Idolatry—The Darling Sin of Humanity is the title of the sixth episode from season one of Way of the Master.
(0:00 - 1:12)
The episode begins with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron sitting in tall chairs in a deserted restaurant.
- Ray starts it off by saying "In previous programs, we have looked at the responsibilities we as Christians have for reaching out to the lost. The Apostle Paul said "And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." We [Christians] have a moral responsibility to reach out to the lost. We are like doctors with cures for cancer. We are like firemen trying to rescue people in a burning building. We must reach out, so in this program we want to teach you the basic principles of evangelism. What we want to teach you is how to make the transition from the natural to the spiritual. By that, how you can move from talking about natural things like weather to "Who made the weather? God?" Kirk enters in and wonders how he can make such transitions to people he really wants to share the gospel with.
(1:43 - 5:49)
- Ray begins by talking about God's Law. He uses the analogy of planting good seeds in soft soil that produce goods plants, rather than planting it in hard soil. This, according to Ray is like the Mirror analogy. Kirk explains that people use the mirror to find the filth on them, which causes them to use the sink and clean themselves, which is what God's law does.
- Ray "Today we are going to look at the first and second of the Commandments. 1) "I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shall have no other God's before me." This means God must be the focal point of our affection. We should love the creator with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength so much that our love for our family, friends, neighbor our on life seem like hatred." Ray tells a story that he gave his kids a TV, but when that day he returned home they did not greet him because they were watching the TV. Ray turned it off and said you are affecting the gift and not the gift-giver.
- Kirk takes over and moves on to the second Commandment, "2) "Thou shall not make thee a graven image." Kirk explains that means idolatry, and says most people think that idolatry is something the ancients used to worship god figures, but Kirk says it happens today in another form."
- Ray jumps in and provides a quote from Times Magazine letters to the editor,
"Excellent topic. I truly enjoy reading "Does Heaven Exist?" I am a devout Christian, and I do not give much thought about Heaven. My spirituality is not based on an anthropomorphic god who will throw four generations of children into eternal damnation because some distant forefather ticked him off. To me, God is a symbol for something unfathomable, an utter mystery that fills my heart with joy and my spirit with song."
- Ray notices the part that says "To me..." Ray says "When you use the words 'to me' you shape a god to suit yourself and then you can sin your little heart out, you can do what you want. And that sin will fill your heart with song until Judgment Day where you will find God requires a counter for every accounted idol."
(5:50 - 8:46)
Ray and Kirk go about to interview individual among the public. They explain their different views of what they believe, what God is, and such. The first person points out it is difficult because there is no single definition of what is God. Some believe God is sympathetic and loving, some think God wants you to have a good time just behave, some believe in karma, and one did not believe God exists.
(8:48 - 9:35)
- Kirk "Idolatry is perhaps the greatest and most dangerous of all sins, because once you create a god in your mind that you are comfortable with, you also create a moral standard to go along with him. For example, you may believe in a god who thinks a woman has a right to kill her own child in her womb. Or perhaps, your god would like to reward you for flying planes into buildings full of innocent people. If I want to be an idolater, I start with the phrase "To me" and make sure the God likes the things I like and hates the things I hate. If I like to cheat, lie, steal, and lust, my god will too."
(9:36 - 10:46)
Ray and Kirk are walking along a path in a valley. Ray talks to Kirk about an experience he had in 1977 when a car with a Jesus superstar bumper sticker approached, and the driver offered him tickets to a concert. Ray said 'You are a good cast, but the Jesus you preach is not the Jesus in the Bible.' One of the ladies in the car said 'But we are making Jesus acceptable for the 20th century (it was still the 20th century then).' And Ray points that out as idolatry, that we should not shape God to suit us, but we should shape us to suit God. Kirk responds by saying he grew up as a devout atheist, laugh at churchgoers, until someone handed him a New Age book about God, that pointed to You as God. Kirk thought if that is true then Kirk created a god in his mind and that is the god I prayed too. Kirk asks in a laughable tone "Isn't that stupid?" Chuckling Ray responds "Yes it is."
(10:47 - 11:45)
- Ray retells the story of the children of Israel (Exodus 32:4) who created a golden calf idol. they gave up all that was precious to them (gold, earrings, jewelry) melted it all down to make an idol. Ray says "To create an idol, all you have to give up that is most precious to you, or as I should what should be precious to you. Your reason, your logic, your intelligence. Let me give you an example, this is from the Washington Post...
Over the years, Ed and Joanne Liverani have found many reasons to summon God. But now, at middle age, they've boiled it down to one essential: "Not to get clobbered by life."...So sometime in the last 10 years the Liveranis began to build their own church, salvaging bits of their old religion they liked and chucking the rest. The first to go were an angry, vengeful God and Hell – "That's just something they say to scare you," Ed said. They kept Jesus, "because Jesus is big on love."
(11:55 - 15:09)
- Ray "Do you believe there is such a things as absolute right and absolute wrong?" The lady says it is a trick question because everything is relative. Ray asks is adultery wrong? The lady things it is sad, but not wrong. Ray asks is lying wrong? She says yes. Ray asks is stealing wrong? She agrees. Ray asks is murder wrong? She says yes. Ray moves in with his Are you a good person? tactic. Ray tells her Jesus said if you look at a person with lust you have committed adultery. The lady says she thinks God is a forgiving God. She says even in a world of black and white, the intention of the heart really counts, and she says her heart is positive. Ray says she is committing idolatry.
(15:10 - 16:23)
- Ray "So to create an idol, all you have to do is give up you intelligence. Its like this, like saying "To me" the sun is made of ice, it come out at night, and its square. Well that may be a nice thing to believe but its not true. It does not matter what we believe about God, he says "I am the Lord, I change not." Many years ago there was a famous song called the Dessert Arata when at the climax it said "Be at peace with God whatever you conceive him to be." Well God does not change because we conceive him to be something, as I said he said "I am the Lord, I change not" he is a god of righteousness, a god of holiness, and a god of justice and truth. This is what Jesus said, "Whoever falls upon the stone will be broken." He is obviously speaking of conversion, but to whoever the stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder. when you grind something to powder you do a fine job, and the Bible teaches that God is not just going to punish murderers, rapists, and thieves, he is going to punish lust, greed, hatred, and anger without good cause."
(16:24 - 17:45)
- Kirk "One of the most common symptoms of idolatry, or a wrong sense of god, is self-righteousness, they go hand in hand." He goes on to explain when a person does not understand God's law, a person will go on and say I am a good person because I did this, that, and so on. Kirk points out the self-promotion. Kirk says it is not about the righteous deeds we have done that counts, it is through God's mercy. Kirk goes on with his court room analogy. You are found guilty of murder, but you stand up and say "But judged, I polished your car this morning" The judge appreciates it, but regardless you have violated the law. Kirk says this pleading is a form of bribery and is insulting to the judge.
(17:46 - 21:16)
- Kirk "Is our country an idolatrized country? To figure that out we just have to ask people what God is like. And the truth is, people worship different concepts of God all the time."
- Ray "So how can we bring a correct understanding of what God is like to an idolatrized nation? Well, we've got to do what Moses did. Here is the scenario, Moses was up on Mt. Sinai getting the Ten Commandments for forty days and forty nights. Israel felt he got lost or something so they created for themselves an idol, they made a golden calf and dancing around it. When Moses came down from the mountain he found some of the Israelites naked. If you read 1 Corinthians 10, you will find idolatry is the root cause of sexual sin. See a golden calf does not say you shall not commit adultery. It's a dumb idol, it does not have moral dictate. So what did Moses do? He lifted those Commandments and threw them to the ground, smashing them, putting fear of God into the hearts of Israel. Moses said "Who is on the Lord's side?" And we need to do the same thing. We need to learn not to thrust those Commandments at an idolatrous nation and say "Who is on the Lord's side?" We have to open the spiritual nature of God's law. The Bible says thou shall not commit adultery, Jesus said if you look with lust you commit adultery in your heart. We have to put the fear of God in the heart, because the Bible says through the fear of the Lord men will depart from sin."
- Kirk "It is important to point out that we are not talking about hellfire preaching, throwing the Bible at people and telling them they are going to go to hell. What we are talking about is using the Ten Commandments as a school master to lead people to Christ, and that is exactly what the Apostle Paul said "Show a sinner his sin in its true light so he can see his need for God's forgiveness" and that is what we need to do. People need to understand their need for forgiveness. Most people think they are very good, morally excellent when compared to their next door neighbor. But when compared to the perfect standard of righteousness of God, they come up very short and it’s the Ten Commandments that make that very clear to them."
- Ray "Kirk, you brought in a good point there about hellfire preaching. Hellfire preaching I believe (well, we believe) does more damage then good. Give an example, imagine if I rushed into your home and said "I am an officer of the law. You are going to prison for a long time" and I just grab you, arrest yo and throw you into prison. That is totally unreasonable. Instead, if I did this it would make more sense and become reasonable to you. I rush into your home and say "we found some 10,000 marijuana plants growing in your backyard. You are in big trouble." Now what I am doing is reasonable because I read the law to you. We do not say to sinners "If you do not accept Jesus you are going to Hell" that is unreasonable, it doesn't make sense to them. But if we take the time to open up the law and read it to them and tell them God consider lust to be adultery, hate to be murder, if you lied or stolen once you are a lying thief, when we do that judgment becomes reasonable. And that is what Paul did with Felix about sin, temperance and judgment and Felix trembled because judgment made sense to him.
Questions and Objections
(21:37 - 22:44)
- Kirk "Scripture tells us to be ready always with an answer to every man who asks or reason for the hope that lies within you. So it is wise to study the answers to questions that will most likely be asked of you when you share your faith. For instance, what do you say to someone who tells you "My God is a god of love and he would never create hell." Well, if someone says that, they are right, their god would never create a hell because he couldn't, because he does not exist. He is a figment of their imagination. What they have done is created a god in their own mind that they are more comfortable with, one that makes sense to them. They have created a god to suit themselves. The oldest sin in the book, it’s called idolatry and the Bible says idolater will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The one true god could, however, did create hell for all those who violated his law and do not repent and put their faith in the savior. They will suffer God's just wrath. Get a hold of the Evidence Bible to learn how to share the reasonableness of Hell."
(22:45 - 24:21)
- Kirk "For many of us, it would be a scary thing to think that we are trying to make sinners tremble. We do not want our family members and our friends tremble. So the question comes up, "Is it legitimate to use fear as a motivating factor to bring people to Christ?" And the answer is yes. The Bible says (2 Corinthians 5:11) knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. Now what do we mean by the terror of the Lord? I just talk about the love of the Lord, but the truth is the Bible says (Hebrews 10:31) it is a fearful thing to be in the hands of the living god. So it is legitimate to use fear a motivator to go to your friends and family members who don't know the Lord and say "Get right with God because on Judgment day you will have to give account for your sins.""
- Ray "Kirk, often we view fear as a negative thing, when fear is actually very positive. Think of it like this: If I am on a plane and a parachute on and you don't have yours on, and I know we are going to jump 25,000 feet in any moment. What is the best thing I can do to put your parachute on? I could hold you by the ankle outside the plane for 5 seconds, pull you back in and when you are like "Woahhh" and I hope you have an actual fear of the consequences of jumping without a parachute. So fear motivates you to do something, and when we speak of the Commandments and people go "Woahhh" and they see the fearful thing of God's law and will make you put faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
(24:22 - 25:01) Shows two street interviews of sadden tearful people who listen to Way of the Master's preaching of Jesus and his sacrifice. The last one ends with the interviewee in prayer.
(25:02 - 25:37)
- Ray "Listen to this quote from A.W. Tozer the well-known and well respected Bible preacher,
"The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws everyday nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded."
And that really sums up idolatry, when we create a god to suit ourselves then god is not to be feared. That god smiles on iniquity and we get closer and closer to death.
(25:38 - 26:47)
Scene switch to Ray street preaching. In a loud voice he uses the tactic are you a good person? on a person.
(26:78 - 27:28)
Scene switch to Kirk Cameron, who summarizes that if evangelicals want to reach their friends and family effectively with the gospel, they should follow in the footsteps of jesus. He tells the audience to use their tactic are you a good person? and the Ten Commandments. If they reveal what they think about god, you should take note that their version of god does not line up with the "truth" [holding up a Bible].
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