Jackson Drive Church Of Christ
Preacher: Scott Richardson
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"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
Entertained to Death
Part 2In our last issue we began to look at different aspects of our entertainment and how we can be entertained into spiritual death. This edition is a continuation of that theme.
Previously, we considered the need to manage our time in a way that will promote our spiritual growth, and we noted the controlling influence of the entertainment industry upon the minds of people. We also considered the content of most movies and the contrary nature of such content to the purity of God and to the purity required of one who would be a child of God. God's word is very clear - “be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16).
In this issue we want to consider two very common forms of entertainment; television and the fairly new but very popular activity of social networking via the internet. You may think it strange to view social networking as entertainment, but it certainly qualifies.
We have already noted in this study that entertainment is not wrong. However, entertainment that glorifies and promotes evil is wrong, and a failure to use our time properly is wrong.
I encourage each reader to research and study these things for yourself. I have tried to provide information in context from those in the entertainment business so that you will get an accurate picture of their beliefs and intentions. It is not my intention to misrepresent them. It seems fairly obvious that the industry as a whole is corrupt and is probably doing more to corrupt the world than any other source.
Ample references from the Word of God have been given to show God's expectations for those who want to do right. As with any subject, we should examine the scriptures with the attitude of desiring to know God's will on the matter, and then conform our will to His. ~D.S.
Profanity on TV
by Phillip OwensOn page 5D of the Monday, December 13, 1999 issue of USA Today an article entitled Yes, that is a blue streak on your television screen, reported that "Profanity is used once every six minutes on prime-time network TV shows, every two minutes on premium cable and every three minutes in major motion pictures, according to a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs."
Other telling quotes from the article state: "Fox featured the most foul-mouthed shows among the broadcast networks, while HBO led cable networks..."Fox led all the networks with an average of 20 profanities per hour, almost twice the overall average of 11. Fox accounted for five of what the center termed ‘the dirty dozen’—the most foul-mouthed shows, including That 70’s Show and Family Guy. HBO had 39 uses of profanity per hour, with the critically acclaimed Oz and The Sopranos leading the ‘dirty dozen’ list for cable. Of the 50 top-grossing movies of 1998, Primary Colors and Lethal Weapon 4 were most profane. Overall, those 50 films had one scene containing profanity every four minutes."
Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs which made the study, stated, "The way that TV drops to the lowest common denominator is that premium cable uses profanity, then free TV gets angry that they can’t do it, so they start pushing the envelope downward."
As examples, Lichter "cites salty language on ABC’s NYPD Blue and the use of the s-word on CBS’ Chicago Hope this season," according to the article. The article concludes with these statements from Lichter: "If civility and courtesy are good things, then I’m troubled by language that expresses incivility, boorishness and mutual disrespect...There’s a reason why we talk different in the locker room than the living room. If people start talking like they’re in the locker room, maybe they start behaving like they’re in the locker room."
Of course profanity is wrong whether in a locker or living room. But the point Mr. Lichter makes is well taken. Language reveals one’s heart. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."(Matt. 12:34) Further, the things we dwell on in our hearts determine our actions. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life." And, "For as he thinketh within himself, so is he."(Prov. 4:23; 23:7) Therefore, language, our hearts, and our actions are all related to each other.
If we are fed "language that expresses incivility, boorishness and mutual disrespect," our heart will feed on these things, and our actions follow suit. The Bible teaches that our language should be characterized by the following principles: "Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear..." "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you."(Eph. 4:29,31,32) "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one."(Col. 4:6) Further, the Bible teaches, "If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth." (Col.3:1-2)
The programs and movies mentioned are not innocent entertainment, but magnify and justify language and lifestyles that are completely opposed to everything the Bible teaches Christians ought to say, be, and do! There is nothing wrong with some wholesome entertainment. However, anytime it arrays itself against clear Bible teaching it should be avoided.
You might say, Well, Owens, what do you suggest, throw our TVs away? Some Christians I know have. You surely would not go wrong if you did. Remember that the television has only been possessed by the masses since the 1950’s. It really isn’t a necessity, is it? Can you not live without it? However, I believe there are other options to discarding it.
First, as parents and grandparents, don’t allow any program to come into your home which you know has profanity in it. Remember the set has an "off" switch. There is nothing that you or your family just "have to watch."
Second, don’t allow the television to become an unknown baby sitter. Parents tire, especially mothers with small children. The temptation is to let the television become a baby sitter while you "catch up" or take some needed rest. Only let them watch what you are confident is wholesome.
Third, tapes with true wholesome entertainment are available. They can be found with relative ease.
Fourth, don’t become addicted to television. Some families leave their set on practically from the time they awaken until they retire in the evening. By its very nature, television attracts our attention.Even entertainment that is wholesome can rob Christians of time that could be more profitably used. The Bible teaches we are to redeem "the time, because the days are evil."(Eph. 5:16)
Fifth, recognize that television can dull one’s spiritual senses. Tests have been conducted which even show its adverse effect on one’s attention span. The Bible teaches our senses are to be "exercised to discern good and evil."(Heb. 5:14) This is not possible through a steady diet of network television. One becomes desensitized to the irreverent, mutual disrespect, incivility, and boorishness Mr. Lichter referred to earlier. Instead of "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them"(Eph. 5:11), we are entertained by them! We become lethargic spiritually and don’t even know it. The television was not named the "boob tube" for nothing!
However you decide to deal with this issue, recognize that television is a far cry from what it was when it first became popular,. By and large the major networks televise programs that are anti-God and anti-family (as God would have it). This has not always been the case. Christians should not continue to have the attitude toward television they developed in the 50’s and 60’s. Television has changed drastically for the bad. Our attitude toward it should correspond!
~Phillip Owens - The Jackson Drive Admonisher - December 26, 1999
Thy Facebook Bewrayeth Thee
by John Isaac EdwardsIn the account of Peter’s denial of Jesus, those standing by said to Peter, “Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee” (Mt. 26:73). Peter’s speech told on him that he was with Jesus: for he was a Galilaean (Lk. 22:59).
Our Speech Bewrayeth Us. We can learn a lot about people by their speech. Just as languages, dialects and accents are revealing, the things people say and the way they say them are also telling. Whether we realize it or not, our speech bewrayeth us. One’s speech manifests his heart. To the Pharisees Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Mt. 12:34-35). As a tree is known by its fruit, a man’s character is revealed by what is brought forth of his heart – what the man doeth and what the mouth of the man speaketh. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7).
Facebook Bewrayeth. One of the most revealing things to come along is the popular social networking website, Facebook. Have we considered what our activities on Facebook disclose to others? Apps, chats, comments, events, friends, games, groups, info, invitations, links, likes, messages, pages, photos, requests, shares, status updates, suggestions, videos, and the like all speak volumes about the more than 500 million active Facebook users. While I have been encouraged by the good fruit of good men and women, I have also been shocked and disappointed by the things Facebook has bewrayed concerning some. There is a growing list of things bewrayed by Facebook as a growing number of people sign up for Facebook accounts.
Unwise use of time. According to Facebook Press Room Statistics, people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. Facebook has been called, “the web’s number-one time sink.” Incredibly, the average Facebook user spends roughly 55 minutes daily on the social network. An app used by one Facebooker posted the number of hours spent on Facebook in 2010 – it was the equivalent of two months! Can you imagine that? Add to that television time, gaming time, texting time, etc. - and we wonder, "What happened to all our time?" How is our time spent on Facebook? Time may be spent reading, studying and teaching the word of God, but it is also possible to sell Bible study, prayer, training of children and other things of eternal value for pottage. Is Facebook facilitating or hindering the spiritual? All of us enjoy fun and games, and all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but is two months of Fishville and Farmville a wise use of time? Think about it. The Scriptures teach us to make wise use of the time we have been given. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). As Benjamin Franklin said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
The wrong associations. A man is known by the company he keeps. The Scriptures warn us about our friendships. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20). There are some with whom no company is to be had. “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no to eat” (1 Cor. 5:11). “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 Jn. 10). Do you think Paul would have been Facebook friends with Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:19-20)? Do our pictures and posts bewray “friendship with the world” (Jas. 4:4), company with the disorderly, or fellowship with false teachers? Also, what does it say about me if I grant friendship to those I have never met and to those whose deeds are evil, but refuse friendship requests of those who are full of good works and sound in the faith? Would you be a friend to Jesus? We would do well to "make friends of God's children." Birds of a feather have a way of flocking together, don't they?
Aversion to the negative. There are somewho are of the mindset that in order to be encouraging everything must be positive. This spirit is discouraging to the spiritual, and does not manifest the spirit of Christ. Christ was both positive and negative – positive because He came to “bear witness unto the truth” (Jn. 18:37); negative because He also came “that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). The word of God is encouraging (Acts 20:32) and it is both positive and negative in nature (2 Tim. 4:2). We are taught, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). You would think all was light and there is no darkness as some never reprove anybody of anything! Pages have been created where anything viewed as negative is off limits – only “encouraging, positive, inspirational thoughts.”
Speech that is not sound. I marvel at the speech of some who profess to be Christians – the things talked about and the words used on Facebook. Some have loose lips and free fingers. It is just as sinful to chat and comment, link and like, message and share lies, gossip, foolish talking, clamour, jesting, blasphemy, evil speaking, flattery, complaining, filthy communication and every other sin of the tongue on Facebook as it is to utter such in person. Abbreviations stand for words and words convey thoughts and ideas. Before using an abbreviation, I had better know what it stands for. It’s common to see expressions of corrupt communication through euphemisms. “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8).
Works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” have all been bewrayed by Facebook. Pictures of those at drinking parties, bars, dances, casinos, and so on bewray saints in wrong places.
Doctrinal softness, compromise, and error. Facebook bewrays where many stand when it comes to doctrinal issues. It is revealing when a preacher associated with the Lord's church writes dis'paragingly of doctrinal correctness, states, “I believe we are saved by faith only” and suggests that the “Holy Spirit” works “apart from the word” of God. It is also telling when brethren like and share such writings and make comments to the effect, “Well written, thought provoking…Amen and Amen!” Let us continue “stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) and abide “in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn. 9), while opposing error (1 Tim. 1:3), with the same militant spirit which characterized Christ and the apostles.
Immodest dress. Genesis 3 shows that one may have some covering on the body and yet be naked in God’s sight (vv. 7, 21). The Scriptures often speak of the shame of nakedness (Is. 47:3; Nah. 3:5; Rev. 3:18). Exodus 20:26 records, “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” The priests were to wear “linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach” (Ex. 28:42). When the thigh is uncovered, one’s nakedness is uncovered and his shame is seen (Is. 47:2-3). Pictures of those immodestly clad in cheerleading uniforms, shorts and skirts that expose the thighs, halter-tops, and skimpy bathing suits are a shame and disgrace. 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9-10).
Godliness or worldliness, good or evil: what does thy Facebook bewray? May it bewray that we surely are with Jesus.
~John Isaac Edwards - February, 10, 2011
Note: We are foolish to think that our entertainment will not influence us. Even if we never utter a profane word or never commit fornication or any other work of the flesh, we show that we have been desensitized to these things when we fail to hate sin enough to abstain from entertaining ourselves with it.