Series: “Traveling Mercies: On the Road with Paul" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “Idols Old & New”
Paul’s ministry at Ephesus was filled with dramatic miracles and monumental disturbances. It has been said that a truly committed Christian will be COMPLETELY FEARLESS, CONTINUALLY CHEERFUL, and CONSTANTLY IN TROUBLE. It’s that last quality that confuses us because we tend to think that trouble is unfair and somehow evidence that God is not happy with us. But the truth is that trouble is evidence that God is trusting us to trust Him.
The Temple of Diana (Roman name, the Greeks called it “Artemis”) was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a massive center for false worship—425 feet long, 222 feet wide, 60 feet tall, and contained 127 pillars. The economy of Ephesus depended on the tourism the shrine invited. Idolatry was big business back then.
But then again, it still is. Even right here in the good old U.S.A.
Idolatry is false worship. Putting our ultimate faith in something other than God. It is a problem for pagan people and heathens. But it is also a problem for followers of Jesus. That’s right, we all wrestle with forms of idolatry. Oh, we don’t bother with shrines to false Gods, but we can drift toward captivation with the “gods” of this world.
That’s why the Apostle John wrote this to Christian people: “…keep yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21)
As I look at my life now, are there things that compete for my attention and affection enough to draw me away from intimacy with God?
How does contentment neutralize materialism?
Are my Christian convictions strong enough to resist seduction by the present world?