Temple Baptist Church - 8-12-2015
1 John 5:18-21
A. As John ends his first Epistle, he leaves a stern admonition to God’s children: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” I want to look at this admonition for a few minutes as it applies greatly to the Laodicean Church age in which we live.
B. In verse 18, we find both Positional and Practical Sanctification.
1. Positional Sanctification is found in the first part of the verse: “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not.” This cannot speak of sinless perfection in the child of God for the previous verses dealt with the “brother” that sins. I preached on this subject when I preached on chapter 3. There is a part of the child of God that is preserved or sealed until the day of redemption for which I am eternally grateful.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
2. Practical Sanctification is found in the latter part of the verse: “But he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” Though we have a sinful flesh, we still have an obligation to live for Christ to the best of our ability.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
C. In the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses, we find three aspects of the Law: Moral Law, Civil Law, and Ceremonial Law. The Moral Law is found in what we call the Ten Commandments. The first part of the Ten Commandments deals with our relationship and obligation to God.
The Command of Idolatry - Exodus 20:3-6 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (6) And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
1. No other gods. The word “gods” is often applied to magistrates. It simply means to rule over. Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
2. No graven image or likeness. Graven is to hew of make something. Likeness is a manifestation or embodiment of something. A woodcarver was asked how he took a log and carved it into a bear. He said, “I just take a log and cut away everything that doesn’t look like a bear.” We see the log but he sees the bear. One man’s idols may mean nothing top us but they are powerful in his or her life. He takes stone, wood, or forms plastic and fiberglass into an image to be revered and worshipped.
3. No bowing to or serving of such. Bow is to make one stoop or to worship something. It speaks of having a high place in a person’s life to which they pay homage. To serve in a biblical sense is enslavement. The sin becomes the master.
D. Idolatry, in the heathen sense, is one of great ignorance! To worship something that they made with their own hands; something that they have to carry about or set up; something that they can even destroy if they wish. It is utter foolishness to worship an idol or image that they make.
Psalms 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. (5) They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: (6) They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: (7) They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. (8) They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
1. They are the work of men’s hands! If you can make your god, then you have to carry your god with you and take care of it. Not much of a god!
2. They are lifeless! They cannot hear you when you pray, they cannot see you when you fall, they cannot protect you when in danger. They are of no use at all!
3. They cannot be trusted! Those who make them are as lifeless and as helpless as their idols.
E. Some so-called Christian denominations are still big on statues to which they bow and pray to. I have discussed this with them but their spiritual eyes are blinded to a simple biblical truth: you do not make images, you do not bow to images, and you do not venerate images. Such worship is contrary to clear scripture and is to be separated from.
F. Idol worship is foolish, is it not? Idolatry in the life of the child of God is one of even greater ignorance! We know the true, living God: a God that loves us, saved us, leads and guides us, protects us, feeds us, shelters us, clothes us, is merciful to us!
G. Dr. Billy Kanoy used to say that there are idols that are metal and idols that are mental. An idol is anything that we replace God with or place between us and God. God’s children must be on guard concerning idolatry in their personal lives.
1. We need to see our sin as God sees it. 1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (I get the feeling that believers too often think that God winks at the “Little Foxes” in their lives that spoil the vines. Mighty oaks from little acorns grown.”)
2. We need to know that eternal life positionally gives us no freedom to sin practically. The child of God is obligated to guard against sinfulness. 1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (We, as believers, have not been made free from sin in order to live in sin.)
3. We need to remember who and what we are. 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (As God’s heritage, we become God’s ambassadors to this world. Epistles written of God and read of men. It is important to know that we are in this world but not of this world.)
4. We need to know the importance of having a rich, spiritual life. A life of prayer and dedication to God’s Word. We then will have the knowledge needed to keep our life spiritually directed. 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (Either sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin.)
5. There is always the possibility of living an idolatrous life. 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (Watchfulness and vigilance is required for the child of God to keep his/her life properly prioritized.)
1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.