Summary: When the society is hot God will defend it, God will deliver it, and God will preserve it.
Sermon Title and Text for July 30, 2006
Title: “When the Society is Hot”
Text: Isaiah 31: 9
Focus: “… fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem…”
When the society is hot God will defend it, God will deliver it, and God will preserve it.
Sermon: Modern day society and the church are facing a disturbing generational reality. The reality of our society is that people are becoming individualized, privatized, compartmentalized, and discretionalized.
Individualized is when the sense of self is greater than the sense of we. It’s an I syndrome. It’s when the superego dominates ones personality in such a way that it overpowers ones ability to operate effectively within a group. It’s the part of us that says it’s may way or the highway.
Privatized suggests that one has become their own franchise. It when one thinks that their relationship with God is at the expense of others. It when you believe, yes, that God is blessing you right now, but he is not blessing anyone else.
Individualization and privatization is best seen in scripture when you examine the reaction of Elijah who after defeating the prophets of Baal in I Kings 18, runs when Jezebel sends word that she will kill him. After being fed under a Juniper tree by an angel and after hearing the small still voice of God, he remarks to God that he has been the one fighting the enemies of God, that he has not bowed down to Baal, and that he is the only one left. God comes back to tell him that in Israel God has seven thousand who has not bowed down to Baal.
Not only is individualization and privatization attributes of our modern society, but also compartmentalization and discretionalization.
Compartmentalization is when one reduces life into manageable units. It’s what old folk would say that you don’t see the forest for the trees. Compartmentalization suggests that one can live one way of Sunday, different on Monday, and even more different on Friday night. Another danger of compartmentalization is that you reduce life units to things. The labeling of life people and experiences is an aspect of compartmentalization. As a result Children of God become at-risk. Saints of God become holier than thou. And church folk instead of being see thorough the eyes of God are seen thorough the eyes of man and are just like other folk. Compartmentalization reduces life into units that man thinks he can manage.
Discretionalization suggests that you can move thorough life shadows without being seen by the almighty God. In other words it causes one to forget that what is done in the dark will come to the light. Discretionalization makes a child think that because their parents are not watching, they do not know what they are doing.
Compartmentalization and discretionalization are best seen in the life of David when he forgets that he is King of Israel and that all of his actions are witnessed by God. He goes out on his balcony and looks at Uriah wife sun bathing and desires her. He possesses her and thinks that no one knows until confronted by Nathan the prophet who says thou art the man.
The reason why individualization, privatization, compartmentalization, and discretionalization have become attributes of our modern society is our increasingly feelings of self-sufficiency. We truly believe that we have pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps. I know my college students say they took the class, they stayed up in the study hall, they took the test, but if it had not been for some grandmother or grandfather opening up the doors to higher education – you would not be there. If it had not been for some single mother working two jobs to make ends meet – the tuition would not have been paid. We are always standing on the shoulders of someone else. We are always reaping the benefits of borrowed blessings. It when someone prayed for you, had you on their mind, and took the time to pray for you.
Tremendous studies have been done on the decline of faith and the increase in self-sufficiency and its effects on the church:
When we examine the growth of our church it was during the period of 1910 – 1945, those were the Builder Generation, a people of that era where 65% Christian;
next was the Boomer Generation, 1946-1964 of that era where 35% Christian;
Buster Generation, 1965-1976 of that era where 15% Christian;
and next finally where we are now, Bridger Generation, 1977-1994 are 4% Christian.
This builder generation defines community not by relationship, not by bonding, but by being in the same space. You see this when you go to shopping malls and go to the food court and unlike the fellowship meals that our circles are having, people are eating, talking, in the same space, but no relationship whatsoever with each other. In fact, you better not speak to someone if you don’t want to get the evil eye.