Summary: We do not need to look for a fight or desire to fight and many Christians do. At the same time, we do not need to be cowardly about our faith.
James Emery White, a Pastor and former college President, is also the author of many books of which one is, “The Church in an Age of Crisis.”
In this book, he writes about how America is a post-Christian nation. He paints a picture of our nation, its mindset and culture, in which the church must understand in order to reach this nation for Christ effectively. He writes about our culture and how it is:
*Focused on self
*God is unnecessary
*See God as a moralist and therapist
*Divine supermarket (inter-faith is cool)
*Truthiness (facts don’t matter—feel good)
*Modern Family (co-habitation doubled in ’90’s, divorce, homosexuality, gender lines blurred, disappearance of childhood innocence)
*Google is god
*Famous phenomenon (Reality, Idol, Sports)
*Stop church (no value, full of problems, no time anyway)
*Social justice is king (Gospel does not matter)
*Perfection is the new American dream
Ill: Culture (ways, practices, ideologies) in one hand & Bible in your other hand: Each calls for something different than the other. They collide.
*This is the exact thing that happened in Acts 4.
Title: “When Our Faith and Culture Collide”
Context: The people had just witnessed the healing of a man who was lame since birth. It was a miracle. Peter preached the Gospel when God gave him this platform and he and John witnessed almost 2,000 people respond to Jesus Christ and saw the church grow from at least 3,120 people to an estimated 5,000 plus people. Immediately, they were confronted by the Sadducees, a religious group of people who did not believe in any resurrection from the dead. They had Peter and John arrested because their faith collided with the culture.
Sanhedrin was comprised of 71 people and acted as the Supreme Court of Israel. The Sanhedrin was comprised of at least two religious groups:
*Sadducees: Torah only, rejected resurrection, no after-life, and elitists
*Pharisees: Torah, but also oral tradition, believed in an after-life, common
Remember: Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin. (Annas & Caiaphas)
Read Acts 4:7 (Name: Title, Person, Power—Temple)
*God created Peter and John another platform for the gospel.
Read Acts 4:8-12 (Deed-Healed-How-By Jesus’ name he was healed)
*You crucified Jesus. He was raised from the dead. He healed this man!
*You rejected Jesus. Jesus is the Foundation for everything, even church!
*Jesus is the Rock. He is God. Jesus is the 1st Stone and all is set from Him!
*Jesus is the ONLY Savior, the Promised Messiah, and only through His NAME (Title, Person, Power) can one be saved from sin and live eternally.
This created a collision of cataclysmic proportion! (sudden, violent)
(Peter was bold with these men knowing how they wanted Jesus dead)
*Sanhedrin: amazed, speechless, meeting
*Plan: tell them to stop preaching & teaching about Jesus
Read Acts 4:19-20 (Unable to stop talking about Jesus—saw Him alive—heard His words—we must continue to talk about Jesus)
*Threatened them again. Crowd was fired up about what they saw. Political wind was blowing with Peter and John. Released them.
Here is what happens in Acts 4: Their faith collided with their culture. This is exactly what is happening in America today: Our faith will collide with the culture.
Why does our faith collide with the culture?
*Culture is against Jesus (vs. 1-4)
Jesus is made fun of, mocked by many, denied by most.
Business and education both threaten people to not talk about Jesus.
Pray (just don’t use Jesus’ name) (Equality of all religions)
*Culture is against what we believe (vs. 5-22)
Power of God—threatened by God, lose control of all
Name of Jesus Christ—Title, Person, Power
Jesus is the only way to Salvation—The culture believes in inclusivism while we believe in the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, meaning there is no other way than Jesus Christ to be forgiven and go to heaven. (Not . . .)
(Culture believes there are many paths to God; we believe there is ONE)
Ill: In my over 50 years of life, never has there been more of an attack against Jesus Christ and what we believe about Jesus Christ than there is today.
Discrimination against Christianity occurs continually.
Ill: Tim Tebow is one of the world’s best-known athletes. His devotion to Jesus Christ and his continual testimony of his allegiance to Jesus Christ, has cost him in his life and career greatly. His faith has collided with the culture. Thank God for his continual conviction and stand for Jesus Christ.
App: Stop being intimidated by some secularist or so-called Christians.
How should We Respond When Our Faith Is Attacked?
1) Share the gospel (vs. 8-12)
*The gospel is our power: death, burial, resurrection, Lordship
2) Stand firmly (vs. 19-20)
*You do what you have to do, but I cannot deny or stop talking about Jesus who changed my life. Be wise! But do not be intimidated.