GUARD your associations…
We live in an age of “infotainment” and Causes, an era of such overload of information and ideas that the very noise can be distracting; Such influence of mind as to lead even the most devout Believers among us into a complacent fog of impotent apathy toward the very real plight of the Lost around us.
While I was writing this article my 4 year old got frustrated with me because I didn’t hear him ask me a question.
Weigh your personal, and electronic, associations very carefully…
…in the light of the Great Commission.
Everywhere you look there are signs our society is, en masse’, strolling down the broad, primrose path of destruction and death, and all too often Christians are sorely tempted to follow them in their engagements, for “the cause”, rather than to stand solely as the warning beacons of God’s Judgment and Mercy, as Christ has ordered.
A recent statistic denotes the average number of people that die worldwide every single day to be at 160,000.A recent statistic denotes the average number of people that die worldwide every single day to be at 160,000.
Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone.
United States CDC Website:
Deaths and Mortality
- Number of deaths: 2,596,993
- Death rate: 821.5 deaths per 100,000 population
- Life expectancy: 78.8 years
- Infant Mortality rate: 5.96 deaths per 1,000 live births
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
- Heart disease: 611,105
- Cancer: 584,881
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
- Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
- Diabetes: 75,578
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149
To put this in another perspective, in one year alone ~58,000,000 people faced God’s Judgment that year; 58 MILLION SOULS ARE JUDGED in one year, 2,596,993 from just the United States population. And, if they had no payment for their crimes against God, 58 MILLION were sentenced to the ETERNAL LAKE OF FIRE. If they did not know that Jesus died for their sins then they faced God guilty. Is that okay with you? Thankfully, we have many Christians in the USA who do share their faith, but not enough…
Bill Bright reported only 2% of professing Christians in the USA actively share their faith, only TWO PERCENT!?! Why, do you wonder, would that be? Well, one plainly obvious factor in this nation can be the complacency derived from the myriad of distractions here, what God calls, “the cares of this world”, the “pride of life”, and the temptations of “riches”. We live in the most influential, most rich, most busy country on earth.
What influences you? Does that influence Honor God?
When I was checking my, now deactivated, Facebook feed, sorting and clearing my Gmails on my phone, updating my IM’s, watching my YouTube Subscriptions, answering my phone calls, and dodging porn as I searched the internet, I heard a still small voice say,
“Bad company ruins good morals.”
“A good name is far more valuable than even rubies and gold.”
“Bad company LORD? When have I been in bad company?”, I thought.
“Have you been ‘confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God‘?”
No. I realized I had not paused to note how much time I have been spending in this media saturated fairey-tale world created by all of these devices, sites, and applications.
Then another thought came to mind,
“What if this over-abundance of information is what Our Enemy is using to distract Christians from their duty? What if that is the company that Satan is manipulating our attentions with, influencing us to conditioned, soulless responses, using the evil, bloody pictures of war, abortion and famine, mixed amongst the Angry Birds scores and rants about the latest political failing, to his bent?” WHAT IF the Devil himself has orchestrated all of these things to produce a virtualized world so vivid, everyone in it is so utterly DETACHED from reality, they don’t even KNOW IT?”
What if these friends are ruining my good morals?
And then I got hacked on Facebook, by a false flash update link from a Friend’s innocuous looking timeline video, and all my friends and family saw XXX porn from MY ACCOUNT!!! That’s when I realized that some associations, through so many of the things that are commonly in use in our society, are NOT SAFE. My name was serious sullied and I was completely embarrassed by the content sent in my name, a friend of Christ’s. I just couldn’t let anything remain in my name on Facebook after that, after the embarrassment I just brought to the Name of Jesus.
Can you afford to sully the Name of Jesus?
It seems to me many of my real friends were sending that same message, and now I am one of them, as more and more leave Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and the myriad of other seemingly useful tools for Ministry, because they have recognized the detrimental influence these sites and applications have had on their own lives and families; on their Mission to Seek the LOST; on the Name of Jesus.
All things in moderation…
I recall passages in Scripture about living in moderation, showing, if it is possible, how to not get stained in being moderate, that we must be careful in our engagement with the culture, while still remaining apart; “In the world, but not of it.”. I should have realized that when my mentor flatly refused to even open a Facebook account.
Is it possible to moderate such influences, to operate that far into the culture and not sully the Name of Jesus with these associations? Some have said, No!”, while others have said, “Yes.” But many of us, myself included, aren’t buying it any more. After all, I just seriously embarrassed and caused slander to the Name of Jesus with my Facebook account sending out disgusting images, even though I was innocent in the act. Can YOU afford your name to bring dishonor to Jesus?
Let’s look further at influences…
Twitter is one of the best examples of the technology that just cannot be ignored for long, once you sign on. There is a constant stream of information, most completely irrelevant to you, or what you are called to do, as a Believer. Twitter is SO FUN to be a part of you completely lose track of time very easily; The temptation to dive in and revel in the flesh of others is PALPABLE. Can’t you just taste the juicy gnashings of our nationalism? Can’t we all just SWIM in the latest struggles of Israel with the Muslims on the other side of the world, and now creeping into our communities? Can’t we all relate to the rising healthcare costs, remarking incessantly over it? Don’t you want to stop Abortion, end Homelessness, relive suffering? What’s wrong with you?
Well, can you really just have just a bit of this information drug at a time, or is it all too much to handle? Can you afford to risk having your account taken over by filthy people and have your name, and by association with you, Jesus‘ Name, dragged through the filth of the internet? I just did, I pray you will learn from my sorry example.
I have a wise friend in Christ who will give you a long, detailed, personal, and painfully experienced explanation as to why certain drugs cannot even be tried, not even once. And there is nothing really SO influential as information is there? Wait until Virtual Reality kicks into high gear. You think you are influenced NOW? Just wait!
When was the last time your read you Bible.
You know, THE Book, in silence… AWAY from the notifications, updates and tweets?
Can you even do that any more?
Some drugs are SO addictive, SO dangerous, SO influential, that any attempt to use them AT ALL will be your last free will choice on the matter. I know of many such, if you even attempt to stop using, will outright kill you, their claws are that sharp. And SO IT IS that many digital influences are just as addictive, if not more so, because they are so subtle; Never mind the ease with which your name can be used to spread filth.
Digital Drugs and Improper Relations…
How long have you gone without watching TV? We turned our TV service off and now only have internet, HEAVILY filtered. But Jesus had to WEAN us off little by little. Now WHY do you think this is? Because electronic influences ARE drugs!
Could you ever not have a cell phone? What would it take for you to call your cable company and have your service terminated? Does that make you physically ill to even think about? Guess what, THAT is a sign of ADDICTION.
I have experienced the overwhelming, choking, influence of personal associations as well, that were JUST as influencing as drugs, like infatuation, lust. I know what it’s like to drown in the attentions of another you just know you shouldn’t be in. I have lived through the streaming tears, the awful rending, of having to break the bonds of the one you are so sure you cannot live without, and then to never look back. I know the length of time it takes to heal, that slow process to close the open wounds from the improper ties that bind. It takes DECADES to overcome, and that pain I would not wish on even an enemy.
Are your relationships pure, is Jesus FIRST?
Jesus wants to SPARE us the shame of a Judgment day when every Believer will answer to Him personally, for what we have done with this precious life, His Gift to us.
What will YOU say when YOU stand naked before Jesus, with all your deeds laid bare before Him?
“Oh, sorry LORD. I know I should have witnessed at the parade but I was so busy on Facebook that day, I didn’t notice how quickly the day went by.”
“I’m sorry LORD, I just couldn’t leave him. He loves me! Isn’t love right?”
“Yes, LORD, you are right, I wasted the life you died to save.”
“I’m sorry your Name was linked with porn, LORD. I was foolish to trust them.”
“Please, NO MORE!”
Will that fly? Will our lame excuses even allow us to stand in His Presence, to even SPEAK?
I spoke to a young 17 year old, near where I live in America, who had never heard the Gospel!!!
So, please don’t give me that, “God loves us all” claptrap as an excuse for your complacency; or is it just your unwillingness to suffer for sharing your faith in Jesus? That is NOT the Gospel AT ALL to claim God will “universally” forgive everyone. In claiming that God will forgive everyone because of His love for them, you make yourself an apostate. If you claim this false Gospel you are headed for Hell yourself because you are trusting in a FALSE God, you have made up an idol you call God so you can feel better about your uncaring attitude, so you can hide in your cubicle and never risk speaking the truth. You say to yourself, “Well God loves them, and so He will forgive them anyway. I don’t have to worry about telling them why they deserve Hell. Whew! I’m safe from suffering.” Well, no, in fact, you are a liar, to even yourself. Because, I know you don’t actually speak the truth to yourself, in fact; If you did, you would see the horror of what you are doing and Ezekiel’s words would haunt you until you repented!
Eze 33:6 ESV
“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood (the blood of the people killed)* I will require at the watchman’s hand.”
Christians, like no one else, have a solemn duty, “No!, A great and glorious responsibility!”, to go and be witnesses to the world of what Jesus has done for us all! We GET TO tell people how to be RESCUED! Why would we ever let ANYTHING get in the way of that? Well, Francis Chan makes a very good point about a reason why…
These are the tough sell points, the hard questions you must ask yourself, as Christ says to me. Is He saying that to you as well? Are you listening?
Now, before I get snarky emails asking why I am still on these Social sites and apps, let me tell you, I’m not now, except for authentication purposes and our Ministry pages! That’s it! I REGRET being on them for personal use AT ALL NOW. I will not be handling them under personal accounts, again. Some logins I have to keep, like Gmail, for work authentications, but the “social” stuff? As of today the personal sites are GONE.
“I am so done” was my last Facebook personal post, before I ran a timeline cleaner.
COUNTING the cost…
Yes, I know, all these things have these cool tools you can use to automatically post to, when you write a Christ honoring article, or you can just use ONE to post to them all that way, like with HootSuite, but it takes allot of time, is allot of hassle, and requires allot of money to get right; I just don’t have allot of any of those. And, maybe, that’s just the way it should be, maybe just avoid such things altogether, like my mentor does. Because, I tell you the truth, these tools, and that’s what they are, are all VERY USEFUL tools in getting a God honoring Message out to the World. But it’s when these things begin to influence you, begin to associate the Name of Jesus with evil things, that you have to step back and count the cost. You have to evaluate the relationships you have with the face-to-face people in your life, and so you should as well with the electronic ways others influence you and how they can and do use your Savior’s Name.
That’s always it, isn’t it?
Is Jesus being honored in this?
When I was pondering this whole “Jesus thing” years ago, (thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me), I took to heart that warning from God in His Holy Scripture that we must always count the cost, because I could read the becauses…
Count the cost because… “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison – your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple…. you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple…”
Count the cost because we must – “by much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.“(Acts 14:22)
What is a true blessing about all of this, in even writing this article, is that I know every Believer KNOWS what I am saying, and has already been considering these matters. So, I am saying to you, my dear Friends, you are not alone. Look to Jesus, and KNOW what to do. We all have the same struggles, we are all here, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to tell each other The Truth. And, I tell you, these electronic, personal and cause-related distractions can be very, very bad company indeed. Heed the Spirit’s warnings… seek the Lost while you still can… let this be your FIRST priority in seeking to Honor Jesus in ALL you do… And only THEN can you safely engage the world…
Count the cost because – “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him.”
Listen, did you ever notice celebrities do not manage their own electronic profiles? Ask yourself why. It’s because they are too busy with what they deem are more important matters. In other words, get a life… but make sure it’s Christ’s Life and not someone else’s…
I remember when Billy Graham was fooled into associating with Richard Nixon. History now records his deep regret at allowing that to happen.
It’s a common theme in these days, isn’t it fellow Christian, for those professing Christ to join hands with the wicked for a specific cause, that, in the end is considered worthy. Yet the ends, “For God”, cannot ever justify the means. Even Hitler had that theme emboldened on the belt buckle of his S.S. Troop’s uniforms, “Gott Mitt Uns”, “God with us”. Was that claim, that God was with them, a justification for the evils he committed? CLEARLY NOT.
GUARD your associations
There was a time when even Israel was encamped in an area where wicked people lived and failed to guard their associations. Their leader at the time decided it best to join with the wicked in order to remain strong against other enemies, (God was with them right?); They did so in direct defiance against YHWH’s specific command not to associate, or mingle in marriage with, other nations. In the end all paid dearly for the attempt, as God refused to allow this collaboration to occur in the most painful of ways. And so it is, I am thinking today of a well known Pro-life advocate who now stands on stages with Catholics and Muslims in opposition to Abortion. While agree we MUST vote to stop Abortion (see www.180movie.com) and defy evil as a responsibility of being Christ’s, Janet Parshall’s justification of the ends to stop Abortion being worth the association with enemies of Jesus is very wrong. Even Kirk Cameron has partnered with a well known MORMON, Glenn Beck, in order to accomplish what he thought was a good cause in the end (to save the USA).
They have all IGNORED messages and calls to to repent by our ministry and many other Christians I know. We have even been in agreement with some of them, much to our dishonor.
Does anyone know Voice of the Martyrs? Same message. V.O.M. consistently responds to our queries that they will not clarify the differences between those being persecuted for Christ, and those being persecuted for a lie. Voice of the Martyrs will not identify when Catholics are suffering for their lies, and not for Christ’s Gospel. They reject all calls to repent of calling Catholics Martyrs for Christ because they believe if Catholics suffer for Jesus then they must be Christians. THAT is a false assumption and heresy, so V.O.M. is heretical, because they refuse to repent of their heretical associations.
Well, is the end of abortion worth joining with Heresy? Is someone suffering for Christ’s Name sake, even though they do not recognize the Biblical Christ AT ALL, worth associating with them to end Religious persecution? Will Voice of the Martyrs include Muslims too in their “Persecuted for Christ” mantra? After all, Muslims claim Abraham too, right? Will stopping the demise of the USA be worth the association with evil men in the end? At what price, then? Is joining with the United Nations of Religion worth the association with Enemies of Christ, to stop religious persecution in the world? Apparently Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention thinks so!*
Alas, for us all who think Jesus FIRST, all else second, that is not at ALL what God says in the Bible, nor by His Spirit; Not by the Word of God and His Testimony in the hearts of Believers it’s not! We must never compromise the Gospel for ANY other cause, and means, no matter how “good” the end looks.
I had to give up my association with the very encouraging Tea Party Patriots, for example, because remain with them was to join with Catholics, Mormons, Atheists, and many, many others who are Enemies of Christ. HOW CAN WE join forces with Enemies of OUR LORD? We cannot…
Yes, I do vote, and I do believe it is a Christian’s DUTY to vote. But I cannot, as a Minister of Christ Jesus, be seen standing with anyone, cannot even be seen shaking the hand of any, who defies God’s Sovereign Authority.
It comes down to this:
Will it bring Jesus Honor? Does what you are doing proclaim His Reign?
If not DO NOT.
Maybe Francis Chan was right after all? I owe you an apology Pastor Chan.
Can Facebook and Twitter be used to reach the Lost? Of course. But to what cost do we spend time on these things and not personal interactions with others? No, evangelism, personal face to face witnessing, is FAR more effective, in a one-on-one conversation, than by any other means. Many well known evangelists and ministers have said so, and I believe them, am beginning to believe them more!
“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple…”
Patrick Burwell, OnlyJesusSaves.com
*Russell Moore and UN of Religion reference – http://christiannews.net/2014/11/07/russell-moore-rick-warren-to-join-pope-francis-with-muslims-buddhists-for-interfaith-conference/#sthash.Qdq4K07k.EzDIEkke.dpuf