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The Golden Calf - Idolatry

Today John Maulella preached a sermon from Exodus 32 about the dangers of idolatry.

We are naturally imitators.  None of us are originals.  We resemble what we revere.

When we revere things other than God, it's called idolatry.

Idolatry: Looking for our satisfaction and security from sources other than God.

We don't build cow statues today, but do we build other monuments?  The idol was a representation of God.

Idolatry can flourish in uncertainty and anxiety.

I can't see God.  But I can see other sources of security, so it's tempting to elevate them.

We're waiting for Moses, and he's not coming.  We tend to go back to what we know.

Idolatry blurs God's uniqueness into "God and..."

The Israelites were mixing God with something else.  They claimed their fertility celebration was a festival to the Lord - using God's covenant name.

Idolatry adores the "made" in place of the Maker.

Idolatry is a distortion of good things. 

Idolatry breeds when godly leaders don't lead.

Aaron had been the channel for God's words.  What if he had just said "No"?

We have influence over others for good or bad.  This is seen by the kings in Israel's history.

Why was God so angry?  His people were becoming like their idols - blind and deaf.  They were acting like cattle.

See Psalm 115:4-8 and Psalm 135:15-18.  They were blind so they can't see him at work, deaf to his words.

You will become like what you worship.

Why were images of God prohibited? (Exodus 20)  You were made to be His image!  The people were supposed to reflect God.  You're it!

We have to acknowledge we've not lived up to this.  We've tried to make our own images.

Jesus is the true image of God (Colossians 1:15).  We follow the true image, God's Son.

More About Worship

Today, Father's Day, Pastor Ed Allen preached the second in a two-part sermon series, "How and Why We Worship."  He began with an interview with his son, Jordan, about how we pick songs for worship at Gateway.  Though it's not a performance, we do want excellence.  The worship team picks songs they enjoy, songs they can play well, and songs that fit with the message.

Then we reviewed last week's sermon and the definition of Worship --

Worship is a whole-self engagement with God on the terms that He prescribes and in the way that He alone makes possible, including adulation, devotion, and reverential acts of submission.

Continuing to work from this definition:

True worship includes expressing true devotion to the true God.

Psalm 37:1-4 and Psalm 18:1-3  Main idea is commitment combined with love.

The Lord's Prayer includes "Thy will be done," which is a statement of commitment and surrender.

True worship is an action; it is not primarily interior.

The emotional part of Love is secondary.

Jesus isn't looking for us to have a crush on Him.  We want our emotions touched, but that's not the main goal.  We want the kind of love that means I surrender to You and I'll serve You with all my heart.

True worship involves reverential submission.

Spending time and energy straining for emotion puts us in danger of making worship about ourselves.

All the same, when you do feel emotion in worship, lean into it!  Don't discard it too easily.  Though an emotional experience isn't the main point of worship, we don't need to throw it away.

On the other hand, if our emotions are never engaged, are we putting our whole self into worship?  Psalm 62:8  Don't allow yourself to be cut off from a significant source of strength.

Reverential submission is the idea behind the sacrificial system.  Psalm 66:3-7 and Psalm 89:5-9.

In conclusion, we asked, why adulation?  Is God an egomaniac?  Ed used C. S. Lewis's answer to that question:  Praise acknowledges truth.  And praise completes our enjoyment.

We finished the service with worship and the Lord's Supper.

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