Our culture has reached a point where we admire evil and condemn good. Let’s look at some examples.
According to the bible, the killing of an infant or child would be called murder. In our culture, we call it a woman’s right to choose.
Two men or two women getting married is called sexual immorality according to God. Our culture now calls it marriage equality.
And here’s how insane this is getting…a doctor was recently fired from his job at a Harvard affiliated hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, for his stance against homosexuality. The odd thing about the case is this…although Dr. Paul Church is a Christian and has traveled extensively on mission trips to help the poor, he was fired because of his refusal to stand down on indisputable medical evidence of the negative effects of the gay lifestyle and it’s prevalence in diseases like STD’s, HIV and cancer.
It began with Dr. Church expressing concerns over the hospital’s increasing support and presence at LBGT events. In his opinion, it’s a conflict of interest for a hospital to support a lifestyle that promotes disease which doctors and nurses have sworn an oath to cure and treat. But the hospital’s leadership increasingly became hostile to Dr. Church and utilized it’s human resources policy to eventually fire him. All of this despite the fact they could not dispute the medical facts Dr. Church cited in regards to the gay lifestyle. Would you want to be treated at a hospital like this?
As Christians, how do we deal with a culture like this?
First, don’t be shocked. We are dealing with nothing new and we should react to it for what it is. It’s sinful and evil and the typical symptoms of a society living in darkness. And as the Church, we need to get serious and repent at the fact we got here largely because of an absentee Church that has more interest in large buildings, useless programs, money, and an unhealthy infatuation with appealing to the culture instead of rebuking it.
Isaiah 5:20 says:
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Let’s also look at a direct quote from Jesus to His Church!
Rev 2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
Rev 2:19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Rev 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
Rev 2:23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
As a Church, in attempt to appeal to the culture to bring them Jesus (an anti-Jesus way of doing it), we have turned our back on the culture and let them become sick with evil. THIS IS OUR FAULT to a large degree. Now there are specific individuals in places of leadership that I believe are largely responsible for this happening, but that’s neither here nor there. As Christians, we checked our brains at the door of the church of Laodicea (lukewarm) and let these leaders lead us right into bed with Jezebel (Thyatira). Now we have a Church that is largely illiterate, mostly unsaved, and very arrogant when it comes to their refusal to follow Jesus. Heck, most of our Church leaders today can be best described by the Apostle Paul as “spiritual infants”.
Somewhere in the past century, we forgot Christianity is not about popularity and never has been. It’s about suffering and becoming perfected through that suffering. Let’s look at what the bible says about it. It’s very clear!
Mat 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
2Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2Ti 4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Notice the 2nd Timothy passage. It’s not the leaders that brought about this condition…but like I said earlier, it’s the Church itself and it’s members that accumulate these leaders that suit their passions. Shame on us! So what are we to do?
First, we need to get back to a healthy church culture which means addressing the structure of the Church.
The Church is designed by Jesus to function a certain way so as to glorify God. We need to question what we’re doing Sunday mornings! The Church is not meant to have singular leadership, but a plurality of leaders. Those leaders are not to be immature in their faith. They are to be the more mature folks in a particular congregation. Unfortunately, many pastors today see putting immature people into roles of authority as being a way to grow them up in their faith, but the bible is clear we are to nurture new Christians for quite a while before we put them in these roles. In some worse cases, I fear some leaders do this with the intent of keeping the whole Church in bondage to immature ways of thinking.
And the mature leaders are to keep each other accountable and doing things according to the bible – the very words of God Himself as expressed through Jesus Christ. These leaders should also come from the congregation and not outside of the Church so we know them and their fruits. These men should exhibit gifts of the Spirit and should be full of good works. Each one should also be able to teach. Not facilitate…but TEACH out of scripture.
We need to stop making Sunday mornings an entertainment show for the immature and get back to solid teaching and fellowship to train people to be mature Christians. Music and sermons have become an unhealthy addiction in the church culture of the West. Just ask any person why they stay or leave a particular church these days…you would be surprised at how many say it had to do with their perceived quality of the music or the preaching. And guess what pastors? You brought this on yourselves!
We can’t have a healthy church culture unless we get back to the real message of the Gospel. We have created a false gospel that is 100% focused on love when you never see Jesus or His Apostles preach the gospel this way. The Gospel message is a message of REPENTENCE first and a message of love second. We basically tell people God is ALL love and He accepts everyone and that is false to the scriptures and the words of Jesus. God only accepts those who REPENT and BELIEVE. And that belief equals faith. It’s only when we have faith can we love and faith comes through repentance.
The Gospel should include a healthy dose of talking about sin. It’s funny. Many times when the topic of sin comes up, I will hear churchgoers say, “But Jesus said He didn’t come to save the righteous. He came to save the sinners!” They say this as some sort of justification for living in sin. But let’s look at what Jesus actually said…
Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Mat 9:12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Mat 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When you’re a sinner, Jesus considers you sick. Someone that needs to be healed. He doesn’t want to you to be sick and diseased with sin. Think about this from a logical viewpoint. If you still lead a life of sin, have you been healed? No. And if you have not been healed, how can you be saved?
“But that’s grace! Jesus forgives us no matter what!” they say. Here’s what the bible says grace is all about. That is if you believe the bible.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
Tit 2:12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
Tit 2:13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Tit 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Another thing we need to do to recover a healthy church culture is to never cease in doing good works. Good works is how the church demonstrates love in our communities and it’s also how God is glorified.
Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Is you church known for its good works? Would most people in your community be aware your church even exists? If not, you’re too self-involved. Get rid of the seeker sensitive programs and lead people out into the community to actually do some good. Poverty and homelessness is a real challenge in our country. Put some of your congregants in the middle of the typical problems of a homeless person and you will see spiritual growth. I promise you will!
Second, we need to re-capture our own language in the culture and stop letting the darkness establish the definitions.
People that support abortion don’t like when Christians call it murder, but that’s what it is. So make them have an honest conversation about it! Before they run off down the road of accusing you of being bigoted against women because you don’t support “their right to choose”, force them to first establish some definitions. Let them know you believe supporting abortion is supporting murder, and yes, you also believe anyone who supports abortion has the heart of a murderer. There is a great, new animated video that shows people what is happening during an abortion procedure. Keep it handy on your phone or tablet and when the conversation comes up, make them watch the video. You can’t watch that video and still claim a fetus is not a living being…
I’m ok with someone supporting abortion, but only if they are willing to admit it’s killing a living human. At least that’s being honest. But I refuse to let someone claim you can abort a baby because it’s actually not a person. That’s a lie! Be honest and stand up and say that you are ok with killing a person if it means your life can be less inconvenienced in some way.
Last, another thing we can do is make sure we are bringing up our children in the instruction of the Lord. My wife and I made the decision early on to homeschool our children. I’m glad we made that decision. Our kids are rock solid in their knowledge of scripture as well as math and science! And I believe they have become better examples to other kids because of it.
It makes my heart sick when I see parents dealing with the effects of the public school system and peer pressure as it relates to their kids. Many of the kid’s lives are over before they start because of bad decisions made. And although God can work miracles through any situation, parents need to accept responsibility for what their kids have become because they weren’t willing to sacrifice for the benefit of their children. I challenge any parent to look up all of the scriptures in the bible having to do with raising children. It might change your perspective.
As Christians, we need to be committed to having big families too. Children are a gift from God and we should have more of them…and then bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.
One of the most important things we can do to change the current culture in our society is to create and disciple a new generation of believers that are our children. I personally see this operating in our local home school organization where I live and it’s something parents can do no matter where they live and no matter what church they attend.
There are many more things we can do to strengthen our churches, families and culture, but hope fully this gives some ideas around just a few so we can reclaim God’s Kingdom in our midst, and once again, see clearly what is good and what is evil.