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Pagan Christianity, Pt. 5

Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: As we've been talking over the last few Bible Talk programs about things in the world that are seeping into Christianity and challenging Christians in their experience, it becomes pretty obvious that it's becoming increasingly challenging to live as a Christian being in the world and not of the world. It's as though the devil's got an agenda to shake people any way he can away from their faith in God.

Gary: It seems like on any side, John, entertainment, fashion, all sorts of things are costing our senses that do not enable the Christian to have a pure mind and to think on heavenly things.

John: There's a very important verse in the Bible, in the book of Philippians 4:8. I wonder if we can use this as a theme for our Bible Talk program today. "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things." Now that order kind of be a theme for the Christian to live by.

Gary: What we think on really determines who we are because what you feed your brain actually shapes your character and makes you who you are. I remember talking to my mother years ago. She worked. She had a job but she also would watch a couple soap operas. There were a couple of shows that she liked. I had been studying the Bible and I learned that by beholding, you become changed, the Bible says. What you watch, what you view, you become that. These soap operas, they're really trash. I mean they're just one long affair. One affair might take two seasons or three seasons to accomplish. It might take a year and a half before somebody dies of some disease. But daily, you're watching this thing unfold. I told my mother, I said, "That stuffs not good for you." She said, "I'm not going to run out and do this stuff."

This is not really feeding your mind with wholesome stuff and I remember hearing some line in the show that day when I was talking to her and the tone of voice and everything. Boy, do you know? That evening, my mother said the same type of thing with the same type of voice. It was just like an automatic playback. She says, "Well, it's not affecting me."

John: We know it is. What goes in goes in. The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." Oh, woman for that matter, too. What you focus on, it goes in and it affects your character and it affects what you are. We need to stop and think a little bit about the kind of things we're putting into our minds, into our hearts and therefore into our experience. I want to pause a moment and let you know we got an offer for you. We want you to contact us. We'll give you a number soon and an address and an email address. We want to offer you a little book called "Baptized Paganism". Contact us. It's a provocative title but you'll find some wonderful information in there and you will be directed to Jesus as the guide of your Christian experience.

Gary: Bible says that we're not to be conformed to this world in Romans 12:2. But we're to be transformed by the renewing of our mind that we might prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Now every Christian wants to live a life that is demonstrating the good will of God and His glory. Don't we?

John: Sure.

Gary: Now if we're going to do that we have to have different minds. Our minds have to be renewed by God's spirit. In order for that to happen, we can't be conformed to this world. That means we cannot let our minds feast on the entertainment of this world that's going to transform us into the world's image instead of God's image.

John: And truthfully, according to the unconverted world's way of looking at things, normal isn't good enough. The Bible says we cannot be conformed to this world. I've had Christian parents tell me "Oh my boy's a good boy. He's a good normal kid." I accept what you mean. You probably mean he's balanced and he's not a lunatic and what not. But if you're happy that your kid is just like all the other kids, then you might want to think again. God calls us and our children to a higher calling and a higher standard to a higher ground. I spoke recently with a young man, Christian, apparently, in church. I know his parents real well and they're proud of their boy.

But in talking to their boy, he told me, "You know, John, over the years..." In fact, he said "All my life, all I've ever been doing is just turning up to church. I'm just being there and that's it. I'm only there because my parents take me."

Gary: So his heart wasn't into it. He wasn't having a relationship himself with the Lord.

John: He told me that straight out but his parents didn't realize that. Well, he is going to church and he's a good boy. We got to be careful what we're feeding our mind just like what we're feeding our bodies so that we grow strong spiritually and we put the right influences into our thought processes, you see.

Gary: These aren't legalistic requirements. We're not saying here that you don't do certain things in order to gain favor with God. These are practical common sense things. Here's a Bible text. First Corinthians 15:33, common sense verse here, "Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners."

John: Or another way of saying that verse is bad company ruins good morals. That can be the associates, your friends, work associates, kids at school and so on or it could be for some people the closest companion is the television set.

Gary: You turn on your TV. You're going to bring into your home rapists, murderers, seducers, adulterers...

John: The profane...

Gary: The profane, the people that would curse. If you were to be around a person who's using four letter words every other sentence, you wouldn't want to be around them but you would bring them into your home because somebody said it's entertainment. These are stars. They have star value. That type of company will corrupt good morals.

John: Let's stop and think now. It's not just the overly bad stuff, the real crest people. I would hate to be offensive here but I think it needs to be said. You notice on television now there are far more, more and more leading characters who are portrayed as homosexuals. It's not so much at promoting on the sexuality and soliciting for people to become homosexuals but what it's doing is it's normalizing that behavior and promoting that behavior by making it attractive and OK. And you see, when you imbibe that and your children grow up seeing that, they grow up to be educated to think "Well, this is OK. This is normal. It might even be good." This is the effect that TV has. It can be a leavening effect. Nothing wrong with it, per se. There are some very good things out there. But to be a Christian in the world and not wanting to be of the world and wanting to be not conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of your mind must pay some attention to what's going into their mind. TV is a source of a lot of that which goes into our minds and affect our thought processes.

Gary: The whole battle of Christianity, the whole issue of being a Christian is what happens in the mind and the battle between good and evil takes place in the mind. That's why we have to protect the portals of the soul. We have to be careful what we see, what we hear. Now, we're not to go seclude ourselves off in the middle of two thousand acres and hide in the middle of the woods and live there all by ourselves with no stimuli.

John: There are people who would do that. They say, "Well, in order to survive, I need to go and live miles from anywhere and cut myself off." I didn't think that's biblical in as much as... I'm not going to mock someone doing that. But in as much as the Bible says you're the salt of the earth, salt is only good when it gets in and mixes up. You're a light of the world. You have to shed light someplace. Shedding light in the back of nowhere with no neighbors and no friends and no associates. I'm not sure that's the answer either.

Gary: And neither do you have to live in the middle of the red light district either and say "I'm going to be salt here." There is a place where you do need to protect yourself but you also need to be able to influence people. But this battle takes place in the mind.

John: Sure.

Gary: The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:4 that "The weapons of our warfare not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds". And here's where it says the strongholds are "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

John: That's a powerful verse.

Gary: Our thought life is something very difficult to control. When you are watching things that are suggesting impure thoughts, whether they're suggesting lying, stealing, sexual themes. We have to control that thought life because those thoughts lead you away from the way of God and they actually affect how you act and how you respond and react to others.

John: The Bible says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Our hearts need to be pure. In another place it says, "Whereas the outward man perish, the inward man is renewed day by day." I like the story you picked up on here about the thought processes because for some, they may not watch any negative things on television or any objectionable videos of any kind but when someone crosses them, they get angry and they dwell on that and it festers in their mind. They plot and scheme and imagine. It's time to get a grip on what you allow your thoughts to meditate upon. Again as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. There is power through the Holy Spirit of God to bring this thing into captivity the obedience of Christ.

Gary: I have a friend. She told me, "You know I can't control my temper." She said, "I lose it." She said, "I get angry at my kids." She said, "And I don't have energy for anything more any longer either. I'm tired, sluggish." The more I listened to her, I said "Listen, have you had your blood sugar checked? Have you ever had that checked out? It seems like your hyper or hypoglycemic. You need to get that checked out." She said, "Really?" I said, "Yeah. Everything you're telling to me sounds like you have some sort of blood sugar problem." She went and got it checked out and sure enough, she was hyperglycemic. Once she started regulating her blood sugar level, she started feeling better and she found it easier to live the Christian life.

Friend, you may be finding it difficult to live the Christian life because of what you're feeding your mind. You think that it's OK to sit and read certain type of books or watch certain type of TV programs or visit certain websites. Some of the stuff actually may be wholesome stuff but you're not feeding your heart and your mind with the Word of God.

You're not training your mind to meditate on the Word of God and you're finding it difficult to enjoy Bible Study, to enjoy worship service, to enjoy fellowship with other Christians. If you're finding it difficult to live for God, you've got to look at your diet. You've got to look at your diet. Get the junk food out and get the wholesome food in.

John: Some people they get around a bit of a funk. If they just got some exercise and got their blood moving, they'd feel a whole lot better. Hey, we're making an offer today, Baptized Paganism. Contact us with our contact info at the end of this program. We'll get that to you completely free. We would recommend that. We believe it will be a blessing to you.

Gary: I think one good rule of life to follow is if you can picture Jesus doing something with you, then it's probably something wholesome and good. Would Jesus watch this TV program with me? Would Jesus go to this particular place with me? Would He listen to this music? Bible says whatever you do, do to the glory of God. If we follow that rule of life, we'll find that we will be more blessed as a result of it.

John: There are some biblical imperatives that would protect us from the devil's influences. Ephesians 5:11 says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." There are some things we just ought to keep away from and Paul wrote to Timothy in First Timothy 5:22 and he said, "Keep thyself pure." Now that's a challenge, isn't it in this world where the devil is constantly on the attack?

Gary: And that's why we need to be concerned about what we put into our minds, what we see, what we hear so we can keep ourselves secure and we can rejoice in the Lord.

John: Thank God for the truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming back soon and He's coming back for people who've been transformed by His grace by the renewing of their mind. We pray that that be your experience and we hope you'll join us again for more next time here on Bible Talk. [music]

Male Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Baptized Paganism. The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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