Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cultural Christianity Vs Biblical Christianity

Was Jesus culturally relevant to the 1st century world? Did He teach His disciples to fit in with the world? Was Jesus concerned about what the world thought of Him? Did the 1st century apostles and believer’s compromise their faith and the gospel message to save the lost?

In this bible study we will take a look at the teachings of Christ and the inspired scriptures to answer these questions. If we are to be the bride of Christ, who will be spotless and unblemished; made ready for the Bridegroom, we need to know exactly what God says we must do to enter His kingdom.

Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:18-19
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

If Jesus was culturally relevant to the 1st century world wouldn’t they have loved Him and accepted Him as their own? Yet we know He was hated and crucified by those He came to save.

Look at what John 1:10 says:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

To say that Jesus was culturally relevant in His time is saying that He was in agreement with religious pride, unbelief, and idol worship. All of which were very prevalent in the culture during the ministry of Christ. Many talk about how loving and tolerant Jesus was and how He didn’t condemn anybody. It’s true He did not condemn, He didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it, He didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but He did speak out against sin.

John 15:22
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

If Jesus was relevant to the culture of the 1st century world, He would not have been crucified and He would have failed in the work that God sent Him to do. Because He would have been more concerned about what people thought about Him, and not offending anyone. He would have been trying to fit in with the world and please people instead of pleasing the Father. He would have tried to be friends with the world and compromise His faith. In fact Jesus was so un-relevant and separated from the culture of His day even many of His disciples who followed Him left Him.

John 6:60-66
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

Jesus said plainly that He was not of this world and neither were His disciples because He had chosen them out of the world.

John 17:14-16
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

If Jesus came back to earth right now and wanted to become relevant to this American culture today, what would He be doing?

The truth is that the gospel message of the kingdom of God and how to enter in will never change regardless of the culture, or the century. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Here is what Paul told the Roman believer’s:

Romans 12:1-2
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

How many professing Christians look and act-like those in the world? Where is the holiness? Where are the fruits of the Spirit? What is the difference between sinners and saints today?

We know that the 1st century church never compromised their faith to fit in with the world or to please man. In fact they suffered persecution and death for their belief in Christ, if Christians today would start to stand up for righteousness and holiness in this culture today, they would face the same thing!

Hebrews 11:37-38
“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”

Paul also told the Ephesian church:

Ephesians 5:8-11
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

How many professing Christians are speaking out and exposing works of darkness?

Sin, repentance, holiness, righteousness and the coming judgment are not being addressed much in the body of Christ today, and the church has become lukewarm and Laodicean. Some say I am so blessed because I have a nice house, a nice car, a big screen T.V., all the food I can eat, I don’t need anything. Yet their soul is naked, blind, poor, and wretched. (Revelation 3:15-19)
Are you a cultural Christian or are you a biblical Christian? Are you holding to the teachings of Christ, or are you just hearing and not doing? There is a BIG difference between the two, and the Judge Jesus Christ Himself will make this clear on Judgment day.

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Today is the day of your salvation, the Lord is standing at the door and time is short. I pray that these words of God will spur you on towards a sincere devotion to bible study, prayer, and obedience.

Love In Christ,
Tyrone D Palmer, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ