Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dangers of Social Networks: Improper Exhibition of the Body

Social networks may result in the improper exhibition of the body. Modest and proper decorum are lost virtues in today’s decadent society. Christians sometimes exercise poor judgment in the pictures they post to their websites, Facebook pages, photo-galleries, etc. Immodesty is part of a broader problem of sexual immorality, reflecting either naivete or knowing rebellion. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:11-14). The deeds of the flesh include sexual immorality [sinful actions], impurity [sinful thoughts], sensuality [sinful indulgence in things that produce lusts]. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Let us resolve to not put stumbling-blocks before one another, especially in this area (Revelation 2:14). Let us recognize the Biblical prohibition against all forms of nakedness, i.e., the improper public exposure of the thighs, buttocks, midriff, and chest/breasts. “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

Part 5: "Improper Encouragement of Relationships" (Next Posting)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dangers of Social Networks: Improper Expressions of Speech

Social networks may result in improper expressions of speech. Online communication is often crude and vulgar, harmful and hurtful. The impersonal nature of the medium removes inhibitions that would otherwise restrain uncivil speech. We must not take God’s name in vain, either directly or through the use of acronyms, such as “OMG!” Exodus 20:7 says, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”  Sinful men engage in sinful speech. “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness" (Romans 3:13-14). All forms of corrupt communication must be put aside. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:8-10). Christian speech must be gracious and appropriate to the needs of the hearers; “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:5-6).

Part 4: "Improper Exhibition of the Body" (Next Posting)

Dangers of Social Networks: Improper Expenditure of Time

Social networks may result in an improper expenditure of time. Surfing the internet in general, and the use of social networks in particular, can become addictive. Avoiding sloth and slumber, we should consider the ant as an example of industrious and timely activity. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep--So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11). Solomon exhorts, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Accordingly, let us redeem the time, making the most of opportunities, recognizing that the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Part 3: "Improper Expression of Speech" (Next Posting)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dangers of Social Networks: Introduction

Recently, Mark Mayberry, a gospel preacher in Alvin, Texas wrote a sermon entitled “Dangers of Social Networks.” As a Christian and fellow preacher, I am very pleased with what he wrote concerning the various aspects of the social networks. Many of the things that he addresses, I too have written articles and preached on within the past year. I am going to use his material, word for word, along with the corresponding Bible passages in a series of posts beginning with this one. There will be a total of 5 postings to include today’s introduction. The next four posts will deal with improper expenditure of time, improper expression of speech, improper exhibition of the body, and improper encouragement of relationships.

Dangers of Social Networks: Introduction
            Through the widespread use of computers and smart-phones, we are able to communicate more easily today than ever before. Many Christians keep in touch with friends and family using Pleonast or Facebook. Others correspond via email, Twitter, IM (instant messaging) or SMS (text messaging). Some prefer to pick up the phone. A few of us still value face-to-face conversations.
            In recent years, social networks have exploded in popularity. With more than 500 million active users, Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world. 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day. The average user has 130 friends. Collectively, people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
            Social networks have obvious benefits, keeping us in touch with friends, family, and fellow Christians. Technology can diminish the distance that sometimes separates us. However, we should also be mindful of certain dangers that come from the use of modern social networks.

Part 2: “Improper Expenditure of Time” (Next Posting)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Motivates What You Do?

Our character makeup, the things we do, what we say, where we go, what we wear, is all motivated by what is important to us. Christians are to be motivated by Christ and a sincere love for Him. When that is the case then we will truly live our lives for Him on a daily basis. A Christian that is unfaithful and engaged in the works of the flesh is not motivated to live for Christ. Jesus said: "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). We are either living fully and completely for the one who loved us and died for us or we are not. It cannot be both ways. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). I am uplifted when I see Christians living their lives for Christ because of their love for Him. On the other hand, I am very discouraged when Christians get involved with worldly things and acting like those of the world. We are in the world but we certainly are not to be of the world. We are to be separate, holy, and transformed as we live a life devoted to Christ our Lord (2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Romans 12:1-2). I want to encourage every Christian to live in such a way that others can see that it is evident that we are living for Christ and not the ways of the world. (1 Timothy 4:15).