A FaceBook Lamentation
“They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”
In modern America, professing Christians have access to a plethora of ministry resources and options. On the internet, and FaceBook in particular, very personal and one-on-one spiritual teaching, instruction, and doctrinal discussion abound. Of course, no one can deny this can be very profitable.
True Christians sharing Biblical truth with one another is edifying, uplifting, and spiritually advantageous. However, in these apostate times, when charlatans, hypocrites, and deceivers are the norm rather than the exception, the potential for spiritual danger is incredibly amplified. Satan always has his sleazy, Bible-wresting Antinomians (sin-lovers, sin-excusers, and sin-promoters) lurking in nearly every cyber-corner seeking whom they may devour. Amazingly, on FB, I’ve seen such men arrogantly twist the Scriptures to justify all manner of sin, undermine the fear of God, and undercut the Lordship of Christ. Recently, I’ve read outrageous threads where blind religionists violently distorted the Scriptures vainly trying to:
1. Excuse obvious worldliness.
2. Vehemently insist no one can, even through grace, stop sinning (Jn 5:14, 8:11;1 Cor 15:34; 2 Pet 2:14).
3. Attempt to justify, promote, and/or excuse false or questionable doctrine.
Oh, how grievous and heart-breaking such things must be to God’s Spirit. Hence, dear reader, like never before, we must exercise extreme caution and wisdom in regards to what and whom we subject ourselves. If we are not careful we can quickly be exploited, confused, and deceived.
How does this happen?
If we fail to verify the spiritual validity of the teacher and his message by strict Biblical criteria we make ourselves spiritually vulnerable. It is not enough to simply determine if the manner and content of the message is orthodox, as ministry is far more than mere words and thoughts. Words that can be proven accurate are referred to as “facts,” but “divine utterance” has a much higher standard. Genuine, God-ordained ministry is both true and living (Jn 6:63); in other words, it will be sound in doctrine and confirmed by holiness in the messenger.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
-1 John 4:1
Remember, Biblical doctrine inspires obedience and holiness while doctrines of devils tend to excuse, justify, and sponsor sin (Matt 5:19; 28:20; 2 Tim 4:3). So, obviously, the message, if truly of God, must compel us to love and obey the Bible and submit fully to the Lordship of Christ (Tit 2:11-12). Furthermore, God’s truth is endowed with supernatural delivering power (Jn 8:32). Those who preach the truth, like their Master, must be the truth that they preach (Jn 14:6). If this is not the case, they reveal themselves disqualified from claiming they are under a divine calling (Matt 7:15-20). Thus, when we limit the examination of “ministries” to only the verbal or written content of their message we are naïve. Such shallow standards, though universally held as sufficient, are a brazen failure to exercise proper discernment as the Bible instructs. True, the message must be pure and Biblically accurate, but so must the messenger (Matt 7:15-20; Jam 1:23). Who is the man that teaches God’s Word behind the computer screen? Does he practice what he preaches? Many people profess Jesus as Lord, but are they truly submitted to Christ? If “talk” is cheap, then typeface is even cheaper. At least in verbal conversation we have direct contact with an individual, but from behind a computer screen, our insight into the real person is very restricted. What do these cyber theologians really live like? What is the character of their marriages, homes, children, business practices, personal day-to-day habits? We would be wise to remember that cyber-personas are very one dimensional; simply meaning, we know precious little about the voices clamoring for our attention. It is impossible to fully obey the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 “…know them which labour among you,” merely by detached observation from behind a computer screen.
Obviously, I believe it is possible to glean “here and there” from varying sources on FB/internet, but before we truly open our heart for ministry we need to exercise wisdom. Now, dear reader, it is true, I, the author of this article, am one of those “cyber voices” bidding for your time. I declare, like all others, to do so in love and in an effort to promote Jesus Christ and His truth. However, as I mentioned earlier, words, especially when only typed, are little more than meaningless. If you are honest, you must admit, you really don’t know me. Hence, before you fully open your heart to ministry from this preacher’s PC keyboard, I urge you to:
1. Carefully, cautiously, and earnestly measure everything I write by the Word of God. Ask yourself: Is what this man teaching consistent with the rightly divided Scriptures? Does it promote holiness, obedience, and full submission to the Lordship of Jesus, or does it somehow undermine the fear of God and excuse worldliness, sin, and impiety? And remember, just because I’ve written the truth in times past doesn’t necessarily insure that I will write the truth again (though, by the grace of God, I have every intention to do so). Be critical, be judgmental in the extreme; analyze, examine, inspect, and dissect every thought, every premise, every implied doctrine (Isa 8:20; 1 Cor 14:29; 1 Thess 5:21; 1 Jn 4:1). Be fair, be Scriptural, but scrutinize what I write like there could potentially be spiritual poison hidden in every sentence. If the things I write are truly according to Scripture, I have nothing to hide and certainly nothing to fear. Besides, even if you don’t hold me that accountable, I have an all-seeing, Almighty and Holy God who most certainly will (Matt 12:36; Jam 3:1). If I stray from God’s Word, please, confront me in love. If I refuse to repent, I strongly suggest you immediately saturate my influence with your absence.
2. Moreover, if possible, I invite you to come meet me face to face. Meet my wife and my children. Come spend a few days with me. Visit our church. Observe my business endeavors, talk to my clients. See how I live, get to know me personally.
Truly, this is the only way we really know what we are reading on-line is credible before God.
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience…”
-2 Timothy 3:10
Now, I realize visiting me, or anyone else for that matter, is not feasible for most. What then, is the solution? Pray that God would lead you to a good Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, Bible-living local church where you can “flesh-out” your Christianity with real people in real life. A community of covenant believers where Jesus is exalted, sin and carnality are abased, where the sheep are fed, and where goats are exposed. Find a place where the term “world” still strikes fear and trepidation into the hearts of the people. Pray God will lead you to a place where men are men, women are women, wives obey their husbands, and children obey their parents; a place where the preaching is fiery, not effeminate and the music sounds like heaven, not hell. If you can, find a spiritual refuge where you don’t have to fight the “church” to follow and obey Jesus.
I also realize there are precious few such churches anywhere. Nevertheless, this is God’s way, God’s pattern, and God’s plan. Until then, beware of giving your heart to a computer persona who by “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
PS: If any man teaches we must continue in sin, even under grace, don’t look back, run for your spiritual lives.