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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Christian and the Culture

I am not sure what Pastor White will be presenting during this conference, so I am not sure if my opening devotion will contradict, overshadow, or compliment his material, but one thing of which I am sure, God will work it out! Most people do not think in terms of culture or world views let alone what goes on in society outside our own circle of influence, thus Jay Leno is able to make fun of the, and forgive the term, ignorance of many people in his “Jaywalking” segment, speaking to and asking people about things outside their life experiences, which many people simply believe does not affect them.
 
I believe we all need to be very aware of our culture, not simply popular culture, but the various cultures as well as world views that we have in our nation, our country as well as the world. We need to be aware lest what happened in Germany and other countries happens to us, we wait until it is too late and we have lost everything. And believe me, Satan is alive and well wreaking as much havoc as he can in our world today.
 
Thus, our theme this weekend is to help us to understand and bear witness to the cultures in which we live and move and have our being. With that said, let us look at what God says.
 
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5)
 
1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
 
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
 
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
 
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:18-27).
 
We live in a culture and society in which God is not accepted. We live in a culture and a society in which God is being pushed out. Yet as Christians, we know that Holy Scripture is true and God’s Word is true.
 
The religion of evolution and atheism cannot stand the truth of God’s Word. The immorality of homosexual, gay/lesbian, trans-gender community cannot stand the moralism of God’s Word. Satan is working overtime in our world even as we speak.
 
Would that the world would do Christianity the favor Christianity has afforded the world over the last too many years, live and let live, but that is not even the case anymore. Anything that is Godly is now target, not simply because it is Godly, but for the sole aim and purpose of destroying what is from and of God.
 
Most recent examples of the demise of this world is the fact that instead of starting their own organization, the homosexual community has joined the Boy Scouts of American and is working to make it into its own playground of immorality. Of course, this behavior does not surprise us in the church, as this behavior has been happening for years, people working to change the church into their image, I say this, rather than they going off and starting their own church and leaving us alone.
 
Indeed, every intention of the thoughts of man’s heart is evil continually.
 
What is our response? We heard the words of Paul to Timothy, to “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
 
As Paul says to the Galatians, “1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:1-2).
 
We have Jesus giving us His authority to speak as such and His promise that He will be with us when we speak, “16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:16-20).
 
We also have Jesus promise that He will give us the words to speak, “16“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matt. 10:16-20).
 
And finally, we have Peter’s encouragement to always be ready to give a defense of our faith and to do so with gentleness, “13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Peter 3:13-16).
 
As Christians, we have the greatest gifts of all, faith, forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation, earn for us and paid for by Jesus life, suffering, death and resurrection. Rather than simply “Keeping the faith,” we have God’s authority to give it away, to share it with others and His promise that He will be with us as we do so, even giving us the words to speak, with gentleness. Thus, we see the importance of having our finger on the pulse of the culture, having our hearts, our noses, our eyes in the Word of God and being ready to give an answer, a defense for our faith. And we have God’s promise that His Word will not return void. Yes, we may not be good at it, but God never asks us to be good, simply to be ready to give an answer with His promise that He will bring out the best in any given situation.
 
My prayer this weekend is that we might all be enlightened and encouraged so that we may all be ready to give a defense of our faith so that God’s Kingdom may be extended, that we His people might be strengthened and that praise and glory may be given to His Holy Name, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Let us Pray
Almighty and gracious God, send Your Holy Spirit to bless, with His grace and presence, all those here assembled in Your name. Bless our presenter with words of teaching, learning and wisdom. Bless our hearers with ears that hear. Bless our conference that Your Church, being preserved in true faith and godly discipline, may do the will of Him who loved her and gave Himself for her, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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