The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
Entertainment or Recreation?
One of Satan’s most successful ways to enter our minds is through our senses, and he uses today’s numerous forms of entertainment to appeal to our senses (especially our eyes and ears) and pollute our minds, turning us away from God to the world and sin. In this lesson, we will study how to know the difference between wholesome recreation that is pleasing to God, and the world’s entertainment which leads to eternal destruction.
1) What Bible guidelines will help us rule out the bad and choose the good in all our recreation?
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are ________, whatsoever things [are] ____________, whatsoever things [are] ________, whatsoever things [are] ________, whatsoever things [are] ____________, whatsoever things [are] of _______________ ____________; if [there be] any ____________, and if [there be] any ____________, __________ on these things.” Philippians 4:8
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or ________________________________, do all to the ________________________.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
These tests, if honestly applied, will rule out every wrong form of entertainment. They exclude any entertainment which promotes or portrays lying, make-believe, deceit, dishonesty, injustice, competition, gambling, theft, crime, violence, immorality, adultery, affairs, premarital sex, vulgar gestures and words, swearing, depravity, fighting, wars, ungodliness, materialism, love of the world, or any other wicked thing.
2) What happens when we surrender our life fully to Christ? _______________________
“Therefore if any man [be] __________________, [he is] a _______________________: ______ things are ______________________; behold, ______ things are become ______.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that we will no longer love and choose the entertainments that the world has to offer, even though we may have enjoyed them very much in the past. Instead, we will now learn to enjoy those activities which draw us closer to God and help keep our minds stayed on Him.
3) What command does the Bible give us in regards to learning the ways of the ungodly?
“Thus saith the LORD, __________________ the ______ of the ______________.” Jeremiah 10:2
4) Since Satan uses avenues such as our senses and our feelings to gain access to our minds, how shall we guard against his entering our minds? ________________________
“________ thy heart with all __________________; for out of it [are] the issues of ________.” Proverbs 4:23
“For as he ________________ in his heart, __________________.” Proverbs 23:7
“But we all, with open face __________________ as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are ______________ into the ________ image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“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.” AH 402
We must guard our thoughts, not allowing them to dwell on whatever may pop into the mind; guard our eyes, refusing to let them linger on anything which is not pure, just, or virtuous; guard our ears, and turn away from anything which does not bring glory to God. In this way we are closing the doors of our soul to the devil, denying him from planting his evil seeds in the soil of our hearts. By beholding the world, we will become like the world; but by beholding Christ moment by moment, we may be changed into His glorious image, having a character like His.
Some may say, “We need to be exposed to the world’s media so we know what’s going on and how to resist it. It’s not good to be too sheltered”; but this is one of Satan’s lies. No, we don’t need to fill our minds and our children’s minds with the garbage of the world to be sure we know it’s wrong. We can learn how to recognize and resist the wrong, and choose the right from God’s Word. Remember the Bible injunction to fill your mind with whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, with virtue, and with praise. Your children will be thankful if you “shelter” them in this way.
5) How can entertainment become an addiction, causing us to misuse the precious gift of time God has given us? ____________________________________________________
“__________________ the ________, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
“So teach [us] to ____________ our ________, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Competitive sports, rock and other carnal styles of music (even so-called “Christian” ones), movies, TV, video games, much of the internet, theater going, drama, novel reading, dances, races, parties, ballgames, gambling, lottery, and other entertainments appeal to the lower passions of the mind, bypassing the frontal lobe of the mind where our conscience is located. Thus, these forms of entertainment easily become an addiction to many.
You may say, “Oh, I’m not addicted, I just enjoy this in my leisure time.” But are you? Do you frequently, while watching TV, reading a novel, surfing the internet, or some other form of entertainment find yourself thinking, “I really need to stop this and take the trash out, or start the meal preparation, but this is so good…” or “My wife is calling me to supper, or to family worship, but I’ve just got to get to the end of this…” or “I know I really shouldn’t be watching/reading/listening to this; it’s not drawing me closer to the Lord and getting me ready for heaven, but it’s so much fun. I’ll just do it this one more time.” Now, stop and think, and ask yourself honestly my friend, are you addicted?
Tragically, love of entertainment is ruling in the lives of many Seventh-day Adventists, young and old alike. It’s spell must be broken if we ever hope to perfect our characters and be fit to enter heaven.
A. Media and Reading
6) What instruction does the Bible give us about what we are to do with the media (movies, TV, video games, internet, theater, drama, etc.) and reading materials (novels, magazines, newspapers, etc.) that the world has to offer?
“Love not the __________, neither the ____________ [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is ____________________. For all that [is] in the world, the ________ of the __________, and the lust of the ________, and the __________ of _________, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world ________________________, and the lust thereof: but he that __________ the ________ of God ________________________________.” 1 John 2:15-17
“____________ lest any man spoil you through ____________________ and ________ ____________, after the __________________ of men, after the __________________ of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8
“Beloved, ____________________ that which is ________, but that which is ________. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” 3 John 11
It is by beholding, whether good or evil, that we become changed into the same image (GC 478); and whatever we allow our minds to think and dwell on, is what we become like. Therefore, the TV shows we watch or the books we read have a profound impact on the kind of person we are and will grow to be.
7) Considering the television specifically, what does the Bible say about what we should and should not allow our eyes to look on and our ears to hear?
“The ______________ in ________ are ____________; fearfulness hath surprised the ____________________. ______ among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that ________________ his ________ from ______________ of __________, and ________________ his ________ from _____________________; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence [shall be] the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure. Thine ________ shall _______________________ in his beauty: they shall ____________ the ________ that is very far off.”
“I will _________________________________________________________________: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.” Psalms 101:3
“The ________________________________ [is] ________________________: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” Proverbs 8:13
“__________, my son, to ________ the _______________________________________ ______________ from the words of __________________.” Proverbs 19:27
8) How serious a matter is it when we willfully look at sinful things? ________________
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
5:28 But I say unto you, That __________________________________ on a woman _______________ after her hath ____________________________________ with her ______________ in his __________.” Matthew 5:27-28
Jesus teaches that, even if we never commit the sinful act that we have allowed our eyes to behold and our mind to think on, we are just as guilty as if we had.
I’d like to mention a few things about TV specifically (by “TV” I’m referring to outside programming coming in through cable, satellite, or other means, and movies; not using a VCR to watch sermon videos, videos of your family, religious nature videos, or the like). Television is a menace in the Christian home. No one will deny that there may be some programs which are educational and instructive, but we must face the reality that Satan has taken almost entire control of this avenue to the point where even the “good” programs are no longer good, but are littered with worldly-dressed, made-up people, sensual materialistic adds, “mild” swear words, silly jokes, worldly beating music, and such things.
You may say, “Oh, but I have to be able to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I have to watch the news.” I want to challenge you with the thought that God has given us the “news” we need to know about, ahead of time, in The Great Controversy and Revelation. Most of what is portrayed on the daily news nowadays is either trash, trivia, or trouble, and it is not healthy for our spiritual life to be feeding on it.
Or you may say, “I don’t watch any bad TV programs or movies, only the ‘good ones‘”. Ask yourself honestly, “are there any good ones out there?” Do the ones you call “good” meet the Bible’s standard of what is good, or merely the world’s standard of “good”? And even if you found one or two “good” programs on TV, would they merit your bringing that source of all manner of wickedness and corruption into your home? And how would you guarantee that in a moment of curiosity you or your spouse or children would not flip the channel and see something they could never again put out of their minds? Is it worth the risk for a few moments of fleeting pleasure enjoying a “good” or “educational” program or movie? No, it surely isn’t.
My friends, for you own sake, for your children’s sake, for your brethren’s sake, for your neighbor’s sake, and for your Heavenly Father’s sake, if you have the television in your home, get rid of it! If you have the world’s movies in your home, get rid of them! Your decision to do right, or lack thereof, will influence those around you as well.
Following are some of the reasons not to have a TV in your home:
a) It establishes the practice of tolerating evil to enjoy some good.
b) Its amusement format lowers your children’s / your resistance to evil.
c) It provides constant access to the world’s system and its false concepts.
d) It deadens your children’s / your conscience and respect of Scriptural authority by providing comparisons with new lows of evil and immorality.
e) It allows your children / you to relate to (and even, tragically, to make role models of) evil individuals whom you would otherwise never allow in your home.
f) It devours one of your children’s / your most precious recourses - time.
g) It stifles your children’s / your creativity, interest in simple things, and enjoyment of work.
h) It leads your children / you to live in an imaginative or unreal world to escape the problems of real life.
i) It is addictive, leading your children / you to shirk responsibility in order to indulge in it.
j) It ultimately makes your children / you an enemy of God
9) Read the quotes below (the examples include many different forms of entertainment, but the principles can all apply to media and reading materials). Then write down at least five reasons why a Christian cannot take part in such entertainments.
Keep in mind that in Ellen White’s day, television, movies, video games, and the like did not yet exist; yet the principles she taught then as applying to the theater, apply today to the TV and movies as well. The principles she gave then about the newspaper apply equally as much to the 6’oclock news.
“Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence…. The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon. He will not unite with the gay waltzers or indulge in any other bewitching pleasure that will banish Christ from the mind. To those who plead for these diversions we answer, We cannot indulge in them in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The blessing of God would not be invoked upon the hour spent at the theater or in the dance. No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come.” AH 515, 516
“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.” AH 516
“Those who would not fall a prey to Satan's devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts…. Everything that can be done should be done to place ourselves and our children where we shall not see the iniquity that is practiced in the world. We should carefully guard the sight of our eyes and the hearing of our ears so that these awful things shall not enter our minds…. It seems as if the enemy is at the foundation of the publishing of many things that appear in newspapers. Every sinful thing that can be found is uncovered and laid bare before the world. Those who would have that wisdom which is from God must become fools in the sinful knowledge of this age, in order to be wise. They should shut their eyes, that they may see and learn no evil. They should close their ears, lest they hear that which is evil and obtain that knowledge which would stain their purity of thoughts and acts.” AH 403, 404
Mere children in years are old in a knowledge of crime. They are incited to evil by the tales they read. In imagination they act over the deeds portrayed, until their ambition is aroused to see what they can do in committing crime and evading punishment.” AH 407
“The readers of fiction are indulging an evil that destroys spirituality, eclipsing the beauty of the sacred page…. The practice of story reading is one of the means employed by Satan to destroy souls. It produces a false, unhealthy excitement, fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, and disqualifies it for any spiritual exercise. It weans the soul from prayer and from the love of spiritual things. Works of romance, frivolous, exciting tales, are, in hardly less degree, a curse to the reader. The author may profess to teach a moral lesson; throughout his work he may interweave religious sentiments, but often these serve only to veil the folly and worthlessness beneath…. In the education of children and youth fairy tales, myths, and fictitious stories are now given a large place….. How can Christian parents permit their children to use books so filled with falsehood?… The ideas presented in these books mislead the children.” AH 412, 413
“Parents have received the world's maxim, have conformed to the general opinion that it was necessary that the early life of children and youth should be frittered away in idleness, in selfish amusements, and in foolish indulgences. In this way a taste has been created for exciting pleasure, and children and youth have trained their minds so that they delight in exciting displays; and they have a positive dislike for the sober, useful duties of life…. They have no thoughts of God or of eternal realities.” AH 526
B. Competitive Sports
10) What instruction in the Bible applies to competitive sports?
“[Let] ______________ [be done] through ____________ or __________________; but in __________________ of mind let each ____________________________________
___________________________________. Look not every man on his _____________________, but every man also on the ___________________________.” Philippians 2:3-4
“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. 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 life's sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the door is opened to dissipation and lawlessness with their terrible results.” AH 500, 501
List 6 of the reasons given in the above quote why we should not participate in sports games: _________________________________________________________________
Some may say, “Sports are just a game, and young people have to have something to get their energy out.”. But we would answer, there are plenty of wholesome activities and useful work projects young people can engage in to exercise and get their energy out. Sports, which are contrary to Bible principles and strengthen unholy character traits, are not a safe pastime for our youth. Others may plead, “But I just love watching my… (whatever sports team). It’s harmless entertainment.” Again we would answer, we cannot safely continue to indulge in something which the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy condemn, no matter how much we may enjoy it. God does not ask us to decide whether or not we will obey based on how we feel about it, but rather on what He says about it. It is not harmless entertainment which goes against God’s Word and promotes the attitudes and principles by which Satan operates (pride, force, deception, brutality, etc.).
C. Worldly Gatherings
11) Is it okay to attend gatherings of worldlings (such as dances, races, parties, ballgames, other games, etc.) or to take part in activities like gambling and lottery playing?
YES / NO
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the ____________________ of the __________ is ____________ with ______? whosoever therefore will be a ____________ of the world is the __________ of God.” James 4:4
“Traitors, heady, highminded, ______________________________________ more than __________________________; Having a __________________________________, but ______________ the __________ thereof: from such __________________.”
2 Timothy 3:4-5
“He that walketh with wise [men] shall be ________: but a __________________ of __________ shall be __________________.” Proverbs 13:20
“______________ from ____________________________ of ________.”
1 Thessalonians 5:22
“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. . . . 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…. Individually the youth should seek for association with those who are toiling upward with unfaltering steps. Better than all the friendship of the world is the friendship of Christ's redeemed.” FLB 234
“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.” AH 498
“Card playing should be prohibited. The associations and tendencies are dangerous. The prince of the powers of darkness presides in the gaming room and wherever there is card playing. Evil angels are familiar guests in these places. There is nothing in such amusements beneficial to soul or body.” AH 518
“They (the youth) think if Christians can encourage and engage in these lotteries and scenes of festivities, and connect them with sacred things (raising money for the church), why may not they be safe in taking an interest in lotteries and in engaging in gambling to win money for special objects. It is Satan's studied plan to clothe sin with garments of light to hide its deformity and make it attractive.” Con 68
“Satan has invented many ways in which to squander the means which God has given. Card playing, betting, gambling, horse racing, and theatrical performances are all of his own inventing… Men lay out immense sums in following these forbidden pleasures; and the result is, their God-given power, which has been purchased by the blood of the Son of God, is degraded and corrupted.” CS 134
“As ordinarily conducted, parties of pleasure . . . are a hindrance to real growth, either of mind or of character…. Many such gatherings have been presented to me. I have seen the gaiety, the display in dress, the personal adornment. All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting, cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, conscience sleeps. With eating and drinking and merrymaking, they do their best to forget God. The scene of pleasure is their paradise. And Heaven is looking on, seeing and hearing all.” AH 514, 515
Some may say, “When I go to parties, games, and other gatherings, and hang out with my worldly friends, I’m able to be a witness and share my faith with them. If I don’t go, they’ll never get to hear the truth.” We would answer, if we, in carrying out our daily duties, find ourselves surrounded by those who do not love and fear God, or if we meet with them for the express purpose of sharing our faith with them, we may ask God to keep us from temptation, and He will. But if we mingle and associate with worldlings in their pleasure gatherings where God is not present, partaking with them of their laughter, frivolity, and fun, we are warned that we will fall to temptation sooner or later. When you go places Jesus cannot and will not go with you, and partake of the shallow spirit there, you are not giving a witness for your faith, but rather for your hypocrisy and compromise. If you claim to be a true Christian and follower of Christ, your worldly acquaintances expect you to be different from them, and most of them will respect you for the principles you hold, even when those principles mean you must kindly say, “No thank you, I can’t attend.”
12) If the gatherings and activities mentioned above are not pleasing to God, what kind of social gatherings are pleasing to Him? Read the quote, then write down the five “when” statements that tell us how we may know if a social gathering is pleasing to God.
“Gatherings for social intercourse are made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts, when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God or to consider methods for advancing His work and doing good to their fellow men. When the Holy Spirit is regarded as a welcome guest at these gatherings, when nothing is said or done to grieve Him away, God is honored, and those who meet together are refreshed and strengthened. Our gatherings should be so conducted, and we should so conduct ourselves, that when we return to our homes, we can have a conscience void of offense toward God and man, a consciousness that we have not wounded or injured in any manner those with whom we have been associated, or had an injurious influence over them.” AH 502, 503
Let us make the determination by the strength of God to test all of our social interactions by this standard, putting away any which do not harmonize with it.
13) What is the purpose for which music was made? Read the quote below, then re-write the purpose for music in your own words. _____________________________________
“Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God.” VSS 448
14) What kind of music is pleasing to God? ____________________________________
“Speaking to yourselves in ____________ and __________ and __________________ __________, ______________ and making ____________ in your heart to the Lord;” Ephesians 5:19
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in ____________ and __________ and ____________________________, ______________ with __________ in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16
“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with ______________ unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11
“Music forms a part of God's worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs.” VSS 430
“Those who make singing a part of divine worship should select hymns with music appropriate to the occasion, not funeral notes, but cheerful, yet solemn, melodies. The voice can and should be modulated, softened, and subdued.” VSS 434
“In some of our churches I have heard solos that were altogether unsuitable for the service in the Lord's house. The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone. The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they join us in singing.” VSS 416
15) What kind of music is not pleasing to God? _________________________________
“For God is not [the author] of __________________, but of __________, as in all churches of the saints…. Let all things be done ________________ and in __________.” 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40
“When turned to good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls.” VSS 421
“Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace…. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer, luring them on to perdition.” VSS 420
“The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working. . .. No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship.” VSS 418
Obviously, we must rule out all worldly styles of music such as rock, jazz, country, etc. which do not in any way lift our hearts and thoughts to God and heaven, but rather lower them to the wicked ways of this world. But often, the place where professing Christians get confused on the question of music is when it comes to so-called “Christian” music (“Christian” rock, “Christian” contemporary). Let us consider a few principles.
All “Christian” or “religious” music fits into three categories. First, there is truly godly music that helps you and gives you strength in your Christian walk. Second, there is useless shallow music that doesn’t do much of anything for you, except to make you a shallow person. This kind of music should be rejected. Third, there is music that definitely hurts and weakens you, tempting you to do bad things, and can lead to demon possession. You must totally avoid being around such music.
Following are some guidelines for choosing good music:
A) Above all else, all “Christian” music must glorify God - or it is not Christian.
B) We can not use the excuse that “we must use music the sinner is used to and can identify with in order to reach him.”
C) If it is to glorify God, Christian music must be of a style that is not associated with the world, its sin, objectives, and impurities. We should not borrow from rock, jazz, popular, rhythm and blues, country, etc., since these styles originated in dance halls, barrooms, night clubs, discotheques, and earlier still from heathen rituals to establish communion with evil spirits. The style of music which emphasizes beat, rhythm, slides, and bass notes, was taken from heathen and devil-worshipping cultures. It focuses on the physical and on the emotions, and stirs up unholy passions. How then, can putting Christian words to such tunes, make them pure, good, and sanctifying in their influence? Never! This is truly blasphemy!
D) We must also consider the way in which music is sung, the appearance of the performers, and the atmosphere of the performance. Do the singers sing in a way to give glory to God, or to bring glory to themselves? Do they hold the microphone right up to their mouth, crooning and wailing into it as a worldly singer would? Do they sway and gesture dramatically? These are not characteristics of heavenly music. The loud, hollering, raucous style common to rock; the suggestive, sentimental, breathy, crooning style of the nightclub performer; and other distortions of the human voice must be carefully avoided. Many contemporary performers wear styles of hair and clothing that are not Biblical, and their lives and appearance are not consistent with the message they claim to be giving. Anything which calls undue attention to the performer(s), such as excessive, affected bodily movement or inappropriate clothing or hairstyles should find no place in worship or witnessing. Many performances feature elaborate sound systems, designed to make the music as loud as possible, along with flashing colored lights and billowing smoke to provide an eerie, demonic atmosphere.
E) Truly Christian music must be doctrinally sound if it is to glorify God and help human beings. Many current “gospel songs” are doctrinally incorrect. Others, especially the so-called “praise music” are so shallow and repetitious that there is almost no message to them at all, if not a wrong message of cheep grace and keep on sinning. We must not let ourselves be attracted to a nice, catchy tune and forget to weigh the words in the light of Scripture.
F) In summary, ask yourself: Are the words doctrinally correct? Is the message clear? Does the music fit the words? Is it people-oriented or God-oriented? Does it draw attention to the performer/performance or to the message? What is the message that it teaches? The way it is given, will it actually teach that message?
Music is definitely not morally neutral, as some people claim. Instead, the music you listen to has a tremendous effect on the kind of person you are and will become. The Bible tells us there is to be a distinct difference between believers and non-believers, and this includes their music as well.
You may say, “I was raised listening to this kind of music. It’s just a cultural thing for me.” But we should be willing to lay aside even our upbringing and culture, if we find that they are not in harmony with God’s Word. Be assured that even though you may miss your old style of music at first, God is only asking you to give up those things that are not for your best good to retain, and that are keeping you back from Him. He has something far better and more satisfying in store for you than anything the world’s kind of music can give.
16) Why is it important to avoid the first step in the wrong direction in any of our recreation? Write the answer in your own words: ________________________________
“He that is ________________ in that which is __________ is ________________ also in ________: and he that is ____________ in the __________ is ____________ also in ________.” Luke 16:10
“____________________ the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19
“Therefore to him that ____________________________________, and _____________
____________, to him it is ______.” James 4:17
“Do not see how close you can walk upon the brink of a precipice and be safe. Avoid the first approach to danger.” AH 404
“You may see no real danger in taking the first step in frivolity and pleasure seeking and think that when you desire to change your course, you will be able to do right as easily as before you yielded yourselves to do wrong. But this is a mistake. By the choice of evil companions many have been led step by step from the path of virtue into depths of disobedience and dissipation to which at one time they would have thought it impossible for them to sink.” AH 519
“As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see the same repeated in our day? While God's servants are giving the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them from the coming destruction.” AH 524
17) When we remove the wrong forms of entertainment from our homes, what shall we do in their place?
“And be not __________________ to this world: but be ye ______________________ by the ________________ of your ________, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
“While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures which will not taint or corrupt the morals.” AH 498
“There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance to life's true success.” AH 512
Here’s how to choose which activities are safe to partake in: “Christians have many sources of happiness at their command, and they may tell with unerring accuracy what pleasures are lawful and right. They may enjoy such recreations as will not dissipate the mind or debase the soul, such as will not disappoint and leave a sad after-influence to destroy self-respect or bar the way to usefulness. If they can take Jesus with them and maintain a prayerful spirit, they are perfectly safe.” AH 513
Here are some ideas for starters: do a special project around the home, build something, put on a cooking school, visit a shut-in, give free literature door-to-door, have a family picnic, go on a camping trip, take a hike out in nature, go for a treasure hunt, have a family “pioneer day” where you do everything the old way, make a song tape together, bake a special treat for everyone at church. There are many more ideas you can come up with as a family, and you will make many treasured memories together as you seek to spend your “spare time” God’s way.
Write down the rule by which we may determine which recreational activities are appropriate for the Christian: ________________________________________________
18) Have you fallen into the devil’s entertainment trap in one or more areas of your life? Do you find yourself enjoying the pleasures of the world instead of finding your joy in the Lord? Is it your desire to put away all of the world’s entertainment and experience that godly “re-creation” which will draw you and your family closer to the Lord instead of separating you from Him? Write your commitment in your own words below.
#13 Keeping Healthy