Saturday, November 18, 2017

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In this blog, I provide encouragement and biblical teaching on seeking the Lord with all your heart, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

As the Scripture says:

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

And "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

Some of the topics covered include seeking the Lord, prayer, worship, tithing, inquiring of the Lord, hearing His voice, obedience, grace, godly attire and adornment, sanctification, consecration, backsliding, repentance, brokenness, suffering, humility, the fear of the Lord, the role of the commandments for the disciple of Christ, and the conditions of the New Covenant.  I hope this will be an edifying and encouraging experience for you that will help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.

Seeking the Lord Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God Holy Fire Baptism
Lifting Your Face in Prayer Lifting Hands in Prayer Crying Out to God Loudly
Pressing on Toward the Goal Taking Heaven by Force God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud
Whom Are You Seeking? Should you fear the Lord? Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?
Aim for Perfection Obedience by the Spirit Is Obedience Optional?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling Holy Living in a Perverted World Drifting Away
The Cost of Discipleship Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Is Tithing Required?
Where Should You Give Your Tithe? Walking in the Perfect Will of God Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian
The Obedience of Faith Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross? Law of Love in the New Testament
The New Covenant Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith Costly Grace The Law of Christ
The Eyes of the Lord Garments of Godliness The Three Elijahs
The Burning Ones The End Has Come Now, But Not Yet
The Happy Hunters on Fire You're Better Off Following Jesus God Chooses the Weak Things 
The Beauty of Brokenness Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory Hearing the Lord's Voice
Hearing the Lord's Voice Inquiring of the Lord Praise the Lord!
The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come One thing Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham? From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord The Self-Help Gospel
Checklist for Revival God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He? The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Flaming Sword Clean Hands and a Pure Heart The Spirit of the Law
Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy An Open Mind that Loves the Truth Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? The Apostasy Parables

The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught
The Disciples’ Prayer Is Tolerance a Virtue? Righteousness by Faith not Law
Life is Short. Eternity is Not. Noah's Ark a Type of Christ Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Ultimate Accountability Separation from the World The Knowledge of the Holy
The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness Ask for the Ancient Paths Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven
The Straight and Narrow Path Unhealthy Competition A Peculiar People
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets Hope for You

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception
The Love of Jesus The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer Having a Servant's Heart
Avoiding Worldly Worship Purge the Evil from Among You Who is God?
Living a Life Worthy of the Lord Praying for the Lord Jesus Who is God? - Part II
The Way, Will, and Word of God Overcomers in This Life The Afflictions of the Righteous
Saints Alive in Jesus Bowing Low in Worship Repentance That Leads to Life
Keeping a Good Conscience Remember Lot’s Wife Called to be Blameless
If -- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Lord Will Rejoice Over You The Nature of Persecution
The Wardrobe of the Saints Filled Up to All the Fullness of God Loving Deeply
Seeking Glory from God Amazing Grace God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes
Abominations in the Sight of God Identification with Christ Alabaster Jar
Running from God Forgetting the Past Was Jesus Seeker Friendly?
God's View of Public Bathing Is Secular Music for Christians? Ignorance is Not Bliss
In the Yolk of Christianity Songs of the Holy Fire Known by God
Modern Day Idols Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38


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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Jonathan Edwards
Allow me to present to you a message by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), who is considered to be the greatest American theologian and philosopher of all time. He was a third-generation preacher, who was gifted by God with a brilliant mind and a sensitive heart. Having received significant theological training from his father as a child, he began studying Latin at age six, and could read Latin, Greek, and some Hebrew by the age of twelve.

He entered Yale College as an undergraduate at the age of thirteen, and graduated as the valedictorian. Following a difficult period at age seventeen, he said holiness was revealed to him as a ravishing, divine beauty. He desired simply to "to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a little child."

He later went on to earn his Master of Arts degree before he was ordained for ministry and became a pastor. He typically spent thirteen hours a day in his study. Yet he still opened his doors to receive family and church members for prayer and counseling.

Edwards once preached a sermon called Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God at his own church with unknown effect in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Later as a guest preacher at a church in Enfield, Connecticut, he once again preached this sermon on July 8, 1741.

As he preached his message to the congregation, it is said that his description of the wrath of God was so effective that sinners hung onto the pews with white knuckles for fear of slipping into hell. He was interrupted many times during the sermon by people moaning and crying out, "What shall I do to be saved?" Amazingly the words he spoke that day have endured and are still read to this day. In fact, this sermon remains the leading example of a Great Awakening sermon. Therefore, I think it would be beneficial to publish it once again here, so that more people can have a chance to read its life-changing message.

A recurring theme that Edwards made throughout his message was that, "There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God."

Ten Considerations
In the sermon, Edwards gave ten points for his hearers to consider:

1.     God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment.

2.     The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God from destroying the Wicked at any moment.

3.     The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under God's condemnation to Hell.

4.     The Wicked, on earth - at this very moment - suffer a sample of the torments of Hell. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, that God (in Whose hand the Wicked now reside) is not - at this very moment - as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who - at this very moment - do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath.

5.     At any moment God shall permit him, Satan stands ready to fall upon the Wicked and seize them as his own.

6.     If it were not for God's restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire.

7.     Simply because there are not visible means of death before them at any given moment, the Wicked should not feel secure.

8.     Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God's wrath.

9.     All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hell's pains shall afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.

10.  God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.

Here is the full text of the sermon:

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

"Their foot shall slide in due time." Deuteronomy 32:35

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's wonderful works towards them, remained (as verse 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. -- The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.


1. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 73:18. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction."

2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!"

3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

4. That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. -- "There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. -- The truth of this observation may appear by the following consideration.

1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men's hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. -- He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God's enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?

2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God's using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, "Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?" Luke 13:7. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God's mere will, that holds it back.

3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John 3:18. "He that believeth not is condemned already." So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence he is, John 8:23. "Ye are from beneath:" And thither he is bound; it is the place that justice, and God's word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.

4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.

So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.

5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The scripture represents them as his goods, Luke 11:21. The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.

6. There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God's restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea, Isa. 57:20. For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;" but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God's restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.

7. It is no security to wicked men for one moment, that there are no visible means of death at hand. It is no security to a natural man, that he is now in health, and that he does not see which way he should now immediately go out of the world by any accident, and that there is no visible danger in any respect in his circumstances. The manifold and continual experience of the world in all ages, shows this is no evidence, that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step will not be into another world. The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell, that there is nothing to make it appear, that God had need to be at the expense of a miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy any wicked man, at any moment. All the means that there are of sinners going out of the world, are so in God's hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and determination, that it does not depend at all the less on the mere will of God, whether sinners shall at any moment go to hell, than if means were never made use of, or at all concerned in the case.

8. Natural men's prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment. To this, divine providence and universal experience do also bear testimony. There is this clear evidence that men's own wisdom is no security to them from death; that if it were otherwise we should see some difference between the wise and politic men of the world, and others, with regard to their liableness to early and unexpected death: but how is it in fact? Eccles. 2:16. "How dieth the wise man? even as the fool."

9. All wicked men's pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly gone to hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive: it was not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of misery: we doubtless, should hear one and another reply, "No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself -- I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpected; I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief -- Death outwitted me: God's wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction came upon me."

10. God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment. God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from eternal death, but what are contained in the covenant of grace, the promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. But surely they have no interest in the promises of the covenant of grace who are not the children of the covenant, who do not believe in any of the promises, and have no interest in the Mediator of the covenant.

So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men's earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.

So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

Application
The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ. -- That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell's wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God's enemies. God's creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose, and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope. There are the black clouds of God's wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff on the summer threshing floor.

The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. It is true, that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God's vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the mean time is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath; the waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty; and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon you with omnipotent power; and if your strength were ten thousand times greater than it is, yea, ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.

The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment. -- And consider here more particularly,

1. Whose wrath it is: it is the wrath of the infinite God. If it were only the wrath of man, though it were of the most potent prince, it would be comparatively little to be regarded. The wrath of kings is very much dreaded, especially of absolute monarchs, who have the possessions and lives of their subjects wholly in their power, to be disposed of at their mere will. Prov. 20:2. "The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: Whoso provoketh him to anger, sinneth against his own soul." The subject that very much enrages an arbitrary prince, is liable to suffer the most extreme torments that human art can invent, or human power can inflict. But the greatest earthly potentates in their greatest majesty and strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble, despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almighty Creator and King of heaven and earth. It is but little that they can do, when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their fury. All the kings of the earth, before God, are as grasshoppers; they are nothing, and less than nothing: both their love and their hatred is to be despised. The wrath of the great King of kings, is as much more terrible than theirs, as his majesty is greater. Luke 12:4,5. "And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him."

2. It is the fierceness of his wrath that you are exposed to. We often read of the fury of God; as in Isa. 59:18. "According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries." So Isa. 66:15. "For behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire." And in many other places. So, Rev. 19:15, we read of "the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." The words are exceeding terrible. If it had only been said, "the wrath of God," the words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is "the fierceness and wrath of God." The fury of God! the fierceness of Jehovah! Oh, how dreadful that must be! Who can utter or conceive what such expressions carry in them! But it is also "the fierceness and wrath of almighty God." As though there would be a very great manifestation of his almighty power in what the fierceness of his wrath should inflict, as though omnipotence should be as it were enraged, and exerted, as men are wont to exert their strength in the fierceness of their wrath. Oh! then, what will be the consequence! What will become of the poor worms that shall suffer it! Whose hands can be strong? And whose heart can endure? To what a dreadful, inexpressible, inconceivable depth of misery must the poor creature be sunk who shall be the subject of this!

Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger, implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no compassion upon you, he will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stay his rough wind; he will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. Ezek. 8:18. "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them." Now God stands ready to pity you; this is a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath. God will be so far from pitying you when you cry to him, that it is said he will only "laugh and mock," Prov. 1:25,26, etc.

How awful are those words, Isa. 63:3, which are the words of the great God. "I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." It is perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater manifestations of these three things, viz. contempt, and hatred, and fierceness of indignation. If you cry to God to pity you, he will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard or favour, that instead of that, he will only tread you under foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet he will not regard that, but he will crush you under his feet without mercy; he will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his raiment. He will not only hate you, but he will have you in the utmost contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.

3. The misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict to that end, that he might show what that wrath of Jehovah is. God hath had it on his heart to show to angels and men, both how excellent his love is, and also how terrible his wrath is. Sometimes earthly kings have a mind to show how terrible their wrath is, by the extreme punishments they would execute on those that would provoke them. Nebuchadnezzar, that mighty and haughty monarch of the Chaldean empire, was willing to show his wrath when enraged with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and accordingly gave orders that the burning fiery furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was before; doubtless, it was raised to the utmost degree of fierceness that human art could raise it. But the great God is also willing to show his wrath, and magnify his awful majesty and mighty power in the extreme sufferings of his enemies. Rom. 9:22. "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?" And seeing this is his design, and what he has determined, even to show how terrible the unrestrained wrath, the fury and fierceness of Jehovah is, he will do it to effect. There will be something accomplished and brought to pass that will be dreadful with a witness. When the great and angry God hath risen up and executed his awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually suffering the infinite weight and power of his indignation, then will God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. Isa. 33:12-14. "And the people shall be as the burnings of lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites," etc.

Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it; the infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you, in the ineffable strength of your torments. You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is; and when they have seen it, they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty. Isa. 66:23,24. "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

4. It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For "who knows the power of God's anger?"

How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be. Oh that you would consider it, whether you be young or old! There is reason to think, that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now have. It may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a wonder, if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, even before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here, in some seats of this meeting-house, in health, quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning. Those of you that finally continue in a natural condition, that shall keep out of hell longest will be there in a little time! your damnation does not slumber; it will come swiftly, and, in all probability, very suddenly upon many of you. You have reason to wonder that you are not already in hell. It is doubtless the case of some whom you have seen and known, that never deserved hell more than you, and that heretofore appeared as likely to have been now alive as you. Their case is past all hope; they are crying in extreme misery and perfect despair; but here you are in the land of the living and in the house of God, and have an opportunity to obtain salvation. What would not those poor damned hopeless souls give for one day's opportunity such as you now enjoy!

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you rest one moment in such a condition? Are not your souls as precious as the souls of the people at Suffield, where they are flocking from day to day to Christ?

Are there not many here who have lived long in the world, and are not to this day born again? and so are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh, sirs, your case, in an especial manner, is extremely dangerous. Your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Do you not see how generality persons of your years are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful dispensation of God's mercy? You had need to consider yourselves, and awake thoroughly out of sleep. You cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God. -- And you, young men, and young women, will you neglect this precious season which you now enjoy, when so many others of your age are renouncing all youthful vanities, and flocking to Christ? You especially have now an extraordinary opportunity; but if you neglect it, it will soon be with you as with those persons who spent all the precious days of youth in sin, and are now come to such a dreadful pass in blindness and hardness. -- And you, children, who are unconverted, do not you know that you are going down to hell, to bear the dreadful wrath of that God, who is now angry with you every day and every night? Will you be content to be the children of the devil, when so many other children in the land are converted, and are become the holy and happy children of the King of kings?

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now hearken to the loud calls of God's word and providence. This acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favour to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others. Men's hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace at such a day as this, if they neglect their souls; and never was there so great danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart and blindness of mind. God seems now to be hastily gathering in his elect in all parts of the land; and probably the greater part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the apostles' days; the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded. If this should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will curse the day that ever you was born, to see such a season of the pouring out of God's Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to hell before you had seen it. Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down and cast into the fire.

Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: "Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed."

END OF SERMON

Afterword
I hope that this sermon will once again touch the lives of thousands of people around the world who need to hear it. The churches are full of people who have never been born again. They may be religious, but they have never had the life-changing experience of being regenerated by the Spirit of God. Although others may not even know that these people have not been born again, God knows, and they will not see His kingdom unless they are born again.

There are also many who sit in church week after week, who have had the experience of being born again at some point. But they have since corrupted their ways, because they have somehow compromised with the world, the flesh, or the devil.

There are also many who sincerely feel they love Jesus and believe He is the center of their lives. They maintain communion with Him and serve Him. But they are not living holy lives. They think holiness is just a matter of the heart and not something that would have any observable evidence to those who see their lives outwardly. But holiness does make a difference on the outside of your body, as well as the inside of your heart. And without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

The Lord Jesus is coming back soon, but He is only coming for those who are born again, and only for the holy ones. He still loves you, but His standard for heaven is high. The standard is righteousness, holiness, and truth. Do you meet His standard?

If not, I want to urge you, my friend, to repent before it's too late. You don't know if you will even have tomorrow. You could die before Jesus returns. So please take this message seriously and go to the Lord in prayer right now, so that you will not perish with the millions that are already in hellfire and the countless souls that are falling into the pit each day.

Attribution Notice: All images are in the public domain and used for educational and commentary purposes only, according to the Fair Use Act.

Author's note If you enjoyed this article. I would like to invite you to read Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenAvoid Becoming a Corrupted ChristianDrifting AwayThe Apostasy ParablesYou Must Be Born AgainAbominations in the Sight of GodDeleted Scriptures in the Bible?Striving to Enter the Kingdom of GodSalvation with Fear and Trembling, In the Yolk of Christianity, Modern Day IdolsAngelica Zambrano Heaven and HellMichael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and HellOnly the Holy -- Three Shocking TestimoniesJames Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, and Eudoxia Varga Testimony of Heaven and Hell. Also see the Home page for this blog. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Modern Day Idols

Dear God seekers,

Idolatry is something that has been around for thousands of years and is still just as prevalent in the world today as it was in the old days. In fact, this present generation is the most evil one that has ever lived on the face of the earth, so idolatry is probably more widespread now than ever before. It comes in many forms, some old-fashioned ones and some modern-day ones. Let's look at what the Scripture says about it and what constitutes idolatry, as well as what does not.

A golden calf
"Then God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."(Exo 20:1-6).

These are the first and second commandments. The first commandment is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is Yehova our God, and we shall have no other gods before us. The second commandment forbids idolatry. We must not make an idol, which is a graven image. That includes any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water. God specified that we shall not worship such images or serve them, and this must be understood in the context of the first commandment against having any other gods before Yehova. When God commanded us in the second commandment not to make an image of anything in the likeness of what is in heaven above, that included God Himself, His throne, the angels, the cherubim, and the glorious Holy City.

The Lord reiterated it in Deuteronomy when He said:

"So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. And beware not to 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, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven." (Deu 4:15-19)

When the Lord spoke to the Israelites at Horeb, He spoke from the midst of the fire on top of the mountain. They did not see any form on that day. He says that to make a graven image is to act corruptly. The prohibition is against making images in the form of any figure, including those in the likeness of male or female, any animal, any bird, anything that creeps on the ground such as serpents, and any fish. He also warned us not to lift up our 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. This is essentially a reiteration of the first and second commandments.

Images in the Bible
We do see images in the Bible, some that were authorized by God and others that were not. Let's look at some of them.

The Tabernacle
God commanded Moses to be sure and make the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to him on the mountain (Ex 25:40). The tabernacle itself and all its furnishings were types or copies of the original realities that exist in heaven. Part of the pattern that God gave Moses to build was the ark of the covenant. Above it were the golden cherubim above the mercy seat on the ark.

"You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat." (Exo 25:17-20)

This is an example of a case where God commanded Moses to make an image of cherubim, which are created beings in heaven. In fact, they were on the ark of the covenant in the most sacred place of all, the holy of holies. God also commanded Moses to put images of angels in other places in the tabernacle, too, such as the curtains.

"Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman." (Exo 26:1).

All these images were authorized by God, who gave the skillful workmen the talent to create such beautiful material.

The Temple
We also see the use of cherubim in the design of Solomon's temple:

"Now there were four supports at the four corners of each stand; its supports were part of the stand itself. On the top of the stand there was a circular form half a cubit high, and on the top of the stand its stays and its borders were part of it. He engraved on the plates of its stays and on its borders, cherubim, lions and palm trees, according to the clear space on each, with wreaths all around. He made the ten stands like this: all of them had one casting, one measure and one form." (1Ki 7:34-37)

Likewise, we see cherubim in the design of the millenial temple:

"It was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces, a man's face toward the palm tree on one side and a young lion's face toward the palm tree on the other side; they were carved on all the house all around. From the ground to above the entrance cherubim and palm trees were carved, as well as on the wall of the nave." (Eze 41:18-20)

These images were all allowed by God.

The Bronze Serpent
Another example of God authorizing an image is the bronze serpent. Snakes were biting the Israelites in the wilderness, because of their sinful behavior, and they were dying. So God commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a cross bar atop a long pole. When those bitten by the snakes would look up at the serpent high atop the pole, they would be healed and not die.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.' And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived." (Num 21:8-9)

This serpent was actually a type of Christ on the cross, according to the Scriptures. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life." (Joh 3:14-15)

Unfortunately the Israelites turned the bronze serpent into an idol named Nehushtan and burned incense to it. That's why Hezekiah broke it in pieces.

"He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan." (2Ki 18:4)

The Gold Ephod
When Gideon returned from battle, victorious over the Midanites, the Israelites wanted him to be king over them. He refused to be their king, but said the Lord would rule over them. He did ask for one thing and that was their gold earrings, which they gladly gave him. He melted it down and made a gold ephod out of what he collected. The Israelites later prostituted themselves with the ephod and it became a snare to Gideon.

"Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son's son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.' But Gideon said to them, 'I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.' Yet Gideon said to them, 'I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.' (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, 'We will surely give them.' So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels' necks. Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household." (Jdg 8:22-27)

Baal and Ashtaroth 
Of course, we all know about the many idols the Jews made, such as idols to Baal and Ashtaroth. "So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth." (Jdg 2:13)

"Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him." (Jdg 10:6).

The prophet Samuel got them to get rid of these, although they later returned to idolatry. "Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, 'If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.' So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone." (1Sa 7:3-4)

The Golden Calf
Then there was the famous golden calf that they worshiped.

"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' Aaron said to them, 'Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.' Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.' Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.' So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." (Exo 32:1-6)

This was a tragic moment for Israel when they fell into sin while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God.

The Foolishness of Idolatry
Idolatry is foolish, because it shows how man wants to worship something he can see. Yet God says, "To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter." (Isa 40:18-20). They worship created things rather than the Creator.

As we can see, there were many images in the Bible, most of which were evil, but others that were authorized by God Himself.

Traditional Images 
Aside from these biblical examples, we also have examples of traditional images used in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches

Pope Benedict kneels before Mary statue
These religions have made many images into idols, including paintings and statues of Jesus and Mary, as well as the saints. Even crucifixes portraying Jesus hanging on the cross have been turned into idols. These images are venerated by those who kiss them, touch them, and bow down before them. These images are believed to have power. 

For example, it is believed to provide protection to have a picture of "the sacred heart of Jesus" in your home. The same is believed to be true of something called a scapula, which is an image made of metal or cloth that is worn on the body around the neck on a chain or pinned to the underwear. And depending on what kind of help you need, there are false beliefs about the various statues. If you need safety on the road, then you put a statue of Saint Jude on your dashboard or hang the rosary over your rear view mirror in your car. If you need help selling your home, then I have heard that some believe you should bury a statue of Saint Joseph upside down in your yard. All of this is pure superstition and idolatry.

When I first came to Christ, nobody had to tell me these things were idolatry. I gathered them up in my hands and as I prepared to throw them away, I felt that I was either about to commit the greatest act of sacrilege and a lightning bolt was going to strike me, or else I was about to be set free from religious bondage. Well, I threw them away by faith in God, and He did not strike me with lighting, but He did set me free from bondage. The truth set me free not only from that, but from addictions to drugs, alcohol, and immorality. 

Yet when I tried to warn others who were still in bondage to idolatry in the Catholic religion, they would not listen to me. They insisted that these were not idols and they were not committing idolatry, since they were not bowing down to these images or worshiping them. They hardened their hearts when they heard the voice of the Lord speaking to them through me, and they chose idolatry instead of truth. They justified their sin, so they could continue practicing it, rather than repent and be set free to worship God in spirit and in truth. 

Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Joh 4:24).

Therefore, if you are involved in idolatry with traditional images, the Lord is calling you to repent and turn away from such wickedness. Turn back to the living God and He will save you.

Also see Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church and Unbiblical Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Are All Pictures Idolatry?
But some people even teach that making any kind of picture of Jesus is idolatry, which will take you down to hell. I personally do not teach that or believe it is true. If it is idolatry to have a picture of Jesus, then that means motion pictures of Jesus are also idolatry. That would mean that movies about Jesus are a form of idolatry, such as The Jesus Film produced by John Heyman and directed by Peter Sykes and John Krish, which is primarily based on the Gospel of Luke. Yet this movie has touched lives for Jesus and many people have come to know Him after watching the film, who would not otherwise have heard the gospel. In the book I Just Saw Jesus, which describes the making of the movie, it is obvious that God was in it and the devil was strongly opposed to it. 

If all movies of Jesus were idolatry, that would also mean that The Passion of the Christ movie produced by Mel Gibson in 2004 is idolatry. And again, I know that this movie has helped to show the world the sacrifice that Christ made for them on the cross. I also know that satan opposed the production of it, such as the making of the sound track. And James Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus in that movie, encountered many trials and tribulations during the making of the film. For example, he was struck by lightning, accidentally scourged, had his shoulder dislocated, and suffered from pneumonia and hypothermia.

If all pictures of Jesus are idolatry, including still images and motion pictures, then according to the second commandment, all sacred artwork would be idolatrous, such as the pieces that artist Danny Hahlbohm says the Lord inspired him to paint. All photographs and pictures of any kind would also be considered idolatry, since they are either images of something on earth, in heaven, or in the sea. That would include videos of any kind, like videos of people, even pastors preaching sermons against idolatry! All such videos contain images of people, which are among the ones forbidden in Deu 4:15-19.

In fact, if all pictures are idolatry, then all drawings and illustrations are idolatry, such as children's illustrated Bibles, craft activities for children's Sunday School lessons on the Bible, coloring books of Bible stories, and paper cut-out figures of Bible characters. One of my children's favorite activities is flannel graph, which are flannel figures of people, angels, trees, animals, and buildings from the Bible, which they stick on a flannel board to create scenes from the Bible. They call it "sticky people." These would be considered idolatry, too, according to this teaching. All books containing illustrations, such as anatomy books and botany books would be idolatrous. All pictures everywhere would have to be eliminated.

I will leave it to you to prayerfully decide for yourself whether all pictures are idolatry, but unless the Lord shows me that personally, it is not my belief that they are.

Revelations About Diagrams and Drawings
Let me also share briefly some excerpts from a revelation given to a boy named Samuel, whom I have written about in my article Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega. The Lord told him:

"Pastors who put any form of diagram on My altar and call My Name there, I am angry with them. And I will send them to hell."

"Tell those who draw any diagram or creature that does not glorify Me, I shall cast them into the lake of fire. In fact...some of these artists are demons, and they are...used for satan. Therefore, repent and beware."

Other Modern Idols
Some modern idols include video games, cars, motorcycles, movies, TV, i pads, i phones, smart phones, laptops, computers, sound systems, boyfriends, girlfriends, fashion models, sports figures, military heroes, politicians, royalty, movie stars, and entertainers, such as rock stars and other music celebrities.  Some make idols of their children, their pets, their spouse, their house, their boat, their vacations, their holidays, their sports, and their photographs. People also still make idols of the sun, moon, and stars. Others make idols of rocks and crystals. They can even make idols out of money, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sex, and food. And certain people like Hindus, still worship the images of their millions of false gods in their temples. Muslims travel to Mecca where they walk around a cube called the Kaaba. They bow before it, and pray, while some kiss the Black Stone in the eastern corner of the cube. Some make idols of their parents, grandparents, and ancestors. In some Asian countries, they venerate the dead by burning incense in front of pictures of their ancestors, which comes from Buddhism. Children may make idols of baseball cards, toys, dolls, action figures, super heroes, and cartoon characters. Christians even make idols out of their theological doctrines, as well as Christian celebrities and pastors, which is human worship.

With regard to the list of other idols I have made above, it is not comprehensive, of course. Moreover, just because people make idols of these things, not all of them are inherently sinful. For example, if the Lord blesses you with a spouse, a child, a pet, a house, a car, or a laptop, that is not necessarily sinful, and it does not mean we should get rid of these simply because others have idolized them. What is an idol to someone else is not necessarily an idol to me. However, some things are clearly sinful and idolatrous, regardless of who does them, such as all forms of pornography, which is an abomination to God.

Refusing to Bow to Idols
During the period when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon for their sins of idolatry, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and forced all the people to bow down to it. But the three Hebrew young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to bow down.

"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up." (Dan 3:1-2)

"Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up." (Dan 3:7)

Everyone fell down and worshiped the golden image, except for the three Hebrew young men. When they were called before the king about this, and he threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace, they took a firm stand for God.

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'" (Dan 3:16-18)

Of course, we know that the king did throw them into the furnace, and though his soldiers who threw them into it perished because of the intense heat, the three Hebrews were unhurt inside the blazing furnace. They came out without even the smell of smoke or a hair on their heads singed or any damage to their trousers. God had sent His angel and rescued them. 

We need more people like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego today who refuse to bow down to idols. Idolatry is not just a thing of the past, it is still very much a practice of the present, and it is going to continue in the future. In fact, during the soon coming Great Tribulation, all the inhabitants of the earth, whose names are not written in the Book of Life, will worship the beast. 

"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." (Rev 13:8).

And the false prophet will deceive the inhabitants of the earth with miraculous signs and wonders, forcing them to worship the image of the beast. 

"He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed." (Rev 13:13-15)

But woe to anyone who does so.

"Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.' Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Rev 14:9-12). 

Listen now to the words of the apostles. John said, "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." (1Jn 5:21, NIV). Paul said, "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry." (1 Cor 10:14, NIV).

He said, "...we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2Co 4:18)

He also said, "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal 5:19-21).

John said in the book of Revelation when he described the Holy City, "Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." (Rev 22:15, NIV).

Putting it All Together
As you can see, mankind has a tremendous propensity for idolatry, which is rampant today. It's all around us! Idolatry is not just an ancient practice, but a modern one. And some idols that may seem modern are actually just a more recent version of ancient ones. The devil has an idol for all people of all ages, races, creeds, and languages.  It's more popular today than ever before, and since we are immersed in a culture full of idolatry, it's more difficult to recognize it in our own lives.

If you want to make it into the kingdom of God, you have to repent from idolatry. This includes any and all forms of it -- both traditional and modern ones. God is a jealous God, and He will not tolerate idolatry. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

Attribution Notice: All images copyrighted and used according to the Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.

Author's note If you enjoyed this article. I would like to invite you to read Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenAvoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, Drifting Away, Abominations in the Sight of GodDeleted Scriptures in the Bible?, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of GodSalvation with Fear and Trembling, The Apostasy ParablesAngelica Zambrano Heaven and Hell, Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church, Unbiblical Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Bowing Low in Worship.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV. 

You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.