Ten Commandments #2

August 18, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This week, we’re going to look at the second of the Ten Commandments. The second of the Ten Commandments says:

 

Exo 20:4  “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Exo 20:5  “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Exo 20:6  but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

The word for idol could also mean graven image. God gives this commandment to the nation of Israel a number of times. Unfortunately, while He was giving this commandment the Israelites were making a golden calf from earrings and jewelry. God makes it clear that His people were not to worship any part of creation not the animals, not the celestial bodies. God said that anyone that made an idol would be cursed and considered an abomination.

 

As I said above, Israel broke this commandment while Moses was receiving it. The children of Israel had just left Egypt and were in the wilderness. Moses had ascended Mount Sinai and was receiving the commandments for his people. While he was up there, the people got tired of waiting and asked Aaron, Moses’ brother, to make them an idol. Aaron told them to gather all of their gold together and melted it down. He then shaped it into a calf (later he says that it just came out that way) and declared it to be the ‘god’ that delivered them from Egypt. A feast is declared the next day and the people are making offerings, drinking, and playing. God tells Moses what the people have done and says that He wants to destroy them. Moses intercedes for the people and God relents. Moses then descends the mountain, with Joshua (who was waiting halfway up), and sees the debauchery. In anger, Moses throws down the tablets and they shatter. He rebukes Aaron and grounds the idol into powder. He then mixes the gold powder with water and makes the Israelites drink. He then calls those who stand with the Lord to his side (the Levites), and sends them out to kill the idolaters (about 3,000 people). Moses returns to the mountain and intercedes for the sins of the people. God shows mercy on them but tells Moses that whoever sins will be blotted out of the Book He has written and that “in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin”.

 

While there may not be many people who actually carve an idol out of wood or stone, there are some. What most people don’t realize is that you don’t need wood or stone to shape an idol. Many people make idols with their mind. They create a “God” that suits their ideals and needs. “He” believes what they believe, loves what they love, and hates what they hate. Sadly, it’s become rampant in the modern church as well. The modern idols may be more subtle, but they are still idols because they don’t correctly represent Jesus Christ or the scriptures. Paul expressed concern about this in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4:

 

2Co 11:3  But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

2Co 11:4  For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

 

Mormonism – Mormons often portray themselves as Christians, but they hold to very different views of Jesus, God, and many other things. They believe that God was once a man, that Jesus and the devil are brothers, that the angel Moroni gave the “true” revelation to Joseph Smith on golden plates in the 1800’s. They hold other books (The Book of Mormon, Pearls of Great Price) as having the same authority as scripture. They allow polygamy. If a Mormon does well enough, they will become like “God” they will become like “God” and have their own universe. “God” had sexual relations to produce “His” “spiritual children”.

 

Catholicism – The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) shares many of the same beliefs as other Christian denominations, but they also hold many that separate them. They believe that salvation comes from both faith and works. They resacrifice Jesus Christ every Sunday in the Mass. They hold many dogmatic beliefs. These things must be believed or, according to the RCC, you are not saved. These dogmas include the idea that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and that she is considered the Co-Redemptrix of man because she gave birth to Jesus. They also believe that anyone outside the RCC is not saved. They believe that the wafer and wine used in Mass actually become the body and blood of Jesus. They believe that the Pope is a descendant of the Apostle Peter (because it was supposedly Peter who Jesus decided to build His church on). They also believe that the Pope is infallible. That is, when the Pope is speaking on matters of the RCC, he cannot make a mistake. None of these things are found in scripture without them being added.

 

Prosperity gospel – Those who preach the ‘prosperity gospel’ believe that “God” wants believers to be “blessed” spiritually, physically, and financially. Often, the emphasis is on financial blessing and the focus is on a small number of scriptures that talk about wealth, prosperity, healing, and power. Those scriptures are taken out of context and made to fit the idea of prosperity. Many of those who follow this gospel feel that they have the ability to “command” God to do things and provide things. They also seem to have an aberrant understanding of the “authority” of the believer. They chase “the blessing” of God and often use faith as the measurement of someone’s piety/”status” with God. They teach that we need to sow financial “seeds” to reap blessing. They rarely talk about sin, judgment, and hell but rather that Jesus is a “buddy” and “friend”. In the view of this gospel, God is a “partner”. They have “prophetic visions” of financial blessings to come. They often make calls from those who support them to send them the “financial seeds” to help their ministry and are always well dressed, with expensive clothes, cars, houses, etc.

 

“Feel Good” gospel – This gospel is based on the idea that God loves everyone regardless of where they are in their lives and what kind of lifestyle they are living. God is portrayed as the all-loving, doting, “Daddy” whose only concern is to care for and coddle “His” children. This view focuses on positive thinking and affirmation while speaking out against anything that might be perceived as negative. Anyone that talks about sin is considered a “narrow minded bigot”. The preachers of this gospel hardly ever talk about sin. Instead, people are met where they are and “encouraged” to be better. There is nothing about judgment, no hell, no punishment for sin; only butterflies and rainbows. Many times, people who follow this type of gospel will often stand on the scripture Matthew 7:1-2, but they seem to forget John 7:24.

 

Social gospel – This gospel says that it is the main goal of Christians is to change society and the environment by doing good works meeting their needs.  The social gospel says that because Jesus did good things (like feeding the 5,000 and His healing the sick), Christians need to do those things as well. It says that we need to bring the “kingdom of God’ to the earth. We do this by helping the poor, by “going green” and taking better care of the environment. Those who follow the social gospel also have a distorted view of justice. The social gospel says that we should take from those who have plenty and give to those who don’t. This is not justice. Justice is those who do wrong getting punished for what they do. Those who preach this gospel often promote “humanity” and good works over the gospel of Christ. They promote many religions as legitimate ways to God. There are two main groups who follow the social gospel:

 

Seeker sensitives: The seeker sensitive church basically goes out and asks the community what they would like to see in the church and then creates programs and events that do that very thing. They base their doctrine and function on ideals from non-believers instead of God’s Word. The seeker sensitive church asks the seeker, “What do you want Jesus to do? That’s what He does.”

 

Emergents: The emergent “church” is a recent development in the scope of religion. They take today’s context, word meanings, and ideals and read them into the bible. They ask the listener, “What do you want Jesus to be? That’s who He is.” They blur the line between religions under the guise of common unity. Many of those who participate in the emergent “church” will tell you that it is impossible for us to know the truth and that there are no absolutes.

 

So, what is the solution to this? Well, first, we need to get back to biblical authority. The Word of God has to be the first and final authority for our lives. We have to return to biblical discipline as well. We have gotten “squishy” as far as calling people to repent. Christians need to live in obedience to God as He portrays Himself in the Bible. We have to study, understand, and apply scripture to our lives daily. The last thing that we need to do is the most important. We need all of those pastors who call themselves Christians to begin (or continue) preaching scripture correctly and nothing else. Without these things, our country will continue to spiral out of control.

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