3 Steps to Overcome Idolatry

March 15, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: 2 Kings 18:1–8, 1 John 5:21

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 15 March 2019

Text: 2 Kings 18:1-8

Opening Discussion: One question internet security offers when trying to retrieve a password is “What was your first car?” Everyone can remember their first car, the colour, the smell. Some people even give their car a name. Can you relate? Share what type of emotions you had toward your first car.

Observation - What does God’s word say?

Tim Keller gave an excellent definition of an idol. He said “An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…”

Often good things can become bad because of a wrong emphasis. Idolatry is a serious problem, and not just for the Israelites of Old Testament times. Anything or anyone can become an idol in our lives because whatever we love more than the Lord is, by definition, an idol. 

Our worship of God has to be most important. False worship is one of the greatest evils man can practice. Idolatry in its larger meaning is properly understood as anything that substitutes the Creator with created things. Every fallen culture has its idols, and we must be particularly sensitive to what the world is calling us to worship in place of the one true God who created us all. Neither sex nor power nor fame nor anything else deserves primacy in our lives, for none of these things is transcendent—none is the Lord and Creator of all.

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?


  • 2 Kings 18:1-8

Hezekiah was a mere 25 years old when he inherited the royal crown from his father Ahaz. And yet at this tender age (perhaps not so young for that day) he grabbed the nations attention by cleaning things up externally with the goal of cleaning things up internally for the glory of God.

Hezekiah knew that Judah was in deep spiritual trouble because even though they claimed to worship the true God, they were worshipping Him in a false way. Hezekiah had inherited this mess from his ungodly father and he now aimed to do something about it. He was intent on doing the hard thing because his reforms would put him at odds with much of both the religious establishment as well as putting himself up against the whole Jewish population. Nevertheless he did so and the Lord commended him for it. The Bible itself testifies to his uniqueness when it says, “he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done . . . so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him” (2 Kings 18:3, 5).

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?
  1.  What is idolatry? Why is it such a significant theme in scripture? Compare the following scriptures: Exodus 20:3-6; Colossians 3:5; Ephesians. 5:5.
  2. How does God view idolatry? Why is idolatry so foolish and wicked? (Isaiah 44:6-20; Jeremiah 2:11-13).
  •  Is there an Attitude to be fostered?
  1.  Why does God demand that our worship of him be exclusive? Compare the following scriptures: Deuteronomy 4:23-24; Deuteronomy 32:16-21; Isaiah 42:8; 1 Chronicles 16:23-26.
  2. In what ways is idolatry a temptation for all of us? What are the things that can become idols in our hearts? In what ways are they just as foolish as the idols made of wood and stone? (Ezekiel 14:1-8).
  •  Is there a Behavior to be changed?
  1.  How can we identify idolatry in our own lives? (What are the things that I love, fear, trust in, desire and pursue in place of God?)
  2. How can the gospel help us overcome idolatry in our lives? (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21.)


2 Kings 18:7 tells us that Hezekiah “prospered wherever he went.” Someone has said that “success is knowing the will of God and doing it”. It was precisely because Hezekiah did what he knew to be the will of God that God prospered him. He trusted that God would prosper him, not his own wisdom. And when it comes to our own obedience, we must trust God rather than our own means to prosper us.

Every form of idolatry manifests in our lack of trust and faith in God. Counselors have long understood, for instance, that one of the main reasons people become drug, alcohol, and sex addicts is because they are looking for a way to escape their pain, to be saved from their trouble. But such things, as well as the gods of other religions, cannot rescue us. They all disappoint. Only the transcendent Lord of creation, the first cause of all things, can redeem us.

Hezekiah was deeply devoted to God; he was able to see that which others could not. He did not trust in his own expertise or experience. He trusted in God, the eternal and the unchanging. And as Jeremiah said, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7).


Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help us identify and repent of the idols in our hearts that steal the glory away from God.
  2. Pray that our faith and trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ will be whole and complete, displayed in our loyalty and obedience to our Creator and Saviour God.

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