Bro. Mike Miller
|Midway Bible Baptist Church Doctrinal Conference
- October 2004
It's good to be here. We sure do appreciate this place and appreciate you folks. We talk about it often. I was thinking last night about this. We take our friendships and relationships too lightly. I know all kinds of folks that just don't fit anywhere, they don't have a place and a fellowship where they really belong. A lot of people I see are just casting away these things that God put together. I know I'm kind of taking it out of context just a little, but you know where He said, "therefore what God hath joined together let not man put asunder " I know it's talking about a man and wife, but I think it applies to our other relationships too. They are important and they mean so much. Years go by. We're all getting older. The years go on by and it means something. You get all this water under the bridge. I thank God whenever I get to the place where I think, " I don't know if God's dealing with me or not", I can always look back here and I say, " Lord, I know you put me there, and I know you worked in my life". It made a big difference in my life and in my family's life, and I'm glad for it. I cherish the friendship here. I think of all of you often. I'm thankful for the privilege to be back here again.
I hope you'll come to the meeting this week. It will not be boring and I don't think it will be like a college class or anything like that. I haven't been talking to the Preacher much, so he hasn't filled me in. When we talked the other night, it sounded like we're on the same channel, so what I'm going to preach is not what he's prompted me to. From what I've heard, this is going to be a good meeting.
With this subject I'm going to preach on now, I was able to clean the church out at home two different times. I hope it doesn't work that way here, but it's the truth. If you're here this morning, then you love the truth, and you'll agree with what I'm going to say here. I think it's something real important, it's been on my mind a lot. I get these things in my mind and I can't shake them, everything that I look at, I see it through this perspective. So, I want you to read with me in Exodus 20, but let's pray first and ask the Lord to help and bless.
Lord, we do thank you Father for the privilege to be here again this morning. I can't express with words, Lord, what I really feel in my heart, and I can't go to far, my emotions get the best of me and I can't even talk. So, Lord, I pray you'd help us here this morning, I pray the Word of God would have free course, and I pray Lord, that it would be real. And Lord, I'm certainly a poor vessel to use this morning to get across such an important message, but Lord, I pray for the sake of these people that you would use my stammering tongue and my thoughts that don't always work like they should and come together like I want them to, as they do when I'm sitting at home thinking. I pray you'd just give help this morning. And Lord, may the message be received, and may it be a help and a blessing. May it clear the waters for some folks that are here this morning. Lord, I do pray and ask it for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Well, we're in the ten commandments here, Exodus 20:1 "And God spake all these words, saying, (v.2) I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Don't you think we ought to pay attention to the first thing He says? Don't you think He put them in order of importance? (v.4) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." And then He goes on to expound on that, (v.4-5) "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, ot that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God a, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"
I want to talk to you this morning about idolatry. You may say, "oh, well, this is going to be boring", I don't think so. It's the subject of the very first of the Ten Commandments, and God expounds on it about as much or more than He does on any of the others. So, I think we ought to pay attention to it, because it must be the most important to God. The rest of them must hang on this, the rest of them must depend on this. Idol worshiping - we put too little emphasis on it. When I said that, what you thought of was a fish, or a cow, or a stump, or something that people bow down and worship. You thought of an inanimate object somewhere. You think of an idol worshiper as somebody who worships his boat. We'll say, "well, I saw a guy going up the road with his boat on Sunday, that's his idol, that's his God." Well, you can apply it that way, but I think that's awful shallow. I think we're missing the point of it. Have you ever sat down and really meditated on what worshiping an idol is? And what an idol really is? It's not just an inanimate object. Men are pretty dumb when it comes to spiritual things, but they're not so dumb that they'll just set up a stick of wood and say, "oh, my god." There's something that's happened in their heart before they do that.
You see, everything you read in Romans 1 " the invisible things of Him " you may know them from the creation of all things. Every man has no excuse for not knowing God and knowing what He's like, and understanding about Him. The real God that created you and me and everything - we can know what He's like. Even the pagan in the jungle that worships that log, or that fish, or that beast, he is worshiping that thing because he has made himself a god in his heart FIRST. Then he just sets up that image to represent his god. An image helps him to keep his mind off of the real God in Heaven, because he looks at that thing, and adores that. And what he is doing, is worshiping his own, made-up god which he made up in his own heart.
It's not just inanimate objects. The Bible says in Ezekiel 8:12 "Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth." Do you see what he's saying? He said, "you see what they're doing in their hearts?" They are making up a god. The image that they make to represent their god is just almost always an animal. Or it's almost always some mixture of an animal and a human. Did you ever notice that? Does that remind you of anything we see in our day? You say, "that was long ago when people were dumb and they didn't have computers and radios and televisions and they couldn't figure out all this stuff." No, we've got them right now. I was reading in the paper where they're going to stop the logging somewhere because they found a bat there, and that bat is more important than anything else. They worship the creature more than the Creator. Those are idolaters. They are idol worshipers.
A lot of those people will claim to be Christians, and claim that they are worshiping God. The Bible says in Romans 1:25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever." You've got to worship God in spirit and in truth. It's got to be truth. You can't just worship God out of the imagination of your heart. You can't just think, "well, God is like this, because that's the way I think He is " You can't just sit on a church pew and make up your idea of what God is like. And if you do, you become an idolater and you're not worshipping the God of the Bible. You're worshipping a God that you have made up in your own heart and in your imagination, because that's the way you want Him to be. He fits your life better. He fits your desires better, and instead of God changing you - and that's how it's supposed to be - you change God in to what you want Him to be. Now that's the basic thing about an idolater, that's what they do.
Idolatry is almost always followed by immorality, because the next verse says, (v.26) "For this cause God gave them up into vile affections:" Now you want to know why things are like they are in our day? And why this whole conference is on the subject of sin in the life of a Christian and how people can claim to be Christians following God, and still walking in sin? If you've read anything in the Bible, if you know anything about it, you know that can't be true.
Well, we're living in idolatrous days, that's why. People are worshipping idols, they're not worshipping our God. I've got a friend who went to visit his brother and he went to their so-called church. He said when they went in and sat down, the lights went dim and the curtains opened in the front and there was a full band with drums and everything, and they started making noise. They had a big screen up on each side of the auditorium in the front and they were showing movie clips and they even showed clips out of modern movies. He said they even had fowl language in them. They were trying to teach object lessons with all that junk. And the music is all contemporary. You can think what you want to about it, but here's what I believe about that - that is nothing but Baal worship. They are not worshipping God, and if you'll get in your Bible and read about the Old Testament Baal worship, you can see every bit of what he told me about in that "church." He said the words were sensual. They didn't have anything to do with God, really. He wouldn't even tell me some of the language that was used, he said "I don't even want to say it, it was so bad".
Baal worship always included immorality. Those sodomites had their house right next to the house of the Lord. They never did say, "we're not worshipping God, we're worshipping Baa,l" they said, "we're worshipping the Lord." Then that guy came and he said, "if Hezekiah say's this to you , don't listen to him, because isn't he the one that's knocked down the altars of the Lord?" No, Hezekiah didn't knock down the altars of the Lord, he knocked down the altars of Baal. They thought they were worshipping God. They said they were worshipping God, but he wasn't the God of the Bible. He was a god they made up to go along with their immorality and their wickedness. They were idolaters.
We've got a lot of them in our day. When God turns you over to vile affections, from there it's only one more step to reprobate mind, because it says, " even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge " When you start preaching God the way the Bible describes Him, it sorts everything out. It separates the sheep from the goats. People who love the truth and love God, they will love it and they will accept it. They will rejoice in it. But people who don't want to retain God in their knowledge, their going to say, "he thinks he's something, does he think he's perfect or something? Who made him a judge? He's judgmental of everybody, you shouldn't be so judgmental. God loves sinners." They distort the character of God. That's an idol worshipper. They've made an idol in their heart. They're not worshipping God, they're worshipping an idol.
I hope that's getting across to you. Any misrepresentation of God is idolatry. Any time you misrepresent Him, anytime you say, "God is this way ", or "God said this " or "God told me this " and He didn't, that is idolatry. Or when it doesn't agree with the Word of God. I hear people all the time saying things about God and I think, "boy that isn't what my Bible said about God. I read something in the Bible that directly contradicted what they just said." That's idolatry! Your saying, "God is like this " and He's not like that, He's only like that in your imagination. You've got to worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH. "God seeketh such to worship Him," and the TRUTH is what? John 17:17 " thy Word is TRUTH." You're not going to know much at all about God, except you find it out from that book. Now you can understand His character and a lot of things about Him, "even his eternal power and godhead" from the creation, but the Word of God confirms it. The Word of God is in black and white for you to read. It never changes! You can always go to it, and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Any misrepresentation of God is idolatry. If something is said or believed about God that can't be proven with the scripture. It's evidence that the person is an idolater, or he's well on his way to being one. Do you ever say things about God that you know are in disagreement with what most preachers believe or other people of God believe? We're living in a day when people question everything. We're talking about sin, but you know what? We're living in a day when most people even question what sin is. There are churches full of people that don't believe that the sins of the flesh are even sins anymore. They don't believe that adultery is wrong, that fornication is wrong, that drunkenness is wrong, or idolatry is wrong. They don't believe that witchcraft is wrong. They don't believe anything is wrong. They're idol-worshipping people, that is what they are! Don't you ever believe that they are worshippers of God!
All ideas that rob God of His moral qualities and attributes - they are idolatrous. Did you ever notice in your Bible that all the people who worshipped idols - you can read in an encyclopedia and find out that those people - are always immoral and wicked? They have that attribute about them. They don't think anything is wrong. They think it's just a matter of your opinion. "If it's wrong for you, well, then it's wrong, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for me." Everything is subjective to them. "It doesn't matter what you think, it's what I believe. If I believe it's wrong and I feel bad about it, then it's wrong for me, but I can't tell you it's wrong." Hog wash! The Bible is what tells us what is right and wrong. And you know how it does it most plainly? They say, "well the Bible doesn't say, thou shalt not do this or that." No, the Bible is about revealing God to us, and His character and what He is like, and THAT'S how we know what's wrong.
Match it up to God and His character. God is holy, and any attempt to associate Him with unholiness is idolatry. I could preach a whole message on that. God is a God of judgment, and any denial of that fact is idolatry. It's evidence of an idolatrous heart. "I just don't believe a loving God would send anybody to a hell like that, I just don't believe He'd do that. How can it be?" That's an idolatrous heart speaking. They don't believe in God the way the Bible presents Him. They've made up their own idea of Him. They want Him to be like that, so they just imagine that He's that way, and they think that's going to be acceptable some way. It's not! They've become an idolater, and that's why the first commandment says, "thou shalt have no other gods before me." "You better look at me", God says, "you better believe what the Bible says about me."
God is a God of order, and Lord willing, that's what I was planning on talking about tonight, the order of God and I'll get in more trouble with that than anything else. That's why I save my worse messages for over here because I figure you guys can take it. (Laughter) God is a God of order, and any attempt to deny or reject His order for us and all of His creation is idolatry. God's got an order. He set everything up in an order. It's not chaos! There's not a planet that spins, there's not anything that happens that He didn't ordain. He put it in it's place, and that's the way it works, just like clockwork. Men have to adjust their atomic clocks every year, or every so often, to get them back in time with things, because they can't build them well enough to keep time with the way God did it. He is a God of order! He meant for us to have our place, and He means for us to be a certain way. Men, women, head, in submission, the church, Christ in the church, everything's got an order. And anybody that throws off Gods order, and says, "I'm not having it that way, I'll do it my way," they are an idolater. Churches are full of them. They are full of women who will not submit themselves to God's place for them, they're full of men who will not take their place that God made for them in the home, or in the church. And they are idolaters, you can believe what you want to believe, and they can cry and weep, and sing pretty songs, and they can tell you they're saved, and tell you when they got saved, and all that. But I'm telling you that if they don't believe God the way the Bible presents Him, they are an idolater.
All ideas that deny His Word, and His work, and His will are idolatrous. I know that Jesus said some awful strong words when He came out that day and cast those devils out of that fellow, and the Pharisees said, "He's casting them out by the power of Beelzebub." Oh, that's where the sin against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven. That's what He was talking about when He explained to them. They gave credit to the devil for something God had done. A bunch of idolatrous hearts is what was there. God's work is mighty important, and those who deny its importance are idolaters. We've got all kinds of people that are just floating around everywhere, they won't go to church at a certain place, and they won't commit themselves anywhere. They don't want to belong anywhere and drop an anchor and say, "this is where I'm staying, this is where I belong," they've just got their own ideas about how everything ought to be done. They can't find a preacher that will do it like they want it done, so they're just going to do it on their own. You know what I think about them? I don't even have to say it, do I? God's work! He purchased the church with His blood. He put the utmost importance on it! It's one of the most important things in our life - supporting the work of God. And He does it through the church. He doesn't have just free lance people out here running around, doing what they want, and doing what they please. He does his work through His church. Yes sir, I believe that!
The Bible reveals the person of God, and anything that's taught about God that disagrees with the Word of God is idolatry. There are denominations that have edited their songbooks and they changed all the personal pronouns to either neuter or feminine to talk about God. Now can you imagine saying about God, "she"? They do! And they think they've arrived, they think they are more spiritual than we old-fashioned ignoramuses are. They are idolaters! They are NOT worshipping God. God is not a "she" and they are misrepresenting Him. They are saying something about Him that the Bible does not say. They're contradicting His Word, and so they are idolaters. God doesn't like this contemporary worship and this contemporary music, and this rock music, and all this Baal worship that's going on. God doesn't like it! Not if I know anything about Him from what I've studied in the Word of God, that's not His person. That's not what He's like, and if you know Him, you know that He would not like that. It's plain in the Word of God.
Men are great makers of their own gods. They don't mess around, they do it in a hurry. It doesn't take them long, they're not slow about it. They make themselves a god that will allow their particular sin and still bless them. That's what leads men to worship idol gods - their sin. You say, "why do they do it? Because they're deceived?" Well, I think the biggest problem is, they are lead away with their sin. They've got a sin that they don't want to give up, and they'll go to an independent Baptist church - that doesn't mean much anymore. But they'll go to some church where somebody is really preaching, and they resist that. God will deal with them and they resist it. So they'll just concoct an idea in their mind and they will look around at some other idol worshippers and say, "look, they're doing it, and they're serving God, and they're going to church, and they're preaching, and they're singing, and they're doing all this " So they'll just join up with them. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's your sin that leads you to worship and idol god, and it will do it in a hurry. It's not because God lets them down, or because they can't understand Him. It's their love for their sin that makes them go to worshipping idol gods. I'm not talking about folks out yonder, I mean the church is full of them. Anywhere you go, I believe that Baptist churches are full of idolaters. I sure do, because sins are so many, and different people have different sins, so there are a lot of different gods.
Somebody said, "well, why are there all these denominations?" I've heard that so many times. Well, there are that many sins, so they make up their own gods, and make up their own idea about God, and start their own church, and start their own cult. I was listening to Brother Plemons preaching about that guy in the Old Testament who hired a priest and made him a god, and he thought he had it made, because he had a Levite for his priest. He just had his own thing going. He made up his own god, and then he hired himself a preacher to preach for him, just like he wanted it. You think that's not going on now? It's going on everywhere!
All men are great makers of gods, no matter what their intelligence is, or their education, or their abilities, or their standing in life. All men treat the idea of God the same way. At our store we had a lot of things happen there. We had a lot of people come in. We wanted to be able to get around people some instead of just sitting at home all the time and never meeting anybody. Well, the people knew we were Christians, they could tell that pretty easy. So, this lady comes in and she starts in, and I'll make a long story short here. It was obvious that we didn't agree at all on religion. So she started in, and I said, "well, just what do you believe?" She was a "Bahai." And the way that she said it was with much arrogance, like "that's something you wouldn't understand, you ignoramus you!" All that was the matter with that woman was that she went to college and got her mind all messed up. She said, "I've studied all the world religions, and I understand," just like I didn't know anything. That all I'd ever seen was a Bible and heard a hick preacher talk once or twice and that was all I knew, but she knew everything. She had studied all the religions, and she'd some to the conclusion that none of them really have it all together. It's just whatever you want to believe. She has an idolatrous heart. She has plainly made up her own ideas. She came to her conclusions about God, and about everything, and about what's right and wrong. It didn't have anything to do with the Bible, she threw that aside right away. "That's just a book, it's full of mistakes." She learned that in college. You want to get your mind messed up? Just go to college. By the way, you can learn that in Bible college too. You can really get messed up.
The multitude encourages you to make up an idol god. They look around at others and justify their distortions of God. Everybody wants to go with the multitude. They've got this idea that if that's where everybody is at, and that's what everybody is thinking, and that's what everybody is seeing, then that must be right. No, that's not right. If you really read your Bible, you'll find out that God's people were always the minority. They were always going it alone, not with the multitude. But men still want to go that way.
Many people invent their god from a song they've heard. There are a lot of songs that I've heard in church that really distort what God like. They distort the attributes of God. They tell a lie about His grace, about His mercy - they lie about it. Because it's a song, and because songs and music is the language of emotions, it carries great influence on the heart. I heard a guy say a while back, "Music is a language, but it is a language that speaks directly to the heart. It is the only means of communication that doesn't have to go through your brain to be processed and all the facts figured out. Music is an arrow directly to your heart. And that is so true. So, a lot of false ideas about God are promoted through music. That's why idolatry is always associated with music. It's a big part of idolatry. Yes, it is, and it's never the right kind of music either.
What is an idol worshipper like? Well, God's main attribute, like I said a minute ago, is holiness. You remember when Joshua said to the people in Joshua 24:15 " choose you this day whom ye will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And the people said, "we will too, that's what we want to do, Joshua.", and he said, "no, you can't". Joshua 24:19 "And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; he is a jealous God;" What do you think Joshua was saying to those people? Why did he say that? Because they were not holy, that's why! They said, "we're going to serve God " Sure! With all their nakedness, and all of their rotten music, and all of their wicked living. They said, "we're with you, Joshua."
Preacher, has anyone ever come in and said, "we've been looking for preaching like that, we'll be with you from here on out," and in about two weeks they're gone? I've had people like that. "Oh, that's good preaching! That's just what we've been looking for!" But when it came down to the bottom line, they really don't want that kind of preaching. What they want you to do, is preach against sin - but not their sin. They want you to preach so they can say, "Yeah, I know somebody like that, boy, that fits that guy back there. Hit 'em, Preacher, get 'em!" But when it gets them, they say, "Wait a minute! Wait a minute!"
So, that's what Joshua said to them. "You can't serve God! You can't go with me and serve the God I'm going to serve! He is a holy God, and He's a jealous God, and He will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins!" Did Joshua mean He wouldn't forgive them if they'd repent? That's not what he meant! He knew those people, and he said, "I know you, you stubborn, stiff-necked, bunch of rebels! You don't have any intention of turning around, you just want God to accept you like you are, and He isn't going to do it!"
And the same thing is happening today in so many of the churches. But the people aren't being told the same thing Joshua told those people. "Just come on in," they say. I heard it not long ago. Somebody living in sin, and the preacher said, "I told them just to come on in, and get saved, and God will deal with them about that later." No! That's not the way it works!
I have heard it said that sin is not the issue in salvation - that unbelief is the issue. Well, I beg your pardon! It's funny to me that they can do that. They can say, "Now, here's the plan of salvation: You've got to understand you're a sinner." Isn't that the first point of their plan? "You've got to understand that the wages of sin is death." Isn't that the second point of the plan? "You've got to understand that death is the second death, and hell is the price - the wages of sin." Now, isn't that what they say? Then they turn around and say, "Sin is not what sends you to hell, it's your rejection of Christ that sends you to hell." John 3 comes to my mind. He didn't come to condemn the world, because the world was condemned already. Why? Because of their sin! He came to seek and to save that which was lost. It's your only chance to get saved - to trust in Christ. But you are lost because of your sin.
Isaiah said, "for thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabited eternity, whose name is Holy"
1 Peter 1:15 "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;"
Revelation 3:7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy "
I could read many more verses out of the Bible, it's full of the fact that God is holy. God is holy! He is not a God that just goes along with wickedness, and filth, and trashy living, and open sin. God doesn't go along with that. And if you try to make believe that He does, you're just a plain-ol' idol worshipper, just as much as the pagan in the jungle.
Yes, you can sit on a church pew in a Baptist church, and you can sing these songs out of the hymnbook, and you can say, " I believe! I accepted Jesus as my Savior," you can say all that. But if in your heart, you think that God is passive or indifferent toward your sin, you are worshipping an idol god! You are not worshipping the God of Heaven and you don't know Him! Instead of changing his heart and His life to suit the Holy God of the Bible, he just changes God so that He will go along with his sinful and worldly life style. He thinks God is indifferent to his worldly amusements and his crooked dealings in his business. And God just winks at him for his watching dirty things, and listening to dirty things, and God just doesn't care. Gossiping tongues, and desecrating the Lord's day, and not having any regard for the Lord's day, "God doesn't care." It's funny to me, when I read back in the past, they used to think God cared about those things. Did you know it's only in the last few years that the whole society has given up on Sunday, and said, "it doesn't matter, just open the businesses, sell the booze, do whatever you want to." It used to be against the law. It's still illegal to hunt on Sunday here in Virginia, isn't it? Where did they get that idea? Most churches you go to people just snicker at that, and say, "what's the matter with those people?" That's a state law, they got it from somewhere. It came from back when people understood more about God, and believed in the real God. We're living in an idolatrous age. "God doesn't care anymore," - their god doesn't. They say, "it doesn't make any difference, it's just another day, it doesn't make any difference."
An idolatrous god is not interested in how you dress, or how you look, or how you act, or who you run with, or the places you go. An idol god doesn't care, because an idol god is not holy. A Holy God DOES care. A Holy God does put some demands on you! He does expect you to live a holy life, because you are representing Him. We're ambassadors for Christ, isn't that right? That's what is wrong with idolatry.
One major thing is that other people are looking at us and they are saying, "Boy, if that's what God is like, I don't want anything to do with him." They know in their heart that God is holy. Remember Paul on Mars Hill? They were worshipping all those idols, and then they had one, in case they had missed one, they had made to the "unknown god." Paul preached to them, and he preached a holy God, who created everything, and made it plain to them that they were worshipping idols.
An idol worshipper always supposes that gain is godliness. He equates success and prosperity with God's blessing. He equates suffering and failure with the disapproval of God. In other words, it's this "health and wealth" gospel you are hearing. That's idolatry! If you'll just believe God, and "name it and claim it." I hear this all the time about "authority." These charismatics, it's "authority," you have the "authority." No! God has the authority. We are His servants! We are His children! We are to obey and submit to God. We're not to go around claiming, "I'm the man, I'm the one with the authority!" No! That is idol worship.
Music that goes with idolatry also identifies the idolaters. When Moses came down off of the mountain, what was the first thing that made him aware that something was wrong down there? That noise. That noise that came from the camp. It was like the sound of war. Do you ever hear that when you go in a restaurant somewhere? But it wasn't the sound of those who were winning, or those who were loosing, they couldn't figure it out. What a noise! Heavy metal is what it was - beating all those earrings together.
How does God view an idolater? I'm going to try to be as discreet as I can about this, but it's just Bible language, and it's the way God presents it. So, we've got to believe God, and we've got to trust Him. The Bible likens the idolater to a whorish woman.
Ezekiel 6:9 "And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations."
If you are saying, "that's what I've done, I've made up my own ideas about God, and that's the way I believe it is " here is what God thinks of you. This is how He looks at you. God feels about a person who is making an idol in his heart just like a man does about a wife he loves who becomes a whorish woman. I know that may be kind of hard for women to understand, but that's the way it is. You women are always claiming that we men don't know how you feel. Well, you ladies don't know how a man feels about this either. "Jealousy is the rage of a man, and though thou givest him many gifts, he'll not be satisfied." There's blood in his eye. It does something to him that can't be explained.
That's the way God feels about people who go a whoring after idols. People who make up a god and say, "This is what I think God is like," and then they make an image of it to represent it so they can keep their mind off of Him. They don't like to retain God in their knowledge. God describes it in such low terms, as a woman who is not only that way, she doesn't do it for pay, but instead pays others to commit the whoredoms with her.
Ezekiel 16:30 "How weak is think heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;". He's dealing with them about their idolatry. (v.31) "In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;" (v.32) " But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!" (v.33) "They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them , that they may come unto thee on every side fory thy whoredom."
Pretty ugly isn't it? That's what God thinks of it, that's the way He views idolatry. First commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". It ought to be easy for you men to understand. Don't you demand that kind of devotion from your wife? Idolaters don't have a problem with adultery and open marriages, and junk like that. They don't have a problem with that because their mind is messed up. If you know God, and you're anywhere close to God, your mind is going to be normal, you are going to understand this. The Bible shows us that an idolater is following his own heart. I won't read the verses in Ezekiel 14:4, Numbers 15:30. They make up an idol God. It's your heart that deceives you, and your heart leads you to make up ideas about God that are not true.
So, are you an idolater? You may say, "Now, Brother Mike, you are making us all idolaters. You've just narrowed it down here to where if I do anything wrong, your calling me an idolater." No, that's not what I'm saying. I believe, and I believe it's right from the Word of God, when you get saved, and in order to get saved, you have to understand the basic character of God. You know He's holy. Anybody here that would have the nerve to say, "I got saved, and I didn't understand anything about God, I thought He might have been a fish or whatever?" NO! You don't get saved that way, you get saved when you come to the knowledge and understanding of a Holy God that is going to judge you for your sin. You understand that much about Him. You know the basic things about God. You don't understand all about Him.
The Preacher quoted a verse in Peter about growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are supposed to grow in your knowledge and understanding of Him, and we do. We come to where we understand "that we may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breath and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." So, see that's not what I'm talking about. We understand more as we go along. I do! I've thought a lot of things about God, but I never did think that He wasn't holy. I never did think that He'd go along with my sin. I never did try to bend God, since I've been saved, to a point where He'd agree with me about my sin. No! And I don't believe any person that is really saved will do that. I just don't believe they will.
Now, is your god real, or is he just a concept in your mind? Does he appear to help you in time of need? That's one good test to find out if you're an idolater or not. Can you pray, and God answers? If your god doesn't come to your aid when you need him, I would do some checking up. Ask Elijah. Does God come to the help of one who worships the true God of heaven? You've got your idol worshippers crying out, and cutting themselves, and saying, "Oh, Baal! Oh, lord! Help us!" Ezekiel said, "Holler louder, boys, he can't hear you." And Elijah got up, and he prayed, and God answered.
If you are really serving God, God will answer you when you need Him. He'll be there in the hour of need, and the hour of trouble. He promised He would, and He will! He will not leave you, if you are serving the real and true God.
Does He make His presence felt when you give your testimony of your walk with Him? You know what I'm talking about. When somebody gives a testimony, and it's real, and God says, "amen," there's a big difference.
Does your knowledge of Him cause you to change things about yourself? Are you changing to conform to the image of God, or are you trying to come up with some idea of God that makes you more acceptable like you are? I'm talking about the difference between worshipping idols, and worshipping God.
Do you look for information about God? Where do you look for it? In the Bible? Or do you watch TBN, or something like that? Do you listen to so-called "Christian radio," and listen to that bunch of kooks? Is that where you get your information about God, and what He's like? Or do you get it from the Bible? If you get if from them, you are going to get a bunch of idol worshipping nonsense.
Do you look for information about God? Do you accept completely, through and through, what you read about God in the Bible? Do you? Do you work to change your heart and lifestyle to comply and conform to the God of the Bible? Or do you attempt to convince yourself that God is more like you are right now? Do you feel your emotions and all of your experiences, and joy and glory because your god is "just like this"? That's backwards folks! Backwards! You don't look for God from within yourself, you look in the Bible.
Are you willing and inclined to change your ideas about God revealed in the Bible in order to be more accepted by friends, and relatives, and neighbors, or the world?
Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, murders, whoremongers, sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 22:15 "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and IDOLATERS "
They are outside! Right in that list of all that awful sin - IDOLATERS.
1 Thessalonians 1:8: "For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything." (v.9) "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God FROM IDOLS TO SERVE THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD;"
1 John 5:21: "Little children, keep yourselves from IDOLS. Amen."
1 Cor 6:9: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor IDOLATERS "
I've got a whole long list.
Galatians 5:19: "19: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, IDOLATRY, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Ephesians 5:5: "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, or unclean person, or covetous man who is an IDOLATER hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God "
I've got more that I could give you. You don't want to be an idolater. You want to find out what God is like from the Bible, conform your life, your heart to the Bible, not make up your own idea of God in your mind. You better be careful imagining things about God. You better be careful! And you better not have any thoughts about God that you can't look in the Bible and back them up solid with plain Scripture. You can imagine for a lifetime that you are serving God, but just believing sincerely isn't good enough - you have to believe the right thing.
When it comes to your hour of death, that idol god is not going to be there. He is nothing but a figment of your imagination. He doesn't exist, and he won't be there. You want him there in your time of need, you want him there in your hour of death? You better serve the Lord God of the Bible. Amen.
Father, I thank you for the liberty this morning, and the time we've had together, I pray for the Word of God, that it would have it's free course in every heart now. Lord may you have your way. Make it clear where I didn't. In Jesus name, Amen.