the Edge