DEUTERONOMY 12:30-31: “Be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ You are not to act like this toward ADONAI your God!…” TLV
OBSERVATION: It’s time for the Church to lead! When I read these verses in Deuteronomy I realize how upside down things are in the culture of the Church. The Church does not lead our culture, it follows it. When you look and listen to the church you see a mirror image of what is happening in the world. Is this the way things should be?
Many think the Church does not have what it takes to appeal to the lost unless they become more relevant. I agree that we must be relevant in communicating to our culture, but this does not mean we must become our culture in order to be relevant. In fact, the Church should always stand counter-culture to the world. When we begin to look, act, and sound like the world, what has happened?
This is not the rant of someone who is getting older and is simply out of touch with the times. This is the heart’s cry of one who hears the voice of the Holy Spirit calling the church and is echoing that call. The Church of Laodecia in Revelation was a church that reflected the culture of their day. Here is what Jesus had to say about them:
- “For you say, ‘I am rich, I have made myself wealthy, and I need nothing.’ But you do not know that you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.” The Revelation 3:17 TLV
No doubt they looked like the world, were acting like the world, and were totally unaware of their true spiritual condition. There are consequences to this type of behavior!
- “So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth.” The Revelation 3:16 TLV
Some may say, “Hey, wait a minute! Paul says he became all things to all men so that he could reach some with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” So, did Paul become a sinner in order to win sinners? Did Jesus get drunk when he sat with Tax Collectors and sinners at a feast? Do we need to go undercover so that we look and act exactly like the world in order to reach them for Jesus Christ? The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO!
There was a time in history when the Church led the culture and the arts. It is called the Renaissance, and we still look back at the art and music from this time period with great respect. The expression of this culture has endured the test of time and still holds influence today. Can the Church of today bring this type of influence to today’s culture? The answer is a resounding YES!
A recent movie at the box office shows that there is hope. “I Can Only Imagine” was released and made the number two spot on the box office results for its opening weekend. It was made with a budget of 7 million, which is a fraction of what the world spends to make a movie. After only two weekends this movie has already grossed over 38 million. The message of Jesus Christ is appealing when the Church takes the lead!
It is time to realize that the power we hold is not in our presentation, but in our message. Our use of modern technology does not add power to the message. There is only one thing that adds power to our message and our lives – the Cross of Jesus Christ. As we go through this Holy Week of remembrance we must remember that Jesus was crucified because He was counter-culture. Jesus did not come to be hip, He came to die for our sins. And when He rose from the dead, He became relevant to all men and women in every culture throughout the past two thousand years. It is time once again to be counter-culture and glory in only one thing – the Cross of Jesus Christ!
- “But may I never boast—except in the cross of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Through Him the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything—but only a new creation. Now as many as live by this rule— shalom and mercy on them and on the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:14-16 TLV
It is time for the Church once again to lead!
In Jesus Name!