Saturday, June 12, 2010

Word of the Week for June 15, 2010

What affects our Faith? Media.

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15: “33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”
The members of the Church at Corinth were greatly affected by society around them. Corinth was a multicultural city situated on a major trade route. People from everywhere came through the city. And they brought with them their goods, their money, their habits, and their beliefs.

The city of Corinth was as diverse and multi-cultural as any city today would want to be. They had schools, gymnasiums, sporting events, great shopping centers with goods from everywhere, theaters, temples with a wide variety of beliefs, and they had a night life that would equal modern Amsterdam or Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Entertainment meant a great deal. Entertainment, news, religions were all tied together in commerce. And through the media of their day, the Christians at Corinth had begun to fall prey to all kinds of sin and perversions.

They had begun to look at worship as an entertainment and merely a social gathering(1 Cor. 11:17–22). They would form groups around which ever pastor seemed to please them the most with his sermons (1 Cor. 2). They looked for the latest worldly wisdom and for dramatic miraculous signs (I Cor. 1:18–25; 3:18–23). They accepted homosexuality, divorce, polygamy, fornication, incest, prostitution, and even the use of children for sexual pleasure (1 Cor 5–7). They had allowed themselves to view religions just as a way to get along with others and to improve their cash flow (1 Cor. 5–6 and 8).

They allowed themselves to be so affected by the media of their day that they had defiled the Lord’s Supper, and taught that those things which God condemns were really not so bad. After all, some of those things God condemned were fun. They could figure out how to improve their bottom line and their social standing by letting some of these commandments of God go by the wayside.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

I suppose that some readers might think that they are smarter or wiser than the Corinthians of that day. But we are not. Just as they were, every day we also are flooded with shows, articles, movies, internet, TV, radio, and conversation that entice us to put God’s commandments aside. And all for the same reasons that the Corinthians did: personal pleasure, personal gain, and avoiding looking like a fool in front of the neighbors.

God doesn’t change. His commandments do not change. It is we who change and leave His Word to do our own thing. God does not make exceptions for us because we think that we know better in our time. If we really knew better, why do we engross ourselves with the same old sins that they did?

Looking foolish to the world is not bad, just uncomfortable for our sinful natures.

Paul wrote in I Cor. 2

 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Instead of immersing ourselves in the media, let us immerse ourselves in the Wisdom and Knowledge of God. Proverbs 9: 10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Let us abide in His Word, the Bible. And through His Word gain a heart of wisdom and salvation. Let us never underestimate the affect of the media and popular culture have upon us. But let us turn always back to the reading and teaching of His Word of Salvation as our Way, Truth, and Life.

God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant while words endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations.