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Bible and Entertainment

Seminar Highlights/ Objectives

The world seems to embrace entertainment and comedy more than any other time in History. It is becoming harder to gather the youth to listen to anything without a measure of entertainment. While the liberals find no harm in excess entertainment, the conservatives condemn even any slightest sense of humor. These two extremes cause unhealthy tension in the modern Church. This seminar therefore, seeks to draw the balance between the intemperance.

The session could seek to explore what the bible says in regard to entertainment, Highlight the excesses on each side while suggesting a good middle ground backed up by scripture. Dangers and negative effects of each side could be explored. Provide a biblical response to the current state of affairs especially where worship and praise tends towards sensual and somehow promoting immorality.

Introduction

This seminar seeks to address the issue of entertainment and see what the Bible has to say about it. Below is an excerpt from my invitation letter to facilitate this seminar that provides a good summary of the need for this seminar:

“The world seems to embrace entertainment and comedy more than any other time in History. It is becoming harder to gather the youth to listen to anything without a measure of entertainment. While the liberals find no harm in excess entertainment, the conservatives condemn even any slightest sense of humor. These two extremes cause unhealthy tension in the modern Church. This seminar therefore, seeks to draw the balance between the intemperance.”

One Tony Robbins rightly summarized the above statement:

“We aren’t in an information age, we are in an entertainment age”

Definitions

What is entertainment?

“Whatever people are willing to spend money and spare time  viewing rather than participating in” Julie Parker

“A form of activity that hold the attention and interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task but more likely to be one of the activities or events that has developed over the years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audiences attention” Wikipedia

Types of entertainment The five senses in my view provide a good base to discuss and think through the types of entertainment.

Let us populate the table together.

 

Hearing

(Ears)

Seeing

(eyes)

 

Touch

(hands/feet)

 

Taste

(tongue)

 

Smell

(Nose)

 

Music movies masturbation food drugs

 

Make a mental note of which specific form of entertainment has you captured.

Christian entertainment????

Do we have something like Christian entertainment?

I firmly believe that the answer to this question is an emphatic NO.

Why do i say so? Let’s refresh our working definitions of entertainment

– “Whatever people are willing to spend money and spare time viewing rather than participating in” Julie Parker

“A form of activity that hold the attention and interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task but more likely to be one of the activities or events that has developed over the years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audiences attention” Wikipedia

I believe that Christians can and do participate in different forms of art like music, movies/acting and sports. However their goal in participating is not and should not be to give pleasure to themselves or their audience but to communicate God’s truth. The above mediums therefore become a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

Let’s look at some practical examples:

  1. Movies – how many of you have watched ‘War Room’?
  2. What Biblical lessons did you learn from it? DISCUSSION
  3. Music – how many of you know the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’?
  4. What Biblical lessons do you learn for it? DISCUSSION
  5. Sports – How many of you watched the Rio Olympics 2016?
  6. There were several unashamedly Christian athletes who competed in various events. Any Biblical lessons you learned from them?

 

Let’s take a mental journey to the Gospels and see the parables of Jesus. Jesus used this parables or stories to communicate the intricate message of the Kingdom of God in a simple way that the people could understand. The message of the kingdom of God was the main thing not the parable, the parable was just a means to an end.

When entertainment is an end in itself, therefore self becomes god, since entertainment exists to give pleasure to self. The moment a medium of the Gospel like music, art, sports or even movies is turned into entertainment, then self takes the throne. These mediums are just that, tools to communicate the message of the Kingdom of God, we must never confuse the vessels with the message. Therefore I encourage us to actively participate in music, art, acting and even sport as long as you are doing it for God’s glory and not personal pleasure or audience pleasure; then it becomes entertainment.

I therefore emphatically repeat my answer – there is nothing like Christian entertainment. Let’s turn to the Bible and see what it has to say about entertainment.

Biblical references

There are no references to the term ‘entertainment’ in the Bible – from Genesis to revelation the term does not occur.

And why is that?

I believe it is because we were created by God, for God; to bring Him pleasure and glory. Not for ourselves, entertainment is the complete opposite of God’s purpose for humanity – it’s simply a creation of man, for man – to bring man pleasure and glory.

Let’s turn our Bibles to Colossians chapter 3:1-17

Exegesis

1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

We as born again believers, baptized in water and the Holy Spirit have been raised with Christ. The Word of God is encouraging us this morning to seek things that are above where Christ is. We are being admonished against setting our minds on things that are on earth. Entertainment in all its forms and features is one of the things that are on earth that easily distracts us from our walk of faith. It takes away much of our productive time (social media) and sets us on a path of self glory and gratification slowly edging Christ out of His rightful place in our hearts. Think about it for a moment? How much time do you spend on entertainment? Watching movies, scrolling your phone… as compared to the time you spend reading and meditating on God’s Word; in prayer; in evangelism; in acts of mercy. Think about it critically and you will see how entertainment slowly steals your most precious gift of time and recourses.

Verse 3 emphatically reminds us why we are to focus on things above and not things below – because we have died – and our lives are not hidden with Christ in God. We have died to self, self gratification, self pleasure and are alive in Christ – the Son of God who spent every waking moment of His life on earth seeking to glorify the Father! That should be our pursuit as well.

4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you once walked, when you lived 9 in them. 8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

So what exactly have died to: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, malice, wrath, slander foul talk from your mouth, lies. Lets us be honest with each other, isn’t the list above a general script of most movies and music we watch, listen to in the name of entertainment? Brethren, I speak to you as I speak to myself; we cannot claim to obey God’s commandments yet spend most of our free time and God given resources filling our minds with the very things that attract the wrath of God. Verse 6 is very clear – On account of these the wrath of God is coming. Therefore we are encouraged to put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a com- plaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds every- thing together in perfect harmony.

In the matters of this new nature, the Word of God begins by categorically stating that it does not matter your background before coming to Christ, once you are in Christ then He is all and He is in all. Then we have a list of what exactly we are to put on: compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and above all else love. This list is the exact opposite of the one above which attracts the wrath of God.as believers who have died in Christ we are to put on the very character of God as seen in the list here, and above all else love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:1-17 RSV)

In conclusion Paul gives an exhortation to wrap up this matter. We are exhorted to be a people of peace and gratitude. To allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly, teach and admonish one another in the same. To sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (we’ll talk more about this in the afternoon). Turn to your neighbor and ask them, what’s your favorite hymn? Finally we are explicitly told in God’s Word: whatever you do in word or deed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

If you are watching a movie, scrolling down your phone or computer, participating in arts or sports, singing and writing music do it all in the Name of the Lord. You will increasingly find that this mindset begins and continually eliminates many activities aimed at giving you pleasure while taking away focus from God; activities that seek to put you are lord over your life while slowly edging the Master Jesus; activities that the world has called entertainment.

Kenyan Gospel Music

Does it fit into the category of entertainment or worship?

Let’s begin with some definitions. I like definitions because they remove mystery from words that we are used to hearing thrown around but cannot clearly pin point their meaning.

Gospel

Let’s begin with the term Gospel. There are many definitions but I like the one by Ed Stetzer best:

“The gospel is the good news that God, who is more holy than we can imagine, looked upon with compassion, people, who are more sinful than we would possibly admit, and sent Jesus into history to establish His Kingdom and reconcile people and the world to himself. Jesus, whose love is more extravagant than we can measure, came to sacrificially die for us so that, by His death and resurrection, we might gain through His grace what the Bible defines as new and eternal life.” – Ed Stetzer

Is ‘Kenyan Gospel Music’ anything close to this definition? In content, delivery and the musicians?

Worship

Next term is Worship. Let’s turn to the dictionary for this one.

 “Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission” (Webster’s Dictionary,1828).

With the above definitions in mind how would you classify ‘Kenyan Gospel Music’ – as worship or entertainment and why? Feel free to give specific examples of songs

I would like to submit to us this afternoon that majority of the music we call ‘Kenyan Gospel music’ is infact nothing but pure entertainment. It is by self, for self, and to self. There’s nothing Gospel nor Worship about it; excerpt of course the sporadic mention of the name Jesus Christ or the cross.

So, let’s turn to the church, specifically our Sunday, Saturday (or whichever day/time you attend church). What really goes on in our services? Is it worship or entertainment?

Praise and Worship

“When ministry becomes performance, then the sanctuary becomes a theatre, the congregation becomes an audience, worship becomes enter- tainment, and man’s applause and approval become the measure of suc- cess. But when ministry is for the glory of God, his presence moves into the sanctuary. Even the unsaved visitor will fall down on his face, worship God, and confess that God is among us. (1 Corinthians 14:25).” – Warren and David Wiersbe

Contemprovant video – Watch and Discuss

Have we turned our churches into theatres? Have we as the congregation become an audience waiting to be entertained by the singing, dancing and facilitators?

My Take

We need and indeed we must get back to the heart of worship – when its all about a Holy God, His love, the cross and eternity.

In our text this morning in Colossians 3 let us turn to verse 16:

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16 RSV)

The Word of God clearly tells us what to sing – Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts. So why do we find it necessary to reinvent the path of worship? Why is it that we would rather come up with our own songs rather than what has already been clearly laid out for us – Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? If you attended the plenary last evening, it was very clear that what plagues us as believers is our desire to customize God, to fit Him into our box, our ways, including our preferred way of worship.

We need and indeed we must get Christ back at the center of our worship services. The patterns of this world entertainment- that we have conformed ourselves to and woven our worship services around must come to an end. We cannot worship God in our own terms, our own devices – He has already laid out a path on how He is to be worshiped – in truth and in spirit.

In this last days, compromise and changanya changanya cannot be our definition as the body of Christ. The Lord clearly reminded us this morning that indeed we have died with Christ, we therefore can no longer walk in what is earthly but must have our minds fixed on things above where Christ is sited. We must put off the old and put on the new man.

And there’s no better place that this lack of conformity and renewal by God’s Word is exhibited especially to the non believer like in our worship services brothers and sisters honestly there must be a difference between a Sauti Sol concert and a church worship service; between facilitation of worldly glamour award events and how our church worship services are led – otherwise the non-believer finds no reason to abandon the former and fall down in worship to the risen Christ!

If the church is being built with large portions of charm, personality, easy oratory, positive thinking, managerial skills, powerful and emotional ex- periences, and people smarts, but without the repeated, passionate, Spi- rit-anointed proclamation of “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” we may be winning more adherents than converts…Do not think that you can adopt the philosophies and values of the world as if such choices do not have a profoundly detrimental impact on the church. Do not think you can get away with it. Do not kid yourself that you are with it, and avant-garde Christian, when in fact you are leaving the gospel behind and doing damage to God’s church. (The Cross and Christian Ministry, D.A. Carson p. 80, 84)

God bless us all

 

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