How does idolatry impact the way we share the Gospel?
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.Genesis 3:1-6
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.Exodus 20:3
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.Romans 3:11
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.Colossians 1:16-17
The very first sin was idolatry. Adam and Eve were seeking to become gods. The idol they chose to worship was themselves. In many respects all sin is nothing more than idolatry, worshipping something other than God. Idolatry can be seen in substituting something for God or in seeking something outside of God that can only be found within God. In order to lead people to faith in Christ we must help them see that what they are seeking can only be found in God. He alone can satisfy the desires of the human heart. Men were created for God, yet we seek everything but God. We must learn to help people see their idols and the satisfaction that is only found in God Himself.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.Mark 10:17-28
The rich young ruler is typical of what you will meet here in the South. He was a moral man who was both religious and spiritual. His sin was an acceptable sin for his society, greed. His love of money though was idolatry. Given the choice between God and possessions he chose possessions. His god was money. Jesus tells us that those who trust in wealth will not come to Him unless God first does a work in their hearts.