Creflo Dollar - Understanding Modern Day Idolatry - Part 4
Matthew chapter 6, verse 24 through 23... I mean, 24 through 33. Let's read it. I want to show you the whole thing. Matthew 6:24 through 33. Now remember here's how you stay out of idolatry. Always allow God to be first, foremost, greatest value, and treasured above everything and allow him to be the one to meet your needs and your wants, all right? So now watch this. He says, "No one can serve two masters". All right, so that's it right there. You can't serve God and have an idol. That's not going to work. You can't serve God and have an idol. People always wonder, "Well, what's wrong with my life, or God don't love me"? It's not that God don't love you.
Ignorance is the greatest enemy to a Christian; walking around trying to figure out what's going on, why this hadn't happen, why that hadn't happen. He says no one can serve two masters. "What do you mean two masters"? He says, "For you will hate one and you will love the other, or you'll be devoted to one and you'll despise the other". You can't serve both God and idolize money or that spirit of mammon that's on money. You can't do it. He says you can't, and there are lots of people that try every day to make that Scripture not true, but it's true. Look at the next verse now. Now watch God wanting to meet our needs. He said, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing"? Twenty-six, "Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns," watch this, "for your heavenly Father feeds them". Check that out. He feeds them. "And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are"? What's the insinuation here? "I will feed you".
I've never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. You got to believe God. "I will feed you". Look at verse 20, next verse. "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith"? Why do you have such a short burst of faith? How come your faith doesn't last but a little while? You have faith when you come to church. You lose it when the benediction is given. You have faith when you finish praying. You lose it when you go into the kitchen. How come your faith is so small it doesn't last long?
He says, "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs". He's already knowing it because he had something to do with it. He says, "Listen, I want to meet your need". When was the last time you gave God the opportunity to meet your needs? When was the last time a need came up and first place was God? First place wasn't God. First place, "Can I borrow some money"? First place was in... you didn't even try him. I like that old baptism psalm, "Try Jesus". You won't even do it. You won't even try him, and he's like, "Dude, I am sitting here". He sees like, "This is the biggest opportunity for me. I get a chance to meet your need," watch this, "if you let me, if you believe me".
And look what he says here. Thirty-three, here it is, he says, "Seek the kingdom of God above all else". All right. So you hear what God is saying? "If you will make me priority". The King James says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God". "If I can be priority, if you can value me enough to come after me first," he says he will give you everything you need. He will give you everything. See, what's going to happen with some people is, you know, all right, so you can go to your idols to get your needs met, but one day there's going to come something in your life and you're going to look up and like, "I don't even know what to do. This is so big. What am I going to do? My little plans and my stuff is not working". And you will have no choice but God, and I just believe that that happens sometimes to just get your attention. I just believe if you'll just start off, "God, I go to you first," there's no need to try to get your attention because you've already made him priority.
But God loves us so much he's like, "Can I please yank you out of the idolatry because you've been trusting this to"... "Well, I'll get this money". You've been trusting money to do to that. He says, "No, no, no, no, no". There is one day in everybody's life something that's going to happen so big that money won't be able to resolve it. Then what? God says, "Don't wait until that happens. Go ahead and allow me to be your number one". Allow God to be the one that you trust. That's what he's trying to do. He's trying to get the whole world to come back to trust him like never before. Amen. So money is one of those modern day idols. Let's look at another modern day idols, and I'm talking about modern day. You can go in the Old Testament and read about wooden statues and golden calves, but where Satan's deceiving people right now is he's using modern day things, things that is not really a problem with until you assign it a value greater than God.
So number two, entertainment. "What? What's wrong with entertainment"? See, that's what I'm telling you. Ain't nothing wrong with entertainment unless you have given it a value greater than God. Valuing the search for entertainment rather than value seeking God, what's that about? The search for entertainment versus valuing seeking God. Obsessed with being entertained. You place value in this obsession. And all of these things, like I said, they are okay until you put more value in them than God. We got to look at our lives and we got to look at what we are valuing. And I tell you what, you'll recognize thing. And it's okay that it happens. The other day I asked myself a question. "Oh my goodness, Lord. Have I placed value in this? Lord, forgive me". 'Cause I realized there are certain things that I can't do to make happen in my life.
I dare myself to try to look at something in this earth that can replace God. God does stuff for me I can't even figure out how he did it or why he did it. I'm not going to use anything in this world or anybody to compete with the only one that stopped me from losing my mind a long time ago. I'm going to stick with him. Amen? Here's another obsession. You know, it's got to be talked about. Church folks don't talk about this at all. Everybody is just like, "You know, keep it quiet. Don't say nothing. You know, keep it in the booth in the back in the corner of the dark". But I'm going to tell you something. Sex is an idol. Watch this. Our sexual identity, our sexual practices, our sexual lives are sacred to us, and in some cases some value sex more than God.
"Well, you know sex is not wrong in the proper context, in the proper place, but you're telling me it can be an idol"? Absolutely. It can get you involved in idolatry. And just 'cause you may not understand, I can take you away from this place and take you to another side of town and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's an idol. It has taken the attention that would normally go from God and put it on all these other things. Let me show you this Scripture in the NLT, which is pretty interesting. 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verse 12 through 20, the NLT. Now I just want you to listen to this because I'm about to show you something that could do more bodily harm to you than anything else, something that could cause more bodily trouble than anything else.
Listen to this. He says, "You say, 'I am allowed to do anything,' but not everything is good for you". He says, "And even though 'I am allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything". So, you know, people got under the grace of God and they say, "Under grace I can do anything". And basically what they don't understand is you must understand that everything is not beneficial for you, you know. You've got to understand that God is concerned about you not becoming a slave to anything. Don't become a slave to a donut, don't become a slave to a cookie, and don't become a slave to sex. Don't allow that to happen. He says, "You say, 'Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food'". He said, "This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them. But you can't say", like you know, the belly is for food and food for the belly. They go together. They go together. Everybody knows that. You're like, "Amen to that". But then he says, "But you can't say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality".
Your body was made for sex in the right context of marriage, but it wasn't made for sexual immorality. Food was made for the belly, the belly was made for food, but it's not so that, you know, sex was made for immorality and immorality was made for sex. He said it's not so. Well, why? He says, "They were made"... notice your bodies were made for the Lord. Okay so, if God's not getting first place with our bodies and we've decided to do something else with it, you see what I'm saying, it's become an idol. He says, "And the Lord cares about our bodies". What an awesome thing. God cares about our bodies. Now watch this. "And God will raise us up from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord up from the dead. Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is a part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never. And don't you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scripture says, 'The two are united into one.' But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him". Glory to God.
So he says, "Run from sexual sin". Ain't that right? The church don't hear that no more. The church don't hear that no more. The church don't hear nobody talking about running from no sexual sin. "Run from sexual sin. No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does". No other sin clearly affects the body. God says, "I love your body, but to use your body for sexual immorality will affect your body more than anything". Oh, I don't think y'all understand what he's warning us, and now we're going around talking about, "Well, I don't understand this, and I don't understand that; and I don't understand this, and I don't understand that". And it's like, "Dude, he told you, 'I love your body,' but there's no other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body". Wow. Go on. "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself".
And that's not how the world says it. The world doesn't say you don't belong to yourself. The world's saying, "This is my life and I can do with it what I want to do with it". The Word doesn't say that. He says, "For God bought you with a high price. So you must," watch this word, "honor", look at this, "Honor God with your body". Honor God with your body. Listen to me carefully now. Honor is the opposite of idolatry. Honor is the opposite of idolatry. Remember honor deals with, you know, God's Word carrying more weight and God's Word weighing in heavier than anything else. So the question is, does God's Word carries weight in your life more than the words of the devil and the words of the world? Who are you listening to? And he says honor God with your body, which means allow his Word to carry more weight where your body is concerned than the words of idolatry.
Don't allow an idolatrous relationship to come in and now all of a sudden you have valued sex more than you honor God. You value sex more than you honor God. You value sexual immorality more than you honor God. And when he does that, I mean, you can see there idolatry and what happens eventually with idolatry. Covetousness and idolatry takes the attention away from God and now all of a sudden you're not even thinking about him. It's not that you hate God. You're just ain't giving him no attention. He's just not the priority in your life. You're not praying, talking to him, reading about him, learning about him. Ain't nobody going to church. Ain't nobody interested in no church. "I ain't going to get on no stream right now. I'm going to go watch HBO. I don't want to hear nothing". There's no priority that says God first and then all these things happen, and then we sit around wondering what's going to happen.
See, the coronavirus was just a dress rehearsal for what God prophesied was getting ready to happen in the book of Revelation with that dark, the Bible refers to it as the symbol of the dark horse. And you never would have believed, you know, what we're just coming out of. You would have never believed that a whole year, 2020 up to March. You never would have believed that. And I am telling you right now, I am saying it loud and clear it's all been a dress rehearsal. You really think that, "Oh, this is overwritten. Oh, we're just going to now go back and it's going to be peachy keen". Are you kidding me? Peachy keen? Uh-huh. Dude, you're getting ready to see Jesus, and everything he prophesies is going to come to pass. And I don't know what all that other stuff was about, but I do know it was just a dress rehearsal.
God is going to reign so strong in this world that people who never believed him are going to say, "You know what? I think I believe God now". God going to show you that he matters. And you know how he going to do it? His love. His goodness. You know what God going to do? God going to take bad people and do good thing for bad people and then change the mind of bad people and they're going to become godly people. Ain't not going to be like a bunch of church folks twitching nose up at folks and just want to judge folks all the time and stuff like, I don't understand when we're going to get this thing. Ain't nobody perfect in church, but we keep judging people on that standard. I'm not preaching about that right now, but it's like hear me loud and clear. That was a dress rehearsal and over half a million people are not here now. There is much more that will leave when that black horse shows up. And I'm not talking about literal black horse, I'm talking about what has been designed worldwide. You ain't seen nothing yet. And I'm going to tell you right now, now is the time to whatever you put in first place to go and say, "Excuse me, but I got to slide you out of here. Only God can hold that spot". Glory to God.
Only God can hold that spot. And sometimes y'all need to have a flashback and go and look at what God has already done. He's been good to you when you know you didn't deserve it. He held mercy back, stuff back that should have happened because foolish decisions didn't happen because God wants to do you good and make you happy. Glory be to God. Amen. All right, let's go to the next one. I'm going to finish this. I'm not going to finish it. Comfort. We talked about it in the "Servanthood" series about, you know, servanthood is not authentic and real if it has a selfish end and when people only seek comfort, when you just read about God, you're complete in him. He's your comfort. He sent the comfort of the Holy Spirit. But when it becomes your main pursuit, it's now your idol. When comfort becomes your main pursuit, it is now your idol. There's nothing wrong with comfort. There's nothing wrong with seeking conference. The problem is when it becomes your main pursuit, it's your idol.
Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verses 3 through 4 in the New Living Translation. 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verses 3 through 4 in the New Living Translation. We got to wake up. We got to see what's going on, man. You got to see what's going on. 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 3 and 4 he says, "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father, and he's the source of all comfort". So if he's the source of all comfort, how is it you're going to replace him? You're replacing him with something that's not the source of all comfort. You have the source of all comfort being replaced by something else. Look at verse 4. He says, "He comforts us in all our troubles," there ain't nothing like that in the world that comforts you in all your troubles, "so that we can comfort others". Glory to God. "When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us". He's the source of our comfort.
All right, look at this one, number six. This is very familiar. I won't spend much time on it 'cause you already know. Our cell phones. And the church said, "Amen". "Now you know cell phones ain't wrong". I ain't got no problem with cell phone. Somebody is getting fair right now through a cell phone. Why am I going to have a problem with a cell phone that can be used for edification and build you up and all kind of stuff? No, no, no, no. No, but what's the value that you've placed on it? What's the value that you've placed on it? Used to go to the bathroom... my grandma told me, one time I said, "Grandma, I'm kind of constipated". She said, "Baby, take the Bible with you. It'll come out right with the Bible".
We used to have a magazine rack in there with all kinds of good stuff to read and get edified, and you check it out now. Check it out. You wake up, grab the phone first. See what's going on. Wow. And if you don't stay out the comment section, you may end up getting in strike with somebody that you don't even know. What kind of value have you placed on that? Greater than God. Look at 2 Peter chapter 2:18 through 19 in the NIV. Depravity is moral corruption and wickedness. Depravity is something I want you to see here in this, look at this. 2 Peter 2:18, "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error". So he's just coming out of that. "They promise them freedom," those guys, "while they themselves are slaves of depravity".
Depravity, again, it's wickedness. It's moral corruption. "Slaves of depravity, for people are slaves to whatever has mastered them". Is there anything that has mastered you? Is there anyone that has mastered you? Wow. Amen. Come on, let's go to the next one. Your vocation or your job. You know, you'll do for work what you won't do for God. You'll do for work what you won't do for God. You'll set your clock to get up on time, but you won't set it for God. And it's so important that you understand that you don't want to place so much value on that that you forget Philippians 4:19: "My God shall supply," what, "all of," what, "your need according to," what, "his riches in glory".