Sabbath, August 14, 2010
“He the apostle Paul entreated those who were followers of Jesus in heathen communities not to walk Сas other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God … because of the blindness of their heart,Т but Сcircumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time.Т Ephesians 4:14, 13, 17, 18; 5:15, 16. He encouraged the believers to look forward to the time when Christ, who Сloved the church, and gave Himself for it,Т would Сpresent it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thingТ-a church Сholy and without blemish.Т Ephesians 5:25, 27.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 470.
Do not mix darkness and light
1. What danger do GodТs children constantly face?
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an arlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
“It was by associating with idolaters and joining in their festivities that the Hebrews were led to transgress God’s law and bring His judgments upon the nation. So now it is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in their amusements that Satan is most successful in alluring them into sin. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently. If they faithfully follow the teachings of His word, this distinction will exist; it cannot be otherwise. The warnings given to the Hebrews against assimilating with the heathen were not more direct or explicit than are those forbidding Christians to conform to the spirit and customs of the ungodly. Christ speaks to us, СLove not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.Т 1 John 2:15. СThe friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.Т James 4:4. The followers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing their society only when there is opportunity to do them good. We cannot be too decided in shunning the company of those who exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, СLead us not into temptation,Т we are to shun temptation, so far as possible.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 458, 459.
Lusts of the flesh and their fruit
2. Can the lusts of the flesh please God? What does He say to His people through the Spirit of prophecy regarding football and boxing?
Romans 8:5-8 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
“Some of the most popular amusements, such as football and boxing, have become schools of brutality. They are developing the same characteristics as did the games of ancient Rome. The love of domination, the pride in mere brute force, the reckless disregard of life, are exerting upon the youth a power to demoralize that is appalling.”” The Adventist Home, p. 500.
3. What will happen if passion and personal desire determine oneТs decisions and practices? Are milder or less brutal sports beneficial?
Romans 8:12, 13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
“Other athletic games, though not so brutalizing, are scarcely less objectionable because of the excess to which they are carried. They stimulate the love of pleasure and excitement, thus fostering a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties and responsibilities. They tend to destroy a relish for lifeТs sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the door is opened to dissipation and lawlessness with their terrible results.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 500, 501.
Turning from worldly practices
4. What should be our attitude toward the practices of the world that are actually a form of idolatry? Considering what they can cause, what instruction did the Spirit of prophecy give regarding such sports as tennis and cricket?
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
“In the night season I was a witness to the performance that was carried on on the school grounds. The students who engaged in the grotesque mimicry that was seen, acted out the mind of the enemy, some in a very unbecoming manner. A view of things was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 350.
“God ordained that the beings He created should work. Upon this their happiness depends. Healthy young men and women have no need of cricket, ball playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self to pass away the time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God’s created intelligences. Someone needs from you something that will help him.” –Atlantic Union Gleaner, January 6, 1904.
The ball playing mentioned above does not refer to the games of children, who throw and bounce balls, but rather to the sports so passionately practiced and watched by young people and adults and promoted in the media. -Carlos Kozel.
“I entreat the students in our schools to be sober-minded. The frivolity of the young is not pleasing to God. Their sports and games open the door to a flood of temptations. They are in possession of GodТs heavenly endowment in their intellectual faculties, and they should not allow their thoughts to be cheap and low.”: –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 366.
5. As converted believers, can we continue enjoying what we did in our past life when we were in the world? What amusements does heaven also condemn, many of which were invented after Sister WhiteТs death?
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
“There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians.” –The Adventist Home, p. 498.
Changed ideas and conduct
6. If we have not yet experienced it, what should happen with the old man and his behavior? On what ground are those who go to billiard halls?
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
“There are students who visit the billiard rooms, and who engage in card playing, flattering themselves that there is no danger. Since their object is merely amusement, they feel perfectly safe. It is not the lower grade alone who do this. Some who have been carefully reared, and educated to look upon such things with abhorrence, are venturing upon the forbidden ground.” –Christian Education, p. 33.
7. How should we use the time we have left?
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.
1 Peter 4:2, 3 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.
2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.
2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
“The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation. A great work is required of the Christian. We are exhorted to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Here we see where the great labor rests. There is a constant work for the Christian. Every branch in the parent vine must derive life and strength from that vine, in order to yield fruit.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 340.
“All who name the name of Christ need to watch and pray and guard the avenues of the soul, for Satan is at work to corrupt and destroy if the least advantage is given him.
“It is not safe for us to linger to contemplate the advantages to be reaped through yielding to SatanТs suggestions. Sin means dishonor and disaster to every soul that indulges in it; but it is blinding and deceiving in its nature, and it will entice us with flattering presentations. If we venture on SatanТs ground, we have no assurance of protection from his power. So far as in us lies, we should close every avenue by which the tempter may find access to us.
“Who can know, in the moment of temptation, the terrible consequences which will result from one wrong, hasty step! Our only safety is to be shielded by the grace of God every moment, and not put out our own spiritual eyesight so that we will call evil, good, and good, evil. Without hesitation or argument we must close and guard the avenues of the soul against evil.
“Every Christian must stand on guard continually, watching every avenue of the soul where Satan might find access. He must pray for divine help and at the same time resolutely resist every inclination to sin. By courage, by faith, by persevering toil, he can conquer. But let him remember that to gain the victory Christ must abide in him and he in Christ.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 402, 403.