REV. RUFF BLOG

  • Rev. Franklin Ruff

Let go of the Izums

The sermon for this Sunday was entitled “The Impossible Path to Salvation”.  The primary text for the sermon was Exodus 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments).  I also used Romans 2:17-27 and Romans 3:19-20.  The main point of the sermon was that the Law is a path to salvation, if one can follow it all the days of their lives without breaking it.  Since no one can follow the Law all the days of their life, no one can use the law as a path to salvation.  What the law does is show us that we cannot save ourselves through our own actions; we need Jesus.  A main focus of the sermon was the first two commandments.

You shall have no other Gods before me.

You shall make no idols.

No matter how devout or loyal a Christian we are, all of us have broken these two commandments.

Modern-day idolatry does not look like first-century idolatry.  Idolatry today is more covert, but nonetheless, we still do have our idols.  Anything we put before God is an idol.  Sometimes our idols are people.  Sometimes our idols are achievement.  Sometimes money is our Idol, and sometimes we have our iszums that we make idols.  It is these iszums that I want to focus on for this post

Now iszums are not necessarily bad, in fact, any many cases they can be good, if they are put in the proper context and not put ahead of God. The problem is that often we get so involved with our iszums that we elevate them above God.  At that point even if the cause is good we have perverted the cause and made it more than it should be.  The cause has become our faith, it has become our reason for being, it has become our God.  Let’s look at a few of the big iszums in our society today.

Christians should be activist.  We should stand up to racism and sexism.  We should fight for the poor and we should stand for justice.  All of these are good things.  These are all things that God has called us to do.  The problem is that some people become so connected to a cause that they forget about to one who called them to fight for the cause.  We must remember that the cause is not greater than God.  We must make sure that we are not getting so involved in our activism that we put it ahead of God.

As Christians, we are all called to be environmentalist.  Genesis 1:28 states

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

To have dominion over something is to rule over it.  In biblical times to rule over something was to have the responsibility of caring for what you ruled over.  God has given humanity rule over the earth.  We are free to take what we need from the earth, but we also have the responsibility to care for the earth. Environmentalism is not bad, it is one of our Christian responsibilities. We must make sure that we do not become so radical in our environmentalism that it becomes our faith.  If you truly think about it, it is foolish to take the creation and worship it above the creator.  When environmentalism becomes our faith, we are doing exactly that.

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. The Bible is authoritative.  The issue that many Christians run into when it comes to the Bible is legalism.  Sometimes Christians can become so legalistic that the Bible becomes more than authoritative scripture, it becomes a something that is worshiped. We should have a high view of scripture, but scripture is not above God. The Bible only has authority because it is Gods Word.  There is no biblical authority absent God.  We must remember that we worship God not his Word.  Just like it is foolish to take the creation and put it above the creator, it is foolish to take the Word and put it above the author of the Word.

I love my country.  It is truly a great and wonderful place.  Yes, it is imperfect, as all counties are, but I do believe that our country has been a force for good more often than not.  That being said one must remember that as Christians we have dual citizenship.  We are citizens of our country and we are citizens of the kingdom of God.  When Christ returns all earthly countries will cease to exist and there will be one kingdom, Gods kingdom.  Ultimately our citizenship in the kingdom is our most important citizenship.  It is good and proper to be a patriot.  One should support, defend and yes love their country, however; one cannot put their country above kingdom if we do that is idolatry.

The first two commandments are:

You shall have no other Gods before me.

You shall make no idols.

Examine your life and ask yourself, what have I put ahead of God.  What are my Idols? What are my izums.  We all have them If we can identify them, the power of the Holy Spirit will allow us to get rid of them or at least get them under control.  Put God first.  The God who gave all that he had so that we can have an opportunity for salvation.  Put God first and let go of the izums.

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