This We Know: Guard Yourself From Idols

What is the greatest threat to your spiritual life? Worship. The human heart is an idol factory and we are incredibly prone to be lead away from God by worshipping idols. This week we close out the 1 John series by examining what idols are, why we should guard ourselves from them, and how to actually do that so that we don’t lose the joy that only God can give.

1 John 5:21 Sermon Guide

What is the greatest threat to your spiritual life? Idol worship. The human heart is an idol factory and we are incredibly prone to be led away from God by worshiping idols. This week we close out the 1 John series by examining what idols are, why we should guard ourselves from them, and how to guard against them, in order to preserve the fullness of fellowship and joy that only God can offer.

3 Main Questions

  1. What is an idol?
  2. Why should you guard yourself from idols?
  3. How do you guard yourself from idols?

Key Takeaways

  • Idols lead us away from worshiping God, rob us of fellowship with Him and fullness of joy from Him, and undermines our witness as professing Christians.
  • As 1 John 5:20 exclusively testifies, Jesus Christ is the one true God. Everyone else and everything else is a false god.
  • “The human heart is an idol factory.” John Calvin
  • Idolatry Diagnostic Questions:
    • What do you value most?
    • What do you think about most?
    • What do you fear most?
    • Where do you find your purpose?
    • Where do you find your identity?
    • Where do you find your security?
    • What are you most passionate about?
    • What gives you anxiety?
    • What makes you angry, bitter, or jealous?
    • What makes you feel empty?
    • Where do you spend your time, talents, and treasures?
  • Our idols can be the worship of something created by God or a lust/desire of our sinful hearts. Martyn Lloyd Jones defines an idol as, “anything that holds a controlling influence in my life.” Similarly, Tim Keller characterizes idolatry as “anything so central that you do not believe you could have a meaningful life without it.”
  • As Tyler suggests, “An idol can be a good thing that we turn into a god thing and so it becomes a bad thing.”
  • Though the external manifestations of idolatry may differ from person to person, the root of all idolatry is the same – the worship of self.
  • The worship of idols is the greatest threat to your spiritual life. Idolatry takes you away from God and what only He can provide. Idols always overpromise and under deliver.
  • Everyone that looks to the created for satisfaction will always be unsatisfied, but those who look to the Creator will always be satisfied. You guard yourself from idols by turning to the true and living God.
  • The blueprint for fighting idolatry is spelled F-R-E-E:
    • Find your idols
    • Recognize how they fall short
    • Examine how God satisfies
    • Enter back into fellowship with God
  • Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our idol worship. Jesus Christ gives you the power to turn from idol worship. Jesus Christ has made provision for you to be fully satisfied through worshiping the living and true God.

Discussion Questions / Application

Personally, follow the steps of Tyler’s F-R-E-E model listed above for fighting idolary.

  • What are the idols you are prone to worship instead of the one true God?
  • What has idolatry cost you in the past and present?
  • How does God alone truly satisfy? What stories and passages of the Bible testify to this truth?
  • Enter back into fellowship with God through prayer and repentance!

Discuss with your community group:

  • Share your idols with your CG and humbly ask for their help to identify potential idols in your life.
  • Discuss how your group can grow in fighting against idolatry to more faithfully worship    the one true God. Pray for one another.

Passages Referenced

Romans 1:20-25, 1 John 5;18-20, John 4:13-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10