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Introduction 3

Many Christians agree that television is generally bad, yet they still have one in their house because they like to watch particular programs, which they see no harm in. This bible study examines watching sport on television in the light of scripture, and shows why it should be rejected by sincere Christians.

#3.1 Contention is based on pride

10 Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Note 1: The original sin of the Devil was pride, when his heart was lifted up because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17), and this pride caused him to exalt himself:

(Isaiah 14:12-14) "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!
For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high."

This self-exaltation is exactly what we see in sports personalities. They are all trying to exalt themselves above other people, trying to beat them in competition, and to prove that they are better than others. Like the Devil they are wanting to become like little "gods". They do it for the admiration and worship of other people, and they are often called "idols". This idea of one man being exalted above others is the spirit of antichrist, and is preparing people for the coming of "the Antichrist", when one man will be worshipped by the whole world (Revelation 13:4). These people are not motivated by God, they are imitators of the Devil, and by drawing worship to themselves, they are drawing it away from God. When Christians enjoy sports of any type, they are enjoying the works of Satan. When God spoke to Job about Leviathon (who is figurative of the Devil) he said, "he is a king over all the children of pride." (Job 41:34). As pride comes only by contention (Proverbs 13:10), then the Devil is king over all contentious people. That includes sports people, because they are doing his will. Why then would a Christian get any pleasure out of watching the Devil's people exalting themselves, and imitating the Devil? If we watch these things, and admire them for what they do, then we are worshipping idols in our heart, and that will become a stumbling-block to us and cause problems (Ezekiel 14:1-5). If the works of the Devil give us any pleasure, then there is something wrong with our spiritual condition, and it will lead to problems if we do not repent:

(Isaiah 14:15) "Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
(James 4:6) "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

A man might say, "I don't take part in any sports, I only watch it", but the judgment is still the same:

(Romans 1:32) "those who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in those who do them."

Note 2: Look at some scriptural examples of people trying to exalt themselves:

(1) In Numbers chapter 16, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, together with another 250 princes of Israel, exalted themselves against Moses and Aaron (vv1-4). God judged it, and Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up into the earth (vv31-33), while the other 250 men were consumed by fire (v35).

(2) In Numbers chapter 12, Miriam and Aaron exalted themselves against Moses, but when God judged it Miriam became leprous (v12).

(3) Goliath was a giant of the Philistines who exalted himself above all Israel (1 Samuel 17:8-10), but he was killed by a mere boy who had faith in God (1 Samuel 17:48-51).

(4) Jesus' disciples strove among themselves who should be the greatest (Luke 22:24), but Jesus taught them, "he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who is chief, as he that does serve." (Luke 22:26).

These examples show us that it is wrong to exalt ourselves against anybody, but especially against people who are appointed by God. Sports people are always exalting themselves against each other, and this is wrong in God's sight. Even if we are not taking part, but just interested in it, or take pleasure in it, then the love for it is in our heart, and that is what God judges (1 Samuel 16:7).

(1 John 2:15-17) "Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passes away, and the its lusts: but he who does the will of God abides for ever."

#3.2 Don't learn their ways

9 When you are come into the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you any one who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or who uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination to the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.

PSALMS 106:34-36
34 They did not destroy the nations concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
36 And they served their idols: which were a snare to them.

PROVERBS 22:24-25 (Solomon)
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man you shall not go:
25 Lest you learn his ways, and get a snare to your soul.

Note: When Israel went into the promised land, they often destroyed their enemies completely (Numbers 21:33-35; Deuteronomy 2:31-34; Joshua 6:21; 10:28-37), but sometimes they didn't do it (Psalm 106:34). The end result was that they learned their ways (Deuteronomy 18:9; Psalm 106:35) and were often ensnared by it, being defeated by their enemies (Judges 2:11-15; 3:5-8; 3:12-14; 4:1-3; 6:1-6; 10:6-14; 13:1). The lessons are here in the scripture for our learning, and if we learn the ways of the world, contrary to God's command, "Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jeremiah 10:2), then we will end up suffering the consequences of it. What can we learn from watching sport?

(1) That physical skill, fitness, and strength is the way to win? Paul said, "God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27). Jesus was our example, and "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8).

(2) To have faith in ourselves and our team-mates, rather than in God? "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 143:3).

(3) That success will cause us to give glory to men, or receive it from them? If we wish to glory, we should glory in knowing God (Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17).

All this is forsaking God, and if we do it, he will forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:16-17; 2 Chronicles 15:1-2; 2 Chronicles 24:20).

#3.3 Don't incline your heart to it

PSALMS 141:4 (David)
4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and do not let me eat of their dainties.

Note: How do we incline our heart to something? One way is by looking at it. Look at these examples:

(1) Eve inclined her heart to the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden when she "saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes" (Genesis 3:6), and look what a disaster that brought on the whole of mankind.

(2) Achan inclined his heart towards the forbidden spoils of Jericho by looking at them. He said, "When I saw among the spoils a goodly Baylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, I coveted them, and took them" (Joshua 7:21), and his error cost the lives of thirty six others (Joshua 7:5) as well as his own (Joshua 7:25).

(3) David's heart was inclined towards Bathsheba when "he saw a woman washing herself" (2 Samuel 11:2), which led him into adultery (2 Samuel 11:4), murder (2 Samuel 11:15), and all the consequences which followed (2 Samuel 12:10-14).

So what do we incline our hearts to when we watch sport on the television? Is it not to the pride which motivates all contentious people?

(Proverbs 13:10) "Only by pride comes contention;"

If we enjoy watching people motivated by pride, then it shows that there is pride in our hearts, and we need to repent, because "God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble." (James 4:6). Pride was the original sin of the Devil (See #3.1 Note 1), and we need to remove every trace of it from our lives if we expect God to bless us, and to use us in a mighty way.

#3.4 Man's strength gives God no pleasure

1 SAMUEL 2:9
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

PSALMS 147:10-11
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse: he takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his mercy.

16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Note: God takes no pleasure in our strength (Psalm 147:10), we cannot prevail by it (1 Samuel 2:9), and he will ultimately destroy us if we trust in it (Ezekiel 34:16). God's will is that we seek for his strength (1 Chronicles 16:11), which is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), for when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in him (2 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 11:34). How then is sport going to please God? People trying to exalt themselves, to show that they are better or stronger than others, are never going to please him. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34 KJV), and we shouldn't be either, because if we do it we commit sin (James 2:9), and God does not want this. The first of the ten commandments reads, "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3), but once we begin to admire these sports personalities, we are not only admiring the works of the Devil, but we are giving our admiration and worship to someone other than God. Sports personalities are called "idols". Admiration of them is idolatry, and no idolater has "any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:5).

#3.5 Admonitions to keep away from

PROVERBS 4:14-15 (Solomon)
14 Do not enter into the path of the wicked, and do not go in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it, turn from it, and pass away.

PROVERBS 9:6 (Solomon)
6 Forsake the foolish, and live; go in the way of understanding.

PROVERBS 12:11 (Solomon)
11 He who tills his land shall be satisfied with bread; but he who follows vain persons is void of understanding.

PROVERBS 13:20 (Solomon)
20 He who walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

7 Go from the presence of a foolish man when you perceive the words of knowledge are not in him.

Note: When we sit down to watch sport, whose company are we in? Are we not in the company of all those who are watching the same thing? If not physically so, we are in our heart, and in our heart we enter the path of the wicked, we go in the way of evil men (Proverbs 4:14), we stand in the way of sinners (Psalm 1:1), and we keep company with foolish people (Proverbs 9:6; 13:20). God's word is "true from the beginning" (Psalm 119:160), so we must expect the consequences that go with it.

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