In 1 John 5:21, what is meant by “Little children, keep yourselves from idols”?

Automatic Transcript Generated

Speaker 1

Paul is asking in 1 John 5:21, what is meant by little children? Keep yourself from idols. Amen.

Speaker 2

I really like this question. This is how John I think that first letter with those words, like those are weird letters or words to end on. Tina, go ahead.

Speaker 1

You’Re muted, Tina. Okay, fine. All right, wonderful. So I thought the same thing because as soon as I heard the verse, I was like, that’s the last verse of that whole book of first John. And I thought that was kind of an odd way to end the book too, until I kind of looked at what was the message that John was really trying to share in this chapter. So let’s go back to First John, chapter five, and let’s look at just to get some context as far as what is John talking about here. And we’ll start in verses 18 and 19, if that’s okay. Just again to get some context. So first, John, 518 and 19. And it reads, we know that whosoever is born of God sins not. So whoever is born of God doesn’t sin, but he that is begotten of God keeps himself from sinning, basically, and that wicked one touches him not. And we know that we are of God and the whole world lies in wickedness. So basically John is saying that we know we’re a God and basically those are outside of God, they lie in wickedness. So basically John is saying abstaining from sin is a sign that you are close to God.

Speaker 1

This is an important part of the Christian walk. When I thought about this, I was like, oh, that’s interesting and that’s true. So let’s go. Continuing in the chapter, the next verse is something very interesting and I think it’s really key to understanding verse 21. So in one five, verse 20, it says and we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we may know him that is true and we are in him that is true even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. And I was like, hold on, this sounds very similar to another verse that I know is in the book of John, chapter 17, verse three, which is one of my all time favorite verses in the Bible. And it’s interesting because John wrote the book of John, the Gospel of John, as well as this epistle John. And when you compare it to John, chapter 17, verse three, where Jesus says, and this is life eternal, that they would know thee the Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ the Son whom he has sent. And so again, we see that John is almost referring to this.

Speaker 1

He says that we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we might know him that is true, the Father, and we are in him that is true even in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. So us being in God and being in his Son Jesus, this is eternal life. That’s how we have eternal life. We know him, we’re in him, we’re connected to him in a relationship. Now, when you get to verse 21, it’s very interesting that John is basically just giving us a quick warning of how to maintain that relationship. In verse 21 he says, little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. So basically, is he talking to literal little children, like five year old kids in kindergarten? No, not really. He’s talking about children in the faith, people who are new in the faith. That’s definitely who he was talking to. People who are new believers in Jesus Christ. And so when he’s saying, keep your souls from idols, well, now this makes more sense because it’s like, oh, what’s an idol? It’s a false God. An idol is a false, false thing of worship.

Speaker 1

Anything that distracts us and takes us away from the true God, God. Because that’s the whole point, is to know and have a relationship with the true God, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. That’s how we have eternal life. We are maintaining that relationship. However, there are things that will take us and separate us from the true God and those are idols. Now, we know that the second commandment is don’t make any bravement images, which is an idol. Don’t bow down, don’t worship them. God says we’re not supposed to have these idols. Just like pagans back in the day. They would build a statue and idol and they would worship it, thinking that this false god out there like begon and all these baal and all these gods you hear about in the Old Testament, as if they had some power, as if they could do something. But we know that they had no power. They had nothing at all. But yet people would pour their energy and their time into worshiping these false gods. And the thing is, what’s so terrible about an idol is that it’s taking the worship and the respect and the time away from the one who deserves it, first of all your creator, and putting it towards something that’s meaningless and worthless and can’t save you, can’t help you, can’t do anything for you.

Speaker 1

And you see this so clearly in the book of Isaiah, chapter 44. It just blows my mind when I read all these amazing stories in the Bible how obviously connects from cover to cover the Bible. These are written by over 40 authors over 2500 years across three continents. And yet it all sinks beautifully. And like I said, you see in the book of Isaiah, the Old Testament, in chapter 44, he basically I won’t read the whole chapter because it’s kind of long, but there’s some really beautiful things in here about idol worship. It’s basically so ridiculous to worship an idol. And basically God says, speaking about these idols, it says, and the residue thereof. He’s talking about this guy basically who finds a tree and he’s like, okay, so he’s cold, so he takes branches off the tree and he uses it to heat himself. And then he takes the heat or the fire that he made from the tree and baked something to eat. And so he says, oh, this tree is my God. So he takes the rest of the tree and makes an image out of it and worships it. In verse of 17, it’s all about he falls down to it, prays to it, says, Deliver me for you.

Speaker 1

Oh my God. This tree, basically just because the tree was able to provide some sticks for warmth and for cooking his food. And in verse 18, it says, they have not known or understood. He has shut their eyes, for they cannot see in their hearts they cannot understand. Do you not understand that you’re worshiping a creation rather than the Creator, the one who’s truly giving you provision by giving you the tree in the first place? Like the tree of itself isn’t anything. It’s only a gift to you from the Creator. And the concept of this is so interesting because that can apply to anything in our lives, whether it’s a job, whether it’s a spouse, whether it’s anything in this life, god gave you the job you have. But so many people worship their career. They worship this job. They’re like, well, the job is paying my bills. No, God is the one giving you the money through your job. God is the one giving you they value their spouse above God, and they choose this partner, whoever, a boyfriend or girlfriend, whatever, above God, because they’re like, oh, this person gives me love or they give me care.

Speaker 1

It’s like, no, God gives you love and care. He might use your spouse to provide those things, but ultimately it is God in heaven who gave these gifts to you. And we’re missing the point when we worship things that are not God and we put other things before him, which again, is an idol. And just in closing, one last verse I want to share because I know we’re out of time, which is just in Psalms chapter 115, verses three through nine. And I’ll look at it really quick, summarize it if I can, but I do want to share this with you because it’s basically a perfect picture of why idols are so ridiculous in the first place. It says, but our God is in the heavens. In verse three, but our God is in the heavens. He has done whatsoever he is pleased. Their idols in verse four, talking about the idols of the world are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not. Eyes, but they see not. Ears, but they hear not. He goes through all these things hands, but they handle not. In verse eight it says something very key, says they that make them are likened to them.

Speaker 1

So it’s everyone that trusts in them. So basically, if you’re putting your trust and your faith in a created thing, whether it’s a literal statue or just something in this world that’s distracting to you, entertainment, movies, your job, relationships, anything you prize and put above your relationship with God as an idol is basically making your efforts null and void. Because these things, as much as you pour yourself into them, they can’t give you what only God can give you. And so verse nine, I think, is just what I’ll close with. It says, oh, Israel, which means God’s. People o Israel, trust in the Lord. He is their help and shield. Don’t put your trust in all these things. All these things in the world can fail you. They can end as much and loving as your spouse may be, they’re mortal, they’re not God. They can’t give you everything that you need as much as your job might be something good, jobs can end like that. Trust me. It’s just happening to me and it can happen. Companies can close and things can happen. But the only person that you need to be putting your full trust in is God, because he is ultimately your provider for every need you have in this world.

Speaker 1

And as you put your trust in Him, you can have the assurance of peace and knowing that it is Him that it’s going to not only save you and provides you in this life, but in the life to come, in eternal life. So that’s why that verse I think is there, because it’s so key to maintaining that walk of God that you don’t get sucked into those false idols of this world and in life, really things that keep you distracted and that compete in your heart for that space that only God should have. Because those things are definitely the number one killers of our relationship with God. So I hope that answers your question and I pray that you can apply that to your life and keep yourself from anything that distracts you from your walk with God. Jay or Wendy. Anything else?

Speaker 2

Oh, that was amazing.

Speaker 1

Praise the Lord.

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