Ezekiel 47: 1-5
“Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side. When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.”
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This is the fifth session in the series on ‘God Measures Our Faith‘.
In the last session I gave you the general ideas about sins depriving salvation and sins leading to death.
The Bible in general tells us that works of the flesh are the sins that deprive or take away salvation.
But not all works of the flesh are sins depriving of salvation.
Once again, works of the flesh can be categorized into three kinds.
They are: first, relatively lighter works of the flesh, second works of the flesh depriving of salvation, and third works of the flesh leading to death.
From today, let us delve into the sins depriving of salvation mentioned in the Bible.
Of course, I believe none of you will think as follows: “This sin is not a work of the flesh that will deprive me of my salvation so I don’t have to cast it away immediately.”
As I mentioned in the last session, although they are not sins by which you cannot receive your salvation, if you keep on committing them they may deprive you of salvation.
I gave you an example of a husband who habitually hits her wife for many decades.
He listens to the word of the truth again and again, and yet he does not cast away work of the flesh. It proves that he has not circumcised his heart.
Such a person cannot be considered a child of God who has faith.
Therefore, I urge you in the name of the Lord that you will hate and be wary about all sins, whether they are small, big, light or heavy. I also urge you to cast away sinful natures in your heart quickly.
Brothers and sisters,
The Old Testament says that certain sinners are to be ‘put to death’ and are to be ‘cut off from among the people of God’. These are the sins that deprive of salvation.
In the New Testament, it says, “they will not enter the kingdom of heaven” or “they will not inherit the kingdom of God.” These sins are also the sins depriving of salvation.
Let us talk about these sins one by one. First, it is idolatry.
Prohibition of idolatry is the first commandment of the Ten Commandments given by God.
In Exodus 20:3, God commands of us, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
In Deuteronomy 17:2-5, it says that those who worshiped other gods did an abomination, and the people had to bring them outside the city and stone them to death.
In Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we can find prohibition and warnings against idolatry.
God says they would perish and be cursed if they worshiped idols. God warned them time and again.
Nevertheless, we can see in the history that the sons of Israel repeatedly worshiped idols.
As retribution, they had wars, famine, diseases, and finally, the whole country was destroyed.
The first case of idolatry after the Exodus took place during the time that Moses went up to Mount Sinai to communicate with God.
When Moses’ return was delayed, the people would not wait just a little while longer. They made the image of a golden calf and worshiped it.
God was enraged, and He wanted to destroy all of them.
But, Moses interceded for them putting up his own life saying, “…forgive their sin, and if not please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”
Through his intercession Israel avoided being destroyed completely, but in the latter part of Exodus 32:34, God told them that there would be retribution saying, “…nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
In Numbers chapter 25, many Israelites bowed before idol even after this incident.
The people were tempted by the Moabite women, worshiping their gods and committing adultery with them.
So, God said, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them,” and a total of 24,000 people including the Moabite women died by the plague.
We can see that idolatry is a sin depriving of salvation in the New Testament, too.
1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10 mentions idolatry as a sin that deprives us of inheriting the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:5 says, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
Revelation 21:8 also includes idol worshipers among those who will participate in the second death, those who will fall into the lake of fire or sulfur.
Dear brothers and sisters, now, what specific things did God forbid in idolatry?
First, He forbade making an image and worshiping it.
Exodus 20:4-5 says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
In Deuteronomy 4:16-19, God explains about this in more detail through Moses, giving a warning for people.
It says, “So that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
Men, animals, the sun and the moon and the stars are all things created by God the Creator.
If we do not worship God the Creator but these things He created, how ridiculous it is!
But many people foolishly make images of creatures, such as men or animals and worship them.
They carve the rocks or mold metal to make idols and worship them as their gods.
Such a thing does not happen only in other religions.
There are some people who say they believe in the Lord Jesus but make the images of the patriarchs and worship them.
They even paint or carve an image of the Lord and worship it.
There are of course, paintings or images that are made as remembrances of a certain event in the Bible or to let the hearers of the gospel understand better.
But there are other cases where they make images or paint people to worship the biblical figures as gods, or believing that the image itself has some mysterious power to wash away sins or give them blessings.
But the clear fact is that the painting or the image itself has no meaning at all.
The one we worship is God the Father and the Lord who are in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
In this world there is no painting or image that can show the image of God or the Lord correctly.
In Deuteronomy 4:15, Moses warned the sons of Israel as follows:
“So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire,”
Namely, He warned them that they must not make and worship any image of God.
Our God cannot be displayed by men, by molding or carving an image.
How can the great God be shown through just an image of this world?
This God is surely alive, but many people make visible images and worship them as gods.
Romans 1:22-23 says, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
I earnestly hope not just unbelievers but all Christians around the world will understand the will of God clearly.
Brothers and sisters, secondly, God prohibits coming in contact with evil spirits or demons.
Leviticus 20:27 says, “Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says, “…one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD;”
Also, 1 Corinthians 10:20 says, “No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.”
As stated, contacting evil spirits or demons other than God, or imitating such an act is all idolatry.
They are sins depriving of salvation.
Sometimes, even after accepting the Lord, some people worship their ancestors or follow the shamanistic traditions, not knowing the truth very well.
Some of them go to fortune-tellers to get their readings or they put lucky charms, amulets, or paintings in their houses.
Or, some people read the horoscopes or fortune telling in magazines or newspapers thinking it is just for fun.
But whether big or small, this is an act of idolatry.
Of course, I am not saying you will not be saved just because you do these things a couple of times when you are still a new believer and do not know the truth.
Knowing the truth, however, if you do not cast it away but put one foot on the side of the Lord and the other foot beside idols, you might have a problem receiving salvation.
Also, the enemy devil and Satan will continually bring accusations against you saying that you belong to him and bring about trials and problems in your life.
Let me point out one more thing here. If you are not a new believer who does not know the truth, but a pastor or a worker of the church and if you still worship idols, you cannot receive salvation.
If you know that idolatry is a sin depriving you of salvation and if you still worship idols after tasting the divine grace, this is the sin of crucifying the Lord again to put Him to open shame as in Hebrews chapter 6.
Idolatry is a sin depriving of salvation, but when those who do not know the truth very well or those with weak faith turn from these sins they can be forgiven.
But for those who are supposed to have faith, idolatry can become the sin leading to death and not just the sin that deprives salvation.
They cannot repent or receive salvation.
Therefore, you should be cautious in your worship of the only God, the almighty Creator, and the only Savior the Lord Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, if you read the Bible carefully, or if you have listened to the word of God in this church, you wouldn’t practice such evident idolatry.
Even if you worshiped idols before you knew the Lord, you must have already repented thoroughly, and you would have tried to erase even the traces of it.
But in fact, what the believers should be more careful about is spiritual idolatry.
An idol in spiritual sense is something that you love and cherish more than God.
It is not just an image that is carved by men.
Whatever you love more than God, such as money, fame, authority, family, or pleasure can all become an idol.
For example, if you love money you can never love God.
Jesus said in Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Also, Colossians 3:5 says, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Something that appears to be trivial might also become an idol, so you have to be careful.
Little children or students may worship idols from time to time.
If they love dolls, toys, or cartoon movies more than the Lord and more than worshipping and praying, then it is an idol for them.
In case of students, if they love singers, actors, famous athletes, or computer games more than God, it has become their idol.
We have heard the testimony of Angelica.
The Lord said the reason why many children to go Hell is because of cartoon movies on TV.
Also, He let us know that many popular singers are in Hell, and those who sing their songs can also go to Hell.
In Korea, about those celebrities whom the teenagers love, they call them “idol stars”.
These idols are literally an idol.
Some of the young people do not just love the celebrities, but they worship these people like gods.
They fill their walls with the photos; they memorize all the songs of the singers they like; they follow their concerts everywhere.
They pour all their heart, time, and money into those celebrities.
Grownups, who are supposed to be adults should also be careful.
If you care more for your wealth, fame, children, exercising, or watching sports games, or soap operas, and if you give your heart into those things more than to worship, and pray and work for God, this can also become an idol.
The worldly things are embedded with the thoughts and power of the enemy devil and Satan, the ruler of this world.
The worldly things cause us to love the fleshly world of darkness more than we love God.
Furthermore, they make people think there is no God or even to stand against Him.
Therefore, God’s children must not love the world.
I want you to check whether you have worldly things as idols in your heart without even realizing it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Mark chapter 12, one of the scribes asks Jesus, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Jesus answered him as follows:
Mark 12:29-30 says, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'”
As said, God is the only one LORD, who is our master.
Only the LORD is supposed to rule over us.
We must not allow for any another being to capture our mind and control it.
As Jesus said, to love God with all our heart, mind, strength, and life, is to love God first.
Therefore, to love more and to pour our heart more into something other than God is a great lawlessness in violation of the first commandment, which is the most important of all commandments.
If you worship idols, your heart will gradually go towards the world, and you will begin to accept the worldly things one by one.
If you continually take in the world, which you have to cast off, you will eventually distance yourself from God and you might not be saved.
Of course, I believe you believers here love God the Father and long for New Jerusalem in Heaven, so you have been casting off even spiritual idols.
Even so, I hope you will keep in mind once again as to how meaningless idols are and what kind of tragic outcome idolatry will bring about.
I believe all believers, internet and TV viewers who listened to this message all around the world now have understanding of this will of God.
I hope you will completely demolish all idols in your lives by relying on the word of God.
Drive away not just the idols that are visible but the idols of the heart as well, and love God first.
Even if you still have weak faith, as you make up your mind and pray earnestly, the Lord will help you.
As you become a child of God who is loved by the almighty God, you can enjoy the peace and happiness that idols cannot give you.
You will be able to taste this happiness to the extent that you cast off idols.
After this earthly life is over, you will enter Heaven, the kingdom of God.
I pray in the name of the only Savior, Jesus Christ that you will all enjoy this kind of blessing.