Quoted Thomas Chalmers in the sermon this morning. Thomas Chalmers quote from one of his sermons entitled “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” (Chalmers was a 19th century Scottish theologian). In the sermon he explains how the beauty of the Gospel is the only hope for our idolatry.
“It is seldom that any of our bad habits or flaws disappear by a mere process of natural extinction at least it is very seldom that this is done by the instrumentality of reasoning, or by the force of mental determination, but what cannot be destroyed may be dispossessed, and one taste may be made to give way to another and to lose its power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind. The boy, who ceases at length to be a slave to his appetite does so because a more mature taste has brought it into subordination. The young man may cease to idolize sensual pleasure, but it is because the idol of wealth has gotten the ascendancy, so the love of money can cast out the love of sloth. However, even the love of money can cease to have mastery over the heart if it is drawn into the world of ideology and politics and he is now lorded over by a love of power and moral superiority. But there is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. The heart’s desire for an ultimate object may be conquered, but it’s desire to have SOME object is unconquerable. The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is through the expulsive power of a new one. It is therefore only when admitted into the number of God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ that the spirit of adoption is poured out on us — it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one great, predominate, and supreme affection is delivered from the tyranny of all its former desires and the only way that deliverance is possible. Therefore, it is not enough to hold out to your people the mirror of their own imperfections. It is not enough to come forth with a demonstration of the effanecent character of their enjoyments, or to speak to their consciences of their follies. Rather, make every legitimate method of finding access to their hearts for the love of him who is greater than the world.”
I also want to throw out a great resource on our subject from this morning. Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods: The Empty promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope that Matters is classic Keller and well worth the read.