Sermon on the Ten Commandments (#1): “You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me”


Series Introduction: When I served as a youth pastor, I taught a series on the Ten Commandments. The applications were geared towards teenagers. These sermons were essentially my sermon notes and will hopefully help you in your studies, though I’m sure if I were to preach these again, there are some things I would change. Enjoy!

  • Question: Why Is God Greater Than Idols?
  • Transitional: 3 Reasons…
  1. Idols Do Not Hear Us – God Does {1 Kings 18:25-39}
    • (Explanation) A long time ago (1000 B.C.?) there was a prophet of God (someone who speaks on behalf of God), Elijah, who believed in the one true God, the God of the Bible. But during his day there were these prophets who believed in a different god, his name was Baal. And so you can understand the confusion as an average person back then, you would just want to know who is God? So this is what happened: Elijah and the prophets of Baal basically had this contest to see who was the real God. Baal’s prophets would bring an animal sacrifice to an altar, and pray to Baal to hopefully bring fire to consume the sacrifice. But, Elijah would have the same chance. And so, if either Elijah or the prophets of Baal were worshiping the True and Living God, we would find out.
  2. Idols Are Harmful – God Is Good
    • (Explanation) The prophets of Baal did everything in their power to get a response from their god. They even starting cutting themselves, thinking if Baal sees how much we’re sacrificing for him, then he will finally listen (1 Kings 18:28). But if you look in the very next verse we see the most terrifying thing about worshiping false gods (there was no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention). You see, this is the very dangerous thing about idols – we look to them for making ourselves feel good, we look to them to give us pride, but they always leave us empty because they are a poor substitute for God.
    • (Illustration) Sugar & Equal packets – what’s the difference? One is the real thing and one is a substitute. One is satisfying, and the other tastes similar but leaves you with an aftertaste. This is not a perfect illustration by any means, but you get the picture, an idol is a god-substitute.
    • (Application) “Dating relationships” are one of the most common god-substitutes, not just for those in high school, but for people of all ages. Can a dating relationship be a good thing? Absolutely (the question of when and who you should date is another question that we don’t have the time to go into tonight). Here’s a tough question to consider, (take the example of dating relationships) how do we know when something becomes an idol? I would suggest that it is when we are willing to sacrifice everything in our lives for that thing – God says keep the marriage bed undefiled, idolatry says I’ll do whatever he or she wants; God says that if you aren’t married yet that you are to marry “only in the lord” (Christians are to marry other Christians), but idolatry says, “I know what the Bible teaches, but I just don’t care.” Idolatry is harmful in the long-run: you will constantly have to choose between pleasing your idol or pleasing God, and that is a struggle that you don’t need to have. Instead, you can choose to give God the highest attention in your life. And then what you will find is a much more fulfilling life when you rest on God instead of idols. Which leads us to our third point.
  3. Idols Are Created – God Is Creator {Isaiah 43:1-2 and 5-7}
    • (Explanation) Not only does this passage show us the incredible things that God did for His people, but it also tells us “why we were created” – [Why were we created??) “For His glory.” So that means when we get caught up in idolatry, we are going against God’s intentions for us.
    • (Illustration) Ever try to walk up an escalator in a mall when the steps are going downward? That’s the thing about idolatry: we’re so stubborn that we want to do things the hard way, it’s like walking up an escalator going down.

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