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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour, we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

I love the words to that simple song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”. So much truth there. It’s as we become more and more enamored with the glory, the character of God as revealed in the face of Jesus that we become less and less enamored with the things of this world, until they grow so strangely dim, they’re no longer even attractive to us any more. Amen? {Amen} But as we’ve warned you before, I must warn you again, in this context particularly of our study. If you turn your eyes upon the things of this world, you will become more and more enamored with them. And the face of Jesus will grow strangely dim until it finally is no longer attractive at all. And that’s exactly what the devil is trying to do. You see, the devil knows how extremely attractive Jesus is, and he is doing absolutely everything he can to keep us from discovering that attractiveness that we should be drawn to Him. Please don’t let him succeed with you, my friends.

There’s something that I must share with you in this study that is a tremendous burden to me; it’s been a burden for years. It’s a special burden because of my own personal experience, and because I have seen that there are many others who have been as adversely affected as I was. As I have come to behold the glory and as I have come to recognize how absolutely, beyond description, beautiful Jesus is, and as I have experienced more and more a growing love and adoration for Him, and a proportionate disenchantment with anything else this world offers, I have wondered why it has taken me so long to come into this kind of relationship with Him and have this kind of experience with Him. And I have come to recognize what the reason is.

My dear friends, please forgive me if I get a little bit passionate in this study. In fact, I might even come across angry, but I want to assure you I’m not; I’m just in earnest. But I do get angry and I hope it’s a righteous indignation, when I see how much damage the enemy has caused amongst us as a people through this most deadly of all of his weapons in his whole arsenal. Perhaps you have already guessed what I’m going to be talking about.

Before we proceed, I want you to pray earnestly that the Lord will help me to present the truth with clarity, that it might convict the consciences that need convicting, that it might convince the minds that need convincing, that it might capture the hearts that need capturing that it might conquer the wills that need conquering, and that it might convert the lives that need converting. Please let’s earnestly pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not only upon me, that I might speak the truth and only the truth, in the power of the Spirit of Truth and in behalf of Him who is the Truth, but that you might be willing to receive the truth, and that you might be set free and sanctified by the truth. I don’t know anyone’s personal practices here, which is an advantage, because I can speak very pointedly and no one can think that I am picking on you, because I don’t know where you’re at in this area that I’m going to address. But my dear friends please, again, don’t resent me for talking as candidly and as forthrightly as I must talk on this issue; I do so because I love you. And even though I will not win any popularity contests for having shared what I am going to share, that’s all right. That’s all right; I’m not here to win popularity contests. I’m here to tell you what you need to hear, whether or not you want to receive it. Let’s pray.

My Father in heaven, please take charge of everything that is said and done in this next hour. May I speak the truth; may I say everything you want me to say. May I say it in the way You want me to say it, even though it may be deeply resented. Please Father, help me to love these brothers and sisters enough to speak very candidly and directly regarding one of the devil’s most successful tools in keeping us from becoming either effective witnesses for the king, or fit citizens for the Kingdom. Give each one a teachable spirit and should any need to make changes in these areas, please, for the love of Christ, may they be willing to do so. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We are addressing the issue of mental dietary. We have come to recognize that it is what we feed the mind that directly determines the character that we develop. Or to use the more familiar statement, or text, “In beholding we are,” what? “…changed.” “…changed into the likeness of what we behold”. {ST, Mar 31, 1887 par. 12} That is a truism that’s based on our key text for this whole seminar, 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In light of this fact, we must determine with David to “set nothing wicked before our eyes.” {Ps 101:3}

But my dear friends, if we really want to experience revival as a people… And we do want to experience revival as a people, don’t we? {Amen} If we really want to experience revival as a people, we have not only got to determine to set nothing wicked before our eyes, we have got to take it a step further. Psalm 119:37, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Do you want to be revived? {Yes} Then you, by God’s grace, must determine not only set nothing wicked before your eyes, but you must determine to turn your eyes away from what? Worthless things. And my dear friends, the issue that I must address, if it is not wicked, it is at least, almost without exception, worthless.

What must I address? Television, videos, now DVDs, movies, video games, music – yes, but particularly television, DVDs and movies.

My dear friends, we used to be… Bless your hearts, some of you remember this. We used to be a people that didn’t go to the movies. We used to be that; we used to be known as that. I remember as a child, when I was traveling on a ship going to the mission field with my parents, one of the sailors asked me what I did for fun. And when he discovered that I didn’t dance, and I didn’t party, and I didn’t go to movies, I remember him just being absolutely bewildered. He said, “Man, you don’t have any fun at all, do you?” We used to be a people who just didn’t go to movies. Now it’s a rare exception to find a Seventh-day Adventist that doesn’t go to movies.

What happened? Well, the devil pulled off an incredibly subtle stunt. He managed to invent a movie theater that we could bring into our living rooms. It’s called television. And for many of you, with hair the color of mine, it was invented during your lifetime. And many of us didn’t get one, but many did. We didn’t have one because we were in the mission field, but when we came home on furlough, we got one – black and white; I remember it very well. And I was immediately absolutely enthralled, enthralled with TV. You see, bless your hearts, the reason I feel as strongly as I do on this issue – let me just be up front with you and candid – is because I come from addiction. I’m an ex-TV, video and movie addict. I hate to confess that, but I must. And I know firsthand of what I speak and the devastating affect of this kind of mental dietary on one’s Christian experience. And at a very young age, I got addicted to TV. When I was in my parents’ home, my television menu was pretty strictly monitored. But of course I wasn’t always in my parents’ home. And that craving that was strengthened and that addiction that was established needed feeding. And I found that there were some exciting things to watch when I was not under the watchful eye of my parents, and it had an increasingly adverse effect upon me.

I’m not alone. There are many of you who had, perhaps, similar experiences. With the passage of time, as new generations came along, and more and more Adventists had televisions in the living room, and would, as soon as the sun went down on Saturday night, get the popcorn out and turn the TV on for Saturday night at the movies, a lot of our young people began to ask, “Well, if it’s all right to watch it here, why isn’t it all right to watch it there, at the theater?” And we kind of hemmed and hawed, and cleared our voices and said, “Well, bad atmosphere down there at the theater: smoking and bad people and…” And we totally missed the point, and what is the point? “In beholding we are changed.” I don’t care where you behold it, you are changed into the likeness of what you behold. And my dear friends, those rational kids decided that if it was all right to watch it in the living room, it must be all right to watch it in the theater. And now, virtually all of them do; virtually all of them do. And we not only now watch television, we have these DVD players, and we keep the rental business financed by renting DVDs and popping them in and watching them.

Question: If we are feeding our minds that kind of mental dietary, which menu are we feeding off of? The menu that we got when we asked the carnal man what he liked? Or the menu that we listed when we asked the spiritual man what he liked? Which menu? Which menu is it? You know it’s carnal. You know it’s carnal; no rational person can argue against that. If you have any hesitation on that, you need to ask yourself this question: What is the whole purpose of television and video production? Movie production? It’s to make money, right? Now, if you’re going to get people to pay to watch what you have produced, you have got to produce something that they are going to like. Are we all together? I mean that’s pretty clear. Are you then going to serve them what is on the spiritual menu? “The carnal mind is,” what? “enmity against God,” {Rom 8:7} so anything spiritual is going to be a total turnoff to them. And they’re certainly not going to buy a ticket to watch it. And if you put it on TV, forget the Nielsen ratings. And you aren’t going to be able to sell any advertising time because no one’s going to watch it. So what have you got to do? You’ve got to offer the unconverted, mass majority of this populace what it naturally craves, which is carnal garbage: that which satisfies the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. {1 Jn 2:16}

And my dear friends, if you and I – hear me – if you and I are seated in front of those screens, feeding our minds that kind of stuff, we are, by law, making our characters carnal. “You are what you eat.” You become like what you behold; it is a law. It works whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. You are becoming like what you behold; there is no escaping it. And if we are feeding our minds this kind of mental dietary, we are certainly, most certainly not being changed from glory to glory {2 Cor 3:18}, we’re being changed from degradation to degradation, into the character likeness of Satan, while all the time maintaining a pretty good facade, the whited sepulcher {Mat 23:27} routine.

I’ve got to read a statement to you. We’ll take it apart phrase by phrase, because it’s so profound. The Spirit of Prophecy gives us much counsel on television, video and movies. You say, “That’s impossible, she died long before it was invented.” Well, yes that’s true, but the counsel that she gives on theatrical amusements is directly applicable. Did you hear what I said? It’s directly applicable and nobody can intelligently argue against that. You see, theatrical amusement in her day was the relatively benign, neophyte version of that which has become a sophisticated art and science in the devil’s arsenal against God’s people. Listen to her statement; it’s found in Adventist Home, page 516. “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination… than theatrical amusements.” My dear friends, you see, please understand that we are not talking about just one of several negative influences. There are several, but this one is unique. This is the most powerful weapon in the devil’s arsenal. This is number, what? One. This is why I’ve got to address this. “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination… than theatrical amusements.”

Pause: What is the imagination? Remember, the Christian has a duty. He’s under obligation to control the thoughts and imaginations. {AH 334.4} Remember, we’ve already studied that. What is imagination? Imagination is the creative review of images previously recorded in the mind. Did you catch that? I want to repeat that. What is the imagination? It’s the creative review of images previously recorded in the mind. You see, your mind is an incredible data bank. And everything that you put into your mind through your senses, is permanently recorded there. It’s what? Permanently recorded there. Now, we’re a little short on electrical energy, so we can’t bring it up. We don’t have total recall, but it’s all there. It’s all there. They have done neurological studies that are fascinating, where they sink an electronic probe into the memory portion of the brain, and give you a slight stimulus. And are thereby able to have you remember things that have happened in the distant past down to the finest detail. It’s called stream of consciousness. It’s as if you’re going through it again. It’s all recorded, it’s all there; everything is there.

Who do you suppose knows that? Satan. And my dear friends, he absolutely passionately seeks to poison our minds by storing all sorts of inappropriate carnal, worldly garbage in that data bank, and thereby poison our imagination, defile it. Oh, what I would do, what I would give to be able to go in there and erase some of those tapes, but I can’t. It is permanently recorded. I don’t know about you, but there are times when the enemy can tempt me right out of my memory and my memory alone. Have you ever experienced that? It can happen in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. You can be in church and all of the sudden an image will come up out of your memory, and you will be drawn away and enticed. {Jas 1:14} Oh, what I would do to be able to erase some of those tapes. But I can’t, it’s permanently recorded. But praise God what I can do – and for the love of Christ I’m learning to do more and more instantly and consistently – is the first moment that image comes upon the conscious screen of my thought life, I say, “No, I choose Jesus.” And nobody in this room knows how many times this man has to do that because of his cooperating with the enemy for so many years in dumping garbage into his mind. I’m being real honest with you and candid with you. I’m exposing myself to you, but some of you can identify with this.

My dear friends, hear me: Who is responsible for how that data bank gets programmed in the lives of our children before they are old enough and wise enough to make wise decisions? Who is responsible? The parents, we are. I shudder for parents on Judgment Day who will have to discover that their children are unfit for citizenship in heaven because they raised them in front of the television, because it was such an excellent and convenient babysitter. Brother, sister, the kind of garbage that is supposedly for children these days is absolutely frightening. Cartoons are overtly demonic and horrifically violent. Cartoons – for children! And the enemy is preparing a generation that will be absolutely devoid of even the vestiges of compassion. And will be ready to go out and hunt their fellow-men down like animals and kill them without even a twinge of remorse, and we know from prophecy that that’s going to happen. {Rev 6:11; 5T 451.2} The devil has got to do a serious number on the human psyche before he’s got people in a position that will do that.

You see, back in World War I, they had to really work hard to get our boys to even consider shooting someone. They had a natural aversion to it, as every human being who has any vestiges of the image of God ought to have, a natural aversion to it. So what did they have to do? They had to train and train and train them to get them to even consider pulling a trigger and actually taking another human being’s life. World War II, it was a lot easier; some things had changed. But it was still tough. Then Vietnam came along and it was easier. And they developed these computer games where they were actually shooting people in virtual reality. By the way, I talked to one of the men who is a retired sergeant and involved in training men. He said, “You know Steve, the computer games that they have now are far more graphic and violent and realistic than the stuff we used to train the soldiers to go and kill the enemy.” And today, is it difficult to get men to go and take a gun and shoot somebody? No, they crave it. In fact, there are mercenaries that run around the world looking for some army to join just so they can kill somebody.

Do you see what the enemy has done to human nature, through this media? And virtually all of the computer games are obsessed with mayhem and violence, and inflicting pain and suffering. And the more graphic the portrayal of the suffering, the more popular the game. If you can get blood and body parts to splatter everywhere, you will sell millions. We have become satanic in character by this gradual process of training, and it starts with Johnny in front of the television watching cartoons. If you think I’m overstating it, please think again. Your head is in the sand if you don’t realize what’s going on. It is absolutely frightening.

The thing that infuriates me, and I trust it’s a righteous indignation, is that the producers of this kind of garbage have the audacity to tell us that it doesn’t have an adverse influence on those who watch it. It doesn’t affect their behavior. And then, and then, they will turn around and talk to the manufacturer and say, “Hey, listen, we’ll give you five seconds to slip an ad in this program, and you can affect everyone’s behavior, in five seconds, with your ad, and get them to buy your product.” And then they have the audacity to tell us that the rest of the whole program doesn’t affect anyone’s behavior. That’s a little inconsistent, isn’t it? How stupid do they think we are? How stupid are we?

My dear friends, a while ago I noticed that when I would drive past an elementary school playground, everyone was kicking each other, kicking each other. And there were doctors who were having to repair broken knees. I wondered what was going on? And I discovered that “Ninja Turtles” was the big rage, and evidently Ninja Turtles kick. Directly, radically influences behavior, especially children’s behavior. But don’t think it doesn’t affect yours.

Friends, Adventist Home, page 408: “This is an age when corruption is teeming everywhere. The lust of the eye and corrupt passions are aroused by beholding and by reading. The heart is corrupted through the imagination.” “The heart is corrupted through the,” what? “…imagination,” and what did we just read? “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination than theatrical amusements.” Are you putting these together? “The heart is corrupted through the imagination. The mind takes pleasure in contemplating scenes, which awaken the lower and baser passions. These vile images, seen through defiled imagination, corrupt the morals and prepare the deluded, infatuated beings to give loose rein to lustful passions. Then follow sins and crimes which drag beings formed in the image of God down to a level with the beasts, sinking them at last in perdition.” Oh, that’s a strong statement, but that is not at all overstated. Not at all. And the incredibly violent, criminal behavior that is manifested in society today is the direct result of having minds programmed through television, videos and movies. The direct result.

The second thing theatrical amusement does: Adventist Home, page 516 again: “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions… than theatrical amusements.” Religious impressions – what are religious impressions? You remember our word study, “khar-ak-tare”? {L08, p. 8 in pdf} That’s the impress that’s made upon our minds due to and, the direct result of, our habitual patterns of thoughts and feelings. Are you with me? What is Jesus, through the plan of salvation, by His Spirit, seeking to impress upon our minds? The spirit and the law of love. Isn’t that the new covenant promise? Hebrews 8:10, “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” But my dear friends, the most effective way that the devil has come up with to obliterate the engraving of God’s law upon the fleshly tables of our hearts is theatrical amusements. “There is no influence in our land more powerful to destroy religious impressions than theatrical amusements.” None, this is number one. If you expose yourself to this kind of mental dietary, you are receiving a powerful and negative influence and impress upon your mind.

Messages to Young People, page 144: “As a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ {Prov 23:7} …Our thoughts are to be strictly guarded; for one impure thought makes a deep impression on the soul. An evil thought leaves an evil impress on the mind.” My dear friends, the kind of material that comes across these screens, does it tend to encourage evil thoughts? You know it does. You know it does. And just one impure thought leaves a deep impression.

There’s another concern. Adventist Home, page 516 again: “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements.” “…blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements.” Have you noticed how quickly the younger generation gets bored these days? How quickly they are ready to pronounce the verdict, “This is so boring.” Why is it so boring? Because compared to the incredibly exciting and stimulating stuff they’ve been feeding their minds in front of these screens, yes, real life is pretty dull and boring. My friends, if we are feeding our mental palette this kind of incredibly highly seasoned, stimulating mental food, what chance is there that we are going to actually crave the solid, simple Bread of Life, the Word of God? What chance is there? Come on, tell me, what chance? There is none, none! And right here is the reason why we as a people are no longer the students of the Word that we once were. {Amen} Will you admit that with me? {Amen} We have so stimulated our mental palette with all of this kind of carnal food that we have no hungering and thirsting whatsoever for the Word of God. And at best, we just grit our teeth and make ourselves, in 15 minutes in the morning, gag down some spiritual food, because it’s our duty. But we don’t relish it and it doesn’t nourish us.

My dear friends, if we as a people are ever going to be ready for Jesus to come, if we as a people are going to be able to help others get ready, in the meantime, for Jesus to come we have got to get the altar of Satan out of our living rooms and replace it with the altar of God. {Amen} We’ve got to do this. We cannot be feeding ourselves this kind of mental dietary and have any hope of really growing into character likeness, the character likeness of Christ. None. There’s no hope. Please know that.

Christian Education, page 185, “…many have not an intelligent understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus.” Why? “The mind is feasted upon sensational stories.” My dear friends, she was writing this when it was just in black and white on a page. The effect is far stronger when it’s in multicolor and produced by Hollywood. It’s far more sensational and stimulating. “The mind is feasted upon sensational stories. They live in an unreal world, and are unfitted for the practical duties of life… They are either restless or dreamy, and are unable to converse, save upon the most commonplace subjects. The nobler faculties, those adapted to higher pursuits, have been degraded to the contemplation of trivial, or worse than trivial subjects, until their possessor has become satisfied with such topics, and scarcely has power to reach anything higher. Religious thought and conversation has become distasteful. The mental food for which he has acquired a relish, is contaminating in its effects, and leads to impure and sensual thoughts. I have felt sincere pity for these souls as I have considered how much they are losing by neglecting opportunities to gain a knowledge of Christ, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. How much precious time is wasted, in which they might be studying the Pattern of true goodness.”

My dear friends, even, even if the influence of television programming were entirely neutral, which it’s not, but even if it were entirely neutral, I still insist that it would be a curse simply because of the time it would keep us from beholding Jesus. Do you know what I believe with all of my heart? I believe with all of my heart that if we as a people had spent as much time beholding Christ by studying His life as given in Scripture, as we spend in front of these screens, we would have been in the Kingdom a long time ago. {Amen} We would have been in the Kingdom a long time ago. How long are we going to delay our Lord’s return? I want you to honestly ask yourself this question.

Adventist Home, page 416. Honestly. “…reflect upon the influence which exciting stories have upon the mind! Can you, after such reading,” – watching, in this case – “…open the Word of God and read the Words of life with interest?” Can you? No. “Do you not find the book of God uninteresting? The charm of that love story is upon the mind, destroying its healthy tone and making it impossible for you to fix your mind upon the important, solemn truths, which concern your eternal interest. You… sin against God in thus using the time which should be spent in devotion to Him. …I have a message for you. You are now deciding your future destiny, and your character building is of that kind which will exclude you from the Paradise of God.”

My dear friends, this is straight, I know, and I may be offending you. But I have got to tell you the way it is. We are determining our destiny by what we choose to feed our minds. And if we choose to feed our minds this carnal garbage, we are choosing not to be ready when Jesus comes. I forewarned you that I get distressed and worked up when I talk about this, my friends, but I do because I love this church and I want it so badly to arise and shine {Is 60:1}, so we can get the job done and Jesus can come. But we’re never going to do that if we keep beholding this world and the things of this world. We never are. We are to be full moons, but the only way you can be a full moon is by reflecting the light of the sun, and we have allowed the world to totally eclipse the light of the sun. And we are in darkness with the world as a result. God help us. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

Not only are we reflecting no light, but follow this and please be warned. As we behold the moral darkness that comes across these screens, we will eventually blind ourselves to light. 1 John 2:11, “…the darkness has blinded his eyes.” I remember a study, fascinating study, it was done of animal life in a deep cave that had absolutely no light in it. And there were lizards down in that cave. Their counterparts, up top, ran around seeing everything, but the ones who had been down in the darkness where there was no light, were absolutely blind; they could see nothing. My dear friends, there is an awful lot of darkness coming across these screens, and if you and I are exposing our mind’s eye to this darkness, we will incapacitate ourselves, eventually, to even see the beautiful light that shines from the face of Jesus. Please know that. He came to reveal the light of the glory of God in His face, but you turn your eyes upon the things of this world, and the face of Jesus will grow dimmer and dimmer and dimmer until you don’t see the light at all – you can’t. And that is a hopeless state.

Mount of Blessings, page 92: “The same law obtains in the spiritual as in the natural world. He who abides in darkness will at last lose the power of vision. He is shut in by a deeper than midnight blackness; and to him the brightest noontide can bring no light. He ‘walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes’. 1 John 2:11 Through persistently cherishing evil, willfully disregarding the pleadings of divine love, the sinner loses the love for good, the desire for God, the very capacity to receive the light of heaven. The invitation of mercy is still full of love, the light is shining as brightly as when it first dawned upon his soul; but the voice falls on deaf ears, the light on blinded eyes.” That is a frightening condition to bring yourself into, my friends. That is a hopeless condition. The light still shines, but we’re totally blind to it, totally blind to it.

There’s something else that I must warn you about regarding feeding yourself from these screens. The more you do it, the more you will crave it, until you become absolutely addicted to it. Adventist Home, page 516 again: “There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use.” And I know that that is true from personal experience. I was totally addicted, just as addicted to television, videos and movies as any alcoholic was to the bottle. But I praise God He has set me free from that addiction, and now I’m addicted to Jesus and to the study of His Word.

Friends, there’s some other things that television does that I’ve got to touch on with you. There is no more effective means of rendering us passive and unresponsive to human need than these media. How does it do that? Think with me on this. God gave us eyes to see human need, typically in a context in which we could go and do something to meet it. Correct? But television is an artificial exposure to human need. It’s in a context in which you can do nothing to meet it. So what do you train yourself to do? Watch human need and do nothing. And even the news can do this.

Biafran womanYou watch Biafrans starving to death while you stuff your mouth with popcorn. And you train yourself not only to do nothing, but to be totally comfortable doing nothing. And what’s the result? Well, you read about it in the newspaper: heinous crimes committed in broad daylight, poor victims suffering terrible abuse and all sorts of people standing around and watching and nobody lifting a finger to help the victim. And you ask yourself, “How could they just stand by and watch?” Answer: They’d been doing it time after time, every evening in the living room, watching the suffering of victims.

And not only had they brought themselves to the place where they had absolutely no inclination to go and help, but they actually brought themselves to the place where they got a sick, surrogate pleasure out of the suffering of the victim. And if you think that’s going too far, you need to think again. Why do you suppose people pay to go in and watch the most graphic portrayals of human suffering if they don’t like it? Do you see how satanic Satan has made us in character through these media? Do you see it? And my dear friends, if we sit down in front of these screens, we are cooperating with him in the development of a satanic character-likeness. You have got to know that. Please know that! Don’t play games with yourself on this one. You have got to make a choice; I’m telling you the truth. And His Spirit is testifying to your spirit that what you’re hearing is true. {Amen} Nobody here can rationally argue against the things that I have shared with you. Nobody. And you’ve got to make decisions on the basis of this. You’ve got to make choices; no one will make them for you. You’ve got to make choices for yourself. As for this man and his house {Josh 24:15}, I dare not have a television in my home. Call that radical, call that fanatical, call that whatever you want. That’s just the way it’s got to be; I don’t trust myself with one.

Now, I will admit that I come from addiction. Ask any alcoholic, he’s insane if he puts a wet bar in his living room and stocks it. Isn’t he? So I can’t have one. Now I know some people that have a television and they watch only really worthwhile stuff. And there is… I will acknowledge there are a few things that are worth watching – a few things that are worth watching. But for this man, it’s not worth it to have that around as a constant temptation just for the sake of those few things that are worth watching. It’s not worth it. And besides, even the best stuff, I can always do something better with my time than watch that.

Some of you say, “Well, what about 3ABN and the Hope channel?” Well, that’s great. Is that all you’re watching? If it is, then praise the Lord, but watch out. Make sure that you don’t get all of your spiritual food second hand. Don’t be content to just get it from others; open the book yourself. The best others can do is to just give you insights that might aid you in your own personal study. It’s very easy for us to be lazy in our Christian experience even, and just get spoon-fed Pablum from these Christian television stations. Watch out for that trap. My friends, I want to challenge you, for your sake and for Christ’s sake, to think seriously about these things, and make decisions.

We could argue simply on a psychological and mental faculties basis against television as well. There are psychiatrists who have done fascinating studies that have concluded that television watching is probably the most effective way to make yourself a shallow, non-analytical thinker. Why? Because you are having to receive so much information so fast, that you are forced to just take it in without doing any analysis of it at all. By the way, the devil knows this full well. He loves to just pass all of your rational guards and defenses by just pouring information in so fast that it goes right there to the core of your being and is recorded permanently. And I’ve come to the place, and it was from my classroom experience, where I could look at my students and determine who the heavy television watchers were, just by the look on their face. That television stare. Looking right at me, but obviously no cognitive activity going on.

Another thing it does is that it incredibly promotes forgetfulness. Why? Well, you’ve got all this information, and yet you’ve got to sit down and watch another program. So what have you got to do with that huge load of information? You’ve got to try to forget it, so that you can get all the new stuff. And my dear friends, that’s why so many of us can sit down to a sermon or a lecture and walk out the door and forget it. Please, please think about what you’re doing! And make appropriate decisions. We need revival as a people. {LDE 189.1} Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} How are we going to have it? “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” {Ps 119:37}

Why are we so lukewarm? I’ll tell you. Bible Commentary, Volume 6, page 1097: “Professed Christians keep altogether too near the lowlands of earth. Their eyes are trained to see only commonplace things, and their minds dwell upon the things their eyes behold. Their religious experience is often shallow and unsatisfying, and their words are light and valueless. How can such reflect the image of Christ? How can they send forth the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness into all the dark places of the earth? To be a Christian is to be Christ-like.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Dear fellow lukewarm Laodiceans we must arise and shine {Is 60:1} but if you’re going to do it, we must behold the glory of the Lord. {ST, Mar 4, 1897 par. 16} Amen? {Amen} We’ve got to take our eyes off of all of these things that the devil has devised to distract our attention from where it ought to be, and we’ve got to turn our eyes upon Jesus. {Amen}

The title of our next study, and you must come back tomorrow morning, is “Looking Unto Jesus.” {Heb 12:2} {Amen} Shall we stand for prayer?

Oh, Father in heaven, please convict us, convince us and convert us if we need to be convicted and convinced and converted in this area. Please, Lord, for Christ’s sake and for our sake, that we might cease to cooperate with Satan in the development of a satanic character likeness and learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the development of a Christ-like character. May we take our eyes off of wicked and worthless things and get our eyes fixed on Jesus. This is my prayer in His name. Amen. God bless you, friends; thank you so much.


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