And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Vol 13, Num 26, 08/01/2010
In this issue:
Facebook (FB) is a social networking website that connects 500 million people worldwide. Many Christians have FB pages (including this writer). As with most other things, FB can be a benefit to or blight upon one’s spiritual life. Please carefully consider your use of FB (or any other social networking site) to see if you have chosen to be God’s friend (Jno 15:14).
Faith on Facebook. Some brethren are using FB as an effective tool to advance the gospel of Christ. I know brethren who post daily Scripture readings, spiritual songs with comments, and regular Bible study articles. Some post links to Bible study material and their congregation’s website. There are Bible study groups on FB, too. All of these shows FB can be a great tool to help you spread the gospel of Christ and have a godly influence for truth and righteousness. We commend these efforts to you.
Folly on Facebook. Sadly, there is also a great deal of sin and danger on FB. Christians are not immune to its temptations. Pride and arrogance, anger and hate, gossip and backbiting, immodesty and profanity – all these and more are among the sins that can be observed and participated in on FB.
Much of the chatter on FB amounts to “thinking out loud”. That is not always a good thing (especially with 500 million people “listening”). And don’t kid yourself; strangers are only a couple of mouse clicks away from every word and every picture you post. After all, the “www” means something: World Wide Web! What you post on FB goes around the world in a split second. And, it is out there forever. Yes, you can erase postings (and some should!), but someone has already seen it, possibly saved it, or forwarded it on to someone else.
Why is FB so popular? What makes people post things on FB they would not otherwise say or do? What are some of the follies of FB?
1) FB presents a false sense of freedom from accountability. Typing away on a keyboard can lull you into thinking that whatever you write and post is just “keeping it real” and that you are “just being yourself” – and “that’s always a good thing”. Well, not if the “words of (your) mouth and the meditation of (your) heart” are not acceptable to God (Psa 19:14). Some things should neither be thought nor spoken (Matt 12:35). We must remember Jesus said, “every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt 12:36-37). That goes for FB postings, too.
2) FB offers an apparent removal of moral restraints. I’m not sure whether FB gives one the feeling that moral restraints do not apply when posting, or if the postings on FB indicate that one’s moral restraints have already been removed. Probably both. Either way, the result is sin and disgrace. Photos of Christians immodestly dressed provocatively display attitudes of worldliness. We are not to love the world (1 Jno 2:15-17).
Christians must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts to live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). FB reveals that some Christians are failing to use moral restraint in word and deed. FB is seen as a tempting “escape” from the bonds of morality imposed by the gospel. Brother or sister in Christ, if you are on FB, be sure your speech is pure and your photos are decent! And, that those posted on your page are, too. You should have zero tolerance here. Delete the offensive postings and remove “friends” who are not decent. Guard your influence (1 Cor 15:33).
3) FB holds up privacy to public display and discussion. The decorum of decency and privacy is gone. I don’t consider myself a prude, but some of the things discussed on FB ought to remain private! Manners and common courtesy should be hallmarks of Christians; instead, they seem to be ancient relics. Additionally, some of the things on FB are, frankly, mundane. Who in the world is interested that I “ate my Wheaties” or am “headed to bed”? God’s word says, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Prov 17:27-28). It may be time for some Christians to sign off of FB and at least be considered perceptive.
4) FB provides the perfect venue for those without tongue control. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying if you are on FB then you have no tongue control. I am saying that FB makes it easy to exercise “loose lips” (or in this case, loose fingers). All kinds of disruptions, distortions, evil surmising, gossip and rumormongering has found its way onto FB. And that means these sins have already found their way into the hearts, the thinking, the attitudes, the language and the conduct of those who post such destructive words. Instead of carefully choosing words, FB makes it easy to post before you think. And that gets you into trouble. Remember, great forest fires begin with a small spark (Jas 3:5). So, don’t light the match; Post the truth in love (Eph 4:15).
5) FB lends itself to mindless chatter – and worse. As someone who writes for public consumption and criticism in this bulletin, I am aware of the effect and the reach of written words. Once written and published, words can do much good or great harm. I try to be thoughtful and careful with what and how I write, knowing my words will outlive me. FB (along with all the other social networking sites – plus email, for that matter), makes it very easy to thoughtlessly write without considering the consequences. Mothers used to tell their daughters not to write anything in your diary you don’t want others to read. Now, everyone’s diary is open to everyone else on FB!
If you ridicule someone you have become arrogant and unloving. If you post profanity and join in coarse joking you have lowered yourself to join the world in the sewer of vulgarity (Eph 4:29; 5:3-4). If you post unfounded rumors, malicious gossip and tale bearing you have left the land of brotherly love and crossed over into the land of bitterness and malice (Eph 4:31-32).
6) FB can consume your time. We must be good stewards of our time (Eph 5:16). FB can be addicting; stealing away hours of productivity in school, on the job and in the kingdom of Christ.
The next time you feel the urge to post a message to a friend, why not call them up instead? I’m sure they would love to hear your voice. Now that’s a novel idea! (Prov 27:17)
A word to parents. Do you know what your child is posting on FB? If not, find out. You wouldn’t let your child bring a stranger into your home without your knowledge and permission. Do not let them indiscriminately bring strangers into their lives on FB. Adolescent brains are not fully developed yet to be able to completely assess actions and consequences. Don’t be naïve, don’t make assumptions, but get the facts. Such knowledge is vital in order to train your children in the way they should go (Prov 22:6).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Do's of Marriage
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Some things to “do” in marriage (Matt 7:12).
I. GOOD COMMUNICATION. (1 Pet 3:7; Eph 5:22-25, 28-29)
A. To Obtain
Knowledge, Jas 1:19; cf. Eccl 10:12-14 (Ps 50:20; Prov 26:20-21; Ep 4:25)
II. THE ABILITY TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS.
A. Know what
the Conflict is about, Prov 18:13; 15:28.
III. SHARED INTERESTS AND GOALS.
Forget What Love Looks Like, cf. 1 Cor 13:4-8.
IV. WORK TOGETHER AS ONE.
A. Be Doers, not Only Hearers, Jno 13:17; Jas 1:25. (Apply what we’ve discussed.)
Conclusion: Marriage succeeds when service replaces self; when “you” replaces “me” and when holiness replaces sin (Eph 5:33).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalms 89:3-7
1. In trying to
justify no assembled worship some misunderstand and misuse what Jesus said
about the place of worship in Jno 4:21.
1. Even in the Old Testament God wanted Israel to go to His assigned place, Lev 17:1-9; Deut 12:5-14; (2 Chrn 7:12); Lev 10:1-2; Matt 7:21-23.
2. There are many NT examples of assembled worship, Acts 2:42, 44; 5:12; 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2. Follow these examples, 1 Cor 4:16-17; Phil 4:9.
3. Christians came together (Heb 10:25):
a. To break bread, Acts 20:7-8.
4. Christ expects His body to come together, 1 Cor 14:26; Eph 4:11-16, 3; 1 Cor 12:25-27.
5. Because there are some things that cannot be done “at home” (privately), Heb 10:24-25; 1 Cor 14:26; Eph 5:19; 1 Cor 14:15-16; 16:1-2; Acts 14:27 (1 Ths 5:27; Col 4:16); 1 Cor 11:20-22, 33-34.
6. What about Matthew 18:20? Doesn’t it allow for worship gatherings other than the local church on the Lord’s Day? (Context: sin and apostolic authority)
7. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves, He 10:24-25
Infanticide: "It's My Body"
This week police in northern France reported the discovery of eight newborn babies in two graves. The infants had apparently been smothered by their mother, who kept the secret for more than 20 years. (“What could drive a mother to infanticide?”, Zoe Murphy, BBC News, 30July10)
You would think this is a clear case of murder. But hold on. Dominique Cottrez, 45, underwent psychological tests and results “show she was suffering from a little-known condition called pregnancy denial” (Ibid.). In fact, the word “murder” is not even used in this BBC article. It reports how mental health experts say mothers with “pregnancy denial” leading to infanticide are usually delusional and have psychotic denial of their pregnancy.
The report goes on to tell of a 42-year-old woman found guilty in 2009 of killing three of her newborns, two of whom she hid in a freezer. During the trial Veronique Courjault said she and her husband couldn’t agree on having more children. Of the children she murdered, she said, “As far as I was concerned, they were never children. It was a part of myself, an extension of myself that I was killing” (Ibid.).
And there you have it; the abortionist’s argument applied to killing newborn babies. Why is the woman who kills her unborn “fetus” innocent (it’s “her body”, remember!) while one who gives birth and then kills her child a delusion psychotic? Will the “it’s my body” argument now become the standard legal defense of mothers who murder their newborn babies? After all, it has worked to convince millions and millions of women to abort their unwanted children.
Life is a gift from God, whether nurtured inside mother’s womb or in mother’s arms (Psa 127:3). God will judge those who shed innocent blood (Rev 21:8).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 08/23/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA