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20

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Adults/Children Sunday School
9:30 AM to 10:20 AM
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Confronting Our Culture

Confronting Our Culture

Do you have a Biblical worldview? A recent survey found that less than 4% of all Americans have a Biblical worldview. Someone with a Biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God. A Biblical worldview is based on the truth of the infallible Word of God. When you believe the Bible is entirely true, then you allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do.

People with a Biblical worldview are called intolerant by those with other worldviews. However, the source behind the so-called ‘tolerant’ crowd is actually evil. Every Christian has a duty to confront an evil world through the power of the Holy Spirit. All those who have the Holy Spirit within them through faith, and utilize the Word of God, have all the tools they need.  Even if the entire world turns away from the Bible and perverts their way, we are without excuse if we join the crowd. A crowd may sin together, but we will all be judged as individuals.

Isaiah 5:20-23 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.

We see this passage lived out in our culture today as sin is called good, morals and values are called evil, those who are ungodly are honored, and those who are living for Christ are demonized. Frequently, we hear about leaders being caught taking bribes, committing crimes, and perverting justice; yet they will be honored and re-elected instead of prosecuted. We see justice perverted for financial gain, retaliation against a political enemy, or for changing the values of a culture, but there will be a time of judgment.

Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

When the church loses its focus on Christ and His Word and tries to become relevant to the culture, it becomes weak and loses its influence in society. As a result, the standard of the culture continues to decline. Look at the most common problems in schools now as opposed to the 1940’s when Christianity was still the foundation in public schools. The top 7 problems reported by schools in 1940 were: 1.Talking out of turn 2.Chewing Gum 3.Making noise 4.Running in the Halls 5.Cutting in Line 6.Dress-code violations 7.Littering.

Fifty years later, in 1990, the top 7 problems reported by public schools were: 1.Drug abuse 2.Alcohol abuse 3.Pregnancy 4.Suicide 5.Rape 6.Robbery 7.Assault. I was not able to find a listing related to our current era, but there has been an enormous cultural decline in the last 24 years as well. Things that repulsed Americans a generation ago have been accepted and normalized today.

Our culture has no moral compass other than the acceptable standard of those around them. When the culture has a greater influence on the church than the church does on the culture, restraint is cast off and accountability is lost.

As the culture continues toward worshipping the antichrist, it will be challenging for us to keep God’s commandments. Therefore, we need to set our heart on the things of God now, know His Word now, and seek His face now. We cannot control what those around us are doing, but we can live by the Word of the Lord and faith in Christ. Since God alone will hold us accountable, we should fear God rather than be intimidated by man.

Matthew 10:24-28 A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Jesus made it clear that when we live as His disciples, those in rebellion will say that we are of the devil. Do not be surprised when this happens – for it will happen if we truly stand upon Truth. Indeed, it is even happening within the church, as Bible believing Christians are being called judgmental, hateful, and divisive. Nevertheless, we are commanded to speak the truth without fearing the threats of men.

No lie is of the truth. If a teacher or preacher speaks ‘mostly truth’ but mixes in doctrine that leads people into a lie, that person and their doctrine is not of the truth. Anyone who points away from the Scripture, devalues the Scripture, or waters down the message so that God’s people are encouraged to live contrary to the Word, is a false witness. A true witness will seek to draw God’s people into fellowship with God. It is impossible to live contrary to the Word and have fellowship with God.

1 John 1:6-10  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

God does not change. Therefore, the God who gave us His Word will be the same God we will stand before on Judgment Day. The commandments and instructions of Scripture are given to shape us into His image and conform us to His nature. This is how we grow close to God. We cannot grow close to God while doing the things that are contrary to Him. When we love someone, we want to please that person, and we will not do the things that damage our relationship.

You will hear people claim that ‘times have changed’ and that many of the commands of God no longer apply. This is a lie, and those making these statements are false witnesses, who are in direct violation of God’s Word.

Throughout history, the masses have been easily led astray with persuasive words, emotions, and group think (consensus). We see this today with the theories of evolution and global warming. We see it with the so-called rights of abortion and homosexual marriage. If you can get people to agree to a lie, the average person will follow the thought of the crowd. As the crowd builds up energy, it takes on a life of its own. As the energy grows, people begin to join in and become part of a larger collective culture.

We, as Christians, have the power to confront our culture. As the culture collectively walks down the road of destruction, we have the power to stand as individuals by following the Spirit of God. However, there is a cost for going against the crowd. A crowd, walking in Group Think, does not like those who are not a part of the collective body. In fact, we will be considered ‘the enemy’ by those who are part of the crowd. This should not catch us off guard, for we are warned in 1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

Jesus addressed this specifically in John 15:19-21 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  "Remember the word that I said to you, ’A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  "But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

We can only confront our culture when we are living for Jesus. We, as Christians, are to walk in the Spirit, so that, we hear God’s voice and live by His standards. Many times, the Bible says that if we walk in the Spirit, we will be hated, persecuted, and have tribulation in this world. The good news is that we will be blessed, and some will come to Christ when they see the grace we are given to endure persecution. Therefore, we must obey God and speak the Truth in love, while we confront our culture. We must not pervert the truth of the Gospel.

Galatians 1:6-9  I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Some church leaders have adopted the culture’s lies about evolution, global warming, abortion, and homosexuality and they introduce new doctrines that are not found in Scripture. Instead of leading people to follow Christ and the Word of God, these leaders are drawing disciples after themselves, calling us to abandon the Bible and follow them. They falsely claim their gospel is a new move of God.

Listen to what Jesus said, John 12:47-50 As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

John MacArthur said, "This is not a time for weak men, in weak pulpits, in weak churches, preaching weak messages."

Look at James 1:21-22 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

If the crowd is wrong, we must do what is right, even if we are the only one. Sometimes, one dissenting voice can be very persuasive when the group is going in the wrong direction. Once, when a group of men were taking a vote, everyone in the room agreed that an unbiblical action was in the best interest of the church. When it came to me, I was in the stressful position to either agree with everyone else or to voice my biblical reasons why this was wrong. I found that when I expressed why this decision was contrary to the Word, other men began to rescind their vote and the decision was reversed. I also found that those pushing for their own ways do not like the one who stands up, and they will call you divisive. Sometimes, the dissenter is silenced, stripped of all responsibility, and encouraged to leave.

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If you are a Christian who lives by the Word of God, you will have conflict, you will be called divisive, you will be hated, you will be persecuted – even in the church. However, if you want to stand in the love of God, you must stand upon His Word and not on the opinions of men.

Again, while living by the Word of God, we must also instruct others with a spirit of gentleness.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

We are not called to rip into those who are deceived. With a gentle spirit, we are to persuade others to follow the Scripture. If they attack, we must be prepared to stand firm, but in a spirit of meekness. We can be firm without being belligerent. Remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the doctrine being taught contrary to the Word of God. When they say all manner of evil against us, show them the Word of God, so that the Lord may draw their hearts. They may not listen, but our goal is not to condemn, but to restore.

Rom 13:19-14 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Each time you hear or read the Ten Commandments, think about the New Covenant application of these foundational laws. Not one of these commandments has passed away, nor will they ever pass away. Each commandment must be viewed through our faith in Jesus Christ and they are fulfilled under two New Covenant commands: You shall love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus made it clear that on these two commandments hang all the law and prophets under the Old Covenant. For example, you cannot steal from those you love, nor can you bear false witness, covet, commit adultery, nor do any other thing that threatens those around you if you love them.

Jesus made it clear that if you love God, you will obey the Word. And if you do not keep the Word, you do not love God. Love is the fulfillment of the law. To love is to seek the good of another and to sacrifice yourself to accomplish this when necessary – and it often is necessary.

If we walk in the Spirit, we will be filled with love for God and thus fulfill His commandments. It is not our work, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, who pours the love of God into our hearts, so that we are empowered to fulfill the law of love. If we follow Jesus in our daily life, we will walk in the Spirit and overcome the natural tendency of the flesh to sin. On the other hand, if we walk in the flesh, the works of the flesh, which violate all God’s commandments, will be evident in our life.

Ephesians 5:1-16 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The Word of God reveals what is acceptable to the Lord, and the Spirit of God reveals to us how to walk in that Truth. Live as though loving God is the only thing that is truly important, for this truly is the only way to fulfill God’s will in our lives and the only way to confront our culture. When we are full of the Holy Spirit, we are the light of the gospel in this world and our lives will be significant to those around us.

Jesus is the light of the world and we are children of that Light. We are commanded to let the light of Jesus shine, so that men may see the good works God is doing through our lives and be drawn to the Light. This is only possible in the lives of those who keep His Word - as an obedient doer and not a complacent hearer. Because, in the end, it is our decisions and actions that reveal what we really believe.

However, if Jesus Christ is not Lord of your life, then you are still living in darkness. Jesus has made the way for you to come to God by atoning for your sin on the Cross. By faith in this grace, you can come into the Light by confessing Jesus as your Savior, repenting of your sin, and dying to your old life in baptism. When you act on your faith by doing these things, you will be born again of the Spirit of God and He will lead you to walk in the Light.