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forrests
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 Vain Amusements and Worldly Entertainment

"I believe that amusements were created by the devil to take the minds of dying men off of their dying. I believe that entertainment and amusements are the work of the enemy to keep dying men from knowing they’re denying and to keep men who are enemies of God from remembering they are enemies..."

~ A. W. Tozer;
in: "(John - Part 47): Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=2467&commentView=itemComments


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~ Forrest

 2016/8/23 13:51Profile
forrests
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 Re: Tozer on Worldliness

"The Christian is called to separation from the world, but we must be sure we know what we mean (or more important, what God means) by the world. We are likely to make it mean something external only and thus miss its real meaning. The theater, cards, liquor, gambling—these are not the world; they are merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against mere worldly ways, but against the spirit of the world.

"For man, whether he is saved or lost, is essentially spirit. The world, in the New Testament meaning of the word, is simply unregenerate human nature wherever it is found, whether in a tavern or in a church. Whatever springs out of, is built upon or receives support from fallen human nature is the world, whether it is morally base or morally respectable."

A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man (Camp Hill, PA: Windspread, 1950), 124.


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~ Forrest

 2016/8/23 13:55Profile
forrests
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 Charles Spurgeon

"No high degree of Divine Grace can be attained when the eyes are fixed upon debasing things. We must have our eyes where we profess that our hearts already are—beyond the skies. We must be looking for Christ to reveal the exceeding riches of His Grace and Glory—not after vanities to display the pleasure of this present evil world—or else our souls will soon lose the force and strength of piety and we shall have good reason to cry, "Quicken me in Your way.""

~ Charles Spurgeon;
"Vanity Deprecated"
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons53.vii.html


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~ Forrest

 2016/8/23 13:59Profile
forrests
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 Re: Charles Spurgeon

There are some of you who do not think that even worldly amusements are vanity. You love them—there is a sweetness and a substance in them to you.

Perhaps you are like the lady who said to the minister that she loved to go to the play, because, first of all, there was the pleasure of thinking of it before she went—and then there was the pleasure of being there, then there was the pleasure of thinking of it afterwards—and the pleasure of telling it to one's friends. "Ah," said the man of God, "and there is another pleasure you have forgotten." "What is that, Sir?" asked the lady. "It is the pleasure of thinking of it on a dying bed, Madam." Small pleasure that! Some of you have never thought of that last pleasure and, therefore, the world's vanity is very satisfactory to you.

I know what a pig would say if he were to talk. As he munched his husks, he would say, "I cannot tell what to think of those stupid men—they call these husks empty—and throw them away. I think them very luscious and substantial." You would, then, attribute the quality of the taste to the nature of the beast. It is after the manner of a pig and so, sinners say, "We cannot make out why these strict people, these Puritans, find fault with worldly amusements—we find them very sweet." Yes, but you see that it is only a sinner who says so—it is only a sinner who feels so. The true child of God knows that both the pleasures of this world and its cares are, alike, vanity!

~ Charles Spurgeon;
"Vanity Deprecated"
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons53.vii.html


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~ Forrest

 2016/8/23 14:00Profile
forrests
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 Re: Charles Spurgeon

Again, for a Christian to have his eyes fixed on vanity is injurious to his usefulness. No, more—it does positive damage to others. When a Christian is found setting his affection upon worldly things, what do worldlings say? "Why, he is one of our own kith and kin! He is just like us! See, he loves what we love, where is the difference between us and him?"

Thus the cause of Christ gets serious injury. How can you, my dear Brother, from the pulpit, for instance, preach concerning a certain sin when you are, yourself, guilty of it? I should like, for instance, to hear a man who swears that Baptism regenerates when he knows it does not, rebuke a countess for saying that she is "not at home" when she is! I should like to hear him rebuke a draper for "a white lie" across the counter. I should like to hear him rebuke the devil, for, I think he could scarcely venture to do it!

Unfaithfulness to the Spirit of God is as great a sin as ever Satan committed! No, my Brothers and Sisters, we must keep ourselves clear of these sins, or else, for practical purposes, the tendon of Achilles has been cut and we cannot serve God with might and main! We can only do some trifling service for Him when our garments are spotted and our souls are set on vanity.

For all these reasons, then, let the Christian pray this reasonable prayer that he may be kept from vanity.

~ Charles Spurgeon;

in "Vanity Deprecated"
(No. 3026)
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1907.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, A LORD'S-DAY EVENING, IN THE YEAR 1864.


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 2016/8/23 14:05Profile
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 Re:

"Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that the brutes cannot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory world charged with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog."
~CS Lewis


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Todd

 2016/8/23 15:02Profile
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 Re:

[Editor’s Note: Michael Travers is Professor of English and Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at Southeastern. He is author of Encountering God in the Psalms (Kregel, 2003) and co-author (with Richard D. Patterson) of Face to Face With God: Human Images of God in the Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2008). As a disciple of Christ and good literature, and teacher on both at Southeastern, we asked him to write on the topic of reading literature for Christian formation.]
Why should Christians bother reading literature at all? Because reading literature humanizes us—in the best sense of the word. Literature helps us realize the image of God in us in ways that we cannot afford to miss. Consider….
•Literature exercises and develops our emotions and imaginations. People write about what they experience and how they respond emotionally and imaginatively to their experiences. As we read good imaginative literature, we begin to see our own experiences and emotions in the larger human context. Which emotions are healthy, which not? Which emotions ought we to cultivate, which should we put to death? In literature, we can see the expressions and consequences of human emotions in real-life situations and can be encouraged or take warning accordingly. It is the same with our imaginations. Reading literature gives us what Kevin Vanhoozer calls “the power of synoptic vision”: through our imaginations responding to the imaginative writings of others, we see the important issues in life, not just the urgent and immediate circumstances around us. Imagination allows us to see the universal and timeless human issues and truths in the particular experiences of the characters in the book we are reading.
•Literature speaks to the human condition in which we all find ourselves all the time. As humans, we all share the same human condition. No matter our gender, race, or nationality, we all struggle with sin, experience the emotions of love and hate, give expression to our strongest desires, and we all long for something that this world cannot satisfy—in the end, God. Literature connects us with others who have given effective expression to our common humanity and longings and, while we may not agree with a writer’s worldview, he or she illuminates our common condition in ways that can help us understand our situation better and relate to others outside of our immediate community. In Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective, Leland Ryken helpfully suggests that literature “clarifies the human situation to which the Christian faith speaks.”[1] Likewise, with C. S. Lewis, a Christian can think of literature as one form of “pre-evangelism”: a means to people ask the important questions—the eternal questions—and which gives us an opportunity to speak the gospel into their lives.
•Literature expands us. Reading imaginative literature takes us outside of our own immediate situation. We get to meet other people from other places—even from other times—that we would otherwise never meet. When we read a novel, we don’t just follow a plot line; we become acquainted with more people—some friends, some not so much friends—who hone our humanity. We get to look in on other cultures—oriental as well as occidental, contemporary as well as ancient—and in its turn that experience helps us not to be blinded to the realities of our own culture and time. Again, C. S. Lewis is helpful here. What he says in An Experiment in Criticism is worth quoting at some length: “We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own….”[2] He continues, “in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here [i.e. in reading great literature], as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.”[3] Think a bit about that!
•Literature can help us glorify God in our lives. Humans are “wordish creatures.”[4] Only we, of all God’s creatures, use sounds and graphics symbolically to communicate what is not immediately present to our five senses. Only we imagine and create what is not essential to our immediate needs. Only we can appreciate beauty, truth and goodness in their own rights. God made us wordish creatures, and he communicated the gospel to us in words. Even Jesus Christ is given the epithet, “Word made flesh,” and only He communicates the Father to us sinful people. Because literature is a wordish medium, it is in some senses the form of artistic expression that allows us to get closest to our Creator. After all, we are all part of that great Story, and our stories fit into the larger Story. And you can’t tell a story without words!

Why read literature? How can you not? It’s part of our heritage as humans. But we must cultivate it if we are not to lose it again and revert to an earlier age or place where the Word and the word were both darkened. Make your words flesh that the Word made flesh might be glorified.

[1] Leland Ryken, Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 34.
[2] C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 137.
[3] Ibid., 141.
[4] Bradley Green, The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life (Crossway, 2010), 104


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Todd

 2016/8/23 15:21Profile
forrests
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Posts: 301


 Re: Literature and the CS Lewis Quote

While I do believe that those who belong to the Lord must use discernment in what books they read (there are some that are no better than today's soap operas and full of filth and junk) - reading and literature where never really the issue at hand. And I'm quite sure you are aware of that...as I have expressed as much to you previously.

Now, with that said - I don't care to know all about this life and this present world so much as I desire to learn Christ and the one to come. Sure, nature and the world around us was made for Him and I do believe also reveal Him, but He is still to aim - not learning or experience for the sake of it.

I am referring to vain amusements and worldly entertainment - not literature. There is a difference.

I do not find the fanciful (fiction) tales of authors to be all that beneficial either... And add to that that much art and literature is allegorical and/or philosophical in nature, we ought to beware what 'literature' we are drawn to and what we do with the doctrines they peddle...

As C. S. Lewis said: "Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors."

That is scary to me, depending on the authors you read...


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~ Forrest

 2016/8/23 15:30Profile









 Re: Vain Amusements and Worldly Entertainment

Dear brother, thank you for raising these points in these posts. That and the posts about pursuing holiness are a much needed cry for today.

Sure its easy to lapse into legalism and judging others or even calling these things sin, but that is not the point that is being made by Tozer and Spurgeon and the others.

Nor is that the point of your post. It is that these pursuits are vanity and we ought to consider how much time we waste on things that have no positive impact on our lives. Meaning we could live without them. But can we live without Gods Word, without fellowshipping in prayer with the Lord on a continual basis?

I just think that this word - to put aside childish things and come back to Jesus is much needed in this hour. And yet you would think we would all jump up and down and say amen and agree on this. Not so. There is a resistant to this word today and I cannot for the life of me figure out why?

Brother Blaine shared this video of a lady who is sharing about holiness and I will link it again because I watched it and the Lord used it to speak to my heart about an area of my life that I had become lax in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOg9-2W4F5A&feature=youtu.be

God bless you, keep on pressing in Forrest and keep on sharing these things, they are much needed. Just don't stray into legalism and passing judgement on others. We must judge and examine our own lives first and foremost and then we must out of love for others warn them that the "bridge is out up ahead".

 2016/8/23 15:50
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5503
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 Re:

Forrest-

Perhaps you can give some examples of what you mean by "vain amusements?"

I picked reading because I like to read.

Is it all sports, all movies, all TV, all hobbies?

If I have free time and I am not reading the Bible or praying, am I engaged in vain amusement? Or is free time in and of itself vanity?

I do a LOT of crossword puzzles- the harder Sunday sized ones. Is that a vain amusement? After all, I could be reading the Bible instead.


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Todd

 2016/8/23 15:58Profile





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