First Christian Church
June 12, 2022 1st Service
      • Bible Trivia
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  • What A Day That Will Be (#762)
      • Romans 8:26CSB

  • What A Mighty God We Serve Chorale
  • I Know Whom I Have Believed
  • Seeking the Lost
  • INTRODUCTION
    We will dive into an area of testing that we may be tempted to shake off because we do not feel connected to the subject.
    In our series, we have seen how God tested His people to help them see where they were in the relationship with Him.
    Do you remember a teacher walking into your high school or college classroom and exclaiming, "Take out a sheet of paper. Pop quiz!"?
    These unannounced quizzes are a source of great stress for many students.
    From a teacher's perspective, a pop quiz is a great way to see if the students have been regularly reviewing the course material.
    A quiz grade isn't going to destroy a student's average, but it could be a great wake-up call for a student to get refocused.
    God did this with His people because He knew they would quickly forget Him.
    Today we are going to dive into the temptation of falling into idolatry.
    We may be tempted to tune out a message on idolatry because we may think this subject deals with little gods on a shelf that we bow down before.
    The dictionary defines idolatry as excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion, etc.
    What we put ahead of God is our idol, it is not usually a golden calf, but we tend to idolize things like money, power, security, sleep, rest, recreation, pleasure, and so on.
    In Deuteronomy 13 God warns the nation of Israel that He is about to test them on the material he just went over in chapter 12 concerning pagan worship and idolatry.
    God, through Moses, even gives them his objective. In 13:3, Moses says, "For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
    This sounds like the Shema prayer that was given in Deuteronomy 6:4–5As well as Jesus's equivalent in the New Testament found in Mark 12:30.
    From the giving of Deuteronomy 6 to the present day, many Jews recite this prayer twice a day.
    But it's one thing to recite it and another thing to live it out.
    Living it out is the hard part for any believer.
    Idolatry is tricky and is always around us.
    Though the object of idolatry changes, the heart of idolatry does not.
    The subject of rejecting idolatry is essential for us to guard against.
    Professor Gregory Beale sums up the danger in the title of one of his books on the subject of idolatry; We Become What We Worship.
    One of the reasons God emphasizes putting Him first is that we are called to be like Him.
    If our worship is directed toward Him and we seek to put Him first, we will become more like Him.
    Another factor is that God deserves our worship because of who He is and what He has done.
    The passage we are looking at is difficult because the penalty for seeking to turn people from God is brutal.
    The brutality Moses gives should show us how serious the issue is and how harmful it will be to others.
    Our big idea this morning is: The nation of Israel is warned that they'll soon face tests of idolatry and that sometimes these tests will come from the most unexpected places—from within their own circles.
    Let's begin with Deuteronomy 13:1-5.
    Deuteronomy 13:1–5 (NET 2nd ed.)
    1 Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder,
    2 and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, “Let us follow other gods”—gods whom you have not previously known—“and let us serve them.”
    3 You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer, for the Lord your God will be testing you to see if you love him with all your mind and being.
    4 You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him.
    5 As for that prophet or dreamer, he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from that place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge evil from among you.
    SERMON

    I. Don't be enticed into idolatry by religious people.

    Deuteronomy (Resist (False) Prophets (13:1–5)) (College Press Commentary Series)
    Chapter 12:32 (Hebrew 13:1) provides a transition verse between the two chapters. Nothing was to be taken away from God’s words as spoken by Moses.
    What follows are descriptions of three occasions when additions might be made to God’s word.
    None were to be tolerated.
    We must keep in mind that the stress throughout is on the content of the spoken word.
    It takes precedence over all else.
    The first place we need to be watchful over is ensuring that within the church or with "religious" people in general, we do not allow ourselves to be enticed into idolatry.
    Specifically, Moses speaks of a prophet or one who could foretell through dreams.
    When this was written, this would not be an unusual occurrence.
    God often communicated messages through dreams.
    Prophets of God, like Moses, could perform miracles.
    Moses led the people out of Egypt by performing many signs and wonders.
    The people of Israel were used to seeing miraculous things and could easily get used to assuming that God always speaks in spectacular ways.
    But Moses warns that thinking this way could lead them astray.
    In verse 2, Moses says that even if the person coming to them performs a miracle or interprets a dream, then says, let's follow and serve other gods, ones they had not previously known; Moses says that no matter what they do, if their words direct you to forsake God and follow other gods, we are not to listen to them.
    If a miraculous event is performed, yet their content contradicts God's Word, then the children of Israel are not to be deceived (13:1–4).
    The standard is always to be God's Word.
    The same is true for us in the twenty-first century.
    The most crucial part of this situation is the message!
    Even if a religious person is nice to you, pays your bills, and is someone you have fun with, you have to not fall for it if they are taking you away from Jesus.
    Jesus is not a created being or "A" God; He IS God!
    No matter how nice someone is to you, if their message changes the truth of who Jesus is, you have to turn from that person and do what verse 4 tells us to do!
    Deuteronomy 13:4 (NET 2nd ed.)
    4 You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him.
    Loyalty to God and His word is what we are called to!
    There are some religious groups even in our community who are friendly people, yet their message contradicts God's Word.
    Verse 4 says we are called to be loyal to God!
    One would hope that Christians would be friendly people who would be there in your time of need; sadly, that is not always the case.
    However, that is not God's fault; that falls on the person who is not living out their faith.
    In verse 5, we see how seriously God takes this challenge to His authority, position, and word!
    Deuteronomy 13:5 (NET 2nd ed.)
    5 As for that prophet or dreamer, he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from that place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge evil from among you.
    Verse 5 offers serious consequences for seeking to entice people away from God.
    This situation was considered a capital crime.
    The consequence was so severe because tempting God's people to follow other gods was not a harmless or idle message.
    This was rebellion against the Lord our God!
    If left unchecked, many people would be turned from God because we tend to forget how good He is!
    Deuteronomy 13:6–11 (NET 2nd ed.)
    6 Suppose your own full brother, your son, your daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend should seduce you secretly and encourage you to go and serve other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have previously known,
    7 the gods of the surrounding people (whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other).
    8 You must not give in to him or even listen to him; do not feel sympathy for him or spare him or cover up for him.
    9 Instead, you must kill him without fail! Your own hand must be the first to strike him, and then the hands of the whole community.
    10 You must stone him to death because he tried to entice you away from the Lord your God, who delivered you from the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
    11 Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid; no longer will they continue to do evil like this among you.

    II. Don't be enticed into idolatry by family or friends.

    Now we move to the second situation.
    We expect attacks from our enemies but do not expect them from those closest to us.
    The warning is the same; however, the source of the temptation is unexpected.
    Deuteronomy (Resist Family Members (13:6–11))
    There would be a natural tendency to shield the family member from the harsh penalty or show them more grace.
    But Moses used harsh language to forestall such mercy.
    They were to show no pity, feel no compassion (spare him), nor try to cover up (shield) for the miscreant (v. 8).
    Moses gives the Israelites a step-by-step plan for how to face temptation proactively.
    These directives apply to us today as well.
    First, he tells them that the tempter might do it in secret (13:6); thus, the first step is not to listen to them (v. 8).
    Second, you should expose them (v. 8).
    Third, let justice take its course (13:9).
    In the days of the Old Testament, the penalty for enticing people to leave God was the same for family and friends as it was for the false prophets.
    We don't stone people today; Jesus has carried the penalty before God for our sins.
    However, there are still consequences for evil in terms of our relationships with one another.
    The evil or idolatry could be in the form of spreading a false gospel in our church, in a cultish devotion to a spiritual or political leader above God, in the physical abuse by a leader in the church, or in someone trying to rob God in some way in the church.
    It's wrong to be so grace-giving that we fail to confront harm, evil, or idolatry.
    When we're about to watch someone we've admired, we have to be willing to confront them if they are promoting a false gospel.
    Verse 11 explains that when others see that trying to entice people to idolize and worship other gods was something that displeased God and that the severity of the penalty reflected that fact; people may think twice before doing it!
    Deuteronomy 13:12–13 (NET 2nd ed.)
    12 Suppose you should hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you as a place to live, that
    13 some evil people have departed from among you to entice the inhabitants of their cities, saying, “Let’s go and serve other gods” (whom you have not known before).

    III. Don't be enticed into idolatry by popular movements.

    The third possible case of being enticed to replace God is popular movements.
    This is the one we must be careful not to let happen.
    With the advent of social media, we can be pressured into group-think.
    I do not know if you noticed a significant number of businesses and some churches have been displaying rainbows, but not for the reason God would have us do so.
    There is a lot of pressure to give in to the societal pressure to conform to what is popular.
    Look, we live in a country where you are free to live pretty much as one chooses to live; however, your freedom does not mean I have to forsake my convictions to conform to your view.
    Also, just because I would disagree with your view does not mean I hate you or wish bad things to happen to you.
    I can still love you and disagree with everything you are about.
    Jesus would.
    We can agree to disagree.
    Recently, five Tampa Bay Ray baseball players refused to wear the rainbow in their uniforms.
    The dissenting players say they were uncomfortable wearing logos encouraging a "lifestyle" that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
    One of the players, Jason Adam, stated:
    “A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” Adam, speaking for the group, told the Tampa Bay Times.
    “So it’s a hard decision.
    Because ultimately we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here.
    But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided that it’s just a lifestyle that maybe — not that they look down on anybody or think differently — it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior.”
    Adam added that “we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.”
    Just because something is popular does not make it right.
    We have to not let anything come before God in our lives.
    CONCLUSION
    Our challenge for today is:
    God wants us to confront idolatry or anything in us and around us, so we don't veer away from the truth.
    Where might God be convicting you to confront idolatry within yourself or even within your own affinity group or church?
      • Deuteronomy 13.1-2NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.3-4NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.5NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.4NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.5NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.6-7NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.8-9NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.10-11NETBIBLE2ED

      • Deuteronomy 13.12-13NETBIBLE2ED

  • Grace Alone
  • Lord Be Glorified (#186)
  • Great And Mighty Is The Lord Our God

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