We live in an idolatrous culture, fashioning gods within our own minds. What do the idols we create reveal about the state of our hearts? Pastor Lutzer identifies two deceptive idols which allow us to live the way we want, without restrictions. Anything that takes the place of God is an idol, however prevalent in the culture.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today as we continue to discuss “The Eclipse of God in American Culture.” We ended last time by talking about the attraction of idolatry.
First of all, you get an idol that you are able to carry, that you’re able to take care of, an idol that is subject to you. For example, Jeremiah even says, “Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried because they can’t walk.” etc. Now, a couple of things about idolatry. First of all, you’ll notice that it has to be carried. Jeremiah says that they carry their idols. Furthermore, their idol can do some good. A scarecrow might be able to do some good, keeping birds of prey away from the garden. But in the end, the big attraction of idolatry is idols are very tolerant—tolerant of your behaviour. And so we seek idols.
Here I am at O’Hare field a couple of years ago. And I engaged a couple from Germany who were able to speak English. And I began to explain the gospel to them and the man had just read the book, entitled, “Conversations with God.” Interestingly I had just read the book as well. That book actually was written by automatic writing. The author said that it was as if something took over his pen and wrote it. That often happens when it comes to the occult. Where some books are actually demonically inspired. But one of the things that the book says, among other things, is that God’s will for your life is whatever you want your will for your life to be. In other words, it says expressly that this idea that there’s a God out there who has a will for you is wrong. In effect, you are god and whatever your will is for you, whatever your lifestyle is for you, is right for you. You determine it. I can’t go into other heresies in this book but I thought to myself what a terrible idol. To say that you believe in god when god is only an extension of your own desires.
Did you know that in Romans 1, when God really wants to judge a nation seriously, He gives them over to their own desires? And whatever they desire to do, well that desire becomes their god. So we have in today’s culture, first of all, the idol of spirituality, spirituality divorced from truth.
But the other idols, which of course we hear most about is the idol of “my sexuality”—who I am; I can determine who I am. God doesn’t determine whether I’m a man or a woman. I make that determination and I have the choice. And no matter how I choose, you had better honor me; bow to me, because, after all, the center of my life is my sexual identity. And so in a culture in which we have the rise of the self, the self becomes god and of course the self is very closely connected with sexuality and so my sexuality becomes my god. I want to tell you this. Anything in our hearts that takes the place of God—anything that says I am in charge of this and God isn’t, is an idol.
As I previously pointed out in the 14th chapter of the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel the prophet speaks about people who have set up idols in their hearts. We’re living in a very idolatrous culture. A culture that does not want to do what Nietzsche did, namely to proclaim the death of God and then stare into the abyss; this culture says, “No, I have my god. It’s just a god that I have fashioned within my own mind.” The Bible of course has warnings for us. The scripture teaches us very clearly about the danger of idolatry and the danger of believing that we are in charge. I want to remind you again our God is in the heavens. He’s done whatsoever He has pleased.
If you join us next time, we’re going to be talking about the immutability of God because from there we’re going to be discussing the Old Testament, the New Testament; has God changed? Is He more lenient? Is He more tolerant, more inclusive today than He used to be? After all, we’re under grace aren’t we? Well, those are the kinds of issues we’re going to talk about. But for today, bow before the true God. Perhaps you’ve heard me quote it before: “Whatever idols I have known, what ere that idol be, help me to snatch it from the throne and worship only Thee.” So today, you go with God.