130: The greatest way you can grow as a Christian with Ray Comfort
Why do you trust in Jesus?
“Why follow some ancient carpenter-turned-philosopher from a podunk town in the Middle East, a man whose own people didn’t believe in him for the most part? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Or does it?”
That’s the question Ray Comfort asks in his latest book, “Why Would Anyone Follow Jesus? 12 Reasons to Trust What the Bible Says about Jesus.”
Of all the gods, gurus and good people out there, why Jesus?
Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters and the bestselling author of more than 100 books, including How to Know God Exists and The Evidence Bible. He also cohosts the award-winning TV program Way of the Master, airing in every country in the world.
In this book, Ray walks through 12 persuasive reasons to believe that Jesus was who he said he was and did the things the Bible records him doing. Most importantly, he explains why it actually matters to your life right now.
And how you can share him with others.
Show highlights include:
- More of Ray’s story.
- His hope in writing his latest book, “Why Would Anyone Follow Jesus.”
- Who Jesus is.
- What evidence Ray points to that Jesus existed.
- How he describes the immensity of God’s power.
- The conversation Ray uses to lead people to God.
- How not to be insane in this crazy world.
- What Jesus demands.
- Ray’s encouragement for finding a deeper trust in Christ today.
Listen and subscribe to the Do Gooders Podcast now. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.
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Christin Thieme: Well, Ray, welcome to the Do Gooders Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Ray Comfort: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Christin Thieme: Absolutely. As we get started here, can you just share a little bit about your story and some of the highlights of what brings you to today?
Ray Comfort: Yeah. You might notice a very slight accent. I was born twice in New Zealand. Became a Christian in 1972, April the 24th, 1:30 in the morning. I was like a crazy man because I’d found everlasting life, and I began open air preaching for almost 12 years. Almost did that every day. Anyway I could, I tried to reach the lost with the gospel. Began itinerating, traveling throughout Australia, New Zealand, then into Hawaii.
A pastor in Hawaii in the mid ‘80s heard a teaching I did, called Hell’s Best Kept Secret, and he disagreed at first and then he began calling me. He says, “This is so biblical. America needs to hear this teaching.” So, invited us to base our ministry in Southern California. We came over in 1989, if I remember correctly.
Things were very quiet for about three years, and then, David Wilkerson, the famous author, called me and heard the teaching, flew me to New York, shared it in his church, and then another gentleman who had a high-profile ministry videotaped the teaching and screened it to 30,000 pastors. And that exploded our itinerant ministry in the U.S.
And then the actor Kurt Cameron heard the teaching. He listened to the audio twice. Hell’s Best Kept Secret. Called me and said he wanted to combine ministries because it was so important. He took my notes and shared that teaching on a major television network and our site got, I think, over a million hits on one day. It actually crashed. From there, we created a television program that’s now in its eighth season, that’s broadcast in 190 countries.
It’s been a wild ride and one that I’m honored that got allowed to be a part of.
Christin Thieme: Yeah, it sounds like it. And now you’ve put all of this experience and insight into a book that’s called, “Why Would Anyone Follow Jesus: 12 Reasons to Trust What the Bible Says About Jesus.” What was your hope in writing this book?
Ray Comfort: Oh, my hope has always been the same. It was DL Moody who said, “I’d rather set a thousand to work than do the work of a thousand.” And I’ve always seen that there’s been a shortage of laborers when it comes to sharing the gospel. Jesus said that in his day and it’s so true now. I’ve always prayed that God would raise up laborers. And one of the reasons Christians don’t share their faith is they’re not equipped, because they’re not sure how to do it. May not have an answer to a question. They’re held captive by fear.
But the key to any battle, if you’re a soldier, is to have confidence in your weapons. This book will teach you how to address the conscience, as Jesus did, rather than address the intellect. We tend to go to the intellect with apologetics, which I believe in, by the way, but apologetics should be seen as bait when we go fishing for men. If you go fishing with bait and no hook, you’re going to end up with fat, happy fish that get away.
You need to learn to pull them in, and the way to do that is to imitate what Jesus did and address the conscience. That’s what’s been missing in evangelism for many, many years and that’s why our church has been filled with false converts and why so few Christians see their faith, because they don’t have confidence in the weapons that God has given us.
Christin Thieme: So this book lays out the tools for us and is a starting point. It begins with a question that you ask, “Who was Jesus?” How do you answer that?
Ray Comfort: Even Christians don’t really understand. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. Say that to most Christians or normal people and they’ll say, “No, he was the son of God.” But the Bible tells us he was the express image of the invisible God. The Old Testament said, “A body you have prepared for me.” Book of Timothy says, “Without controversy, God was manifest in the flesh.” Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Gospel of John begins by saying, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and the word became flesh and walked amongst us.”
So, if that’s true, which it is, his words would be without precedent. And when you look at the words of Jesus, they blow you apart. He destroyed the whole theory of evolution with one sentence, and when you tell people that, they say, “I believe in evolution, but I think perhaps God used that.”
I said, “Do you know Jesus destroyed it? One sentence.” He said, “In the beginning, God made them male and female.” You’ve got to have birds and bees. There’s got to be a male and a female. And the one thing that’s missing with evolution is, the whole theory, which is nothing but a fairy tale for grownups, doesn’t bring into account female.
They’re all bent-over gorillas slowly straightening up and they’re all men. And so, evolution has no idea how everything reproduced, but the Bible makes it very clear and Jesus destroyed it in a sentence. Never a man spoke like this man, never a man said the things that this man said. He said, things like, “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, but all of them that are in their grave shall hear my voice and be resurrected.” They’re either the words of an insane person. They’re going to raise all the dead? Or God manifest in the flesh.
When people are wondering about the Christian faith, I just say, “Read the gospel of John.” It’s written, you might know, you have everlasting life. We give out gospels of John when we’re witnessing because of that fact.
Christin Thieme: So when someone then says to you, “Well, how do you really know that Jesus existed? How do you know that he is who he said he is?” What do you point them to?
Ray Comfort: Oh, I point them to the date. I say, “What year is it?” They say, “Oh, 2022.” I say, “Since who?” They say, “Since Christ.” And it’s all over. No one in history has evidence of his existence like Jesus. He split time down the middle. There are cities named after him. Millions of people today still follow his words.
There’s more evidence that Jesus existed, historically, than any other figure in history. We don’t doubt that Napoleon existed or Nero or these historical figures that are just mentioned in history books. People accept that they exist without question, but when it comes to Jesus, his existence is doubted by some and it’s because of what he said. He said, “The world hates me because I testify of its deeds that they’re evil.” And so, people don’t want to follow Christ for the same reason criminals don’t want to follow the police. That’s the last group of people they want to follow is the police. But God says he forgives our sins and gives us a new heart, new desires, so we thirst after righteousness when we are born again.
Christin Thieme: How do you describe the immensity of God’s power?
Ray Comfort: Boy, that’s a great one. Just stand underneath a lightning storm sometime and get a tiny, tiny view. It’s just terrifying. Seriously, I live in Southern California, which you do too, but I’ve been in other states where they have thunder on steroids, especially in Texas. Everything’s bigger in Texas. You hear a roll of thunder that makes everything move and see lightning flash and just realize this is God playing around with nature. He’s not even showing his anger, but it has the power terrify us. It terrified Israel, on Mount Sinai. When God gave us law, there was thunder of lightning and the people said, “Don’t let God speak, lest we die.”
And Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake.” And this is when God came with a smile on his face, in peace, to give his law to Israel. So how great will be the terror when God manifests his power and glory at the second coming? I think our big problem with evangelism has always been in history, is that men have a wrong understanding of God’s nature and character. That’s why the sin of idolatry is addressed in the first two of the 10 commandments. “You shall have no other gods before me and don’t make yourself a graven image.” Don’t have your own image of God.
And the world has an image of God as this old man sitting on a cloud with his finger touching Adam’s finger. God is nothing like we imagine him to be. Just think of this for a second. God knows all about the atom in the middle of your eyeball. The one that’s right in the middle? He made it. He knows what’s inside that atom. Nothing is hidden from the eyes of him, with whom we have to give an account. And so, when you begin thinking about the greatness of God, how can he make a butterfly? The grub goes in a cocoon and comes out with wings. It’s just crazy.
How can he make the hummingbird? To have a hummingbird come next year, you got to be so quick, because it moves like greased lightning and its wings are flapping a like 150 flaps or something a second. How could God make a machine? And this little bird looks for a female, it makes a house of its own, has kids, raises them, goes out to get food, recognizes his own kind. He knows other hummingbirds. He hasn’t even seen a movie or a documentary on hummingbirds and what they’re supposed to look like, but he recognizes his own kind, to start a family with a female or a male.
And so, we pull back and look at creation and think God’s genius is beyond understanding. It leaves us without understanding, leaves us in awe with our mouth open, and when we get a glimpse of the greatness of God and a glimpse of his holiness, knowing that we have to stand before him on judgment day, that puts the fear of God in us, which is the beginning of wisdom.
Christin Thieme: That is really amazing when you stop and think about all the intricacies of so many things around us that we don’t even pay attention to often.
Ray Comfort: Absolutely. We take them for granted. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” It’s like when we moved away from England, we declared independence. We didn’t suggest it. We declared it. And the heavens declare God’s glory. So when an atheist looks up at the heavens and sees the clouds, those beautiful, big, fluffy clouds that contain hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, waiting to water the earth, and when he sees the immensity of the sun and the blueness of the sky, he knows God exists, but he denies him because he loves his sins.
Christin Thieme: So when it comes to sharing our faith with others, you write in the book that, “If our agenda is to convince someone that, with God, the impossible is possible, we can possibly do that by reasoning about the details of his infinite power. But, again, if it’s to bring sinners to the savior, there’s an easier way. We simply do what Jesus did.” What do you mean by that? How do you go about leading people to him?
Ray Comfort: Okay. This is the average day. I go out twice a day. I’ve got a dog that wears sunglasses and I put him on my bike. I wear sunglasses. It means I can go up to any stranger and have instant rapport, because everybody loves talking about dogs. I go up to a complete stranger, say, “Hey, how you doing?” He says, “I like your dog.” I say, “Yeah, his name’s Sam. So what’s your name?” He says, “Fred,”
“Fred, nice to meet. Got a question for you.” He says, “What is it?”
“Do you think there’s an afterlife? And Fred says, “Oh, I don’t know.” I say, “Do you think about it much?” He says, “Yeah, all the time.”
“You afraid of dying?”
“Do you think you’ll go to a heaven when you die?”
He says, “Yeah, I hope so.” His “I hope so” has now dissipated my fears, because, even though I’ve evangelized to many people, I still have a problem with what’s called the fear of man. Every David suddenly becomes a Goliath as I go to approach him. So his, I hope so, I think so, whatever, makes me realize this is a human being. It’s not the antichrist.
He’s open to thinking about eternity. So I say, “You’re going to make it to heaven when you die?” He says, “I hope so.” So I say, “Let’s find out.” And I do what Jesus did. I open up the Ten Commandments and just say to him, “Fred, let’s see if you’re a good person. How many lies have you told? Ever stolen something?” He says, “Yeah, I’ve lied and stolen.”
“Have you used God’s name in vain?” He says, “I’ve done that many times.”
“So you’ve used your creator’s name, his holy name as a cuss word? Jesus said if you look at a woman and lust for her, you commit adultery in your heart with her. Have you ever done that?” He says, “I do that all the time.” I say, “Fred, you’re not a good person. You’re like the rest of us. You’ve just told me. You’re a lying thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. If God judges you by those commandments on judgment day, will you be innocent or guilty?”
He said, “Man, I’ll be guilty.”
“So what can you do to escape going to hell?” He says, “I don’t know.” And that’s when the gospel comes in, that Christ died for our sins. He took our punishment. He paid the fines so we could leave the courtroom. Then he rose from the dead, and I say, “Now you just have to repent and trust him. It’s so simple. A child can understand it. Turn from those sins. Don’t play a hypocrite. Perpetually turn from sin and then trust in Jesus like you trust a parachute.”
You don’t just believe in a parachute. That’s not going to help you when you jump. You put your trust into it, you put it on. And the Bible says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in him.” The minute you do that, you’ve got God’s promise, and he cannot lie, he’ll grant you everlasting life as a free gift. As icing on the cake, he makes you a brand new person on the inside that loves to do that which is right. And that’s a miracle to send loving sinners.
So that’s the average way I share my faith. We’ve got a YouTube channel if people want to see it. It’s called Living Waters YouTube or Ray Comfort YouTube. It’s got over 200 million views and you can see atheists backslide and people changing their attitude when it comes to things of God, simply because I’m using biblical principles.
Christin Thieme: Yeah. So simple when you lay it out. In the book, you go through 12 reasons to trust what the Bible says about Jesus. One of those chapters is titled “Jesus in the Crazy World.” I think a lot of us feel like we’re living in an ever increasingly crazy world. So can you share a little bit more about that one?
Ray Comfort: Yeah. When someone becomes a Christian, they’re no longer insane, and I say that, not tongue in cheek, because the Bible says this, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. The demon possessed man, Legion, when he was delivered of his demons, was clothed now and in his right mind.” And until we come to Christ, we’re not in our right mind. We’re nuts. And the reason we’re nuts is because God’s offering us everlasting life, and most people say no. I’ll think about it. I prefer sin.
We’re talking about eternal life as a free gift from the God who gave us life in the first place. We’re talking about death being removed from us and a fear of death, the power of death being taken from us, all because of God’s kindness. And so, I encourage people to think sanely. Don’t be silly about this whole thing. It’s not just getting married we’re talking about, it’s not just what you’re going to do for a vocation. This is your eternity.
And so, mean business with God. Think seriously about it. I’d say to people, “Look, if you’re going to die at midnight tonight, you’d hang on to every word I’m saying. If you knew at midnight you were going to pass from this life into the next, you’d say to yourself, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ But you’re not doing that and you don’t even know if you’re going to last to midnight tonight.”
And so I say, “There’s a sense of tremendous urgency when it comes to your own eternal salvation. Get right with God. Turn from your sins and he’ll save you, make a new person in Christ and he’ll give you a book that’s actually an instruction book for humanity.” Why does humanity make a mess of marriage? Because it’s not listening to the instruction book. Why is humanity terrified of dying? Because it doesn’t listen to the instruction book.
Many times, as a man, I’ve got a new appliance and I haven’t bothered to read the instructions because I think I know better, and then I go back to the instructions when I mess up. And humanity has messed up big time in every area and it’s simply because we need to go back to the instruction book of God’s Word.
Christin Thieme: Hmm. And then number 12 is “Jesus and His Demand For Love.” What is that demand on us?
Ray Comfort: Love is actually a choice. Hollywood’s in a mess with their marriages because they don’t choose to love. They love superficially. They look and say, “He looks nice or she looks nice.” And they don’t care about character. But the Bible gives us rules and tools on how to make marriage work, how to make your relationships with other people work, how countries can get along. It’s all to do with love. If we obey the command to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and obey the command to love our neighbor as ourselves, that means we choose to love, we would wouldn’t have any problems in a marriage because we’d lay down our free will and say, “Look, honey, I don’t live for myself. I live for you.” And she’d say the same thing. Nations would treat each other with respect and not be suspect.
Because when you love someone, you don’t want to do them any harm. You won’t lie to them, won’t steal from them, won’t commit adultery with the wife, you won’t kill them, because you’ve put God first. So love is a choice, and when God comes to you through the power of the new birth, he puts his love in you and now you have access to the love the world doesn’t have. You choose to love, but you have the depth to love your enemies and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
We often hear on television so and so was a Good Samaritan. They did this for somebody else. They returned a wallet that had a thousand dollars in it. And those news items are such a testimony to the wicked nature of mankind. What they’re actually saying is somebody did something good, the right thing, and returned a wallet. Whoa, that’s big news. It should not be big news. It should be what everybody does.
So when Jesus gave a story of the Good Samaritan, we call it the Good Samaritan, but he did just what was required of God and he wasn’t good at all. He was just obeying the basic requirements of God’s law, to love his neighbor as much as he loved himself. We could do that. If we could love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, every problem that plagues humanity could be gone almost instantaneously.
Christin Thieme: Hmm, absolutely. So what is your best encouragement or your top tip to somebody listening today on how to find that deeper trust in Jesus?
Ray Comfort: Well, the best way to swim is just to dive in, and the greatest way you can grow as a Christian is to obey the great command. The Great Commission: go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. It terrifies us because we’re creatures that want people’s approval, but what we’ve got to do is stop thinking about ourselves and think about those who are under the power of death, heading for hell and show concern for them. The way to dissipate your own fear of man is to do what I said to do. Ask people if they think there’s an afterlife.
When you meet someone you don’t really know, just say, “Hi, how you doing? Nice day. Hey, I got a question for you. Do think there’s an afterlife?” You haven’t mentioned God, Jesus, heaven, hell, sin, righteousness, judgment. All you’ve done is ask them for their opinion, and as they talk, you begin to answer questions and share the gospel with them. That’s the best thing you can do to grow as a Christian, to grow in your relationship with the Lord, to have your walk deepen, is to obey his command to take that gospel to every creature. You’ll never be the same. If you have that agenda daily, your daily life will become an adventure to you and you’ll be experiencing what Jesus called the abundant life.
Christin Thieme: Well, Ray, thank you so much for your encouragement today. This has been definitely something that we can all take away some tips from, and we need to also check out the book, “Why Would Anyone Follow Jesus,” for those 12 reasons to trust what the Bible says about Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing with us today.
Ray Comfort: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
- Read “Why Would Anyone Follow Jesus: 12 Reasons to Trust What the Bible Says About Jesus” (Baker Books, 2022) by Ray Comfort.
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