Today I will show you the most insidious deception that is leading Christians into idolatry—even right now.

To do that, I want you to think of the story of the golden calf at Mount Sinai. If you remember, God had just saved Israel from Egypt through many powerful miracles and had led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai. He spoke His commands to them, but they all shrank back and insisted that Moses go up the mountain to talk to God alone.

While Moses is gone, the people lose patience. They go to Moses’s brother, Aaron, and demand that he make them gods to lead them into the Promised Land. Now, the word they used for “gods” is Elohim, which is used in the Old Testament to refer to both pagan gods and the true God, so we don’t really know who they are talking about yet.

Aaron bows to their demands, fashions a golden statue of a calf, and they say, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4). We still don’t know which God they’re talking about, but Aaron makes it clear right away.

He says, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord” (Exodus 32:5). Now when it says, “Lord,” what’s written there is the name, “Yahweh,” the name of God. Now we know who they are talking about.

Here’s what’s going on: They are declaring, “Yahweh is our God. Yahweh saved us from Egypt. Yahweh is our Lord,” yet they are worshiping an idol. We must see this warning, because if they could have all the right declarations while still worshiping an idol, we can too.

In fact, many Christians do this every day. They declare, “Jesus is Lord,” but they don’t follow Jesus. Just as Israel said they worshiped Yahweh, but followed their desires instead of God’s declared will, many Christians pick and choose which passages of Scripture they want to follow, and then ignore the rest that challenge them!

This is creating a knockoff Jesus—an idol. It is not worshiping Jesus in truth.

The question we must ask is, how can we know we are worshiping the true Jesus, not a knockoff Jesus?


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