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Idolatry, part 4
Ephesians 5:13 “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible.” This verse seems to be addressing the issue of what we do with the light that we receive. Make no mistake about it. I am not saying that these things - immorality, impurity, obscenities, etc. - are not to be a concern to us if we are saved. That would be vain talking, and verse six states that that could bring the wrath of God on those who willingly participate in them. However, I believe these verses are trying to stress something a little different than that. It has to do with what we do with the Light that we have received. It appears that it is possible to lose Light if we don’t respect it. The danger is this: if we lose the Light we have, we then face the possibility of eventually going over to idolatry.
What we do with the knowledge of Christ that is brought to us is determined by the attitude of our heart. “Everything exposed by the light becomes visible.” This is saying more than simply that it takes Light to see – it’s talking about what happens to us when we are brought near to Christ.
There are a couple of verses from Ephesians 4 that I want us to re-look at. 18 “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” They lost their sensitivity, indicating they once had it, but because of their hard hearts they have now lost it.
The idolater has a hardened heart. He can sit in the presence of God and still be unmoved. He can be brought lovingly near to the knowledge of Christ and yet be unmoved. That is the deeper meaning to 5:13 when it says, “Everything exposed by the light becomes visible.” This is not saying that everybody that suddenly has spiritual insight repents. It’s simply saying that a revelation of truth will either cause you to repent or harden you even more, depending on your attitude towards Christ. I have seen many “Christians” that can no longer be moved with truth. They may talk of their love of Christ while at the same time, they refuse to live in obedience to Him. They flat out refuse to do what the Word of God asks of them.
Truth received and not responded to means spiritual declension and the loss of capacity. Idolatry has to do with the attitude of heart. If a person’s attitude towards Christ is nonchalant then they become a candidate for idolatry. Every time we are in the presence of truth and yet fail to respond to it, our capacity for response is diminished. The idolater no longer has the capacity to respond.
Pharaoh hardened his heart once, twice, thrice at the call of God. Then God came in and shut his heart and Pharaoh was incapable of opening it, though he may have wanted to. That is the danger of being where Christ is brought near and our hearts being closed and unresponsive. Church is a dangerous place because when you hear the Word of God it solidifies your position no matter what it is. The Word of God will either melt your heart or hardened it, depending on your attitude toward Christ when you hear it.
Medication: A Merry Heart
While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip. When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn’t miss them until they had been driving about twenty minutes.
By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.
All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn’t let up for a minute.
To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, her husband yelled to her, “While you’re in there, you might as well grab my hat and the credit card.”
God Bless, Press On!
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: John 15:15 ESV
Today’s readings: Ezekiel 35 – 37