Social Media and the Internet (3)

See full series: 2019-sermons
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Social Media and the Internet (3)

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr



Sunday, August 25, 2019 am         

Lights in a Dark World (29)
Examples in Every Area – Social Media & the Internet (3)

      The past 2 Sundays we have been addressing our example via social media. We have talked about some of the problems with social media and last week we addressed some rules to consider. Please consult that lesson if you were not here.   Rather than repeating the various rules, let me summarize it with 1 verse – Matthew 7:12, Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

We almost finished our lesson, but there are a few more observations I want to make. So in this lesson I want to conclude our observations about social media and expand a little to talk about the internet and other electronic sources.

I.  Using social media for good

  1. Take a break from it – if you really want to learn how addicted you are, take a break.   I will not be brought under the power of any – 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23
  2. Let your light so shine (Matthew 5:14-16) – Don’t be ashamed of Him, even on social media.     It is a tool to boldly and kindly declare that you ARE a Christian.
    And as we have been addressing how you are a Christian in every aspect of your life, that should be reflected in every aspect of your social media life as well.
  3. Use it to reach others – to bring them to Christ.
    MARK 16:15-16, Matthew 28:19-20 – the great commission.   In that passage, Jesus gave a direct command – GO!   But HOW we are to go, is left up to our discretion (within other scriptural limits). Use your social media platform to “go into all the world”, into all of YOUR world.
    Is there someone that might be a good prospect on your “friends” list?   Use it to promote Christ (though the gospel and the Lord’s church, etc.). Find ways, get creative, to teach others or at least to introduce them to the gospel.
    Statistics show that social media is one of the more effective ways to REACH others with your message right now.
    That is why we have a Facebook page (@roseavenuecofc), and a website ( I’ll address this more in a while.
  4. Use it to encourage others – there are a lot of people that are out there hurting right now.   Many of them “share” on Facebook.   It is clear they need encouragement.   Give it to them. Let people know you are concerned about them.   Hebrews 12:12 – we strengthen the hands that hang down.
    1 Thessalonians 5:14 – exhort, warn, comfort and uphold.
    Be truthful – if you say you are praying for them, make sure that you are.
  5. Use it to be different – in a good way.   We are supposed to be different. The world needs to see more godly communication.
  6. Don’t let social media be the end – it is a tool, like a bulletin, tract, correspondence course, etc. Social media is NOT the end all. It will not convert anyone by itself. But it can lead you to one who can tell you what you need to do.   Remember that in the Bible EVERY example of conversion involved a face to face conversation – even Cornelius, the Ethiopian Eunuch and Saul himself. God got their attention, but someone was sent to them to convey the message.
    We STILL need face to face interaction – something we have noted this medium often robs people of. If you have close friends with needs, take the time to actually reach out to them and help them in whatever way you can.   Show them that you REALLY do care.   What we post can be meaningful, but it is just words.   Let your faith be demonstrated by your actions – James 2:15-18, 1 John 3:18 – let us love not in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth.


II.   About the internet

  1. What is the internet?   It is a series of interconnected networks that convey lots of information. We can get information, both good and bad, at our fingertips and in an instant.   Social media is only one platform on the internet.
    The majority of the internet is websites with information.   While ways of contact are provided, they are usually about dissemination THEIR information.   Much good can come from the internet.   And of course it can be a source of abuse, even spiritually.   For example: Some now use the internet to replace the local church (as far as worship, etc.).
  2. Using the internet for good.
    1. Use it to learn and teach – Information is available to us, if we will just take the time to do some research.   GOOD information, both secular and sacred.
      Our focus here is spiritual. You can learn so much with a little effort by finding sound and truthful websites dedicated to sharing God’s word accurately.
      There are also some very effective websites by brethren (not talking about churches) that promote the truth and encourage us to think and grow spiritually. This is of great benefit to us and an opportunity to learn. “
      BUT a word of caution – do not let the internet (or anything else) replace time with the Bible itself.   2 Timothy 2:15.
      Social media doesn’t have to be the only way we use the internet to teach.   We can prepare ourselves for upcoming discussions with others.   We can even use it to explain why we believe what we believe.
      ONE of the benefits of portable devices is access to more information.   Versions of the Bible (either free or at a nominal cost), clarification of words, etc.     It used to be that whenever we saw someone with their cell phone at church, we assumed they were using it improperly.   Maybe they were, but times have changed.     We are living in times where cell phones and tables ARE the Bible(s) one uses.   Some congregations make their outlines and presentations available on these devices in real time. Others stream their services – either with audio or video.
    2. Use it to let others know we are here – the internet can give valuable information directing people to faithful churches of Christ. With it you can find directions, times of services and often, on websites there is information directed to visitors and those in the area – explaining why we are here and what to expect.   That can be a good thing.
      We have a website – Again, studies have shown that the FIRST place people go when they are searching for a church is a website.     A website can let others know what you really believe and teach, it can give useful information to prospective visitors so they know what to expect, and it can even provide ways to evangelize (e.g. online correspondence courses, tracts, ways for individuals to   contact us with questions or requests, etc.).
    3. Use it to save time – one of the benefits of the internet is that it can help us better manage our lives. It can help us locate things and places so that we save time that we can use in other places.
  3. BUT Just a click away(the evil use of the internet)
    1. Just like social media, there are serious concerns with the internet.   You can use the internet anonymously.   We have access to the world, and virtually anything in our living rooms OR even on our portable devices that we have with us at all times.   This has opened the door for various types of sinful activity that one can engage in thinking that no one else knows about it.   AND, maybe that is the case -HERE!   But understand that you are NOT hiding from God! Psalm 139:7-12 notes we cannot hide from Him.   Hebrews 4:13 – all things are naked and open to His eyes.
      Often times, in time, if one continues in sinful behavior it is exposed.
      Numbers 32:23 – Your sin will find you out.   Spoken of a portion of Israel deciding to settle East of the Jordan River. They were permitted to do so, BUT they were admonished to not neglect their brethren. The point – God knows and will deal with you.   Note also Galatians 6:7, God is not mocked.   Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
      A few years ago, Joe Price presented a sermon in which he addressed various sinful practices found on the internet.   He called it, “The world wide web of sin”[1]. In that lesson he dealt with social media. But he also dealt with other things available with just a click.
    2. What are some of the sins that are “just a click away”.
      1. Lusts of the fleshpornography is a great concern today.   Sexually explicit materials are available and a huge problem in our society. They are the product of lusts of the flesh and eyes.   Jesus in Matthew 5:28 spoke of committing adultery in the heart.
        When surfing the internet we need to remember what David said in Psalm 101:3, I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;   Job said, I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? (Job 31:1)
        Gambling – another serious concern on the internet.   Gambling is a covetous act as one seeks to take from another with a simple wager, and without productive work. It can easily lead to addiction and is always poor stewardship.   It too is a serious problem and now available with just a click. In 2017, gambling revenues in the U.S. totaled over $150 Billion.   Online gambling was nearly $250 million.   That is wagering while you blindly trust that the game is fair – a whole other story.
        1 Timothy 6:10 challenges us to be content and not to love money.
        Colossians 3:5 tells us that covetousness is idolatry.
        Fornication – on the internet there is opportunity to engage in sexual immorality of all sorts.   There are websites dedicated to meeting others, either openly or secretly. Recall just a few years ago, the scandals associated with Ashely Madison.   In a recent search I found an article entitled, “10 of the best adultery dating sites.”
        Clearly, this is contrary to the life of a Christian – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Hebrews 13:4.
        Many other sins could be added to these – things we find on the internet of which we should be very cautious.
      2. Human wisdom – again, at the click of the mouse, you can be exposed to every type of thinking there is – atheism and skepticism and popular subjects now,   On the internet you can find universalism (the teaching that God will save all men), rebellion against religion, the advocacy of all sorts of ungodly behaviors (e.g. homosexuality, justification for abortion on demand, the mocking of Christians and godliness, hate groups, etc.
        In scripture we are taught to make a distinction between the wisdom of man and wisdom of this world.   1 Corinthians 3:19 tells us that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
        Colossians 2:8, Paul warned, “Beware, lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ…
        Note how Paul concludes, 1 Timothy 6:20-21, O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.   Grace be with you. Amen.
      3. False doctrine – a particularly dangerous form of human wisdom is false doctrine which is also quite prevalent on the internet.   In fact, it is a preferred way for many to get “their message” out.
        Remember the warning of Paul to Timothy about Hymenaeus and Philetus – whose “message will spread like cancer.” (2 Timothy 2:17)
        1 John 4:1 we are called upon to test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
        Heed again the warning of Ephesians 5:11 – and have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
      4. Tremendous waste of time   – I include in this social media, web searching, researching and learning about hobbies and interests, video games, watching movies – even good ones, etc. The point is how are we using our time?   Are we wasting our time and HOW MUCH of it are we wasting?   That is really the concern.
        I am fully convinced there is nothing wrong with these activities within themselves (assuming they are not sinful)

Social media and the internet are a part of life and can be used for great good.   But realize they are also tools of the world – don’t use it as the world does. Romans 6:12-15 tells us, do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies…   Remember Romans 12:1-2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… How that happens is influenced by HOW we use the internet and social media among other things.   I have no problem with the internet.   But let us use it to let our light shine in the MIDST of this dark world. Think about it.

[1] Joe Price,     Posted August 22, 2014