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Judging Entertainment Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2023 1:00 am

Judging Entertainment Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 18, 2023 1:00 am

How much media and entertainment should we lbe et into our homes? We might try to deny our overconsumption or be unsure of what to do. In this message, we follow three tests for the media we allow into our hearts. We must intentional, or entertainment will become detrimental to our spiritual growth.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Entertainment has sunk to new lows. To a large degree, movies, popular music and TV have become a wasteland. How can a Christian discern what to watch or listen to?

Is it time now to toss out the large screen 4K TV? Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it better to shun media altogether or to take the time to sift the good from the bad? You know, Dave, one of the things that I appreciate your questions is that they are never yes or no questions. They're the kind of questions that make all of us think, and this certainly is another instance of that. If we are to tell people to get rid of their TV, to get rid of internet, which of course contains an awful lot of impurity, I think that we discover that we are speaking to deaf ears because we also have some good.

They have become a part of our culture, but to your point, it is so critical that we discern good from evil, that we warn our children that we put various safeguards in place, and we need to be aware that the culture is not on our side. I've written a book entitled Who Are You to Judge? It discusses that, and I remember being in a meeting with a businessman who when he got up from the table asked me this question. He said, Pastor Lutzer, how much of Hollywood should we allow in our home? And that's why one of the chapters of the book is entitled Judging Entertainment, and the subtitle is How Much of Hollywood Should We Allow in Our Homes?

For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours, and at the end of this message, I'll be giving you that info, but let us listen carefully. Question is this. How much of Hollywood should we allow into our homes? Let's suppose that there were some kidnappers who came into your home, stole your children. The kids were gone. You say, well, that can't happen because I have bolts on the doors.

The windows are locked. I would wake up. I'd fight. We'd call 911. What if I were to tell you that there are thieves that are coming into our homes though the doors are bolted and the windows are shut, and they are stealing our children? Oh, they're leaving the children's bodies there. The bodies are still there, but their hearts are gone, worshiping and serving other gods.

Today we're going to talk about the entertainment industry, and I need to say that when we venture to do that, we are now talking really about the devil's territory, that which he owns, that which he insists upon based upon scripture, that he is the god of this world, and John wrote that the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. It's very humbling for me to preach this message knowing right well that some people are going to disagree, which is fine. I'm not worried about the people who are going to disagree with the message. Let God take care of them. But there are many others who are going to agree and say, did you hear that message?

He was right on. But they won't change. They won't change. I know we've prayed many times today already. Would you bow with me one more time? And would you ask God to show you what needs to be changed, even as I ask God to show me what needs to be changed?

Father, would you take over? May it not be my voice? We know that sermons have never changed people, only you do. So we cast ourselves helplessly in your presence. Do a miracle, liberate your people, and free your church, and purify us, we ask in Jesus' name.

Amen. So what are those thieves that come into closed houses and steal the hearts of our young people and only leave their bodies? First of all, of course, we think of movies. You know, people think that when they go to a movie, they're just being entertained. They're not being entertained.

They are being educated. And when Hollywood makes R-rated movies, they know right well that young people way below the age of 17 are going to see it. 80 percent of young people who are younger than that say that they can get in to see R-rated movies. And what are often the themes? Sex, because God says that the family is holy, and violence, because God says that the human beings are holy. And so you have the assault of these values. Parents, when your children go to movies, they are being trained as to how they should relate to women, as to what is important in life, how they should dress, what their response should be, because it is the intention of the entertainment industry to tell your kids what normal sex is really all about, and they want to define it for you. Don't you realize that Hollywood is out to shape our values and the way in which we view the world? You know, I know that we have TV ratings, we have movie ratings, but they mean very little because, for one thing, they always want to push the limits. For another, now they can put a rating on a movie, and then they can show whatever they want, and they can say, well, you know, it was a PG-13, or it was a TV-14.

And it's like Larry Poland says that what has happened is it's as if the fox is guarding the chickens. What you need to understand is to wake up and realize that there are G movies that are inappropriate for anyone, including adults, because they may have all kinds of latent rebellion and all kinds of attitudes and values and even occultism that might be communicated. We can't be fooled by these ratings.

And then I think also, of course, of such things as sitcoms. By the way, did you know that 80% of young people under the age of 18 have seen an X-rated movie, and 25% try to act out what they saw within a matter of days? Is it any wonder that we have date rape? Is it any wonder that we have young children molesting children? Is it any wonder that we have molestation and sexual abuse going on in our homes fueled by an industry that is absolutely committed to make you an addict?

Yes. Always amuses me, if I may be amused at this point, that Christians laugh at things that grieve the heart of God. Listen to what one of the writers said, our intention is to make people to laugh at adultery, homosexuality, and incest.

Laughing breaks down your resistance to it. I've been told that there was a television program basically devoted one hour to this premise that if you as a teenager are not having sex, it means that you must be gay. Imagine those values communicated to our young people.

And then with all of the neo-paganism that we'll talk about in another message. So you have movies, you have rap music. Parents, do you have any idea what is being communicated? And here we could talk about MTV. The leader of MTV said that our intention is not to get young people to think logically, but to go for their desires because if we have their desires, we have them. Do you realize what's being communicated in terms of values? Is that really, is it rap music that you want that to teach your young people, your son, how to relate to a woman or your daughter to know how to relate to a man? Is this really it? Do you want them to use that kind of language in their lives and in their common expression?

Is that really what we want? Millions of albums sold. And then we think of the internet. One Christian man who was delivered from the use of pornography was speaking to 28 Christian men at a breakfast and was telling them his testimony of how he struggled with this and how God brought him through it. And of the 28, 23 said that they had accessed pornography on the internet. You see, what's happening is people are becoming younger and younger. The raging desires that are felt by an 18 year old or that used to be felt by an 18 year old are now being felt by a 12 year old or a 13 year old because they keep targeting younger and younger. I don't know how to say this more clearly, but do you realize that Hollywood, and I'm speaking now of Hollywood generally, of course there's much more than Hollywood. I mean there are all kinds of entertainment industries and Hollywood is kind of a catch phrase for it all. But do you realize that the entertainment industry, if we could just speak generally, uses billions and billions of dollars to make your child an addict to pornography, to movies, to drugs, because if, if he becomes an addict, he's theirs.

Michael Medved, who was a, is a movie critic, said that he has never seen such hostility and outright anger toward religion as he has found in Hollywood. And this is the type of thing that is coming into our homes by television, by the internet, by videos and whatever other means. But why don't we do something about it? Well, first of all, there are many people who live in denial.

If you close your eyes to it and pretend it's not there, maybe it'll go away on its own. Or somebody says, you know what, I, I think that maybe we should do something about it. Have you ever noticed that so many Christians who complain about what is on television spend so much time watching it? So denial. Secondly, parents are sometimes paralyzed because they themselves are a part of, of the culture.

I remember a Christian father who said that he subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and when the swimwear issue came to his home, he noticed his 12-year-old son being very, very interested in these young women who are dressed in what could be called the irreducible minimum. And he was going to say, you know, that's not good for a 12-year-old boy. He shouldn't be looking at that.

But then he remembered that he had old gold the same pictures. So what happens then? How can parents instruct their children if they themselves are seeing violence and, and of course condoning, condoning it all by saying, oh, but you know what? I just watch it. I don't do it.

So you have all that impurity coming into the human heart. By the way, what is the devil after? Well, I'm going to get to that. I don't want to hurry on.

But number three. Another reason we don't is we don't understand that this industry, and I'm speaking generally, of course there are some exceptions, but by and large that this industry is controlled by strong, evil forces. I remember speaking to a woman who was involved in pornography who said that the average person does not understand the darkness and the demonic control and the hold of this whole industry.

It is indeed in the lap of the devil. And that's why you can listen and we can have these wonderful little pep talks on how to discern and, and we can say, oh yeah, discern. And really it's like telling a blind man, you know, if you just stared into the night a little better, maybe you could see.

Because we have people who are addicted to this stuff. Well, how much of Hollywood should we let into our homes? I'm going to give you three tests today. Three tests and you're going to give them back to me. Okay, that's the deal. That's the agenda. We've agreed upon it when you came in here.

I'm going to give you three tests and after you, if they pass this test, man, after you go through this test, you can, you can bring it into your home. Number one, the content test, the content test. For this I turn to first John chapter two verse 15. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man. You remember the translations that say the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he does comes not from the father, but from the world and the world and its desires pass away. But the man who does the will of God abides forever. Look at what James says. He says, you adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Wow. The lust of the flesh, sensuality, the lust of the eyes. Did you know that the eyes have an appetite? We even know that when we say feast your eyes on this, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. That is the self absorption, the narcissism, which controls basically the rap music industry wholesale where you have a narcissistic view of life and where everything is poured through you. All that is of the world. Now do you realize of course that what happens when we watch that kind of thing is that we find these desires which are within us being, what shall we say, exploited and used and our struggle against sin becomes impossible.

Let me give you a definition of the world. The world basically is meeting legitimate desires in forbidden ways. Legitimate desires in forbidden ways. The desire for intimacy, the desire to have a good self image, the desire to perhaps own enough so that you can get by in life. All these things are very legitimate, but you see the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life does not that describe exactly what the entertainment industry is all about. This morning I was looking for a different passage of scripture and I happened to come across a verse that is just absolutely, I just marvel at the Bible. This is in Ephesians. If this doesn't describe the entertainment industry, what does? Having lost all sensitivity, they are giving themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more.

Wow. Ephesians chapter 4 verse 19. Let's suppose I come into your home and you say, you know Pastor Lutzer, we have something we really want to show you, something we really admire. I say, oh what is it? And I look into a case and there's a knife. And you say, you know, this knife is just beautiful. Look at its symmetry. Do you notice how sharp it is? Ooh, stainless steel blade. Just notice how, how beautiful it is. And I said, well, okay, I'm not really into knives, but you know, you're, you're telling this and they say, oh, you know, we come here and we just adore this knife all the time.

We're here every night for an hour looking at it. I said, well, that's really amazing. Tell me more about this knife. Well, we had one son and you know this son, we really loved him. And one day somebody broke into our house, a murderer and murdered him. And this is the knife that was used for the murder. Say to myself, you know, something's wrong with this picture. My friend, don't you realize that it is the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was the knife that murdered Jesus on the cross. And yet we look at this and we say to ourselves, we just admire it.

Why? We're in front of that television set every single evening and we're not missing our sitcom and we're not going to do this and we're not going to do that. And we love the very thing that grieves the heart of God.

I want to tell you something. Do you know why this is important? It's not because it's cultural. It's not because 4,000 cases of sexually transmitted disease come to light in America every single day.

It's not because of that. What John wants to say is, don't you realize that if you love the world and what James says is the father is grieved. He's grieved because you're loving what put his son on the cross and you're enjoying it and you're buying it and you're making sure that you have it. Let's suppose you had Jesus over for dinner. You know, like Martha and Mary, you invite them over and you have a good meal and you're a little nervous because this is Jesus, the son of God, but you're so delighted with his company.

And then you say, well, you know, Jesus, I think it's time for us to relax. Would you like to sit on the couch here and let's watch some TV together? Okay. So what would you select?

What would you select? Temptation Island? That'd be a possibility.

My dear friend, he is on the couch with you, by the way, and he's having to put up with what you see, which grieves him and what nailed him to the cross. You say, how much of Hollywood can we bring into our home? Well, the content test. I think that test alone pretty well drains the swamp.

Doesn't it? Now you're not used to doing this because we're a church that is very formal. You usually don't talk to me, but today I'm going to give you the opportunity to talk to me. I want us to say together on the count of three, the content test. Okay. I'm going to say one, two, three, and then everybody says those three words, the content test.

Are you ready? One, two, three, the content test. One more time. The content test. All right, let's go on to number two.

Number two is the control test. The apostle Paul says in first Corinthians chapter six, verse 12, he says, you know, he says, all things are lawful for me. He says, there are many things that are lawful for me, but he says, I will not be brought under the power of any.

In other words, what he is saying is I will not be mastered by this thing. May I quote the words of Richard Price from movie line magazine? There is only one thing more powerful than dope, and that is movies. Oh, you say I'm not addicted.

Not me. I want you to know today that you don't know whether or not you are until you try to stop. Could you do without it for, for a month or would you say, no, I could never, never go. I mean, when I come home, I relax and I need that relaxation and, and I, I'm in control.

It's not controlling me. You know, we as men, if there's anything that we like, it's that TV zapper. We love the TV zapper because then we can channel surf. What are you looking for when your channel surfing? Well, I don't know.

I don't know what I'm looking for. Just channel surfing and I'm in control, totally in control. Look at the way I have this thing programmed. I control it.

It goes directly from news, watch to Baywatch directly. See, I'm in control. Let me ask you this question.

Might it be possible for God to satisfy the desires that you now find to being satisfied supposedly by the entertainment industry? The control test, can you control it or are you really being mastered by it? But you're fooling yourself because you're saying, because my brief observation is that, that people who are addicted by and large are totally unaware of it. They live with the illusion that they are the ones who are in control, but they're not.

I'll tell you the world digs a deep hole in our hearts and has a tremendous hold within us. The control test. Can we say it out loud at the count of three, one, two, three, and then the control test. Are you ready now?

One, two, three, the control test. Boy, you're getting good at it. Well, my friend today, we certainly want to deceive ourselves, don't we? We want to pretend that we are in control and just think of that remark by Mark Twain.

Of course I can quit smoking. I've done it a thousand times. You know, I've written a book entitled, Who Are You to Judge?

Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Have Truths, and Lies. And of course, in the book, I have a chapter about entertainment and answering the question, how much of Hollywood can we allow in our homes? For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I don't have to emphasize, do I, that we are actually in a spiritual battle when it comes to entertainment. It's a battle that cannot be won except on our knees in earnest prayer, seeking God, repenting.

We don't have the willpower to say no to the world. I hope that this book is going to be a blessing to many of you. I believe that it will. And once again, here's the contact info. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember the title of the book, Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Have Truths, and Lies. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.

At no time in history has the entertainment culture invaded the church more than it has now. Today, we took the content test and the control test to see how addicted we are. Next time on Running to Win, we'll face test number three, What Will Your Grade Be? Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 03:43:46 / 2023-05-18 03:52:43 / 9

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