Summary: This sermon ends a series that has explored the ’corrupt generation’ we find ourselves living in. When realizing they had crucified the Messiah, faithful Jews at Pentecost asked, "What shall we do?" The response is, "Got Jesus?"
Bibliography: Culture Shifts, Lesson 10
Over the last several months, we have looked at the modern culture we find ourselves living in. I personally have found the exploration of the world we face most intriguing. There are some aspects of our society which have really hit home.
Let me briefly run through a top ten list of the identifying characterstics that are shaping our world.
1. We are living in the technology age. Advancements are taking place faster than we can adjust to them. Our lives stay in a constant state of change.
2. Media controls our life more than ever before. It tells us what we want and when we want it. Even with some amount of control, media is shaping who we are as individuals.
3. We live in a sea of ‘truths’ with each person expected to determine what is truth for him or her. Time is short, what makes each individual happy is most important, and values are subjective.
4. Violence is on the rise. America has become the home front. We are pitted against each other. We are attacking one another.
5. An increase in divorce rate and fall out from the free love generation has resulted in multifamily dynamics. Results has been a distrust in relationships, difficulty determining relationship boundaries, and a huge rise in single parent households.
6. Employment has changed. Careers and retirement are quickly going by the wayside. Frequent job changes are in our future. It is becoming more likely that fewer of us will be able to retire when we reach retirement age. We are pitted for survival, not success.
7. Diversity in worldviews in growing. Our identity is being reshaped and redefined outside of our cultural and ethnic heritage. As identifying markers change and shift so quickly and seem to be chosen arbritrarily, we face an identity crisis. Who are we?
8. Spirituality is a hot topic. We continue to seek answers and a ‘fix’ for our problems. Most alarming about this characteristic in an increased understanding that all forms of religion and spirituality are equally valid. If one doesn’t get you what you want, then switch to another one.
9. We have become a generation where the ties that bind us together are fragile and fluid. Our morals are constantly changing and being reevaluated. Our loyalty to our relationships are weak. Never before have we been such an individualistic society, interested in what impacts us personally, first, foremost, and altogether.
10. All of these characteristics are wrapped up and bounded together with fear. We are a nation afraid. We are afraid of the world and of one another. We are afraid for our survival and afraid of ourselves.
Peter never knew what he preached would never be more true: “Save yourselves from a corrupt generation.”
Our generation is a corrupt one indeed.
It is the day of Pentecost. This is a religious festival celebrated in Jerusalem. Faithful Jews have gathered from all over Israel and perhaps even those living in nearby countries to worship and celebrate this day.
Pentecost is an old Jewish agricultural celebration. It occurs in the spring, and is about giving thanks and pledging agricultral gifts to God. By the time of Jesus, it had also come to be associated with the gift of God’s faithfulness given to Israel through the Torah, or law. Through the law, Jews were able to stay in right relationship with God.
On this day, following the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples had gathered to celebrate Pentecost. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit descended upon them like a mighty rushing an roaring wind. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to tell the story of Jesus in different languages so that the people who had come from all around to celebrate the festival could hear them talking about Jesus in their own language.
At first, people thought they were drunk with all the noise and confusion. But Peter got up to preach, and what he told them was how Jesus who had been crucified, had been raised from the dead by God.
This man who had died a shameful, dishonorable, death of a criminal, had been resurrected and brought to life by God.
It sounds so simple to say that. We who have grown up in the church have heard this part of Christ’s story so many times and accept it so naturally. But don’t let the significance of the resurrection of Christ go by so quickly.
Those gathered there that day were faithful people who waited patiently, desperately for the Messiah, the chosen one, the anointed of God to come and save them - to save them from the corrupt generation they lived in, from their occuppied state, from sin which was a live, active force in the world, from all that kept them from living the law of God fully and interfered with their desire and ability to follow God’s commands and live in obedience to God.