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Social media and social influencer – The Manila Times

Last of two parts
IN this column last week, social media was defined and its uses and benefits were described. Likewise, through the verses in the Holy Scriptures, it was emphasized that the one true God must be considered as the best influencer in the lives of Christians in these last days.

The author, Dr. Antonio G. Papa

The author, Dr. Antonio G. Papa

It was also reported that three months ago, a series of lessons was prepared by the INC Executive Minister and preached to the congregants worldwide on the occasion of its congregational worship services.
This week, a continuation of the transcript of the article titled “The One Who should be the 'influencer' of our lives,” written by Brother Alejandro Sino Cruz Jr., INC Minister of the Gospel, published in the Pasugo: God's Message in its March 2022 issue, will be quoted.
How to listen to God
“God had His words written by His servants (Jer. 30:2). Collectively, His words are written in the Holy Scriptures or the Bible (II Tim. 3:15-17 GNB).
“The Holy Scriptures teach wisdom that leads to salvation, the truth, right living, and good deeds. Hence, those who wants to know what is best for them should listen to God's teachings written in the Bible. Although certain personalities may be considered as 'experts' in moral and social issues, but if their opinion or belief is contrary to God's teachings in the Bible, then it would not lead people to the truth, right living, and salvation. True Christians should never agree or accept such an opinion or belief. They should not subscribe to, share, or even like a social media platform, channel, page, post, or tweet that support it. The words of God are what they should uphold all the time.
“However, the Bible is not open to one's personal interpretation (II Pet. 1:20-21). The pure words of God cannot be understood by just anyone even if he studies. the Bible rigorously. The Bible itself attests that there are those who are 'always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth' (II Tim. 3:7 New King James Version).
“Who, then, can teach the pure words of God? According to the Lord Jesus Christ, 'The one whom God has sent speaks God's words' (John 3:34 GNB). Hence, it is to the preaching of those whom God has sent that people should listen, 'because God gives (them) the fullness of his Spirit' (John 3:34 GNB).
“In these last days, God sent His Messenger – Brother Felix Y. Manalo (Isa. 41:9-10; 46:11; Rev. 7:2-3) – to preach His pristine words. Through Brother Manalo's preaching, people were able to listen to, understand, and firmly believe in God's pure teachings. Through the Messenger, God called people into the true Church Of Christ, God's chosen people in our time.
The preaching of God's words continues
“The Lord God entrusted to the minister whom He placed to administer the Church the task of making 'God's message fully known' (Col. 1:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible). That is why, although God's Messenger in these last days already passed away, the preaching of God's pure words did not cease.

Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo

Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo

“The one appointed by God to administer the Church Of Christ in our time is Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister. Hence, Church members, up to the present, are still able to listen to and faithfully uphold the words of God that God's Messenger had taught. They also strive to make sure that it is God's teachings that influence their attitude and outlook in life.
“Moreover, Church members stay alert and vigilant. They carefully examine if what are being said by social media influencers are against what the Bible teaches. They do not allow themselves to be swayed by the smooth talk of such personalities. True Christians do not adhere to any belief or opinion that is contrary to biblical teachings.
Not our fellowmen
“Why should God's people not just pattern their outlook in life, values, beliefs, and especially their faith, after the opinions or ideologies of their fellow human beings? The Bible states an undeniable truth about humans:
'God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else? … You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. … But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong' (James 4:12, 14, 16 GNB).
“Undoubtedly, even the most intelligent, capable, influential, and popular people do not know what will happen to their life in the future. They 'don't even know what (their) life tomorrow will be!' Indeed, there are those who exhaust their time, effort, knowledge, and resources to prepare for a good future but instead find themselves in failure.
“Here is another truth written in the Bible: 'I realized another thing, that in this world fast runners do not always win the races, and the brave do not always win the battles. The wise do not always earn a living, intelligent people do not always rise to high positions. Bad luck happens to everyone' (Eccles. 9:11 GNB).
“To have exceptional qualities is not wrong. But having such does not make anyone the authority on what is good or evil. No matter how knowledgeable 'influencers' are in certain issues, as human beings who are God's creation, there is still a limit to what they know and can do. Thus, they should also submit themselves to the will of the Almighty God.
'We learned it from God'
“With regards to what true Christians should uphold in life, the Bible teaches: 'We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way' (I Cor. 2:13 The Message).
“True Christians do not 'rely on the world's guesses and opinions.' Instead, theyt firmly hold on to the teachings they received from those whom God placed in the true Church Of Christ to preach His words, like Apostle Paul. They are certain that what they received from those whom God sent are His commands because, as what Apostle Paul declared concerning what they preach, 'we learned it from God.'
“Church Of Christ members exercise due caution and care so as not to fall into subscribing to or supporting something derived from unbiblical beliefs. Instead of Liking or sharing the opinions of a certain influencer about a particular issue, they choose to like or share the online contents of the Church that proclaim God's teachings. They also invite their loved ones and friends to listen to Bible studies in the Church. In that way, they are able to help others come to know the true God Who should be the 'influencer' of people's lives.
“Parents should be watchful when it comes to what their children are watching and reading through all forms of media. Church members are taught to regularly hold the INC Family Hour and participate in activities of the Christian Family Organizations. Parents should find time to talk to their children about how God's love, blessings, and protection were manifested in their life. Most of all, they should teach the young members to be dedicated to the worship services so they will always receive God's teachings and be guided in leading a way of life that is in accordance with His will.
God should reign in our life
“If we want what is truly the best for our family and loved ones, the One Whom we should follow and have influence over all aspects of our lives is the Almighty God. That was what God's servants of old strove to be fulfilled in their lives. They asked God in prayer: 'Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful thrust in your law. I am here on earth for just a little while, do not hide your commands from me… Your instructions give me pleasure; they are my advisers… Give me the desire to obey your laws rather than to get rich. Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless; be good to me, as you have promised' (Ps. 119:18-19, 24, 36-37 GNB).
“God's power is manifested in our lives when we completely obey His commands motivated by love of and faith in Him, which in turn are due to clear understanding of the good things that His laws bring. That is why, as members of the Church Of Christ, we hold on to God's teachings written in the Bible as our guiding principles in life., We also strive to convince our loved ones who are nonmembers to embrace God's thrust that we uphold in the Church so they, too, will have God's powers manifested in their life. We firmly believe that by upholding God's commandments, not only we be blessed in this life, but we will receive salvation and eternal life.”
Thus, with these lessons, we, the members of the Church Of Christ, adhere and succumbed to the teachings of God that are written in the Holy Scriptures. We will not be influenced by the opinions and ideas of social media influences. This, we the chosen ones promise to abide by throughout our entire lives.
If you want to know more about the things that you ought to do to be saved come Judgment Day – during the Second Advent of Lord Jesus Christ – please call telephone numbers +632 981-4311 / 981-1111 / 719-78000 or address your queries at E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Antonio G. Papa is the second Head Deacon at the Local Congregation of Indang, Ecclesiastical District of Cavite South. He is a retired university professor at the College of Economics, Management and Development Studies, Cavite State University (CvSU) in Indang, Cavite. In 2018, he served as a scientist 1 and consultant at Marinduque State College in Boac, Marinduque. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education degree at the Don Severino Agricultural College now CvSU in 1978, and both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Extension Education at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, College, Laguna in 1986 and 1991, respectively.

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