Good morning everyone, to both new and old friends. I am deeply moved that so many are showing interest in these simple thoughts on God's Word. I pray they prove to be a blessing to you today.
I realize that not many of you can remember the controversy of when television was first introduced to the home. No, I am not that old but when I was a young boy it was still an evil being preached against in many churches. At the young age of 6 or 7 I can remember my mom discussing it with my dad. The fear was the influence this thing would have on "weak" minds, especially the soup operas. I remember those soaps, particularly "The Edge of Night". The characters became like part of the family as my mom discussed the latest happenings with the neighbours. Today, as we look at what comes into our homes everyday through the television we may tend to agree with the early nay sayers. It certainly has had its influence on the various generations since first being introduced.We have taken something that had such great potential for good and allowed it to become a negative thing.
Today the television has been surpassed by the Internet. At one time statistics showed that our youth were spending far too much time watching television. When I was in training to be a pastor one of our instructions told us if we were watching more than three hours of television a week we were wasting Kingdom time. Now I am fortunate if I only spend three hours a day on the Internet. It is true that it is part of my work and ministry but I also waste a bit of time on it because it can become very distracting. Today computer time has far surpassed television watching as the great consumer of our children's time. If we worried about the influence the television had on these young minds 40 years ago imagine the influence of the Internet today? However, we should be concerned with more than just our young people's minds, we should also be concerned with our own.
There is a lot of garbage being shoveled in the Church these days, being passed off as solid spiritual food. Some of it has to do with the wrong people being chosen for the wrong positions in the Church. We have people who are acting like teachers who are not teachers. It would be like telling a baker he is a plumber. Tell him enough times and he will start acting like a plumber and your house will never be the same again. Another problem is that people are trying to build churches instead of making disciples. We are spending too much time trying to build attractive programs and buildings so we do not want to teach anything too difficult. We dumbify the Word of God, watering it down so as not to offend and drive people away. We can't do much about these things but we certainly can put a guard over our mind when it comes to these teaches from the Internet, television and various other places. Remember that the danger does not just come from the influence of the world but from the false teaching of demons. Paul wrote to the Colossians:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (2:8)
The instruction was written to us as individuals. We cannot blame anyone for leading us astray from solid doctrine. It is our own responsibility to know and study the Word of God. According to this Word God has given us teachers, such as myself, but we are also told that the Holy Spirit is our teacher and he helps us understand the Word of God. Before accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and receiving the Holy Spirit the Word of God held no significance other than some interesting philosophies. But after receiving the Holy Spirit the Word has come alive to us and now we can understand. The problem is we are often too lazy or busy to study it.
Time is a factor in our lack of study as is the ease of use, so we tend to leave it the Bible and ask others, such as myself, to feed us instead of feeding ourselves. We listen to teaching tapes, watch teaching videos, take in online classes and get fed off of other people. These things are not bad at all as long as we are also studying the Word for ourselves so we are able to recognize hollow and deceptive philosophies. There is a lot of the world mixed in to today's teaching and we are too busy and lazy to recognize it. Only the Word is a double edge sword, able to separate truth from fiction.
I think we need to take Paul's warning seriously and look at our own study habits. Are we wasting Kingdom time on distractions? Are we leaning too much on teachers, such as myself? Are we taking in whatever is taught without checking it for ourselves? Are we being taken captive by hollow and deceptive teaching that comes from human tradition and basic worldly principles? Are our minds focused on Jesus and his teaching or are we being led in a different direction? Would we even know? It is time to pick up your Bible again and check it for yourself. Your eternity may depend on it.