Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Following the Wrong Crowd

When you look at today’s world, it is so easy to get almost anything. Everything is available to you right from the computer or mobile device. What used to take days or weeks to be delivered now only takes hours. In some cases, all you have to do is hop in your car, drive over to a store and within minutes what you ordered is being loaded into your car. In short, we are a society of immediate gratification and we love our new way of interacting. Gone are days of going to a store and browsing the shelves and aisles of a department store. The new generation is now used to a digital world that will deliver purchases and food orders right to the door.

Our social lives are always following the same path. Instead of meeting at coffee shops or diners for a cup and a chat, people engage on social media platforms to share and interact. Once again, gone are the days of just being able to meet for a chat. People don’t even use telephones anymore. Most just fire off short text messages to one another. The language now reflects our need for speed by being reduced to acronyms and emoticons.

Everything has changed. In some cases, it is a good thing. People don’t have a lot of time for shopping and want to spend time with others. That is a noble and good thing to do. So, technology has helped in that respect. However, there is a darker side to all of this wonderful world of being connected.

It is so easy for people to connect themselves with individuals and groups of like-minded individuals who are bent on doing questionable or bad things. Many of the social media platforms have been used to exploit individuals who are vulnerable to new ideas and are willing to participate in questionable activities. I don’t have to go into great details about this. Just suffice it to say, that some groups use social media to ensnare and brainwash others into doing things that are illegal and may cause harm to others. Technology is wonderful, but it all depends on how it is used. Like with anything else, it can be used for good or for evil.

As Christians, we have to be on guard all the time. It is so easy for the world to seduce us back into darkness. Think about all of the things that are available by simply searching and clicking. There are so many evil things that have found their ways into our homes, schools and even our churches. Many are seduced by the evil that they see and end up addicted to the things they see. In time, that addiction leads to more and more things and they go deeper into the darkness.

I know that there are people who are struggling with this. You have fallen prey to what the world offers. I can tell you this. It may seem harmless at first, but, like a snowball, it just continues to build and build. There are people who will act as friends and they will drag you further and further into a world of sin and damnation. It doesn’t take much for people to fall prey to what they see and hear. Like the old adage tells us, curiosity will sometimes get the best of us and satisfaction will continue to pull us deeper and deeper into that dark world.

Paul, in chapter twelve of his letter to the Romans, writes, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you were transformed into a new person whose thoughts were not focused on the things of this world. God became the center of your life and your focus. You began to follow the example and teachings of Jesus and began a daily walk of righteousness. You were baptized as a public profession of your faith and each day became a joy to live. 

However, Satan and his demons are not going to give you up that easily. He tempts you daily and whispers that no one will ever know what you are doing as you begin to embrace things of this world. He continues to tell you not only that no one will ever know but also that it won’t hurt anyone. You begin to accept his word as “truth” and begin to wander off the righteous path that God has laid out before you. You keep telling yourself the same “truth” over and over. As you do, you continue to go deeper and deeper and seek out others who believe in the “truth” that Satan has given you. As you go deeper, you seek out others who are like-minded. For some, it is the beginning of the end. The end of the line leads to spiritual death and damnation. 

But, it’s not too late. Stop and realize what you have been given when you accept the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus and through the shedding of his precious blood. When you begin to refocus on God and turn away from those who will continue to lead you astray and from the things of this world, you will once again be on the righteous path and walking with God daily.

In chapter four of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer scattering seeds. In one of the examples, Jesus tells us about the seed that lands in the midst of thorns. As the seed begins to grow, it is slowly choked out by the thorns.

Jesus tells us the meaning of this particular situation, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

The message can easily be crowded out if we allow it to be. Don’t allow the things of this world to gain a foothold in your life. Don’t follow the crowd whose aim is nothing more than worldly indulgence and sin. Stay focused on the Lord and He will lead you away from temptation and guide you along the path of righteousness. 

In chapter six of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.

Living in this world is very challenging for Christians. It is so easy for anyone to fall prey to the things that we see and hear. There are those around us who will tell you that it won’t hurt anyone to try it and they will lead you astray. Don’t listen to them. Come out from the unbelievers and separate yourself from them. Be a living sacrifice and devote yourself to righteous living and walking with the Lord daily and don’t copy the ways of this world. When you remain devoted to the Lord, He will remain devoted to you. As His child, you will always stand firm in His grace. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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