Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 25 September 2016


Sermon synopsis: Do you choose your path based on ungodly advice from family, friends and professional counsellors?

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… (NKJV)
Prov 12:15... the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

Some places where we should not be seeking for advice are:
- The godless media
- Horoscopes
- Mediums, clairvoyants fortune-tellers, psychics
- The ancestors and sangomas
- The saints and Mary
- Secular psychologists
- Ungodly friends and family
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The Book of Esther



Previously we saw that when the king learns that Mordecai has not been rewarded, he asks Haman for advice on how to honour someone who has delighted the king. Thinking the king is referring to him, Haman suggests an honour that he desires, but inadvertently ends up having to be the one who grudgingly bestows this very honour on his sworn enemy – Mordecai.


6:13 His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him:

Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!


If Haman was counting on some comfort or support from his wife and advisers, he is disappointed. On learning that Mordecai has now been honoured by the king, they inform him that he is ruined and of course they are quite correct.

Interestingly this is the same group of people who advised him to have Mordecai executed in the first place, yet now the best advice they have is to state the obvious “you will surely come to ruin!”

So Haman clearly was the recipient of bad advice and will now have to face the consequences of following that advice.

Who do you look to for advice when you need counsel – and is it good advice or bad advice?


Bad advice

Do you choose your path based on ungodly advice from family, friends and professional counsellors?

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… (NKJV)

… the advice of the wicked is deceitful. (Prov 12:15)


Advice that you want to hear is not always godly advice, even if the adviser claims it comes from God. Ahab got bad advice from the false prophets but accepted that over the prophecy of Micaiah (2 Chron 18). As a result he died in battle.


Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.

Eve followed bad advice from the serpent and lost access to Eden (Gen 3). Satan was an enemy, who by flattery posed as a friend, feigning concern about Eve’s plight – that she was “deprived” from something she desired.

Be wary of all who may fake sympathy and pretend to be supportive. It may actually be their own private agenda or cause they are pushing with their free advice.


Where do you take your advice for important life choices from?

Social media: Facebook, Twitter?

Your favourite singer or movie star (who’s been married 5 times and is currently in rehab again)?

Movies or TV series which trivialise adultery and who only invoke God’s name when they need another swearword?

Tabloids, magazines, talk shows, internet chat sites?

Some of the “advice” we take from media is not directly given, but it is there nonetheless because our minds absorb the powerful indirect messages given by mass media.


Are we influenced or impacted by what we see and hear in the mass media? Absolutely! The mass media is in the business of affecting how people think in order to increase viewer ratings and sell more advertising space. America’s exported entertainment influences the entire world, but generally not in a positive way.

“The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again… By your magic spell all the nations were led astray” (Rev 18:22-23).

God expects his people to be holy. Just as Lot had to flee the wicked city of Sodom to escape its destruction, a call is made, “‘Come out of her, my people’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues…” (Rev 18:4).


Shane Idleman, the founder of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California writes: A Christian once told me, “I don’t worry about what I watch or listen to as long as my heart is right.” Sadly, this comment came from a youth pastor. It’s an indication of how far we have drifted. To suggest that these types of programs are neutral, simply reflects a lack of spiritual discernment. Some animated allegories of good and evil can carry a good message; however, when evil is portrayed as good, and we become obsessed in watching them, we’ve crossed the line: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).There are grey areas, this I clearly understand, but illicit sex, enchantments, witchcraft, familiar spirits, wizards, extreme violence, and child sacrifice are not grey areas; even if “portrayed” as good. 


suffers from hopelessness and depression ... suicide is an epidemic among young adults. Surely, one has to wonder if there is a correlation. Do we really think that these types of movies are not going to affect us or our children. 


 Darkness should not entertain the church — there should be a different influence guiding us. What we watch and listen to affects the heart; it’s impossible to separate the two. This generation, in large number,

reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 1


 Do we really believe that these are simply fun, entertaining shows with no spiritual ramifications? Ephesians 6:12

1 news/ christians-have-become-desensitized-to-ungodly-media-146905/ #lFZpxMymMxwEMCGb.99

Have Christians become desensitized to ungodly media?

Have we lost the power of discernment? Is a passion for purity and holiness no longer necessary? Or do Christians just generally lack strong convictions any more?

Which TV shows or movies should a Christian watch, what music should they listen to and which websites should they browse? We are not under law, but here is a good guide.

Psalm 101:3 I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.

Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.


Sangomas far outnumber western-style doctors in Southern Africa, and are consulted first (or exclusively) by approximately 80% of the Black population. 1

Some Sangomas have been known to abuse the charismatic power they have over their patients by sexually assaulting them, sometimes dressed up as ritual. Repeated use of the same razor blade to make incisions for Muti carries HIV transmission risks in regions where the disease is rife. Western-style doctors have seen a number of cases of patients with serious gastrointestinal problems through the use of Muti, especially in enema form, and have even coined the phrase “ritual enema induced colitis”. 2

1 fr/ bnnews.php? nid=1666& vip=677& sites=0 2 https:// wiki/ Traditional_healers_of_South_Africa


Due to an inability to produce a world class football team, South Africans have resorted to witchcraft. In 2011 a sangoma, S’bonelo Madela, claimed that SAFA used his services for the 2010 World Cup. Using muti he ‘worked’ on the stadium in Bloemfontein, where Bafana Bafana beat France. Yet despite all his good work, South Africa became the first host nation in World Cup history to fail to advance out of the first round. Later Madela complained that he was paid R10,000 instead of the R100,000 the two parties agreed on. As a result, Bafana would not win any matches until he got the balance of his money. After a series of poor performances, SAFA decided to settle the debt and told the public that they had again employed Madela’s services and that their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup were now back on track. Yet they still failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup!


In May 2016 “The Sowetan” reported how a KZN man was duped out of his pension money. A sangoma claimed that the man’s life was in danger as someone at his place of work had used traditional medicine which would make him sick and eventually result in his death. He instructed the victim that if he wanted to live‚ that he should leave work. He also questioned him over the value of his provident fund and explained that if the victim wanted‚ he could convert R140‚000 of his pension payout into R4 million. After quitting his job, the victim withdrew the money and handed it over to the sangoma, who claimed that he was going to perform a ritual with the money‚ in order to make it grow in value. Needless to say the money was stolen by the sangoma. 1

1 news/ 2016/ 05/ 31/ kzn-man-loses-r140000-after-being-conned-by-sangoma


Protesting Marikana miners were advised that a certain sangoma had the ability to cast a spell that would make police firearms jam. A witness told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, “They told us the inyanga wanted R1,000… I contributed R500. Even the religious people contributed.” 1

The witness further related how they were instructed to kill 2 Lonmin security guards (Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani) so that their body parts could be used for the muti which was consumed by the protestors. 1

Yet despite the muti and rituals of the sangoma, 34 people, mostly strikers, were shot dead in the clash with police, and over 70 were wounded. 1

1 SOURCE: https:// marikana-commission-murdered-guards-body-parts-used-muti


Animists pray to their dead ancestors for guidance. In Nov 2012, SA President Jacob Zuma slaughtered 12 cows and burnt traditional incense at his Nkandla homestead. While dancing in his leopard skin, he asked his dead ancestors for help in his embattled political career, which has been dogged by repeated corruption allegations.

God ridicules those who think they can use magic or witchcraft to conjure away future disaster:

Isa 47:9-12 “… They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. You have trusted in your wickedness… 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. Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have laboured at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed…”


The ZCC is the largest church in South Africa. Many of it’s members claim that you can be a Christian and pray to your ancestors.

Should a Christian be speaking to the dead?

Scripture forbids consulting the dead:

Deut 18:10-12 Let no one be found among you… who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD.

Isaiah 8:19 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?


Can your dead ancestors help you?

There is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave.

Eccl 9:10b … for in the grave… there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Do people float around as ghosts after death?

Isaiah 26:14 They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise.

Job 7:9-10 When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up. He will not return again to his house, Nor will his place know him anymore. (NASB)

After death comes judgement: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb 9:27).


If you needed directions to get to the railway station and you meet two people in the street…


One is alive…

The other is dead…

Which one would you ask?

Can praying to dead saints or Mary help you?

The Bible gives absolutely no indication that the dead ‘saints’ can hear our prayers.

Those who advocate this practice claim that the saints and Mary simply can intercede on our behalf. They argue that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for you. Let us examine that claim and the Biblical precedent.

Paul asks other Christians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19. Many Scriptures describe believers praying for one another. But nowhere does the Bible mention anyone asking for someone in heaven to pray for them. Nowhere does the Scripture describe anyone in heaven praying for anyone on earth.


When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he instructed them to address God as “Our Father in heaven” (Luke 11:1-2). So the Biblical directive is to pray directly to the Father.


When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”

Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.

Whenever the Bible mentions speaking with the dead, it is in the context of necromancy – an activity the Bible strongly condemns. The only instance when a dead ‘saint’ is spoken to is Samuel (1 Sam 28:7-19), when Saul consulted a witch.

The Scriptures teach that “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people… For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim 2:5) If Jesus is the ONE mediator, then Mary and the saints cannot be mediators or even sub-mediators of our prayer requests to God.


Proponents of prayer to Mary argue that that do not actually prayer TO her. They simply ask her to intercede to Christ on their behalf. They defend this by pointing out that Mary seemingly interceded to Jesus to get him involved in resolving the problem of the wine shortage at the wedding in Cana, when initially he appears reluctant (John 2).


They have no more wine.

The reality is:

No-one requested Mary’s involvement. She took it upon herself.

The fact that Mary did this while alive, in no way implies that she is able to do this once she has died.

How would the saints and Mary hear us if they are dead? Even Augustine, who calls the saints our intercessors, acknowledged “his inability to solve the difficult question of the way in which the dead can be made acquainted with our wishes and prayers.” 1

1 Philip Schaff’s “History of the Christian Church” Volume III, Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity AD 311-390


The Bible teaches that only God is omnipresent. Even if Mary could hear prayers addressed to her, she could only hear one at a time, and thus most requests would simply remain unheard.


Dear St. Christopher…

Thank you for praying to St. Christopher. Unfortunately all our saints are busy. Please hold or press ‘1’ to speak to Mary.

Furthermore, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ himself is interceding for us before the Father:

Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

With Jesus himself interceding for us, why would we need Mary, angels or the saints to intercede for us? Who would God listen to more closely than his Son?

It is plainly clear that praying to Mary or the saints is completely different from asking someone here on earth to pray for you. One has a strong Biblical basis, the other has no Biblical basis whatsoever.


Sometimes the people who are viewed as “experts” can give bad advice. The centurion escorting Paul to Rome took bad advice from the captain and the owner of the ship. He continued the voyage despite Paul’s warnings and it ended with a shipwreck that cost them the ship and cargo (Acts 27).


In 1988 Americans spent an estimated $273.3 billion on mental health services. Between 1959 and 1989 the number of practicing professional clinical psychologists increased by a factor of 16, from 2,500 to 40,000. 1

Nearly 75% of Americans say their whole approach to life is based on religion, but only 32% of psychiatrists, 33% of clinical psychologists feel the same. 2

While some today try and synthesize Christian Counselling and Psychology, let’s briefly consider some of the most influential men whose theories formed the basis for modern psychology and how from its inception psychotherapy has undermined the teachings of Christianity.

1 article/ psychology-and-the-church-part-one 2 https:// articles/ 200505/ god-my-shrink


Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis. He was an atheist whose attitude towards Christianity was hostile, since he labelled all religion as “the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity.” 1

Part of the disagreement that resulted between Freud and Jung was due to “Jung’s interest and commitment to religion, which Freud saw as unscientific.” 2

1 “The Future of an Illusion” 2 Wikipedia – Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)

Freud spoke of religion as “a fantasy structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity.” 1

He regarded the monotheistic God as an illusion based upon the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural father figure. He maintained that religion – once necessary to restrain man’s violent nature in the early stages of civilization – in modern times, can be set aside in favour of reason and science. 2

Freud was an early user and proponent of cocaine as a stimulant as well as painkiller. 2

After a protracted bout of cancer, he died in 1939 at his own request, by a physician-assisted morphine overdose.

1 Ibid 2 https:// wiki/ Sigmund_Freud


The central tenet of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory was the Oedipus complex, which is a child’s desire, that the mind keeps in the unconscious via dynamic repression, to have sexual relations with the parent of the opposite sex (i.e. males attracted to their mothers, and females attracted to their fathers). 1 Freud said, “I found in myself a constant love for my mother, and jealousy of my father. I now consider this to be a universal event in childhood.”

According to Freud young boys secretly wish to kill their fathers, whom they view as competition for the attention of their mothers. As such, he “described the Roman Catholic rite of Holy Communion as cultural evidence of the killing and devouring of the sacred father.” 2

1 https:// wiki/ Oedipus_complex 2 SOURCE: https:// wiki/ Sigmund_Freud.


Jung delved deeply into the occult and had daily contact with disembodied spirits, which he called archetypes. Much of what he wrote was inspired by such entities. Jung had his own familiar spirit whom he called Philemon, 1 of whom he wrote “I went walking up and down the garden with him, and to me he was what the Indians call a guru.” 2

1 SOURCE: 2 Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Carl Jung (1875–1961)

(Jung)… did view all religions, including Christianity, to be collective mythologies - not real in essence, but having a real effect on the human personality. 1

Dr. Thomas Szasz (author of the classic “Myth of Mental Illness”) writes: “Thus in Jung’s view religions are indispensable spiritual supports, whereas in Freud’s they are illusory crutches.” 2

While Freud argued that religions are delusionary and therefore evil, Jung contended that all religions are imaginary but good. Both positions are anti-Christian; one denies Christianity and the other mythologizes it.. 3

1 jungleg.html 2 Thomas Szasz. The Myth of Psychotherapy. Garden City: Doubleday/Anchor Press, 1978, p. 173 3 jungleg.html


John B. Watson, who established the psychological school of behaviourism, was an atheist who formulated views on human behaviour based on the study of rats running through mazes.

John B. Watson (1878-1958)

B.F. Skinner, the father of Radical Behaviourism was also an atheist - a former Presbyterian who lost his faith.

He wrote: “Nature is marvellous but not, I think, miraculous. We began to learn more about it as soon as we stopped regarding it as the work of a god.” 1

1 http:// /2010/03/skinner-on-religion.html

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)

The Skinner box

In his infamous “Skinner box” rats were either rewarded for certain behaviour (with food) or punished for other behaviour (with electric shocks)! Skinner based his views on human behaviour on his studies of rats and pigeons, believing that we only learn behaviour by trial and error, based on reward and punishment.


The Skinner box aka “Rat torture chamber”

Skinner’s theories are based on determinism, a view that humans are programmed, predetermined and without any free will. In contrast, Christians believe that humans are not simply animals, but that they think about their experiences and invoke reason, will and intuition.

But if you prefer advice for life from someone who believes you’re on the same level as a rat frantically trying to find the correct lever to push for food, or trying its best to avoid being shocked, then I’d recommend finding a professional who advocates radical behavioural psychology.


The materialist form of psychiatry says you’re only matter - therefore bad behaviour is due to a chemical imbalance in your brain. Thus you are sick and your behaviour can be treated by drugs which alter your chemical balance.


Because your bad behaviour is a sickness, it’s not your fault. After all, who blames a person for being sick?

The consequence of explaining such conduct as disease is that it makes the person not accountable. He can’t help it, just like he can’t help having a brain tumour or a heart attack… He is not a sinner who should have a guilty conscience; rather, he is a victim of his conscience and mistreatment by others. 1

1 http:// religiousgroups/ psychology.php


Faced in the 1940s and 1950s with a choice between (1) Freudian theory, with its emphasis on unconscious sexual motives, and (2) behaviourism, which refused to deal with mental processes, increasing numbers of American psychologists chose neither. They began looking for a third alternative. In the early 1960s, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and several other psychologists proclaimed an alternative to the two main theories then dominating psychology (Freudian theory and behavioural theory). They called it “third force” psychology, also known as humanistic psychology. 1

1 ch01_psychology_and_science/ third_force.html


According to a secular article on the educational OpenStax CNX website:

… the spiritual aspects of humanistic psychology, such as peak experiences and transcendence, have roots in the work of Carl Jung and William James, and go even further back in time to ancient philosophies of Yoga and Buddhism. 1

Freud had a very pessimistic view of man and saw little difference between the motivations of humans and animals. Abraham Maslow thought Freudian psychologists placed too much emphasis on human weaknesses and developed what he called positive psychology which focused only on a higher human nature.

1 http:// contents/ 6xIQ4iAP@1/ Carl-Rogers-and-Abraham-Maslow


While not anti-religion, Maslow believed that all religions are the same in their essence, writing:

“Spiritual, ethical, and moral values need have nothing to do with any church… they are the common core of all churches, all religions, including the non-theistic 1 ones.” 2

1 Non-theistic means “not having or involving a belief in a god or gods”. 2 Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences, Ch 8

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

Carl Roger’s mother was a devout Pentecostal Christian but at age 20, following a trip to China, for an international Christian conference, he started to doubt his religious convictions. He decided to change his career choice as a minister and in 1924, enrolled at Union Theological Seminary, a liberal, 1 ecumenical, Christian seminary. 2

Rogers wrote: “Neither the Bible nor the prophets—neither Freud nor research—neither revelations of God nor man—take precedence over my own direct experience.” He advocated a hands-off approach of client-centred therapy which fit well with a Taoist perspective, something he had encountered in China.

1 In the 20th century was a centre of liberal Christianity and neo-orthodoxy, in addition to being the birthplace of the Black Liberation Theology, Womanist Theology, and other theological movements. 2 SOURCE: https:// wiki/ Carl_Rogers


Rogers, the father of client-centred therapy, quotes Lao Tsu (c. 600 BC) in what he says is perhaps his favourite saying:

“If I keep from meddling with people, they take care of themselves, If I keep from commanding people, they behave themselves, If I keep from preaching at people, they improve themselves, If I keep from imposing on people, they become themselves.” 1

1 “A Way of Being”

Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

The humanistic psychology of Rogers and Maslow are probably the greatest influence on “Christian” psychology, with their emphasis on self-love, self-esteem and self-help.

Maslow is best known for his hierarchy of needs all centred around self. Maslow believed that as the needs would be met, we would have a perfect society, a utopia. 1

Like Maslow, Rogers believed that man is intrinsically good, in stark contrast to the Biblical teaching of original sin and human depravity.

Rom 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

1 maslow-emergent.html


Paul speaks of people in the last days being pre-occupied with having a positive self-image: “People will be lovers of themselves… boastful, proud… conceited…” (2 Tim 3:1-5).

Yet many Christian leaders, counsellors and psychologists now promote the very love of self that Paul warned would characterize men in the last days.

In the counselling section of Christian bookstore you might see these titles, “Love Yourself”, 1 “The Art of Learning to Love Yourself, 2 “Self Esteem: You’re Better than You Think”, 3 “Self-Esteem: The New Reformation”, 4 “Self-Love: The Dynamic Force of Success”, 5 “Improving Your Self-Image” 6 and “You’re Someone Special”. 7

1 Walter Trobisch 2 Cecil G. Osborne 3 Ray Burwick 4 Robert H. Schuller 5 Robert H. Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale 6 H. Norman Wright 7 Bruce Narramore







The predominant view found in modern Christian counselling is that almost all ills in society can be attributed to low self-esteem.

In fact, prominent Christian personalities can be heard to claim that society’s greatest problem is that of “low self- esteem”, and that everything from abortion, school drop- outs, teen pregnancy to rape, robbery, and poverty can be solved if only we help people to esteem themselves more highly; to love themselves more and more; and to realize their great self-worth! 1

1 http:// false.htm


But Scripture teaches that we should have a modest opinion of ourselves:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Rom 12:3)


Blessed are the meek (Matt 5:5)

Don’t take advice that is based on man’s worldly wisdom, rather than on Biblical principles.

1 Cor 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

James 3:15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.


Sometimes bad advice comes from those who are close to us, and who are well-meaning. Jesus got bad advice from Peter and rejected it:

Matt 16:21-23 … Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things … Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”


After his father’s death, Rehoboam had some important decisions to make. His friends advised him to give no grounds to the displeased people in the kingdom who wanted to negotiate for better treatment (1 Kings 12).


Opting to listen to bad advice from his immature friends who thought they knew it all, instead of listening to the older more experienced advisors his father had used, resulted in Rehoboam losing half of his kingdom.


Ironically it was his father Solomon who wrote: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Prov 13:20 ESV)

The majority are not always correct. Ten of the twelve spies into Canaan advised against taking the land. Only two (Joshua and Caleb) gave godly advice. By listening to bad advice the Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert and an entire generation lost out on God’s promises.


So don’t take advice based on peer pressure.

Aaron bowed to peer pressure and followed bad advice from the Israelites, by making a pagan god for them to worship. As a result many of the people died later (Ex 32).


Despite pronouncing Jesus “not guilty” multiple times, Pilate made a decision to execute Jesus based on pressure from the crowd.


What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty.

(Luke 23:22)

Peer pressure, positive or negative, is when your classmates, or other people your age, try to get you to do something. In a survey to find out why they started using drugs, 55% of teens replied that it was due to pressure from their friends.


Choose your friends with care – you become what they are.

Prov 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

1 Cor 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Prov 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

2 Cor 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?


1 Cor 5:11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

But didn’t Jesus hang out with sinners?

In many ways, Jesus is the very best friend of sinners. Given that all humans have sinned, and Jesus has died so that we may be saved, He is indeed a great friend to us. But one should never confuse Jesus’ ministry with Jesus’ social preferences or friend choices… Did Jesus hang with the sinners so He could sin (or to listen to their sinful life)? 1

1 2009/ 08/ 03/ why-did-jesus-hang-out-sinners-eat/


Or did Jesus hang with the sinners to reveal sin? Did he engage in sinful behaviour along with the sinner? First, Jesus tells us the exact reason why he hung with sinners… The Pharisees accused him of hanging with sinners, and how did Jesus reply? “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 1

1 Ibid


Clearly, Jesus didn’t view his hanging out with sinners as fun or just hanging out. We don’t go to the doctor to hang out do we? Of course not. We go to the doctor to get healed… And doctors don’t go to work to hang out. They go to heal the sick. So Jesus reveals His intent when ‘hanging’ with sinners: Not to hang, but to heal. He isn’t hanging with sinful people to party or because He thinks they are cool, He is hanging with them to reveal their sin, bring them to repentance, and to follow God’s word. 1

In fact the person in particular that Jesus was befriending was Matthew (Levi), who become one of his disciples (Luke 5). The same accusation was levelled at Jesus went he went to eat with another tax-collector called Zacchaeus. But after their encounter, Zacchaeus is converted (Luke 19).

1 Ibid


Jesus got bad advice from his unbelieving brothers, but he ignored it. Their advice was based on misinterpreting his ministry as an attempt to become a public figure.

John 7:2-9 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought


leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come”… Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.

Amnon took bad advice from his cousin, Jonadab, which resulted in him raping his half-sister, Tamar. The end result was that he lost his life at the vengeful hands of Tamar’s brother, Absalom.


Job also got bad advice from his wife, but was sensible enough to ignore it (Job 2:9-10). He also got poor advice from his friends.

You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?

Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!


We need to seek guidance and advice from God, who is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isa 28:29). He has promised us:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you (Ps 32:8).

…the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in (Prov 3:12).

In Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called the “Wonderful Counsellor” and in Isaiah 11:2 it says of him, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

But how does God speak to us?



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the NIV:

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (