Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Revelation 13:1-12; 14:9-11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4; Jeremiah 51:6, 7, 53, 57; Revelation 18:1-4
A new Pew Research Center study reveals that political discussions on social media do change the minds of some. One of every five people who saw that angry rant or funny political meme just might be convinced by it. Pew found, however, that most people who see political content on social media feeds react negatively to it. Nearly 80% said they ignore political posts they disagree with. Forty percent blocked political content and/or fellow users who posted it on their feeds, and are “worn out” by political debates.
But that doesn’t mean political content has no measurable effect. Twenty percent admitted that they changed their minds about a political issue or candidate after reading the discussion on social media. While some avoid social media to sidestep the political discussions on them, it’s tougher to ignore the implications regarding the influential role social media plays in our society. After all, we live in a world where sometimes even professional journalists can’t tell what’s real and what’s satire. It’s even harder when extremist conspiracy theories are shared among like-minded individuals, often disguised as real news. An extreme Twitter example is: “#ManyPeopleAreSaying Bat Boy attacks are up 1,000%. Government is weak on mutant boys. It’s sad. We need to be vigilant.”
Certainly, not all instances of exaggerated or false political claims are as transparent as the Bat Boy tweet above. But given Pew’s findings, it’s not too much of a stretch to envision a world where political discussions on social media make or break a political candidate’s chances—or, at the very least, keep us more isolated in our digital silos than ever.1
Our lesson this week looks at a time in the future when many people will “come out of Babylon”—in other words, they will change their minds regarding their religious beliefs and practices. One of the major hurdles to accomplishing this Babylonian exodus is the prophecy that America will unite with an apostate religious power to impose a non-Biblical worship system on the world. History bears witness to many disastrous examples of church-state unions. This upcoming alliance will result in the ultimate spiritual conflict between Christ and Satan, played out on our earthly battlefield. Although many will simply go along with this edict, God has faithful people in every religious system who will stand for truth.
We live in a world, however, that often regards truth as relative. How will people discern between the true and false worship systems in a climate where many people accept counterfeit claims regarding God’s truth simply because they prefer those alternative facts? Thursday’s lesson states “God’s people who are already out of Babylon have a work to do for those who are still in it.” This work includes using any and all means of communicating the good news of salvation to the world—even Holy Spirit-inspired social media posts.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Draw a picture of the United States flag. On the six white stripes, write things that make you proud to be an American. On the seven red stripes, write things that deeply concern you.
Sharing: Reflect on Revelation 18:1-4. What does it mean to “come out of her, My people”?
1. Babylon is more than a city in the Bible; it symbolizes an organization that is antagonistic toward heaven.
2. There are true followers of God who are unknowingly part of Babylon and who need to separate from this organization.
3. The description of the fall of Babylon reveals just how far from God’s ways this organization has led the world.
4. To “come out” means to leave one church and join God’s end-time movement.
5. This passage reveals the important work God’s people have in welcoming people into the remnant church.
Applying: Draw a map of the United States. Next, write phrases that indicate events that point to ways this country plays a role in end-time events.
Valuing: Do you feel that you are in any way connected to Babylon or influenced by its teachings? Reflect on how Babylon may have infiltrated your life.