Sunday, July 14, 2019
As an introduction to this study, read Popular Pornography.
Game of Thrones, an HBO series filled with graphic sex and evil violence, recently ended after a successful eight-year run.
It left its filth on everything it touched, even an ancient city in Croatia.
Having lived in Budapest for five years, we sometimes vacation in Croatia and especially love visiting the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik.
Since some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in and near the medieval walls of beautiful Dubrovnik, Game of Thrones tours, gift shops, costumes, and signs now pollute the city.
It should be no surprise that shows like Game of Thrones are incredibly popular with our fallen world.
But I am surprised the way Game of Thrones and other immoral entertainment is defiling my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
Dear Christians, we need to ask ourselves these questions in regard to our entertainment:
1. Do I violate biblical principles by watching this show/movie?
"I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it." Psalm 101:3
“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:28-29
Matthew 5 says we should want to cut out our eye rather than use it to sin!
2. Am I guarding my heart from things that produce ungodly thoughts and attitudes?
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23
Can you watch explicit sex scenes and have pure thoughts? When we watch shows that glorify immorality, we definitely lose our vision for right and wrong. Despite denials by the entertainment industry, research shows that the things we watch affect both attitudes and behavior: Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?
We shouldn’t need to have this truth confirmed from secular sources when God’s Word already stresses it.
See also Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, and Philippians 4:8.
3. Sexually explicit entertainment is an idol in our modern world. Can we watch shows that glorify immorality and then read 1 Corinthians 6:17-18 with a clear conscience?
“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
4. Can we watch shows like Game of Thrones and read Ephesians 5 with a clear conscience?
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children… Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret… So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."
If it's shameful even to talk about evil things, how can we justify evil entertainment?
Image: Creative Commons
copyright, 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
Bible Love Notes
Sunday, June 16, 2019
As an introduction to this study, please read the 1-minute Bible Love Note called 10 Facts about False Teachers.
False teachers have always been around, and they always will be. Scripture gives us information so we can spot them.
Matthew 7:15: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."
False teachers are skilled at presenting themselves in a positive light.
2. They have a “form of godliness”:
2 Timothy 3:1-5: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Without exception, false teachers who appeal to Christians always include some Scriptural truths. They take their cues from Satan who also misuses Scripture to deceive. See Satan's Twists and Turns, 5 Ways Satan Speaks, and 3 of Satan's Half-Truth Tactics.
3. They may have Satan’s power:
Matthew 24:24: For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (also Mark 13:22)
Satan is the most evil being who ever existed, but his evil does not match God's goodness. We can avoid Satan's deception by carefully checking all teaching against Scripture. See The Difference Between God and Satan and Understanding Why Satan Has Power.
4. They cause divisions:
Romans 16:17: I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
See also: Galatians 1:6-10
Christians who know and understand Scripture will always be at odds with false teachers. Studying Scripture is the best protection against false teachings. See Don't Believe Anything that Contradicts Scripture.
5. They have followers:
1 Timothy 4:11: The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
See also: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Some people assume that a teacher's popularity is a sign of his anointing from God. But Jesus explained that the most popular path is the broad highway to destruction (Matthew 7:13-15).
6. They “secretly introduce” some of their false beliefs:
2 Peter 2:1: But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
These false teachers not only wrap their messages in Scripture, cleverly pulling passages out of context, they also devise convincing arguments for their errors.
They typically discredit those who don't have enough "faith" to believe what they teach.
They say things that appeal to our selfish, fallen human nature. They often take God's promises for spiritual blessings and claim they are promises for material blessings. See Future Promises, Not Earthy Promises and Misunderstandings about the Stripes of Jesus.
Their followers have trouble "unlearning" these false doctrines even when presented with Scriptures that refute their beliefs.
7. Some will even claim to be the Messiah:
Matthew 24:5: For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many.
The Church of Almighty God is a modern example of a cult that uses the Bible but claims a Chinese woman is God incarnate. They have millions of members. I assume this type of heresy will increase as we get closer to Christ's return.
8. False prophets come in the spirit of the final enemy of God’s people, the Antichrist:
1 John 2:18: Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
The Spirit of the Antichrist is present in all teachings that pervert the gospel and lead people astray.
9. They don't present Christ accurately:
2 John 1:6-11: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
This passage does not merely apply to those who "do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh." It applies to all teachings that do not "continue in the teaching of Christ" as presented in Scripture. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons (LDS), and Christian Science all present a different Jesus than the one presented in Scripture.
See also 2 Corinthians 11:4.
10. They usually preach Christ for financial gain:
2 Peter 2:3: In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
1 Timothy 6:5 speaks of false teachers "who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." Titus 1:11 talks of those who teach "for the sake of dishonest gain."
It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it is certainly sinful to become selfishly rich from teaching God's truths. If God gives a biblical teacher great wealth, he has a responsibility to use his wealth wisely, being extravagant with God, not himself. This is true for all Christians, and we should expect preachers and teachers to be excellent examples. See Extravagant Love and The Lifestyle of a False Teacher.
Archive of 1-minute devotions about false teachers and false teachings:
Right is Right
3 Requirements for Discernment
3 Characteristics of False Teachers
How False Teachers Help Us
Are You Defending False Teaching?
The Right Way to Check out Christian Teachers
7 Claims of False Teachers
Jesus Calling: Are Sarah Young's Claims Biblical
The Power and Limit of Words
Checking the Source
Examining "The Shack"
The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware
Bad Guys are Good Warnings
3 Reasons False Teachers are so Popular
copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
Bite Size Bible Study
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Please read Does God Change His Mind: Genesis 6 as an introduction to this study.
In Genesis 6, everyone on earth became so evil that “everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (verse 5).
“So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the LORD said, 'I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth.'” (verses 6-7)
This passage expresses God’s great sorrow, and it reveals some interesting things about God and man.
1. God has incredible perseverance with mankind.
God knew the events of Genesis 6 when it was still Genesis 1. He knew how evil mankind would become but He still created us. That says something about God's love and commitment to rebellious humanity.
Psalm 103:8-18: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
See God's Gracious Love.
2. Man has an incredible propensity for evil.
Genesis 6:5 isn't exaggerating when it says that “everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” It's hard to imagine that kind of evil and how much it must have hurt God's heart.
We need to realize that without God's Spirit all of us have the ability to do great evil:
Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
This describes the entire world when God destroyed mankind with a flood, and it describes much of the world now:
Romans 1:21: For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
See Living in the Midst of Deception.
3. God's mercy has limits.
Daniel 8:23 says that God waits to destroy nations until their rebellion has reached its full measure. But He does not wait forever.
Nehemiah 9:30: For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples.
This is also true for individuals. God will eventually condemn men to Hell for rejecting His offer of salvation. For Scriptures on Hell, see What Jesus Said about Hell.
4. God's plans always provide redemption for the godly.
Genesis 6:7-8: So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Even though God carried out His plan to destroy all the wicked people on earth, He had a plan for saving a godly line through Noah.
See Crushing Satan's Head.
Studying these Old Testament stories gives us wisdom and hope:
"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." Romans 15:4
Does Genesis 6 give you inspiration to persevere in your faith? I pray it does.
This Bible study is part of the Bible Love Note's series: "Does God Change His Mind?"
To read others in the series:
Does God Change His Mind: Nineveh
Does God Change His Mind: Hezekiah
Does God Change His Mind: Polygamy
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com