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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Entertainment: Freedom or Folly?

Whether it's movies, television, the internet, or places we go, there is so much garbage out there, and sometimes sin creeps right into the door of the church.

Watching movies today can be like David watching Bathsheba.  
Do we sit there staring at temptation or do we run like Joseph from Potiphar's wife?
Going to the beach or searching online can also place temptation in the path.

Do we really think that we can pour immorality, foul language, and filth in on purpose and not be affected?
Do Christians believe in guarding their minds and hearts anymore?
Are believers so desensitized to sin that they stop cringing and don't even recognize it anymore?
Have believers let their "freedom" turn into an opportunity for the flesh?

Why should we be surprised when the "church" starts accepting sin inside its doors when people wink at sin inside their homes?
Is the desire for holiness and wisdom now labeled legalism?
Something to think about.

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; 
I hate the work of those who fall away; 
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
Psalm 101:3 NASB

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 
Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 
James 1:13-15 NASB

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 NASB

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:28 NASB

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.
Mark 7:21-22 NASB

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.
Proverbs 4:23-24 NA

"I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?
Job 31:1 NASB

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:16 NASB

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:11 NASB

for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
Ephesians 5:12 NASB

There is a way which seems right to a man, 
But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 NASB

The other side of fleeing sin and temptation is filling our minds with the things of the Spirit and remembering what we should strive to dwell on.  
Probably many of us have memorized this verse at some point.  

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Christian Fiction - Solid Doctrine Needed!

When I was growing up, I did a lot of reading of fiction books.
I still read some fiction (though not nearly as much as I did when I was younger).
A lot of books purport to be "Christian" fare, but they either support false doctrine, a false gospel, use bad language, advocate women's lib., put men and women in compromising situations, appeal to lust, and have "Christians" who don't seem to care whether a potential spouse is a believer or not.

Also, there is very little fiction written by people who believe in the doctrines of grace and have solid Theological views.
What people write reflects their values and the teaching they have or have not received.
Sadly, much of the writing out there reveals the lack of solid Biblical knowledge and practical wisdom of many professing Christians.

Writers need to think about what they are writing and what its purpose is.
Will it lead people to sin?  
Will it reflect godly truths and values or lead people to accept values that don't honor God?
Will it lead them to antinomianism (an abuse of grace) or legalism (works-based religion) or eisegetical false teaching?
Will your writing lead people to the Gospel and wise behavior, or will it lead them to sensuality, worldliness, and heresy?

Some would throw out fiction altogether, but even "entertainment" can be a subtle way to encourage each other to love and good deeds and obedience, present Biblical doctrine, and direct unbelievers to the Gospel.  
It can be challenging, and yet, it can also be enjoyable.  
It can reflect real struggles, but with a purpose.
There are some good books out there, but sadly they are few and far between.
I really believe that it would be a great idea for more book writers to run their writing by someone (or more than one person) who is doctrinally sound before having it printed or selling it in any format.
Even those of us who write blogs could use some feedback if we get way off track.

Whether it's for kids or teens or adults, I want to encourage those who do write to write for the glory of God, and as a result, what you write may influence people.  
It may be more subtle, but it really can.
It's not a substitute for Bible study, but it can have benefits.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Shepherds' Conference Wrap-Up

The Shepherds' Conference for 2018 is over, and I was blessed to be able to watch much of it live-streaming.
The final message that John MacArthur gave to the pastors to close it off was a necessary confrontation on those who embrace people with a false gospel (adding any work to the Gospel of grace).
Both the first and last messages were excellent.
The final conference session can be heard online.
The Triumph of The Church

John's first message, like his recent sermons, pointed out how antinomianism, & legalism are both wrong amongst other things.
I put a few things I shared on social media during the first session at the bottom of this post.
There were some other good messages and also a Q & A.

I look forward to hearing some more of the seminar sessions when they have put them online and one other main session I missed hearing any of.
Meanwhile, most of the streamed messages are on the Facebook Page for the Shepherds' Conference.
Also, you can check HERE (where the rest of the 2018 conference media should eventually be available).
UPDATE: It's online now!


Some highlights apart from the messages were the pastors receiving Preacher's Bibles, the excitement of the pastors and their fellowship shared about on social media, the evangelism that was going on apart from the conference itself, and a family member who volunteered, and though not all at the time of the conference... is/was able to say hi to some of my Christian acquaintances that I have only had contact with from a distance.  I also enjoyed quite a bit of the music, although I admit to already being spoiled and watching Grace Community Church live-streamed most Sundays (since it's afternoon and later in the evening here when they have church going on still there).

Again, below are just a few things I shared on social media during the opening session of the conference.
The order isn't necessarily correct for when John talked about the things I shared, and I didn't get all of his words or the exact wording of some things.

Relevant, real, missional, cool, multi-anything, cultural, no eschatology preferred, formational, heroic - the lingo of pastoral ministry today. 
Missing are Biblical, holy, humble, godly, self-denying & sacrificial. 
Hearing JMac.

The legalist defines his relationship by keeping the law & the antinomian by not keeping the law. 
It's part of the same heresy..both will crash & burn. 
They define their relationship by the law instead of being in & loving Christ. 
It's about the Spirt...not the Law. 

Sanctification is living under the command of God and being disciplined by God to obey those commands.  If you disobey that you may be weak, you may be sick, and you may die. ...
Grace reigns over you...Grace corrects.  Grace disciplines. 
Hearing JMac.

I think we have to identify false teachers, and I think we need to identify false doctrine.... 
I don't think there is a willingness to do this in the age of ... compromise.... 
Protecting people is critical.
Hearing JMac.