Summary: Cultural Christianity means to pursue the God we want instead of the God who is. It is the tendency to be shallow in our understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle grandfather type who pampers us and lets us have our own way. It is sensing a
Opening illustration: Throughout our life, Maureena and I have been exposed to a number of cultures but we have yielded to none, not even the one that we were born in. The weaning process takes a longer time for some than others. The impact that the culture has in the church in America is unbelievable. [Narrate the story of attending a church in Columbia, MO on February 12th 2012] What I took away from the Sunday service was heart wrenching. Soft peddling by preaching the gospel of Christ to suit the flesh and in a subtle way proclaiming the preeminence of the practice of culture in the church rather than adherence and obedience to God’s Word. Sin never even came up. I was broken hearted as I left the sanctuary that day.
Today we are going to address and grapple with some of the major cultural issues that the American church has compromised with. Along the way we will also identify some of those concerns, and adhering to our vision for 2012 ‘moving out of our comfort zone,’ and as time goes by, I might address them with you all individually.
In the meantime let us turn to Luke 8 in our Bibles and check out the parable of the sower that Jesus was talking about …
Introduction: Cultural Christianity means to pursue the God we want instead of the God who is. It is the tendency to be shallow in our understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle grandfather type who pampers us and lets us have our own way. It is sensing a need for God, but on our own terms. It is advocating that Christ died for our sins and we are forgiven therefore we can continue to live the sinful lifestyle that we have been living as at the end of the day we will continue to be forgiven regardless of repentance. It is wanting the God we have underlined in our Bibles without wanting the rest of Him, too. It is God relative instead of God absolute.
Prevalent among many religious leaders who profess to be evangelical Christians (i.e., Bible-believing Christians) is the promotion of a gospel that is acceptable to, and even admired by, people throughout the world. Today, the most popular form of this is the social gospel. Apparently what the church doesn’t realize that we are in ‘A Cultural War:’ what the bible also considers it as a part of spiritual warfare and the world calls philosophical war. And yet, it’s a very practical war. This is a spiritual war because it is a contest between good and evil, between righteousness and sin. This is a philosophical war because it is a contest between biblical theism and modern humanism, between God’s word and human judgment. This is a practical war because it is about human conduct in social and cultural practices. It’s about whether a society can abide if it tolerates such things as abortion, divorce, gambling, pornography, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and the list is endless.
How do BA Christians differ from cultural Christians?
(1) Group 1 – The Non-Christian: Those along the path are the ones who receive, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved (vs. 12).
They hear, but are never converted. They are the typical AM radio attempting to receive an FM transmission. The first soil type is the hard-packed path between fields. The seed never sinks into the soil and the devil, represented in the parable by birds, gobbles up the seed before it can have any effect. These are the unbelievers who hear and have closed minds. They are unreceptive. The words just bounce off them. Sure, they may have a smart come-back to defend their unbelief, but the Word does not penetrate their shell, or germinate in their heart. You have some friends - neighbors, relatives, business associates, and friends at school - who are like this. Jesus affirms that this kind of unbelief exists. Your words aren't at fault; it is their heart that resists - though we need to work very hard to communicate the Word of God clearly, unimpeded by a poor witness in our own lives and actions.
(2) Group 2 – The Strong Cultural Christian: Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away (vs. 13).
The second soil type is the thin layer of soil over a limestone shelf of rock. There is enough soil for early growth when the soil is still moist from the spring rains. But soon the searing heat of summer comes. The plant has put out green leaves but has no root system that has penetrated to moist the soil below. The rock stops its growth, and it quickly withers.