Sermons

Summary: A study of Christianity in the Postmodern age and how to be culturally relavent.

I use the term quicksand because it has a scary connotation of being caught in something that I have no control over. Yet I have always heard that the best thing to do if your caught in it is to stay calm because all the flailing around we tend to due when we’re scared just causes us to sink faster.

What is a Paradigm? A way of looking at your world or at your God.

1. The Ancient Period - A.D. 100-600 was dominated by a Platonic paradigm.

a. Truth was found in mystery.

b. The true world was in the shadows of what we could see.

2. The Medieval Period – A.D. 600-1500 shifted the paradigm toward an Aristotelian point of view.

a. Truth was in the created order of things.

b. Structure was our guide to enlightenment and salvation.

3. The reformation Period – 1500-1750 was preceded by a new philosophy called Nominalism, which insisted truth was not found in an “objective institution” but in the mind of the individual.

a. This philosophy working through the culture weakened the strangle hold that the Roman Catholic church had and allowed the rise of the reformation in Christian thought.

4. The Modern Period – 1750-1980 was shaped by the philosophy of Descartes, which placed its hope on the reason of man. Which gave birth to all this confusion we call denominationalism. (divisions in Christian thought)

a. Most of the roots of the Church of Christ can be traced to men like Descartes and his disciple John Locke, which in turn had a great influence on the Campbell’s and their contemporaries.

5. And now we are in the Postmodern Period – 1980-Present.

a. This new area is marked by more knowledge than ever before but the realization that we still don’t have the answers for societies ills.

b. Science states that we are in an ever expanding universe.

c. Philosophy states that we are in an interrelationship with all things.

d. Which is in turn causing man to realize that the answers are not in himself and allowing a rise of the “New Platonic Thought”, which says that perhaps the answers are out there but cloaked in the mysterious.

e. Therefore the search is on.

So the real question is how does all that affect us today? I really don’t think much has changed in the way we should respond. I think we should respond:

1. The same way Ezra & Nehemiah did.

2. The same way Jesus did.

3. The same way the Reformers did.

4. The same way the restoration preachers did.

Ultimately our best examples of a response to a world of confusion and darkness are found in scripture so that is where will focus our time.

Lets start where Nehemiah did.

1. He was in essence a slave in the service of a foreign king.

2. What was his view of a God that would leave His people in captivity?

3. Couldn’t God have gotten them out when ever He wanted?

4. Why didn’t He?

5. Would all these answers be as easy if you were in Nehemiah’s shoes?

6. Would you feel the same way if you were the one in His situation?

Having considered all of these questions lets ask some tough ones of ourselves.

1. What are we a slave to?

2. How long have we been held captive?

3. What changes do we want to see made?

4. Can you afford to wait any longer?

We can pray the world into changing traditions and lives or anything else that is in the will of God.

But first we must: (all of these things are also examples of the way the reformers of the new testament church behaved.)

1. Rethink real nourishment.

He spent four months fasting. This was a sign that he realized that if God people weren’t returned to their right relationship with Him and their place in the Kingdom that it did not matter if he lived or died.

(Neh 1:4 NIV) When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

(John 4:34-35 NIV) “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. {35} Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

2. Repent of lethargy.

He took responsibility for his sin as well as theirs.

(Neh 1:5-7 NIV) Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, {6} let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. {7} We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

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