Sabbath, August 28, 2010

“Parents should endeavor to keep out of the home every influence that is not productive of good. In this matter some parents have much to learn. To those who feel free to read story magazines and novels I would say: You are sowing seed the harvest of which you will not care to garner. From such reading there is no spiritual strength to be gained. Rather it destroys love for the pure truth of the word. Through the agency of novels and story magazines, Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts minds that should be diligently studying the word of God. Thus he is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life.” –The Adventist Home, p. 411.

Deceptive reading material

1. What do many people do nowadays? Who keeps the majority of followers in his hands by means of corrupt and entertaining reading material and all kinds of novels?
Revelation 12:9, first part And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

“Young ladies will read novels, excusing themselves from active labor because they are in delicate health. Their feebleness is the result of their lack of exercising the muscles God has given them…. These ladies are not Christians, for they transgress the fifth commandment. They do not honor their parents…. They eat, and sleep, and read novels, and talk of the fashions, while their lives are useless.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 35.

“Children need proper reading which will afford amusement and recreation and not demoralize the mind or weary the body…. Most children and young people will have reading matter; and if it is not selected for them, they will select it for themselves. They can find a ruinous quality of reading anywhere, and they soon learn to love it; but if pure and good reading is furnished them, they will cultivate a taste for that.” –The Adventist Home, p. 411.

Frivolous talk and gossip

2. What do too many Christians do today for which they will have to give account to the Lord? What can be said of gossip, which is so popular in the mass media?
Ephesians 4:29-31 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
Matthew 12:36, 37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

“Your frivolous conversation, in common with that of other of the young people, was disgusting. There was nothing noble and elevated in the turn your minds took. It was common chitchat and gossip, the silly, vain laugh, the jesting, and the joking. Angels have written the scenes you have acted over and over again.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 180.

“Those who love society frequently indulge this trait until it becomes an overruling passion. To dress, to visit places of amusement, to laugh and chat upon subjects altogether lighter than vanity–this is the object of their lives. They cannot endure to read the Bible and contemplate heavenly things. They are miserable unless there is something to excite. They have not within them the power to be happy; but they depend for happiness upon the company of other youth as thoughtless and reckless as themselves. The powers which might be turned to noble purposes, they give to folly….” –Messages to Young People, pp. 430, 431.

Worldly entertainment

3. What is forbidden by heaven to the true children of God due to their corrupting influence upon spirit, soul, and body? What can be said about the theater, movies, the circus, video games, and Internet entertainment?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1 John 2:15-17 Love 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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

“Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school for morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.” –The Adventist Home, p. 516.

A newspaper wrote the following concerning children who go to movies: “Over a certain period of time, they watched 1,914 scenes of beating, 1,286 quarrels between husband and wife, 1,350 drunken bouts, 1,060 kidnappings, 1,120 divorces, 1,179 thefts, 1,171 fires and deaths, and 765 suicides.” According to statistics in one European country, every child, before finishing primary school, has watched an average of 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent acts on TV. Every 28 minutes one watches a crime, and every 21 minutes someone is wounded on the screen! The spectator is bombarded with fights, insults, and death every five minutes! This shows that many films are nothing but schools of crime. Anyone who wants to educate his children to become decent adults should not allow them to watch those films or go to the movies or similar places.

4. Is there a difference among the theater, movies, videos, and films available on the Internet? Would Jesus watch any of those programs if He lived among us?
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Regarding the effect that the programs of certain mass media have upon people, a magazine wrote some years ago: “This wonderful invention is probably the most subtle means of the enemy to deceive and snare the soul of man…. Its result is the corruption of morals and the loss of the soul. Although there are thousands of our brothers and sisters who do not go to the theatre or movies (it is lamentable that there are some who do), nevertheless many among these thousands who do not go to those amusement places allow the enemy to bring the theatre and movies into their own homes….

“Lessons of iniquity: Many who broadcast … are educating our dear young people in the art of making love and breaking hearts as well as of crime. What difference is there between those who sit in a cinema or theatre and those who sit in their homes and watch the same things,… laughing at nonsense as do the ones who go to movies? Let us remember that ‘the thought of foolishness is sin.’ Proverbs 24:9.

“It is time that parents stopped, looked, and listened, because the enemy has already taken many off guard. Slowly, stealthily, and unexpectedly, he has introduced into our homes things that captivate and infatuate young people and cause them to join him in his downward march to adventure, immorality, and crime…. Parents wonder why their children are not more pious, more reverent and respectful. But they themselves listen to light songs and jazz, to what is vulgar and vile, and very little to sacred things; therefore good music and holy things are absolutely insipid to them…. Much time is wasted searching channels for something good, while common, profane, low, and wicked things come to our ears. Just think about the good that would result if time wasted on Sabbath or any other day would be spent in prayer or in the study of the Bible and Testimonies. It is sad to admit, but it is a fact that many listen to vulgar, low, and vile things while their angel is writing, ‘Found wanting.’ ” –Adventist Review, February 1, 1937, p. 13.

“And above all is the influence that many messages have upon the heart and life, such as love stories, comedies and tragedies, funny or frivolous conversations, degrading music, police reports, and thousands of other programs that poison the source of life…. We cry out, with justified reason, against the bad influence of the movies…. May God help us not to place ourselves purposely at the mercy of the devil.” –Adventist Review, July 11, 1938, p. 13.

If some 70 years ago it was necessary to think seriously about such matters, what can we say of our day, when the mass media is much more pervasive and has a far more dangerous influence?

A great danger to spirituality

5. If such programs are so dangerous, how should an Adventist Reformer regard the theater, cinema, opera, popular concerts, circus, soap operas, and spectator sports, all of which are so destructive to one’s spirituality
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

6. Where do all such literature, films, programs, and presentations come from–heaven or the abyss? What kind of fire do they represent?
Leviticus 10:1-6 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.  Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled.

Who produces this material to corrupt the world?
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Revelation11:18, last part … And shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
1 Thessalonians 5:6, 7 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

The vision of the narrow path clearly stated where such things originate. “As we heard the sounds of mirth and revelry that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war song and the dance song. We heard instrumental music, and loud laughter, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway. Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords, which increased in size as we progressed.” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 191.

7. In their actions, do the professed people of God show that they are in connection with Him or with the powers of darkness? Are they then holding to the cords of faith that are suspended along the narrow path, or do they remain in the abyss?
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

“Many prophesy falsely, and the people love to have it so; but what will be done in the end thereof? What will be the decision when their work, with all its results, shall be brought in review before God?

“The Christian life is a warfare. The apostle Paul speaks of wrestling against principalities and powers as he fought the good fight of faith. Again, he declares: ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ Ah, no. Today sin is cherished and excused. The sharp sword of the Spirit, the word of God, does not cut to the soul. Has religion changed? Has Satan’s enmity to God abated? A religious life once presented difficulties and demanded self-denial. All is made very easy now. And why is this? The professed people of God have compromised with the power of darkness. There must be a revival of the strait testimony….” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 222.

For meditation

“The path to heaven is no smoother now than in the days of our Saviour. All our sins must be put away. Every darling indulgence that hinders our religious life must be cut off. The right eye or the right hand must be sacrificed if it cause us to offend. Are we willing to renounce our own wisdom and to receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child? Are we willing to part with self-righteousness? Are we willing to give up our chosen worldly associates? Are we willing to sacrifice the approbation of men? The prize of eternal life is of infinite value. Will we put forth efforts and make sacrifices proportionate to the worth of the object to be attained?

“Every association we form, however limited, exerts some influence upon us. The extent to which we yield to that influence will be determined by the degree of intimacy, the constancy of the intercourse, and our love and veneration for the one with whom we associate. Thus by acquaintance and association with Christ we may become like Him, the one faultless Example.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 222, 223.