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-Idolatry And Sorcery

"THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT" Idolatry And Sorcery INTRODUCTION 1. As we continue our examination of the "works of the flesh" listed in Ga 5:19-21... a. We come to sins which modern man may think do not affect him b. These are the sins of "idolatry" and "sorcery" - Ga 5:20a

2. However, as we examine them more closely, I believe we shall find
that these sins are not as far removed from us as we might think…
a. Indeed, most people practice idolatry!
b. And many people engage in some form of sorcery!

[This is true of many Christians as well, so perhaps we should give
these words our careful attention…]

I. EIDOLOLATREIA (idolatry)

A. CONCERNING IDOLATRY AS COMMONLY CONSIDERED…
1. In the beginning stages of idolatry, no one worships the idol
or image itself
a. The idol simply served two purposes:
1) To localize the god it represents
2) To visualize the god it represents
b. It is simply designed to make it easier to worship the god
represented by the idol
2. Inevitably, however, people will wind up worshipping the idol
or image itself
a. We see this in various forms of Catholicism
b. Where the leaders say the image is not an idol, only an
“icon”
c. But who can deny that the average worshipper begins to view
the image itself as something “holy” and to be “revered”?
d. Thus that which is “created” begins receiving adoration
rightfully due the “Creator”
3. According to Ro 1:19-23, the basic error of idol worship is
the worship of the “created thing” rather than the “Creator of
all things”!

B. CONCERNING IDOLATRY AS THAT WHICH DISPLACES GOD…
1. Idolatry is not just the adoration or worship of images
2. Paul defines “covetousness” as idolatry – Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
a. Any strong desire for material things that replaces our
desire for God is a form of idolatry!
1) Our hearts are such that they are drawn to whatever is
our treasure – Mt 6:21
2) If our treasure is earthly things, our heart (devotion)
is drawn away from God
3) We cannot serve material things and God at the same
time! – Mt 6:24
b. Thus we can be idolaters when we make things other than God
Himself our priority in life, such as:
1) Our job
2) Our house
3) Our family
4) Our hobby

[So when we find admonitions like this one…

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 Jn 5:21

…let’s not be so presumptuous to believe that we are too “modern” or
sophisticated to need such a warning. We might need it more than we
realize! The same can be said for warnings against the next sin…]

II. PHARMAKEIA (witchcraft, sorcery, magic)

A. INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS WORD…
1. PHARMAKEIA is found to be used in three ways
a. Medically, to the use of drugs with no bad meaning at all
b. The misuse of drugs so as to poison, not cure
c. The practice of sorcery and witchcraft, which often used
drugs to cast spells and alter the behavior of others
2. The practice of witchcraft and sorcery is strongly condemned
in the Bible
a. In the Old Testament – Exo 22:18
b. In the New Testament – Re 21:8
3. In Ac 19:18-20, we find a remarkable example of repentance
related to the practice of magic

B. EXAMPLES OF THIS SIN TODAY…
1. There is an increasing number of religions based upon the
occult, and that make use of drugs in their religion
2. The “recreational” use of drugs also falls into this
category…
a. Remember that altering the behavior of others through such
drugs was a basic function of sorcery and witchcraft
b. What difference is there between using drugs to alter
others’ behavior, and your own?
c. This is not to discount the proper medicinal use of drugs
d. But just as the Bible condemns drunkenness, which is an
altered state brought on by alcohol (a drug), so it would
seem to condemn similar use of other drugs

CONCLUSION

1. As we continue our study of the “works of the flesh”, we should keep
in mind that each one of these sins is a perversion of something
which in itself is good; as illustrated by Barclay…
a. Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness – perversions of the
sexual instinct which in itself can be a beautiful thing and a
part of true love between a man and a woman
b. Idolatry – a perversion of worship
c. Sorcery – a perversion of the proper use of drugs
d. Hatred, contentions, jealousies – perversions of that noble
ambition and desire to do well which can spur one to greatness
e. Outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions – perversions of righteous
indignation without which the passion for goodness cannot exist
f. Dissensions, heresies, envy – perversions of the devotion to
principle which can produce the martyr
g. Drunkenness, revelries – perversions of the happy joy of social
fellowship

2. Indeed, the following is so true:

“The awfulness of the power of sin lies precisely in its ability to
take the raw material of potential goodness and turn it into the
material of evil.” (Barclay)

I implore us all to devote our lives in the proper worship of God and
His Son Jesus Christ, and to abstain from the misuse of anything God
has created for good purposes!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2006

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