SERIES: The Book of Acts

MESSAGE: Jesus Over Idols

TEXT: Acts 7:35-50

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“An idol, then, is anything more fundamental than God to our happiness, meaning in life, and identity. It is making a good thing into an ultimate thing. Idolatry is the inordinate desire of (even) something good. Idols are not only personal and individual, they are also corporate and cultural. Different societies can make into ultimate values things like the family or feelings or the state or racial superiority or rationality or individual will and experience or group identity.” — Timothy Keller

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” — John 8:58-59

Stephen gives a history lesson in the life of Moses, and reveals three insights…(1. A Gracious Glimpse 2. A Collective Denial 3. An Unhindered God)

  1. A Gracious Glimpse (v. 35-38)

This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.”

“A gospel which isn’t supernatural and miraculous is useless. It’s nothing but a human philosophy, a human model system, it has no value whatsoever. But the gospel, thank God, is miraculous, divine and supernatural from beginning to end. And what we’ve seen is that it provides a miraculous salvation.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones

       2. A Collective Denial (v. 39-41)

Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth…21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” — Romans 1:18; 21

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship…And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship… is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things…then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough… Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.” —David Foster Wallace

         3. An Unhindered God (v. 42-43; 48-50)

“But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: “‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon…48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, 49 “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? 50 Did not my hand make all these things?”

“The gods of the heathen might be accommodated in material shrines, but not so God Most High. The contrast between the terms ‘made with hands’ and ‘not made with hands’ is a prominent feature…which runs through the NT and early Christian apologetics…(about v. 49) “Do they think they can make God ‘stay put’ Him in a golden cage?”  — F.F. Bruce

TAKEAWAYS:

THINK: In what ways has God graciously brought you to where you are today?

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4–5

“But God.’ These two words are overflowing with gospel. For sinners like you and me who were lost and completely unable to save ourselves from our dead-set rebellion against God, there may not be two more hopeful words that we could utter.” — Jon Bloom

EXAMINE: What idols have you chosen to take precedence in your life?

“…[the] most basic question which God continually poses to each human heart: Has something or someone besides Jesus the Christ taken title to your heart’s trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear, and delight? It is a question bearing on the immediate motivation of one’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. In the Bible’s conceptualization, the motivation question is the lordship question: who or what “rules” my behavior, the Lord or an idol?” — David Powlison

EVALUATE: Has the glory of God captured your imagination?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8-9

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” — Luke 24:39–40