Mar 22nd, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 70 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to be talking about content.
A large part of the world lives in societies that are social media-driven. It’s become an essential part of so many people’s lives all over the world. Every click, every like and follow drives our decision-making processes. As such, there is this imperative to present something to the world that will draw attention. I came across a video of a very distraught Christian woman on TikTok. She sees her social media presence as a ministry. Through tears and running mascara, she explains that she’s considering giving up her efforts on the platform because her videos aren’t getting the attention she thinks they deserve, and so she isn’t having the impact she was expecting to have.
In Matthew 12:34 CSB Jesus says, “ Brood of vipers!” Woah, hold up, wait a second! Can we pause there for just a minute? This phrase that just came out of Jesus’ mouth directed at the Pharisees “Brood of vipers!” This is not only an insult but speech considered unbecoming of a gentleman. This phrase alone would have had the mother’s in the audience covering their children’s ears for fear of what obscene thing might come out of Jesus’ mouth next. This is a phrase you can only do justice with your face contorted in disgust. Matthew 12:34 CSB He says, “ Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”
A couple of episodes ago, in season 2 ep 68 we talked about our living in a consumer-driven society. We want more and more, bigger and better. We’re driven by it, we crave it. The new car, the bigger T.V., the newest phone model, the few more square feet in our homes, the largest churches with the biggest attendance and the most popular pastors.
With the advent of social media, this hunger, these cravings are on display for the whole world to see. We feed the hunger, and it festers like an open wound. If you will allow me, let’s borrow from Jesus and update the sentiment of Matthew 12:34, “What you post on social media comes from the overflow of your heart.” The thing you need to know about the woman’s video from earlier is that her profile has over sixty-five thousand followers and each video she posts is viewed over an average of one thousand times a piece. Can you imagine if Jesus had this same outlook? ‘I’ve only got twelve followers when I used to have one hundred and twenty, and sometimes my ministry efforts are hit and miss. Maybe I should give up and go back to carpentry!’ Ridiculous, right? The problem isn’t with her impact, the problem, much like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, is one of focus. Whether we’re talking about the Pharisees of Jesus day or the woman on TikTok, I believe few people step into ministry intending to make themselves famous. It’s easy to get caught up in producing content to appease the masses and forget that we should be creating content to please God and let the Holy Spirit move on those masses.
It’s a simple thing to confuse leading others in giving glory to God with that glory being your own. This is the problem Samael the Archangel faced before the rebellion in heaven. Samael was believed to be the worship leader of the angels and the prosecutor when other angels had stepped out of line. With that information in mind when we read in Ezekiel 28:14-17 CSB what Ezekiel has to say about Samael, Lucifer, the Devil, Satan, whatever you want to call it. His wording is a little too familiar for comfort with how most of us behave on social media, it says, “ You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you.  Through the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I expelled you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and banished you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.  Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor you corrupted your wisdom. So I threw you down to the ground; I made you a spectacle before kings.”
As Christians we need to re-evaluate how we engage on social media and consider 1 Timothy 6:6-10 CSB, “ Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out.  If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.  But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” That ‘love of money’ there is the equivalent of the modern word avarice – greed for wealth or material gain. You could just as easily read verse ten there as, ‘For the pursuit of flex is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.’ Flex if you don’t know, is where you show off a talent, skill, item/s of wealth on social media to garner attention, praise, or invoke jealousy. The line here isn’t where you think it is, some are guilty of this by sharing pictures of scriptures from their bibles/journals, pics of themselves volunteering, serving the hungry, or on mission trips. Who are you honestly trying to bring glory to?
In 1 Corinthians 1:12-17 Paul writes, “ One of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?  I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,  so that no one can say you were baptized in my name.  I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t recall if I baptized anyone else.  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.” So I ask again, who are you honestly trying to bring glory to? Are you creating disciples of Bill, Joel, Robert, Craig, or Steven? Was I crucified for your audience? Were you?
In Philippians 4:12 CSB Paul writes, “ I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content-whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” Whether our content has all the likes, views, and follows or not; we must learn to be content and trust the Holy Spirit to do what He does best. In trust, we remain content with our content and the influence God has granted us.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”