Another Reason to Turn off the TV

Christian, are you sure that spending hours in front of the “Babylon-Tube” (hat tip to my pastor for that one) is the best way to be spending your time? Between all the filth, dirty language, and worldly values, there isn’t much that can be redeemed from Cable TV. Now to make matters even less palatable, this article reports that Comcast and DirecTV are going to be pushing pay-per-view porn advertising on male-oriented channels like ESPN and Spike TV.

Faced with increased competition from former phone companies such as AT&T and Verizon, satellite and cable companies are loosening their chastity belts and getting more aggressive about promoting adult content on other male-heavy channels such as ESPN and Spike TV. What’s more, even as they raise prices on regular channels, the price of their adult fare is about to get much cheaper and more attractive.

So, in addition to what you’d find on almost every other channel, now Cable TV will be airing porn-vertisements. How… nice. Undoubtedly, this move will contribute positively to America’s sewer-mired culture.

God’s Word calls us to be separate from the world, not a part of it (1 John 2:15). And more and more today, being a part of the world includes television watching. The reason why is that what we see on TV affects us. It shapes our values, our morals, our views on God, and defines our standards for behaviour (usually lowering them). Since so much worldly wisdom spews forth, there is no profitability in a Christian devoting himself to the tube. Not only will no spiritual growth amount from it, but excessive television viewing will likely cause the viewer to sin in mind, if not in act. And now, with the porn-vertising push, there is even more risk of that happening.

It’s for reasons like this that we Christians should be spending less time consuming worthless brain-rot and devoting more time to the Lord who has saved us. Maybe instead of watching that R-movie, why not open up your Bible instead? How about finding a quiet place to pray for a while? What about engaging in some sort of ministry for you church? All are preferable to the spiritual poison television feeds to those who view it.

We need to be devoting ourselves to God’s glory, not reveling in that which God hates.

Arthur Pink: Walking as Jesus Did

“Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

“Whoever claims to live in Him–must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

If all professors forfeit their claim to a saving interest in Christ, who do not endeavor to sincerely and earnestly imitate Jesus in the holiness of His life–then how small a number of real Christians are there in the world! If flowery talking–without strict walking; if common profession–without holy practice; if Church membership–without denying self and treading the Narrow Way–were sufficient to constitute a Christian–then a large percentage of earth’s population would be entitled to that name.

But if Christ owns none but those who follow the example that He has left–then His flock is indeed a little one. The vast majority of those who claim to be Christians have a name to live–but are dead (Rev. 3:1), being such as walk after the flesh, following the course of this world and yielding their members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (Romans 6:13). The demands of Christ are too rigid for them–they prefer the Broad Road where the majority are found.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

– Arthur Pink, “Christ our Exemplar”

Source: Grace Gems

Christianity is not an easy path

arthurpinkProsperity is often a mixed blessing, and adversity is far from being an unmixed calamity!

Alternating spiritual prosperity and adversity, is the lot of God’s people on this earth. All is not unclouded sunshine with them–nor is it unrelieved gloom and storm. There is a mingling of both:
joys–and sorrows;
victories–and defeats;
assistance from friends–and injuries from foes;
smiles from the Lord’s countenance–and the hidings of His face.

By such changes, opportunities are afforded for the development and exercise of different graces, so that we may, in our measure, “know how to be abased–and how to abound . . . both to be full–and to be empty” (Phil. 4:12). But above all, that we may, amid varying circumstances, prove the unchanging faithfulness of God–and His sufficiency to supply our every need.

Ah, my reader, if you are one of God’s elect–do not expect a smooth and easy path through this earthly wilderness–but be prepared for varying circumstances and drastic changes. The Christian’s resting place is not in this world, for “here have we no continuing city” (Hebrews 13:14). The Christian is a “pilgrim,” on a journey; he is a “soldier,” called on to fight the good fight of faith. The more this is realized, the less keen will be the disappointment, when our ease is disturbed, and our outward peace harshly broken in upon.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” and if ‘troubles’ do not come to us in one form–they most certainly will in another! If we really appropriate this promise–then we shall not be so staggered when afflictions come upon us. It is written that, “it is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), and therefore we should make up our minds to expect the same, and to “not to think it strange” (1 Peter 4:12) when we are called upon to pass through “the fiery trial.” Affliction, tribulation, and fiery trial–are a times, our portion here on earth.

Changing circumstances afford opportunity for the development and exercise of different graces. Some graces are of the active and aggressive kind–while others are of a passive order, requiring quite another setting for their display. Some of the traits which mark the soldier on a battlefield, would be altogether out of place were he languishing on a bed of sickness. Both spiritual joy and godly sorrow–are equally beautiful in their season.

As there are certain vegetables, fruits, and flowers which cannot be grown in lands which are unvisited by nipping winds and biting frosts–so there are some fruits of the Spirit which are only produced in the soil of severe trials, troubles and tribulations!

– Arthur W. Pink, “David’s Flight”

Source: Grace Gems

Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked

John MacArthur

Question:

Some people have told me that being unequally yoked is talking exclusively about marriage. Others have said that it applies also to business partnerships and other situations. Could you please expand on this? What does it mean to be unequally yoked and what type of a guideline should I have if it is okay for me to have a business partnership with a non-believer?

Answer:

Well, this is a very important question. Second Corinthians, chapter 6, is what you’re asking about. The concept of “yoke” gives you the key. A yoke was something that was put over two animals in a common enterprise.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? And what harmony has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?”

The point is that if you are in the same yoke, pulling the same plow down the same furrow — that is, if you are working side by side in the same enterprise, partnering together with an unbeliever – you’ve got a problem.

Truly, that would refer to marriage because there’s no firmer, stronger, more binding yoke than marriage, right? If you go beyond that and ask, “What about a business partnership?” it would depend upon the nature of that partnership. If, for example, there’s a limited partnership involving a group of investors and you’re one of those investors, that’s one thing. A person might put money in a bank; that’s also a form of partnership with other people. I don’t think that’s the issue here.

The issue here is linking up with an unbeliever, side by side, under the same yoke, pulling the same furrow, in the same direction, with the same goals and objectives. Now, that might mean a partnership in a common business — if it is likely that the nature of your partnership will lead to compromising situations down the road when your worldviews collide.

Beyond all that, however, the primary application of 2 Corinthians 6 is with regard to spiritual enterprise. The primary warning is to never link up with an unbeliever in spiritual pursuits.

So the obvious thing, first of all, is to avoid any common spiritual enterprise with an unbeliever (including things like marriage or religious ecumenism). And then secondarily, to be very careful in other areas of life (like business) if you’re pulling the same yoke with an unbeliever, because it’s inevitable that there will be conflict – since the standard by which you operate is inherently different.

Practically speaking, you will have to make the judgment as to what a particular partnership involves and whether you can be part of it – based on biblical principles, prayer, and godly counsel. The Spirit of God will lead you in that.

The following is adapted from a Q&A that John did several years ago at Grace Church.

This article originally appeared here on Grace To You. © 2008 Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

John MacArthur on Astrology

What is the biblical teaching on astrology?

John MacArthur

Answer

My wife and I stopped to get a sandwich on the way home last night. We went in and, as I walked in this little place to get a sandwich, there was on the cash register a little sign that said, “The June Horoscopes Are In.” And I thought, “The June horoscopes, like all the rest, are definitely out.” But anyway, the sign said, “The June Horoscopes Are In,” and I thought, “Well, where do you get them?” I turned around and there was a dispenser on the wall where you put in a quarter and you get a horoscope. That’s about the most impersonal way I’ve ever seen it done: drop a quarter in and they’ll tell you about your destiny.

What about these astrological charts? What does the Bible have to say? Well, we covered that in a tape on “Demons and Magic” and if you want a full understanding of that, you can get that. But, let me just mention a couple of scriptures that help us. Deuteronomy 17:2Deuteronomy 17:2: “If there be found among you within any of thy gates”—and this is part of God’s instruction for Israel—“If there be found among you within any of your gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman who hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, and hath gone and served other gods and worshipped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven”—that’s the stars—“which I have not commanded; and if it be told thee and thou hast heard of it and inquired diligently and, behold, it is true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel, then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman who hath committed that wicked thing unto thy gates; even that man or that woman and shalt stone them with stones until they die.”

If Carrol Righter had been alive in the day of Israel, they would have stoned him to death. That’s how strong the Word of God speaks against anything connected with worship or seeking to know the revelation of some divine mind through the sun, the moon, or the stars of heaven. It was an offense that constituted an abomination to God and I would hasten to add that anything that used to be an abomination to God is still an abomination to God because whatever was abominating to his character is still abominating to his character because his character has not changed one bit.

So, that’s a very, very clear word. I would add to that, Isaiah 47. Isaiah 47:12—and here he was particularly judging the Babylonians who were really involved in this: “Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, in which thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators”—that’s the June horoscopes—“stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be like stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: they shall not be a coal to warm at, nor a fire to sit before it.” They’re going to be so consumed, they won’t even smolder is what he’s saying. They won’t even be worth a coal to get warm over, they’re going to go up so fast in smoke. That’s God’s attitude towards astrology, stargazing, monthly prognostication.

Now, that’s fairly clear. No Christian has any business, in any sense, under any circumstance, fooling around with that. That simply opens your mind to demonic suggestion. If you listen to that suggestion, it isn’t that the horoscopes will tell you what you’re like; they will simply make you into what they want you to be. People who listen to that begin to pattern their life after that thing until, literally, they become transformed into their horoscope, if you will.

There are others in Acts 7 where it mentions “the tabernacle of Molech” and “the star of your God, Rephan.” This is the worship of Saturn and it’s again, mentioning the worship of the stars.

So, this was something that was completely and totally forbidden in the Word of God and the reason is because the stars can’t tell your future, they can’t tell your present—no way. That’s the revelation of God alone involved in telling the truth; that’s just a demonic way to capture the fancy of people so that the demons can persuade them toward a certain behavior. In Daniel 1, it says, “In all matters of wisdom and understanding, the king of Babylon inquired of them. He found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in all his realm.” When he consulted God’s people, he found them ten times better! And that’s an understatement.

Verse 2 talks more about the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers and shows that they were inadequate, they were in error, they were helpless, they were hopeless. In Daniel 2:27, it talks about soothsayers, astrologers, and magicians again.

So, no Christian is to have anything to do with them at any time, at all. Don’t even fool with that, don’t even play around with it—it just opens up an avenue for Satan to influence you.

This article originally appeared here on Grace To You. © 2008 Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Paul Washer: The Cost of Discipleship

America’s Forgotten Virtue

From Grace To You:

Like Christ, the gentle person does not defend himself (see 1 Peter 2:21).  That’s because he has died to self and therefore does not worry about insult, material loss, or even personal injury.  The believer who embraces meekness knows that in himself he does not deserve defending and that, in the long run, all his possessions are not worth fighting for.  In that sense, gentleness is the opposite of violence and vengeance. 

You can read the rest of this article here.