“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” – Exodus 20:4
The Second Commandment
The days of making a wooden or stone idol appear to be long gone. For the most part people do not have physical idols in the classical sense sitting in a niche at home. (However, do not be surprised if you find some who do. I have encountered this before.) For many, the second commandment is archaic, and harkens back to a time when people were uneducated and superstitious: or so they think. I like to call this thought as historic snobbery. People assume they are better than those who came before. But the fact is people are very idolatrous. Anything that has a greater attention in our lives becomes an idol. When speaking to a lost person who thinks they have not broken the second commandment just ask them these few questions:
- What consumes most of your free time? (Hobbies, TV, sports, games …)
- What would like to have more of? (Money, Health…)
- What’s the most precious thing in your life you could not live without? (Family, Money …)
- Was God the answer to any of these questions?
In America, there is a prevalence of material idolatry. We want the newest technology, the best clothes, the greatest career, a nice car and the list goes on. It affects every aspect of life and it has even infiltrated the church. But who gave us all this stuff? Wasn’t it God? Imagine your children greeted you at the door every day when you came home. This made you feel so good you decided to give them a gift. So, you bought your children a new and wonderful toy. Afterwards, you notice when you come home they no longer greet you. Instead, their attention and affections are captivated by the new toy. How would you feel? Our God almighty has given us all we have and more; right down to the air we breathe. But how often do we thank Him? Instead, we love the gift more than the gift giver. We love the creation over the Creator.
Speaking Truth in Love
Communicating this truth to the unbeliever will help them to understand the seriousness of taking God for granted and setting up an idol in their hearts. Before they can repent and trust the Savior they must be informed as to what God wants them to repent of. God gave us the Ten Commandments as a tool to illustrate this truth. Make sure you are clear that reforming one’s life does not equate salvation. This is legalism. The Commandments expose the sin in one’s life and points them to the Savior. This is how we use the law in evangelism.
For more information on free evangelism training at your church visit Hearts For The Lost.