It's doubtful that anyone reading this article believes themselves a likely candidate for idolatry. However, one could say that the essence of idolatry is denying the true God. With that idea in mind, it's articulated when Paul spoke of people who did not want to believe or follow God (Rom. 1 :28). Those Paul spoke of were willing to give up what was true to follow a lie that was more to their liking, to worship the created rather than the Creator (Rom.1:25) Most of us would recoil in shock at the very notion of worshiping an idol, but if the Jews, in trying to create a more palatable religion, were called idolaters by God, then we may not be as afar away as we would like at times.
A genuine worshiper of God must be driven not to seek to justify their present beliefs and/or practices, but be driven to uncover and embrace the true ways of God.
The one who desires to be a true child of God, will struggle to understand the "mysteries" of the kingdom (Mat. 13:11). I have often fantasized about being in the crowds of the people who saw Jesus in person, who heard Him speak. That would have been wonderful, don't you think? But it would also have been life shaking. Jesus was in conflict with what was perceived by the Jews as the religion of God. Most of them rejected Him! What would we have done if we were there?
In the parable of the sower, recorded in each of the synoptic gospels, Jesus said that he spoke in parables for the express purpose that some people would not know what he was talking about (Mat. 13:13, Mk 4:11-12, Lk 8:10). They would hear the word of God but not understand it. The reason they would not understand it is because they did not want to. To them the will of God would always be a mystery. That sobers me, and it should you.
I have been in Bible classes where people casually dismissed statements in scripture that they did not deem important. i have also heard people quote scriptures as justification for actions or beliefs when those scriptures had NOTHING to do with what was trying to be proved by them. Both are absolutely disrespectful toward God. One of the reasons why I press contextual preaching is to be able in each case to explain why and how the scriptures teach what they do.
Jesus intended for the disciples to understand the "mysteries of the kingdom". That should be our goal. We should refuse to teach one word beyond nor one word short of what the Lord did. May God help us so that our most fervent desire is to clearly, accurately, and fully bring our hearts into harmony with the words of God such that the "mysteries of the kingdom" are clearly understood.
- Tim Orbison