Playing With Fire

 

When people do things that are foolish or unnecessary and that can have undesirable consequences, we sometimes say “They are playing with fire.” We see it all around us. Things like driving under the influence, pre-marital sex, or gambling the rent money. And those are some of the milder ones. How about playing Russian roulette or “Chicken” with cars?

 

But, of course mature people, especially Christians, would never, “Play with fire.” Or would they? Consider some of these common practices. Then ask yourself if you or someone you know is involved in such things.

1.      Astrology.

2.      Horoscopes.

3.      Ouija boards.

4.      Tarot cards.

5.      Palm reading.

6.      Reading tea leaves

7.      Casting spells.

8.      Numerology.

9.      Psychic fairs.

10.  Séances.

11.  Witchcraft.

12.  Yoga

13.  Voodoo

14.  Being entertained by such things in books, movies, and songs or such.

 

Now when I talk about fire in this context I am talking about actual, literal, fire. I am talking about hell-fire. I am talking not about simply being burned, as bad as that is, but about being completely burned up, destroyed, consumed by Gehenna fire, that is the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:22)

*   (John 15:5-6 NIV)  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. {6} If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

*   (Mat 3:11-12 NIV)  "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. {12} His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

*   (Mat 13:41-42 KJV)  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; {42} And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

*    (Rev 20:14-15 KJV)  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. {15} And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

We are all familiar with the basic, “Thou shalt not” verse such as the Ten Commandments. But in truth any “Thou shalt not” is equally important. To disobey God is sin and the wages of sin is death. And, the final death of the unsaved sinner is death by fire and total annihilation. So it could be said that any time you play with sin you are playing with fire.

 

But do we actually, “Play” with sin. Yes, we do. Whenever we are looking for the line between right and wrong we are playing with sin. Whenever we are looking for the line between good and bad we are playing with sin. Whenever we court temptation we are playing with sin. And whenever we ignore the clear word of God and defend ourselves by saying we are just having fun --- we are playing with fire. Now let’s go back to a few of those items I mentioned at the beginning. People, even Christians, sometimes, “Play” with such things. But, what does God say about such things?

*   (Lev 20:6 NIV)  "'I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.

*   (Deu 18:9-14 NIV)  When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. {10} Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, {11} or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. {12} Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. {13} You must be blameless before the LORD your God. {14} The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

*   (Isa 8:19 NIV)  When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

*   (Jer 10:2 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. Or in NIV (Jer 10:2 NIV)  This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.

So much of what we do is superstition based on pagan practices by heathens. We are told clearly not to learn such things but they creep into our lives in ways we do not expect. Think of the term, “God bless you.” when a person sneezes. Why do we say that? There are different explanations but for the most part they are founded in superstition. Such common practices appear in numerous circumstances. Black cats, ladders, salt over the shoulder, Friday the 13th, and so it goes on and on. But let’s continue with Bible verses.

*   (Deu 4:19 NIV)  And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars--all the heavenly array--do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

*   (Deu 17:2-5 NIV)  If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, {3} and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, {4} and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, {5} take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.

*   (Isa 47:11-14 NIV)  Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. {12} "Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. {13} All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. {14} Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.

*   (Isa 2:6 NIV)  You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.

But you say, I don’t take this stuff seriously, I don’t bow down to such things. It’s just innocent fun. Let me assure you of this. Playing with the devil is not fun. Playing with the devil is playing with fire.

*   (Col 2:8 NIV)  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

*   (1 Pet 5:8-9 NIV)  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. {9} Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

*   (1 Tim 4:7 NIV)  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

*   (2 Tim 4:3-4 NIV)  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.