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Summary: Genuine Christian fellowship must go beyond the superficiality of Facebook.

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Rev. David Holwick

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

October 10, 2010

FACEBOOK OR FELLOWSHIP? [transcript]

Hebrews 10:23-25

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Please open your Bible to Hebrews Chapter 10, starting in Verse 23.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promise is faithful and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together the summer and the habit of doing but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Every Tuesday Celeste and I go to the movies because we have one of those CableVision promotion cards that allows us to get in for free. Half of Roxbury Township apparently has that same card so the theater is always packed to the rafters. But this last week we saw the current hit, "The Social Network," about the early history of Facebook. And some of you probably had no idea what Facebook is but not too many of you because around the world there are five hundred million members of Facebook. And I counted up my friend list on Facebook and fifty six of you are my friends. Most of my “friends” are very young, with a few older ones - the retirees don’t tend to be on that as much. I actually have two hundred and thirty-two friends altogether. About a third of them I have never met before, I have no idea who they are but I didn’t want to insult them when they asked to be my friend so they’re on my list. It’s interesting that according to the movie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a hard time making friends himself. As a matter of fact by the end of the movie he has alienated the few that he has and he’s getting sued by most of them. But there’s an opening scene in which Zuckerberg is trying to date a girl from Boston University and it’s going downhill real fast and Celeste nudged me and said, “That’s our first date.” So I have much in common with this man except for his multi-billion-dollar net worth.

A lot of people have noticed that in a Facebook generation we know more and more people. We’ve got all these connections yet so much of it doesn’t seem to do us any personal good. So much of our relationships seem very superficial. And some people out there fall through the cracks completely. Back in November 1998 a landlord in Bonn, Germany, entered into an apartment because the guy had stopped paying his rent. The rent check had always gone to his bank and it was paid automatically but all of a sudden the bank said that account was closed now. So the landlord knocked on the door, got no answer, got a key and he went in and he found Wolfgang Dirks sitting in front of his television set. Or at least what was left of him - he was just a skeleton. His TV was in the “on” position, although it was no longer working, and Christmas lights were wrapped all around the apartment. And the landlord thought that was kind of unusual because it was the beginning of November, why does he have these up so early? Well, it turns out there was a TV Guide by his side dated December 5th, 1993, five years before they found his body. The police say that we can’t determine exactly when he died so they just took the date on that TV Guide and that’s what is listed on his death certificate. None of his neighbors had noticed or made any comment or sought him out and what I found interesting was this is not some ninety-year-old guy. He was forty-three years old! [Illustration #6338]

Some people we know and would be better off maybe not knowing them. We’ve all heard about the Rutgers University case where the roommate of Tyler Clementi set up a webcam and secretly caught Tyler and another male student in a compromising position and then posted it on the internet. A few days later Clementi threw himself off the George Washington Bridge and died. And some people are trying to tie this in with the whole mindset of anti-homosexuality but in reality it just boils down to anti-human issue because the new entertainment in our culture is cruelty and embarrassment. On a global scale, once something gets on the internet it never dies. I’ve noticed lately they’ve been saying “this webpage has been taken down” but you can always access it because apparently Google has archives of everything that ever has been on the web. You can’t really erase it, it hangs there forever.

Christians above all people have always valued relationships because in the very beginning of the Bible it says that Adam was created and something was missing. God looked at him and said it’s not good for the man to be alone, I must create a helper that must be suitable for him, and that’s where Eve comes into the picture. So from the very beginning God has made human beings part of a wider community. You’re not designed to be happy and contented on your own. And even modern people recognize this. We would rather be connected than convinced.

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