Triumph Against Religions and Idols (Acts 19:23-41) December 18, 2011
Religions and idols are not just the problems of unbelievers, but they are Satan’s terrifying schemes which believers can also fall into. Is Christianity not a religion? If not, what makes it different from others? Wherever religions and idols are prominent, whether it is within an individual, family, one region, or a nation, incomprehensible curses and disasters unceasingly continue. Why? We must come to an answer.
1. First, we must understand what religions and idols are.
1) What is a religion? It is a product of human effort to reach the absolute being.
a. The main difference between a man and a pig is that a man is a spiritual being. Man has innate nature to seek eternal life, eternal being, and eternal future. It is because they were created by God who is a spirit. The Bible gives you that answer. Mankind was made in God’s image, and with the spirit God gave them they lived to have fellowship with God (Gen.1:27).
b. The problem broke out when the first man Adam sinned and was separated from God. Once they lost God, they became spiritually dead (Eph.2:1). Even though they lost Him, the trace of Him still remained (spiritual instinct or religious instinct). In every nation and every age, people created religions to satisfy this spiritual instinct.
2) Then what is idolatry?
a. It is objectifying the absolute being to ask for help, rely on, and worship. How ignorant did men become after they have gone corrupt? In Rom.1:21-23, they made images of men, insects, and animals, dignified them, and bowed before them. This is what is happening all over the world (ancestors, images of animals and insects). God punished Egypt through performing the Ten Plagues through Moses, and they were all the images of idols that Egyptians worshipped.
b. That is not it. It says in Col.3:5, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (money, fame, and pleasure)
3) The problem is that religions and idols are ultimately the same, and they are Satan’s strategies to destroy individuals, families, and one age. They make us worship something other than God as God. They make us rely on things that we must not rely on. That is Satan’s strategy. That is why it says in 1Cor.10:20, “The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” What results would come? What kind of problems would come to individuals, families, one region, and one nation?
a. It says in Ex.20:4-5 that those who fall into idol worship will perish up to the next three to four generations. Spiritual curses will strike them. Regardless of your intention, you let the evil spirits reside in your household by performing religious deeds and worshipping idols. The devil is a thief. What would happen when a thief resides within your house? Suffering and disasters eventually continue. What is a spiritual inheritance? It is how the forces of the Darkness that worked upon parents and ancestors work upon their children in the same manner. Children may not even know what happened in their parents’ age. Even if they know, they still fall. They fall before the very things they did not want.
b. It says in Mt.12:43-45 that when you fall into religions, seven evil spirits will enter your body and make your situation worse. A religion is all about your deeds. That is why you must be good, clean, and diligent. That is the life of a religious person. That is why religions teach and demand people, and that is how they understand religions (one of the reasons why parents send their children to church). But within the bodies of those religious people, seven evil spirits enter. That is the very reason why incomprehensible curses, disasters, and mental problems come to pious people. The reason why families who have been Christian over the past several generations go astray is because they just lived religious life.
c. Religious people unceasingly quarrel and conflict amongst themselves (Jam.3:14-16). It is because the same spirit and similar spirits work upon them. People who are similar to one another seem to get along well but they also frequently fight. That is the evil spirits fighting over positions and power. When a demon is chased out by a charm that a religious person wrote, it leaves because it lost that fight. Everything is the work of Satan that fuels man’s greed. Today’s passage is about that as well. They were fighting over their gains at the temple of Ephesus, which was also an idol. It is the same when churches fight against one another. They are not fighting over the truth. They are fighting over their gains, positions, and power. That is the devil. In the end times, the world will go into a war with the religion on its frontier. This is the prophecy of the Book of the Revelation.
2. What is God’s answer? In order to resolve the curses of religions and idols, God came as His own son.
1) For men cannot reach God on their own, Jesus came as the prophet to meet God (Jn.14:6). Since men cannot defeat the devil on their own, Jesus came as the king to crush the serpent’s head (1Jn.3:8). This Christ came as the priest to resolve the sins and curses that stemmed from the devil (Rom.8:1-2). That is Christ. Sins, failures, and curses do not just come all of a sudden. Adam did not just fall on one day. The devil was in the background. That is why God gave men the covenant of Gen.3:15 and blessing of 1Jn.3:8 the moment they fell.
2) Do you keep on failing? Do incomprehensible problems, failures, and disasters come to your family? Are problems continuing in one region? That is the spiritual problem. Whether it is through an individual’s scar, flow of a family, or distinct characteristics and flow of one region, the devil is working. Those of you who are not sure of this mystery of Christ who resolved this spiritual problem should not just go anywhere to live or study. On the other hand, if you are sure of this mystery, the forces of the Darkness will be bound in your field through you, and you will see the blessings of Mt.16:18-19.
3. In conclusion, what must we do now?
1) Is there a flow of religions, idols, and curses in your family? No matter what problems come, hold onto the mystery of “only Christ” and enjoy it. Christ has undoubtedly finished the devil’s work and all curses. His life and power are within you. No one can take that life away (that is why you must not fear even death), no one can overcome that authority, and no one can go against that power (tribulation, persecution, famine, poverty, death, or any other authority). Rom.8:37 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
2) Get rid of channels of religions, idols, and the forces of Darkness within you. The Holy Spirit will work as much as you come to a resolution, but you must make sure you keep on fighting the spiritual battle. People just live their lifeless walk of faith just for the formality’s sake (They just let the time pass as they dwell in how long they lived as Christians), and live holding not onto the Gospel, but onto the laws, traditions, and their diligence. All religious people have them. That is why religious people in religious churches fight more than others.
3) His life, authority, and power are now with you ever since the moment you accepted Christ. Now you enjoy the heavenly life, power, authority, and blessings as you live in this land (blessings of God’s kingdom). The means through which you enjoy them is the Word, prayer, and evangelism. You must train yourself to seek, yearn for, and enjoy the heavenly and holy realms (Col.3:1-4). I encourage all Remnants to focus for at least ten minutes every morning on these blessings. For the rest of your day, have victory through 24-hour prayer. Who are we? We are people who will stand as the witnesses of Christ in this world full of religions, idols, and curses. I bless and hope that you may hold onto the time schedule of these blessing and answers and triumph today.