The following is excerpted from the May 2017 edition of THE DISCIPLING CHURCH: THE CHURCH THAT WILL STAND UNTIL JESUS COMES. See end of report for details.
Even if you are saved and are studying the Bible and seeking His will, there are still powerful enemies within and without, and victory requires keen vigilance (Eph. 5:15; 1 Pet. 5:8) and strict separation (1 Jn. 2:15-17). David, the “sweet Psalmist of Israel,” was a passionate seeker of God, but we know what happened to him when he ceased being vigilant.
Christ warned that the things of the world can choke the Word in the believer’s life so that he doesn’t bear spiritual fruit (Mk. 4:19; Lk. 8:14). Jeremiah warned about sowing among thorns (Jer. 4:3). This refers to trying to serve the Lord without separating from sin, which is exactly what multitudes of professing Christians are doing in fundamental Baptist churches. Their daily lives are filled with worldly lusts and pleasures by the definition of 1 John 2:15-16, such as sensual music, immodest dress, and worldly entertainment, but they profess Christ and attend church and perhaps even read the Bible and pray. This was the condition of Israel of old. “.. this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart from me...” (Isa. 29:13). It is not possible to love God and also to love the wicked world. To love the wicked things of the world is to be the enemy of God (Jam. 4:4).
Young people who want to know and do God’s will must separate from the world.
Note the strictness of biblical separation: “all uncleanness” (Eph. 5:3), “no fellowship” (Eph. 5:11).
Separation from the world is strongly emphasized throughout Scripture. See Deuteronomy 7:26; Psalm 101:3; Proverbs 4:14-15, 23-27; 6:25-26; 7:6-10; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Peter 5:8; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17.
Some of the Greatest Worldly Dangers Today
The mobile phone itself
The mobile phone has brought the world into people’s lives in the most intimate way. It connects to the Internet, where moral dangers and false teaching are only a click or a tap away.
If a young person wants to serve the Lord and know His will, he must be extremely cautious about modern communication tools.
It is wise to remove all temptations from one’s phone. Examples are wrong music, wrong apps, even the web browser if necessary. One young man wrote, “Before I got saved, I listened to rock music, copying it to my memory cards. After I get saved, for some time I couldn’t delete the songs. I used to say that I would be able not to listen to them, but I was easily tempted to listen to the things that were already in my phone. I was making provision for the flesh while promising not to fulfil the lusts thereof (Ro. 13:14). So one day I decided to delete them totally from my memory card and from my computer too. I thank the Lord, I have never regretted that decision.”
It is wise to use a web browser filter like CleanInternet.
It is wise to have an accountability partner.
Some use Covenant Eyes for accountability. It monitors the individual’s Internet usage and emails reports to selected people for accountability. The accountability report lists web sites visited, Internet searches, and the times of day when the Internet is used. It also features a score that ranks the individual’s level of objectionable Internet usage. Covenant Eyes also has a filtering service that can be used in combination with the accountability service. Another service of this type is X3 Watch. It provides accountability on computers, cell phones, and tablets. While I have not used this personally, it has been recommended by friends.
Others use a church leader or mature Christian friend as an accountability partner. One single young adult wrote: “I have a friend in Bible college who has the restriction codes to my phone. I cannot access the App Store, I cannot access the browser. I personally deleted every game I had off the phone, deleted Facebook and anything else that I felt ‘drawing’ my mind away in ways that I thought were a hindrance to my walk with God. A great example of this is FoxNews. The App shows a lot of news, to be sure. The space directly below it has a lot of entertainment news, which was basically nothing but soft porn. I got sick and tired of seeing this and deleted that app as well. If SnapChat or other items are a hindrance, the partner can block those as well by restricting it. Remember that browsers can be downloaded through the App Store, so even if Safari or the base browser is blocked, there are ways around it.”
Twenty-nine of the thirty most popular YouTube videos in 2015 were music videos, and most are filthy. The total views of the 29 videos was 26 BILLION!
Psy “Gangnam Style” (2.3 billion views)
Justin Bieber “Baby” (1.2 billion)
Katy Perry “Dark Horse” (1 billion)
Taylor Swift “Blank Space” (1 billion)
LMFAO “Party Rock Anthem” (906 million)
Eminem “Love the Way You Lie” (896 million)
Shakira “Waka Waka” (889 million)
Jennifer Lopez “On the Floor” (846 million)
Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” (784 million)
Rock is intimately associated with illicit sex and always has been. Even a mere glance at iTunes proves this. The covers of the albums and the lyrics are filthy, and a child of God seeking purity will not touch the unclean thing (2 Co. 6:17).
Consider the following testimonies by rock & rollers:
“That’s what rock is all about--sex with a 100 megaton bomb, THE BEAT!” (Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS, interview, Entertainment Tonight, ABC, Dec. 10, 1987).
“Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex” (John Oates of the rock duo Hall & Oates, Circus, Jan. 31, 1976).
“Rock ‘n’ roll is pagan and primitive, and very jungle, and that’s how it should be! … the true meaning of rock … is sex, subversion and style” (Malcolm McLaren, punk rock manager, Rock, August 1983, p. 60).
“The THROBBING BEAT of rock provides a vital sexual release for adolescent audiences” (Jan Berry of Jan and Dean, cited by Ken Blanchard, Pop Goes the Gospel).
“The great strength of rock ‘n’ roll lies in ITS BEAT ... it is a music which is basically sexual, un-Puritan ... and a threat to established patterns and values” (Irwin Silber, Marxist, Sing Out, May 1965).
“Everyone takes it for granted that rock and roll is synonymous with sex” (Chris Stein, lead guitarist for Blondie, People, May 21, 1979).
“Rock and roll is fun, it’s full of energy ... It’s naughty” (Tina Turner, cited in Rock Facts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum).
“Pop music revolves around sexuality. I believe that if there is anarchy, let’s make it sexual anarchy rather than political” (Adam Ant, From Rock to Rock, p. 93).
“The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in ALL ASPECTS in the music” (Luke Campbell of 2 Live Crew).
Pop music and rap will steal your heart for the world. At best you will have a divided heart.
Pastor Dave Sorenson tells how that as a teen his heart was captured by rock music that he listened to in his bedroom via a transistor radio that his pastor father let him have.
I was captured by rock music via 45-rpm records at a friend’s garage. He was a deacon’s son.
YouTube, music videos, X-rated movies, parents used to keep MTV out of the home, but now MTV and much worse is on the kids’ phones!
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17).
Video games are very addictive and they are great time wasters. Also many of them have very wicked content. Even the more innocent games use rock music as a background, thus addicting young people to the sensual rock rhythms.
If young people are allowed to play video games, they must be carefully chosen and the play time must be strictly limited by the parents.
Video games and addiction
“The more we looked into it the more we found that gaming was taking over the lives of kids.”
“Some studies suggest that gaming is absolutely taking over the minds of children all together.”
“Virtual life becomes more appealing than real life.”
Beware of role playing games. Nothing takes over young people’s hearts and minds more than these. They are called MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games).
The most addictive games in 2015 are the following: Madden, Dota 2, Grand Theft Auto, Tetris, Candy Crush Saga (the company is valued at $7.5 billion), Minecraft, EverQuest (called “never rest” and “ever crack”), The Sims (player has omnipotent control over people), World of Warcraft (called World of War Crack), Call of Duty (the last two are played by more than 100 million players), Halo 3 (called Halodiction), Total War, Pong, Civilization, Diablo 3, Super Meat Boy, Team Fortress 2, Dark Souls 2, Counter Strike, Starcraft 2, Persona 4 Golden, Monster Hunter 3, Elder Scrolls, Angry Birds, Faster Than Light, Peggle, League of Legends, Civilization V, Pokemon.
Even in remote places like Nepal, gaming competition is becoming popular. A report on Nepali gamers in the Kathmandu Post (Aug. 29, 2015) was entitled “By Their Bootstraps.” Gaming started in Nepal in internet cafes in 2010. The 2015 Colors E-sports Carnival at the Civil Mall had 500 participants competing at Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), a multi-online battle game.
Video games and violence
Beware of violent games. One of the most popular is Grand Theft Auto. Players assume the role of lawless, destructive criminals who kill innocent bystanders, policemen, and military personnel, “while dealing with only temporary consequences.” It has been called a cop-killing training machine. Some of the versions require the player to torture people in brutal ways to advance to new levels. Sexual elements include hiring and killing prostitutes (by means of the player’s choice of fist, machete, bat, or gun). Real life murders have been committed by people who were obsessive players of Grand Theft Auto and have even admitted to being inspired by the game.
Video games and the occult
Many of the video games are occultic. Consider the current craze, Pokémon Go. Almost overnight it has become the most popular mobile game in American history, increasing the stock market value of part owner Nintendo more than 50%. “Pokémon Go, the newest iteration of the nearly 20-year-old Pokémon franchise, engages players in an ‘augmented reality’ where they try to find and capture Pokémons hidden throughout the real world. The Australian Business Review has suggested that it may be a ‘watershed moment’ in the development of virtual reality” (“Pokémon Go craze drawing gamers to church,” Baptist Press News, July 15, 2016). The game “uses the mobile phone’s camera to create the perception that the Pokémon characters are actually in front of the players.” It is so engaging and addictive that people have crashed their automobiles and walked into dangerous situations. Two men recently fell off a cliff near San Diego while engaged in the game.
Pastor David Brown, First Baptist Church of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, who made the effort to investigate Pokémon and apply the test of God’s Word to it in 1999, says, “The name Pokémon is derived from POCKEt MONster. ... One of the first things I did was to find out who produced the Trading Card Game. Here is an exact quote right from the Web page of the producer - ‘The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a new collectable Card Game that is made and distributed by Wizards of the Coast. The same company that made the best-selling game ... Magic: The Gathering.’ Wizards of the Coast also owns TSR, the producers of Dungeons & Dragons. When I discovered who owned the American Pokémon Trading Card Game rights, I knew it was not just an innocent card game for elementary school children. [The Pokémon rap mantra says]: ‘I will travel across the land/ Searching far and wide/ Each Pokémon to understand/ The power that’s inside/ Gotta catch them all.’ ... To be sure it is a game, but a game that does not glorify God! When God says something is wrong, it is wrong regardless of what form it is in. Not only that, but many of the kids who play this game are seduced into believing the principles that the game subtly teaches” (Dave Brown, “The Problem with Pokémon”).
In the official literature, the main characters of the game are described as headstrong, stubborn, quibbling, hormonal, having a fascination with and trying to “score” with the opposite sex, self-centered, vindictive, obnoxious, and prone to cross-dressing!
Pokémon promotes the search for occultic power. The cards are called “energy cards.” Players engage in “pretend” occultic warfare. Currently there are 729 species of Pokémon monsters, and 151 of them are sought by Pokémon Go players. Two of them are named Abra and Kadabra, long associated with magic. The Abra card promotes the ability to read minds. The Kadabra character has a pentagram on his forehead. What an incredibly dangerous, wicked influence for children! Nintendolife says there are poison types, psychic types, dark types, fairy types, dragon types, and ghost types.
There is nothing innocent about Pokémon. It is a clever attempt at demonic mind-control. For more about the dangers of Pokémon see “The Problem with Pokémon” by David Brown, http://logosresourcepages.org/Occult/more.htm
Even the more innocent games use rock music as a background, thus addicting young people to the sensual rock rhythms.
Video games and wasting time
“How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Prov. 6:9-11).
The average gamer spends eight hours per week playing video games. This equates to 416 hours per year.
Last year, a teen told me he wanted to learn to study the Bible on his phone, but when I asked to look at his phone, I found that it was filled with games. I challenged him to get rid of them and to spend that time on Bible study and other profitable things. I told him that until he was willing to put aside wasteful things, he wouldn’t make much progress in his spiritual life.
One young Christian lady we know became concerned about how much time she was spending on video games, and she decided to figure it up. She concluded that she was spending three months out of a year playing games! She deleted the games from her iPad and is spending that time memorizing Scripture and other profitable things.
Young people who want to find God’s will must learn to be careful about time. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). We deal with this in the section of the course on “The Youth.”
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mat. 5:28).
“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1).
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Prov. 6:23-28).
“Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (Prov. 7:24-27).
Consider some frightful facts about pornography and the Internet:
Pornography makes up nearly 40% of the total content on the Internet.
Nearly 25% of Internet search queries are about pornography.
Over 50% of boys and over 30% of girls first viewed pornography before age 13.
A study in the UK in 2013 found that 50% of 18-year-olds have received nude pictures.
Nearly 70% of boys and a majority of girls have seen homosexual acts online.
Nearly 70% of young adult men and about 20% of young adult women view pornography at least once a week.
About 55% of divorce cases involve one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.
The man is visually oriented in his sexuality, which is why the Bible repeatedly warns of the man’s lust of the woman’s body (Job 31:1; Prov. 6:25; Mat. 5:28). Women are not naturally inclined to be so visual in their sexuality, though they can become perverted as is happening today.
The heart is a bottomless pit of evil, and pornography will carry the heart deeper and deeper into filth and perversion (Jer. 17:9).
This terrible process is described in Romans 1:21-30. Note that it begins with what is happening with the “imagination” and “heart” (verse 21) and ends with the corrupt of the “reprobate mind” (verse 28).
The only victory is complete abstinence. It requires making a covenant with one’s eyes as Job did (Job 31:1).
Young people (and old) must remember that pornography will do the following and more:
- It will enslave you.
- It has the power to carry you into ever deeper and unspeakable regions of moral filth.
- It will pervert your way of looking at women and hinder your ability to have proper relationships.
- If you are single, it will ruin your chance for a truly pure marriage.
- If you are married, it will harm or even destroy your marriage.
- It will hurt your children.
- It will hurt your testimony and result in shame and disgrace.
Sending sexy pictures of oneself by text messaging is hugely popular.
A study in the UK in 2013 found that 50% of 18-year-olds have received nude pictures.
Studies have found that many young people consider sexting mere entertainment.
“As a criminal lawyer, I can tell you that teens (and sometimes even younger children) use the picture taking capacity of most cell phones to take and communicate vile images of themselves. The possibilities for harm are virtually endless. This is not a minor matter. ... I don't think this particular danger can be overestimated.”
Snapchat is often used for this purpose. It is used by 60% of smartphone users ages 13-34. It is used to send a photo, video, or drawing that disappears in 1-10 seconds (user determined). The messages are called “snaps” and over a billion are sent daily. “It is popular for ‘teasing/sexting’ as teens think the pic cannot be saved. But all one has to do is take a screenshot or even a picture of the photo with another phone.” There are also unofficial apps and web tools that override snapchat’s deleting function. The FBI has warned that Snapchat is being used by pedophiles to lure young victims. Snapchat can also be used for video chatting.
Taking the wrong job
A major reason why young people backslide is that they disobey God and get a job that keeps them out of the church services.
Consider the following two warnings,
“We lose about 20% of the young sometime after the seventh grade, and generally we lose them because they get jobs that make them work on Sundays. Once they get those jobs, it becomes easy for them to justify staying out of services and they generally do.”
“We have noticed that many who leave get the idea that if God gives them a job that requires them to work during services, then it is O.K. to miss services. If God gives them a job that requires wearing immodest clothes then it must be O.K. to wear immodest clothes. If God gives them a job that plays rock-n-roll music on the PA then that is O.K. They think they are strong enough to take that and keep coming to church unaffected. Usually though, within six months of getting the job they are missing 50% or more of the services and within a year, they are out of the services completely. As the Singles Director, I have stressed the fact the God has His perfect job for us and Satan has his perfect job for us. However, most of the kids won’t wait upon God to provide that perfect job.”
If a young person lives by faith, he will not take a job that causes him to disobey God’s Word. We tell our young people, “God has a job for you and the devil has a job for you. The devil wants you to make a hasty decision, but it is your responsibility to be wise and wait on God’s will.”
Consider two biblical principles that apply to employment:
First, the Bible says do not associate with evil or with idolatry (1 Co. 15:33; Ro. 12:2; 2 Co. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11). Thus, it is not God’s will for His people to take a job at a place that would require participation in evil (such as selling liquor or wearing immodest clothing or showing wicked movies or playing worldly music or worldly dancing), to participate in pagan religious rituals, etc. I recall a teenager at one church who got a job working in a movie theater. He was bothered by the unwholesome films that were showing and was thinking about quitting, but he was advised not to quit by the church’s worldly youth pastor! The result was severe backsliding. I recall another young man who had a job at a restaurant-bar and was responsible to supervise worldly parties that included drinking and dancing. He did not grow spiritually until he quit that job.
Second, the Bible says do not neglect the assembly (Heb. 10:25). Thus, it is wrong to make any decision that would cause you to become unfaithful in church attendance and overall participation in church life. I recall a young man in our church that was saved out of a druggie lifestyle. He showed promise and was growing in the Lord, then his father asked him to return to his village. In spite of our counsel against it, he went, and from that point he backslid in his Christian life and has not made much spiritual progress. This kind of thing has happened many times.
Friendships with the wrong people
“And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her” (Ge. 34:1-2).
“Girls need to know that boys should not be any part of their lives until they are old enough to marry. Fathers need to keep their daughters’ hearts until they love Christ with all of it.”
Many of the people who have written to us on this subject have shared horror stories of girls who have been enticed away from their families by men they met either by phone or texting or Facebook.
This happened to a girl in our church about three years ago. A young man started calling her on her cell phone, and at first she said that she didn’t want to hear from him. Her parents and church leaders warned her against talking with him, but she refused to listen. Eventually they ran away together out of wedlock.
A Nepali girl recently told my wife her sad story. A man started calling her and wooing her. He told her that he had passed SLC (high school equivalent), had a good job, and didn’t drink. Finally she ran away with him and quickly learned that he was lying about everything. He eventually left her for another woman. With a broken heart she said to my wife, “I shamed my parents; they don’t want me back; I ruined my life.”
A pastor friend told me about a girl who got a SIM card from another person. An unknown male called that number and started talking to her. She unwisely continued conversing with him on the phone. When she resisted, the guy threatened to commit suicide if she didn’t marry him, and eventually she eloped with him.
Don’t talk on the phone or Facebook, etc., with a young person of the opposite sex except relatives. Creeps are using social media to trap unsuspecting victims.
Don’t make plans to meet the wrong people.
Don’t hide anything you are doing from your parents and church leaders. God has given them for your protection.
Excerpted from the May 2017 edition of THE DISCIPLING CHURCH: THE CHURCH THAT WILL STAND UNTIL JESUS COMES. This church planting manual aims to establish churches on a solid biblical foundation of a regenerate church membership, one mind in doctrine and practice, serious discipleship, thorough-going discipline, and a large vision for world evangelism. We examine the New Testament pattern of a discipling church, and we trace the history of Baptist churches over the past 200 years to document the apostasy away from the biblical pattern to a mixed multitude philosophy. We also document the history of “sinner’s prayer” evangelism which has affected the reality of a regenerate church membership. The book deals with biblical salvation with evidence, care in receiving church members, the church’s essential first love for Christ, the right kind of church leaders, the right kind of preaching, training church members to be Bible students, the many facets of church discipline, building strong families, youth ministry, training preachers, charity, reproof, educating the church for spiritual protection, maintaining standards for workers, the church’s prayer life, the church’s separation, spiritual revival, the church’s music, and many other things. The last chapter documents some of the cultural factors that have weakened churches over the past 100 years, including the theological liberalism, public school system, materialism and working mothers, the rock & roll pop culture, pop psychology, the feminist movement, New Evangelicalism, television, and the Internet. There is also a list of recommended materials for a discipling church.
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