Readings: Mark 6:30-31; 1 Cor 10:31; Phil 1:9-11, 4:8, Cal 1:9-14; Titus 1: 15
1. The Definition of Entertainment: As activity outside one’s profession, engaged in for pleasure.
- Includes active participation as artist, athlete, actor, etc.
- Includes passive involvement as a spectator, tourist, etc.
2. The Benefits of Recreation and Diversion.
- Mental and physical rejuvenation (Mark 6:30-31).
- Contemplation of the good, the true, and the beautiful (Phil 4:8).
- Expression of artistic ability (Exod 35: 30-32).
3. The Need to Maintain Spiritual Priorities
- Leisure should be spent for God’s glory (1 Cor 10:31).
- We need to discern what is excellent (Phil 1:9-11).
- Our goal is not to please ourselves, but to please the Lord God (Col 1:9-14).
- We cannot expect to know God’s will apart from personal holiness (Tit 1:15).
4. We can fit recreation and diversion into the pleasing whole of a balanced life, but we must never compromise the concerns of God, and family, and the assembly
5. The Christian and the World
- Scripture uses “the world” for humanity as a whole, fallen into sin and moral disorder, and radically opposed to God. It is is characterized by:
- Lack of concern for God and eternity (Luke 12:13-21).
- The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life(l Jn 2:15- 17).
- Satanic orchestration and influence (1 John 5:19).
- The Bible approves neither monastic withdrawal from this world (John 17:15) nor worldliness (Titus 2:12). Christians are to be different from those around them, observing God’s moral absolutes and not losing their dignity as bearers of God’s image (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:17-14; Col 3:5-11).
6. God reveals His will both by clear universal mandates (e.g. the Ten Commandments) and by clear universal principles (e.g. love, self-control, contentment, humility). When Scripture does not speak plainly on a question of conduct, we must seek for a biblical principle to guide us:
- Is it for the Lord? (1 Cor 10:31; Rom 14:6-8)
- Can I do it in God’s name (on His authority)? Can I thank Him for it? (Col 3:17).
- Can I take the Lord Jesus with me? (Psa 139:7; Mat 28:19-20; John 14:1617,23; Gal 2:20; l Pet 2:21)
- Does it belong in the home of the Holy Spirit? (I Cor 6:19-20; Eph 4:30).
- Is it of faith? Do I have misgivings? (Rom 14:23; John 3:21).
- Does it bring benefit and build up? Will it develop a Christian mind? (Not is it harmless?)
- Does it spring from, or lead to love of this world and its value system? (1 John 2:15).
- Does it involve partnership with unbelievers? ( 2 Cor 6:14).
- Does it form or lead to bondage? (Cor 10:23).
- Is the motive pride or love? ( 1 Cor 8: 1-2).
- Sanctioned in Scripture (Exod 15:1-2; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16).
- Associated both with true worship (I Chron 15:16) and pagan worship (Dan 3:5).
- Characteristics of good music (and bad music).
- Comports with God’s standards of beauty (rather than flouting them) (Phil 3:5).
- Soothes (rather than agitating) the mind, or inspires the heart (rather than exciting the flesh), or fosters wholesome meditation (rather than evil thoughts) (1 Sam 16:6; 1 Cor 14:7).
- Lyrics, if not overtly spiritual, are at least honorable (rather than immoral).
- Artist is worthy of support (not living in open sin).
Lyrics must be judged at least as strictly as the music itself:
- Good music, good lyrics; Hymns, patriotic music
- Good music, bad lyrics: Beatles, country music.
- Bad music, good lyrics: “Christian rock, “Christian” rap.
- Bad music, bad lyrics: Hard rock, rap.
8. Drama and Novels
- Legitimacy of the story to make a point or teach a lesson: parables, allegories, role playing in the Bible.
- Growing number of media; theater, TV (network, video, cable), internet
- Illegitimate stories are designed to titillate and to encourage immoral fantasies (Rom 1:32).
- Superiority of reading over TV/ video images
- Frequent positive NT allusions to running races, wrestling, boxing etc.
- Participatory sports.
- Profitable for body, teaches teamwork, discipline.
- Includes non-competitive activities like fishing, hunting, sailing, etc.
- Pitfalls: time commitment, children’s leagues.
- Spectator sports – Temptation of the enjoyment of action, athletic prowess, “home team”.