Summary: Should we withdraw from the political life of the republic into a monastic life?
The Holy Spirit’s Effect On Our Lifestyle
Conservative political leader Paul Weyrich caused a stir in Washington recently by calling on those who still believe in our traditional, Bible based Christian culture to separate themselves as much as possible from a corrupt disintegrating America.
Mr. Weyrich is understandably upset at the numerous political losses conservatives have suffered of late, especially the acquittal of President Clinton in the Senate. "Politics have failed," he asserts, because most Americans are no longer moral. Mr. Weyrich worries that fighting on the liberal turf may accomplish little and exhaust conservatives.
What should Christians make of this argument? Should we withdraw from the political life of the republic into a monastic life? That is exactly what many Christians have done and what many Christians think we should do. As Christians we live under what theologians call the "cultural mandate." Being in the world and being separate from it, working for its good. That includes being in politics and other parts of the world’s "turf."
Jonathan Edwards compared our situation like that of travelers spending time at a motel. We never make the mistake that the motel is our home and we are ready to go home when the time comes. But while we are there we want to take care of the motel while we are there.
This means that we have to maintain a careful balance: not putting our hope in political matters, but also not retreating from them.
(Read Acts 2:14-16).
What we have here is the first sermon preached in the Church age. What is even more significant is that this may very well be the first holiness and sanctification message as well. The congregation was 100% Jewish. So they knew something about holiness and sanctification. But we need to take a step back for just one moment. Before these believers could exhibit the Spirits effect on their life they had to receive Him. On the day of Pentecost, when the multitude saw the Early Church filled with Spirit, they asked, "What can this mean?"(v. 12). Then comes Peter’s reply, "What you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel."(v.16). After Peter had preached his sermon the listeners asked, "What should we do?"(v. 37).
The Holy Spirit is God dwelling in believers to actually carry on the work of sanctification and holiness in our lives. From the very beginning, there has been an awareness that being filled with the Holy Spirit will have an impact on our behavior. That=s what I want to discuss tonight.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will know the meaning of the word conviction. What is conviction? Conviction is: knowing the truth.
We will know the truth about sin. We will become familiar with the idea of confession and forsaking sin.
Today sin is simply dismissed as immaturity, arrested development, or growing pains.
Columnist Deborah Mathis wrote in her column recently, "Pop culture is overrun by notorious men and women who have converted their trash to cash, their bad luck to big bucks or their shame to fame. Used to be, you wouldn=t tell it to your pastor or priest. Now, you get an agent to make you a deal that will tell it to the whole, wide world."
Parents no longer think their children are lost or unsaved. In the USA Today a mother recently made this comment after Monica Lewinsky was interviewed by
Barbara Walters, "I indeed feel sorry for Monica Lewinsky. The country song that says ’Looking for love in all the wrong places’ comes to mind. I am Lewinsky’s parent’s age, a mother of grown children her age, and I can only imagine how awful this has been for Lewinsky and her family. After all she is only acting out the type of behavior someone her age has seen all his or her life on TV or movies. . . . I hope Lewinsky’s book makes her lots of money to pay her legal bills. As they say, ’Go, girl, go’."
Your child may be a good boy or girl, but so was the rich young ruler mentioned by Jesus.
In a Detroit News editorial it had this to say, "By the end of the show, we were ready for a long, hot bath, and not just because ABC went out of its way to immerse us in tawdriness. . . . Not every person with a self-esteem problem, which is most of humanity, winds up in bed with a married teacher, flashes her thong underwear at a president, gets pregnant by a ’senior Pentagon official and has an abortion by the age of 24. Couldn’t there have been more at work here, perhaps a moral emptiness that reflects the relativistic, nonjudgmental secular hollowness of American life itself? But Barbara Walters chose not to go there."