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Turning God Into An Idol

Jonathan Zita

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Jonathan Zita

Associate Director, Review & Herald

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  • March 11, 2017
    10:00 AM
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Let's pray loving Father we want to thank you for giving us your Sam with a special day of rest or we can calm we can worship you we can join our voices and our thoughts to them billions of Angels are worshipping you even at this time. And Lord it is true we are small but yet you have made provisions that we can be redeemed. By your blood by your grace and so Lord we choose you this morning as the angels walk up and down the aisle as the Holy Spirit comes to speak to our hearts please father. May there be nothing between us and you if you're asking us to surrender anything may we surrender it Lord May we cause peace and happiness in your heart this morning Father thank You for giving us the opportunity to be your children speak through me father may you be lifted up I pray in Jesus' name in that last summer I had the opportunity to help my wife with the B.S. for cation Bible school and if you have any of if any of you have been had the opportunity to get involved you know how a blessing it is to work with with with children and if you have never you know had the opportunity and I encourage you to to get involved so from B R seventy eighty kids that came most of them didn't come to church you know they were straight from the community and we had an opportunity to plant seeds in their hearts and lives well the B.B.S. was on Egypt and so I had to do the bible station and I had to do a little bit of studying on Egypt and I found out some very interesting thing one thing I found was that the Egyptians worship many gods or many idols which represented gods and they worship up to two thousand gods. And the way that they would worship is they would they would offer sacrifices to these gods and they would offer mummified animals and I thought. It was just one kind of animal but they would mummify anything I mean from chickens to crocodiles to. Two cats dogs whatever so they would whatever they could catch they would mummify and they would offer two to a guy right and and so I had you know talk with these young people about sacrifice and I went to the dictionary in the dictionary the definition I found was sacrificed is to give up something that is highly valued I mean these individuals sacrificed so much that it became a a big business some years ago when they were doing archaeology they found out they found this huge area of mummified cats there was so many that didn't know what to do and to continue they actually shipped tons of it to England to use as fertilizer I mean how would you feel to eat anyways who did that. But it seems that it it was very good so sacrifice. So I asked the kids you know what is what is your understanding of sacrifice and you know they give you all these nice cute answers and one boy he was so earnest and he said sacrifice you know the other day I misbehaved so my parents took my i Pod for three days that was the biggest sacrifice I have ever gone. And he wasn't joking he was very serious. House thinking wow do we know what sacrifices do we understand and I don't doubt for one moment that it was difficult for him and some of you who are laughing if we took away your smartphone for a week I don't think you'll be laughing either. But in the past it was something physical that we would offer to a god. In the Bible it talks a lot of us sacrifice of course we talked about the sanctuary service the sacrifice that represented Christ but there's other sacrify. As to. The more pagan sacrifices and. Those were pretty bad the children of Israel you know they started out with offering as we saw on the video offering lambs but as they started to fall away from God They started to offer to other gods and other types of assets places and the sacrifice was no more a representation of Christ the sacrifice was more something to appease a god and so that the God can bless us right and it got so bad. To the point that he started offering people offering people if you have your Bibles Let's turn to Jeremiah Chapter nineteen going to look at a few bible verses quickly as we try to go through some of these principles in Jeremiah nineteen it shows pretty much how bad things got at certain times and in certain places in Israel Jeremiah nineteen or looking at verse four this is God's sake speaking he says because they have forsaken me and have a strange displace and have burn incense in it and two other gods Jeremiah nineteen verse four and I've burnt incense in it on two other gods who neither they nor their fathers have known nor the kings of Judah and have filled this place with the blood of innocents they have built also the high places of bale to burn their songs with fire for burnt offerings on to bill which I commanded not nor speak it neither came into my mind. And so God is saying look you guys are. You guys are offering your children to bail this is something that meet God as an omniscient god it didn't even cross my mind to ask you to do something that. You know there was a time when I used to believe it to offer your son as a sacrifice was something amazing and Kerr. It is and I say you know I could never do that. But the more I study it the more I realize that. That's stupid of me of selfishness. And you know I begin to realize that when my son was born. Because I begin to realize as a parent. I. Would rather any day die than my son to die right well why do I sacrifice to an idol which represent a certain god well I need rain I need rain so that my crops can grow and when my crops can grow I can have food and when I have food I can eat and when I eat I don't I don't die right so I sacrifice to this Idol which represents this god so that I can live or I'm I need help because I'm sick or I need wealth because I'm poor I need relief from whatever oppression that I'm going through so I sacrifice whether it's money whether it's an animal and if things really get bad then I sacrifice my son or my daughter so that my life can be preserved is no better than a father in India who sells his eleven year old girl for a few rupees so that they can have food for his family and Second Chronicles twenty eight if you can turn there with me. God was trying to reach his people Second Chronicles twenty eight here we have King a house and. God was trying to talk to a house Truong was trying to get through to him but he have was a house was not really listening and so what God could not do in times of prosperity God decided that he would try to do in times of adversity so God is blessing it has everything is going well and he has is not listening so so God to say OK I'm going to withdraw my blessings withdraw my protection and hopefully you know I'm going to be able to get your attention. And did it work Second Chronicles twenty eight looking at verse twenty two. The Bible says and in the time of his distress that's a. As did he trespass yet more against the Lord this is that King A has for he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus which small or which beat him and he said because the gods of the kings of the Syria help them therefore I will sacrifice to them that they may help me. But they were a room to him and of all Israel. Well. That it work. So it has us thinking wait a second. This God thing this god business is not working why is it not working because God stopped blessing because he wanted to get his attention but instead of getting it have attention he has a saying wait a second things are falling apart I'm losing battles way it seems to work for them so what's that got me in this OK make me a statue and he starts worshipping that I don't hoping that because Syria want I can worship to that god and maybe that God will give me the victory. But Isaiah fifty nine tells us that the Lord's hand is not shorten that it cannot save neither is heavy that it cannot hear but you're in equal he's have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear that was a problem with a past he was a professed follower of God but yet he was set on doing is all thing holding onto his own sin worshipping his own idols and so what should have been something that would drive him to God was actually something that drove him away from God. Have you been going through trials lately have you ever cried out to God and say Lord what's wrong I thought you were so powerful is your hands so short that you can't help me and if you're so small that you can't hear me and you know it is true there are many reasons why it may seem that God is silent. But one reason may be that you have not fully surrendered your life to God and when I say fully surrender I mean unconditionally so much I never fully understood that. Until I started studying the Bible a little bit more and I realized unconditional surrender is not Lord I surrender to you but you have to bless my family you have to protect me you have to provide for me no unconditional surrender if you surrender to God regardless if even to the point where you surrender to God like Christ did on that cross and if it means that I don't resurrect if it means that I don't get heaven. It's OK because God is already now we know we get have right by God's grace we know that we have grace and we have mercy from him but that unconditional surrender meaning I surrender to God with no strings attached. Why because he can be trusted can't he. Could it be that some of us are professed Christians but still fully bent on doing our own thing sticking to our selfish thoughts and plans and because we will surrender the same trial that is supposed to drive us to God actually drives us from God And it's interesting that when the trial came on he has the first instinct that he should have had was whether it came from God or God allowed it it doesn't really matter he should have gotten on eyes his knees and we're told every difficulty should be a call to prayer but instead of that he got on his phone and called his whoever his friends and that's what we do when problems come instead of the first thing we do is pray we get on our phone we get on Facebook we get whatever we we tried to reach out and see what worked or what did you do with this financial or this relationship issue and I'm not saying that these things are bad but cry should be first last and best and everything and what when we go out and some people or friends. Try to give us some tips and maybe this is what's going to help if ever somebody comes to you be a good friend and point them to Christ says that you talk to God first about it look I'm going to pray for you I'm here for you but talk to your father first about it because maybe God is allowing this to draw you to him now is not always the case but it may be you don't know all right well I believe if we took a microphone and you went back in time to to interview these idol worshiping Jews and ask them some questions it might sound something like this so so explain to me a little bit I came into your house here and I noticed that you have a big idol here in your living room what was this Idol all about well actually this represents and I had all that that from a God that causes my my my my crops to grow so I I'd I offer sacrifice to that idol for my cross OK good so what about this one I notice you have you have another one over here that's just at the entrance of your bedroom it's a little smaller and it's a little fancier What's that want all about well that I don't actually represent I got this from Assyria and it represents a god that provides me with health and it actually keeps sickness away so so that's why I have that one there OK and I noticed just when I entered into your courtyard that you have this this you Monk is idle I mean what's that want to Bod out one that what I'm I'm glad you asked that one is actually from an old civilization it doesn't exist anymore but but it's powerful and it provides myself and my family with protection and so ever since I put that idol there it seems that the thieves don't break in and some amazing it's we are protected and so I offer to that I don't represent that God for protection but I thought you folks were worshiper of Jehovah isn't he the one that provides you with health and and wealth and protection isn't he the want. Well yeah that's right actually in theory you know God Jehovah he is the one book but Jehovah doesn't seem to work that well anymore you know you work sometimes but sometimes we have to add our own you know we we kind of add these things and then by putting everything together then we have this nice custom made package that works really good and so so and this your whole he's really picky you know unless you really surrender everything he doesn't seem to come through all the time and you know who can surrender all the time and want it so so you know in case he falls through I have these other gods right and so I'm fully protected I got the full protection right. I want to understand a principle this morning. And if you forget everything I mentioned before this principle and everything after it's OK because we only remember ten percent right but remember this ten percent. Sacrificing to idols back then. Was all about what I could get from the gods and when the going got rough. And the sickness got worse. And the crops kept failing I would have to dig just deeper into my pocket. And if that wouldn't work and I would have to dig into my life stock and a bat wouldn't work. I would offer my son or my daughter. But I want you to understand a principle this morning. That I do worship never required transformational art of character yet it didn't require things it required singing and it required dancing and required money and you cry buying down and praying and crying and in some instances fornicating and screaming and sometimes even cutting yourself. But no transformation of heart no change of character in fact listen carefully. It's the god is the God who the idol represented it's the God that needed change the god needed to become kind because the god was angry and so the cod God had to become merciful and so I cut myself and I pray and I sacrifice not so that I can change I do it so that because I can change. They are the ones that need to be changed they are the ones that need to be appeased they are the ones that need to be kind and generous the gods need to change not me. Is God your idol this morning. There is a thread of humanism that is so strong within the church today. And it says that the essence of life is the happiness of man. And therefore God is simply a means to the end. The purpose of my life is to be happy there's even songs out there that says if it makes you happy it can't be that bad and so the purpose of my life is happiness and therefore God exist Heaven exist all of angels exist so that I can be happy. Some people say well something's wrong John because this isn't God I want us to be happy. Because God want us to be happy. Does God exist for my happiness. Isaiah Chapter forty three Isaiah Chapter forty three. So well known verse but let's listen to it in the context of what we're talking about eyes here forty three looking at verse. Six and seven what is the essence what is the essence. Purpose of my life. Forty three Verse six God speaking says I will say to the north give up into the south keep not back bring my sons from four of my daughters from the ends of the earth even every one that is called by my name for I have created him for what. I have formed him I have made him the essence of our lives is to glorify God does God want us to be happy yes but happiness is actually a byproduct of glorification of God And so when my life is to glorify God That's what I was designed to be is a glory of God And actually when we get to heaven throughout ceaseless ages we will glorify God even more and more and more and will be happier and happier and happier happiness is a byproduct it is not the essence it's a byproduct and I remember going to the zoo with my kids at Toronto Zoo It is a place where you walk in and there's butterflies everywhere and it's a little bit like that when you chase the butterflies they run away from you but if you just sit still. Then the butterflies start landing on and it's a little bit like that where you chase happiness as that is the essence the purpose of my life you'll never get it but when you chase to glorify God when you seek for His Holy Spirit to abide in you that you may glorify his name then we experience the greatest happiness and fulfillment one can ever know through health or through sickness through pain or through pleasure through happiness or soar through life or through a dest the purpose of my life is to glorify my Creator does God want me to be happy yes but it's a byproduct and not the essence and songs want to force you can turn there with me songs want to for. There's an amazing picture. And when I see when I read this verse I imagine this humongous hand is talking about the hand of God This you monger's hand that that provides right in Psalms one hundred four looking at verse twenty seven and after the Psalms which is David I believe he's talking about all the living creatures and all the people around the world and then in verse twenty seven says these Wait all upon you that you may give them their meat in due season that you that you give them that they will give us them they gather the open dying hand and the earth filled with good and so I can imagine a humongous hand and from this hand which is God's had all the needs of every living creature is provided is provided Have you ever prayed like this Lord open your hand and provide from your blessed me with your hand a blessing that I mean I know it's within your power that you can heal me heal my loved one or Lord please provide me with a job Lord please give me a life partner I feel so lonely Lord please take away the desire for this addiction away provide the money Lord I'm struggling financially remove this person from my life take the shyness away Lord open your head I'm trying to be good I have given my life to serve you what you please bless me provide for me protect me help me I know you have the power within your hand to do so so why don't you hear me Lord don't you care that I'm struggling Don't you want me to be happy. And even in ministry. I have prayed like that. Last year was very rough for our ministry financially. And you're doing God's work and it's not like we're sitting behind a desk and doing nothing. You're working hard we. Have literature student literary mantras program in every conference across Canada I mean the logistics of sending students everywhere knocking out four hundred thousand doors and we share tracks every other Sabbath we're in churches promoting low and I mean we're busy for forgotten and it seems that the money just just just is not there and I remember for two. Or three months. Just pleading with God You know there comes a point where you have negative equity and some of you are in accounting know that that's a very bad thing that's bankruptcy basically. And you're pleading with God says Lord. Why can't you just open your hand why can't you just provide I mean you're providing for these people and that ministry and these cure yes you provide for them AIDS and they wake up in the morning and they have enough for everything that they need why can't you open your hand and provide Lord why can't you put it you don't have the power in your hand to do it. And it seems that God was just silent. And you pray and you pray and you pray. And I remember one day I got down on my knees. And I was literally crying to God and I said Lord what more do you want. And I heard God's voice speak to me no not an audible voice but the impression. And this is what I heard God say says Jonathan. What is more important to you. Is it what's in my hand. Or. Is it to hold my hand. What do you value more John. My blessing. Or my presence. Do you prefer the benefits. You prefer the perks that I bring. Or would you rather have your biting relationship that I can give you. And of course God I want both I know you say both but if you had to choose if you had a choice and you could only choose one. What would it be. Jonathan is it my money or is it me. And my a means to an end. Or a mighty end of all things for you. Jonathan Am I the one that needs to change. Or are you the one thing needs to change Jonathan please don't turn me into an idol. And friends. When I heard God speak to my heart. I. Was floored. I was floored because here I am because I know what I need and I know what God needs to do and this is not a bad thing it's not like if I ask him to help me rob a bank I'm asking him to help me with his work and I'm cleaning all these good things and I don't know what your struggle is today maybe it's for a loved one maybe maybe it's maybe you want to get married I don't know we all have struggles we all have struggles that we prayed to God sometimes weeks sometimes months sometimes years upon it it seems that God just doesn't hear. And God has different reasons we talked about sometimes iniquity has separated us from but when we have surrendered it all to God and it seems like God still doesn't hear and sometimes it even seems that he doesn't care and sometimes you wonder part why I said. And I was humble that day. And I got down on my knees. And I said lord. Is. It's true I don't want to lie. I want your protection I want your blessing on me I want your blessing on my family I want money I want health I want to future I want these things but. Be honest with God. If you were to take away my money. If you were to take away my family if you were to take away my health if you're to take away my future and my reputation and everything that I have and hold dear to life please mark. It's OK. Just don't take your presence for. Friends when we can get to that. Then God can say. Now I can start work. It's amazing it's amazing how that we. Got started to do something wonderful not only in my heart but in the ministry somebody walked in from the blue. Sat down and wrote a twenty thousand dollars check just like that. It's hard. Sometimes. Individuals that need changing is not God. It's us and God has His reasons for what he does what he does. Why do we get to that point. Lord don't take your presence from me. And let my life no matter what you honoring glory to you why because you're worthy of my worship my service my obedience and so I surrender all to you. About one thousand years ago somebody gave me. This poem by rough soul culture. And the other day when I was kind of preparing for this. And as I was going through a certain. Things in my life. Realized this is somebody that's trying to turn God into an idol. To go something like this desperately helplessly longingly I cried quietly patiently lovingly he replied I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate and the Master said gently child you must wait wait you say Wait minding that reply Lord I need answers I need to know why is your hand shortened that it cannot save or have you not heard by faith have asked and I'm claiming your word my future and all to which I relate hangs in the balance and you tell me to wait. I need a yes a go ahead sign or even a no to which I'll resign and Lord you promise that if we believe we need but ask and we shall receive and Lord I've been asking and this is my cry I'm tired of asking I me to reply and quietly softly I learn of my fate as my master replied once again you must wait so I slumped in my chair defeated and talked and I grumbled to God So I'm waiting for what he seen them to kneel and his eyes met with mine. And he tenderly said I could give you a sign I could shake the heavens and darken the sun I could raise the dead cause the mountains to run all you seek I could give and pleased you would be. You would have what you want. But you wouldn't know me. You would not know the depth of my love for each saint you would not know the power that I give to the faint you would not learn to see through clouds of despair you would not learn to trust just by knowing on there you would not know the joy of resting in me when darkness and silence is all you could see you would never experience that fullness. Of love as my peace. Of My Spirit descends like a bud of. You would know about I give and I saved for a start but you would not know the depth of the beat of my heart the glow of my comfort late in the night the faith that I give when you walk without sight the depth that's beyond getting just what you ask of an infinite God that makes what you have last and you never would know should your pain quickly flee what it means that my grace is sufficient for the. Yes. Your dreams for that loved one overnight could come true but the last if your last what I'm doing and you so be silent my child and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know me. And though often my answer seemed terribly late that my most precious answer of all is still wait. Are we going to let God be God. Are we going to let him call the shots in our lives I'm not saying that we shouldn't pray I'm not saying that we shouldn't claim his promises but when things don't work out the way we want and the time that we want. Are we going to turn to God into an idol are we turning got into an idol. Or is our purpose of existence is to glorify Him I we satisfied simply to have his presence in our lives and yes everything else is a perk. Are we going to use God as a means to an end or is the glory fixation of God the end of all things for us well. The appeal is very simple this morning I don't know what your struggles are I don't know what you've been praying about for months maybe years. God does and I don't know what God is trying to do in your life. But I do know one thing that when we seek to glorify God as the essence of our life. Letting God be God That is where we get the greatest peace the greatest fulfillment the greatest happiness joy and if we let God be God refusing to turning him into an idol then God can start doing something for us that he has not been able to do this. If it is your desire to be able to ask God to help you to turn him back into God. Loving Father. Want to thank you for how patient and kind you are towards us. How you never cease to reach out. Pull us towards you with love with kindness. Lord within this room. I know there's a lot of pain a lot of struggles a lot of questions. And maybe there are some that have. Drifted somehow from you. Because it just doesn't seem to make sense. Lord we ask forgiveness. We ask forgiveness for our unbelief forgiveness sometimes for blaming you for things forgiveness for turning to everybody else and everything else except you. And Lord we come to you seeking for help we ask forgiveness also a lord for for turning you into a means to an end. For turning you into an idol just so that we can be preserved and Lord you see the children your children as we are standing before you today it's a sign it's a symbol saying Lord. We want. Your presence above everything else. And you. But. To take away whatever or not answer whatever prayer we have. Asked. But. The Surrendered heart that we can. And be satisfied with your cross. Father I thank you for doing. These things. Media was brought to you by. A website dedicated to God's word. And much more if you would like to know more about.

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