"For Paul, his desire was to be as sinless as possible, and it didn't stop at the prison door."
- What entertainment choices have you made recently that are especially God-honoring?
- If you're struggling in the area of making wise entertainment choices, describe why. Talk about it. If you don't, why not? What's going on inside there?
- What practical things will you do in the future, to labor and struggle and strive with his energy to help present everyone complete in Christ?
00:06 Well, you can check out the latest beauty magazine; "17" in this case, a teen magazine, and you can get your little heart really confused. 525 fashion and beauty tricks. 525... you try all those, no wonder everybody is so confused about what to do with our mind and our body and our heart. That's the message of the world today. Paul's got a different message today that I think might be a little bit better. It's in Colossians 1 verse 28 and 29 and Paul says this in that verse: "And we proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom so that we might present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also, I labor striving according to his power, which mightily works within me."
01:03 In Colossians 4:10, Paul the apostle informs us as he writes that he is serving prison time in Rome. Can you picture yourself in his shoes when he writes these great letters? No electric lights, no flush toilets, no fashion and beauty tricks and no gas furnace, no queen sized mattress. Instead a dingy cell, drury, smelly, bug infested, cold; and to pass the time, there's no telephone, there's no radio, no personal little bookshelf, no prison library. And no television! Could have been the biggest blessing of all. And worst of all, absent are the voices, the smiles, and the touch of most of his closest friends. Sounds pretty miserable, doesn't it? You might expect that someone who could find themselves in a similar situation would maybe drop their guard regarding your personal holiness, the condition of your heart. Aa little sin now and then after all, who's going to notice? Who's going to care? But for Paul, his desire was to be as sinless as possible, and it didn't stop at the prison door. It wasn't motivated by what situation he found himself in, or who might or might not notice. He knew that God's eyes were on his heart. His result, Paul went to great effort to honor the Lord with his decisions and his life choices. In addition, he declared a desire to present everyone complete in Christ. I love that goal. What a fantastic goal. He added this, he said: "to this end, I labor," struggling, striving with all his energy, which so powerfully worked in the life of any believer. Notice that it wasn't a casual pursuit. It was a struggle. It was work.
02:59 Let's apply this to our entertainment and our selections of what we listened to and what we watch. Do you realize that God cares deeply about what you watch and listen to, your choices in movies, your choices in television programs, the iPod, the iPhone, etc. Did they honor him? Are you careful to labor, to struggle with all your energy, to keep your mind free from the media messages that Satan has a foothold in your thought life? Special concern for you and I are those things that are done in secret. The computer screen when you're all alone, do you let your guard down when you're alone? You know, is there a website out there that's that you are addicted to, or sliding a compact disc in your CD player that champions, despair, perversity or rebellion? When Paul was alone in secret, not only was he concerned with his own walk of faith, but he considered how you might present everyone, everyone, complete in Christ. How bout you? Are you equally concerned? When you are, everything changes inside here because you've got to goal that trumps every decision that you make.
04:21 And here's the question today. What entertainment choices have you made recently that are especially God-honoring? And then secondly: If you're struggling in the area of making wise entertainment choices, describe why. Talk about it. If you don't, why not? What's going on inside there? And then: What practical things will you do in the future, to labor and struggle and strive with his energy to help present everyone complete in Christ? And that starts with you and me. And here's the lifeline for today. The win is identify a particular Christian friend or somebody who does not honor Christ with his entertainment choices and begin to pray how you might influence that person to make positive changes, especially if it's in your home.