Summary: In exalting Christ we resist the leavening influence of cultural traditions upon Christian truth.
CHRIST OR CULTURE
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Pastor Brian Matherlee
The Bible tells us to be prepared to give a defense in all things so I searched for some Scriptures that could help in some touch situations you might encounter over the next several weeks:
When your wife asks you to help with the decorations
—John 2:4, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?”
When people ask why you haven’t given them anything
--Matthew 6:32, “The pagans run after all these things.”
—I Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.”
Children, when your parents tell you to wash your hands, Matthew 15:20, maybe I shouldn’t use this one.
When you don’t like something that is served
—Job 6:7, “I refuse to touch it, such food makes me ill.”
When you want the last piece of dessert that someone else has taken
—Luke 3:11, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
Ladies, when all the men are sitting around doing nothing but watching football
--Proverbs 6:9, “How long will you lie there, you sluggard?”
And finally, for those guests who don’t seem to know when it is time to go
--1 Samuel 29:10, “Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”
During this season of celebrating gratitude for the blessings of God culminating with celebrating the greatest gift from God we should recognize that there are really two kinds of celebrations going on. There must be. Do Christians celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas different from those who don’t follow Christ? Should we?
Think about how we decorate. We put up trees and lights in and out of the house. Santa comes down the chimney and the nativity scene sits on the mantle. It is an interesting dichotomy. Christmas Eve we read, “The Night Before Christmas” and the Birth narratives from the Gospels. We sing Joy to the World at church and crank up, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” on the car stereo.
James Fallow, until recently the Far Eastern correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, reports that Americans have exported this confusion of symbols. In one large Japanese department store he came across a display featuring Santa Claus holding the infant Jesus, behind a sleigh pulled by the seven dwarfs. (From Mohler is Associate Editor of Preaching, Vol. 7, #3)
There is, at times, an uneasy mixture of the sacred and the secular in our observance of Christmas…not to be confused with Xmas.
My hope today is not to pull down Christmas trees, ornaments & do away with gift exchanges. I want us to see the importance of exalting Christ in our homes during this blessed time of year. In exalting Christ we resist the leavening influence of cultural traditions upon Christian truth.
Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends upon human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
1. Somebody is out to get you!
a. It should be clear that our enemy is Satan
i. “Your enemy, the devil”, said Peter.
ii. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood”, said Paul.
iii. Peter also wrote to us that Satan was like a roaring lion, prowling around seeking someone to devour.
iv. He isn’t trying to slow us down or trip us up a bit. He is all about absolutely trying to destroy!
b. He is after you, your children, your grandchildren & everyone you love.
c. Only two ways of attack
i. Might-this is what happened in the first Gulf War. General Colin Powell described the plan this way. First we will cut them off, and then we will kill ‘em. “Shock and awe” has been used to describe this kind of plan. It is the full on assault to beat us down by life’s circumstances. But Satan rarely works this way.
ii. Deception-this is the number one tool of the devil. Eve told God in Eden, “the serpent deceived me.” ( Genesis 3:13) And Satan has been sneaking around ever since. Jesus told us in John 8:8, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
2. Beware the power of human traditions
a. George Barna states, “My research has shown that people – especially young people – absorb an amazing degree of their values, beliefs and lifestyle practices from the media content to which they are exposed. Most of that media is based on worldviews that do not honor God.” (George Barna, July 10, 2006)
b. Galatians 4:3, “So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of this world.”