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Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Entertainment: The Cultivating Of Holiness - Part 3

APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES TO READING MATERIAL

Review of the principles relating to entertainment.

Romans 12:9 – Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Abhor – Detest utterly, have a horror of.
Psalms 101:3 – I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.
1 Thessalonians 5:21,22 – Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Romans 6:19 – Simple concerning evil.
Simple – Without a mixture of evil, innocent.
Psalms 119:37 – Refrain from beholding vanity.
Job 31:1 – Covenant with my eyes to not look upon a maiden.
Philippians 4:8 – Think on these things.
Proverbs 17:15 – Condemning the just and justifying the wicked.
Romans 1:29-32 – Do these things and have pleasure in them that do them.
Ephesians 5:15,16 – Redeeming the time.
1 Corinthians 15:33 – Evil communications corrupt good manners
Communications – Communion, companionship, intercourse.
Romans 14:23 – Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.


The virtue of reading.

1Timothy 4:13 - Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Paul understood the vaule and virtue of reading and encouraged the young preacher Timothy to that end.

2Timithoy 4:13 - The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Paul wanted his cloak, his books and especially the parchments. He wanted that which would compfort him physically, his cloak. He wanted that which would occuply him intellectually, the books. He especially wanted that which would challenge him spiritually, the parchments.

Proverbs 13:20 - He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
You may ask what this has to do with reading. It has everything to do with reading because there is more than one way to walk with wise men. We can walk with wise men through the things they have written. This affords us the added luxury of walking with wise men who lived long ago. I personally love to walk with Spurgeon in his sermons.

Ecclesiasties 12:12 - And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Fact is there are more books than we can ever read. So we can afford to be "picky". We should only read good books and books that challenge us intellectually and/or spiritually. We should read books that educate us.

Acts 19:19 - Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Obviously not all books are good books. Once these people were saved that gathered their book dealing with the occult and burnt them. They did not confiscate others book but burned their own. Having determined they were bad they did not sale them or give them away, they desposed of them. In this case fire was the chosen means of disposing of the ungodly books.

Guarding our reading.

Be careful about novels. Be cautions about a diet of reading that consist mainly of fiction. As the years have gone by I have come to realize that nothing is as exciting as a true story. It seems to be more prudent to read about real events and real people rather than fictional chracters and events. With fiction you have been exposed to a good story. With non-fiction you have been exposed to a good story and been educated about real people, places, and events.

Romance books should be avoided. I cannot think of one good reason to read romance books. By their very nature they arouse the passions and make real life seem dull and unattractive. They tend to create a thirst that can only be quenced by stronger material. Even Christian romance books should be avoided.

In our reading we should be concerned about some of the same areas that concerns us with movies and television: language, ungodly behaviour extolled, biblical values trampled, Sexually suggestive or explicit material.

Good reading.

The Bible. This is the one book with which we can never go wrong. It will challenge us intellectually and spiritually. It will give us the story of some of the greatest men and women that ever lived. I will open the mysteries of life to us and lead us to everlasting life in the world to come and abundant life in the world now present.

Sermons. I would admit that this is probably an acquired taste but one that is well worth developing. The thing to do is find an author of sermons that you enjoy and you find challenging and then you can try others once you develop a taste for reading sermon. Some authors that I have found very challenging when it comes to sermons is Spurgeon, F B. Meyer, Tozer, and recently Ryle.

Theology. Again this probably requires an bit of effort to acquire a taste for it but again it is a worthwhile effort. Granted, There are many authors who have doe theology a great diservice in the way they have presented the material, that is in a purely academic tone. Theology should be alive and impact our lives. A good writer on theological topics will capitalize on this reality. There is nothing better than reading a book that causes you to see things in a different way, and make connection you have never made before.

Apologetics. In a world that is quickly becoming increasingly agnostic/atheistic apologietics is an important area to do some reading. Again, some of this reading can be very difficult but then again some of it can be challenging and helpful. I think it is important to have a basic understanding of apologietics of the Christian faith so that we can answer the legitimate questions of those who have been influenced by the anti-christian culture, raise questions in the minds of the true agnostic/atheist, and most important to have our own faith strengthened.

History. Our people are woefully undereducated when it comes to history. There is more that happened in the past than any one person can know, but we should strive to be ever learning. I have generally focused my attention on American history and Religious/Baptist history. These are my two areas of interest. But there is always something exciting to read in the area of history. When we read history we are reading about true things that really happened and people that really lived. My favorite author in this area is David McCullough. Unfortunately he has only written a few books, but the sparsity of material is made up for by the engaging narriative in which it is presented. Who would ever think you could write a book about a bridge and it be interesting. David McCullough did that with the Brooklyn Bridge.

Political/economic philosophy. It is in reading in this area where one begins to understand the difference between a pure Democracy and a Republic. The origin of liberties. The role of government. The right to property and wealth. The concept of legal plunder and many other priciples that have a direct impact on us today.

Educational. I suppose this would include all of the above and is the reason I encourage the reading of non-fiction. We are by nature ignorant creatures, we should not be satisfied with not knowing.

Does my reading material encourage me to abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good?
Does my reading material cause me to set evil things before the eyes of my imagination?
Is my reading material in keeping with abstaining from the appearance of evil?
Does my reading material allow me to remain simple concerning evil?
Does my reading material encourage the beholding of vanity?
Does my reading material incite lust?
Does my reading material encourage thinking upon things that are virtuous?
Does my reading material condemn the just and justify the wicked?
Does my reading material cause me to take pleasure in those things that are against God?
Is my reading material a good use of time?
Does my reading material put me in contact with evil communications that will corrupt good manners?
Can I enjoy my reading material with the certainty that it does not offend God?


APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES TO VIDEO/COMPUTER GAMES

Computer/video games are subject to the incremental introduction of worldliness.

Pong. You probably have to be almost 40 years old to remember that. It was just a little ball that was batted back and forth across the screen with two paddles controlled by two knobs that were held by the two players.

Pac Man - Most of us over 25 or 30 remember Pac Man. The little guy that made his way through the maze gobbling up little dots and assorted other things that appeared for points.

Video games that encourage role playing. Anyone that can remember either of those and has any familiarity with the moder video games knows they have come a long way and it has not generally been in a good direction.

Back in the mid 80’s when dungeons and dragons was popular most discerning Christians recognized the dangers of role-playing. With the introduction of video games far too many have compromised their discernment.

Would you let the person, in which your child/adolescent is playing the role, in your home and fellowship with your child for 2, 6, 8, hours a day???
Do we really want our children/adolescents playing a role that by its very nature is contrary to the person of Jesus Christ?
Do you want them playing that role in real life? If not why do you let them do it in make believe?
Children and even adults can lose their grip on reality by playing these kinds of games.

Videos games with increasing sexual exploitation, scantily clad women.
Videos games with an emphasis on violence, killing, blood, gore.
Driving a car is fun and games and not a serious responsibility with lives at stake!

At least it gives the kids something to do??? This is extremely bad reasoning to allow something in the way of entertainment?

We allow characters in our home that we would never allow in person.
We allow language to be used in our home that we have banned under all other circumstances.
We allow immodesty in our homes that in other venues would cause us to blush.
We allow violence in our homes (blood and gore) that would violate our sense of decency in real life.
We allow immorality to be paraded before our children that we say we are against.
We allow the ridicule of the things that we hold dear.
We allow the atrophy of the intellectual powers of our families in contrast to our stated position that we are to be getting wisdom and with all your getting get understanding.

It has been realized that gaming can easily become a form of psychological addiction.

Addiction:
The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going.
If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, he becomes irritable and miserable.

Folks we need to be honest about how connected our children are to these games. We need to be honest about their power to influence. Every video/computer game you allow your children to play is teaching them something.
Is it teaching them what you want them to learn?
Is it molding their character into what you want it to be?

Too many kids spend too much time hitting on a keyboard or a hand held controller! We need to guard our video/computer games.
Honestly examine their content.
Honestly examine the nature of the game (role-playing).
Honestly examine the amount of time spent. Parents control it.

Does my video/computer game encourage me to abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good?
Does my video/computer game cause me to set evil things before the eyes of my imagination?
Is my computer/video game in keeping with abstaining from the appearance of evil?
Does my video/computer game allow me to remain simple concerning evil?
Does my video/computer game encourage the beholding of vanity?
Does my video/computer game incite lust?
Does my video/computer game encourage thinking upon things that are virtuous?
Does my video/computer game condemn the just and justify the wicked?
Does my video/computer game cause me to take pleasure in those things that are against God?
Is my video/computer game a good use of time?
Does my video/computer game put me in contact with evil communications that will corrupt good manners?
Can I enjoy my video/computer game with the certainty that it does not offend God?

You say this is what I do for relaxation and fun. Even what we do for relaxation and fun must be submitted to the scrutiny of God’s word.


THE APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES TO THE INTERNET

The benefit of the Internet.

An unending source of information.
A great source of news that makes having a TV for that purpose unnecessary.
Personally research any topic.
An opportunity for ministry.
A great tool for communication.

The dangers.

Time waster
Surfing the Internet is risky business
Using the internet to compensate for boredom is a recipe for disaster
Pornography is a real problem on the internet
On line relationships can be a real issue and problem
Unless you know the people in real life you do not and cannot know for sure who they are or what they are about.

Guarding our Internet usage.

Does my Internet usage encourage me to abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good?
Does my Internet usage cause me to set evil things before the eyes of my imagination?
Is my Internet usage in keeping with abstaining from the appearance of evil?
Does my Internet usage allow me to remain simple concerning evil?
Does my Internet usage encourage the beholding of vanity?
Does my Internet usage incite lust?
Does my Internet usage encourage thinking upon things that are virtuous?
Does my Internet usage condemn the just and justify the wicked?
Does my Internet usage cause me to take pleasure in those things that are against God?
Is my Internet usage a good use of time?
Does my Internet usage put me in contact with evil communications that will corrupt good manners?
Can I enjoy my Internet usage with the certainty that it does not offend God?

Covenant Eyes is an excellent accountability program for internet usage. A report is sent as often as is designated to as many people as you want. They can see everywhere you have visited and how many times and how long. Questionable sites are highlighted at the top of the list. You can go anywhere but someone will see everywhere you have been. If someone attempts to remove the program the accountability partners are notified. We have the program both of our computers and the cost is $9.00 a month.


These are all important issues to consider.

Entertainment is stimulus. It causes to us to think about things. If our entertainment is causing us to think about things that are contrary to virtue it is the wrong kind of entertainment.

On what does our choices of entertainment cause us to think?

I started with entertainment because it has a direct impact on other areas of separation. Our entertainment influences the way we think and see the world. The way we think determines the way we behave. As I have closely considered the issues of separation I have become convinced that many people cannot or will not grasp the principles that come to bear on separation because of their entertainment choices. They spend hours a week watching worldly TV and movies. They spend hours more listening to the world’s music with its sensual beat and emphasis on rhythm. They spend hours on video/computer games that at bare minimum deprive them of time that could be used to cultivate virtues. And now we have the Internet to round out our diet of worldly carnal appetites. Having a couple of generations that have gorged themselves on the world’s entertainment it is no wonder that separation is becoming a relic of past generations. So, now it is not only the unbeliever who scoffs at a believer’s separation convictions the carnal, worldly believer has also taken up the mantle, belittling and scoffing at any pretense to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

What we expose ourselves to in the name of entertainment and amusement is of no little consequence. It will largely determine the degree to which we are willing to pursue holiness. It will dictate our appetite for righteousness. Jesus said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Not those who hunger and thirst after the latest movie, CD, or video game. In either case what we hunger and thirst after is what we will be filled with and what we are filled with will be manifested in our lives.

Is there anything you are unwilling to give up that is keeping you from pursuing holiness?

It is blindness of the first degree to think that the Bible has no principles whereby our entertainment choices are to be governed. Most people just do not care. They know what they like and they have no interest in having their choices of entertainment challenged, even on the basis of God’s word.

We have devoted several posts examining the clear principles of Scripture that lend themselves to application in the area of entertainment. Having set forth the Biblical premise for the examination of the options available to us for entertainment the responsibility is now ours to see how our entertainment choices measure up.
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