fatalbert-cosby

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
Part of the problem with a society, especially one which has been conditioned by popular culture found in sports, music, but most of all mediums – television, is that it conditions people into a world of make-believe. They begin to accept and embrace the character that is being portrayed by the actor, and the results devastating for many when the truth is finally revealed. We see this in the lives of those whom society praises for their performance, but the truth is, especially in the world of television, it’s ONLY a performance. This is the powerful medium of sitcom television.
So what happens when people learn that a lovable tv star whom they have invited into their living rooms week after week, month after month turns out to be anything BUT what they portrayed as their celebrated character? The people become upset, even betrayed. But the truth is, many find out eventually that the person they have idol worshiped was just as human as they were, this presents another problem, what happens when that individual who is placed on such a platform is shown to have attributes of a monster?
Yet we see this being played out right now in our society by a loved tv “dad” to millions, but also to children as well. Even I can remember when Bill Cosby echoed out his familiar “HEY-HEY-HEY!” back in the early 70’s with his Saturday morning cartoon/educational persona as the overweight, but moral guided Fat Albert. But Cosby would go on to greater fame and influence with his alter ego Dr. Cliff Huxtable, a lovable doctor/father figure who would be known for his comical antics, playful admonishments, and relentless teasing humor. The television show, “The Cosby Show” would go on to network fame for NBC during the 80’s, placing Bill Cosby into our society as America’s “dad”. But when knowledge of personal behaviors, episodes of drug use, and worst of all, allegations of rape surfaced, not by one, but many women of all nationalities, it became clear to all that once again, America’s persistent people worship would leave many with heavy hearts.
Yet the list of fallen stars who gained the nations trust, not to mention their wallets, is long as it is thorough. Names, which over the years were fondly spoken of, only to be stained by the mud they wallowed in, prove that this is the result of worship – human worship, that God tells us to avoid. The reason is simple, when God is removed as the object of our faith, glory and worship, then something – anything, must fill that void, such is the case of millions who follow after talents of men, be they a politician, actor, athlete or even a preacher, the results always end up the same – hurt.

In the city of Lystra there was a certain man who had no strength in his lower extremities, having been a cripple from the time he was born, he had never walked.

This man heard Paul preaching. Paul watched him, and seeing that he had faith to be healed, told him loudly, “Stand up on your feet immediately!” And, immediately he lept to his feet and walked. When the citizens of Lystra saw the miracle performed by Paul, they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” They thought Barnabas was Zeus (or Jupiter – the chief god of Greek and Roman mythology), and Paul was Hermes (or Mercury – the messenger of the gods of Greek and Roman mythology) because he spoke more than
Barnabas.

The priest of the god Zeus brought oxen and garlands to the gates of the city from the temple of Zeus, to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas along with the crowd. When Paul and Barnabas realized what they were doing, they ran into the crowd tearing their clothes (in the manner of Mid-eastern mourning) and shouting. Why are you doing this?

There was nothing special about Barnabas and Paul that would place them on an equality with God to accept worship and sacrifice, they too were mere men, equal in the sight of God with all those in the crowd. Their message to those in Lystra was to turn away from doing things like this, no longer offering sacrifices to false gods or to men. The idols and gods which they worshiped were dead stone and incapable of doing anything, in contrast with the living God who has made the sky, the land, the water and all that are in all three. Sod had not, in the past, said anything to the Gentiles, but now he has sent his message to all men. That is the message which Paul and Barnabas were preaching to them. (Acts 14:8-20)
Even in the world of the church, we can see men being glorified to the level of worship, even praise, which should have went to God (as it’s reserved for him alone) being shown upon men. The results, like that of the secular world remain the same, when these men are shown to have feet of clay, the results are the same across the board – people are devastated. The reason is because we have become a society of man worship, be it celebrities or preachers, the worship of man is an abomination to God. It is an affront to all that is holy to the Lord.
Have you ever wondered why the early church never truly had this problem of man idolization? It’s mainly because the church always knew that God was the foundation of the church, and that its leaders were just that – men. But because of the instant influence of television, especially in the church world, we have made images made of flesh and bone into something greater than ourselves, much like the persona presented on television, these individuals have become something like saints to the non-catholic church. Peter had this encounter with Cornelius, who upon meeting Peter at the door, fell down to his feet and began to worship him. Peter immediately stopped and corrected him by saying, “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” (Acts 10:25-26)
The only thing we are required to do as it relates to other believers who hold a calling from the Lord is to give them honor and nothing more, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7)
True, the world will always find another source to worship, just as we see with Bill Cosby, his measure of fame is now ruined by his personal demons as a result of SIN, for someone else will come along to fill that void, and it’s only because they themselves cannot fill that void they so desperately seek, which can only be found in Jesus Christ. Yet the church must understand that the men and women they are putting up for all to worship is idolatry to the Lord, they are, as Peter said to Cornelius – men. They are flesh and blood. Yet by lifting these people up to such a level, not only harms the church, but the entire focus of our purpose, which is drawing men to Christ.
When idols of men fall, everyone suffers, and the reason is because of misplaced worship. When we look at another brother or sister in the faith, regardless of how much praise they have among others, or how many seats they can fill in a stadium, we must understand that if we place these individuals upon a platform of worship, the end result will always be failure, both on the person being glorified, and the Christian who follows them. It’s because we have left the purpose of the cross, where our only hope, our only salvation, our only desire should always be Christ centered and nothing more.
Let us remember the word as it comes to glorying in men, “Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” (1 Samuel 12:21)
The world will always find an idol, because they do not know the cross. Yet for the church to gain idols is because we have left the cross for something else. The solution must always be a returning to Christ and what he did on the cross, only then will we finally see an end (at least within the church) when idols fall.
Christopher
christopher152@gmail.com
Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a good word, especially for Christians. There are false teachers in the world, and Christians have to be careful to stay in God’s Word, and walk in His Spirit. There are so many Christians being pulled away from the one true gospel, taught in the book of Acts, because they are obsessed with the prosperity and “feel good” teachings being preached by Joel Osteen and others like him. Just because a “church” is large in numbers, it doesn’t mean the people in the church are really walking with the Lord. God should be the only One we worship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s