The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 17

The Christian and Social Media

The present generation has the benefit of the Internet to learn new things, to communicate with others and to ‘go’ places which their forbears would never have thought of.  Just by a quick click, anyone is able to access information, messages, photographs that are created and dispatched every day. The ubiquitous handphone makes it possible for us to communicate and share information so easily. We get caught into a world that is clicking away at the dining tables, walking on the roads, on the trains and buses, in the classroom and even in the church pews. We have become so uncomfortable when we do not quickly refer to the information that is coming through our electronic devices, or immediately respond to the messages received.  We heard of bytes, now gigabytes of digital data, bringing us into a so-called global village. And even if we do not physically live there, we are in fact very much affected by others who control these ‘villages’.

Sadly, as one becomes engaged in the massive flow of digital communication, it actually throws us into a very impersonal world. We do not have to speak to others face-to-face, and do not know the real emotions of the communicator, and needless to say, they cannot see our faces, or know how we really feel. This anonymity maintained in the digital world has indirectly caused many in the Church to also become very impersonal in our interactions with one another. Other than the casual handshakes or the short “hi” and “bye”, many are unable to conduct a proper conversation with others. In fact, if one were asked to talk to a newcomer in church, he would probably feel more comfortable chatting with the newcomer on the WhatsApp or WeChat than be involved in a face-to-face conversation. But does it get any easier or comfortable for one to share the gospel with someone else on the handphone?

Is this the kind of interaction which Jesus our Saviour would have wanted for us? Would someone say Christ was a little too early in coming to earth, or maybe, too late? Young people would have suggested that the Saviour of the world could have come through the Internet; and perhaps, some may even suggest that if He had done so, He would have won many more to God.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from our sin. God chose to have the Saviour born as a Babe through the virgin Mary, and later to die a painful death on the cross. During His earthly ministry, Jesus reached out to many – the 12 disciples, the hungry five thousand, the woman who touched his garments accidentally, the woman at the well, Jairus and his daughter, the siblings who lived in Bethany (Lazarus, Martha and Mary). Nicodemus the Pharisee, the wedding couple at Cana whose barrels of wine were running dry. Christ’s interaction was a personal one. He touched the lives of these people in so many different ways.

We just commemorated the death and resurrection of our Saviour in the past week. We know that Jesus appeared to His followers a few times before He ascended into heaven. He told His followers that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, and that they are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. That was the Great Commission which Christ has given to each one of us. Thus, in obedience, we should go forth and spread the Good News of Christ.

In this day and age, the Internet and other means of social media can be great avenues of help for communicating Christ to others. Thus we should maximise the use of this modern tool. It would seem that since this is a tool which can communicate information to millions and billions of people all over the world, then we should see many acknowledging   Christ as their Saviour. But, this is a misconception. Simply sharing information about Christ on the social media does not guarantee that suddenly millions will acknowledge Him as Saviour.

In Luke 16:19-31, we are told of a certain rich man and a certain beggar named Lazarus. Both died; Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man was sent to hell. As the rich man was tormented in hell, he requested of Father Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth so that he could warn the rich man’s five brothers lest they also join the rich man in hell. Abraham was said to have told the rich man. “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear….If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Beloved, does this mean that we should not try to persuade our family and friends about considering Christ? Jesus commanded His followers to “go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat 28:19). We are commanded to go and “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (vs 20). And He promises us “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

So, we have social media which can be effectively used for the furtherance of the gospel work. But as Christian individuals, are you using it for Christ? I believe we can make use of our social networks, social media and devices to share the gospel of Christ with our contacts. But, we also need to pray that God through His Holy Spirit will touch their lives, to convict and convert them after they have received the Good News. New believers in Christ need to be encouraged in God’s Word. Can you be one of those who will use your phone or computer to help others grow in their walk with God?

If you are a great fan of the Internet, or cannot live without your handphone, why not use these to share Christ with others. What you can do with your handphone or computer:

  1. Access the Bible or commentaries to grow in your Christian life; have regular Bible reading and further study into the Bible
  2. Share the gospel with your friends on your chatgroups, emails, etc.
  3. Send useful links to others to help them grow in their knowledge of Christ
  4. Invite friends to join you at the YF, YAF, LF, worship service
  5. Pray for others as prayer items are shared on the Synchronised Prayer
  6. Send Bible verses, hymns or messages which will encourage the sick, or those facing problems at home, school or office
  7. Use your handphone to record the sermon you are listening to, and send to others who missed it
  8. Jot down important points in sermons which you can later refer to for further study

I believe the social media can be put to good use by Christians if we master them instead of becoming slaves or addicts to the electronic devices or what is disseminated on the Internet. Let me challenge each one of you to use these effectively…for your personal walk with God, the spiritual growth of the church, and the furtherance of the gospel work to the ends of the earth.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
(Col 3:23-24)

Pastor Bob Phee

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