Sermon Notes: The First Commandment – No Other Gods

18 01 2016

Gradually catching up, these are my notes from last Sunday from the sermon on the first commandment:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

John 14 v 6 comes straight from the first commandment: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Our culture is suspicious of exclusive truth claims.

The book and film “Life of Pi” follow a boy who manages to commit to three of the worlds main religions, at different times, but never giving any of them up. He says:
“”Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.”

Only in the west is it deemed arrogant to say that only your religion is correct. To say they’re equal is arrogant itself.

Religious freedom is good, but pluralism takes that to saying that you can’t say yours is true for any religion.

Tolerance and respect are good things, but you need to be able to offer your faith to others.

The government wants to Ofsted church groups – we may be penalised for making truth claims.

This isn’t just an issue in this day and age. The Egyptians were worshipping just about everything, with the Israelites caught in the middle of it all.

God demands the exclusive worship of His people.

We could take this commandment to read that long as God is number 1, then you can still have other gods below Him. But we aren’t to worship any other gods in the presence of God, and we can’t escape His presence!

There are risks of us worshipping all sorts of things, including: wealth, comfort, control, sexuality, power career, family, heath, fitness, leisure, pleasure and food. These can all be good things, but any good thing can be an idol if it pushes God out of the centre.

“He answered, ‘“Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength and with ALL your mind”” – Luke 10 v 27a

Who or what do we love? Do we mean it when we sing “Jesus, we love you”? Try some diagnostic questions:

  • What do we desire most when we are free to roam?
  • Who do I trust? Who do I turn to in times of trouble?

Behind al false gods we serve is the God of self. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” – Oscar Wilde

The solution is to fall in love with God again and again and again. No one else is worthy.

“There is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” – David Foster Wallace

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

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