in the Christian Library
Restoring The Reverence (1)
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. Idolatry is a foolish practice. Although its adherents
may be sincere, they are wrong. They fashion a god that is comfortable
to their lifestyles and vigorously support this idol. Without man's cunning
the idol would perish and man's folly would be exposed. This truth is illustrated
by the following: Fire symbolized the god of the Chaldeans. They carried
their god into several countries proving that he was the greatest god.
This god of fire challenged the images of gold, silver, brass, and wood
and reduced them to ashes. By this contest the Chaldeans god was worshiped
almost everywhere. But then he came to Egypt. The High Priest of Canopus
thought of a strategy which would succeed in proving the Egyptian gods
were superior to the Chaldeans. In Egyptian idolatry purified water was
used to purify the Nile water. The purification jars were cleverly constructed
with small imperceptible holes. The High Priest took one of these jars
and stopped the holes with wax, and fitted the head of an idol in the jar's
mouth. The Chaldeans challenged the Egyptian gods and the High Priest brought
out the jar, filled with water. A fire was built and the jar set in its
midst. The heat soon melted the wax, the water flowed out and extinguished
the fire. Thus Canopus was victorious over the Chaldeans!
II. Our series has forced us to admit that idolatry is
not a practice of the ancients. It is as prevalent today as it has ever
been. We have discovered a troubling fact -- idolatry occurs with the re-designing
of the biblical god into a god that is fitted to OUR concepts and beliefs
of how "god" should act. The God of the Bible is not denied, just revised.
God is welcomed as a gentle, permissive "Friend" not as the sovereign,
omnipotent Creator. Consequently "religion" has become a convenience for
surplus time; a panacea for all troubles; a license to demand the fulfillment
of Self's desires. Instead of a faith that brings us to our knees we have
created gods that neatly fit into our understanding, support our Cause,
give us the perfect experience, serve comfort, assure success, and legitimize
national decay! In no way does such an idolatrous faith bring us to the
humility and reverence and awe expected by the biblical god!
III. As we survey the current religious practices and observe the shocking absence of awe for the Almighty, we are perplexed. Observe modern worshiping assemblies: "You may find much good, such a vibrant fellowship or inspirational teaching or emotional music, but too much of it happens on the horizontal plane, with only a courteous nod toward the vertical ... The purpose of the whole enterprise, it seems, is to guarantee that everyone feel comfortable and entertained" (DMc, 110). How can we recover what has been lost? How can we restore reverence?
The good news -- The situation is not as hopeless as it appears! That awe which previously existed can be restored. Two critical points will help us restore the reverence and awe for our Holy God:
1. A process of repentance which calls us back to reverence.Body:
There is only one way by which the lost awe/reverence
can be restored -- only through repentance! To "repent" means to turn from
one way (practice) and toward another (cf Ac 3:19; 2 Co 7:10). Biblical
repentance is an on-going (constant) practice. As we mature in faith we
come to understand sin better and we are expected to turn from this (1
Jn 1:6-10); we develop attitudes that are in conformity to God's Word (Ro
12:1-2; 2 Pt 1:5-11).
I. The process of daily repentance is especially critical if we are to be kept from idolatry! Every day Satan will tempts us to re-design the biblical God so that our lives will be more comfortable, our beliefs will be more acceptable to the world. There is a constant battle and we must practice daily repentance (2 Co 10:5). This is a great challenge -- to let go of the god of our creation and restore reverence to the God of all creation! This requires us to repent of self-centeredness!
The process of repentance that will restore our reverence
has 3 steps:
A. REMEMBER!II. There is a biblical illustration that fits well in this lesson (Ex 19:10-14).
When God reveals Himself, man has no choice but to prepare
himself to meet this majestic God. This preparation will help us to restore
the reverence that our great God deserves. Notice what is involved:
A. Prepare with consecration (19:10).
I. Reverence can definitely be restored! Those who truly repent, re-focus, and follow God's structure find that the lost reverence is restored (Is 57:17-19; Ps 51:12).
II. There is no doubt that there is a great desire to restore reverence by using this three step process. But, how are we to know what true repentance is? How are we to know which focus is the right one? How are we to know which structure is right? The answers to these important questions cannot be found in rituals or cultures. There is an infallible source that gives us assurance that our following the three steps to restoration is right -- the Word of God! God's Word is more important than any other instruction. We look next at how this Word can lead us confidently to a restoration of reverence for the Almighty God!
III. A little boy was asked, "How many gods are there?"
He quickly replied, "Only one!" "How do you know this?" "Because there
is room for only One. God fills the heaven and earth." Let us find comfort
in this simple understanding. There is but ONE true God. Let all cast away
the gods of their imaginations. Let all turn to the one, true God and submit
to His directions in your life. You may not "like" what the God of the
Bible teaches, commands, and condemns, but do you really have another option?
No. There is but ONE true God!
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no
cost to others.