The Worship of Idols

Video Talk

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 ESV

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”

Now this is speaking about the children of Israel who had been delivered from slavery in Egypt, who ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years because most of them were walking in disobedience to the Lord in sexual immorality, and/or idolatry, and/or revelry (wild parties, wild living), and/or in grumbling and complaining about God and their circumstances, and/or in putting God/Christ to the test. For when any of us push the limits to see how much we can get away with, that is putting Christ to the test.

Now what I find interesting here is that Paul stated here that these things took place many years ago, in the wilderness, with the children of Israel, as examples for us, as though this was the intended result of their actions all along, but not the only result, for those who disobeyed the Lord, and who engaged in habitual and deliberate sin, were destroyed in the wilderness, and they did not get to enter into God’s eternal rest because of their disobedience, i.e. because of their unbelief (see Hebrews 3-4).

Now I found this definition of idolatry online which I thought was good:

“A definition of idolatry is ‘anything we serve, love, desire, trust, fear, and worship…apart from God to give us love, joy, peace, freedom, status, identity, control, happiness, security, fulfillment, health, pleasure, significance, acceptance, and respect’ (Gospel Transformation, pg. 59).

“Notice in this definition the ‘give’ and ‘get’ transactional nature of idolatry. In idolatry a person serves a god to gain what only the one true God can ultimately give. To say it another way, idols are functional saviors that people turn to for what only God can provide” (1).

So, idolatry is not just the worship of some foreign and/or man-made god. Idolatry is when we give to other things and to people and to the world and to sinful practices the passions and affections and worship and desire that should be for God and for God/Christ alone. For many people go after the pleasures of this world and sinful practices in order to fulfill within them some desire for happiness, pleasures, affection, or whatever else that, as Christians, we are only to find in our Lord.

And sexual immorality is huge in our world and in the church in America today. Statistics have it that as many as 75% of just Christian men are engaged regularly in viewing sexually explicit materials, and as high as 35% of pastors, the same, and then women and children are in the mix, too, although their numbers are not as high. But this doesn’t include all forms of sexual immorality, for they are many. And since so many people believe that they are secured heaven when they die, they practice these sins freely.

But now we are not to read this passage of Scripture as just a history lesson and to think that it does not apply to us who profess faith in Jesus Christ. It is written to Christians, to those professing faith in Jesus Christ, and it is letting us know that these things happened to them as an example to us of what not to do, and they were written down specifically for our instruction, so that we do not desire and engage in evil as they did, and so we don’t end up not inheriting eternal life with God because of our disobedience.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

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When the Roll is Called up Yonder

By James M. Black, 1893

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

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(1) (not an endorsement of this site)

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