Summary: What is the answer for a church drifting toward embracing the CULTURE over CHRIST? The ANSWER is CHRIST!
In a previous message I made the following statement: “The great spiritual challenge for our generation is whether we will obey God in areas where the Bible and culture are opposed.”
Our world is changing. It’s more than human technological progress. Our values are changing. Our morality is changing. Against the backdrop of these changes, Christians must decide wether we will submit to CHRIST or CULTURE?
The degree to which Christians have succumbed to pressure to submit to culture is explained in an article by Bruce Davidson in “The American Thinker.” Davidson writes,
At one time, evangelical meant a clear commitment to biblical authority and historic Protestant doctrine, but now the term is applied to a wide range of people, from bizarre TV faith healers to religiously affiliated social justice warriors. Evangelical no longer represents any consistent body of beliefs or even political commitments.
In sum, evangelicalism has been slowly dying, mainly from its failure to let divine revelation and the message of salvation in Christ take precedence over contemporary thinking and cultural relevance. Evangelicalism doomed itself when it put its faith in social science and political success rather than in the God of scripture.
The sad truth is that much of evangelicalism does not now offer an alternative voice; it offers the same voice as pop culture and the mass media. Rather than being a light to the world, much of it is merely a mirror of the world
I have long sensed the same spiritual decay withing the church. This is the reason that I preached a sermon series on Jude. I would like to continue to explore this theme and encourage us as a Christian church to remain faithful to Christ and the Scriptures, even as our culture changes and even as many Christians follow along with the popular trends of our day.
There is ANOTHER NEW TESTAMENT BOOK, Similar to JUDE, that provides an EXAMPLE of a CHURCH in DANGER. That book is Colossians. The theme of this four chapter Epistle can be found in Colossians 2:8. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
I. The PROBLEM at Colossae
Colossae was in ASIA MINOR (modern day Turkey). Paul never visited there. We know this from what he writes in Colossians 2:1 "I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally." BUT HE FELT IT NECESSARY to WRITE. False teachers were urging the people to move away from their Christian roots and to accept other religious ideas. Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 160–161.
So, what did Paul write? What is the answer for a church drifting toward embracing the CULTURE over CHRIST? The ANSWER: CHRIST!
In this Epistie, Paul focuses on the person of CHRIST. One of the greatest statements on the person of Christ is provided to us in Colossians 1:15-50. In the New American Commentary, Mellick notes that in Colossians, “One Theme predominates, the PERSON of Christ. No other epistle is as Christocentric as this one.” Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 162.
The supremacy and centrality of Christ continues in Colossians 1:13–14 "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, " "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
As we think about the centrality of Christ and our need to learn about him and from him, let me ask you, How Did you Come to Know About Christ?
My testimony of salvation begins with my parents who trusted Christ around the time I was born. But they came to Christ through the witness of my Aunt Mildred, a wonen I only ever met a few times when I was very young.
The reality is that someone introduced you to Christ. Paul reminds the COLOSSIANS of the PERSON who introduced them to CHRIST. His name was Epahpras. Colossians 1:7 "You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,"
This personal connection to real people is a reminder that the Bible is a PERSONAL book! It is not just philosophy and religious ideas. The Bible is unlike any other spiritual or religious book. Scripture contains frequent details about PEOPLE.
Just consider some of the people in COLOSSIANS
Epaphras. 1:7. Colossians 1:12 "giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."