From the time I first tasted of the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 34:8) I immediately lost any desire for watching professional or competitive sports, watching television or movies, or listening to secular music. At this time I was a single young man living in Miami, Florida going to what many would call a charismatic Assemblies of God church. I was also heavily involved in competitive drug free powerlifting, was nationally ranked and had several state and regional records.
I did not learn the views I am writing about there. In fact the opposite was endorsed if not encouraged. I was constantly praised for being a great example of a Christian young man especially with my powerlifting accomplishments. I had sin in my life, had no prayer life, and powerlifting was my idol. At this time I knew of no “holiness” churches or had not heard any teaching that taught against these things. However once I tasted the goodness of the Lord I knew with all my heart if I wanted to keep what I had then I must stay away from the entertainment activities mentioned above. I am sure this was the leading of the Holy Ghost.
Of course as I separated myself from these forms of worldy entertainment and amusement and spend all my free time studying the Bible and seeking God in prayer I soon saw the command and necessity in the scripture of living a sin free life of holiness unto the Lord. I also had never heard this preached although I began to read some of Charles Finney’s writings and saw he preached the same thing.
I have been surprised as of late to hear how many who claim to believe in living sin free trying to give a strong defense of participating in the above forms of useless, time wasting, unedifying, uneducational entertainment that in no shape, form or fashion glorifes God under the title of “Christian liberty”. Many also brand any teaching against Christians participating in this useless, unedifying, time wasting, uneducational entertainment as “legalism”.
First of all just because something is not on the Galatians 5:19-21 sin list or the 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 sin list it does not mean it is ok. It is possible to remain off of these lists and still be living for oneself and not for the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly if someone is in sin then they are not saved and not living to glorify God. However just being moral and believing the fundamental doctrines of the Bible does not mean the Lord Jesus Christ is the one in control of your life. Nor does merely abstaining from the above activities of worthless entertainment mean that the Lord Jesus Christ is in control of your life either. The purpose here though is to examine if someone who is participating in these forms of worthless entertainment is really wholeheartedly following the Lord Jesus Christ.
One can avoid the sins mentioned in those passages, preach on the streets, preach against Calvinism, avoid these useless entertainments, keep holiness standards, etc. and even do all of the above yet still not have Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we are no longer our own but bought with a price and because of that we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit. We are told to do whatever we do for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are told we no longer are to live for ourselves but unto Him which died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). We are told to do whatever we do heartily (or with our whole heart) as unto the Lord and not to man (Colossians 3:23). We are commanded to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). So in the light of these scriptures do we have the right to do what we please as long as it is not on the Galatians 5:19-21 list?
The church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-5 was not involved in any sinful activities. In fact it seemed they hated sin yet they were told to repent because they had left their first love (verses 4-5). Their love for the Lord Jesus Christ had grown cold. They were told to repent and the Bible teaches if we don’t repent we will perish (Luke 13:3, 5). They would perish for not loving the Lord as they should even though they were not involved in the “sin lists”.
The church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 does not seem to have been involved in any of the sins in Galatians 5:19-21 but had become lukewarm and would be vomited out of the Lord’s mouth. Their lukewarmness or lack of fire and fervency caused them to be spued out of the Lord’s mouth. They were also told to repent. Of course we know if we don’t repent we will perish (Luke 13:3, 5). Can you really claim to be on fire for God while you have time and some level of interest for these useless, unedifying forms of entertainment?
Mark 4:19 does not seem to mention anything on Galatians 5:19-21 list. Just cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches and lusts of other things entered in and they became unfruitful. Getting caught up in your own affairs and not the affairs of God. Luke 8:14 says the Word was choked with cares, riches and “pleasures of this life”. We must all constantly guard against such as they get in the heart, choke the Word and cause us to become unfruitful. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 tells us the solider of the Lord does not get involved in the needless affairs of this life in order that he may please the Lord who has chosen him to be a soldier. With the lukewarmness of the church world, with the state of our nation, with sinners all around dying and going to hell are you a soldier of the Lord while you squander the time you could spend on advancing God’s kingdom in prayer, witnessing, etc. on useless entertainment?
Luke 21:34-36 makes it clear that we are in danger of missing the Lord’s coming if at “any time” we allow our hearts to be “overcharged” or desensitized by “surfeiting” (indulgence), drunkenness, and cares of this life. Entertainment such as watching pro sports has no spiritual value. It has no moral value. It pleases the senses. It is a form of self indulgence and has no virtue. One who pleases the senses is sensual or governed by the senses. This is the opposite of one who builds themselves up on their most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghost and keeps themselves in the Love of God (Jude 19-20).
Being sensual is the equivalent to being carnal. To be carnally minded is death (Romans 8:6) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Carnal people and sinful people both end up in the same place. The carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7). No carnal person is a Christian. The spiritual man will redeem the time by seeking God building up himself on his most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghost and keep his first love hot (Matthew 24:12) while the unspiritual, carnal, sensual will squander his time on carnal, unspiritual, useless activities.
We are commanded to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-17, Colossians 4:5). Watching professional sports and movies is not redeeming the time but wasting time. The one who does not do so is said to act as a “fool” the same label God gives to atheists (Psalm 14:1).
Everywhere I meet people who tell me they want to memorize scriptures. They want some easy formula but are they willing to spend much time with God. They claim they want to memorize scriptures but show they don’t because they are not willing to give up other things that take away their time from studying and meditating on God’s Word.
We are commanded to lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1). Notice weights and sins are in the same verse. Not just lay aside sins but weights. The argument I constantly hear is you cannot prove these things are sinful. Weights that are not laid aside end up being sins. At the very least they are weights. They weigh people down, they slow them down. These things easily beset us. Maybe they think these verses do not apply to them. I care not who you are, how effective you think your ministry is, how many you preach to, etc. you will be more effective without these things. They are unnecessary weights.
Yes, Paul commended the virtues of discipline in the athlete (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) and then said if the athlete will do all that for a corruptible crown then how much more should we discipline ourselves spiritually for our spiritual race for an uncorruptible crown. If we do not we are in danger of being set aside as a castaway. Is Paul here talking merely of staying out of sins? When I was involved in competitive powerlifting my whole life was governed around, centered around my workouts for that day. Everything I ate, everything I did, how my time was spent was always taken into consideration. If it would hurt my performance I did not do it. I did all that as a sinner for a corruptible crown for the glory of man. Paul say how much more should we do this for an incorruptible crown, for the glory of God and for the eternal souls of men.
We are commanded to abstain from all appearance of evil ( 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Do ball games and movies with their fashions, language, wordly values, etc. give any appearance of evil? I would say they not only give any appearance of evil but give all appearance of evil.
We only have eternal life as we abide in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3, 1 John 5:12). We only have eternal life as we hear, obey and follow the Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:27-28). We are only not sinning as we abide in Him (1 John 3:6). We only have eternal life as we eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53-57). That speaks of communion and fellowship. In fact we are to have the same fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ that Jesus had with the Father while He was on earth (John 6:57). Can someone who loves God will all His heart, soul, mind and strength claim to have communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ while participating in these activities?
Would Jesus participate in these activities (1 John 2:6). Jesus repeatedly claimed to only do those things that please the Father (John 8:29). Would Paul participate in these activities (1 Corinthians 11:1)? Did Peter and Paul go to sporting events, keep track and follow with interest the latest sports news. I have no problem claiming they definitely would not. Neither would John Wesley, William Booth, Finney, Wigglesworth, Praying Hyde, Rees Howells, etc. They had revival because they lived solely for the glory of God with undivided hearts. They had revival. We don’t have revival. If we are not going to live, preach and pray like they did then we need to stop making excuses for why we don’t have revival.
Jesus said an eye that is not single to the glory of God is evil (Matthew 6:21-24). These things begin to compete for our interest, attention and our affections. We are to set our affections on things above not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:1-4). Many say these things are ok as long as we do not put them above the Lord. I say if we are praying, seeking, living for and obeying God we will have no desire for such things. Who goes and takes a bath and then wants to jump in the mud? Pigs (2 Peter 2:20-22)? Not Christians.
We are commanded not to love the world with its lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). Professional competitive sports and hollywood movies with all their glitz, glamour, celebrities, stars,wealth, fame,fashion, flesh exalting, self exalting, man praising, falls clearly under the love of the world. We are told if we love the world then the love of the Father is not in us. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). If this seems “legalistic” to you it is because you do not have the true Biblical “Love of the Father” in you, the true grace of God working in your life and you love the world. Paul said the world was crucified unto him and he unto the world (Galatians 6:14). The world with all its celebrities, fame, glamour, wealth, held no interest to Paul and Paul had no interest in it. Paul was too caught up with the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the kingdom for such foolishness.
Jesus said the world hated Him (John 7:7) and also said the world would hate us also (John 15:18-19). There is a spirit of the world (1 Corinthians 2:12) and that spirit is the spirit behind all the entertainment of professional sports and movies. How can you claim to Love the Lord Jesus Christ and then partake of the spirit that crucified Him?