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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Impacting Or Imbibing the Culture?

Someone asked me recently what I meant when I said in a sermon that the Church is supposed to impact, not imbibe, the culture. I meant the Church should adhere to a high standard of righteousness in order to have a solid platform from which to evangelize. If the Church’s standard of righteousness is almost low as the culture’s, why will unbelievers be attracted to the gospel? If they are not convinced the gospel has not made much, if any, difference in our lives, why should they embrace it?

Also, the Church must present the truth that God sees everyone as a sinner destitute of innate spiritual merit. Romans 3:23 hands down this indictment: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But the culture rejects God’s analysis of human nature, preferring to see every human being as special and deserving of the best life has to offer. Consequently, more than a few smooth-talking pastors preach only a positive message that positively affirms in the minds of those who listen that they are positively fine individuals whom God positively loves just as they are. The same positive message fails to mention personal sin, guilt, judgment, and the need to repent and believe on the Savior who shed His blood for sinners.

Further, the culture seeks entertainment as obsessively as bees seek pollen. Celebrities dazzle their fans, especially those celebrities who “rock the house.” Is the Church copying the culture by entertaining congregations? Are we at risk of abandoning corporate worship of the Rock of Ages by letting on-stage performers “rock the house”?

The apostle Paul urged the believers at Rome to resist the pressure of pagan culture to fit into its mold (Romans 12:2). The culture’s mold produces carnal Christians; God’s mold produces Christlike Christians (Roman 8:29). Christlike Christians impact the culture; carnal Christians imbibe it.