Creflo Dollar - Understanding Modern Day Idolatry - Part 2
Look at this in the New Living Translation, Jeremiah 16:19 through 21. Jeremiah 16:19 through 21, and look at the warning where God gives us to just stay away from this. He says, "Lord, you are my strength and fortress, you're my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, 'Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage, for they worshiped worthless idols.'" I've never seen any nation like our nation where we worship Hollywood like people in this nation do. I mean actors can hardly do no wrong. And if they do, just make a good movie and it's all over. He says, "Can people make their own gods? These are not real gods at all"! Wow, "The Lord says, 'Now I will show them my power; now I will show them my might. At last they will know and understand that I am the Lord.'"
You gotta understand God's a jealous God. When you proceed to try to crown something else as God, God is determined to let you know he the only one. God is determined to let you know, "Oh, you think that's your God? Oh, I'm gonna show you that I am the Lord". And that's what a lot of people looking at. They look at things that happened in their life because some people have crowned themselves as God. "I'm my own God". God said, "Oh, you really believe that? I'm gonna show you who the Lord". That boy will be knocked down so deep in a ditch he'll have no choice but to scream out, "God, help me. God, help me". That's where we are today. That's what we see throughout the entire nation today and the entire world.
Look at Exodus chapter 34:14 through 17 in the NLT. Exodus chapter 34:14 through 17 in the New Living Translation. Check this out. The Lord says, yeah, 14: "You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you". Lord have mercy. God is jealous about his relationship with you. Don't you know God is concerned when you start getting something and giving it greater value and he know that that thing didn't make you. That thing didn't wake you up this morning. That thing didn't start you on your way. That thing didn't heal you. That thing didn't take good care of your provision, and you trying to make it God? He says, "I'm a jealous God. I did all of that, and I need to hear you give me the glory and the praise for what I did". He said, "You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them".
Next verse. He says, "Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods". Hear God's warning? He says, "Watch out how you relate with people who say something is God and it's not me". He says, "You're gonna get in relationship with 'em, you're gon' marry them, you're gonna have sons with 'em, and what's happening? You're gonna begin to build up a group of people who no longer receive me as God". "You must not make any gods of molten metal for yourselves". This is the same attitude in the Old Testament: do not replace me with anything or anyone. Don't do it. Don't get involved with people who have already replaced me. Don't marry people who already have replaced me.
See, we just threw that out. At one time, we knew that we should not be unequally yoked. There are so many things that the world who has made their own God has now have influence on the church and now you doing the same thing. You born again and marrying somebody that don't know God. And wondering why it ain't working. Because your marriage relationship, one of y'all value something else more than you value God and then you value God more than you value anything else but when it comes together, it ain't working. It's not working. It's amazing to me how much idolatry the church has allowed to infiltrate its thinking. By looking at television and it told you the wrong vision. By looking at social media and taking it, you know, as if it's the most important thing in the whole world. You don't even realize the slander and the lies and the stuff that it does there and that's become some people idol.
You remember, oh, I'm put '80s, I dunno. And in the bathroom we used to have a magazine rack. And you used to go in there and, you know, and do your business and reading a "B" magazine or read your Bible. My grandma used to say, "Read your Bible, it'll come out right. Read your Bible," you know? But now, just notice and everybody get caught up with this. Now you wake up, the first thing you do is grab your phone. Wondering if that's one of those modern-day idols. Look at this, man. This is serious stuff. C'mon, Jeremiah chapter 51:17 through 19 in the New Living Translation. Jeremiah 51:17 through 19 in the New Living Translation. He says, "The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge"! He says, "The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud". 18: "These idols have no breath or power". They have no breath or power. "Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies".
That's true today. When you replace God, you replace him with a lie 'cause it's a lie to think that you can replace him. It's a lie to think that you can put whatever you put in God's place. That's a lie. You put a lie in God's place. It's full of lies. "On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven's Armies is his name"! Look at the attitude even in the old covenant which, again, gives us insight on a world that's filled with idolatry. And then Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 19. Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 19, and here's what I was saying to you earlier. When you look at your life, has money replaced God? I mean, for some people money motivates you to do God's will quicker than God. It's definitely an idol.
People don't believe in servanthood like they used to. Servanthood with selfish ending is hypocrisy. But people don't believe in servanthood no more. They've turned everything about church and servanthood into mammon-driven ministry, and that's not how it's supposed to be. We've replaced God with something else and look what he says here, Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 19. "And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and if you walk after other gods, and you serve them, and you worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish". Now when I read that Scripture, here's what the Lord said to me: "You perish without God". Isn't that the truth? You perish without God. You lose without God. Your life is in the midst of destruction without God. And maybe life has to teach some people this 'cause they don't believe it right now.
I think about the amount of years that a person wastes by not listening to God. Life just kind of goes by because you spend all this time trying to prove to yourself that something's greater than God. I don't want that to be you, World Changers. I want you to just wake up and shake your head and say, "There's nothing greater than God". Because without him, you perish. "Well, such-and-so, such-and-so, he a Christian. They didn't perish". You don't know. You don't live with them. That's the thing you gotta understand. You don't know, you don't live with 'em. You don't know when, you don't know where. You don't know, you don't live with them. They could be miserable. I have met some of the phoniest people ever that can get in the pulpit and make everything look like it's flawless and they're miserable. Miserable, miserable, miserable. And it shocks me sometime, 'cause they get in the pulpit and I know they don't like each other and they get up, "Good morning, sweetheart. How are you"? "Well, praise the Lord, amigo". And I'm like, "What in the world"?
Man, Taff and I, we ain't even built like that. We can't do phony. Listen, if Taff mad at me, you gonna know it. I get up, "Hey, Taff. How you doing"? Wow, the church has perfected phoniness to preserve the image that has taken God's out of first place. And now their image is more important than their God. Now, their image is what they seek after. And I'm telling you if you've ever looked at the world lately and asked, "What's going on," this is what's happening right now. God is being replaced with someone or something. He's being replaced and it must not be so with us who are the people of God. And we gotta be like the apostle John. We gotta scream it out loud. Every time something good happen, we gotta say, "That's my God," until everybody at work know. "Oh, they know God. Back up a little bit". "Well, how you doing today"? "Well, this is the day the Lord hath made, I thought you knew". But we have got to, listen, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God. I will not diminish my call for the sake of my image.
Y'all don't understand what I'm just saying. Listen, I've been called to be a preacher, but I know people who have been called to do something. They diminish their call because they didn't see it as important enough. They diminish their call for the sake of their image and instead of saying they're a preacher or a pastor, they say, "I'm a motivational speaker," 'cause that sounds better. Don't diminish your anointing for your image, because one day, people are gonna look at you and they're gonna wish they had your anointing. They're gonna wish they had your God. Don't replace God with something or someone else. Flee from idolatry, amen.
Now, let's get in this with the time we have left. Let's look at some modern-day idols, some modern-day idols. The first one I wanna look at is what we just mentioned. I wanna look at how people have turned their identity into an idol. Your identity, or image, how they turned it into an idol. Now, having good identity and having good self-image, there's nothing wrong with that until you put more value on it than God. You see, when you don't trust God to be your provider, you will steal. When you don't trust God with who God made you, you'll go and try to get remade with some kind of surgery or something. You following this? When you don't trust what God said about two coming together and being one, you're gonna look for somebody else. We place more value in who we are, rather than placing value in God, and in who he has said we are.
So I place more value in my identity and trying to get it where other people will accept it. We place more value in who we are and there's nothing wrong with that until you place more value in who you are and little to no value in who God says we are. So I'm not looking at who I am, or who people think I am, or what folks say about me. I'm looking at what God has said about me. God said I'm the righteousness of God. I place value on what God says. God says I'm righteous. God says I'm redeemed. See, you gotta be careful not to allow the shame of other people to cause you to look at yourself based on how they look at you. This entire nation is filled with shaming. You hear the phrase, "You should be ashamed of yourself". And it becomes very difficult for you to stay focused on the identity that God has given you versus the identity that somebody else is trying to give you.
You know, the church is still trying to give us the identity that we're sinners. I'm born again, I am no longer a sinner. I am not gonna take that identity 'cause Bishop or Archbishop such-and-so said that. I am the righteousness of God the day I got born again, the day I made Jesus the Lord of my life. I am righteous. "Well, if you was righteous, you wouldn't have did that". I am righteous anyway. Now that was a stupid thing but because I believe I'm righteous, eventually my behavior's gonna line up with who I am. But if I start believing who you say I am, then I might actually start acting like that. So I value the identity that God has given me and I will not be pressured into accepting an identity that didn't come from God. I'm not gonna be shamed into accepting an identity that doesn't come from God. I'm not gonna be condemned into accepting an identity that come from God, and then I replace my righteous identity with this shameful identity. I'm not gonna do it. And you know what? It take a mature Christian to do this.
Taff and I were talking about this yesterday. Maturity is based solely on who you've decided will be your source. That's what maturity is. Maturity says no matter what's going on in my life, I reach for Jesus every time. Immaturity is when you've made something else your source or yourself your source. When something happens you don't go for Jesus. When so-and-so happens, you don't reach for him. He's my source. That's a mature Christian. You're not mature 'cause you've been saved a long time. You're not mature because you can pretend to be spiritually mature because every time you get around somebody you act, you know, kind of a fake spiritual, you know, "Hey, brother, how are you? Oh, hallelujah". That don't do nothing to me. I don't care how you act at church and I don't care all that little jerking around you, that do nothing for me. I wanna know when hell breaks out in your life, who do you reach for? You reach for him when you're broke, busted, and disgusted. You reach for him when they diagnose you with a disease. You reach for him when you've been hurt, when you've been broken.
That's the sign of the mature Christian, not this little religious pray church stuff we get around and, you know, I'm getting to the point where I can't stand that. So I tell you what happened to me in the middle of the pandemic. I can't stand a bunch of phony Now, ask the Holy Ghost what I said with your deep self. No, no, no, not that you don't have problems, not that you don't have issues, not that you don't stand in bad circumstances, but when you do, you reach for him as your source. You reach for him as your source. "Lord, I shouldn't have said what I said. Help me, Lord". You reach for him. "Lord, I don't know where the money coming from but I trust you, Lord. I ain't got but two pennies but I'm gonna sure sow these two pennies. I reach for you, God. I reach for you. Lord, my marriage is a wreck but I gotta go to you. Show me myself. I reach for you, Jesus. Lord, I'm depressed, but I don't wanna tell no Christian", 'cause you tell Christians that you're struggling with depression, then they're gonna condemn you. If you tell Christians that you're having a rough time mentally, they're gonna condemn you.
But I'm telling you, it's all right that you go through what you go through because you have a God that sits high and looks low and he's ready to bring you up out of your situation. Who do you go to? That determines your maturity. That determines your maturity, not how much of the Bible you know. "Well, I know all 66 books". Man, hush. I know all 66 books, praise the Lord, hallelujah. Oh, thank you, Lord. I operate in nine spiritual gifts, a la, la, la, la. See, I can see stuff right now. I'm ain't nobody. See, you are spooky. Something the matter with you. You actually, probably have replaced God with yourself. Heh, keylaboo yabba dabba do. Ah-uh, no, no, no. That's the sign of maturity, that we go to God. "God, help me not to hurt myself. Lord, help me to refrain my tongue from speaking guile and slander and make sure that I don't speak evil against somebody".
You know, that's serious right here, see. The Bible says if you wanna see good days and live a long life, refrain your tongue from speaking evil and for speaking deceit and lies. I wanna see good days. I'm off the subject a little bit but I wanna see good days. And I wanna live a long time, which means I am not gonna be opening my mouth and speaking stuff that don't need to come out my mouth. Somebody told me about what somebody was going through the other day and I said, "O God bless him. In the name of Jesus, bless him". Well, what did he do? Well, how did he do it? O Lord, bless him, 'cause I wanna see good days and I wanna live a long time. See good days. Glory be to God. Glory be to God. At home, wherever you are right now, lift your hands up, just give God some praise right now. Lord, I give you praise. Just praise him right now. Just praise and say, "Lord, you're gonna always be my number one. I just praise you, right now, Lord. I just praise you right now. You're gonna always be my number one. Praise the Lord".
You see, the search for meaning, the search for value, and the search for validation from others, makes you if you get it, but it breaks you if you don't. Yeah, when somebody validates you and values you and shows you meaning, oh, it makes you but it breaks you when you don't. See, disappointment comes when you expect something and you don't get it, then you're disappointed. And there are too many people that are putting their identity on the line. Are you serious? You're trusting the comment section of social media? Are you kidding me? You don't even know these people. You can get 20 good comments and just that one will mess you with the whole time. You're ready to fight for that one. "Meet me down the street. I bet you won't meet me down the street. You're bad behind that comment section but come on down the street".
You take a picture of yourself thinking you look good and somebody's gonna says something nasty about you, how you look and everything. It start messing with you. Why would you do that? Why would you let 'em mess with you? "Well, Pastor, you against social"... I'm not against social media. I ain't got it on my phone so I don't have it on my phone 'cause I don't know what somebody saying about me. Why would I wanna sit there and look at my phone to see what people said about me and then I carry it all day? That's so dumb. I ain't doing that. And I don't want nobody else coming to me tonight, "Do you know what I saw on social media about you"? I don't care. I ain't got it on my phone. I didn't hire you to give me no report. Keep it to yourself. 'Cause I've already decided that I value my identity in God more than anything else. Are you listening to me?
And then what happens, you are willing to serve anything but God for reputation's sake. Willing to serve and do anything but God, won't serve him, because your reputation. And the series I just finished on servanthood, Jesus was of no reputation. He took on the form of a servant and he was of no reputation. You can't take on the form of a servant and be concerned about your reputation. You can't, you can't. God is the one that I trust. Look at this Scripture here, 2 Peter chapter 2:18 through 19 in the New Living Translation. I've never met so many people that are so concerned about what people think about them. So concerned about your image. I know leaders who are more concerned about their image than they are the people they serve.