Tag Archive: idolatry

God Gave Them Up

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”Romans 1:24, 25

Preaching Christ CrucifiedAs sinful, wicked, unbelieving men deserted God, God deserted them. God “gave them up” is a term used here, in Romans 1:26 and in Romans 1:28. Romans 1:24-25 first expresses the abandon of sinful men to their impure and unclean depravity. In Romans 1:26-27, the apostle makes the depravity even clearer. In Romans 1:28-32, the apostle provides even further details concerning the sinful condition of fallen man.

Our passage says that God gave them up to uncleanness. The lusts of their own flesh caused them to commit adultery; that is, to turn from God to various kinds of wickedness. And the uncleanness specifically mentioned here is a dishonoring of their bodies through the lusts of their own hearts. As idolatry in the ancient Grecian and Roman empires were closely associated with temple worship that included a great deal of sexual immorality and perversions, this uncleanness moved right into their lives apart from temple worship.

When the apostle Paul says that sinful men “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,” in essence is saying the same thing he said in Romans 1:23, but in a slightly different manner,

“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

“They exchanged the true God (as in the true and living God) for a lie (idols).” They made idols of themselves, idols of their accomplishments, idols of their thoughts and idea, idols of other humans, idols of pleasure gained from other humans.

Men who stand behind the pulpit are as guilty of this kind of idolatry all the time; it nearly makes me physically ill to hear someone say, “O, when I get to heaven, I can’t wait to meet Paul… or David… or Moses… or Abraham… or Aunt Mary… or…” fill in the blank. To utter something like that from the pulpit is so very wrong that there are not enough words to describe just how sinful it is. The only thing that makes heaven heaven is Jesus Christ the Creator of heaven. Although I’m grateful that God used sinners like Paul, Peter, David, Moses, &etc., it is not my desire to see them. I long to see Christ, my Savior, who is blessed forever! Amen!

LISTEN TO THE SERMON preached on this text on August 2, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

You can read the previous article from Romans 1:22-23, “They Corrupted God’s Glory”, by clicking here.

Powerful-Gospel-Grace-ad-ba

Foolish Heart Darkened

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21

PCC News IconThe statement that “they knew God” means that they knew about Him. They knew that He was filled with wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness; yet they refused to glorify Him as God. They refuse to be accountable to Him, neither did they give Him thanks, even though, by God’s grace, “He did good, and gave [them] rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling [their] hearts with food and gladness” (just as Paul preached to the people of Lystra in Acts 14:17).

As a result, they “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” In other words, they became idolatrous in their considerations and their hearts were darkened… as opposed to enlightened because “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Jesus told Nicodemus, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19-20).

So, fallen, sinful men not only know who God is and know about His holy justice, but they also know enough about Him to hate Him utterly and completely (Romans 1:30).

God’s Eye on Us

“God might, if He pleased, wrap Himself with night as with a garment; He might put the stars around His wrist for bracelets, and bind the suns around His brow for a crown; He might dwell alone, far, far above this world, up in the seventh heaven, and look down with calm and silent indifference, upon all the doings of His creatures; He might do as the heathens supposed their false god did, sit in perpetual silence, sometimes nodding his awful head to make the fates move as he pleased, but never taking thought of the little things of earth, disposing of them as beneath his notice, engrossed within his own being, swallowed up within himself, living alone and retired; and I, as one of his creatures, might stand at night upon a mountaintop, and look upon the silent stars and say, ‘You are the eyes of God, but you do not look down on me; your light is the gift of his omnipotence, but your rays are not smiles of love to me. God, the mighty, Creator, has forgotten me; I am a despicable drop in the ocean of creation, a leaf in the forest of beings, an atoll in the mountain of existence. He does not know me; I am alone, alone, alone.’

“But it is not so, beloved. Our God is of another order. He notices every one of us; there is not a sparrow or a worm that continues to live apart from His decrees. There is not a person upon whom His eye is not fixed. Our most secret acts are known to Him. Whatever we do, or endure, or suffer, the eye of God still rests upon us, and we are under His smile— for we are His people; or under His frown— for we have sinned against Him.”

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

King of Nations

“Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.”Jeremiah 10:7 

Despite the idolatry of the heathen kings surrounding Judah, the LORD God is King of kings. He is sovereign God and in control. Jehovah warns the house of Israel not to learn their vain customs (Jeremiah 10:2-3). The LORD reveals to them that these carvings of wood, plated and decorated with silver and gold (Jeremiah 10:4), are not the true and living God, that they have no power and will perish from the earth (Jeremiah 10:11-12). He tells us not to be afraid of these “gods” but rather to fear Him. 

Jesus Christ is to be revered with a holy reverence. The LORD reminds us in our text that He alone is God for “there is none like unto” Him. He comforts us with the truth that although nations shall practice iniquity and abomination, Christ is still sovereign Ruler of all nations. God is good and He is sovereign; and because He is the Author, Sustainer, and Finisher within all His creation, He is holy and utterly unique. 

Men will falter. Kings will fail. Governments will disappoint. Kingdoms will be cast down. Only God is all-good, all-wise, all-powerful and Lord over all. There is great peace in that truth and joy unspeakable when revealed by God’s Spirit through His Word. Knowing this, “who would not fear Thee, O King of nations?”

Weeping

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”Jeremiah 9:1 

Has the love of the heavenly Father so penetrated our beings that our hearts are grieved with this kind of weeping for those who have fallen victim by those who profess the name of Christ, yet have provoked God “to anger with their graven images, and with their strange vanities” (Jeremiah 8:19). 

The idols and strange vanities among those who profess the name of Jesus in the United States are far worse than the carved wooden images that are plated with gold and silver in Jeremiah’s day (see Jeremiah 10:2-5). The idols that have been set up here, in the name of Christ, are lust, gain, greed, murder, homosexuality, &etc. These idols have replaced the sovereignty of God in their hearts, the authority of Scripture in the renewing of their minds, and the love for truth in their lives. In the name of Jesus, many who profess to be the church of Jesus Christ in America have replaced the Spirit of God and the means the Lord has ordained in His Word by adding entertainment and sensationalism to grace (which really removes grace altogether because grace plus something equals not grace at all). Do we weep day and night for the slain of the daughters of our people?

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