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June 23, 2022 1:00 am
The Bible gives us direction on how Christians should respond to an antagonistic culture. It also tells us how not to respond. In this message from 1 Peter 3, we evaluate how to engage the culture with our values, perspective, and testimony. With the Lord’s help, we can live in a godly way in an increasingly godless society.
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Run with endurance the race that is looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our Bible gives clear direction on how Christians should respond to an antagonistic culture.
It also tells us how not to respond today live in a godly way in an increasingly godless society stay with the Moody Church in Chicago. This is with Dr. Irwin listserv is clear.
Teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Estimates are almost where we are today in Scripture, and what our focus will be date one of the things that we have to do as believers is to walk the fine line between truth and as a matter of fact there are many Christians who try to witness, but they do so self righteously judgmentally. And of course they only turn people off. On the other hand there are those who are so loving they never get around to the truth. So what we must do is to avoid self righteous judge.
Mentalism but at the same time we have to witness to the truth.
Peter put it this way that we should witness to others with meekness and fear. That is our privilege, even as we live here in the West is also the privilege of those who live in other countries. My wife and I have written a book entitled life-changing Bible verses you should know.
I have to say that it covers 40 different topics. Of course, each topic is covered briefly but it has to do with theology.
It has to do with Christian living. If you want a well-rounded understanding of what Christianity is all about.
I believe that this book will be of great help. Here's what you can do. Go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen carefully as we continue trying to understand biblically how to live in a pluralistic culture living in your little gado you know we go to church on Sunday, but we don't share Jesus Christ.
And when we get a haircut or when we work with the person next to us at work on no no no that's another possibility. The other possibility is militarism to become very fighting and angry and to say where all these people doing with our freedoms and with our country and we can get more angry than we are repentant. That's another possibility. The other is to engage the culture to say God is given us unique opportunities to prove to prove ourselves in a different kind of environment and welcome the opportunity welcome the opportunity to live for Christ authentically in a pluralistic culture and with that returning to God's word right, would you take your Bibles and turn to first Peter chapter 3, first Peter chapter 3, Peter is the one you see who initially drew his sword, he drew his sword. When they came to get Jesus, because he was a fighter.
He said let's let's fight the people. Jesus said that Peter, my kingdom is not of this world. You can take your sword and you can put it up its sheath. Let's not use the sword here and Jesus submitted to those who were coming for him to kill him.
Peter is writing to a church that has experienced persecution, not the full intensity yet that was coming and he prepares them for it. Because you see the church in history has always the true church has always been a minority. It has always had to struggle with pluralistic religion.
In this case, paganism, and so the question is how do you live in a pagan society book was written to help us understand that churches always been an island of righteousness and see if paganism how does it engage culture very quickly.
First of all, please notice that we must live by kingdom values. We must live by kingdom values wherever God has planted us.
Wherever your offices wherever your hospital is wherever you find yourself working in a factory or building or whatever it is that your vocation is you should live in such a way that people will say to themselves why is this person different notice. The apostle Paul says in verse eight, first Peter chapter 3.
Finally, all of you have unity of mind.
That's the kind of unity of mind that is brought about through our love for Christ, have sympathy when you walk past the poor don't simply say will that's what they get because they're too lazy to work or it's their fault. Many instances it is not their fault they're locked into a system.
Do we have sympathy. Can we weep with those who are weeping, brotherly love specifically Christian love. As we have been loves so we love tenderhearted God.
You see, has been tenderhearted toward us and tenderhearted mess in Scripture is closely related to forgiving Ephesians chapter 4B, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.
Be humble. Humility clothed yourselves with humility. Paul says why because we are sinners we are sinners. The fact that God has graciously saved us and we had nothing to do with that. We responded to his grace.
The idea of a proud and arrogant Christian is an oxymoron. It is, it is a square circle.
It is a doughnut without a whole. It is a toothpick with the wood shaved from it, it simply cannot exist the gospel if it does anything to us if it saves us, it and breaks us so that we are not angry people so that we are not the kind of people who are more concerned about what others are doing to us than we are about our own humility and repent and so Peter here is telling us look what you need to do is to remember that you live with kingdom values wherever God has planted you in a pluralistic world. How did the Chinese church grow so much without television without Christian radio without tracts largely without books.
How did the church become so great. It's the way in which Christians live one next to another until one would say together. Why are you able to endure this repression so much better than I am. What is your secret.
It was personal evangelism. One person telling another person, like the old saying goes, one beggar telling another beggar where bread can be found. So you live with Christian values you live with a Christian perspective.
We don't have time to go through this whole beautiful text. You can do that on your own. Reading the next verses.
But let's jump to verse 13. Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good, but even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. You see, because America has always had a Christian consensus we've always expected special privileges suffering to office is deemed to be fundamentally unconstitutional.
We think to ourselves that there is no way that we should ever have to be challenged about our faith or have the kinds of conflicts that pluralism ring. Well, what he saying is if you have to suffer for righteousness understand that it comes with a blessing comes with a blessing your Bibles are open. Notice chapter 4 verse 1211. Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings to share the sufferings of Jesus means to endure the kind of hardship and suffering that you endure because you belong to Jesus.
It isn't because you have cancer or because things are going badly at work. It's the kind of stress and persecution, we have because we belong to Jesus. Rejoice that you also may rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed when we should say to ourselves in this pluralistic world when we feel that we are no longer getting a fair shake is praise God, and I hope that there is some persecution and some marginalization of me in the midst of it all because it comes with blessing. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake, you are blessed to because that's the way the prophets before you were treated so we accepted with optimism. Tertullian in North Africa said that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church and he said regarding being in prison. The body is shot in but always open to the spirit, the spirit may roam abroad to God the leg does not feel the chain if the mind is in heaven.
That's a very, very optimistic view of imprisonment and I do not want to glorify martyrdom.
I do not want to glorify martyrdom because I don't know how you and I would do if we had to die for our faith and hope that we do so valiantly in the name of Jesus, but let's not criticize those who perhaps haven't endured martyrdom to well because we not been there so we approach this with humility, but I will say this, that even the persecuted church that we talked about and we should be praying for persecuted brethren, and we should be lobbying for persecuted brethren and doing all that we possibly can to change their environment and their circumstances. But even in the midst of their is God's blessing because the Scripture says that ultimately nothing can destroy the Christian.
Nothing can destroy the body, they may kill God's truth abided still. His kingdom is forever so we approach it with a sense of perspective and hope and optimism. We live with kingdom values we go deep into the culture. We don't avoid the culture that we remain distinct within the culture and we lived with kingdom values and then let me say also that we live, understanding our testimony and being willing to share her testimony.
Notice what the text says I'm now in verse 15, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord is holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within you.
Yet do it with gentleness and respect.
Having a good conscience, by the way, one of the reasons that we can teach people personal evangelism and they can learn it all and still going to evangelize instilled on witnesses because if Christ is not sanctified in your heart is Lord. If you've got other agendas that mean more to you than Jesus.
It's hard to witness your heart is cold and you're kind of in different 10 passion for Jesus is gone it's it's difficult to share your faith, what you want to do is to just retreat like one woman said I don't want others to know that I'm a Christian at work because I've got some issues in my life and I don't think that I'd be a good witness for Jesus. Well, God bless her. I understand what she's saying but she better take care of those issues so that she can sanctify the Lord is God and then give hence the word defense in Greek is apology from which we get apologetics or apology doesn't mean that we're apologizing for a faith by no means. It means that we're defending at are you able to defend your faith. If somebody says to you, while you know I think Jesus is one way among many, are you able to answer that question, you say well I don't know what you don't. There been so many books and I know somebody was preached a lot of sermons on those kinds of topics that can be used, to study and to learn and to say I need to be able to answer that so that I can give a reason for the hope that is within me and I can tell people why I belong to Jesus Christ and not to some other faith and what are the roots of our faith. You see, we learn we learn than to do apologetics by lifestyle and when were asked and sometimes even when we are to ask, but there's an open door we share with others.
The reason for the whole that is with in us. That's the way in which we live in a pluralistic world.
Now let me get some practical suggestions and then all say like Luther at the diet of autumns.
It's been him door which is to say I'm outta here. That's the way he ended. First of all, respect other people's freedom of conscience. You expect them to respect your freedom of conscience, you respect their notice what the text says when you are giving a reason for the hope that is within you. Yet do it with gentleness and respect you respect other religions sure there's going to be conflict sure there's going to be misunderstanding. Remember this, that if you were born in Saudi Arabia.
It's entirely possible statistically that you would grow up Muslim and if you were born in China you might be Buddhist. You see, what we need to do is to realize that were dealing here with real people in real situations in real context, so we don't come with an attitude of superiority. We don't come with an attitude of anger, but we do in humility. The reason for the hope that is within us. We do it with meekness, and we do it not judge mentalism and superiority. So, we respect other people's religion. Secondly, we dialogue with them. We dialogue and we learn as I was preparing this message I thought to myself, you know, one of the one of the tragedies in my own life is that I know so few of other religions in any kind of an in-depth intimate way like to get to know other religions in the work that I do them somewhat isolated. What an opportunity God has given us by bringing so many different people, so many different countries and so many different religions to the shores of the United States, but then at some point you can accommodate that at some point you can't when I was in Istanbul a few years ago I had a guide, a Muslim guide for an entire day he met me at the hotel in the morning and we didn't come back until after dinner that night and he was giving me a tour of Istanbul going to all kinds of interesting places. I was just he and I he said that he was a very devout Muslim and that because of his devoutness he prefer if he could pray during the day. Muslims are to pray five times. I know that there is one time I think in the morning and one time in the afternoon. I told him look when it's time to pray. You simply go into the mosque. You stay there is a long as you want and when you're finished, you come out and I'm gonna be outside waiting for you. I said I want to respect your faith.
We had some very interesting conversations. By the way that I will tell you about some time in another context, but I respected his faith in the afternoon he washed his feet.
He went into the mosque. I said come in with me so I went into the mosque and there I saw just hundreds and hundreds of men bowing and an saying prayers and then he knelt and he said to me said you can't stand when you're in the mosque and everybody's praying. He said he said wanted to just kneel down. Why don't you just kneel down.
I said to him, look I I'm glad that I had the privilege of seeing everything here but you know what I just cannot go and I'll meet you when you're finished and I went outside to see. I couldn't kneel down because even though a law and Jehovah have some similarities. They have such a radical, radical differences that that this isn't the same God. And so II said there's no way I can bow down and then I met him after he came out of the mosque. In other words, what we do is we we go as far as our conscience allows us to go but then we don't overstep that conscience and we say to ourselves I can do ABC but I can't do this. That's the way we live in a pluralistic world and we do so dialoguing and understanding. You know when we send missionaries to the mission field we expect them to learn the culture to learn the religion that they are going to and what we need to do is now in America is to look at America's a mission field to mission field that is to say that we need to understand the better other people, other religions, and then speak Jesus Christ.
Within that context. Finally, we have to be ready to die for our faith in the whole history of the Christian church and we have for our example what your Bible is open.
Isn't it you'll notice it says in verse 18 for Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit there is our example Jesus live when religions collided the religion of Judaism which had calcified based on the Old Testament with many many traditions conflicted with the Jesus who was trying to help them to understand that he was the son of God and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and as a result of the collision.
He was crucified and in the process of that crucifixion. God accomplished his work and it is through the suffering of Jesus that we are brought to God every single believer therefore should be willing to die for his faith and perhaps that can even happen to you and to me that's a topic for a future time. Here's what the text says is that Jesus suffered, he was righteous. We are unrighteous.
When he died on the cross he got what he didn't deserve.
Namely our sin and our unrighteousness and because he died on the cross we now can get what we don't deserve, namely his righteousness that he died in our place, to bring us to God and so as I come to the end of the message. I finally come to the focal point as to what why Moody church exists why you and I are still left on this planet is to help people to be brought to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, who suffered in the place of sinners. The wages of sin is death, and he said I will take the eternal death on the cross so that you will be exempt so that you will be declared as righteous as I am. I mentioned that Helen Needham died this past week Jerry newcomer. Also, another member of ours at her memorial service yesterday when they arrived in heaven. They arrived in heaven as if they were Jesus based totally upon the merit of Christ we live differently because we have been saved differently by the generosity and the grace of God, our Lord. Let's pray our father we ask in Jesus name that you will help us in the midst of a culture that is pluralistic, helpless father is you brought to America so many different religions of the world so many different opportunities. So much for us to learn what is new and different. Help us to be humble witnesses of your saving grace and we pray that even those who listen to this message, perhaps on the Internet, or radio or right here at the Moody church who've never trusted Jesus Christ as Savior may see that the way to God is through him and through him alone. Thank you, thank you that you died for sinners like us in Jesus name, amen.
As you already know my great desire is to help people to understand the wonder of the gospel. My wife Rebecca and I have written a book together in title, life-changing Bible verses you should know this book covers 40 different topics and I'm just looking at the table of contents here. The armor of God, assurance conscience, courage.
I remember writing this section on the fear of the Lord forgiveness the glory of God. Heaven held the Holy Spirit.
This will help you in your own walk with God. All of these topics are covered briefly and biblically now for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com ask for the book entitled life-changing Bible verses you should know RTW offer.com order pick up the phone right now and call 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference.
I hope that you got that phone number 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us have run into when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Some critics of Christianity. Look at its many denominations and ask where is the unity Jesus talked about Bible interpretations vary widely. How should believers deal with the many ways our faith is portrayed next time I'm running to win will find out as we see what happens when beliefs collide. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Luther this is Dave McAllister running to win his monster teacher