Fighting Idolatry

By Aaron LeDuc,

This weekend, Kevin finished up a 2 part series on "The Absurdity Behind Idolatry" out of Isaiah 44.  If you missed it, you can hear both sermons here:

As we seek to turn from idols and look to greater joy in Christ, Kevin gave us some helpful categories and diagnostic questions to root out idols.  Spend some time this week thinking through these questions and reflecting on how God would have you change.

Idol of comfort: I expect my life to be without hardship
Uncovering the idol of comfort:
Do I get irritated when someone or something changes my plans or agenda?
Do I think I know better than God what I need to be satisfied, secure or fulfilled?  
Am I having a hard time being thankful today because of my circumstances?
Do I find myself worrying that my circumstances will not change?
Would I rather be comfortable than be generous?
Is there a certain home, lifestyle, or car that I must have in order to be happy?
Do I only feel secure financially if I have a certain amount of money in the bank?d
Am I jealous of others who may not be suffering the way I am?  Do I feel that it is not fair?

Idol of man’s approval: I am consumed by what others think of me
Uncovering the idol of man’s approval:
Do I crave the attention of others?  
Am I willing to change who I am to be loved or accepted by others?
Do I get angry when people don’t respect me?
Do I get upset when others get noticed for doing something I have done?
Am I obsessed by the way I look and go to great strides to change my appearance?
Am I jealous of others' spiritual gifts?
Am I afraid of making others upset with me?  Do I try to make everyone happy?

Idol of distraction: I would rather escape, numb, or entertain myself
Uncovering the idol of distraction:
When life is hard and I need a break, where do I turn?
What is most exciting to me in this life?
What sins have I embraced in my life to try to find an escape from reality? 

Isaiah: a Prophet of our Redeeming God

By Jason McConahy,

This past weekend we began our study through the Old Testament book of Isaiah.  It promises to be an amazing journey for us as we see the glory and character of God more clearly, understand His plan of redemption more completely, and see Jesus more fully.  In the sermon, we set the groundwork that is necessary to help us begin our journey.  We discussed how Isaiah (and any Old Testament prophet) has both an immediate context (ancient Israel, specific geography, specific political pressures, etc) and an ultimate context (pointing toward Jesus and the final day of judgment and God’s eternal kingdom).  Both of these contexts are necessary if we are going to understand and apply the book of Isaiah to our lives.  

Interpreting and Applying Isaiah

We spoke about the path of interpretation and application that we must travel as we study this book:  from (1) the biblical text, to (2) ancient Israel which was the immediate context, then (3) through Jesus who is the ultimate context, and finally (4) down to our lives as those who have trusted in Christ.  The following graphics (compliments of the Simeon Trust) illustrate this path, as well as the dangers of taking any shortcuts.

Dangerous Shortcuts...

  • If we go only from the text to Ancient Israel, then our study will be merely academic and focused on learning details about the original audience.
  • If we go from Ancient Israel and apply the message straight to us, then we will end up with a moralistic study the simply emphasizes sin, obedience, and judgment with the basic message being “don’t be like the Israelites”.
  • If we go from the text straight to Jesus (ignoring the immediate context) then we will end up with an overly-spiritualized study assuming that every concept and idea somehow points to Jesus.

For next week we will cover Isaiah 1:1-20 if you want to read ahead.  God has great things in store as we begin this journey together!

-Jason