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God Hates Your TV!

May 25, 2015

This is a sermon I gave at our Prayer and Praise group at The Moody Church

The first football game I ever watched was the 85’ Super Bowl.

At 9 years old I found a song on the radio called the Super Bowl Shuffle.

I didn’t really know who the Bears were or anything about professional sports.

But I kept hearing this song on the radio and I finally figured out that the Chicago Bears were playing in the Super Bowl.

So I made it a point to watch because I loved that song.

That was the beginning to a 13-year journey of being a Chicago Bears fan.

I watched or listened to every game, knew every player, all the stats and every angle.

I went to training camp in Platteville Wi to get autographs of what I thought were my heroes.

This went on until about the age of 22, when it all started to fade.

One week something changed inside of me.

I did the same routine that week that I’d done every week for the past 13 years.

I watched all the sports shows, got fired up about the game, and when Sunday came I was in a frenzy.

It was just like every other game,

Every good play by the Bears had me euphoric,

And every bad play had me screaming at the top of my lungs.

13 years of that.

But on this day – after the game – I felt almost depressed.

I couldn’t figure it out, the Bears had won.

What’s the deal?

I didn’t ponder it much, and within a couple of hours I was thinking about the matchup next week.

And by the next day – wearing my Neal Anderson jersey – I was in full brag mode, totally pumped.

Most of my conversations revolved around the Bears, it was a big part of my identity.

But over the next couple months I had the same depressed feeling game after game.

Finally one day it hit me…

Being a fan is empty. It’s vapid. It’s meaningless.

Did it excite me, yes, but it was shallow, manufactured, unnatural excitement.

I realized that the depressed feeling after the game came from the fact that there was nothing tangible or real about being a fan.

It was fantasy.

And the manufactured frenzy was all a mirage. It was artificial. It was silly.

I realized that the Bears themselves were an enigma. They weren’t real.

Just like so many other teams in history,

Every aspect of the Bears could change.

Their name could change,

Their city could change,

Their stadium could change,

Their owners could change,

Their coaches and players do change,

Everything about them was an empty shell. It was all a joke.

After that, being a sports fan was ridiculous.

All of this as an atheist; but as always, God was working.

Working on making me logical and rational.

Working on my immature passions and pastimes left over from childhood.

Working on taking idols out of my life.

Working on drawing me away from things that are empty, meaningless and unprofitable.

Working on moving me away from things that would compete for my love for Him.

I think my homeless friend Cody summed it up pretty well when off the cuff he said:

“I’ve never seen so many people care so much about something they have nothing to do with.”

13 years later, around 2011, I’m about 34 years old, and I find myself sitting in front of my muted TV, scrolling through the channel list as usual.

Except this time I realized that I’d been channel surfing without stopping for about ten minutes.

I thought to myself; How’s there never anything on?

How could I have 100 channels and nothing meant anything to me?

How could this happen day after day?

Now this was years before the devils tools such as, DVR, Hulu and other On Demand viewing really took off.

So as I sat there, I realized I only watched a couple things.

I didn’t know how this happened.

I used to watch TV for hours, watching all sorts of shows.

But somewhere along the way it all became bland to me.

I became desensitized to the over-produced, manufactured content that makes up TV.

I was over the news. I realized it wasn’t applicable to my life.

All of this as an atheist; but as always, God was working.

Working on showing me how empty and vapid TV was.

Working on showing me how much time I wasted being superficially entertained.

Working on showing me how pitiful it was to spend my free time watching TV.

Working on showing me how addicted I was to TV, even though there wasn’t anything on.

It wasn’t until I tried to stop watching TV that I realized how addicted I was.

After a day or two, the tension, anxiety and restlessness would start to build.

These were the same feelings that TV relieved when I used to turn it on.

And that’s when I realized that it wasn’t the TV relieving these feelings,

It was the TV causing these feelings.

The relieved feeling we get when we turn the TV on,

Is the same feeling an alcoholic gets when he takes his first drink after a couple days.

The drop in anxiety, the evaporation of restlessness, the relief you feel is nothing more than your addiction being fed.

Then something amazing happened;

My desire for TV was gone.

I know now that God supernaturally took that desire away and I’m so grateful.

Within a couple of days I bought a painting online that was specifically made to be put over flat screen TV’s and I canceled my cable.

Then the TV actually stopped working, and as I was bringing another TV from my other home it broke in transit.

So I had no TV. And it was awesome!

Then my desire for porn, alcohol and marijuana disappeared soon after.

All of this as an atheist; but as always, God was working.

Working on purifying my desires, thoughts and heart.

Working on removing things from my life that dishonor Him.

Working on removing unnecessary temptation and lust from my life.

Working on putting me in a position to have integrity in my relationship with Him.

After about a year of no TV, weed, porn or alcohol I was saved.

Now to be clear, salvation doesn’t depend on what you don’t do, it depends on whether or not you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

But the removal of these evils from my life was all a part of Gods plan.

And I’m going to tell you upfront, that TV is not a part of God’s plan for you or your family’s life!

And as your mind starts to rationalize and justify your need to be entertained,

protecting at all costs something that isn’t necessary,

protecting at all costs your addiction,

protecting at all costs the lusts of your sinful flesh,

and protecting at all costs the lusts of your sinful eyes,

I hope to keep up right along side with all the reasons why your entertainment grieves God’s heart!

So lets look at our scripture for today: 1 John 2:15-16.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD NOR THE THINGS IN THE WORLD.

 

IF ANYONE LOVES THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM.

 

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 FROM THE WORLD.”

 

The first thing that we need to understand is the term “world” in this context.

The term “world” is translated from three different Greek words.

15 times from “ (oy-kou-men’-ay)”.   Which means the Roman Empire.

128 times “ (ahee-ohn)”.   An age or time period.

187 times “kosmos”

Kosmos is what’s used in this verse.

Kosmos can mean three different things.

Occasionally it can refer to the material universe (Acts 17:24).

Sometimes to all men (John 3:16).

And in our verse it means all the things in the world in opposition to God. All the things or affairs of ungodly men.

I think John MacArthur said it best when he said:

“It’s the system of satanic lies and deceptions that oppose God.

 

Which is hostile to the truth, to those who believe the truth, to those who love the truth. 

 

Its politics are corrupt, It’s an anti-God, anti-Christ system of ideologies under many different names and titles, 

 

It’s hostile to godliness, it’s dominated by carnal ambition, its opinions are wrong, It’s based on pride, greed, self pleasure, evil desire, its aims are selfish, its pleasures are sinful, its influence is demoralizing, it’s smiles are fake and its love is fickle.

 

The world is the system of rebellion toward God run by Satan, set up on Earth as the very antithesis of the Gospel.”

 

Now at this point some will say, “But it’s God’s world, not the devils.”

Yes it’s God’s world but he has made Satan the ruler of it for now according to:

1 John 5:19, “WE KNOW WE ARE FROM GOD AND THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE.”

 

And

John 12:31, “NOW JUDGEMENT IS UPON THIS WORLD; NOW THE RULER OF THIS WORLD WILL BE CAST OUT.”

So now that we know that the world we live in is ruled by Satan and ran by his evil systems.

What does our scripture for today command us to do?

It tells us not to love that evil system, not to love the things in that evil system.

This isn’t talking about the warm sun, or the walk in the park you enjoy.

In most cases it’s not talking about the great food you ate last night.

It’s not talking about your warm bed, or that beautiful vacation you took.

Those are usually God’s blessings, things He wants us to enjoy.

What this verse is talking about is all the things you involve yourself in that glorifies the evil system.

Like manufactured, over-produced, unnatural, worldly stimulation.

Things that make light of sin, that glorify sin, that laugh at sin.

Things that exalt this world’s morals, beliefs and culture.

Things that mock God and His word and His people and His truth.

Things that promote consumerism and materialism, and are filled with lust and covetousness and violence.

What I just described is your entertainment. It’s your movies, TV shows and media.

And you not only love them, you crave them, you’re excited about them, and you pay for them.

You expose your children to them and you model your love for the world to them.

How do you know if you love these things?

What gets you excited? What gets your emotions going? How do you spend your time? What do you talk about? What do you post about? What logo do you wear on your chest? Do you watch TV? How about movies?

Here’s an easy test:

What gets you more excited?

A Hawks playoff game or going to church?

The season finale of your favorite show or reading the Bible?

 

What gets you more emotional? Your favorite team winning or a great sermon?

Your favorite novel or the Bible?

Does your heart pump more when you’re watching a 50-foot screen or when you’re praying?

 

Do you spend more time in front of screens or out enjoying God’s creation, reading His word, fellowshipping with His people, serving others, praying and spreading the gospel?

Do you know the names of more TV, movie and sports people than you do Bible characters?

 

Do you post more about sports, politics and entertainment than you do about the one who saved you from Hell?

If you’re struggling with these questions it’s because you’ve been seduced by the world.

You’re a carnal Christian, not a spiritual Christian.

You’re a worldly Christian, not a kingdom Christian.

And the only way to change this is for the world to decrease and for spiritual things to decrease in your life.

You have to pull worldly things out by the root.

You’ve already abused the use of your TV, computer and smartphone.

You’re way to emotionally connected to professional sports.

You’re probably serving two masters in more areas than just being addicted to TV.

And like any addiction, you now have to abstain in order to have mastery.

Our God is not a God of half ways, double-mindedness or compromise.

Why did he tell the Israelites to kill all the Canaanites?

Because He knew they would influence them.

Yet you sit around praying to God to work in your life while joyfully filling your heart with influence from Hollywood, the media and this evil world through your TV, movies and media.

You can’t watch TV, especially sports, and with any level of integrity ask God to help you with lust, sin, temptation or to bring you closer to Him, He hates your TV!

He’s commanding you to hunger and thirst for righteousness while you pump unrighteousness into your home and the hearts of your family.

It’s pure hypocrisy and disingenuiness.

Why did God give the Jews all the special dietary, ceremonial and civil requirements?

Because He knew it would keep them separated.

Yet you pray to God everyday to help you honor and glorify Him more,

while partaking in the exact same wretched entertainment the world around you enjoys.

Did you know that TV viewing habits for Christians are about the same as non-Christians? And not just in total time but in content.

So is the love of the Father in you? Not according to this verse and the way you love the world.

Next our text says “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 from the world.”

Did you know that there’s very little chance that anyone in this room will have any direct contact with the devil?

Did you know that the devil and demons rarely tempt us directly?

Sure there’s spiritual warfare, and the demons can make things go haywire in our life, but they rarely tempt us directly.

They know it doesn’t work very well because of verses like:

2 Peter 4:4-   You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

 

They know that using the demonically developed world around us to tempt us is much more subtle and effective.

They know that the two biggest problems in the church are a lack of discernment and a desensitization to sin.

They know that God’s children love comfort and mindless entertainment.

They know that the Elect thinks it’s ok to enjoy watching sin.

They know that the Royal Priesthood will admit that this culture, world and society is evil, but still allow themselves to be indoctrinated by it through their entertainment.

They know that almost every Christian will compromise their morals, dishonor God and be entertained by sin if the surround sound is good enough, if the screen is big enough, if there’s enough pixels, and if there’s enough worldly hype around it.

So what the devil spends most of his time doing is creating more world systems that either tempt us to sin or deceive us with false doctrines.

He spends his time creating false religions, teachers and doctrines and manipulating your entertainment, media, adverting, politics, culture and society.

Again, I think John MacArthur said it best when he said:

“The world is nothing more than a system that Satan has accommodated to the corruption of the human heart. “

 

And we fall for it. We post about it. We celebrate it.

The devil focuses on creating things that will tempt us through the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.

The lust of the flesh can best be described by the craving of sinful hearts.

Any desire for anything outside of God’s law.

This is inside all of us.

And the evil outside of us, solicits the evil inside of us.

The evil outside corrupts our desires.

The world has been made to appeal to our sinful hearts.

And nowhere is this more prevalent or effective than through entertainment, through TV, through commercials and advertisements.

The next is the lust of the eyes. What you see. Covetousness.

Our eyes are attracted to bold, beautiful, colorful and exciting things.

Hence the constant demonic drive to make screens bigger, brighter and more attractive.

Hence video games relentless drive to make graphics better so that your kids can end up addicted to their evil.

The problem is that the natural world and especially the spiritual world can’t compete with this unnatural, intense, fast-moving, manufactured content.

It desensitizes us to natural and spiritual things.

The constant exposure to over-produced comedy makes natural conversation less funny.

And our children are especially susceptible. They’re more easily addicted.

This is why most kids these days demand their screens.

Why board games don’t appeal to them anymore.

Why reading the Bible and reading in general is a joke compared to an iPad with Angry Birds.

Only intense, bright, fast moving content will do it anymore for them.

And it’s the parent’s fault.

And finally the boastful pride of life.

Pride is the base of all sin and our entertainment excites it more than almost anything else.

Your entertainment glorifies individualism, moving up the ladder, promiscuousness, back stabbing, selfishness, and all the other things that drive us to try to be better than everyone else.

Advertisements telling us we need the best things.

Focusing on what our greedy, self-centered hearts need or want, instead of thinking about others needs.

TV shows telling us to find our significance in money, power, greed and women.

The TV is a box of lies, folly, manipulations and lusts.

We’re called to beat back our flesh not feed it.

We’re called to deny ourselves not indulge ourselves in worldly, evil and sinful content.

Where in the Bible does it call us to be constantly entertained? Where does it call us to be entertained at all.

Would you watch two people having sex through a window? Why would you watch it simulated on TV?

We were paid for with a price. Our time is not our time. Our time is God’s time and it’s dishonoring to Him when we waste it.

The news manipulates us, lies to us and creates panic and fear.

99% of news is not applicable to your life.

There’s a quote that says, “Information without application, is worse than useless.”

Yet we fill our minds with useless news everyday.

Every girl you see dressed inappropriately, on shows, movies, and commercials is someone’s sister, mother, daughter and most importantly a potential child of God.

How awkward will it be to see the same women in heaven that entertained you in their immodest cheerleading outfits and simulated sex scenes?

And I don’t know any way to keep yourself and especially your family from inappropriate images while having a TV in your home.

What if I told you that everything you watch this week will be played this Sunday in the sanctuary?

A new pastor would get fired every Sunday.

A good Christian friend of mine, who once was a hardcore biker, once told me that he would never watch anything an 8 year old can’t watch.

What do you watch with Jesus in your heart?

Nothing desensitizes us to sin more than our entertainment.

We have no money, we only steward God’s money. How much of his money goes to cable companies who provide hardcore porn.

How much of his money goes to support Hollywood so it can keep moving the Devils agenda forward?

We’re called to influence culture but instead we fund Hollywood’s dominance of our Culture. In turn, allowing Hollywood to influence us!

How much of His money is spent on meaningless things like professional sports?

In conclusion, entertainment is dangerous, it’s a hindrance to the battle we’re in.

I don’t know about you, but this battle is intense, and the last thing I need are extra temptations, wasted time, corrupted thoughts, and evil desires being pumped into my heart.

Every Christian will admit that the world is evil until it comes to separating from it.

Until it comes to not being seduced by it. Until it comes to not conforming to it.

Until it comes to leading your family on a very difficult matter.

Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world.” Nothing celebrates, promotes or glorifies the patterns of this world more than the TV.

So how do you move forward from here?

Your family will blow a gasket if you remove your TV.

Which should tell you that there’s a huge problem.

A huge idol sitting in multiple rooms of your house.

I’ve been there. When I met Tara I didn’t have a TV, but there was no way she was living without a TV so we used hers in our apartment.

I told her that my hope was that we could remove the TV at some point.

I told her that I wouldn’t be watching TV, but would watch certain shows with her to maintain oneness.

Almost two years later, when we moved into our new house,

she told me that God was making it clear to her that she needed to stop watching TV,

and we moved into our new place with a beautiful painting she painted in the place of the TV.

So the first step in moving toward a TV-Free house is…

To repent and agree with God that your entertainment is impure, For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. As 1 Thes 4:7 reminds us.

Repent because we’re told in Col 3:5 to put to death what ever remains of our Earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, not be entertained by them.

Repent because you used to walk in these ways in the life you once lived, but now we’re commanded to rid ourselves of anger, rage malice, slander and filthy language, not model to our children that they’re ok for adults to be entertained by.

When you’re done repenting, beg God for help. Tell him you want your house to be TV-Free.

Ask Him to show you how to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice instead of sacrificing your integrity with God by living a double life.

And when you truly in your heart desire to rid your home of the devils most effective and subtle weapon, have a gentle conversation with your family.

Tell them that you will not be watching TV on your own and that you’ll only watch it with them if necessary.

Tell them gently that you’d like the house to be Tv-Free and why.

And then follow through and lead your family to purity.

And pray that they’ll follow and understand why your doing what your doing.

2 Peter 2:12-22, But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children, forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.  For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

Stop returning to your own vomit and wallowing in the mire.

Lead your family to be TV-Free!

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