There Is More than One Way of Offering Sacrifice to Fallen Angels

***Prolegomena

***Augustine

  • Augie’s namesake
  • Born 354
  • Christian mother, pagan father
  • Not a baptized believer until 387
  • Ordained “against his will” in 391
  • Became bishop of Hippo in 396 (Hippo Regius, now Annaba, Algeria)
  • Died on 28 August 430 during the Vandal siege of the city

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

***Confessions

Augustine’s autobigraphy

Reading through it slowly while traveling

Some interesting quotes

Must be an important book if someone writes a “reader’s companion” to it

***Before I move into the meat of the sermon…

  • I will be quoting Scripture that I believe is applicable…but, in context…may be speaking to a different concern
  • Nothing in this sermon is pointed at any single individual
  • I am wrestling with the very things I am going to speak about…when I say, “You” I include “me”
  • It would be fair to day that I am a hypocrite when it comes to these things

But they are still good to discuss…

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***Sacrifice to fallen angels

The first quote that really jumped out at me is from the first book of Confessions [ read from the book, but in part… ]:

Your praises, Lord, your praises expressed through your scriptures would have upheld the tender vine of my heart, and it would not have been snatched away by empty trifles to become ‘a shameful prey for birds’. There is more than one way of offering sacrifice to fallen angels. (pg. 20) I xviii (27)

Another interesting one [ read from the book, but in part… ]:

Why is it that a person should wish to experience suffering by watching grevious and tragic events which he himself would not wish to endure? (pg. 35) III ii (2)

***What we digest with our eyes and ears…

The first quote has to do with what Augustine, as a youth, was forced to study. He saw it’s folly…and that how imbibing of the wrong material can be offering sacrificekk to fallen angels…

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***Biblical Advice

Augustine offers a lot of wise advice…but our standard is Scripture. What does it tell us about what…?

We should watch on TV, in cinemas, at the theater, etcetera?

What we should listen to?

What we should read?

What we should “visit” on the Internet’s “world-wide web”?

***A Couple General Pieces of Biblical Advice

Phil 4:8

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies bas a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

#1 Think about true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy things

#2 Do not be conformed to this world

So far, when you consider what watch, read, or listen to…how do you do? Does it all fit #1? Do you fit #2

***By what you watch, are you giving approval to those who practice evil?

Romans 1:28-32

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to aa debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Sure, you may not consider murder, insolence, etcetera to be okay…but if you entertain yourself by voyeuristically (via entertainment) joining those who do–is it really that far away from you actually doing it yourself? Does Jesus’ comment that if you lust you have already committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28) or John’s statement that “everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15) apply here?

Do you actually have to commit a sin to be guilty of it?

By watching people pretend to commit sins, are you giving approval of those who practice them?

***Who is watching you sacrifice to fallen angels?

Now let’s just say you do have the freedom to what others do all the things that as a good Christian you would never do…

1 Corinthians 10:23-32

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience– 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

#3 Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God

#4 Do not seek your own good, but the good of your neighbor

Going back to what you watch, read, or listen to you…is it for the good of your neighbor? Is it for the glory of God?

Does it show that you love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as much as yourself? (Luke 10:27)

***Who do you imitate?

Ephesians 5:5-20

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For kit is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

#5 Be imitators of God

#6 Walk as children of the light

#7 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness

#8 Make the best use of time

***For my last Scripture, one of the first that comes to mind when I think of what I should watch, listen to, or read…

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,3 encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

#9 Test everything

#10 Abstain from every form of evil

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***10 Pieces of Biblical Advice for What You Watch, Read, and Hear

#1 Think about honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy things

#2 Do not be conformed to this world

#3 Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God

#4 Do not seek your own good, but the good of your neighbor

#5 Be imitators of God

#6 Walk as children of the light

#7 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness

#8 Make the best use of time

#9 Test everything

#10 Abstain from every form of evil

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***Flying back home, looking over the shoulder of the guy in the seat ahead of me, I noticed…

An article entitled “A precious few shows have ageless appeal”

(http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2009-08-19-generationaltv-chart_N.htm)

“Every producer dreams of having a TV show connect with an audience on such a visceral level that it becomes a fictional extension of real life. USA TODAY offers up 10 series that made that leap into our hearts…” (emphasis mine)

The first 3 (in order) are:

“Leave it to Beaver”

“The Brady Bunch”

“The Cosby Show”

After that it is…

“Thirtysomething”

“Seinfeld”

“Beverly Hills 90210”

“Friends”

“Sex and the City”

“American Idol”

“Grey’s Anatomy”

Which of these to you think watching would be equivalent to “offering sacrifice to fallen angels”?

Which of these “[leapt] into your hearts”? Did you connect more with “Leave it to Beaver” or “Sex and the City”?

What other entertainment has leapt into your hearts?

“For, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21)


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