IDOLS IN THE HEART
Preaching by: Bishop Apolinario L. Bañez
June 25 – July 2, 2017
Before we start with the outline, here is our recorded Praise & Worship session for this day.
We’re supposed to do a live video of the sermon but my internet connection failed me. For now, let’s bear with the outline.
► Ezekiel 14:3-4, 7
3 “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? 4 Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.
7 “‘When any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing in Israel separate themselves from me and set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer them myself.
− These God’s people had committed a great evil – they had set up idols in their heart.
− Just as they worshiped an idol, so we can establish many kinds of idols in their heart; idols that draw us away from serving God.
− One does not need to be bowed down before some image to be worshiping an idol in his heart.
A. We understand that the Bible heart is not that which pumps blood, but the part of man which believes and reasons.
► Proverbs 4:23
3 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
► Proverbs 23:7
7 for he is the kind of person
who is always thinking about the cost.
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
► Romans 10:10
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
B. What is an idol?
1. An idol is an image or representative of a deity, which is made and used as an object of worship.
2. An idol may also be any object of passion, anything that we place above God in worth.
3. Almost anything can become an idol to us if we are not careful!
I. FOR MANY POSSESSIONS BECOMES AN IDOL
• We need to understand that we do not have to have a lot of possessions to make an idol of them.
− Many who do not have much seem to be willing to do what it takes to acquire possessions.
− It is all they think about.
− Owning a little or a lot is not the key, but thoughts toward possessions are.
► Luke 12:15
15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
o Life is not measured by what we possess.
o Neither is our faithfulness to the Lord.
► Mark 10:17-23
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his kneesbefore him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
o Possessions can keep us out of heaven.
o We may do excellent in many areas, and yet if we have the idol of possession in our heart, we will miss heaven
• Notice what Paul says about the true wealth:
► 2 Corinthians 6:10
10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
o True wealth is not what we possess
II. FOR MANY POPULARITY BECOMES AN IDOL
• Many have sold their souls for popularity.
− Many parents have sold their children’s souls for popularity.
− Popularity, for many, costs too great of a price
► John 12:42-43
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
o These are two of the saddest verses in all of the Bible
o The desire of popularity can keep one from obeying God
► John 16:1-7
“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
o Serving God can cause us to be unpopular
o But remember, the Lord is with us.
III. FOR MANY POSITION BECOMES AN IDOL
• Some think that position is more important then God
► Galatians 2:11-13
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
► John 12:42
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
o These Jewish leaders loved position more than truth
o There are many in the church like that today
IV. FOR MANY RECREATION BECOMES AN IDOL
• This seems to be the new religion of many today
− Serve me first and God second is the attitude of many
− “Let’s make it a party” – is also the attitude of many
► Exodus 32:1-6
1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
o Some want to do is “rise and play” (v6)
o Many care more for fun and games that the Lord
o Other try to bring fun and games into the church
► Luke 15:13
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
o The prodigal son carried fun and games to the extreme
o This will happen to many when recreation becomes an idol to them
V. FOR MANY THEIR CAREER BECOMES AN IDOL
• Sure, our careers are important and should be taken seriously, but there is something beyond this
► Luke 14:16-19
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
o There are some thing that are more important than business
o There are some things more important than our careers
► Matthew 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
o The kingdom must be first in our lives
o To put our careers above the kingdom is to cause our careers to become our idol
VI. FOR MANY FITNESS BECOMES AND IDOL
• Physical fitness is a God-approved attribute, but there is something that is even more important
► 1 Timothy 4:7-8
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
o We must exercise ourselves unto godliness
o It is true that physical exercise is profitable but it is not as profitable as godliness
► Matthew 4:4
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
o We cannot live by bread alone, neither can we live by exercise alone
o there is something that is more needful – the Word of God
VII. FOR MANY DESIRES BECOME AN IDOL
• Man never ceases to desire the things he sees
► Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
o The lusts of the flesh fulfill desires
o these fleshly desires are idols to many
► 2 Timothy 4:3, 10
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
o Because of personal lusts men then and now look for teachers to approve their action.
− They will always find someone who they desire.
− Too many care for their own desires more than the desires of God
− Setting up idols in the heart is just as serious as setting up a physical idol of wood, stone aor precious metal
− Idolatry is still one of the things that God despises!
− When tempted, we have a great weapon to fight Satan with.
o It is tried and true, and used by the Lord Himself to combat temptation
► Matthew 4:10
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”