Faithlife Sermons

Counterfeit Gods - Ch 4

Counterfeit Gods  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 5 views

Success is not satisfying - God works through the weak

Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Intro
Group intro -
Scripture
Hear God speak, not self help or opinions
Scripture transforms us
It is the foundation for the other two
Prayer
Us speaking back to God
Acknowledging the truth of scripture
Community
The context that scripture and prayer are effective
Not just socializing - ministering the gospel to each other
Review
Studying Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
The topic is identifying and dealing with idols
It is good, but not required to read through the chapter and make notes and questions
Starting applications - but Keller is layering in lessons that apply to all idols
Last lesson
Everybody is greedy and everybody thinks it is a problem
Why dont things change?
Because it is hard to see in ourselves
Zacchaeus
Betrayed his country for wealth as a tax collector for their enemies
He loved and trusted money, so he had to serve money
He embarrasses himself to seek Jesus and Jesus responds in grace
He responds by not doing the bare minimum of the law, but by imitating the lavish gifts he had been given - He saw Jesus as his treasure
Deep/surface idols
Not simple singular issues, by complex webs
Deep - basic motivation drives
Surface - money, work, spouse - how we seek fulfillment
Makes it harder to recognize and address idols
Intro to lesson
What do we expect from success?
Madonna
I have an iron will, and all of my will has always been to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy.… I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being and then I get to another stage and think I’m mediocre and uninteresting.… Again and again. My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that’s always pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become Somebody, I still have to prove that I’m Somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will.” - Madonna
Group intro - Acts 2:42
Scripture
Hear God speak, not self help or opinions
Scripture transforms us
It is the foundation for the other two
Prayer
Us speaking back to God
Acknowledging the truth of scripture
Community
Fear is her drive
The context that scripture and prayer are effective
Not just socializing - ministering the gospel to each other
Review
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 72). New York: Riverhead Books.
Studying Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
There is no making it
The topic is identifying and dealing with idols
It is good, but not required to read through the chapter and make notes and questions
Starting applications - but Keller is layering in lessons that apply to all idols
Last lesson
Imagine Dragons - Whatever it Takes
Whip, whip/Run me like a racehorse/Pull me like a ripcord/Break me down and build me up
Whip, whip Run me like a racehorse Pull me like a ripcord Break me down and build me up
Whatever it takes/'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins/I do whatever it takes/'Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains/Whatever it takes/You take me to the top I'm ready for it/Whatever it takes/'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins/I do what it takes
Whatever it takes 'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins I do whatever it takes 'Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains Whatever it takes You take me to the top I'm ready for Whatever it takes 'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins I do what it takes
Later says “I always had a fear of being typical”
Music video is cool - its raining and the water is rising until they start drowning, but they break through and the set is now on fire
Thoughts
What does our culture say about these kinds of motivations?
What are your impressions hearing these quotes? Is there satisfaction, or exhaustion?
Achievement is the alcohol of our time” - Mary Bell (executive counselor)
Achievement is the alcohol of our time” - Mary Bell (executive counselor)
There is an initial rush of happiness that leads us to believe we have arrived, been included, been accepted, and proved ourselves. However, the satisfaction quickly fades.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 75). New York: Riverhead Books.
Read
Success as an idol
Yourself as an idol
You set yourself up as the ultimate valuable thing - You are supreme
Personal success and achievement lead to a sense ... that our security and value rest in our own wisdom, strength, and performance.
Have you thought of yourself as an idol? What is appealing about being your own god?
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 75). New York: Riverhead Books.
3 signs
False security
The poor are not surprised at difficulties
But successful are shocked and overwhelmed by suffering
You expect your effort & skill can prevent tragedy because of other successes
We are looking to achievement to save us
Inflated view of your abilities
Have you ever known someone who is successful who thinks they are the expert at everything? So annoying, right?
Those who idolize their success often believe that accomplishment in one limited area of life will make you believe you have expertise in all areas.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 76). New York: Riverhead Books.
Our self-confidence is based on being at the top
You are only valuable when you are winning, productive, and successful
He had become addicted in part because of the expectation that he should always be productive, dynamic, upbeat, and brilliant... “My life was built on two premises,” he said. “The first was that I could control your opinion and approval of me through my performance. The second was—that was all that mattered in life.”
Do you cut corners to get ahead? Do you suck life from other parts of your life to be successful in other places? Does failure, even slight failure, cause overreactions?
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 77). New York: Riverhead Books.
Group idolatry
This can be a group idol
Fields
Professions can think so highly of their accomplishments that they present it as cure-all
Keller lists scientists, politicians, etc
Can you give an example of a group overreaching their professional scope?
ex. scientists who think th
Culture
Honor cultures - you are valuable if you fulfill your designated role
Dignity cultures - You develop your identity individually
Honor cultures have their own problems, but it is worth studying the problems of our culture
Keller points out how this opens the door for success idolatry - Modern society, then, puts great pressure on individuals to prove their worth through personal achievement. It is not enough to be a good citizen or family member. You must win, be on top, to show you are one of the best.
This is why you see kids getting pushed to build a resume so early and only going into pre-med majors
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 78). New York: Riverhead Books.
Inner ring syndrome
We all want to be part of the cool kids
“It’s a lust … a longing to be inside, [which] takes many forms.… You want … the delicious knowledge that just we four or five—we are the people who (really) know.… As long as you are governed by that desire you will never be satisfied. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.…” - C.S. Lewis
“It’s a lust … a longing to be inside, [which] takes many forms.… You want … the delicious knowledge that just we four or five—we are the people who (really) know.… As long as you are governed by that desire you will never be satisfied. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.…” - C.S. Lewis
We often use success to meet that need, to overcome our feeling of being outsiders
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 81). New York: Riverhead Books.
Finally, they think, they will be accepted by all the people who really matter
This happens in ministry - Rachel senior speech
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 82). New York: Riverhead Books.
Naaman
Intro
He was very successful
He was a mighty man of valor as a solider
He had risen to be the commander of the army
The king considered him a great man and in high favor. The king leaned on his arm.
It had given him everything (almost)
The king considered him a great man and in high favor. The king leaned on his arm
He had influence, prestige, approval, and wealth
But none of it mattered because he had leprosy
Leprosy was highly contagious, it made you repulsive, and would kill you
It struck fear like cancer
He was by definition quarantined as an outsider
He was by definition quarantined as an outsider
Looking in the wrong places
Looking in the wrong places
He hears about a prophet who could cure him
So he goes to the king of Israel
Brings what he thinks will get him what he wants
Money - $3M+
Clothing - This was a big deal back then
Letter of recommendation from a king
Goes to the most successful and important man
Israelite king thinks this is just a rival trying to pick a fight because he knows God is not on a leash
He thought he could use his success to deal with his problems... He pulls strings, drops names, spends a lot of money, and goes to the top. This is the way you deal with all important human beings, so why not deal with God this way? But the God of the Bible is not like that. Naaman is after a tame God, but this is a wild God… The gods of religion can be controlled. If we offer them hard work and devotion, then they are beholden to us... Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but this is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt.
He thought he could use his success to deal with his problems... He pulls strings, drops names, spends a lot of money, and goes to the top. This is the way you deal with all important human beings, so why not deal with God this way? But the God of the Bible is not like that. Naaman is after a tame God, but this is a wild God. Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but this is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt. Naaman is after a private God, a God for you and you but not a God for everybody, but this God is the God of everyone, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 83). New York: Riverhead Books. He pulls strings, drops names, spends a lot of money, and goes to the top. This is the way you deal with all important human beings, so why not deal with God this way? But the God of the Bible is not like that. Naaman is after a tame God, but this is a wild God. Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but this is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt. Naaman is after a private God, a God for you and you but not a God for everybody, but this God is the God of everyone, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (pp. 84–85). New York: Riverhead Books.. Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but this is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 85). New York: Riverhead Books.
Elisha
The prophet tells the king to send Naaman to him
When Naaman gets there, he gets two surprises
Elisha doesnt answer but sends a message through a servant
A very rude response to an important person
They were much more class conscious than we are, so a servant would have been an insult
Told that all he has to do is wash in a river
He wanted to pay for his healing - either in money or by accomplishing some great thing
But this was an easy task
Again, Naaman’s entire worldview was being challenged. ... he was being confronted with a God who in his dealings with human beings only operates on the basis of grace... No one can control the true God because no one can earn, merit, or achieve their own blessing and salvation. Naaman was angry because he thought he was going to be asked to do a mighty thing, as it were; to bring back the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, or to return the Ring of Power to Mount Doom. Those would have been requests in keeping with his self-image and worldview. But Elisha’s message was an insult.
Washing himself in the river meant admitting he could save himself - he was helpless and weak.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (pp. 87–88). New York: Riverhead Books.
Where do we let our success idols block our view of God’s grace?
The success of suffering
All grace means someone else had to pay the price
Slave girl
She had been kidnapped and enslaved, probably abused with no way out
Naaman was the man who caused this to happen - his success was built off of her suffering
She could have let him pay for his sins, but she instead pointed him to grace
This meant she had to bear this suffering without seeing justice - it was costly to her
Idolatry of success and dealing with failure
Failure devastates those who idolize achievement
If we set our hearts on getting to the top, but instead find ourselves on the bottom rung of the ladder, it will usually lead to great cynicism and bitterness. We will desperately look around for people to blame for our failures. We might even indulge in fantasies of revenge.
How do you handle failure?
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 90). New York: Riverhead Books.
Jesus
He was the ultimate suffering servant
All during his ministry, the disciples continually asked Jesus, “When are you going to take power? When are you going to stop fraternizing with simple people? When are you going to start networking and raising money? When will you run for office? When’s the first primary? When’s our first TV special?” Instead, Jesus served humbly and then was tortured and killed.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 95). New York: Riverhead Books.
He was seen as a failed revolutionary
He had “king of the Jews” placed over his cross to show his failure
He was outcast and his friend forsook him
He gave up everything to bear our punishment
How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing “some great thing” in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning? Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do “some great thing.” We don’t have to do it, because Jesus has. That’s why we can “just wash.” Jesus did it all for us, and he loves us—that is how we know our existence is justified. When we believe in what he accomplished for us with our minds, and when we are moved by what he did for us in our hearts, it begins to kill off the addiction, the need for success at all costs.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (pp. 93–94). New York: Riverhead Books.
The paradox of humility
Seeking success is a sure way to arrive at failure
Salvation comes to those who rest, who arent trying to prove themselves
The biblical story of salvation assaults our worship of success at every point. Naaman, to be cured, had to accept a word through a servant girl, and later through a servant of Elisha, and finally other servants of his own
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 94). New York: Riverhead Books.
How are we going to look to Christ for our success? How does it change the way you approach your job? Ministry? Parenting? School?
Related Media
Related Sermons