Tag Archives: idol

The Sixth Seal: God’s Witness of Himself

Today’s message summary of November 8, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When we looked at the fifth seal last week, we saw the people under the altar who had died for Jesus Christ, and that they were prepared to do so. People were persecuted and gave their lives. Those people asked how much longer would it be before God would “judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10b)

When the sixth seal was opened, God will show Himself.

The sixth seal takes John from what he sees in heaven back to the physical world.

Revelation 6:12-16

Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fid tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

 

When God reveals Himself to some of us, we don’t see His majesty or His glory. There will come a time when they will acknowledge it.

The first five seals were directed toward specific areas. The sixth seal was a universal revelation. All people will be affected. Everyone will fear it. It will touch every life, regardless of stature or wealth.

  • There will be a great earthquake (there is no mention of death–previous seals do mention death).
  • The sun will turn black (when the sun does not shine, it will be very cold).
  • The moon will turn blood red.
  • The stars will fall to the earth (stars dying out like shooting stars).
  • The sky will recede (separate) like a scroll (Acts 7:55-56).
  • Every mountain and island will be removed.

These things take place not by the power of man; instead, they take place in order that everyone can see and be affected by them. It is to cause man to think and to choose.

Colossians 1:16-17

For everything was created by Him,

in heaven and on earth,

the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions

or rulers or authorities

all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things,

and by Him all things hold together.

 

Joel 2:10-11, 30-32

The earth quakes before them; the sky shakes. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars cease their shining. The Lord raises His voice in the presence of His army. His camp is very large; Those who carry out His command are powerful. Indeed, the Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful–who can endure it?

 

I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.

It is God’s desire that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9); therefore, He continues to reveal Himself today.

He will certainly do this on the day of wrath, but even then, while he carries out his wrath, His mercy will still be present, for people who acknowledge He is Lord even at that moment will be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

Jeremiah 4:23

I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone.

 

Matthew 24:29-30

Immediately after the tribulation of those days: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Even though God desires everyone to come to Christ, some will simply refuse.

Romans 1:18-20

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

 

Every person has to make that decision: “Is He God?”

Whenever death is at the door, God’s grace and forgiveness is also there. A person only has to chose to repent and believe.

During the revealing of the sixth seal, man’s free will to choose is still present (Revelation 6:15-17). Look at the hearts of the kings, nobles, military commanders, the rich, powerful and everyone else. All of humanity is included. God revealed Himself, and they surely had seen Him. They didn’t understand, though, that they could not hide from God in their rejection of Him. Death for them was not the end at all–it was merely the beginning.

Luke 23:28-30

But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children. Look, the days are coming when they will say, ‘The women without children, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed, are fortunate!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’

 

Matthew 10:28

Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

 

Isaiah 2:8-12, 19-21

Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their fingers have made.

So humanity is brought low,

and man is humbled.

Do not forgive them!

Go into the rocks

and hide in the dust

from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor.

Human pride will be humbled,

and the loftiness of men will be brought low;

the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

For a day belonging to the Lord of Hosts is coming

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted upit will be humbled

 

People will go into caves in the rocks

and holes in the ground,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

On that day people will throw

their silver and gold idols,

which they made to worship,

to the moles and the bats.

They will go into the caves of the rocks

and the crevices in the cliffs,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

 

You may escape God’s judgment for a moment, but it will catch up to you. God may give you a head start, but you will not outrun Him!

Unbelief is among all people. The gospel, however, speaks to all people. No one dies without God, in some way or some form, manifesting Himself before him.

There is one thing that man cannot stop, and that is the will and work of God. His truth will prevail, for in Jesus Christ, there is already victory.

May we be such a people that is caught up in His glory and His presence in order to live as a testimony of Jesus Christ.

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American Idols

Message transcript of September 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

On the hit television show, American Idol, people audition from all over the United States to earn the opportunity to face-off in a singing competition for the chance to win it all and be referred to as The American Idol.

The American Idol is more than just a television singing competition. It can also refer to an ongoing competition that you are involved in more often than you realize. You are not competing against another hopeful for a prize, but you are involved in a competition where the stakes are much higher. Your competition involves what you hold as important versus your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who will win the competition? If you are honest with yourself, you will see that it is hardly a slam dunk that your relationship with Jesus Christ will come away as the winner. There are many obstacles that will hamper your efforts to remain in fellowship with Him, and that is because you also hold someone or something as one or more of your American Idols.

What is an idol? An idol, by definition, is a cultural icon, specifically a popular person, or it is an image or representation of anything that is revered and perhaps even regarded as having some sort of spiritual power. As you can see, an idol can be a person, a thing or even a god for some. In the King James Version of the bible, the term used is “graven image,” which is something that is engraved and revered in a form of worship. The Hebrew word for graven image is means literally “idol.”

In the event that anyone believes that an idol has some sort of spiritual influence, God has a very clear command about worshiping such images:

Exodus 20:4-6 ESV

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 5:9a ESV

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.

 

Isaiah 42:8 HCSB

I am Yahweh, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another

or My praise to idols.

As God clearly declares that He will not give honor or praise to idols, then neither should we.

Worshiping idols is known as idolatry, which is worship and excessive devotion to a person or thing that effectively replaces God.

So, what’s the problem here? You may be saying to yourself right now “this idolatry thing does not describe me. I don’t have any carved images or statues in my house, and I don’t get into all of that silly stuff.”

Really? Let’s consider that there are many things that are going on in your life right now that not only replace God as being first in your life, but they also minimize Him in the same way that you can minimize a window on your computer and you would not even see Him, and maybe even forget that He was there. If this were a competition, you would have voted, even already written God off.

In the book Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller presents three different things that are idols that we can put before God: love, money and power. There are many more than these three, of course, because, by definition, an idol is ANYTHING that a person views as important and replaces the role of God in one’s life. These three, however, are significant in that they not only are substitutes for Him, but they can also cause serious damage to the people you know if they are unchecked and out of control. Keller notes, “An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold onto it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries.”

I. Love and Sex

There is certainly a difference between love and sex, but as we have often seen within our present culture, the two often go hand in hand, especially when it comes to how a person views love in his or her own way. The worldly view of love is not even close to the agape love that is the essence of God’s character (1 John 4:8). The worldly view of love values the relationship with a person over and above a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ—so much so that a person’s values and ethics are often compromised for the sake of preserving the relationship. For a believer in Jesus Christ, this should be especially troubling. Keller notes that “Making an idol out of love may mean allowing the lover to exploit and abuse you, or it may cause terrible blindness to the pathologies in the relationship.”

A single woman named Clarice has attended a church for several years where the biblical values of dating, relationships and abstaining from sex before marriage have been presented. Clarice, however, felt as though her biological clock was ticking, and decided to visit nightclubs or other social events in order to find a “good Christian man” that had values similar to her own—namely, settling down and getting married. Upon finding a potential suitor, even upon declaring him as a boyfriend, she began sizing him up to check all of the boxes in her mind. Is he employed with a future career potential? Is he able to provide for me? Is he sexually compatible? Note that none of these questions are crosschecked with what she was taught within the church. Of course, after reviewing these and other questions, Clarice decides that her present boyfriend won’t be a suitable mate; therefore, she breaks up with him and moves on to search for another that will check all of her boxes. This pursuit often leads to emptiness and dissatisfaction, and it is a disappointment to God when the efforts of finding security in a person give way to obedience, trust and reliance upon God’s method of provision. God is left well into the background. Her pursuit of love was her American idol.

Jonathan was always searching for the “girl of his dreams.” The problem was that each prospective woman would never meet his expectations. He also could not maintain a long-term romance because he lacked confidence in himself and did not trust that the women he tried to date would continue to find him appealing. In between these relationships, he would visit strip clubs or watch pornography. Jonathan never married. All of his relationships turned out to be empty and unsatisfying, but his expectation that something better was out there kept his focus away from relying upon God to be his ultimate matchmaker. His desire for romance above everything else was his American idol.

The pursuit of love and sex is idolatry. It is more than just minimizing God—it is a separation from God. This can also lead to unwanted pregnancies and the undermining of a person’s family or career pursuits. In extreme cases, an emptiness, or false intimacy, can lead to sexual addiction, which according to Harry Schaumburg, is “the self-centered demand to be loved and accepted regardless of the consequences, and a loss of vital relationship with God” and it “is a complex result of sin and human behavior.” The idolatry of love and sex is sinful and destructive for every relationship surrounding the perpetrator.

II. Money

One of the most misquoted passages of Scripture involves money. Money on its own is not a bad thing; yet, the love of it has caused many to stumble under greed, and it is idolatry.

1 Timothy 6:10 HCSB

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Anthony liked having money in his pockets. He wasn’t particularly wealthy, either, and he didn’t handle money very well. He desired to earn more money and become whatever it means to be independently wealthy, but his pursuit came through working three jobs and playing the lottery every day–sometimes twice a day and also buying dozens of scratch-off tickets. When it came to paying the bills at home, his wife had to bear the brunt of the mortgage and the utilities, because Anthony never had enough money to help out with the bills at home. He was driven through the enticement of a “get rich quick” mentality. Even when he hit the lottery for $10,000.00, he bought a new car for himself and never bothered to share his winnings with his wife. Anthony was controlled by greed over money, and it would never be satisfied, especially since God was not in his plan of obtaining wealth. His love of money was his American idol.

In Counterfeit Gods, Keller writes that greed over money “uses powerful sociological and psychological dynamics,” and that “Greed hides itself from the victim. The money god’s modus operandi includes blindness to your own heart” (Keller, 2009). He also relates that greed over money will create jealousy and envy over what other people have, which creates an even greater divide in a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ. It is one of the more deceptive means of idolatry, and it affects people who have little or a lot of it. God reminds us, as believers, that we can’t have Him in a relationship and hold a desire for money to the same standard:

Luke 16:13 ESV

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

 

III. Power

In America, our culture elevates politicians, professional athletes, Hollywood performers and music pop stars as having the ultimate wealth, status and power. They are deemed by the vast majority of people to have success beyond measure. With such success comes a measure of power. If it is used in the right way, the evidence comes out of a person with a humble approach to life and the desire to serve and glorify God. If, however, a person uses power to his or her own advantage, it creates an environment where power usage can be abusive…and sinful.

Even the noblest efforts that are presented in the spirit of doing what is good can still be twisted into idolatry. Keller notes, “When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. We can look at our political leaders as ‘messiahs,’ our political leaders as saving doctrine, and turn our political activities into a kind of religion.”

The desire for power is the culmination of a thought process that is independent of God’s involvement.

The people who audition for American Idol have one goal in mind, and that is to be seen as the best of the best singers in a popularity contest before millions of people. It begins with the desire to get a big break, but for all but one person, the contest ends without realizing the dream. Some contestants on the show honestly believe that they can be famous–even if they cannot sing very well. Contestants have been known to quit their jobs and leave their families in order to seek fame and fortune. It is more than just trying to win a recording contract—it is a quest for fame and influence. The desire for such power is idolatry.

Fame, however, is fleeting, especially when compared with the presence of God in our lives.

 

Isaiah 40:6-8 HCSB

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”

Another said, “What should I cry out?”

“All humanity is grass,

and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flowers fade

when the breath of the Lord blows on them;

indeed, the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flowers fade,

but the word of our God remains forever.”

It is our nature to want to accomplish something or achieve something on our own, when we, as believers in Jesus Christ, should be fully aware that we cannot accomplish anything without His input (His movement or His allowance of it).

 

Luke 18:27 HCSB

He (Jesus) replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

So who, or what, is your American idol? Are you following a person instead of seeking Jesus? Are you searching for something in your life that is unfulfilling and empty? Are you putting Christ aside in order to fulfill your own desires? What idols are you holding on to?

Perhaps it is time for you to do some real soul searching and make sure that you are not in a competition against God because of holding on to idols. It is a competition that you will ultimately lose, because idolatry is sin…plain and simple. The only way to renounce these idols is to humble yourself and turn from your sin directly to Jesus Christ, and recognize that God is the One who delivers us from our sins. He became sin for us with His death on the cross in order to become righteous before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


God Calls His People Out of Babylon

Today’s message summary of June 7, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God reveals through his Scripture that He has His people through every dispensation. God has always maintained a remnant.

What is striking about this is that He is calling His people out from bad company. He is calling His people away from those who are not praying to Him or edifying Him.

God will be calling His people away from Babylon:

Revelation 18:3-4

For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury. Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues.

 

God’s people are meant to be the influence over the world and not the other way around; however, there are situations where His people need to remove themselves from being weakened or influenced by the pleasures and luxuries of the world.

Look at the church today…are we involved with the sins of the world? Before you answer, remember that God knows your heart.

God wants you to avoid those who are choosing not to do what is right.

Revelation 18:5

For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

 

God wants His people to be removed before His judgment comes.

Even when there are churches that are not very good overall, God may have a remnant of people within the church to make a testimony for Him.

Consider that Lot was called out from Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels in to bring him out because there was a pending destruction.

Genesis 19:15-16

At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.

 

The Lord declares that some will not acknowledge Him or accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Some people will continue to live the way that they choose, and they will face destruction.

If you have God warning you to get away from a situation, what would cause you to hesitate? Is it based upon worldly pleasures?

In Babylon, the people are worshiping anything but God. Even if the people of God were to speak up and say “that’s wrong,” it would put that person in peril. To take a stand for God’s standards and principles is to take sides.

Our church should not be in the entertainment business–it is to be in the teaching business. Believers are always present to shine the light of Christ.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them, for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

 

In Babylon, there will many who say they know God or proclaim that they are righteous and have all sorts of religious artifacts. Their actions will show otherwise. How would you know if someone is really saved or not? You would have to observe how a person lives over time to see if it matches up with his words.

Christians are to expose those things that are unrighteous, heretic or unclean–those things that are not of God.

Ephesians 5:11-14

Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore, it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

There is a way to share with those who are living in sin, and all of it involves prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:17-18

Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

 

1 Corinthians 5:9-11

I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.

 

Don’t associate with those who are living in opposition with God. While we are ministering to the world and are not of the world, we need to come to a place where we heed the warning that God gives to His people.

God called Abram (Abraham) to another land. (Genesis 12:1-4)

God called His people, Israel, out from Egypt. (Exodus 3:7-21)

God wants you to look forward to where He wants you to go and to not look back.

 


The End Times: Babylon Has Fallen! (Part 1)

Today’s message summary of May 31, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Some commentaries that we read believe that Babylon represents Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire. Even with this, we see that Satan is presenting his program all throughout history to establish his teachings and heresies. There has been ongoing idol worship for centuries, and as God is establishing His kingdom, Satan is doing the same for himself. The culmination of all of this is within the book of Revelation.

What three things does every nation struggle with over time?

  • Government
  • Economics
  • Religion

(Even Russia, which declares itself an atheist nation, has what is called the Church of Russia.)

Babylon will control all three of these things. When you get to Revelation Chapter 18, verse 2, we read “Babylon the Great has fallen!”

In Chapter 17 and 18, we see two systems within Babylon–religion and economics (political and commercial). John, as a narrator, gives a great deal of attention to this subject; therefore, we can conclude that God wants us to pay attention to this.

This stems from Nimrod and the Tower of Babel where the world’s religious forces were rallying against God.

Two powerful forces that man is always involved in: religion and commerce (money and finances).

Revelation 18:11-13

The merchants of the earth will also weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any longer–merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine fabrics of linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; all kinds of fragrant wood products; objects of ivory; objects of expensive wood, brass, iron, and marble; cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine wheat flour, and grain; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and slaves and human lives.

 

Babylon was a place where people could satisfy their pleasures, and even if it was within their practice of religion, and they were not following God.

1 Timothy 3:1-3

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy.

 

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

 

In Babylon (Revelation 17), there are those who perpetrate evil over the love of money.

2 Timothy 3:1-3

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

Matthew 6:24

No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.

 

When it comes to religion, note in Revelation 18 that it is the demons who are teaching and performing every evil. Babylon reflects the draw of many nations who follow its teaching. They were “lovers of pleasure.”

Revelation 18:3

For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury.

 

1 Timothy 4:1

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons.

 

Modern-day churches today want God’s blessings but the people still need to be taught the Word of God. They need to resist the desire of their own pleasures and seek God and obedience to Him. There are apostate churches today that are contrary to God’s teaching and will create many to fall away from God and His instruction.


Your Choice: The Flesh or The Spirit, Part 2

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan is busy trying to cause each of us to lose sight of Jesus Christ. He will do anything he can to cause each of us to falter. While he knows he can’t take away our salvation, he knows he can put us on the sidelines.

Even more specifically, Satan has used the power of sexuality to bring down nations and kingdoms. God’s Word in Leviticus is very specific about the kinds of sexual sins that destroy a person.

You have to make a choice to live either in The Spirit or in the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Debauchery or licentiousness is to be preoccupied with sexuality or sexual pleasure. It is a system of ethics that claims pleasure constitutes the greater good. Lasciviousness or lewdness means to be unlearned or unprincipled in this same area (to be unprincipled is to not have any standards).

Advertising today has much to do with sexual messages and sexual connotations. These practices mirror today’s society. Believers are to guard themselves from these behavioral practices.

To be lewd is to show oneself with the intent to excite someone sexually. Lasciviousness is behavior that promotes lustful desires.

Mark 6:22
When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

Esther 5:1-3, 6
1 On the third day, Esther dressed up in her royal clothing and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace facing it. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal courtroom, facing its entrance. 2 As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his approval. The king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Esther, and she approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 “What is it, Queen Esther?” the king asked her. “Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be given to you.”

6 While drinking the wine, the king asked Esther, “Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

Esther 1:10-12
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who personally served him, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious and his anger burned within him.

Was Vashti out of line? Not at all. She was upholding her standard that she did not want to be paraded before other men. She valued herself as someone more than just being showed off before others.

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

1 Peter 3:3
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.

Matthew 5:28
But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We should examine our dress and our behaviors when we go before others. There needs to be care and concern from showing others too much. It is more about following a higher standard and reflecting a higher esteem and respect for oneself.

False worship: idolatry and witchcraft (Galatians 5:20)

Idolatry begins within the heart…you want to worship someone or something other than God, and it is always about yourself. It is rebellion to God and being obedient to Him.

Exodus 20:4
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

Idolatry is the worship of idols. It is anything that takes the place of God’s will in your life.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Anything that keeps you from being used by God is idolatry. It is the impurity of sin that keeps you from pleasing Him…sexual immorality, lust, evil desires and greed are all idols.

Idolatry is the participation in demonic activities.

Acts 19:24-27
24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods! 27 So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world adore.”

Psalm 115:2-8
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

The purpose of an idol is to be worshiped, but the idol is not heard from or is any action taken by it. With that, why is an idol preferred by some over the living God? It is the flesh that desires the things of the world but it is more about worshiping something that doesn’t give rules or regulations or standards of living. God rules (and He reigns) because God continues to show Himself in love and concern for His people; nevertheless, following Him is still a choice.