The title I originally wanted for my book, Idol Lies, was The Stonecutter,
based on this verse from Ezekiel:
I believe this act of God turning our heart of stone into a heart of flesh
is both an event, beginning at salvation,
and a process, which continues until we see Him face to face.
Our idols are like stones, as dangerous as cancerous tumors.
Here is how I put it in the promotional for Idol Lies:
Keller does not cover Mark 6 in King’s Cross, but we will. I see two kinds of stones in this chapter: stones of unbelief and stones of idolatry, which exacerbate one another.
The illustrations given in this chapter shed light on how these stones are formed, work together, and bring us harm. I believe this could be a pivotal chapter in our growth.
Congratulations to you who are still in this journey, two months in, for it shows you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and Jesus says it is those who will be satisfied. There is something wonderful about experiencing the presence of the Spirit and a new tenderness in our hearts — nothing can satisfy like that.
Our symbol for the week is a heart of stone being turned into a heart of flesh
Our Highlight Of Last Week
Honoring our own dear Mary this week, who, unless God brings a miracle, is very close to going to be with Him. Last week we all discussed how vital it is to trust Jesus when He delays. Mary has certainly been exempliary in this in her long hard battle with cancer. She also has been exempliary in one who has, truly, developed “a heart of flesh.” Lizzy and Mary have become fast friends. Here she is with Lizzy and Philip.
Lizzy says: These words she sent almost a year ago really capture Mary’s heart.
The sooner you can give thanks for something that God has allowed into your life the sooner you arrive at His grace. I can’t tell you, Lizzy what a truly miraculous affect that piece of advice has had on my live over the past 25 years. There are many, many times that I can’t get my heart into it. So then I just say, “I don’t feel like I can thank you for this right now, Lord, because, honestly I’m mad at You right now for allowing this. Please help me to get to the point where I CAN thank You for this.” And then the Holy Spirit does His mysterious work on me. Soon I can think of nothing else, it eats and eats at me. Finally I slightly reluctantly acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all things, good and bad. I’m able to say, “I know You tell me in Your Word that You WILL work everything together for my good and for your Glory.” So, thank you for this (diverticulitis, broken tooth, frozen shoulder, cancer…) for however You are going to use if for good in my life and for Your glory. Be glorified in this, Father. Show Yourself mighty on my behalf in this.
I am helpless to help myself. I’m confused and upset and sometimes mad at You, but I don’t want to be because I KNOW that You are LOVE. I know that Your heart breaks when Your child’s heart is breaking. So, thank You for this.” And by the end I’m no longer choking on those words to get them out. I mean it. I know He is good. I can look out
my window and know that. And I know He is all about putting His glory on display in the lives of His children. Most of the time I never see how he gets any glory from my life and situations and that is okay. I am believing that He is, because He is trustworthy. If He says something, He means it.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- If you have been impacted by any study on idols of the heart, share specifically a way it has helped you become more of what the Lord would have you be.
Monday: The Stone of Unbelief
Jesus was a puzzle to people, not at all what they expected in the coming Messiah. In his hometown of Nazareth, they scoffed that someone as humble as the “son of a carpenter” could possibly be the Messiah. Luke tells us they demanded Him to repeat the miracles He had done elsewhere. (Luke 4:23) Their stones of unbelief kept even Jesus from being able to perform miracles!
3. Read Mark 6:1-3 and explain:
A. What amazed the Nazarenes about Jesus?
B. What perplexed them?
4. Read Mark 6:4-6
A. What does Jesus say?
B. What does He do that shows kindness despite their unbelief?
C. How is His power limited? Reflections?
Unbelief and idolatry are intertwined. As our own Rebecca put it in her video testimony in Idol Lies, when she faced the choice of giving up her habit of eating pie in front of the news each night, she asked, “Will God meet me — or will He just let me sit in my pain?” If you haven’t seen her testimony, it is on the page on my website with the Idol Lies videos.
5. Is there a sinful habit (anxiety, gluttony, sexual sin, laziness…) you
fall into because of a lack of faith? If so, “mourn your sin.” As we learned in studying the Beatitudes, it is good to confess by telling God how this hurts you, others, and Him. Then ask Him for the faith to trust that He will meet you. You may do this privately or publicily before your sisters here.
6. Read Mark 6:6-12
A. What did Jesus tell them to do, and why, do you think?
B. How was the experience of the disciples different from that of Jesus in Nazareth? Why, do you think?
Tuesday: Herod & Herodias – The Stone of Irreverance
A pattern in Scripture is that those who respond in repentance when confronted with their sin are softened and blessed whereas those who resist repentance are hardened and suffer. Asking God to make us quick and good repenters is a wise prayer.
7. Read Mark 6:14-16
A. Who were people saying Jesus was?
B. Who did Herod think he was and why, do you think?
C. How did Herod’s sin, which he thought would help him,
backfire? Compare this to your heart idols.
He (Herod) feared John while he lived, and now, when he thought he had got clear of him, fears him ten times worse when he is dead.
8. Read Mark 6:17-20
A. How had John the Baptist shown bravery?
B. How did John initially suffer and yet is eternally exalted?
C. Why did Herodias “nurse a grudge?”
D. Have you ever done this? What does it look like?
E. Why was Herodias not able to have John killed?
F. What conflicting emotions did Herod have in listening to John?
There is a flashy joy, which a hypocrite may have in hearing the word; Ezekiel was to his hearers as a lovely song (Ezek. 33:32) and the stony ground received the word with joy. (Luke 8:13)
9. Why should we reverence the Lord, according to Matthew 10:28?
10. How could you use what you’ve learned in the Word today as a springboard for prayer?
Wednesday: The Stone of Idolatry
11. Read Mark 6:21-29
A. Summarize in a few sentences what happened.
B. Matthew Henry believes both Herodias and Herod were
looking for an “opportune time to do away with John the Baptist.” Henry believes that Herod knew what the daughter of Herodias would ask for and to protect his reputation made an oath, so that keeping his vow would look like integrity. Do you agree or disagree and why?
C. Meditating on verse 26, what heart idol do you think was
operating in Herod?
Thursday: How To Handle Our Doubts
When the people in His hometown expressed doubt and scoffed among themselves about Him, Jesus was amazed. But when John the Baptist is imprisoned and sends a message to Jesus about his doubt, Jesus responds with compassion and praise. A pattern we see in Scripture, with Job, with David, and with John the Baptist is it is not wrong to lament and ask God questions. God wants us to come directly to Him with our questions and doubts, because He wants intimacy with us, and you cannot be intimate with someone who is dishonest with you. It is confusing when God allows good men to suffer and bad men to escape earthly punishment, but as Asaph realized in Psalm 73, it is important to consider the destiny of each.
12. How quickly, according to Mark 1:14, was John put in prison?
13. Read Matthew 11:1-18
A. What question did John the Baptist send to Jesus and why do
you think he was having doubts?
B. How does Jesus answer John? Why do you think He responds
with compassion to John’s doubts?
C. How does Jesus praise John?
14. Read the following one page commentary on the above.
15. Where do you have doubt? Go to the Lord about it in prayer.
Friday: They Had Not Understood — Their Hearts Were Hardened
16. Read Mark 6:30-44
A. Summarize what happened and anything that strikes you.
B. What should this have told the disciples concerning the identity
17. Read Mark 6:45-56
A. Summarize what happened and anything that strikes you.
B. Meditate particularly on verses 51-52. What had they not
understood that led to a hardness of heart?
18. Give praise to the Lord for specific ways the Spirit has revealed to
you that Jesus is the Christ.
19. What do you think you will remember about this week and why?