by David Neal
When one examines the scripture, there is no doubt that God wants our attention focused upon Him. It is also evident that the things of this world are designed to take our attention off of God and place it upon the things of man or self, as greatly influenced by the devil. This was the tactic used by Satan in Eden. The things of the world are designed to appeal to lusts and to constantly tempt. Most “professed Christians” will at least concede that in scriptural theory, that we are not to live as the world depending on how “world” is defined. The problem arises when one takes God’s command and actually applies it to one’s life. The flesh will immediately rise up and justify itself and its actions. This is the nature that is in rebellion against God’s purposes. This is the fallen nature that must be put to death. A true believer will be guided by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word and the two will be in agreement. With this in mind, let us examine a worldly example that is commonly and frequently indulged in by most. Those who love not the truth are the same ones that justify the darkness and are oblivious to their actions (or complacent) and will probably be offended by the light having exposed this darkness.
There is a much cherished and revered item in almost every home in this country. Many will spend hours a day bowing down and worshipping it. Some begin and end their day paying homage. This item has such a hold on people that it may be one of the worst addictions possible. This idol will captivate (enthrall, hypnotize, mesmerize, fascinate, and enchant), entertain, pacify, and teach. Its message is always one-sided and no dialog is permitted. Parents will allow it to teach and instruct their children in ideas that are contrary to their own deep held beliefs. Many will experience the whole range of human emotions while serving it. No one has to have this item, yet most cannot (I dare say, will not), imagine life without it. Some will build special temples (rooms) for it or purchase one that is big enough to encompass the whole room. Most will defensively say, “Everybody does it.” What is this idol you might inquire? It is the television set.
Many will now rise up in protest and say that they are most certainly not addicted to it (1 Jn 1:6). Well I challenge you. Unplug the television, remove it from your home and stop paying for cable service and we shall see. Words are easy, but actions are convincing. These will respond, I could, but I just don’t want to. I enjoy watching it and see nothing wrong with it (we have to live in this world). Oh really, read on.
There is no dispute that television programming is full of graphic violence, sex (and now homosexuality), adult situations, bad language, glorified drug and alcohol abuse, course jesting, witchcraft/occult, etc. Every sin that one can imagine is portrayed in an entertaining way – AS SEEN ON TV! Every temptation one could conceive of is paraded before your eyes and you willingly subject yourself to this. Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Recall from Chapter One that Satan places objects of lusts before our eyes. The devil’s desire is that we think upon and chase after such things. This is how he overcomes man. So how do you suppose the television programming fits into this? Be honest with yourself. Should we have a television in our home? Deuteronomy 7:26, “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” It’s hard to believe, but most “professed Christians” (so-called) view as a source of entertainment (enjoyment), the very sins that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross. These same ones claim to know Him! No wonder Jesus said that many would call him “Lord” and yet not enter into heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). None of these will be able to tell God they “struggle” with lust and they try not to lust but cannot help it – Not when they sit in front of the TV. How foolish to watch lustful things and then think you struggle with sin in your life. Hebrews 12:4, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
The TV will fill your heart full of all manner of evil and wickedness to the extent that victory over sin in your life will be impossible. Worse it will be an indicator that you have no desire for victory over sin in your life – your passions give your heart away. Is this not a continual mocking of God and a denial of all that is sacred? We will justify what we choose not to overcome! We must understand: 2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Is the temple being filled with filth and evil? When God looks at your heart, what will He find therein? How will this manifest in your outward actions? God takes no pleasure in wickedness and neither should we – Psalms 5:4, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.” We must be separate and come out from such wickedness and not touch unclean things (v. 17).
The television is a destroyer of souls. King David (Beloved of God) once said, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes” (Ps 101:3). What about those who do? Those who change the truth of God into a lie (as constantly taught on TV), and worshipped and served the creature (things of man) more than the Creator are given over to all manner of sins leading to death (Rm 1:25-31) and love not the truth (2 Thess 2:10, Rm 1:18). Romans 1:32, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Followers of Christ do not partake of other men’s sins nor take pleasure in them, but rather keep ourselves pure (1 Tm 5:22). Those who believe God’s truth are purifying themselves and being led of His Spirit in paths of righteousness and holiness (Ti 2:14, 1 Pt 1:22, Js 4:8, Rm 8:14, 1 Jn 3:3). They are living their faith every day and this faith purifies the heart. Acts 15:9, “…purifying their hearts by faith.” What about those who are seeking the flesh? 2 Thessalonians 2:12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
There is no doubt that enjoying (being entertained by) acts of sin AS SEEN ON TV (or anywhere else) is having “pleasure in unrighteousness.” Those who absorb the constant stream of ungodly programming are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Tm 3:4). If we think about (desire) doing certain sinful things then we are equally as guilty as if we had actually done them (Mt 5:27-30). God is looking at our hearts and He will try them (Ps 7:9, Jer 17:10, 20:12, 1 Thess 2:4). We are to put aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and seek God’s Word to the extent that we are doers and not hearers only (Js 1:21-22). Thoughts become actions, hearts are darkened, imaginations become vain (Rm 1:21)! The carnal mind serves the flesh (Rm 8:5-8). When viewing television, your mind and your thoughts are constantly put upon secular worldly (sinful) things of the flesh and not God. In addition to taking pleasure in unrighteousness, many temptations will be implanted in your mind and grow to produce additional sin, all of which leads to death.
To live in God’s truth (Word) is to abhor (avoid at all cost) any evil and wickedness (Eph 5:11, Pv 3:7, 8:13, 16:17, 22:3). Psalms 119:101, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.” One cannot possibly expect to keep God’s Word if one intentionally exposes oneself to evil. Perhaps keeping God’s Word is not a foremost conscious action with many who “profess,” but do not follow Christ. Those that seek the Spirit apply the Word and those that seek the flesh don’t. Psalms 141:4, “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” The world says “come,” partake of my pleasures – be entertained and filled with laughter. Eat, drink and fill your heart with merriment – let your flesh be at ease and cast the hours away. God says: “Come out” from among them and be ye separate, touch not the evil thing (2 Cor 6:17). One day you will wish you had the hours back! A choice must be made – whom will you serve? Who will lead, guide and teach you? Who will hold your thoughts and devotion? We must not be filled with the world’s wickedness as continually spewed forth from the television. Warning: all televised programming is not suitable for any age, any time. The wicked do not abhor that which is evil (Ps 36:1-4) – this is an indicator.
The television must surely be the devil’s inspired invention. This one device constantly takes man’s focus off of God and places it upon the things of the world and man. Man’s attention is shifted to self and all manner of things that exalt themselves to oppose God. Consider this: a popular movie that reflects sinful and rebellious behavior/ideas could literally be viewed by millions of people at one time. Millions of hearts could be dwelling on the same sinful and fleshly thoughts at the same time. Many will later discuss their enjoyment of such things with others. Oh how this must grieve God! Oh how this must be accomplishing the devil’s purposes! The fact is that the television is being used for values clarification (redefines). The whole world is becoming one in thought and deed. Consider the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9): man intended to reach God his way, man intended to exalt himself, and man was making a statement to God concerning the recent flood judgment (he would rise above). God said: “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” The television (programming) is making this nation (and the world) one in thought and purpose. Six is the biblical number of man because he was created on the sixth day. Thrice six (666) is the ultimate in man exalting himself. We are on the verge of this and the devil will send his son, the antichrist, to lead.
Take heed what was told an audience of “believers” in scripture (Similar list in Rm 1:24-32): 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” This is our warning! We are further told in the same chapter that: 1 Corinthians 6:15-17, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” The harlot is worldliness and all manner of idolatry and sinfulness. When you take pleasure in unrighteousness you join yourself with the harlot and become one with it in opposing all that is of Christ. This is the spirit of the antichrist. So, we are one in Spirit with Christ or one in spirit with the Harlot. Choose whom you will serve. A harlot speaking words of love is shallow because her actions reveal the opposite. Many will have a form of godliness (maybe a profession of Christ), but are lovers of their own selves (2 Tm 3:1-5). Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” When you have eyes full of adultery (eyes for other than Christ), you cannot cease from sin; and follow doctrines of Balaam desiring the lusts of the flesh (2 Pt 2:14-16, 18). What a perfect example of spiritual adultery (idolatry) the television is (Habak 2:19). The idols of old were wood, stone and metal. They couldn’t speak. The idol of today speaks all manner of abomination to an attentive and eager audience – what a hold it has! Do not presume this to be innocent before God!
Now many will say at this point that they do not watch the bad stuff, only the wholesome entertainment. The problem is that there is no wholesome secular entertainment on television. The whole premise of acting is to present yourself to an audience as something you are not – to pretend and convince of an untruth (deception). The audience is made voyeurs into lives or situations of others to be taught a humanistic message. Some will say, “I only watch the discovery channel.” This channel teaches evolution and vast geological ages in contradiction to God’s Word. It teaches the worship of the creation rather than the creator. This will be discussed in a later chapter. How about the man-centered History channel? This is what man deems important as edited by man and popular opinion. Even the commercials on TV are evil. They are advertising which is nothing more than witchcraft. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to manipulate you into buying a product that you wouldn’t necessarily buy. They also want to bury the thought of their product in your mind (hypnotism) and to entice you into lusts and covetousness (Heb 13:5, Ps 119:36). Covetousness is idolatry (Col 3:5). Advertisers must fixate your attention on their product in a short moment of time by appealing to your inner lusts such that the enticement will remain long after the appeal and result in a later action. This is serious manipulation! Recall from Chapter One, Satan’s process of enticement: temptation, lust or desire, capitulation, and action. Due to the amount of money that is spent on advertising, you can be sure they are getting a return. When you willfully watch such things you are exposing yourself to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tm 4:1). Some will contend and say there are some good things on TV such as the preachers. One only has to listen to their message in light of God’s Word to realize that they are presenting damnable heresies, making merchandise of you (2 Pt 2:1-3), and are lover’s of money (2 Tm 6:10, 1 Pt 5:2). Their messages must be popular (sugar coated) to maintain audience and receive the much coveted donations and offerings (Ti 1:11). False prophets are always popular with the people and likeable. Their messages appeal to your flesh and do not deny it.
Most people fit in with “Popular Culture.” This is defined as having values that come from advertising, the media, and icons of style as targeted to ordinary people in society. Where do your values come from? Those who develop television programming, newsprint and movies want to shape you (conform you) to their image. In many cases, they have succeeded. Many who “profess Christ” may find in an honest self-examination that their daily lives reflect popular culture more than the Jesus described in the Bible (must read to know).
Even if television programming was completely neutral or you just sat in front of an empty box it would at a minimum be a tremendous waster of time and as such an idol put before God. We are to redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph 5:16). Would the Bible be read? Would the prayers be offered? Can you imagine standing before God and realizing all the time you sat in front of a little box – not to mention willingly filling your mind with all that opposes Christ? This exposes your true heart! How does your television time compare to your Bible reading time? Which one is of eternal value? How much do you pray versus watch television? Which truly receives more honor – God or TV?
Consider the following scriptures before you next view the television: 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The television programming is designed to keep our thoughts on things of man (take captive) and off of Christ. Everything shown exalts itself against the knowledge of God. True knowledge of God seeks and performs His will. Some have no knowledge because their hearts are elsewhere (Hos 4:6). Your thoughts are captive to the obedience of the world, not Christ. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things, are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Very few (most likely none) programs would meet the qualifications of this verse. 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
Many have noted how evil television programming has become and have made comments to suggest that if it gets any worse they will have to stop watching it. Well it continually gets worse, inhibitions are lowered, evil becomes more acceptable and the day to remove it never seems to come for most. Has the programming ever become more moral or godly? If it were, would God desire you to sit in front of a box all day? A religious man once told me about how awful television programming had become. I told him that he should turn the television off and take it out of his home. He became quiet and quickly dropped the subject. He was willing to acknowledge the darkness (evil), but that was the extent. This is why some do not approach the light (Jn 3:20) and that’s the condemnation (Jn 3:19). Christ once told the Pharisees: John 9:41, “Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” In other words if you are ignorant about a sin, perhaps you could plead innocence. If you have knowledge of God’s truth, yet ignore it or if you see your sin (have knowledge of it) and ignore it, then you are definitely guilty. You no longer have a cloak for your sin (Jn 15:22). James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Many fill their lives with all sorts of distractions. These preoccupations take away from the really eternally important things such as prayer, bible study and family altars. The sad thing and an indictment is that many families feel uncomfortable studying and discussing God’s Word together or they just don’t know how. Perhaps it’s to convicting of their desired actions. Many may also feel awkward praying for any length of time. However, these same individuals could possibly talk for hours about a sports event, news item or popular movie. Many need to relearn and develop new ways of doing things. People naturally do not like change and the flesh will fight this. Developing a new life is awkward at first, and maybe uncomfortable, but then soon replaces the old life as the norm. We must all rebuild on a sure foundation (1 Cor 3:11). In any case this will not happen until your heart changes toward God. You must cry out in repentance and allow God to convert you as only He can do.
Parents and grandparents who “profess Christ,” how can you allow your precious little ones to be subjected to and taught by such evil? Even the Disney tapes have been occultic since the early days with sorcerers, fairies, witches, etc. Disney goes by the term, “Magic Kingdom.” Scriptures have always revealed magicians and their enchantments as opposing God and associated them with sorcerers, soothsayers, Chaldeans and astrologers (Dan 2:2, 27, 4:7, 9, 5:11). Examples of occult in Disney would be Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Fantasia. No matter how you glamorize witchcraft, it is still an abomination to God and challengers His purposes. The movies absolutely have messages that are rebellious to God’s truth and seek to teach worldly values. You can take your children to religious services and send them to religious schools all you want, but the television and your actions will probably become the real teachers.
So, is television really a serious issue? Jesus said, Mark 9:47-48, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” What do you suppose Jesus was talking about? Jesus was saying that this issue of sin and worldliness is so serious that you should go to whatever extreme you have to in order to stop it. Hell is unimaginably bad! Christ was not kidding, but was strongly emphasizing the effects of exposing your heart to evil. When considering your relationship with Christ and the love of the things of the world, you should ponder the question Jesus asked: Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Having read how Jesus walked when He was on the earth, surely one cannot imagine Christ in a recliner in front of the television (WWJD?). Jesus would never have taken pleasure in sin, loved the things of the world, or entertained Himself. Why do you suppose that He would have you do such? Those who would say Christ did what He did so we would not have to, have basically turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and made Christ the minister of sin (Jude 1:4, Gal 2:17). You are saying that rather than deliver you from sin; Jesus came to allow you to do sin. This is evil and blasphemous. This is saying that God, who would not overlook or excuse sin, sent His only Son to justify sin. Where is the reconciliation in that? This presumption would have God conceding to the will of man and ultimately to that of Satan. The fact is that Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren (Rm 8:29). Brethren are those who resemble each other. You could never overcome on your own, but you sure can through Jesus Christ. Jesus says that you must be an overcomer (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21, 21:7, 1 Jn 5:4). Why would Christ have us overcome if He had overcome for us?
Our eyes must be on Jesus. Luke 11:34-36,”The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. Having a single eye means that you are focused on Christ and not Christ and the world. To look upon and enjoy darkness is to be filled with such. You cannot claim to love Christ and then enjoy those things that oppose Him. Your actions always become your choices – conscious or not.
Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The question is whom will you serve? The gods of this land as paraded across the television screen every night. These are gods of money, sensual pleasure, lusts, covetousness, violence, entertainment, self, and all manner of evil. One day you will stand before the one true God. The countless hours of wasted time taking pleasure in evil will surely be noted. How will you respond? Did you love God enough to seek Him everyday? Was He the passion of your heart? Did you ever take the time to read through His Word? Jesus said: Matthew 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” How much more by the thoughts and intents of the heart? 1 Corinthians 10:14, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”
Many a conservative (patriotic?) religious man has taken issue with the liberal news media. These constantly talk about how the media is liberal or anti-Christian. They tell of their secret agendas or political leanings. The odd thing is that these same ones depend upon the liberal news media for all their information. The entire world’s news media is talking about the same things – worldly things. Conservative or liberal, makes no difference, there is only one needful thing and that is the Word of God. The wise will understand and remove themselves from the things of the world. Your mind will either be on the things of the world or the things of God. There will always be worldly stories and issues designed to captivate you and put your mind upon them – a little for the conservative and a little for the liberal. If you really want to know the truth, both conservative and liberal are headed in the same direction (the wrong one) – not in rhetoric, but in actions.
Most will take issue with what has been said in these paragraphs because the Lord’s conviction will now force a decision. Most will choose to continue in the darkness, but justification will now need to be sought by those who “profess Christ,” but love the darkness (Pv 1:7, 23-33). Can you honestly stand before God and tell Him you are justified to do these things? If so, what biblical text can you possibly base your opinion upon given the Lord’s desire that we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness or pleasure in unrighteousness? Ultimately you will answer for such things. Please consider this very carefully: Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
The author came to this point in realizing that although “religious,” I had loved the darkness and not the light. A man once told me that he believed much of the defeat in his life was due to the television. This shined light upon my darkness. At first I considered the fact that the television had always been there and was such a huge part of my life – how could it be forsaken? It taught, comforted, pacified, informed, held my attention, provided, and passed the hours away. In short, the television was seated in the place of Christ; it was an idol, a god. Is it any different with you? I may have been a bit reluctant at first, but the conviction remained. When I look back, those were dark times in my life. The decision was difficult because the darkness around me was great and the stronghold was well established. Praise God for the freedom today – all things are possible through Jesus Christ. My duty as a member of the church (Ekklesia – body of Christ) is to exhort and admonish those who profess Christ to walk therein. I therefore urge you to come to the light – I plead with you. For those who will profess love for Christ, but continue to have eyes for another (world) courting/wooing it with their time, resources and devotion (idolatry) while disregarding the evil and seeking its dainties (covet): Ephesians 5:5-7, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Psalms 97:7, “Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.” There will be an accounting (Rm 14:12). Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” Proverbs 9:9, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Removing oneself from evil is very wise – he that has an ear!
It is worthwhile to note that this idol – known as television (that most cannot do without) only came into being very recently in the history of man. Television was not readily available to the public until the 1950’s. On the timeline of man this is just a small blip at the end of the age, characterized as in the time of Noah – when wickedness abounds. Those who live in this last generation will be unique compared to those who came before. When God looks at your life, how will this idol have influenced it. Will you have been wise?
This article is an excerpt from David Neal’s book, Jesus said Come, Follow Me!