“God’s Revelation; Man’s Rejection” Part 3
September 20, 2015
They have been called some of the world’s weirdest festivals. Consider:
- On the last Tuesday of January on St. Ninian’s Isle (Scotland) the local men dress in full Viking regalia, light torches, and go rampaging through town. Of course. (What else is there to do on this northern island on a bleak January day?)
- From April 13-15 residents of Chiang Mai, Thailand wander the streets with containers of water and water guns dousing everyone they see with water. It’s their way of saying “Happy Thai New Year,” I guess.
- In May, since the 15th Century, people have gone to the top of Cooper’s Hill in England to race to the bottom of the hill. Actually it’s more a chase than a race, since the race begins by rolling a round of Double Gloucester cheese to the bottom of the hill. The person to capture the cheese roll then returns it to the top of the hill, symbolizing the eternal cycle of man’s creation, release, pursuit and re-capture of dairy products. Okay…
- Or how about the wife-carrying championship in Finland? A man must carry a wife around an obstacle course in the fastest time. The wife must be at least 17-years-old and 108 lbs. Hmmm.
Now I understand that these are “fun” events; they are not intended to be serious. (After all in Granbury we have hosted outhouse races at one of our events on the Square.) Yet if we believe what Jesus said in Lk. 6 — that everyone speaks and acts out of the overflow of the desires of his heart — then there is something else going on with these events. They are attempts to find joy and satisfaction apart from God. And that desire is pervasive in the world.
Daniel Hyde was correct when he wrote:
No culture in the history of humanity has been so defined by games, sports, and recreation as ours. The sports industry in America is a $400+ billion dollar industry, the video game industry is a $50+ billion dollar industry, and the casino industry is a $30+ billion dollar industry. To cite Loverboy, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” We talk about weekend warriors. The motto is thrown around: “work hard, play harder.” We like to play as a culture. All this playing has taken a toll on how we view God.…God is no longer a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29) but a product we consume. [“Playing with God in Worship.”]
As we’ve been studying Romans 1, one of the truths we have seen is that the history of the world is the history of man’s rejection of God. And this morning that principle is going to be expanded by Paul in v. 23 —
All men are worshippers; if they reject God, they will worship anything else.
We might grin at some of the silly things men do, but the reality is that these are manifestations of idolatry. Man has attempted to remove God from his life and to do that he will worship anything instead of God.
Calvin captured the essence of that when he wrote,
…man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.…Man’s mind, full as it is of pride and boldness, dares to imagine a god according to its own capacity; as it sluggishly plods, indeed is overwhelmed with the crassest ignorance, it conceives an unreality and an empty appearance as God.…
Daily experience teaches that flesh is always uneasy until it has obtained some figment like itself in which it may fondly find solace as in an image of God. In almost every age since the beginning of the world, men, in order that they might obey this blind desire, have set up symbols in which they believed God appeared before their bodily eyes. [Institutes, 1.12.8]
In this verse we will find three characteristics of all idolators.
- All Men Are Worshippers
- Idol Worshippers Made a Trade (v. 21b)
- They traded the incorruptible for the corruptible
- They traded truth for a lie
- They traded the true God for a false image
- The Real Condition of Idol Worshippers
- They have been deluded by Satan
- They are ignorant, judged, fools
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 1:23.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.