I want us to realize something extremely important tonight.
We are all idolators.
You see, in all of us–Christian or non-Christian–there is something at the center of your life; something you worship. Whether that be God, sex, money, authority, comfort–we all worship something. And I want us to see, tonight, that if God is not at the center of our lives, something else will be.
Augustine once said, “There is a God-shaped hole in our hearts.” // There is a longing for things in our lives, to be wanted, to be a part of a community that loves you for who you are, that doesn’t demean you; a longing to have a purpose, to be a part of something beyond yourself. These longings, these desires which we feel every day can never be satisfied in pursuing things apart from God.
You see, there may be temporary satisfaction in pursuing sex, or money, but these things will never sustain you. They were never meant to.
We get caught up sometimes in pursuing things that may be inherently good, and placing those things above God.
Harvey Turner, teaching pastor at Living Stones says, “When we make a good thing, a God thing, that’s BAD.” >> You see, when we place something in more of a significance than we place God, when we exalt a thing more than the one who creates and provides it, that’s idolatry. We’re making that thing, that pursuit, our God.
We try to pursue so many things in our lives. We try to pursue being accepted through integrating into various social groups, we try to accomplish the most comments on a facebook page to satisfy our longing for self-centerdness, for approval and praise of ourselves. We try to get money so we may be seen as significant in others’ eyes.
What I want us to realize tonight is that these things were never meant to show us value in ourselves, but rather used to demonstrate to others in the world, how much God–the One True God–really means to us.
Today we have more resources than ever before; we live in the most accessible age in all of history, we are statistically the richest the world has ever been, and we have SO MUCH. Don’t you think we should begin using those resources as an avenue to worship the God who has provided those things?
Now hear me in this, we do not do these things to validate ourselves. That brings us full circle to building up something else as a false idol, a god, in our lives–apart from, and above, God.
We do these things because we have already been given the freedom required to have relationship with The Eternal One–to have favor in His eyes. Not by what we did, not a single thing earns us that; but by what His Son, Jesus, has done.
Harvey Turner puts it this way, “Every other religion, EVERY ONE is the concept of ‘do’, Christianity is the only one who is ‘DONE’.”
You see, everything else, media, TV, Facebook, culture, advertisements, other religions, all of it points to “do this and you’ll receive favor, have this and THEN you’ll be truly happy,” but it all just comes up short doesn’t it?
Christianity says “DONE.” Jesus Christ has done EVERYTHING for us, already. He became human that He may finish what we never could, that He may be an example for us to follow, and most significantly, that He would hang on that cross, bloodied, unrecognizable, and absorb the wrath God intended for us, that we would not have to.
See, everything that is required of us has already been accomplished by Jesus. We do not have to earn a relationship with God–it’s already been done! We don’t have to do good works, or say a certain prayer, or serve a specific way–to EARN salvation.
But it’s once we realize that it has been done from us, that we’re free to worship Him with our lives.
Free to serve Him, worship Him, show His love to the world, change our ways, because He is worth it. And because we can live our lives glorifying Him, and the fact that He has done the work for us, that we may live the rest of our lives showing the world that His love, His grace, His salvation, HIS GLORY is available to all who trust in Him.
And when you encounter the presence of God, when you throw aside all your false idols which never satisfy you and turn upon the One whom all things were created BY and FOR, you will never be the same again.
I praise Him for this Truth tonight.