Removing Idols of the Heart – Gospel in Life

Removing Idols of the Heart

Tim Keller |  October 22, 1989

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  • Repentance
  • Sin
Colossians 3:5-11
RS 207-02


An idol is something else besides Jesus Christ that is your life. In order to grow, the job of the Christian is to identify what those idols are and to pull them out. You’re looking at yourself and you’re saying, “Why am I so angry? Why am I so worried? Why am I so depressed?” Then you say, “Let me analyze this. What is actually driving me? What goals do I feel like I must have?”

Many of us say, “Oh, I trust Jesus and nothing else.” But what is your heart functionally trusting? What does it actually trust? What does it really rely on? Here is question we need to ask: “Has something besides Jesus Christ taken title to my heart’s functional trust, its functional preoccupation, loyalty, service, and delight?”

Colossians 3:5–11

Turning away from our wrongdoings, also known as repentance, is a key part of being a Christian. It’s a day-by-day commitment and requires faith. Unfortunately, many people don’t fully understand this today. The story of the two debtors teaches us about the difference between love and repentance, why it’s crucial to understand the good news of Jesus, and why we must rely on God’s love rather than our efforts. The sermon also emphasizes the need to identify and let go of harmful habits and attitudes, and the importance of putting our faith in Jesus above everything else for spiritual growth.

1. When you’re able to spot your problems like you are, half the battle is over

It’s important to understand our own tendency to do wrong. If we think of this as a battle, then being aware of our selfishness and pride stops them from surprising us. Realizing our own faults should not make us feel down, but rather remind us that we’re growing and living.

2. There are two basic parts to repenting of a sin

It’s important to acknowledge and honestly admit our wrongdoings, without trying to justify them. Understanding how our sins affect God and how they offend Him, leads to true repentance – this is not about feeling sorry for ourselves, but wanting to be holy. Regularly remembering Jesus’s sacrifice for us on the cross helps us to let go of our sins and embrace freedom.



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