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Judging Entertainment Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2023 1:00 am

Judging Entertainment Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 19, 2023 1:00 am

At no time in history has entertainment culture invaded the church more than it has today. Addictions and media consumption can drive a wedge between us and God. In this message, Pastor Lutzer provides five suggestions to be discerning and intentional. What are practical steps we can take to lead ourselves and our families?

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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.

At no time in history has the entertainment culture invaded the church more than it has today. Last time, we took the content test and the control test to see how addicted we are. Today, we'll face test number three.

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, how well as a church are we passing or failing the tests you're outlining in this message on entertainment? Well Dave, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all that you need to do is to walk into the lobby of a church and see everyone on their cell phones to know that we are not exactly passing the test in terms of entertainment, in terms of communication. It seems as if we are spending an awful lot of time on the internet, and of course that can always lead to impurity.

It can lead to that which is degrading. We are in a spiritual battle. And if you believe that, I hope that you will help us as a ministry as we preach the gospel, as we encourage people toward purity and holiness of life. And at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some important information, how you can become a part of our endeavor to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. But for now, let's go to the pulpit of Moody Church.

Let's go on to a third test, and you know that I wanted the letter C so that it would fit. It's called the clock test, the clock test. Ephesians chapter 5 verse 15 says, redeem the time. That's the translation I like the best. To redeem the time means to buy it out of the marketplace because you have all of these competing things.

Let's suppose that you have something in your home that passes the content test, and it passes even the control test. The question is, is it a good investment of your time in light of the fact that the days are evil? Let me ask you, how evil do the days have to get before we wake up out of sleep and say, you know, it's time that we began to live productively for Jesus?

By the way, I know this message is a little hard today, but I want you to know I do love you and I'm preaching it to myself too. You know, if you make an investment, you know, those of us who invested in stocks and bonds or whatever the investment might be, you always want to say, I want to return. All right.

That's fair. The investment of your time watching television, what's the return? What's the payback? Is your character better now as a result of it? Are you a better person?

Are you more in love with Jesus than you were before? You see, the problem is that we make this tremendously huge investment and there is no appreciable payback. Could I say something to the retirees? I'm going to be in that category in the not too distant future, so I'm going to say it very carefully. What a terrible thing to spend the last years of your life on front of a television set. When there are so many needs, you know, there was one person who was watching television and she said to herself, this is crazy. I don't want to spend the last years of my life like this. And she went to the church and she got the names of missionaries and became personal correspondent to 70 missionaries.

You say you mean seven, no seven zero. And she began to write to them and to pray for them and live productively until the end. What a wonderful way to go. What a tragedy to sit in front of this tube and then have to explain it all to Jesus, because the Bible says that we will give an account for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. And do you think Jesus is going to say, well done, now, good and faithful servant, for thou has watched five thousand two hundred and forty one hours of television? You know, I think of people who are retired today and then I think of young mothers who desperately want an older woman to come alongside of them and to minister to them. And there are people who need to be ministered to through visitation and whatever. And and some of these dear people have all that potential. And so what we're talking about here is the clock test.

Is this is this really? In fact, I hate to be too idealistic here, but I'm just going to throw this out. I'm going for broke today.

I'm just going to do the whole thing. Have you ever thought of how spiritual you would be and what your relationship with God would be like if all of the time that you have spent watching television would have been used reading the Bible? Now, just think about that for a moment. You say, yeah, but the Bible isn't as interesting. It's God's word.

But there is nothing like that latest latest flick. Do you know why the Bible can't compete? It's because, you see, whatever part of us we feed, that's the part of us that grows strong. So you feed, you see the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, and you feed it and you feed it and it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger. And the Bible is over here somewhere. It's fine for church and Sunday and sometime when you have company, you want to read it, but it's not it's not very important. But you realize that if if we began to read God's word and began to really fall in love with God, we would be absorbed and we know that there's nothing wrong with pleasure, but the pleasures at God's right hand would be our motivation. Just imagine that for a moment, idealistic though it is. And have you ever thought of how we grieve God by saying, I want you to know that you're not meeting my needs, so I have to turn to the world to meet my needs.

It's the grief of God that should motivate us, not this message, the grief of God. So can you all say it now after one, two, three, the clock test? You're getting so good at it. One, two, three, the clock test.

In fact, you know, you're getting so good. Could we say by looking at me, don't look at your notes, could we say all three of them together? Do you think?

Let's try it. Number one, of course, is the content test. Number two, the control test.

Number three, the clock test. What do we do about it? Let me give you five quick suggestions and then I'm out of here.

Number one, we have to clean up our own act. And some of you can't do this alone. You need to find somebody to pray with you. You need to find somebody to hold you accountable.

You've tried a thousand times. And what we need to do is to say that we are going to take seriously the admonitions of scripture, preparing for the return of Jesus Christ to be a pure bride. And whatever that takes and whatever form that takes in my life, and I need this as much as you. That's the form that you take it in your life and to take it seriously and say at last, at the end of the day, I'm stopped toying with God and I'm serious.

Now that could be a whole message, but let's get on with number two. As families, we have to set a standard. We have to set a standard. And listen up, parents, you have to set this standard based on the absolutes of scripture. And children need to see that it's based on absolutes and not merely culture or preference.

Because if you don't base it on something solid like the teachings of scripture, you're going to get a whole bunch of hassle. You're going to get young people who are going to say, oh, you know what? Your problem is you really just don't like Madonna. That's your problem.

Or mom, you just don't understand these slasher films. And so what you have to do is to have standards in the home and then you have to empower children. You know, teenagers are into power, so I'm saying, hey, let's empower them.

Let's give them power. Let's tell our young people, you know, you've got so much power that it's okay for you to walk out of a movie theater. It's okay for you if you're over at a friend's house and they begin watching risque videos. It's okay for you to go to the phone and call me because I'll come and pick you up. It's okay for you to be different.

And we need to empower them. And by the way, don't ever miss next week's sermon. Don't even think about missing it because I'm going to be talking about the beautiful people, the impact of somebody like Britney Spears on young people and how everybody has to measure up physically. You'd better be here next week.

Or I'll send God after you. So you set a family standard and then you keep with it. Number three, the whole business of discussion with young people and communication. The thing that young people, and you know, we raised three of them, the thing that they always complain about is saying, you know, you really don't understand because you don't know what, what this is all about. So parents learn what it's all about. You say, well, do we as parents who are so holy, who attend Moody church, do we have to actually find out what this rap music is saying? All that impurity?

Well, if your kid's into it, I suggest you'd better find out if it's going to make you impure. Imagine what it's doing to him. Smell the coffee folks. Wake up.

Be prepared for all kinds of questions. I mean, my wife and I have been through this. I thank God that our children love the Lord and are grown, but things like, well, you know, the words are immoral, but the musician doesn't really mean it. How do you like that? Oh, mom and dad, it's just a movie.

It's not reality. Or one that parents often use. I just watch. I'm not doing anything bad. Or don't you understand parents that if a movie is PG 13, it means that 13 year olds are supposed to see it? Don't you get it? Parents don't condemn the young people. They're going through a tremendous amount of temptation. What you do is you maintain that communication and listen. You will never, never raise those kids to walk with Jesus.

There's exceptions, of course. If all that you do is warn them, warn them, warn them, warn them. What you need to do in your own life is to show that in your own life, walking with Jesus is satisfying. That's a much more powerful, powerful message that's being communicated because you see the kids, they just see these warnings and they say, well, you know, mom and dad are just trying to take the fun out of life. Look at that. They don't do this, this, this, this. They don't want me to do this, this, this. And look at how miserable they are as Christians. What you need to do is to show them the wonder and the beauty of Jesus and that there is joy following Christ. So that communication.

Number four, practical steps. I read a statistic this past week. I just cannot believe this. 60% of all teenagers have their own television set in their rooms and somebody said, well, it's not just teenagers, it's kids so that they can watch their own videos. Are you telling me that unsupervised these kids have the opportunity to pretty well watch anything at any time and you have their hearts therefore stolen and given to foreign gods.

Block out MTV. I don't understand how anyone can raise a child in today's society in hopes that he loves Jesus. I'll tell you this. You know, we read a few moments about the love of God is not in the person who has the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. This has happened to me. It's happened to you too, isn't it? You really feel close to God.

You, you sense the overwhelming presence of the Lord and you turn on the television set and there's something impure that you're watching and you can just feel the love of God just drain out of your soul. So what you have to do is to say, you know, we can't have that. We, we're not going to allow these thieves through the door. Then all that we have left is the kid's body. Parents, prepare your children for the fact that they are going to see stuff they shouldn't see. They're going to see pornography. Once again, wake up. Christian family had some boys who found some pornography in a forest preserve.

Naturally, as the boys began to frequent the forest preserve and like it there just a little too much, the parents began to ask questions and then the children told the story. So what do you do? Do you condemn them? Do you shame them?

No. Shame is the fuel of addiction. You shame them, you're probably condemning them to a life of, of addiction to pornography. Sexuality is a part of who we are. It's the way in which we were created.

The desire for intimacy, sexual attractiveness. That's just a part of who we are as people and we need to understand that. But remember how I defined the world earlier.

Don't forget my definition. The world is meeting legitimate needs in forbidden ways. And by the way, in light of the fact that we are not born to love drugs or to love cigarettes or alcohol or those are acquired desires. But the desire of sexuality is something that we're born with. And until we remove the shame of someone being able to say I have a problem and we don't shame them, we're just going to keep driving people into secrecy here.

But what you need to do is to help your children to know what to do when they encounter the this and how to handle it. And to point out that at the end of the day, legitimate needs need to be met in God's way and not forbidden ways. I didn't say this earlier, but you see what Satan wants to do. Does he want you to be hooked on pornography just because he, he likes pornography?

No. You know what he wants you to do? His agenda is to drive a wedge between you and God. And he does not care how that happens. If it is through one of these addictions, fine.

If it's another way, fine. Because what he wants you to do is to cut the soul off from God so that our fellowship with God is marked. And then we begin to say to ourselves, well, you know, I've messed up so badly anyway, why should I even turn to God?

That's his agenda. And what you need to do is to head that off at the past by training young people of how to handle these kinds of temptations and situations. Secondly, practice the spiritual disciplines. Pray without ceasing.

Be in the word of God. Remember that story of the couple who bought the little box, the jewelry box in France? And they were told that it would glow in the dark and they brought it home and it didn't glow in the dark and they couldn't read the instructions. They gave it to someone who read French and he said that this instruction say, put me in the light during the day and I will glow all night.

So they put it in the light during the day and it glowed all night. Listen, the word of God keeps us. There's no substitute for reading scripture. When I read scripture in the morning and there are verses that are, what shall we say, engraved upon my heart and soul, those are the days when I can walk in victory. When I don't read scripture, it's then that the impure and the unwanted thoughts begin to want to take over.

It's just as consistent as that. Some of you have never received Christ as Savior so you don't know exactly what we're talking about because you don't know why it is that we are grieved because of sin. As believers, we are grieved because of sin.

If you're not grieved because of it, you're probably not a believer. But the Bible says a new heart I will give you, a new spirit I will put within you. And even today, I urge you to come to Christ who is able to cleanse you and to forgive you and to give you a brand new beginning. And then all of the Christian life, in a sense, is a series of brand new beginnings, isn't it? As we say to ourselves, we are serious about our commitment to Jesus Christ and what that means.

If you will, let us pray. Father, we do confess in your presence today that so often we have grieved you. We have gone to the world to find our thrills. We have not found them in you. We have not found you that satisfying.

We've grieved you. We thank Father of the times in which we have condoned and excused. We pray today in the name of Jesus that you might come to us for cleansing and for a renewed commitment to be holy as you are holy. And now you talk to God, whatever it is that you need to talk to God about. Father, for those who struggle in this area of their lives, for all of us, oh Father, help us.

Help us in our struggle to give ourselves to you. And do not let us go, we pray, until you have freed us and that the truth might set us free. In Jesus' name, Amen. Well, this is Pastor Luther, and I can't help but think that there are many of you who have listened today.

You ought to spend some quiet time with God in honesty, in confession, in repentance, and then ask God for wisdom as to what the next step should be in your Christian walk. Each one of us is in a spiritual battle. This is not just a battle between flesh and blood, but rather a battle in heavenly places. And we need to seek holiness with all that we can.

We need to seek holiness with our whole heart. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win. I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who says that she has been listening to this ministry for many decades, and then she adds, I was taking care of my husband after a severe injury. Even though I belong to a church, you have been a huge blessing to my life. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner with us? An endurance partner is someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Because this ministry does not belong to a man, to an organization, to a church, it is your ministry. And I want to thank the many of you who help us. But you need more info, here's what you can do. Go to When you're there, click on the endurance partner button., or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-1-8. 218-9337.

Thanks in advance for helping us. And I want to remind you that as the weekend comes, this is a great opportunity for all of us to be found in church. When we are together, worshiping together, praising God together, learning together, we are strengthened in our spiritual walk.

So take advantage of that opportunity. And once again, if you want to connect with us, go to, click on the endurance partner button. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Robert listens to our program in the Birmingham area, and he's very concerned about false teaching on Christian TV.

Here's his story. It seems that one hears an abundance of prosperity teaching on Christian television networks these days. My question is this. Why do well-known mainstream pastors tend to lend credibility to these networks by appearing on them or by allowing their programming to be erred on them? What are your thoughts on this?

First of all, Robert, let me say that this is not an easy question to answer, and it might not have a yes or no kind of response. On the one hand, I see your point that when legitimate ministries go on these networks that preach a false gospel, it seems as if they are legitimatizing that false gospel. On the other hand, an argument can be made in this regard, that when you have a network that is teaching falsehood, it's wonderful to have on it programs that are teaching the truth. You know, during the days of the Da Vinci Code, because I wrote a book on the topic, I was invited to various networks in order to defend the Bible against this heretical novel. And I accepted some of those invitations because even though I didn't agree with what the networks taught, I believed that getting the truth out there was so important that I was willing to go wherever I could to tell people about the real Jesus. And so what we need to do is to realize that we cannot judge those who go on networks to preach the truth, even though they may be surrounded by those who have a different or even heretical point of view. Meanwhile, let's pray for both groups that the true gospel will go to millions through the various means of technology. 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. Take one look at TV and it's clear, life at its best is reserved for beautiful people. Now, many assess their value based on how they look. This distorted view of self is damaging, especially to young people.

So how do we counteract it? Next time on Running to Win, don't miss Judging Appearances. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-19 03:52:37 / 2023-05-19 04:01:48 / 9

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