Summary: Our effectiveness as Christians hinges on our ability to avoid the culture of godlessness.
“How To Become An Effective Christian”
AVOID THE CULTURE OF GODLESSNESS!
We live in a culture that is constantly changing. The majority of religious people in our country would stand before you and tell you that our culture and society is 100% corrupt and evil. I don’t believe that. I love different aspects of our culture. I love the technological side of it. I love the blending of different histories and traditions of people groups and nations from all over the world at our front door in America. I love the religious freedom of our culture. We are free to worship our God without the fear of being killed or jailed because of it. But there is a very different aspect to our culture that I don’t like. We live in a culture that is becoming more and more a godless culture, dominated by lawless and godless people.
In order to enhance our effectiveness as Christians, we must avoid the pitfalls of a godless culture. The emergence of a godless culture is not something new. Paul writes to Timothy in his second letter to him warning him to avoid the culture of godlessness.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth- men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” II Timothy 3:1-9
Paul gives a vivid, accurate description of a godless culture living in the last days between Christ’s first and second comings. Paul goes on to describe the culture of the last days in I Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Peter also addresses the culture of the last days in II Peter 3:3, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.”
Paul is very clear to Timothy and to us that our effectiveness as a Christian lies in avoiding the pitfalls of a godless culture. So the question tonight is, “What are the marks of a godless culture?” Paul gives us a few characteristics.
I. A MISPLACED LOVE. (vs. 1-4)
It’s interesting to note that the word “lovers” is used 5 times in the first four verses of chapter 3. One of the images that the Bible paints for us describing our relationship to God is that of a lover. Because of the sin in our lives, we have cheated on God and He is now a scorned lover.
In the Old Testament, Israel had scorned God and He was no longer their love. God uses a man by the name of Hosea to illustrate the pain, sadness and love that God has for Israel even though they have a misplaced love. God commands Hosea to marry a woman by the name of Gomer. When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in the departing from the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” Hosea 1:2-3 The story continues and as Gomer is repeatedly unfaithful to Hosea the Lord continues to tell Hosea to be faithful and love Gomer. “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1
Just as Gomer placed her love in other men instead of her husband, Hosea; the godless culture places its love in other things such as themselves, money and pleasure rather than in God.
The people of a godless culture attempt to place themselves in the position of God. The fastest growing religion in the United States is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as Mormons. What you don’t see on their family friendly commercials or through the dynamic Mormon Tabernacle Choir is that the goal of every Mormon man is to one day ascend to the height of becoming a god. That is what this religion teaches.