Christ Is The Counter-Culture

Aug 19, 2019 by Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Read Matthew 5:1-12.

Today’s society would like us to believe Jesus’ teachings were for another time. But Jesus’ teachings are as startlingly relevant today as they were when He first spoke them—and they are still turning cultural norms upside-down. We live in a world broken with the sin of self-worship, where society reveres self-realization. But Jesus’ teachings are of a heavenly nature, unmarred by sin. He calls us to live holy lives of Christlike character, full of goodness and humility to prepare us for the culture of His eternal Kingdom.

Jesus’ teachings are of a heavenly nature, unmarred by sin. He calls us to live holy lives of Christlike character.

Secular culture says, “Happy are the rich—those who die with the most toys, for that makes life worthwhile,” but Jesus says, “Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness because you will truly be satisfied.” Society’s pundits say, “Happy are you who get even, for this is a mean world,” but the Lord of all says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” While the cultural elite say, “Happy are you when you eliminate godly standards so that you can live your truth,” the Messiah says, “Blessed are you who are persecuted because of righteousness, for yours is the Kingdom of heaven.”Jesus’ counter-cultural, Kingdom-oriented teachings show us how to develop true character—character that even this broken world commends, though it struggles to understand it. This kind of character cannot be established in any life without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For, a life lived beautifully, one that lasts eternally, is the life that follows the narrow road after Christ.

Prayer: Jesus, Your ways are matchless—fully satisfying and offering joy and peace that transcend understanding. Your ways are perfect; may I seek them whole-heartedly by the power of Your Spirit working in me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

https://www.ltw.org/read/my-devotional/2019/08/christ-is-counter-cultural

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VIDEO Godly Christian Living in Evil Times

June 14, 2016 BY AMERICAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

 

Few will deny that we are living in evil times. The enemy has “come in like a flood.” Every perversion imaginable to sinful man is now promoted as “good” or “normal.” Basic standards of morality and decency, which once prevailed in the United States, now have been largely abandoned. Sadly, as our society’s culture has sunk further into the swamp of moral degeneracy, a love for the world has eroded the standards of many Christians, which were once grounded upon the teachings of God’s Word. Selections of music, entertainment, clothing, and other choices necessary to godly living have become more similar to and less distinct from those of the lusts of the world.  Many of God’s people lack a zeal for putting a cultural difference between the clean and the unclean (Lev. 20:22-26).

The true child of God must reject and resist such worldliness.  The Bible warns that the world in which we live is in an important sense the domain of the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). What God has ordained for life in this world, Satan has sought to corrupt.  For this reason, Paul warns in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 John 2:15-17 commands us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of 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 passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  To love the world in this sense is to fail to love the Father.  To conform to the cultural norms produced by this lack of love for the Father is to communicate a similar lack of love for Him.

Some justify a greater conformity to the world by divorcing what is in the heart of a Christian from his outward appearance and actions. God indeed told Samuel: “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). However, what is in the heart will always manifest itself outwardly. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil” (Luke 6:45). Paul is concerned with both the transformation of the mind and the consecration of the body to holiness (Rom. 12:2).  Matthew Henry, in commenting on the holy behavior of older Christian women in Titus 2:3, says that Christians should have “an inward principle and habit of holiness, influencing and ordering the outward conduct at all times.”

God has commanded us: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). The Scripture is clear about the fruit of true holiness in the child of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). This fruitful holiness produced by God’s Spirit is antithetical to worldliness, the works of a flesh that produces both sinful desires and a wicked walk (Gal. 5:16-21).  Cultural choices are included among the works of the flesh.  Any music, clothing, entertainment, speech, or other cultural choice promoting fruitful holiness must not be conformed to styles developed to promote the worldliness of 1 John 2:15-17. This mandate applies equally to our personal lives and our corporate worship.  Our love for the Father provides powerful motivation for careful conservatism that draws a clear line well-removed from the gray of compromise in this regard.

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its 71st Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2012, in the Cedar View Independent Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, affirms the need for all Bible-believing churches and individual Christians to separate from conformity to the cultural norms produced by this world’s love for possessions, pleasures, and pride.  As children determined to love our heavenly Father faithfully, we commit ourselves to the promotion and practice of consistently conservative, godly Christian living, regulated by cultural standards that demonstrate the distinctiveness of our calling as pilgrims and strangers in a world ruled by “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”  It is our desire that in every area of our lives, the change that has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” would be seen plainly by others in a way that will “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:9-12).

Picture: https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960106/

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Psalm 91:1-66

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …


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