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Counterfeit Gods - Ch 5

Counterfeit Gods  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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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
Intro to lesson
Is it good to love your country and your people? What benefits does it have?
The Nazis pursued this in a way that was demonic and destructive
Is justice and equality good? What benefits does it have?
The French Revolution was founded on these principals, yet it was widely recognized as so unjust that it was called the Reign of Terror
What happened? Idolatry. When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods.
How can power & politics become an idol?
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 98). New York: Riverhead Books.
Political leaders as messiahs
Political policies as saving doctrine
Political activism into a kind of religion
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Power as an idol
Signs of power idolatry
Fear
We are dependent on an idol to such an extent that any attack on it is a personal attack on us
Any threat is not an inconvenience, but potentially something that will make life come crashing down
Rather than being disappointed, we panic - ‘This is the end! There’s no hope!’
This leads to extreme reactions
Look at the losing side of an election
This country is going to destroy itself! I am moving to Canada!
This was written ten years ago
When their political leaders are out of power, they experience a death. They believe that if their policies and people are not in power, everything will fall apart.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 99). New York: Riverhead Books.
Demonizing opponents
Opponents are not considered to be simply mistaken, but to be evil
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 99). New York: Riverhead Books.
Nearly all of the past election was placed in combative terms
This creation is not the root problem
The main problem in life is sin, and the only solution is God and his grace. The alternative to this view is to identify something besides sin as the main problem with the world and something besides God as the main remedy. That demonizes something that is not completely bad, and makes an idol out of something that cannot be the ultimate good.
We look to part of creation as either villain or the savior
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 100). New York: Riverhead Books.
This is problem with this demonization - we look to liberals, or conservatives, or the 1%, or socialists, or the NRA, or environmentalists as the problem instead of root of sin in all of us
Root of power idolatry
The problem is that each of us feels insecure and wants to assert power to prove they are in control
The first sin was to breaking our trust in God’s goodness and seeking to be as God, knowing good and evil. This is seeking to be independent, to define right and wrong ourselves, taking power over our own destiny.
Keller says that it is now part of all our natures. Rather than accept our finitude and dependence on God, we desperately seek ways to assure ourselves that we still have power over our own lives. But this is an illusion.
Do you think of the first sin this way? Do you think of your sin as seeking to separate yourself as an independent person from God?
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 101). New York: Riverhead Books.
More follow up
Philosophy
Social idols
Intro to concept
Patriotism
Ideology
Nebuchadnezzar's First Dream
He was the most powerful person on earth at that time
He had conquered legendary kingdoms - Egypt and Assyria and built an empire.
The entire world was dependent on him for peace, security, economic needs, even down to putting food on the table
He had built a court that centered around him - the book of Daniel is full of stories about the seemingly unlimited power he had (exile, execute groups of people, fiery furnace, etc)
He had a dream that distressed him
Only Daniel could interpret it
i.e. the king could interpret it or force others to
This was the first assault against his power and pride
There was a statue
Had many parts of different materials which represent the different nations
Represented the authority and power of human cultures
But it was dashed to pieces by a stone cut not by human hands
And it grew into a mountain that filled the earth
Which represented God’s kingdom coming unexpectedly and in an ordinary way
Yet it will cover the whole earth
This dream predicted the future in way that showed God was the true power which should lead to humility. Those in power should see that they have not achieved power but have only been given it by God, and that all human power crumbles in the end.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 114). New York: Riverhead Books.
Power as a personal idol
Insecurity & powerless
Illusion of control
Illusion of control
Nebuchadnezzar's Second Dream
In his own words he was at ease and prospering in my palace.
Dream
There was a great tree representing Nebuchadnezzar
It covered the known world and touched the sky
It was strong and beautiful and had abundant fruit
All the animals depended on it for shelter and food
A great voice announced the tree would be chopped down, but the stump would be left
He would go crazy and live like an animal
This would show Nebuchadnezzar who was in control
till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will
This means that anyone who is successful is simply a recipient of God’s unmerited favor. Even the people at the top of the world’s hierarchy of power, wealth, and influence are really … no better than anyone else
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 120). New York: Riverhead Books.
A year later, Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the deck of his penthouse suite and while looking over the city says Is this not great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?
Nebuchadnezzar was
He had not learned his lesson and still trusted in his power. And he was using it to oppress people.
He was immediately condemned and he was made to go insane
He lived with the animals and he was dirty and not groomed
Resurrection
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