Game of Thrones or Game of Lust?

What is the most popular show on TV/Cable these days?

It is a show called Game of Thrones on HBO.  I do not have HBO so I was not aware that for 4 years this show has been rising in popularity to its current pinnacle.  We are talking about the kind of popularity that trumps everything else on TV. I even hear people at work talking about Game of Thrones parties, where they get together to celebrate by watching the episodes together.

Why is Delight in Truth writing about this?

Because I looked into what the fuss is all about, and I must share with you the disturbing results of my research.

The show is a medieval type fantasy laced with graphic violence and graphic sexual deviancy. Pastor and theologian John Piper was asked about whether a Christian has any business watching something like this. His answer was a bit shocking, but I agree with it. He said that the Christian who indulges in watching this level of violence and nudity and actually enjoys it, needs to ask whether he/she is re-crucifying Christ again!

But the producers push this show beyond nudity and violence. How about repeated rape scenes mixed with murder? How about graphic incest?

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) describes it this way: “The sexual content on this show is very consistent and graphic.”

And our society loves it! Look at the ratings! I had no idea that in a difficult economy people had the money to spend on premium cable channels…

I said this in a prior sermon at some point… If a person is a Christian by name, but delights in the nudity, foul language, violence and sexual deviancy of today’s movies and shows, that person might not be a born-again Christian. It is not consistent with a holy character given by the new birth to LIKE or LOVE depravity. On the contrary, the child of God is repulsed by such depiction of depravity.

Here are some powerful Scripture references to set our priorities right:

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. Matt 5:29

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What to Do When You Are Faced With the Opposite of the Gospel

It was an early Saturday afternoon when we decided to take the kids for a walk and some lunch on beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

As we were walking we heard a strange chant and percussion-type music behind us.  It was  a procession of Krishna worshippers coming through.  In Hinduism and other eastern religions, Krishna is an avatar, or a physical representation of the supreme god Vishnu.

One of the members of this faith came over to me to invite my family to their family friendly temple.  Having studied the Bible and Christian apologetics more intensely in recent years I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to engage in theological discussion and see where these folks come from.

From the very beginning I told her that I worship the One and only Triune God as revealed in the Bible.

This led to a startling revelation.  The woman informed that she too is a Christian (Catholic) and that she worships Krishna and Christ… and that Krishna and Christ really come from the same “root word.” This of course is the opposite of truth.

She went on to explain how their supreme god is incarnated in different avatars, our Savior Jesus Christ being an example, and how they invite everyone to worship their personal avatar collectively with them.  Everything was about positivity and love, blah, blah, blah… Again the opposite of biblical truth.

Whenever a syncretic discussion of this sort ensues, I highly recommend to Christians to focus on one part of the Gospel: the depravity of man.  

I am referring to the fallen state of man, the evil that men do, the suffering and depravity that exists in the human race.  Expose their way of tackling this most central issue and how man can be redeemed.

She said she believes in the purity of the human soul (whatever that means) and that our mind is merely under influence.

Really?  If that is so, if the human soul is that pure, how is it that a Boston Marathon bomber or a Newtown shooter premeditated and carried out such evil acts out of his “pure” heart?  Why can’t one’s purity overcome such “influences?”

Of course she had no coherent answer, because the real answer lies in human hate and disobedience toward the Real God, our Creator. These people are blinded and they are not able to see their fallen nature.  If they stopped for two minutes to analyze the anger, the jealousy, the adultery, the greed that we all harbor in our hearts, they would realize that we are not pure at all.  They would realize we are in dire need of a perfect Savior.

There is no faith or religion on this planet that is able to resolve this depravity of man, other than the faith that claims that the perfect God Himself redeemed us via His Own sacrifice.

The most ironic thing is that the various avatars and incarnations of the gods of their religions suffer from the same shortcomings as humans: sexual desire and sin, jealousy, hate, war, etc. The very beings they worship are not perfect beings.

Be aware that they quickly turn the discussion to extremely abstract terms.  Instead of wrestling with real issues like why murder and adultery exist, they will go off on abstract tangents of dualism influence, mind over matter, meditation for purity, and such.

Instead of wasting precious time in discussing things in complex philosophical terms, be simple, and be direct.

Man was created in the image of God, but man fell due to disobedience and deserves eternal death.  In His Sovereignty and by grace, God made possible the redemption of man only by believing and obeying Christ, the perfect God-Man who redeemed us by His sacrifice.  Believers in Christ are saved from damnation and are made perfect again in the image of God upon their glorification.

That is the simple and direct gospel that non-Christian worshipers must hear.

How much more simple is this “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1) compared to thousands and millions of gods and their stories and abstract explanations?

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Black Friday: When Materialism Turns Into Idolatry

Black Friday is the culmination of idolatrous consumerism.  Not because someone wants to shop for a discounted item, but because of the underlying demeanor in the build-up and unraveling of Black Friday.

I confess, I do not have much Black Friday experience…  Last year we made the mistake of going to the local mall on Friday after Thanksgiving sometime in the mid morning, only to turn back home because we could not find parking.   Apparently you had to be there before dawn to get in line.  There are places where lines form days in advance!  These people sacrifice the Thanksgiving holiday and a night in a warm bed for a terribly unpleasant shopping experience.

Why?  Because they will save $200 dollars on a deal?   The average amount spent by the average Black Friday shopper is less than $400, so will a $200 saving really make that much difference in their lives?  In order to answer this question lets look at the things that happen during shopping on Black Friday because they help elucidate who we are as humans.

Shoppers get into a mindless and manic frenzy to the point where an apparel store can look like a category 4 hurricane just went through it.  In the busy stores one can see anger, greed and self elevation at the worst.  It starts with shoving, shouting, and it progresses to cursing, verbal fights, and fist fights.  In extreme cases there have been reports of shoppers and vendors being crushed, stepped on, and it seems like every year we hear reports of fatalities as a result of stampedes and lack of crowd control.  All for an average of $400 of merchandise!

At the core of the issue is human depravity and the worship of self.  The shopper is tricked into thinking it is all about “me, myself and I.”  The goal of the entire Black Friday exercise becomes less about buying a certain item, but beating out your competition to that item!  In some situations, pushing and stepping on another human being becomes part of the process… but it matters not, the depraved shopper must beat his competitor at all cost.

Greed coupled with anger is one of the most potent evil combinations of all human emotions and we see it on display during Black Friday Idolatry.  I call it idolatry because it comes down to serving, satisfying and elevating the self.  It all started with the fall of man after he was created perfect in the image of God.  Man was tempted with becoming just like the One who deserves to receive all worship, and the temptation proved too much.  And on Black Friday we are still dealing with the consequences of appeasing, elevating, and worshiping the self as exemplified by the demeanor and actions of the shoppers.

So, should Christians go and compete in the long lines and spend their $400 today?  If you do, just remember that you do not belong to this world and you must act that way.  Remember that lost people will act lost no matter what the situation, so do not be surprised when you see individuals fighting over that $199 “complete” home theater system, or that discounted video game.  You will see human depravity on display which will remind you where you once were before the Holy Spirit led you to the new birth.

Think of Black Friday as an opportunity to see how God has rescued you from this materialistic and idolatrous world, and how He made you realize that all glory and worship belongs to Him.

“whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Cor 10:31

In the Wake of Sandy: Is God Still Love?

In the case of people who do not know God, natural disasters present one of the most difficult barriers to believing in the Triune God revealed in the Bible.  If God is all-loving and all-good as described in the Bible, how can He allow such destruction as hurricane Sandy to ravage His creation and the people He loves?

How can a just, compassionate, loving, and caring God who died for His creation allow this level of pain and death?

Atheists and agnostics who ask these questions have not come to know the truth about our God, and truth about the fall of His creation.  They do not understand that God’s attributes cannot be separated, that His love is rooted in His justice, and His compassion streams out of His love.

The atheist loves to mock the believer with accusations that Christians worship a sadistic God who ordains atrocities and natural disasters.  He points to the unfairness of life, the death of innocent babies, the sorry state of humanity, and ultimately he blames a God in whom he doesn’t even believe!  All this without a single observation of the wickedness that exists in his own soul!

The Bible unveils the unfair reality of our world as a direct result of Satan’s action and the disobedience of man.  As a result evil prospers, and natural and biological calamities plague us.  Paul elucidated the fallen state of creation in this passage:

Romans 8: 20 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Then Paul proceeds to explain that the “whole creation has been groaning” as a result of man’s disobedience and fall into sin.  So what right does an ungodly man have to question the unfairness of the universe?  What right does he have to question God’s love?

The truth is that the single most unfair event that has ever taken place on this planet was not hurricane Sandy and the death and destruction it left behind.  It wasn’t the tsunami which killed hundreds of thousands.   It wasn’t even the dreaded Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were murdered because they were Jewish.

The single most tragic and unfair event that ever happened, the greatest crime and sin ever committed, but also the greatest act of love ever performed, was the torture and murder of a perfect, sinless and holy Man two thousands years ago on a cross outside of Jerusalem.  That Man was God Himself.  His name was Jesus.  Transcending the result of man’s fall, and the suffering that creation endures because of it, God showed his perfect love to us in redemption.

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

How America Made an Ungodly Choice

America voted and the results were not only wrong and unwise, the critical choices made were ungodly. In most situations where a vote hinged on biblical principles, America decided to go against God.

I do not pretend that this is Christian country or that it ever was, but America was founded on Christian principles, and we have a large population of Christians. But their voice was drowned out by an increasingly secular majority.

Here is a list of what I mean:

1. Colorado has legalized the recreational use of the psychedelic drug marijuana. It is now legal to get high in the mile-high city. Three other states legalized marijuana for medical use.

2. Massachusetts joined Oregon and Washington in allowing assisted suicide, also known as euthanasia.

3. Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington all voted in favor of gay marriage. This was a huge sweeping victory for LGBT activists in four out of four states. They succeeded in elevating this issue to the level of civil rights.

4. America re-elected Obama, who supports the pro-abortion agenda, the forced contraceptive mandate, the desecration of the traditional family, and has taken an anti-Israel stance on multiple occasions.

But ultimately we know that God is in control of past, present, and future, and everything that happens contributes to His mysterious plan.

He states: “for I am God, and… …‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10

We will now wait and see how His mighty plan will unveil itself in these last days.