[A]. EXPOSING ARTIFICIALITY
I have just seen one of these documentaries set in a very exclusive English hotel rated 5 stars. It is popular with some royalty and film stars and other high-profile people. It is very expensive with rooms upwards of 1300 pounds a night (£1300).
It was most disappointing that the program tended to concentrate on a homosexual couple getting married there, but the part that caught my attention was that this hotel is sometimes frequented by Bloggers. Bloggers are people who have blogs that are Internet channels or sites such as on Facebook, etc. They detail all facts about themselves, what they do, where they go, what they wear, and… well, everything.
One blogger couple was featured, and they were frequently taking videos with commentary and of themselves – very much of themselves – and all this was going to be placed on a blog. What really caught my attention was the way they were discussing their blogs and how many “likes” they were receiving, which is when a person ticks a thumbs up. Most of this was being recorded on mobile/cell phones. They were greatly motivated by viewer response. It was so vain.
As I watched them doing their thing, I thought, “How artificial is all that.” A couple was living for “likes,” and that was their whole life. I think a lot of Facebook is like that. It is so superficial, so detached from the real world that is a difficult one. That is what the bloggers are like, with a craving to demonstrate themselves for likes that they see as a measure of popularity and acceptance.
Also, what does it say about those who are watching these blogs and religiously following the bloggers? They are living vicarious lives. It is like role-playing. They are so bored, the viewers and followers are living their lives out through the blogs they follow. It all seems so meaningless.
The people I have discussed above fall into the snob arena. I would not get the time of day at that hotel except shown the front door. These people who are living these lives are snobs, elitists, social climbers, pretenders, conceited and egotistical. It is a life full of artificiality, a house of straw with as much weight as a soap bubble.
I am no follower of the Oscar awards or the Grammy awards but have seen bits of it now and again. All is show and pretense, all detached from the real world. These people, actors, and producers live empty lives in loneliness and unfulfillment. So too do those who wait for hours, even days, to get to see such events – awards, society functions with all the glamour and glitz and high society magazines and publicity. They are artificial people living artificial lives. Artificiality is no better seen than in Hollywood where actors can play the part of moral characters, but their lives are based on immorality and emptiness. They don’t live in the “real world” but one of froth and bubbles. That is what artificial is related to – self-delusion and tragic emptiness.
Solomon wrote, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” Latin is Vanitas Vanitatum. Here is the concluding stanza of a long poem of mine with the same name.
“Vanitas Vanitatum – vanity and futility.
We have laid out here wisdom, and the state of the world we know.
There is a distinct difference between wisdom and folly.
The world pursues both folly and vanity; in strength they grow.
Men are chasing after the wind, for they reject righteousness.
Vanitas Vanitatum! All is vanity – man’s own choice.
Let us choose the path of wisdom found in the Bible alone;
Reject folly and embrace righteousness. Then you will rejoice.”
The world is full of vanity and artificial people. A friend of mine has a friend who told her that she has thousands of friends, those who follow her on Facebook. When it all boils down, those thousands do not know her; they are simply subscribed and don’t really care. They are not friends. Personally, I think the Internet and especially phones are responsible for the collapse in personal one-to-one communications and personal true friendships.
Nothing is more artificial than many of our politicians, those who live false lives and promote conscienceless politics. We can see right through their lives, but they are not even aware of the fact.
When I was about 16 or something in the late 1950s in Brisbane, Australia, I came upon a street vendor in full voice selling these remarkable watches. These were “genuine watches,” and he was selling them for 5 or 10 shillings, which was a sizable amount then. They were glitzy ones, and as most artificial things do, they had a certain appeal. Well, I actually bought one and later took it to a watchmaker. It was so fake and useless. It was as nothing.
Those watches are similar to these people we have been discussing. They parade around pretending importance as if they are something, looking shiny, but, in fact, are artificial people living artificial lives.
[B]. WHAT IS THE SOURCE? WHICH PRODUCES WHICH?
Do people live artificial lives because they are artificial, OR are they artificial because they live artificial lives?
The Christian doctrine is that the machine produces the outcome/the result. A factory’s machine designed to produce screws and bolts will do so because that is its function. The screws and bolts don’t produce the machine. People produce what they are. The external is controlled from the internal.
James covers something of the same in this passage – James 3:11-14 “Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”
When it comes to artificial people, they may try to produce olives from a fig tree, but it will never happen. The James passage is looking at artificial Christians, but we will look at that area soon. The water from a fountain is fixed and behaves exactly the way that fountain is supposed to. Artificial people try to alter the function of the true individual.
Evil things proceed from an evil heart. Good things do not originate from an evil heart. Artificiality comes from artificial people, just as ducks produce ducks and mice produce mice. It may sound elementary, but the principle is a biblical one – Genesis 1:11-12 “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them, on the earth,’ and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind, and God saw that it was good.”
Later on, the next step in creation occurred – Genesis 1:25 “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind, and God saw that it was good.”
[C]. ANOTHER LOOK AT ARTIFICIAL PEOPLE IN A PRACTICAL SENSE
I want to share the first half of one of my poems dealing with this very subject:
ARTIFICIAL PEOPLE LIVING ARTIFICIAL LIVES
Artificiality is seen now ev’rywhere,
As one of the stamps impressed on our society.
We cannot believe even those labels goods declare,
Thrown around dishonestly in impropriety.
For we live in deceptive times when truth is maligned,
And people’s genuineness has certainly declined.
Where are the checks and balances we once enjoyed,
When there was a marked division between false and true;
Those days when a proper, managed discernment was employed?
Genuineness was the victim when morals withdrew.
What do we see in this world when dishonesty thrives?
Artificial people living artificial lives.
What is false, God hates; what is not genuine, He knows.
God searches each heart; each motive He scrutinizes.
The scams of man are multitude – from wickedness flows.
God’s records contain all things; there are no surprises.
Man is fully adept at artificial pretense,
But it is the Lord Jesus, who justice will dispense.
From observation, I have listed 8 points to connect with artificial people. Please note that these points are generalities rather than all-embracing.
- They cannot be trusted because there is no substance.
2. They are selfish.
3. They suffer from a delusion that destroys reality.
4. They often wear a false veneer.
5. They are lost souls, and that part is bad, as for all mankind.
6. They often crave attention.
7. They are generally self-centered and egotistical. Many are found in politics, the public/civil service, and the entertainment industry.
8. They all are out of touch with true reality.
Why is there artificiality? For that matter, why is there lying and deception, robbery and murder? It is all because of the sin nature all human beings inherit at birth as part of the old fallen nature derived from Adam and Eve. In this message, I am only highlighting artificiality.
Artificial people will face the heat of the sun and dissolve away. They will be as lightweight chaff that is scattered with the first wind gust. No more will be the airs and graces of high society, the stretch limousines and the best rooms in five-star hotels, and the overwhelming desire for notoriety and exposure in social magazines and vanity pages.
When the walls start to fall away and the inner life is exposed, what is there on display – a life of emptiness or a life of substance? James again addresses this practical aspect – James 4:13-14 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit,’ yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Boat owners know if they do not tether their boat in a river or at sea, it will float away – very much like people’s lives. All people are born untethered and are drifting on the sea of humanity, so they try to cast the anchor onto anything they can, such as logs and masses of seaweed, but all those fail. They are adrift without certainty, looking for fulfillment. This is a bit like the sentiment found in an old hymn – “I tried the broken cisterns, Lord, but Ahh, the water failed. Ev’n as I stooped to drink, they fled, and mocked me as I wailed. NOW NONE BUT CHRIST CAN SATISFY…”
Why is it that the world is in such a mess and artificial people rise up trying to cement their identity? The world has cut away the anchors and tethering ropes that held fast to God, the greatest stability we can have. Religious Education has been taken from schools; the Christian presence removed from Parliament and paganism substituted; God is dismissed from literature and the media, as an anti-God hatred spreads and WOKE replaces it; what is evil is legislated for such as the hellish perversion of homosexuality and pagan behavior as we have in the adoption of Aboriginal spiritism culture such as the Australian Government is doing.
Is it little wonder we are in the state we are? In one way, we can’t blame artificial people for their attitudes and behavior because they follow their instincts in a world where the Christian base has been sliced away.
[D]. LET US PUT CHRISTIANS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Now I want to add the second half of the poem as we move to Christians, and the professing Christians. This is where we start to get serious because it is where so much sham exists.
ARTIFICIAL PEOPLE LIVING ARTIFICIAL LIVES
How can the Christian walk the path through deception’s lie;
To distinguish true from false and the right from wrong?
The world’s portrait is very bleak, causing us to sigh;
With increasing difficulty, we journey along.
It is the world’s vain and corrupted system that drives
Artificial people living artificial lives.
“You worship before Me, but your heart is far from Me.
You come into My presence, but your mind is elsewhere.
I, the Lord, know the heart; all that is there, I can see.
Cleanse yourselves of falsehood; before Me, your heart lay bare.
Be transparent, open to My Spirit, and repent.
Come to Me honestly, heart and mind in full assent.”
Christians need much discretion to follow faithfully,
Avoiding delusion’s traps and falsehood’s crafty snares.
Follow Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, joyfully,
For He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, He declares.
Not to follow Christ is the reason why this survives –
Artificial people living artificial lives.
Oct 2021 R E Ferguson Metre = 13 throughout A-B-A-B-C-C
The matters of importance mentioned in those three stanzas must not be overlooked when it comes to Christian testimony. We will consider those.
How do we walk through deception and not be contaminated? The world is built on a lie, and that is humanism. It is man without God, man the master of his own destiny. There is so much corruption, and it is growing worse as Christian ethics are discarded, none of which is a surprise, as God said it would happen in the last days of the Church age – 2 Timothy 3:1-2 “Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, (ETC.) 2 Timothy 3:12-13 “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
As Christians walk through this battleground of moral decline, they must cling even tighter to the hand of the Lord who walks with us. Those who desire with a pure longing to live for the Lord Jesus must be discerning in the age of confused goodness and evil, for it is here now. Homosexual “marriage” is considered good, and biblical principles of marriage and family considered bad – Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!”
[E]. INSINCERITY AMONG CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES
Probably the greatest concern in all this message is the insincerity found in many lives of people who profess to be Christians. I don’t want to be critical, but a true Christian is one who has taken up his cross and follows Jesus. Consider the ramifications of this verse – Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.'” To take up your cross meant you were going to a place of execution. It meant death, and it did so literally for a great number of followers of Jesus. These people were committed, not artificial people living in a world of artificiality. Total dedication to the Lord was what, and still is, required by those who would confess Him.
Have you been born again? Some churches don’t know that term that Jesus used with Nicodemus when He told him he had to be born from above – born again. We have a natural birth, and we have a spiritual birth. Born again is the spiritual birth; when under conviction of sin and its penalty, the soul repents and surrenders his/her life to the Lord. Anyone who “goes along” with the Christian faith without true and full commitment to the Lord is living an artificial life, and it counts for nothing. Very sadly, it will result in this – Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matthew 7:23 “Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
If you are one who is living a lie, living for yourself, and has not ever given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, then take this time now to repent for your sinful life, and accept Jesus as your Saviour and be saved. One line in the poem is, “Cleanse yourselves of falsehood; before Me, your heart lay bare.” I don’t want to be marked as a wet blanket, but churches are full of artificial people. Do not pretend. Don’t pretend to be righteous when you don’t even know the meaning of the word.
Many churches are at fault for not preaching the gospel. Some pastors won’t teach on hell and judgment (some not even believing it). Some don’t want people to leave (for the offerings) and are hypocrites. All of that is spurious Christianity, the worst devilish artificiality. God hates it.
This is a call to you to step forward to claim Jesus as your Saviour and to stop the pretense. Stand up for the Lord as a good soldier in His flock. The Lord is genuine and will make artificial people genuine.
I question if there is such a thing as an “artificial Christian,” as the two words seem to be a contradiction to me. Synonyms for artificial are “false, non-genuine, fake, not real.” A Christian is true, genuine, and one living in reality. It is simple enough. A man or woman is truly a Christian or is not. There is a divide between the two.
The world spawns artificial people, for that is natural to it.
They get caught up in the glamour of sin, and pretense increases. God would demand we all depart from what is not true. The false must not be part of our Christian profession. Churches need to be more diligent and return to the Bible and preach the truth of the word of God without compromise or devious motives.
Christians – live lives pleasing to the Lord, not live a sham.
Unsaved – today is the day of salvation. Repent and give your whole life to the Lord without reserve.
God bless His people in these difficult days. Amen.