The gods of Greed, Hate, and Sex

On Sunday we looked at a difficult passage in the Bible. Some passages are difficult because they are hard to understand, confusing, or out of our context.

This passage was hard for none of those reasons.

This passage was hard because it called us to repent. It called us to follow Jesus. It reminded us that we live in an age with gods all around us that vie for our attention, worship, and loyalty. We live in a world where greed, sex, hate, violence, power, and self-image seek to hgodsave us follow them.

But our calling as Christians is to follow Jesus because following the path of greed, sex, hate, or power simply ends in darkness.

So on Sunday we listened to the call of Jesus to leave those things behind. That just as how 2000 years ago people were called to leave behind Athena the goddess of war, Dionysius the god of sex and wine, or the emperor the god of power and image; we are called to leave behind all the gods of our age if our witness is to have any power.

Jesus is clear in Revelation that if we compromise our character, it compromises our message. That while each god has its own temple in the world; he has no temple but us.

So this Lent we ask a deep question: “What does it mean to live faithful to you in this world”

This is a question worth spending time and reflecting on today, this week, this month, or for the rest of our lives…

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Stay true…Live Differently

Take Aways…

  • The Spirit is whispering…are we listening?
  • The gods of Pergamum
    • Asclepius ~ known as the savior who healed
    • Athena ~ goddess of war and wisdom
    • Demeter ~ bathed in bull’s blood goddess of grain
    • Dynoisus ~ son of a god and human mother, drank to connect with him
    • Zeus ~ known as creator, life-giver, and had a huge alter
    • Emperor ~ had the right “to give or take life”, known as “lord”, declared “son of god”
  • In a pluralistic world compromise dilutes and confuses the message
  • Deep witness is shown through difference
  • You are Jesus’ temple in the city, you are his representation
  • Jesus says don’t tolerate compromise, because it is killing your light, witness, and life.
  • Our world is dominated by subtle gods of Greed, Sex, War, Self-Image, and Selfishness
  • Stay true, and turn to follow Jesus

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? How has the Spirit been speaking to you over the past few weeks? What “gods of our culture” are the most difficult for you to resist? What are some reasons for that? How is Jesus asking you to follow him, and him alone? How does compromise kill our message? What message are your actions sharing about you?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Spend some time with your kids watching TV. Yes watching TV. Look at the ads that are there. Ask them what they are showing, what they are teaching. Is it that if you have this “thing” you’ll be happy? Is it that if you look “this way” you’ll be accepted? Talk through the messages they receive, and share with them the message of the Bible. That God loves them as they are and that greed, lust, and hate lead to darkness.

Challenge for this Week

Repent from any of the gods of our culture that have captured you

 

The gods all around us…

945751_89422954Sometimes I think it would be easier to live in Jesus’ day and age than ours.

At first such a statement seems ridiculous. I mean the church was facing persecution, you could be martyred, you would be dealing with famine, poverty, and immense struggle. And this is all true. But at least you’d know the enemy you’re facing.

Here is what I mean. In the time of the early church you knew that following Jesus meant that you couldn’t follow the gods of Zeus, the emperor, or Dionysus. Those gods were explicit, seen, and prominent in culture. In essence, those gods were named.

Yet in our culture our gods are just as powerful, pervasive, but are so much more subtle. We don’t think twice about following Jesus all the while working 60 hours for more money, a better office, or new promotion. We don’t think twice about following Jesus all the while filling ourselves with entertainment based on sex, hate, or anger.

The point is that our gods hide in our culture.

So on Sunday we are going to look at how Jesus calls us to follow him and him alone. We are going to name some of the gods around us that vie for our attention and pull our allegiance from Christ the King.

The question I have for you is this: what gods do you see around you?

It’s easy to name the gods of Greed and Sex. But what other gods are there out there? Because before we can resist and reject them, they need to be named.

So take some time and look at our culture, and see who is asking for your allegiance? What demands your time and attention? What gods are all around us that Jesus might say to us, ‘you can only follow one master’?

That’s where we’re going on Sunday. Maybe not the easiest topic in the world, but being prophetic and imagining a different world has never been easy. But often the hardest things in life are the most worthwhile…

The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and co-opted by the [culture around us] that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought.

Walter Brueggemann– The Prophetic Imagination