Turn From and Turn To (1 Thessalonians #5)

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Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Salvation

  • Battery is positive and negative.  What happens if there is only a positive and no negative?  It doesn’t work.  What happens if it’s all negative and no positive?  It doesn’t work.
  • Rialto restoration.
    • Some change the sign outside  the building without any sign of change.
  • We went to Trinidad several years ago on a mission trip.  We were staying next to a single fellow that we brought to church for a couple of nights and claimed to be a Christian.  One night, he invited some of us over, and some of the guys went over to his house.  He lived by himself, he was drunk out of his mind.  When we went into his home he had a Bible next to a couple Hindu idols he prayed to along with a Mary statue, some beads and other trinkets that he reverenced.  He pointed to the Bible and said, See, I’m a Christian.
  • Understand what you’re being saved from.

Service

  • Galatians 5:20 tells you that idolatry is a work of the flesh; it’s sensual.
  • Idolatry is a natural product of man’s heart.  Religion is proof of it.  Mankind and worship go hand in hand.
  • It shouldn’t be a surprise that over time physical relics, buildings, statues, and such gain honor and Jesus Christ diminishes in honor.
  • It is possible to be a professing Christian and an idolater.  It isn’t right, but it’s entirely possible.  It isn’t necessary to renounce Christianity in order to become an idolater.
  • Idols are never presented as rivals to God.  Idolatry is often a seductive spirit that slides its way in between honoring God under the pretense of an “aid to worship” or an help.
  • J.C. Ryle said, We are always ready, by reason of our laziness and unbelief, to devise visible helps and stepping-stones in our approaches to Him, and ultimately to give these inventions of our own the honor due to Him.  In fact, idolatry is all natural, downhill, easy, like the broad way.  Spiritual worship is all of grace, all uphill, and all against the grain.  Any worship whatsoever is more pleasing to the natural heart, than worshipping God in the way, which our Lord Christ describes, “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).
  • Israelites out of Egypt set up idols, not because they hated God.  But largely as a response to needing physical proof of divinity in the absence of Moses and silence of God.  Israel entering promise land – Put away idols or else you can’t serve the living God.  Joshua 24:14-23 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; …therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins… And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD…Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
  • Exodus 32:25 Aaron led the people into idolatry and the result was shame and vulnerability.  “We are having a good time” they might say.  No, you have become prey.
  • Idolatry is seduction by sensual means where something begins to receive the honor due to Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
  • Covetousness, you say, is not a physical thing.  Bible believers don’t worship idols in the sense of bowing down to statues.  While it may not be statues, covetousness is completely physical in nature.  
  • Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Solution

  • Flee idolatry Paul says.
    • 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
    • There isn’t another prescription.  There is no inoculation.  There is no drug or prayer you can say.
    • You say, I can keep reading my Bible and putting idols in front of me and it will be OK.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
  • Turn FROM idols, turn TO God