I Love Facebook. I Hate Facebook.

THE AVERAGE FACEBOOK user now has about 338 friends, though the median number, 200, is quite a bit lower. This means that while half of all Facebook users have 200 or fewer friends, many of the billion-plus Facebookers have quite a few more. In fact, 15 percent of users have friend lists topping 500.

These numbers are consistent with other statistics on the number of people that the average person knows well enough to come to their wedding or funeral, about 150 – 200 friends. In essence, Facebook allows a person to communicate with every single person they know, every day.

In the past, if folks wanted to speak to every one of their friends they needed to have a TV program. Before that, their own radio program. Before that, 1895, they would have to send a personal communication to each and every person. Before that, it became much more complicated.

WHY I LOVE FACEBOOK

Facebook is a really big hill, a really, really big hill. It is for this reason alone that I love Facebook. As a Christian, I have a duty from God. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16

Facebook gives us Christians an opportunity to demonstrate our good works, our Christian attitudes, our Christian love and our Christian values to every one of our family & friends that we’re connected with through social media. Another thing, when you add in the other forms of public social media, we have a platform that is so large that it would make the first century Christians cry with joy, recognizing the ability to Proclaim the word of the Lord to all the world. They did it the old fashioned way, through word of mouth [Romans 1:8; 10:18; 1Th 1:8].

For most of human history, conveying a message required huge amounts of effort, person to person, and from mouth to ear. Technology has aided in declaring God’s word. A written language, the development of paper. The Roman roads of the first century. The printing of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455 with the invention of the printing press. In our modern times, mass electronic communication methods such as radio, TV and now the internet has increased our reach.

WHY I HATE FACEBOOK

Unfortunately, I have not always shown my good works through social media and Facebook. Many of us use it as a soapbox for our political & personal ranting, ravings and whinings. I’ve personally noticed how we have alienated friends, family and even brethren over our personal opinions. Worse yet, the posting of less that Christ like pictures, likes, links and shares.

On numerous occasions, myself and other brethren, have posted mean spirited, ungodly and downright sinful compositions, even disparaging remarks about the Church! We expect that from the world [1Peter 2:12; 3:16], but ought not be named among brethren. “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” [James 3:10]

Though the thoughts may be true and the brethren sometimes falter [1Cor 6:11; 1Peter 2:18], God gave us a method for addressing sinful activities in the church. Go to him alone Mat 18:15, then only the church if he won’t hear you Mat 18:16-17. To take it to the world is absolutely condemned. “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” [1Corinthians 6:1-8]. How does publically complaining about the church of our Lord aid in our evangelism efforts?

I declare to my brethren right now, I CONFESS MY SIN AND REPENT OF THIS UNRIGHTEOUS ACTIVITY. I hope you will too. Please pray for me as I also pray for you.

“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” [Matthew 15:11]

– Spencer

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”  (KJV) [Colossians 4:6]

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Guardrails for our Faith

IF YOU HAVE DONE MUCH traveling at all, then you’ve seen guardrails. They’re rather ugly, but incredibly important. You see them on bridges and curves in the road. On a recent trip through the Rockies, the road was so close to the edge that we were grateful for a bulky piece of metal separating us from almost certain death.

The thing about guardrails is that they aren’t very pretty, they can spoil the view of a scenic overlook and they can really mess up your car if you happen to bump into one.

The other thing about guardrails is that they look a lot like fences, but don’t be confused, there’s a huge difference between a guardrail and a fence. You may be able to hop a fence with little problem, but seldom do you want to go through a guardrail.

When talking about spiritual things, God’s commands, in a sense, are guardrails for mankind. The Bible uses words like, “beware, guard, be alert and watch.” The wise man said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” [Proverbs 14:12] That sure sounds a lot like a guardrail. He said in the 27th chapter, verse 12 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Essentially, a prudent person will notice the guardrail and stop, but the fool will keep on going right through the protection.

 

 

In the New Testament, Jesus said that He came to give life and to give it abundantly [John 10:10]. When John wrote his epistles, he warned, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” [2John 1:8] Another guardrail, warning us to keep what we’ve worked for, which is the eternal life that Jesus provides.

It’s sad that so many people look at the standards of the Bible and see fences rather than guardrails. They think that fences can be crossed or even abandoned when it doesn’t fit in with their personal ideas of happiness. What they fail to see is that the commands of God are guardrails for mankind to keep them from sin and to show them the way to eternal life. Are your standards a fence or a guardrail?

This great book also warns us about the adversary. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” [1Peter 5:8] A guardrail can keep us out of danger, if we’ll let it, so too The Bible.

There are many more guardrails from God in the Scriptures. Guardrails about sin, warnings about marriage, instructions for rearing children, directions about work and everything we need that pertains to this life. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” [2Peter 1:3]

Just like driving toward an approaching curve, we slow down and watch the road. We need to slow down, study the word of God and heed the warnings.

– Spencer

Traffic Signs & Authority

ALL OF US ARE familiar with the myriad of traffic signs that guide us and protect us as we travel through our lands. What if folks obeyed traffic laws in the same way that we obey Scripture?  It would be chaos on the streets, even more that what we have now. It seems to me that this is exactly what is going on in the religious world, chaos.

First, let’s imagine how driving might look if there were no traffic signs at all. No laws or instructions about how to drive. Everyone would do whatever was right in their own eyes. Without traffic laws (& signs), each driver could drive their car any way and anywhere they saw fit. [Judge 17:6]

In the early days of driving, this was exactly the case. Without a guide, there’s confusion. In August of 1896, Bridget Driscoll is the first person to die in a petrol-engine car accident, and the first pedestrian victim of an automobile accident in the United Kingdom. As she crossed the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London, she was struck by an automobile.

Let’s take a look at a common signs and interpret it according to modern day Hermeneutics.

One way sign

This is a “One Way” sign and the arrow indicates the direction. If we were to use modern bible interpretation, we might think this sign is offering options. We might say, “it doesn’t say I can’t go left.” Of course that is ridiculous. This sign allows traffic to go in ONLY ONE DIRECTION. Let’s look at a biblical example, the example of marriage. In Mark 10:7, Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;” According to this text and others, Eph 5:31, scriptural marriage is between a man and a woman with no other options allowed. When God states specifically what He wants, it eliminates all other options.

In another example, disciples came together “upon the first day of the week to break bread.” [Acts 20:7] The specific direction is “upon the first day of the week” and “to break bread.” Modernists interpret this passage to allow for semi-annual or quarterly observances of the Lord’s supper. They say, “we can observe the Lord’s Supper once a year, or once a month because it never tells us how often.” We never use this logic anywhere else in our lives. If your employer tells you that payday is on Friday, will you allow him to pay you once a year as long as it’s on a Friday?

Continuing on with another example, let’s see if their logic works regarding evangelism. The Bible says, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.:” [2Th 2:14] Under modern interpretation standards, we could call people with a carnival, a concert, games or a BBQ supper. It appears to be working for their buildings are full of people “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” [Php 3:19]

Last one….

stop sign

This is a stop sign. It means stop. It means nothing else. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:5] Once again, denominations are telling you that you don’t actually need to “stop” sinning in order to be saved. Years ago, I ran a stop sign and had the front end of my VW Rabbit removed. You see, when we fail to stop, we cause all sorts of problems, and sometimes, people get hurt.

When speaking with people about these concepts, you can use these types of examples to help your neighbor to see the truth. In order for these to be effective, you need to remember to preach Jesus. [Acts 8:35]

A mother’s Love

NOTHING COMPARES to a mothers’ love. At least that’s what every mother tells me. Upon further reflection, I tend to believe it. My own mother’s face would light up just a bit whenever I entered into the room. (That’s how I saw it anyway.)

About this time every year we have “Mother’s Day” to honor our moms. As we take time to reflect on what our mothers have meant to us, let us look at the love of one particular mom in the Scriptures.

Mary, the mother of Jesus

Is there anything we can learn from Mary without turning her into an object of worship? God said, “…those things which are revealed belong to us…” Deut 29:29, so let’s see what is revealed about the mother of our Lord.

The first thing revealed about Mary is that by her Jesus was born, Mat 1:16. Luke gives us the rest of the story and tells us that she was a virgin, Luke 1:27, and an angel appeared to her saying, “…thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” vs28. To be “highly favoured”, put her in a very exclusive club with men such as Gideon & Daniel. This description is only said of people who have proved themselves to God, doing what is right in His eyes, Deut 12:28. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer, she gives a beautiful speech praising God saying, “For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.” Luke 1:49.

Kept all these things in her heart…

Upon the birth of Jesus, when the shepherds came to see the child that angels had declared to them, she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart,” Luke 2:19.

After Jesus was circumcised according to the law and they brought Him up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, Luke 2:22, Simeon took Him up and said, “mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” vs30. Anna, a prophetess, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord. Later, when Jesus was 12, he tarried behind in Jerusalem during the Passover. Upon returning to search for Him, they found Him in the temple questioning the “doctors” of the law. When Mary asked Him “why” He said, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” vs49. Scriptures says, “she kept all these sayings in her heart.” Luke 2:51

A mother’s love…

After our Lord began His ministry, attracting crowds of people, Mary continued to show concern for her son. She, with her other sons, sought to speak to Him but couldn’t get in Mat 12:46, and became the object of a lesson on obedience. Mat 12:50.

She never stopped thinking about her son. Though we have little information about her during His ministry, the Scriptures reveal to us that she shows up again in our Saviors life, at the cross. Oh what love she had for her son. Imagine the horror she must have felt as she stood beneath her son hanging on that torturous cross. When the closest to Jesus ran away, forsaking Him, she went to Him. That’s what moms do.

Then, with the burden of our sin upon Him, He remembers His mother. Turning to John He said, “Behold thy mother!”  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:27.

She became His disciple…

The story of Mary doesn’t end at the cross, for we find her praying in Jerusalem with the Apostles as they tarried in Jerusalem awaiting the coming of the Kingdom with power, Acts 1:14. We see from her example of “pondering these things in her heart”, it lead her to understand that Jesus is the Christ.

So, what can we learn from Mary? Love. Love that never ends. A mom loves her children throughout their lives, even when they don’t understand what their child is doing. Ever loving, willing to do whatever it takes to rescue them. Sound familiar?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   (KJV) [John 3:16]

What if we could end sin?

SUPPOSE THAT we could convince everyone in the world to quit sinning.  What would we have accomplished?

It would appear at first glance that we would have made the world a much better place, but have we really done anything?

Let’s say we could convince all the world to quit drunkenness, yet they still don’t have Christ, we have done very little. Though repentance is a part of the gospel plan of salvation [Luke 13:3], it alone will not save you. Just as faith alone will never save you.

Pick a sin, whatever bothers you most, that you would end instantly. If folks repented of these sin on their own initiative, or through sound reasoning on your part, but they have not Christ you have done nothing.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1Corinthians 15:22]. We are made alive when we are “in Christ”, and according to the scriptures we get into Christ through obeying the gospel.

Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” This is the only way a person can get into Christ. The preposition into indicates a change of relationship. You can search from the front to the back of your Bible, and you will find no other way to get into Christ except by being baptized into Christ. Also Romans 6:3 says the same thing, “Or do you not know, that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” So the only way we can get into Christ is to be baptized into Christ. Either a person has been baptized into Christ, or he is still outside of Christ. We are either in or we are out. Have you been baptized into Christ in order to be saved and have your sins forgiven?  If you haven’t been, then no amount of good works can save you. [Ephesians 2:8-9].

SEEK YE FIRST…

Nowhere in this article am I saying that a person can continue in sin. Paul, in his letter to the Romans said such, [Romans 6:1-3]. It is sin that has separated us from God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear” [Isaiah 59:2]. What I am saying is that we need to approach evangelism from the top down.

All too often we find ourselves in discussions with the world about some particular sin. The discussion usually degrades into a debate, then into an argument until finally they will say, “We just have to agree to disagree.” If, on the other hand, you do convince them that a particular thing is wrong and they change, all you’ve really done is made them a better person, or a better Baptist or a better Lutheran, but you have NOT made them a Christian. If they repent of all of their sins, they still fall short of being “IN CHRIST” just as all who believe that “FAITH ONLY” is all that is necessary unto salvation.

TOP DOWN EVANGELISM

I’ve come to the realization that when a person is truly convicted in their heart that Jesus is the Christ, just as they were at Pentecost [Acts 2:37], then they will do whatever it takes to become a Christian. Until then, it’s nearly impossible to get a person to repent of anything, much less the popular sins of our culture.

It’s for this reason that I have in mind to divert every topic of conversation, with those outside of Christ, to the topic of the Authority of Christ and His plan of salvation. This is what Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8:35, 36]. This is why the Eunuch asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me from being baptized?”

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”, Jesus said to them, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” [Matthew 22:36, 37]. This is a true statement, for our Lord said it. Before we can truly obey any command of God, we must first embrace and obey this one. If we can convince the whole world about this command, THEN we have truly done something.