Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
Romans chapter one.
This is the third and final in a series that I have been preaching on divine wrath revealed.
Go back a couple of thousand years and imagine standing under a portico, a rather large patio with various boards and vines growing around. That is probably where these first saints heard what we are studying. The people of that day would very often meet together in their little groups outdoors because the weather would have been nice, especially there in Rome. There were probably at least two congregations in Rome. There could have been more.
But imagine having this letter revealed to you of the first time and hearing these amazing truths come from the divinely inspired apostle, the apostle Paul.
May I remind you that after Paul’s introduction here in this epistle beginning in verse 18 all the way through chapter three and verse 20 Paul focuses on why the gospel is such incredibly good news. And, of course, the reason is because the bad news is that sinful man stands guilty before a holy God.
And in verse 18 you will recall that he began with a message of warning concerning several things, first he spoke about the nature of divine wrath, that settled, determined righteous indignation that is only provoked by sin, a wrath that is constantly being revealed. It is perpetually being manifested in God’s moral order in the sowing and reaping of that which we do and also at times in his own personal intervention.
Paul also spoke about the origin of divine wrath that is revealed from heaven, heaven being synonymous with God’s throne. The wrath of God emanates from his throne where he rules his creation in absolute sovereignty. He also spoke about the object of divine wrath in verse 18, that it is “ revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”1 the truth about God, the truth about ultimately his saving, redeeming work that he has revealed to us in his Word.
And now in verses 19 through 21 he speaks about the basis of divine wrath. Actually this will take us all the way through verse 23. There is really two reasons why God is justified in his wrath against sinful man. First of all because of man’s rejection of divine revelation. God has revealed himself through conscience as well as through creation. You will recall that from last week. Remember we talked about God revealing himself in creation in verse 20.
He says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”2
The last time we were together we talked about the inconceivable vastness and complexity and order of the physical universe, utterly mind boggling.
I found it interesting, as a footnote. This week you may have heard, I believe it was on Wednesday, that the scientists from NASA announced that they have discovered the oldest galaxy that it is so far away they said it takes 13.2 billion light years to reach earth. This is a cluster of stars and dust and gas that was spotted by NASA’s Hubble space telescope as it orbits around the earth.
And one scientific journal had this to say about it, quote, “Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant object in the universe, a galaxy so far away that its light has taken 13.2 billion years to reach earth. The galaxy is so remote, scientists are observing it at a time when the universe was in its infancy, just 480 million years after the big bank. Dr. Garth Illingworth, professor of astronomy at the University of California Santa Cruz said, quote, “We are getting back very close to the first galaxies which we think formed around two or three hundred million years after the big bang,” end quote.
This is why man is without excuse. He suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. Also not only because man has rejected divine revelation regarding creation, but also because of conscience. You will recall that he says that man suppresses the truth. You cannot suppress something that is not within you. God has made it clear in his Word that he has placed a witness of himself in the conscience of every man, man who bears the image of his creator.
Therefore in verse 19 he says, “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”3
So that is a bit of review from the last time we were together, but not only does God have a basis for his divine wrath because of man’s rejection of divine revelation, but secondly—and this is what we will look at today—because of man’s invention of asinine religions.
Asinine is a term we don’t use a whole lot today, but it means idiotic. It means ridiculous, stupid. You have got to be kidding me in our vernacular.
Notice what he says beginning in verse 22.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.4
So the Holy Spirit speaks to us here through the apostle Paul and describes those who profess to be wise, those who have convinced themselves and many others that they understand life. They understand the universe. They understand God. They affirm to themselves and to others that they understand, therefore, spiritual and religious matters that unlock the mysteries of the universe and our life here.
These, dear friends, are the blind leading the blind like the Pharisees who said to Jesus in John 9:40, “We are not blind too, are we?”5
But you will recall in that text because they could see the truth of the Messiah and yet chose to deliberately refuse to believe, their sin was willful and Jesus responded to them and said, “Since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains,”6 meaning the sin of unbelief.
People know the truth. They refuse to admit it. They suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They profess to be wise. They become fools.
Fools are described in Scripture in a number of passages. Without giving you the reference, let me give you the essence. Fools are described as self sufficient, self confident, self deceived, mere professors of religion, full of words without wisdom, given to quarreling and slander. They are called liars, slothful, angry, contentious, proud, a grief to parents. Shame will be their legacy. They worship idols, trust in their own hearts, depend upon their wealth, hear the gospel, but do not obey it. Their mouth pours out folly and believers are told to avoid them. They are those, the Scripture says, who deny God, b blaspheme God, mock sin, hate knowledge and instruction, die for a lack of wisdom, feed on foolishness, makes port of mischief, walk in darkness and hate to depart from evil.
It is little wonder why David would say in Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”7
The text goes on to say, “They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.”8
Yet these are the ones who profess to be wise, like Thomas Jefferson who said, “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature. The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the supreme being as his Father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva and the brain of Jupiter,” end quote.
Or another man who professed to be wise, Abraham Lincoln who said this, quote, “The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma. My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation in the human origin of the Scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them,” end quote.
Or Ernest Hemingway who said, quote, “All thinking men are Atheists.”
Or Thomas Edison, the great American inventor who said, quote, “I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, a future life for individuals or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is all bunk.”
Or Albert Einstein who said, “I do not believe in a personal God. If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
Or Carl Sagan. You will recall him, the great American astronomer and author. He said this, quote, “My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An Agnostic somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it. So I am an Agnostic,” end quote.
Or the one that we hear constantly in our culture today, Bill Marr, quote, “The plain fact is religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having any decisions made by religious people, by irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.”
Indeed, they profess to be wise, but they became fools.
Paul goes on to say something very interesting. He says in verse 23, “And exchanged the glory...”9 The doxa (dox'-a) in the original language. We get doxology from that. It refers to the manifested excellence. It speaks of the absolute perfection, the preeminently excellent royal majesty and splendor and sublimity of our Creator God.
They exchange the glory of incorruptible God. Incorruptible in the original language is a term that refers to that which does not decay, that which is impervious to corruption, afyartov (af’-thar-tos), that which is immortal, that which is imperishable. He has rejected God’s revelation of himself in creation and conscience and in his rebellion and in his foolish pride he chooses to worship other things. They exchange the worship of the preeminently excellent Creator God and chooses instead to worship the creature rather than the Creator. Utterly appalling that we would be so stupid, nay, so rebellious.
This is reminiscent of God’s anger over Judah’s idolatry where he stated through his prophet Jeremiah, chapter two verse 11:
“Has a nation changed gods, When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.”10
So Paul describes two general categories here of idolatry, men with their asinine religions worship either man or animals and, frankly, there could be many other things but he chooses to deal primarily with these two. These were common in his day.
Notice verse 23.
“[They] exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man.”11
There is the first category.
“...and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”12
There is another category.
You see, because of man’s sinful nature combined with Satan’s diabolical influence on sinful man human morality and religion will continue to devolve. It will never evolve. The spiral is always downward. Think of the flushing of a toilet.
Historically it is important for you to understand that religion has descended from monotheism. Think about it. Soon after Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden God cursed man and all of his creation. And we read in Genesis 4:26 that “men began to call upon the name of the LORD.”13
This was the only God that they knew. They had personal testimony of him from Adam, from Eve, from Abel, from many others. And even later on in the era of profound wickedness where every thought and the intention of a man’s heart was evil in the days of Noah. Even prior to God’s judgment in the flood there is no indication that man served or worshipped idols.
But some time after Noah with the catastrophic wrath of God still fresh in the minds of men through the flood, while all men still spoke the same language, their pride began to swell. And in great defiance against God’s command to scatter throughout the earth in Genesis 9:1, man decided to do something different. Under the influence and leadership of Nimrod they decided to build a massive tower in the land of Shinar, a tower which would serve as a rallying point for the people to prevent them from scattering, but also a symbol of their fame. The tower of Babel because it was there that God judged the people by confounding their languages causing them to therefore need to find their own people group and live with them and, thus, God scattered the people throughout the world.
So idolatry began to increase over time. By the time of Abraham Satan had taken full advantage of man’s foolish rebellion against God and he seduced him into the earliest instance found in the Bible of idolatry, an instance that occurred in the land of Ur of the Chaldeans which, today is basically Kuwait. A ziggurat was built there. Archaeologists have discovered it. Abraham would have seen it with his own eyes. And according to Genesis 11:26 we read that Terah was the father of Abraham and the term Terah was the name of the moon god of northern Syria.
It is interesting that archaeologists have discovered that the patron god of the city of Ur was the moon god Nanog. And it is fascinating to think that in Genesis 11 and verse 31 we read that Terah moved his family, including Abraham, to Haran which was the seat of the worship of Thin or the moon god which gives evidence to the fact that, indeed, Terah was a benefactor as well as a patron of the moon god cult.
Abraham’s father Terah is specifically mentioned in Joshua 24:2 as an idolater who served other gods. And isn’t it amazing that god in his mercy revealed himself to Abraham and delivered him from that heathen, wicked idolatrous cult.
The Old Testament constantly warns against worshipping the moon or the sun or the stars. In fact, in Deuteronomy 4:19 God spoke through Moses and said, “And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them.”14
As a footnote, if you are into astrology and you are a Christian you need to repent. That is a wickedness that is an abomination before the Lord. It is a violation of this commandment and many others.
Well, in direct proportion to man’s arrogance and his rebellion against his Creator, idolatry continued to gain momentum and we certainly see this in ancient Egypt. You will recall that the 10 plagues that God brought down upon the Egyptians were each intended to make a mockery of the Egyptian deities.
They worshipped things like frogs and gnats and flies and locusts and many other things. And then not many years after that, the Israelites were so profoundly influenced by the polytheistic pagan cultures around them in which they lived that despite their experience of all of the miraculous deliverances that God had showered upon them, they end up fashioning a golden calf. And they call him Yahweh.
You will recall that while Moses was receiving the law on the mountain the people created this vile object and in Exodus 32:6 we read that the people, after they had created it, “the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”15
In other words, what they did is they had a drunken orgy consistent with the deviant revelry of the idolatrous fertility cults of that day. Talk about folly. Talk about the utter abandonment of all discernment.
Listen Aaron’s idiotic excuse to Moses when Moses found out and came down off the mountain. We read this in Exodus 32 verse 21 and following.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?"
And Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. For they said to me, ‘Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."16
We laugh, but that is just like us, isn’t it? The crazy justifications, the irrational rationalizations.
Well, of cousre, this evoked the wrath of God because it violated the first three commandments. And you will recall that the sons of Levi obeyed Moses’ instruction. They strapped on the sword and the Word of God tells us that they slew 23,000 people with the sword.
Now, lest you think that we are somewhow immune to that, let me pause for a moment to bring you back to reality, because I know it is easy to say, “Boy, aren’t you glad that we are not idolaters like those people today.”
No, let me give you an example. Just recently you will recall that there was a fictional novel that was brought to us through the media, Christian bookstores. It was entitled The Shack. Do you remember? I attempted to answer the question: Why does God allow evil? And my purpose here is not to critique that. I have done that in some other things that I have written and others have done it I am sure far better.
But, dear friends, despite that book’s blasphemous mispresentation of the trinity, which violates God’s Seconc Commandment prohibiting the worship of man made representations of himself as you read in Exodus 20. Despite its trivialization of the holiness of God and its persistent assault on orthodox biblical Chrstiainity, the evangelical response was nothing short of euphoric.
Singer songwriter Michael W. Smith praised it saying, quote, “The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God,” end quote.
Compare that to Dr. Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who said this about the book. This book, quote, “includes undiluted heresy.”
Like the foolish, undiscerning Israelites, people today are not satisfied with the one true God, the God of the Bible. They prefer one of their own making, a new god, a novel god, noe that ill kind of wink and smile at our sin and lead us where we want to go.
Just turn on your television, turn on your radio. Go to the Christian book store and you will find shelves of golden calves from which you can choose.
One of the most popular today is this what I would call a love sick Santa Claus God of the purpose driven life, this god that is presented to us who basiclaly exists to make us happy and to be in a love relationship with him if we will let him because he is powerless to make that happen. So we must accept Jesus into our heart otherwise the whole scheme falls apart.
Knowing how prone we are to idols, the apostle Paul warns us about how much God despises idolatry. In 1 Corinthians 10 and verse six he takes us back to this incident with the golden calf and here is what he said and I would remind you of this text. 1 Corinthians 10:6.
Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY." Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.17
Well, back to the progression of idolatry over the course of history. By the time of the conquest when Israel entered into the land of the Canaanites, idol worship was rampant and it continued to evoke God’s fury, not only against the pagans, but against his own people who were constantly getting sucked in to their practices.
Repeatedly the Lord warned them to keep his commandments. But according to 2 Kings 17 beginning in verse 15 here is what happened.
They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. And they forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire.18
That means that they sacrificed their children alive in the fires.
“...and practiced divination and enchantments...”19
That is palm reading. That is astrology. That is contacting the dead which you cannot do. It is just demons who impersonate the dead and seduce people into all manner of evil.
And then finally he says, “...and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him.”20
My friends, once you forsake God, he will forsake you as Paul is going to go on to explain in Romans one. And once you have forsake God and he has forsaken you, you will begin to descend into an abyss of wickedness that is unexplainable. The corrupting powers of sin to do evil knows no bounds, does it? Nor does the power of Satan.
For example, isn’t it interesting, the hideous acts of terrorism and torture that we hear about. And I know recently there was the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Isn’t it interesting how these are always attributed to a person who is somehow insane? That they are somehow off their rocker as we would say.
Beloved, you must understand that idolatry will ultimately lead to unthinkable acts of evil. Idolatry will ultimately lead to demonization, demon possession.
Now it is true that there is such a thing as organic brain disease that produces insanity. There are brain trauma injuries that can render a person extremely dysfunctional, but I would submit to you that I find it very interesting that these diagnoses are always given to people who do these horrible things, some senseless act of violence. I would ask you. Why is it that we never see insanity lead to unexplained benevolence? Why is it always something so wicked?
Here is the answer. Because the real ideology of evil is idolatry. And the only answer to idolatry is to worship the one true and living God and that is something that man suppresses in unrighteousness. You are not going to hear that. The fruit of idolatry is the wrath of divine abandonment where God abandons people to the consequences of their iniquity, just allow them to pursue whatever they want to pursue. And we are going understand that more as we study Romans one.
Idolatry results in God giving them over, according to verse 28, “to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”21
But, of course, that kind of diagnosis requires people to worship the one true God and that is absolutely reprehensible in the minds of men.
Dear friends, it is for this reason that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”22
Asinine is really the perfect English word to describe what people do in creating these religions. Notice how Paul says that they make this exchange of the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of, first of all, corruptible man.
Think of this, first of all, as man deifying himself. Think of all the men who down through history have elevated themselves to the status of God, from Pharaoh to Nebuchadnezzar, from the Roman Caesars to North Korea’s god king Kim Jong Il who has enslaved and tortured, murdered millions of his people.
It is estimated that two to five million out of 25 million have died in a devastating famine that began in the mid 1900s. It has been so bad that many of the people have resulted to cannibalism and yet he lives in luxury.
You may have seen the National Geographic program called Explorer: Inside North Korea. This is a great example of the deification of man. In that particular program a doctor Sandit Ruitt of Nepal, a famous eye surgeon, was allowed to enter into the country on a humanitarian mission to perform eye surgery for about 10000 people who had been blinded by cataracts. And an undercover American TV reporter, Lisa Ling, posed as part of the medical team and documented what happened with a hidden camera.
And, according to one reviewer, quote, “At the final part of this film viewers are shown the results when bandaged eyes are uncovered after the multiple cataract operations. There is joy and pandemonium in this huge hall and everybody makes of the huge pictures of Kim and his father displayed prominently on the wall loudly giving them thanks for receiving their sight.”
Apparently nobody attempted to thank Dr. Ruitt or his team. But most rushed to express adoration toward their, quote, “God king,” end quote, great leader.
Many of these people also held out or raised their arms in a plain gesture of religious adoration. Many or quite a few, it says, fell on their knees before the massive portraits apparently feeling unworthy to even lift their eyes toward their god king.
One elderly lady, we are told by translation, yells, quote, “Oh, great leader. Now you have given me my sight. I am going to work so much harder for you in the salt mine,” end quote.”
How tragic. How tragic.
Dear friends, this is the result of a fool’s exchange.
G K Chesterton once famously put it this way, “If people stop believing in God, the danger is not that they will believe in nothing, but that they will believe in almost anything.”
And today our culture even here in America, these people worship rock stars, politicians, athletes. I read recently of a church that was formed in 1998, now has over 100,000 people. It is called the Church of [?] honoring a football player named Iago [?]. The Church of [?] was created by extremely devotional Argentinean fans to honor this football player who they believe was the greatest football player in the history of the sport. The church was started by a few fans from the city of Rosario on the player’s 38th birthday, October 30th, 1998. Three years later had its first major gathering and to date there are over 100,000 members from all around the world.
There are thousands of asinine religions beyond just the major ones that you would be familiar with like Islam that many call the peaceful religion. Yet wherever there is a war today you will find Islam in the heart of it, a religion that must gain converts through reproduction and incest or by the sword, the perfect religion for frustrated young men looking for sexual satisfaction or male chauvinist misogynists that hate women.
If you don’t like that one, there is Buddhism for those who want to believe in everything so that you can achieve nirvana and escape what is seen to be the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Or you can be a part of Jediism. Have you heard of this one? The star wars cult. They worship the laws of the force. I read up on this a bit. It is interesting. I won’t get into all of it. In 2008 it was formed and today they have over 400,000 members around the world.
Well, not only is there the deification of man inherent in Paul’s statement, but also the deification of self. Let me give you an example of this, one that is very prominent today. It is called the Church of Scientology, a religious system based upon the teachings of L Ron Hubbard who is kind of a mediocre science fiction writer who learned how he could make money on those who profess to be wise, but become fools, those who have a passion to elevate themselves, to worship themselves.
Well, through his teachings followers are taught how to recover god like abilities and they are taught how to help others to do the same. It reminds me of something that happened in the garden many years ago.
There are various levels of what is called, quote, “the bridge to total freedom.”
And, of course, this takes years of practice, years of study. And it costs between 300 to 500,000 dollars to make the final level. Well, that is why most of the people that are in it are very wealthy.
Of course, it is all the rage with many celebrities today like Gretta Vansusteran with Fox News, John Travolta, Priscilla Presley, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Kirstie Ally and the list goes on. And, of course, there are many others who have left disillusioned.
Here is Hubbard’s so-called factual and scientific truth that all Scientologists must accept as reality. This is described by an analyst who has studied it in detail. Let me just read this to you. This is what you have got to believe.
Talk about asinine religion.
Quote, “Seventy-five million years ago the galactic overlord of this sector of the galaxy was called Zenu. He was in charge of 76 planets including earth at that time known as [?]. All of the planets Zenu controlled were over populated by, on average, 178 billion people. Social problems dictated that Zenu rid his sector of the galaxy of this over population problem, so he developed a plan. Zenu sent out tax audit demands to all these trillions of people. As each one entered the audit, sinners for the income tax inspections, the people were seized, held down and injected with a mixture of alcohol and glycol and frozen. Then all 13.5 trillion of these frozen people were put into space ships that looked exactly like DC-8 airplanes except that the space ships had rocket engines instead of propellers. Zenu’s entire fleet of DC-8 like spaceships then flew to planet earth where the frozen people were dumped in and around volcanoes in the Canary Islands and the Hawaiian Islands. When Zenu’s air force had finisihed dumping the bodies into the volcanoes, hydrogen bombs were dropped into the volcanoes and the frozen space aliens were vaporized. However, Zenu’s plan involved setting up electronic traps in [?] atmosphere which were designed to trap the souls or spirits of the dead space aliens. When the 13.5 trillion spirits were being blow around on the nuclear wind, the electronic traps worked like a charm and captured all the souls in the electronic sticky fly paper like traps.
“The spirits of the aliens were then taken to huge multiplex cinemas that Zenu had previously instructed his forces to build in [?]. In these movie theaters the spirits had to spend many days watching special 3D movies the purpose of which was two fold. One, to implant into these spirits a false reality that is the reality that wogs...”
Which, by the way, is Hubbard’s derisory term of anyone who is not a Scientologst, wogs W O G S,
“...the reality that wogs, now on earth today and, two, to control these spirits for all eternity so that they could never cause trouble for Zenu in this sector of the galaxy. During these films many false pictures and stories were implanted into these spirits which resulted in the spirits believing in all things that control mankind on earth today including religion. The concept of religion including God, Christ, Mohammed, Moses, et cetera were all implanted false reality that to this very minute are used to control wogs on earth.”
That is you and me.
“When the films ended, the souls and the souls left the cinema they started to stick together in clusters of a few thousand and remained that way until mankind began to inhabit the earth. Today on earth all the spirits of these aliens have attached themselves to our bodies and are the root cause of the false reality that all the scientologists, quote, homo nobis or OT8s on earth experience.
“It is the job of all Scientologists to remove this false reality from the world by auditing each and every space alien spirit and human on earth and the entire universe to clear.
“For those who oppose Scientology and stand in their way, Scientology promises to do away with them, quote, quietly and without sorrow,” end quote.
Beloved, this is not insanity. This is idolatry, the basis for divine wrath. Man has rejected God’s revelation of himself and invented asinine religions.
You see, all idolatry is ultimately Satan worship because he is the one behind this. He is the father of lies who delude men’s minds to believe things that are false. It is for this reason that Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 10:20, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons.”23
And you must understand that as sin continues to metastasize, as it continues to corrupt, as morality and religion continue to swirl around in the toilet of our world until it is ultimately flushed into hell, these things are going to get worse, not better.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy four and verse one, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”24
Literally, doctrines that demons perpetrate upon man.
Beloved, it is for this reason that the pinnacle of human self worship will one day culminate just before the Lord returns in the worship of the antichrist.
Can’t you see how easy it will be for people to believe in him when he establishes himself as God in the temple in Jerusalem as we read about in 2 Thessalonians two verses three and four?
But the asinine religions which men invent are not limited to the worship of just corruptible man, but also a myriad of other animals. Paul gives a little list here. He says, “ birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”25
No doubt Paul had in mind the Romans worship of the eagle, the symbol of their empire which gives a little bit of understanding of the United States perhaps.
The Egyptians worshipped the stork. They worshipped the hawk. And, of course, the ancient world worshipped all kinds of four footed animals, crawling creatures. Even to this day modern Hindus have some 330 million gods. That is why they won’t kill most animals, most little insects or whatever because they fear that in doing so they might destroy one of their deities. Not much of a deity if you ask me.
Or perhaps destroy one of their reincarnated ancestors traversing the various stages of karma.
Let me close with this question. Are you an idolater? Do you worship the one true and living God in the precision of his attributes as he has manifested himself not just in creation, but precisely and exactly in his Word?
Scripture is filled with examples of forbidden worship of idolatry like worshiping celestial objects, Deuteronomy four that we talked about.
Paul says in Colossians 3:5 that covetousness or greed amounts to idolatry. Do you realize that?
Sensuality is idolatry, Philippians 3:19.
Setting up idols in your heart, anything that you desire more than God is an idol, Ezekiel 14:3-4.
Are you addicted to certain things?
“I just can’t live without...” and hen you fill in the blank. Everything from drugs to your little machines that you have to spend countless hours texting things to your friends, our televisions.
Beloved, we will never be able to have victory over sin unless we are willing to topple the idols that we allow to rule us as Christians.
How easy it is to buy into a lie and to become convinced that somehow our idols are the source of our deepest joy. And before long we love them more than God.
J H Clinch captured this perfectly when he penned these words, quote, “And still from him we turn away until our hearts with worthless things, the fires of greed melt the clay and forth the idol springs. Ambitions flame and passion heat by wondrous alchemy transmute earth’s dross to raise some gilded brute to fill Jehovah’s seat.”
Oh, dear sinner, come to Christ today. He is the only true God. And, dear Christian, may I encourage you to examine your heart and detest every idol of your heart with a holy hatred and thereby heed the words of the apostle Paul who warned, “Beloved, flee from idolatry.”
For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God is revealed.
Let’s pray together.
Father, as we reflect upon what has been said today, we are once again humbled by your grace because, Lord, we recognize that were it not for you infinite love, for your transforming power in regeneration we, too, would be worshipping some of these ridiculous things. Lord, we thank you and we praise you and we would ask this morning that the convicting work of your Spirit would go forth to all who are within the sound of my voice this day that the truth of the gospel would overwhelm them that they might therefore believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. We ask this in your name and for your sake. Amen.
We pray you have been edified by this presentation. You have been listening to pastor, Bible teacher and author David Harrell. For more information or to order additional tapes or CDs of pastor Harrell’s messages, please visit OliveTreeResources.org.
Transcript Explanation: Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dr. David Harrell. © Olive Tree Resources. Website: olivetreeresources.org
2 Romans 1:20.
3 Romans 1:19.
4 Romans 1:22-23.
5 John 9:40.
7 Psalm 14:1.
9 Romans 1:23.
10 Jeremiah 6:11-13.
11 Romans 1:23.
13 Genesis 4:26.
14 Deuteronomy 4:19.
15 Exodus 32:6.
16 Exodus 2:21-24.
17 1 Corinthians 10:6-8.
18 2 Kings 17:15-17.
19 2 Kings 17:17.
21 Romans 1:28.
22 Romans 1:18.
23 1 Corinthians 10:20.
24 1 Timothy 4:1.
25 Romans 1:23.