Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Men's Fraternity Week 14

Men’s Fraternity
Week #14 Empty Promises

Pastor Brian often begins our sessions with short videos. Sometimes they tie in with that week’s message and sometimes they’re just for fun, like this one. This one is for those of us who have had a bad morning:

Idols can be divided into two categories:

  • Surface idols.
  • Deep idols.

Deep idols are:

  • Control – pursuit of security or power.
  • Significance – desiring approval or recognition. [If you feel devastated when you don’t receive approval or recognition then this may have become an idol for you.]
  • Comfort – driven to ease or consumption. [Seeking comfort in food, etc…]

Jeremiah 2:13
For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

John 4:13-14
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again.

To be an Authentic Man is a repenting man, a man identifying the broken cisterns so he can pursue the Life of Christ.

Biblical examples of Men struggling with Lure of Idolatry.

1. Adam

Genesis 3:5-6
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Foundational lie to idolatry:
When we can go around God and away from God rather than TO God to meet our deepest needs.

Control - ”your eyes will be opened”
Significance - ”you will be like God”
Comfort - ”good for food…delight to the eyes”
Like all idols, this idol (the fruit) over-promised and did not deliver.

2. Solomon

[I have read through the book of Ecclesiastes a few times but confess that I never fully grasped what it was all about. Pastor Brian helped put it in perspective, however, when he said that it is basically King Solomon’s labwork; experimenting with various means of pleasing himself or giving meaning to his life, and drawing conclusions on the results.]


Ecclesiastes 1:13
I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.

Acquire control of his life through knowledge and trusting in what he has learned.

Ecclesiastes 1:17

And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but striving after wind.

Knowledge too over-promised and under-delivered for Solomon.


Ecclesiastes 2:1
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.”

Pursuit of comfort through pleasure. Believe that escaping life and responsibility and giving ourselves to parties and leisure is the life.

Ecclesiastes 2:2

I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”

When something good becomes a god, the pleasure it brings dies in the process.


Ecclesiastes 2:3
I searched with all my heart how to cheer my body with wine…

Turned to comfort of escape through alcohol.

This is fueled by a man who wants escape and immediate gratification, temporary relief, or a buffer between him and the stress of everyday.


Ecclesiastes 2:4-8
I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

Looking to his accomplishments was going to give him a sense of significance.

Ecclesiastes 6:2

a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.


1 Kings 11:3
He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.

The god of sex offers a counterfeit joy that becomes elusive through time, ever harder to please, ever closer to emptiness.

The god of pleasure is the master of bait and switch, luring us in with images and promises that become the chains and shackles of our mental imprisonment.


Ecclesiastes 2:18
I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me,

If you seek significance and control from work, it will not _________. [Brian didn’t fill in this blank for us but I think it should be “deliver” or something like that.]


Pursuit of Righteousness
I can control my life or find significance in:

  • Being good
  • Being moral
  • Fulfilling the duties of the church

Philippians 3:4-7
though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

Questions for discussion:
1. We have looked at some key characters in the Bible that had some battles with idols in their lives that left them empty What are some of the empty promises you have discovered in life?

2. Share with your group what would be your top idol we discussed today that leaves you empty, but you find yourself wanting to go back or going back?

3. Read Matthew 6:19-21 and discuss what Jesus was saying here in relation to our struggles with the deep idols we have discussed today.

4. Discuss this quote “Idols are defeated not by being removed but by being replaced.”

1 comment:

  1. Another good one. I hope you're answering these and looking within yourself, this is the best medicine for a man. With God's guidance you WILL find a place of comfort.

    Share with your group what would be your top idol we discussed today that leaves you empty, but you find yourself wanting to go back or going back?
    I could put something here but I'll keep it to myself.
    Don't want to be long-winded this time. ;)

    ILU, remember that!