In continuing with our series on the quiet pursuit of God with what I have termed the seven deadly sins of social media, let’s look at how replacing the local church with social media and super-star pastors are negatively impacting our quiet pursuit of God.
3. Replacing the Local Church
Hebrews 10:24–25 (CSB) — 24 And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
On this point I must discipline myself to be concise because I could lament the terrible woes coming upon the Bride of Christ due solely to how our view of the local church body has shifted from one centered upon being a community / family of worshippers to that of religious-consumers. May God forgive us for what we have turned worship into.
I thank God for my background because I grew up referring to “Church” as “worship”. My family never said “let’s go to Church”, we always said “let’s go worship”.
When we take into account how utterly impossible it is to love God without loving his children (1 Jn. 4:20), how the substance of true Christian worship comes from joyfully offering our holy lives to God (Rom. 12:1-2), which depends upon keeping God’s word with love (1 Jn. 5:2-3), then it becomes apparent that you cannot replace your local community of believers with online Christian social media!
God’s will for his people is that they should encourage one another “daily” (Heb. 3:13). Therefore, we should be making every effort to increase the amount of time we spend with one another, not decrease it!
One of my greatest joys is that I minister to two groups of believers that I genuinely look forward to spending time with every week, and long to increase the amount of time that we get to spend fellowshipping together! I lament that so many Christians don’t know what that feels like.
4. “I Follow Piper”
1 Corinthians 3:3b–4 (CSB) — 3 …You are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans? 4 For whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not acting like mere humans?
Christian leadership is divinely appointed by Christ for ministry to the body so that we might reach both unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s son, and grow into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness (Eph. 4:11-13). Therefore, we should rejoice when we find faithful Christian men who have become well-respected among God’s people as articulate, clear, and faithful ministers.
Where the abundance of sound teaching that is available to us today becomes cancerous is when Christians divide along sectarian lines and espouse loyalty to any particular human creed or teacher. Unfortunately, I have witnessed more than my fair share of sharp disagreements between Christian brothers over one teacher versus another! This worldliness in the body is destroying our witness in the world and crippling the spiritual growth of the body.
The Quiet Pursuit of God
Jesus teaches us to do our good works in private because God is in the secret places. Those who replace the local church with Christian social media deprive themselves of the very outlet in the Body of Christ where they can exercise their love. We must not think that our quiet pursuit of God suggests loneliness or some kind of monk-like solitude. Biblical quietness is qualitative; it conveys the manner of our pursuit of God. And it is in the context of the body that our quiet pursuit of God flourishes most!
Likewise, when Christians divide along sectarian lines, they lose their quiet pursuit of God and become embroiled in disputes, arguments, strife, and division. Biblical quietness flourishes in unity.