IDENTIFYING MARKS OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN!

SPOTLIGHT: CULTURES REFLECT VARIOUS AND DIVERSE WAYS OF LIFE IN TERMS OF EVERYTHING FROM BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, HOMES, DRESS, AND APPROACHES TO LIFE !

Christian culture affects our way of life over all. It is and can be identified in our outward demonstrations of life events, our actions in government, how we design buildings, and how we handle economics.

Peter the Apostle of Jesus Christ our God mentions in I Peter 2 that we are a chosen nation of people. Nations reflect a primary style of living which is called a culture and that means the people are distinctively identified by not only their skin color, but the outward manifestations of things one sees in their domains.

Inward ideas and belief systems do affect many things outwardly. For instance, a Christ follower may show a more conservative approach to outward dress. That is, their dress will be more modest than the non- believers, or at least it should be!! Buildings used for worship are distinctively recognized as Christian. Many times there are outward symbols such as a Cross. Secular buildings may have signs indicating what goes on inside of them.

Cultures can be studied in human history. For instance, the culture of the Corinthians in the time of Christ and Paul the Apostle was noted for its immorality, especially sexual deviations, and idol worship. Then there are certain tribes or racial groups on various islands around the globe were people practiced head hunting and would kill and eat the human bodies they had slain.

I noted one tribe that practiced cannibalism, but also, practiced honesty and were very careful not to steal someone else’s property.

The Roman Empire eventually had a reputation which identified them with much immorality, so much so, it actually contributed to their total downfall.

I refer to all of this because I wish to share with you how throughout history God allows tribes, nations, and individuals to progress more and more into evil and sin, or He may bring certain tribes and cultures to faith in Himself and His Son Jesus Christ changing their entire way of life and culture.

In the United States there has been times when we were collapsing spiritually and morally. Church buildings were empty, worship of God was on a low level. Bars and sordid and crude entertainment was prominent, drunkenness and prostitution was high. Our nation was in deep trouble. But, God chose to bring people back to worship and changed the entire nation and we called that period of time “The Great Awakening” reflecting how people turned to God through Jesus Christ and began worshipping Him. Bars and houses of ill repute were closed down and Church buildings begin filling up with people worshipping God. They took their faith seriously and it changed the culture.

Remember this, we cannot, no matter how strong our desire to do so, in our own power change the culture to a righteous and holy one. Only God Himself can do that by changing the hearts, souls and spirits of the people. He has to do it!! A nation can become more religious, but that will only be outward, but the innermost part of the culture’s citizens will be rotten to the core. They will be basically hypocrites, or moral deists without Christ. This is spoken of in the scriptures as, “those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power of God”!

This world is not paradise. You and I can’t make it into a paradise. Often when I ask others how they are doing, I hear, “Having another wonderful day in paradise”! Well, that’s not so! No paradise here. Paradise is coming, but it will only come when Jesus comes back and makes a new heavens and a new earth! But while we are here the culture will always be changing.

It either gets better or worse . And without the influence of true, Biblical Christianity it will get worse.

DISCOVERY:

True chosen Christ Followers, are those who realize their culture is different. Different than the one they were in prior to being called by Christ into His Kingdom and the new culture of God!

Inclusion in this new culture means there is going to be radical changes in the Christian’s life. Changes so different and so dynamic others can’t miss them.

God, for our good and His glory, has chosen to keep us in this broken-down sinful world. He has chosen to use the hardships of this world to complete our transformation into the image of Christ. He does not leave us helpless or alone either. He is not somewhere up there or far away from us. He is actually in us, with us and directing us.

He blesses us every day, and He has us right where He wants us to be. That means your marriage, your job, your local congregation of fellow believers, your family, and your friends and acquaintances, will NEVER be the paradise you want them to be in this world. If you are expecting that from them you will be highly disappointed.

We live in this world system, but as pilgrims, aliens, migrants from another unseen world and culture which is totally foreign to this one, but God has given us a place in that unseen culture and kingdom which is eternal paradise beyond our wildest dreams. Jesus said:

In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you but I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2.

As we face hardships in this world, we must remember that GRACE has purchased us a ticket for the paradise above with Him which is to come. He will keep His promise. He kept His promise to the world to come the first time, to die and rise from the dead paying the penalty for our sins, so we can escape the judgment and wrath of the Father, and He promised to go back to Heaven and send the Holy Spirit to His chosen ones and He did!

So, He will return! Are you ready for Him? Do you really know Him and His culture? Are you finding that He is more satisfying than this world system and all it has to offer? If not why not? Come to Him and find life, satisfaction, contentment, hope and assurance that ONLY HE can give, for He is God! He loves His own and will always provide for them since they are HIS family!! Amen!

THE WORLD SYSTEM!

WHAT IS IT LIKE?

The world system is the culture and social order we live in that Satan controls and is opposed to God’s teachings. It is allowed by God to operate throughout all nations. Demonically controlled people lured into almost anything you could imagine which is anti Christ and anti God exists. However, we must remember God is still over it all, that is, He is in control of Satan and Demons and they can only carry out their sinister work as God permits! Yes, God permits and allows evil to exist but HE takes these things evil does and turns them around and brings out of it all wonderful and awesome righteous and holy things! Remember the CROSS!

Satan is “the god of this present age” (i.e., the present world-order). Satan rules nations and cultures through fallen angels or demons. This makes the culture and social order we live in “enemy-held territory.” Adam was originally God’s steward, manager, and overseer of the created order, but Adam abdicated this office and its authority when he disobeyed God in the garden. Hebrews chapter 2 in the Scriptures, discusses the program of God which will restore Adam lost estate back into even greater status than it was. The following notes concern the nature of the “world” which opposes God and God’s people.

THE NATURE OF THIS CURRENT WORLD SYSTEM!


The World: The Greek word kosmos, meaning “ornament, decoration, arrangement” gives us our English word “cosmetics.” When the Bible speaks about not loving the “world” the reference is not to nature but to the social order, the culture of the nations.


1 John 2:15-17 is a key reference:


Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”


The “world-system” involves a concern for external appearances more than inner content and quality. As used in the New Testament, the world does not refer to nature, but to the world-system, to society and human culture. The world system is outwardly religious, scientific, cultured and elegant. Inwardly it seethes with national and commercial rivalries.
The general characteristics of “the world” as the term is used in the Bible when referring to the fallen “world system” may be described roughly as follows. The world:

  • Produces conformity to cultural norms or traditions of men; stifles individuality.

When we day by day observe events, read the newspapers, watch the television news and hear a radio newscast , we see and hear a lot of terrible things. Evil, terrible events, death, destruction, disease, failure, etc. are the prominent themes of the news. One can get overwhelmed with it. The Bible is the only source which explains evil and why it is taking place on this earth. We find that mankind is the problem.

HUMANS ARE USED TO PROMOTE THE EVIL WORLD SYSTEM BY SATAN!

Humans are radically corrupt. We (BEFORE SALVATION) are not as corrupt as we possibly could be at any given time or moment, but each of us are or were, radically corrupt. In fact, this radical corruption goes to the very “core” of our being! We are born with a sinful flesh, (heart), soul and spirit. Completely infected with sin! The Bible speaks of this corruption in us as the “law of sin”! This “law of sin” is always battling against a Christian’s “new nature in Christ” and the “law of the Spirit” which is in us! That is the struggle we have until Christ takes us to heaven. So, it is by the grace of God that we do not all erupt like a volcano, spewing forth evil all the time. But, thanks be to God, He holds back this terrible cesspool of evil. After we are ‘born again’, by the Spirit of God, we have a new heart, a new soul and a new spirit. The Flesh still has within it the sin status which seeks to produce fruit. Thus the struggle between the new man and the old man! The body of skin and bones and blood, has not been changed, and has what is called the Flesh (Sarx a greek term)! The Flesh used in this context is NOT skin and bones, but rather, the evil sin which stays in the body and works against the New Redeemed person (soul/spirit/heart) as we are now IN CHRIST and IN the HOLY SPIRIT and in GOD really for the Triune God is involved totally in our Regeneration and state of being as a child of God.

WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE ABSOLUTE TOTALITY OF HOW EVIL WILL OPERATE YET!

We hear the phrase, “You ain’t seen nothing yet”! That is the idea here. We see corruption coming forth from certain people and even entire movements or nations, but we haven’t seen how corrupt they could be if God didn’t hold it back. Where do I get this?

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2: 1 – 3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—-among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind.”

Notice the great doctrinal truths packed in these verses. Let’s unpack a few categories and hopefully you will do a study on all of them.

  1. All humans are “dead”. We are spiritually dead, which is separation from God and under His disfavor.
  2. We live physically in a spiritually dead status, doing what the world system incites us to do. The world system has an evil objective: disobedience to the principles and laws of God. The world system is the culture and social order we live in that Satan controls and is opposed to God’s teachings. Be careful you don’t let the world system influence you away from Christ and His word!
  3. Then, the “spiritually dead” people follow the “prince of the power of the air”. We all know this is Satan. We do not like to think about it, but every person who is not a follower of Christ is in Satan’s kingdom. He is their leader and their father.
  4. Satan, the world, and even our own flesh work to influence us to live by our passions and lusts for things, “carrying out the desires of the body and mind”. In other words, our normal and natural desires go way off the scale and become out of control.
  5. Then, last we note that because of mankind’s state, we are all under the WRATH of God and are so by our very human nature. Only the “new birth” or regeneration can save us from God’s wrath.

CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE ALERT TO THE WORLD’S MESSAGES!

Many times the illustrations preachers and/or teachers use about people who don’t know Christ are misleading and teaches a false doctrine. Such as, people are not sinking in a sea of sin and despair, crying out for help, and we throw them a “life jacket or raft” as if they could grab it before they sink to the bottom. Or, people are not lying on a deathbed with a doctor standing over them (God) wanting to place a spoon full of cure into their mouth if they would just drink it.

No, neither of these are Biblical but rather anti-Biblical. The point is mankind is DEAD. They have sunk to the bottom of the sea and are dead. They are lying on the bed DEAD without life. They cannot hear the voice of God, they cannot think correctly about spiritual issues, they are separated from God in their dead zone. They are zombies when it comes to true Spiritual truth etc.!

Only God through the Lord Jesus can say LIVE. And when He does, they get up and walk. Then they have the ability to hear, call out to God, recognize Him and have faith and repentance taking place. They become spiritually alive, become one of His, are translated into His kingdom under His authority, and He becomes their God and their Lord! That is the Gospel! The One Who conquered death, hell and the grave, Jesus Christ our Lord, walks by their grave and says LIVE. Praise Him and Worship Him today!