When God Cuts Off Our Idols
Passage: Zechariah 13:2–6
Sermon from Zechariah 13:2-6 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Series: Zechariah: Restoration & Return (Part 20)
Delivered on February 28, 2016
2And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. 3And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. 4On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, 5but he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.’ 6And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’
If you’ve been with us in our study of Zechariah, the first few words of verse 2, “and on that day,” likely sound very familiar. It’s the ninth time you’ve heard it within two chapters. And if you recall, it speaks to God’s end-time salvation. And at least in the way the New Testament lays things out, the phrase “on that day” has some thickness to it. It stands for the time-frame that stretches from Jesus’ first coming to Jesus’ second coming. It represents all the days when God will act decisively through his Son Jesus Christ to establish his final kingdom on earth.
In our passage today, God promises to do two more things “on that day;” and they are massively significant for my life, for your life, and for the world: God will cut off our idols and he will remove false prophecy. There’s no place for idolatry and false teaching in the kingdom of grace, and so God intends to remove them. That’s what these next five verses develop.
God Cuts Off Our Idolatry
Let’s take first God cutting off our idols. In verse 2 he says, “And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more.” Now for you and me to comprehend the greatness of this promise, we need to step back for a minute and understand the pervasive problem of idolatry. We won’t treasure the good news if we don’t understand the bad news. So I want to spend some time talking with you about idolatry and its consequences.
External & Internal Idolatry
When many folks hear the word idolatry, their minds race to what we might call external idolatry. They envision some tribal religion in a third world country where folks literally bow to all kinds of statues. Or perhaps those with a Christian upbringing might even recall the golden calf that Aaron fashioned for Israel in the wilderness, or the Asharah poles under certain kings. All of these are good examples of external idolatry. But the Bible refuses to limit idolatry to something that’s external.
In fact, the Bible teaches that idolatry is something people do in the heart—in the very core of who we are—even if it never manifests itself in these other external ways. For example, Ezekiel 14:3-5 speaks of the elders of Israel taking their idols into their hearts. Habakkuk 1:11 says of Babylon that, “their own strength is their god.” So idolatry can show itself in arrogant self-reliance. First Samuel 15:23 says that presuming on God’s grace is as idolatry. Colossians 3:5 equates covetousness, or greed, with idolatry—again, there may be no external bowing to an image, but, Hey, the heart is consumed with want for possessions instead of being content in God.
There are many other examples like this in the Bible. But all of them—whether external idolatry, or, what’s beneath it, internal idolatry—they all come from the same place, which Paul brings out in Romans 1—the exchanging of the glory of the immortal God, or the exchanging of the truth about God for a lie (Rom 1:23, 25). Idolatry grows out of a heart that doesn’t want to worship God for who he is and doesn’t know God as he truly is. When that’s the state of your heart, people can manufacture an idol or a god out of just about anything.
In his book, The Mission of God, Christopher Wright surveys the Old Testament and finds at least four things from which we tend to manufacture gods or idols.[1. For further explanation see Christopher Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006), 166-71.] He observes that we can make gods out of things that entice us (Deut 4:19). Created things that are greater than us, stronger than us, charming to us—we can be enticed to worship them. We can make gods from things that we fear (Ps 96:4). People imagine that some things in creation that aren’t really gods should be feared more than God. Even in our own culture we can fear people oftentimes more than God.
We can make gods out of things we trust (Ps 31:6; 115:8). Idolatry manifests itself when we give our ultimate trust to something else or someone else for deliverance and satisfaction and meaning in life; when we sacrifice all kinds of things in life—including our own families and marriages—to get whatever these other things may offer us. You fill in the blank: financial security; a “new you;” more comfort; escape from difficulties; personal fulfillment.
We can also manufacture gods out of things we need (Matt 6:31-32). Yes, there are things like food and water and clothing and shelter that we truly need. But it’s possible that our wholeness and well-being isn’t found ultimately in a good Father who gives, but in the gifts themselves. And the Bible gives more examples than just these.
The Bible also has examples of people making idols out of the sun, moon, stars, and rivers (Deut 4:19; Exod 1:22); out of a nation’s strength and army (Hab 1:11); kings and political leaders can become idols (Isa 36:6); there are rain gods and fertility gods (1 Kgs 13:1; 18:19); people worship sex (Rev 2:14), money (Matt 6:24), and anything else that was possible to covet (Col 3:15). People even worshiped themselves (Acts 12:22-23). And it’s not that each one of these things possessed some kind of alluring, god-like powers. In reality they weren’t gods at all (Isa 45:5; 1 Cor 8:4-6). But it was something that happened in the sinful human mind and heart. The human mind and heart imposed on them god-like qualities that they didn’t really possess.
It was as John Calvin once said about the fallen human nature: it’s a perpetual idol factory.[2. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.11.8.] And he’s right. It has been the problem with all humanity since Adam and Eve disregarded God’s goodness for a lie. They wanted something bad enough that they chose to sin in order to get it. That’s idolatry. That’s not only theological idolatry—they had a warped view of God’s character and goodness—it was also idolatry of self—I don’t care what God says; I’m in charge—and even idolatry of creation—there’s something he made that I want more than him. In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller writes, “If anything becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity, then it’s an idol.”[3. Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters (New York: Riverhead Books, 2009), xxi. Keller also lists a variety of idols categories on ibid., 203n119, including theological idols, sexual idols, magic/ritual idols, political/economic idols, racial/national idols, relational idols, philosophical idols, cultural idols, and deep idols related to power, approval, comfort, and control. Christopher Wright adds work to the list as well in Christopher Wright, The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission, Biblical Theology for Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 236-39. Wright says, "Work is a creational good, but the Bible is well aware of the temptation to turn work into an idol—when we live for what we can do and achieve, and then derive our identity and fulfillment from that. This is even more so when work is driven by greed…The idolatries of career, status and success are all connected to one of the most dominant gods of the public square…consumerism" (Ibid., 237).]
And the consequences of idolatry are devastating. To begin, our idolatry robs God of the worship he alone deserves. He alone is holy and good. We are his creatures, and he deserves all our attention and adoration and trust. But when our hearts manufacture idols, it robs him of the exclusive praise he deserves.
Idolatry also makes us subject to demons. Three places in the Bible makes this explicit—Exodus 32:17, Psalm 106:37, and 1 Corinthians 10:20-21. To participate in false worship is to participate in the demonic.
Our idolatry also dehumanizes others. When I project a godlike status onto something in creation—so that I find my worth in that something, I find my identity in that something, I find my ultimate happiness in that something or someone—people in my life turn into one of two things: vehicles to get what I want, or obstacles in the way of what I want. That’s not my line; that’s Paul Tripp’s line. Idolatry turns people into vehicles to get what I want or obstacles in the way of what I want. It dehumanizes them.
Idolatry also harms ourselves, because we were created to reflect the image of the triune God. And when we worship idols, the Bible says that we become like the idol. Did you know that? Psalm 115:8, after describing idols as those things that cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or talk, he says this: “Those who make [idols] become like them; so do all who trust in them.” That means you become useless and dead just like the idol you worship, when you were made for glory and life.
And finally, idolatry also abuses God’s good creation. Things that were meant to point us to God’s glory get used instead for self-glory. Things that were designed to serve others, become things that we use to take advantage of others. You see, idolatry turns everything backwards and upside down. And God will have none of it. God will not tolerate idolatry because he is jealous for his glory.
And so a large portion of Scripture is devoted to what the true and living God will do to put an end to the false worship, to restore his creation to what it should be. But that also means utter destruction for all false worshipers, for all idolaters. Revelation 21:8 says this of idolaters: “their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” That’s the bad news.
The Good News of Zechariah 13
But that’s not all the Bible says about our God. A large portion of Scripture is devoted to what the true and living God will do to put an end to the false worship; but an equal portion of Scripture is devoted to what he will do in mercy to save for himself a people that bring him praise, a people that would not tolerate idols or any teaching that might encourage idolatry. Out of his holiness he must condemn false worship; but out of his love he also turns false worshipers into true ones. God doesn’t tolerate idolatry also because he sees what it does to his beloved people, and he comes to their rescue.
Zechariah 13 falls into this storyline, and once again calls our attention to a God on mission to flood the earth with his glory and…to save a people who will delight in that glory. Verse 2 calls him the Lord of hosts. The Lord of hosts is the title God uses throughout the Bible to describe himself as a mighty warrior. And here the picture is that of God the warrior coming to cut off the idols from his land, from his people, from the kingdom he claims for himself.
One thing we should remember is that in the Law—Exodus 23:13—the Lord told his people to make no mention of the names of other gods. That’s another way of saying that he wanted them forgotten altogether. Even in our own culture, the idea of intentionally not mentioning someone’s name so that they pass out of memory shows some level of hatred for that person. God expected the same hatred from his people toward the idols of the nations.
The thing is, is that Israel fails miserably at this again and again and again. Their history sounds like a broken record as they do evil and serve the Baals; Solomon builds high places for all his foreign wives. This king comes in and tears them down; the next king comes in to erect the idols once again. Jeremiah even says that the false prophets made God’s people forget his name…even as their fathers forgot God’s name for Baal (Jer 23:26-27).
The only name that God’s people were to honor and make famous was the Lord’s name. But instead they took to their lips the names of the idols. Their minds and hearts invested certain objects or people with deity-like qualities that were reserved for the Lord alone. How would this seemingly endless pattern of idolatry end?
The only way the pattern ends is by an act of God grace. And here we see it promised in Zechariah 13:2. God would cut off their idols by his own power, so that they shall be remembered no more. And to cut them off doesn’t mean he’s just going to get the external statues out of the land; it means he’s going to so fundamentally change his people that they’re not making them any more in the land.
This word, “to cut off,” is sometimes used to speak of God establishing a covenant with his people. He would literally “cut” a covenant with them (e.g., Deut 29:11; 1 Kgs 8:9; Ps 105:9). But here we’re seeing his covenant with them also “cuts off” everything that keeps them from him. There’s an internal change going on here, very much like we find with the new covenant in Ezekiel 36:26-27 and Hosea 2:17.
Notice, the people don’t initiate this; the Lord does. It’s a continuation of his work of grace. People make idols; the Lord smashes them. Or here it says that he cuts off their names from the land. He is not only restoring his people to himself, but also restoring worship to his people, such that they don’t tolerate idolatry anymore. Hold that thought for a second, while we look at something else he does…
God Removes False Prophecy
He also removes false prophecy.[4. Some will argue that Zechariah is talking about the cessation of prophecy in general. But the context is clearly talking about God ending false prophecy in particular. (1) It’s associated with a “spirit of uncleanness” in verse 2. (2) In verse 3 they speak lies in the name of the Lord. (3) The punishment they deserve is reminiscent of the punishment a false prophet deserved in Deuteronomy 13. (4) The prophets caught by the community in Zechariah 13:4-6 continue to lie to escape judgment. Thus, the removal of false prophecy is in view.] Very often in the Bible, idolatry and false prophecy go hand-in-hand. False prophecy sets before the people things that are not true about God. False prophecy—if it’s believed—makes people ignorant of what the true God is really like and how he acts and what he actually says. And if you don’t know who the true God is or what he is like or what he says, then you end up living an idolatrous life. You tolerate things that he doesn’t tolerate; you love things that he doesn’t love; you call evil good and good evil; you say “Peace, Peace” when there is no peace; and so forth.
This was going on in Israel (Jer 23:14-15). But here we’re getting a divine reversal of that problem. God’s grace removes even the teaching that was cultivating idolatry. Verse 2 says, “And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.”
Now, it’s not clear from this verse alone whether this “spirit of uncleanness” is an actual spiritual influence—like when Jesus casts out unclean spirits in the Gospels—or simply a mental outlook that leads people to do unclean things. At the same time, the Scriptures don’t always separate the two either (e.g., Eph 2:1-2). But this much is clear: the influence is such that it leads people to have a certain outlook on life, and that outlook leads them to do things that make them unclean before God. God is getting this spirit along with its mouth-pieces out and away from his people.
And what verses 3-6 then show is that the people themselves join God’s initiative. We get two pictures. The first picture we get is that false prophecy doesn’t even make it outside the family. Verse 3, “If anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.”
Whoah! What’s the point in putting it that way? Well, Zechariah is building off something that was said long beforehand in Deuteronomy 13. Deuteronomy 13 basically says that if a prophet tried to entice the people to follow and serve other gods, the people weren’t to listen, and they were to put that prophet to death—even the family was to be involved in stoning them. The point of it all, though, was this: “For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” The point of that law was to show Israel that not even the strongest of family ties should stand in the way of your worship and obedience to God.
Something similar is going on here with the picture Zechariah gives us. “On that day” God’s grace would so transform them that not even the most intimate of relationships would stand in the way of their worship and obedience to God.
Second picture: the new devotion reaches out beyond the family to the community. Verses 4-6 give us a picture of the community searching out, shaming, questioning, and exposing false prophets. At first glance it seems like some of them have a bit of a turnaround. But let me point out a few things as we read through verses 4-6, and you’ll see there’s no true repentance here, only more deception.
It says, “on that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision [or better, be put to shame because of his vision] when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, but he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.’” He’s trying to cover his tracks, in other words.
He used to wear a hairy cloak—that was common for even true prophets like Elijah and Isaiah. He used to wear the hairy cloak to pretend he was a true prophet when he wasn’t. But now that the community is after him, he takes off the disguise and makes up a story: ‘I’m no prophet, I’m a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.’
Then the community interrogates him further. Verse 6, “And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” Why would he have such recognizable wounds on his body? Because it was common for false prophets to cut themselves in some attempt to get their god to listen—you remember the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:28. They “cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.”
The community has pegged this guy—“What’s with the wounds?” Then he tries to get off the hook again: “the wounds I received in the house of my friends.” First off, I don’t know what kind of friends seek to wound you like this. But secondly, Zechariah gives the reader two clues to see right through their lies: “house” can carry the connotation of a temple, even a pagan temple like we saw in 5:14. And this Hebrew word for “friends” can also be translated “lovers,” which Ezekiel uses multiple times to refer to idols (Ezek 16:33, 36, 37). In other words, there’s some deep irony here. These guys can’t even lie well enough to get themselves off the hook; they end up exposing their falsehood even further.
So the two pictures here come together to say that a day is coming when false prophets will be exposed and removed from God’s community. And the people within God’s community won’t tolerate any teaching that compromises their worship or their obedience to God—even when it comes from a family member. When we take that promise and smash it together with the first promise to remove idolatry from the land, what we’re looking at here folks is a God who is jealous for worship and jealous that nothing stand in the way of his beloved people enjoying that worship.
Jesus & the Spirit in the Church
And as I said much earlier, he brings these promises to fruition through the coming of his Son Jesus Christ…“on that day.” He starts that removal in the first coming of Jesus and finishes the removal at the second coming of Jesus. So what I want to do before a few exhortations is show you how these promises have begun and are playing out right now through the work of Jesus Christ in the church.
Let’s not forget that the grace of these days is set in motion by the Pierced One of Zechariah 12:10—that’s Jesus according to John 19:37. It is through the piercing of Jesus on the cross that the Holy Spirit is poured out and a fountain of cleansing from sin comes to us. First Corinthians 6:11 says that at one time you were idolaters. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” God sent his Son Jesus into the world to die for our idolatry, to forgive our idolatry, and to cleanse us from every idolatrous motive, thought, or act that makes us unclean before him.
More than that, we actually see Jesus fulfilling the life of true worship that we should’ve lived all along. As the true Israel, Jesus heads into the wilderness in Matthew 4 and what is one of the things that the devil tempts him with? “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus says to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Every moment of Jesus’ life was full of pure worship of the Father.
And the good news is that his life of worship, his idolatry-free record, gets credited to your account when you trust in Jesus. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). He’s not only the sacrifice that cleanses us but the righteousness that justifies us.
Even more than that, Jesus rose from the dead to pour out the Holy Spirit on the church. And listen to what Ezekiel 36 says that means for God’s people: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” So, same day in view that Zechariah 13 is talking about. He just adds this: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezek 36:25-27).
How does God cut off idolatry from his people? He gives them new hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit. Every person united to Jesus gets the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit turns false worshipers into true ones. If you’re in Christ Jesus by faith, you’re not a perpetual idol factory any longer; you’re a child of the living God. Jesus said that “the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” John 4:23. You can do that when you’re in Jesus. Romans 12:1 says that we’re now free to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship.” Hebrews 12:28 says that we’ve received a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” The Holy Spirit makes us God’s true worshipers.
Are we still tempted to worship false idols? Yes. Are we still tempted to make gods out of things that aren’t God? Yes. Are there still many idols around us? Yes. It’s part of living in the overlap of the ages—the already-not-yet of the kingdom. But the incredible thing about God’s new covenant people is that even though the fullness of his kingdom has not yet come, the Holy Spirit has already fundamentally changed us.
Our fundamental disposition and bias and nature has been transformed, so that even now we can worship the true and living God and experience conviction when we depart from that worship of him. The Spirit is driving away our idols now to prepare us for a kingdom where they will truly be remembered no more. Their names will never be known again, folks! That day couldn’t come soon enough!
What about false prophecy? Well, it too isn’t quite yet removed altogether. We have the final hope of Revelation 19:20, when Jesus returns the false prophet and all the others who followed him will be thrown into the lake of fire. But for now, even the apostles predicted false teachers rising up within the church or against the church.
And even then, there’s provision for how the church responds in light of the remaining false teachers. God gives us the written word and the Spirit of truth, so that we can determine right from wrong, so that we can determine the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6). God also gives us elders to teach sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict it—Titus 1:9. And God gives us the authority of the church to correct and discipline those whose lives or teaching are out of step with the gospel.
The point is that through Christ and the gift of the Spirit, God’s grace transforms us to be jealous for God’s worship and correct anything that may compromise it. So, turning on that note, I want to exhort you in at least four ways this morning.
Show no tolerance for idolatry or false teaching
First of all, show no tolerance for idolatry or false teaching—in your own life, in the lives of your brothers and sisters, or in the church you’re a part of. One of the things I tell all new members is this: you have a responsibility to call attention to what brings honor to Christ. If I say something or live in a way that diminishes Christ’s glory, I want to know about it. I want to correct it, so that people aren’t led astray in their worship. Idolatry not only harms myself; it harms the others around me and robs God of his glory. So there should be a passion in God’s people to guard each other from the harm of idolatry however it may manifest itself.
It’s actually loving not to tolerate idolatry, just like God doesn’t tolerate idolatry out of love for his people. This is very relevant in the face of today’s religious pluralism that nearly equate love with tolerance. But the Bible sets before us only one God who is worthy of all our worship: the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By not tolerating idolatry and false teaching, we help direct people’s hearts to the only true and living God who exclusively deserves our worship. Remember the apostle John’s words, “Little children, keep yourself from idols” (1 John 5:21).
Expose idolatry’s emptiness and false promises
Second, expose idolatry’s emptiness and false promises. Read the prophets. They’ve got some excellent discourses that mock the gods of the nations. Read Isaiah 40 or Isaiah 46, Jeremiah 2—where you get a glimpse of idolatry from God’s perspective. They’re rather humorous. Then apply the mockery to everything that you’re tempted to give ultimate dependence to that’s not God. God’s point in those passages is that idolatry will always disappoint you. As others have said before, an idol is dependable for one thing—disappointment; failure to satisfy; failure to fulfill; failure to save. Take your cue from God’s word through the prophets and expose idolatry for what it truly is.
Set your mind and heart on the glory of Jesus Christ
And then, thirdly, while you’re exposing idolatry’s emptiness, set your mind and heart on the glory of Jesus Christ. This is ultimately how we win the fight against idolatry. We don’t win by going on an idol hunt; we win by thrilling the soul with the true and living God as he has revealed himself through Jesus Christ.
First of all, how will you even discern idolatry if you haven’t seen God rightly in his Son. Moreover, at the root of all idolatry is exchanging the glory of God for something lesser. So, in order to overcome idolatry we need to reverse that. Let’s not exchange the glory of God, let’s adore it, let’s look at it, let’s fix the eyes of our heart upon it. Let’s not just sit around and report how this or that idol tempted us; let’s also declare the glory of God’s grace in the idol-smashing work of Jesus Christ and the new obedience made possible through the Holy Spirit.
How do you put to death idolatry according to Colossians 3:1-5? Listen to it: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is…Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Or, 2 Corinthians 3:18—we are transformed by “beholding the glory of the Lord.” The more you see of Jesus’ glory, the less compelling the idols will become. Or Romans 12:2, “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” If idolatry is something created in the mind as we turn non-gods into gods, the way to overcome it is to be transformed in your mind. And the way Paul does it throughout Romans is setting the church’s mind on the glory of Christ.
Rescue others from idolatry by preaching the gospel to them
Finally, let’s go out to the world on this note: rescue others from idolatry by preaching the gospel to them. You don’t actually do the rescuing; God rescues them. But he does it through your preaching, through your conversations at work and at family events and over dinner and on the airplane and in the park—everywhere that you’re on mission as God’s true worshiper.
This is exactly how it happened when Paul preached in Thessalonica. We get this in 1 Thessalonians 1:3-9. Paul says, “our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” And then he says that they also “received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” So the gospel was preached; the gospel was received; and here’s the result—you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
False gods and idols, the spiritual forces of evil behind them—they oppress the people in your neighborhoods who do not know Jesus. They dehumanize them. They suck the life out of them. They turn everything in their lives upside down. They distort their view of creation. They deceive people into thinking that there’s satisfaction to be found in them. And you possess the only message that can unmask them for what they truly are and set them free in Jesus Christ.
Let us go to them with the same compassion in which God came to us. Let us open our eyes to their desperate slavery to idols, and bring them the good news of a God powerful to cut off their idols too. Let us expose the false teaching of the world, and bring them the message of truth. Conflict is guaranteed. People will not want to give them up so easily. Sometimes it even caused a riot or two in Paul’s own evangelistic engagements. But the glory of God is worth it and those for whom Christ died are worth it. Let’s preach so that they might enjoy the worship of the true and living God with us.