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Scripture Reading: Psalm 115:1-11
1. God’s command to Israel clear: No carved images, Exod. 20:4-5.
a. Jehovah refused to give praise that rightly belongs to Him to the carved images of men, Isa. 42:8.
b. Therefore, Israel was not shown any form of God they could carve into a representation of Him, Deut. 4:15-18.
2. Yet, Israel repeatedly sinned by worshiping idols, and was a prime reason for their punishment, 2 Kings 17:10, 16.
3. Christians are commanded to stay away from idols and things polluted by them, Acts 15:20, 29 (flee idolatry, 1 Cor. 10:14).
I. CHRISTIANS WORSHIP CHRIST, NOT CARVED IMAGES.
A. Jesus is the Image of God, 2 Cor. 4:4 (John 14:8-9).
1. Likeness (representation), Col. 1:15 (not phys. appearance).
2. Impress, the exact image of God’s real nature, Heb. 1:3.
II. MANY WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS VENERATE IMAGES (adore, admire, revere, worship).
A. No Image Conceived and Made by Men is to be Worshiped, Rom. 1:22-23.
B. People Painted and Sculpted Depictions of Jesus, the Cross, the Apostles, Mary, Followers of Christ.
1. cf. Jeroboam’s calves and catacomb paintings, etc.
2. These gradually began to be used in worship (crucifix, etc.)
3. Now, very costly pictures and statues, shrines in homes, etc.
C. Scripture Gives No Approval to Use Carved Images of Christ and Others as Focal Points of Worship, John 4:23-24.
1. No Scripture commands and approves these carvings (Matt. 28:20; Col. 3:17), Col. 2:23.
2. Vain worship, Matt. 15:8-9.
III. IMAGES ARE NOT ALWAYS MADE OF PHYSICAL MATERIAL.
A. Covetous Person is an Idolater, Eph. 5:5 (Col. 3:5).
1. Images we form in our hearts can become idols…we become idolaters (Prov. 23:7).
2. Devotion to images of money, pleasure, anything and anyone before and instead of God; A god is set in the heart before Jehovah (Exod. 20:3); 2 Tim. 3:2, 4.
B. Some Worship the Image of Self, 2 Tim. 3:2.
1. Narcissism, self-righteousness, conceit, and self-importance, Gal. 6:3; 3 John 9.
a. “Satan tempts this person to think of themselves as always in the lead or always getting their way...to think of themselves as the smartest, the best, or even the most righteous.” (Brailey)
b. Driven by of envy: “Preachers can become jealous of other more successful or popular preachers. Good singers can envy a better singer.” (Ibid)
2. Worshiping one’s self-image tears down others (fault-finding) and tears up churches.
3. This foolish, deceptive thinking elevates self above truth and humble service, 1 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:3, 16.
4. Exalting oneself brings humiliation before God, Luke 18:14.
C. Some Worship the Image of How Others Think about Them.
1. Yes, it is important to have a good reputation (Acts 6:3), but…
2. This person is more concerned about being seen as godly than being godly, 2 Tim. 3:5; Matt. 6:1, 5, 7, 16.
3. Worship the image of themselves or their families, and protect that image at the expense of following the truth, John 12:42-43.
1. In the wilderness, Israel carried shrines to their gods (pocket gods) they used to satisfy their personal superstitions, Amos 5:25-26.
2. We must destroy any image (real or in our hearts) we carry in our hearts and worship before and instead of Christ the Lord.
Adapted from “The Worship of Images” by
By: Joe R. Price
Posted March 30, 2022