Faithlife Sermons

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Come To The Lord’s Table
We are in our 2nd week of this 4 week sermon series called “Come To The Lord’s Table” based on the small group study book by Claude King with the same title.
I felt compelled to preach this series as a means of preparation for communion - The Lord’s Supper - Coming to The Lord’s Table.
Before coming the Table, the Apostle Paul implores us in to make certain we are right with God so we will not come casually and irreverently to the table bringing upon ourselves guilt.
In the 1st sermon last week we read in that Jesus condemns us when we quit loving Him with everything we are and have.
He convicts us to remember how far we have backslidden and repent so we can return.
Please find in your Bibles or on your smart device the Book of Genesis chapter 35
Please find in your Bibles or on your smart device the Book of Genesis chapter 35
STAND WITH ME IN HONOR OF GOD AND HIS WORD
PRAYER
Illustration: God, if you will just get me out of this ditch, make sure my back ain’t broke, let me feel my legs again, and fix this busted up arm; I promise, I swear on my life, I will live for you and go where you want me to go and do what you want me to do.
That’s the vow I made 25 years ago after sending my Ford escort off the road, flying in the air landing it 50 feet or more down a steep embankment and myself some 50 yrds away after flying out the back hatchback, landing hand down in ditch, broken arm and at time assumed broken back.
One problem.
I didn’t keep my vow very long before I was backslidden and leaving again my first love - I was 19 then and it wasn’t until I was 24 before I surrendered myself to serving God and went to Bible college.
Here we read in the 1st book of the Bible about a backslidden man who is the manipulative and messed-up Father of the Jewish nation, who some 21 years or better before this time, had cheated Esau his brother and deceived his father Issac into blessing Him, something God had promised would happen without having to do so.
In his time of escape, fear and despair God appears to Jacob in a dream promising to give him the land on which he lay sleeping and to make him into a great nation.
Also, promising to be with Jacob continually.
Jacob awakes saying surely I have been in the House of God, sets up and worships him by making an altar and then vows that if God would provide for him and protect him that he would make God his God for all of life.
He goes off into another land, gets work, gets married, gets kids, gets distant from God - coming back occasionally for worship to God - ironically always after a time of distress - seems to forget God in the good times.
The last occasion, found in when he was afraid at the thought of meeting his brother after years of being estranged.
At that time - ironically Esau appears to be more at peace and right with God than maybe Jacob was.
After settling in Shechem with his family - some of his sons follow in Dad’s footsteps and deceive some of the local leaders, killing them, and taking their possessions - granted those people had defiled their sister - but that does not excuse their actions.
During these years of back and forth with God - we find something that much of these times of distress and calamities could be attributed to - either unknown to Jacob or known and overlooked - maybe even embraced - idol worship.
Look back at - while Jacob was stealing away from or deceiving his Father-in-law, his wife was stealing the family idols.
This household or family idols were possibly small figurines, or statues of deceased ancestors, or images of female deities, either way they were used in worship of what/who was believed could give earthly prosperity and be consulted about the future - something truly only God Almighty could do.
Those who kept idols believed they were responsible for human happiness when worshipped, and misery when forgotten.
- truly only something only God Almighty can ensure.
God calls Jacob to get right with Him again and return to the vow he once made
Now here in our text - We see after more than 2 decades
the vow Jacob made in a great crisis of life remained unperformed.
God reminds him like Jesus does the Ephesian church in - of his neglected duty and once strong devotion
Jacob, even though he vowed a deep devotion to God, had either participated in or allowed worshipping of idols
God calls Jacob to get right with Him again and return to the vow he once made to be devoted to God fully and only.
The journey to Bethel - the house of God - would lead them to Holy ground to worship a holy God
Jacob sensed that he and his family needed spiritual renewal
So, Jacob instructed his family to do 3 things before worshipping the Lord: put away foreign gods, purify themselves and put on clean garments
So, 1st before he could take himself and his family back he had to “clean house”
Jacob - is convicted about the idols of the household and tells them they got to leave them behind before going to the altar and to the table of the Lord.
Jacob - is convicted about the idols of the household and tells them they got to leave them behind before going to the altar and to the table of the Lord.
As we approach our time of Communion we must get right with God so we will not come to the Lord’s table with an unholy indifference to what the bread and cup represent.
Jacob’s story here teaches us
Before We Can Get Right Some Things Gotta Get Left
We may have idols that stand between us and returning to God and remembering Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary.
Sometimes in order to return to the first love of our heart, Jesus; we must remove some things from our heart, idols.
Some of you may be saying, “Wait a minute preacher, I don’t have little figurines hiding in my home.”
How many of you know that an idol doesn’t have to be a graven image to be an idol.
When those of us familiar with the Bible hear the word idol we often default to the OT image of idols.
Frequent listing of sins in the NT includes idolatry (; ; ; ; ; )[1]
The Bible understands that idolatry extends beyond the worship of images and false gods.
It is a matter of the heart, associated with pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony (), and a love for possessions ().
[1] Spender, R. D. (1996).
Idol, Idolatry.
In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp.
364–365).
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
[1] Spender, R. D. (1996).
Idol, Idolatry.
In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp.
364–365).
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
We may have idols we are hiding in our hearts and homes either intentionally or ignorantly.
Anything that takes the place of your first love for God can be a false god or an idol of the heart.
Leaving your first love for God by turning to an idol of the heart can be a serious matter.
Idolatry is a major theme of the Bible.
It challenges God’s sovereignty and attempts to offer an alternate explanation to the issues of life.
Theologically the reason for prohibiting idols is that God is unique and un-representable.
How many of you know that you don’t need to be absent from church on a regular basis to be a backslidden Christian?
How many of you know that you don’t need to be absent from church on a regular basis to be a backslidden Christian?
I was in church at Blanton Baptist almost every Sunday morning between 19 and 24 after having been at the bars - one a block down the road on Saturday night.
At that one I would park my recognizable truck in backed in the dark spot beside the building.
To be a backslidden Christian all you need is to be secretly hiding an idol in your heart, or worse openly worshipping an idol.
God loves us too much to let us love Him too little and to let us love false gods at all.
What are some of the false idols we may be hiding in our hearts, homes and the spiritual house of God - church.
idol of politics
When Christians and churches promote a party or policies or a politician over Jesus politics has become and idol.
idols of people and preachers
Illustration: Many years ago, Thomas K. Beecher once substituted for his famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, at the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York.
Many curiosity seekers had come to hear the renowned Henry Beecher speak.
Therefore, when Thomas Beecher appeared in the pulpit instead, some people got up and started for the doors.
Sensing that they were disappointed because he was substituting for his brother, Thomas raised his hand for silence and announced, “All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may withdraw from the church; all who came to worship God may remain.”
The example of godly leaders is helpful, but only the Savior is worthy of our worship and devotion.
1506[1]
[1] Michael P. Green.
(2000).
1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (pp.
407–408).
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Preachers are not the only people often put up on a pedestal over Jesus.
Churches can be guilty of exalting prominent members over Jesus.
When churches do this they talk more about the servant and what they did than about the savior who blessed the people to do it.
Anytime that is done it is sinful and that idol must be removed.
idols of places (a companion of this idol is)
idol of playing
Neither of these should take the place of Gathering to Rejoice in Jesus.
idols of pornography (the well hidden idol)
illustration: At first he thought the guilt was just a leftover from his fundamentalist upbringing.
But he noticed he didn’t feel bad about other post-fundamentalist behaviors, such as drinking wine or going to the movies.
Just porn.
I suggested that this feeling might be the prodding of the Spirit.
“Why don’t you just give up porn?”
“I’ve thought about that,” he replied.
“If God does want me to give it up, I know it’s because that’s ultimately good for me.
Yet the thought of giving up porn cold turkey is one of the most frightening things I can imagine right now.
And I don’t know why.”
—Mark Galli, Jesus Mean and Wild (Baker, 2006)[1]
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