Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday: Worshipping God verses Worshipping Idols guest post Pastor T.W.

American Idolatry






I find it amazing how many people today are involved in idolatry of many kinds. In this story Paul is at Athens, Greece, having been sent away from Berea, by the Brethren, for his own protection. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost had fallen afresh on the disciples, and those that were with them. Paul had also received the Holy Ghost after receiving prayer from Ananias, Acts 9:17. So Paul was very bold, and on fire for God. Some of the Brethren then had brought Paul to Athens and left him there. In Athens Paul encountered Idol worship.



Acts of the Apostles 17: 16-27

16: "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
18. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection."
---
21. "(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
22. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars'hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too sperstitious.
23. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown god. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25. Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.
26. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.
27. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us."


What is idol worship? Answer: Smith's Bible Dictionary states it as: "An image or "anything" used as an object of worship in place of the true God."

Many people, particularly in America, believe that there is no longer idol worship practiced in this country, because we don't normally see large statues worshiped, such one may have seen in Egypt, or Europe, but we are just as guilty of idol worship as other countries. The definition says an image or "anything" used as an object of worship in place of the true God. What do you worship, in place of God.

Paul was amazed at how those in Athens sought to worship God, but missed the mark, and Paul described the Athenians in verse 16 as "....when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." Verse 21, explains how they got to this state, "(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)"

IDOLATRY



That is how a lot people fall into idolatry......they want to hear or see something new, and different, even strange. The devil knows that people have these weaknesses, so he is eager to supply such things. And these things which are supplied by the devil comes in the form of "entertainment". In other words, the new thing keeps us fascinated for a time. That is how it captures the imagination. Idolatry is worshiping something other than God Almighty. If a religion, for example, worships something other than God, It is worshiping Satan.

WORSHIPING THE LORD



Whereas people think worshiping the Lord is basically the same thing each time, though worshiping the Lord, and communicating with the Lord is very exciting, but there is not always this constant new element in it. At the core of the gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and risen from the dead. That does not change.

This is the testimony of man who was set free from Islam in West Africa. Mohammed was involved in idol worship. He had been in Islam since birth, and was married and had two children.

He told me this testimony personally in West Africa:

One day as he was on his way to the mosque, the Holy Spirit placed him under arrest. As he walked to the mosque, he was holding the hands of his two boys, one 6 and one 8 years of age, one on each hand. The boys would have been wearing the African Native dress, a pair of loss long-legged pants, and a long sleeve loss quitting tunic shirt, matching the pants. One boy wore, a blue outfit, and the other boy a brown one. As Mohammed walked, he was eventually encounted by the Lord, who spoke with him audibly. It seems that Mohammed had been harrassing this one church, and whenever he had an opportunity, he would go to the church and throw rocks at the church and at the pastor. The pastor was sure that the man was hopelessly lost. But this particular day, as he was on his way to the mosque, he came to a point whereas he was unable to move either forward, backward, or sideways. But he could, however, turn in a circle. He was caught in an area of about 24 inches, when God began to speak with him. Mohammed told his boys to go ahead to the, mosque and he would join them latter. The boys went on ahead. { Now mind you, the mosque was close to Mohammed's home, and the boys would be able to walk home from there safely}. Mohammed reported that he stood in this one spot for some time. He stated that the Lord told him that this was the day that he must give his life to God. Like Paul on the Damacus Road, the man was instructed to go to the Pastor, he had been harassing, and apologize, and ask him to pray for him. When he finally agreed to do this, he was released and was able to walk to the church where he met the Pastor. The Pastor upon seeing Mohammed, was of course leery, and thought he was up to his old tricks. But Mohammed assured the Pastor that he was sincere. Afterward the Pastor agreed to pray for him, Mohammed gave his life to Christ. Consequently, Mohammed lost his wife, who was Muslim, and his home where he lived with his parents, and so on. But he gained eternal life with Christ Jesus.


Idolatry was a part of this man's life, and as a condition of his salvation, he had to give up idolatry.

There are probably millions of people who are trapped in idolatry everyday. They are faithful to whatever they practice, like those at Athens. They study whatever books they use. And somehow, they believe they are worshiping God. They have regular meetings, and even propagate their religion, but when it is all said and done, they are practicing idolatry.

The Lord teaches us very early in the Old Testament of the Bible, that "ye shall have no other God before Him." It is man's responsibility to seek the true and the living God, and to accept Him as Lord and savior so that that man might receive the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. God bless you.

Pastor T.W.

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