The athlete and the movie star are two of the biggest types of icons in the last 50-100 years of American history. So much so that the people who are the best at what they do in these respective areas are solely known by what they do. We may know nothing about Lebron James except that he is the best basketball player in the NBA. Brad Pitt is solely known as one of the most recognizable movie stars. We are often amazed when these people “fall from grace.” It often happens when they lose the thing which defined them. It could be that a movie star is no longer seen as an “A” lister or it could be that a sports figure has lost his or her physical abilities. They are remarkably different when this main thing is taken away from them. There are TV shows dedicated to this phenomenon. An athlete no longer is able to perform as he once did and turns to food to satisfy his soul. In a few years he may join other celebrities who have struggled in the same way on ‘The Biggest Loser’. It could be that a famous actress is no longer seen by the public as attractive and then goes to extreme lengths to restore her beauty only to come out looking worse.
It is sad that the celebrity has become so great in our culture. They are under the microscope of the media and therefore give us a public glimpse into the human heart. At the core of our heart is worship and there are two things to worship. We either worship God or idols. We were created to worship God and it is life-giving; when we worship idols it is life-taking. In the case of the athlete or actor when their idols are taken away in the likeness of sports or silver screen glory, their lives crumble before us. It is because they were serving a false god who only gave them lies. Their lives become even more messy after they lose this great idol in their life because they quickly turn to the next closest thing, another idol. It could be food or drugs or relationships. They can not escape the way that they were created to be and neither can we.
Idols ask us to serve them with our whole being and yet they only give us death in return. God commands us to worship him with our whole life and he gives us eternal life. Our worship of Him and Him alone is what restores us. We worship with our whole being. We worship with the things that we have been given such as time, money and energy. We also worship with our very heart, the core of who we are. We are learning in this series that God restores the temple which is the Old Testament place of worship. He restores it for the purpose of his people worshipping Him. When we approach God to worship let us lay aside all other idols that call for our souls so that we can give all allegiance to the one true God who is worthy of our worship alone.
Scripture: Ezra 1:1-2:70
Sermon: Restoring God’s House of Worship
Confession of Sin
Leader: Great are you Lord, and greatly to be praised! You have made the heavens and the earth, and you are to be feared above all gods, for they are worthless idols.
People: But we have not worshipped you as we ought. You have revealed to us how you wish to be worshipped and in our arrogance we have imagined that we might improve it. Forgive us, Lord!
Leader: We are strangers living in a strange land. Surrounded by a world that does not fear you, we sometimes adopt its ways, embrace its values and worship its gods.
People: Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Confession of Faith
Q. 117. How is the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day to be sanctified?
A. The Sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.