Divine Appointment III
Divine Appointments III; Wisdom Toward Outsiders – NV4/27/08am
OS: 1 Next Sunday! Homecoming! 2 Colossians 4:2-6 (Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.)
I. 3 Not answer each one when they come to church.
A. Having “church” isn’t enough.
B. 90’s Survey: Why don’t you attend church?
1. 74% - no value in attending church.
2. 34% believed the church had no relevance to the way they lived.
C. There was a time when “church” had the answers – no more.
TS] If God expects us to know how to answer each person – if He expects our words to be gracious and seasoned with salt (not just pleasant, but effective) – we best learn what it means to be culturally relevant.
II. We can be culturally relevant, and biblically sound in our approach to those outside our number.
A. Struggle - That requires change
1. “The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.”
2. “Change is sin, and we sin as little as possible around here.”
B. At the age of 100 radical change has been experienced.
1. Band-Aids & penicillin, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes & Camel cigarettes, the World Series & Reader’s Digest, …
2. They remember when man landed on the moon & to fly period.
3. influenza epidemic of 1918 & the soup lines of the Depression.
4. From telegraph to e-mail
C. The moral climate has also seen tremendous change.
1. 50 years ago, who would have believed we would have abortion on demand, legalized homosexual marriage in some states, …
2. Who would have ever guessed that these changes would take place? (Uncomfortable changes!)
III. This - our world-God has placed us here for such a time as this.
A. Mission – bring the message of Christ into the lives of people who don’t realize they need it or Him.
B. If we are going to accomplish the mission we must change our methods to ensure they are relevant for our culture.
C. Not: Politically correct / watering down of the gospel.
TS] Difficult - change
I. Some things will never change.
A. Jesus (same yesterday, today, forever. Hb 13.8)
B. The Bible (grass withers/flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever – Isa 40.8) never change here! Guide, direction, etc.
II. SOME THINGS ALWAYS CHANGE
A. We change as we grow older. Wiser? Physically
B. The ethnic make up of our culture is changing. Caucasian 0 growth, - African American, Hispanic, & Asian populations in our country are experiencing double digit expansion.
1. By 2050 only half of the nation’s population will be Caucasian.
2. The concept of multiculturalism will be increasingly significant in our language, customs, values, and relationships.
3. The Church typically has not kept pace w/society. Martin Luther King noted that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning was the most segregated hour of the week, his observation is still accurate.
4. How will we reach out & minister to the different ethnic groups in our culture?
C. The church has always adapted and changed
1. Methods - Technology, teaching styles, ect.
2. Jesus preached from a boat -- we use microphones.
3. Paul wrote on papyrus, We use Microsoft Word on a computer.
4. The early church studied from the scrolls & parchments, we have dozens of translations bound together in our choice of bindings & colors, & Bibles on computer, etc.
5. Paul wore a robe while he was preaching, …
6. We cannot reach the 2008 culture using 1950’s methods.
III. Preacher – Chinese member – “move you’re on my air hose” / we can cut the air off of ministry when we refuse to change methods.
A. In the Bible you discover a "new song", "a new heaven & earth", "new wine", "new life", "new covenant", "new creation", "new man", & a "new command". Our God is a God of change, & He calls the Church to be willing to change w/Him.
B. Some things never change, some always change, and some must change.
IV. Most people in our culture have ideas about God that are formed in various ways.
A. 4 Cultural perspective and personality (income, ed.)
1. Can’t approach the farmer and the executive in the same ways.
2. Personality – Extroverted or Introverted. / Learning style
B. 5 Life Experience (hurts, pains, family, expectations, etc.)
1. Notice we are yet to talk about Scripture.
2. Our Culture’s perspective of God is least shaped by the Bible.
3. People are biblically illiterate.
4. If you started with the scriptures in some cases you would appear way off base because what the Bible teaches about God and what our culture believes are radically different.
C. 6 Spiritual Perspective (Christian, New Age, etc.)
V. Paul’s Example: 7 8 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (Mars Hill – Acts 17 / riot-Acts 22)
A. 9Like Paul – Absolute commitment to reaching people who do not know Jesus.
B. Not compromising Biblical truth.
We must open our eyes to the possibilities:
In 1865 an editorial in the Boston Post read, "Well-informed people know it is impossible to transmit their voices over wires, & even if it were possible, the thing would not have practical value."
In 1897 Lord Kelvin said, "Radio has no future."
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM in 1943 said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation stated in 1977, "There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home."
When the railroads were first introduced to the U.S., some folks feared that they’d be the downfall of the nation! Here’s an excerpt from a letter to then President Jackson dated Jan. 31, 1829: “As you may known Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engine’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.
As the church, let us not make the same mistake that they did. Our culture is radically changing before our very eyes, let’s be ready for it with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Stay open to newness. Stay open to change. Be wise in the way we act toward those outside our number and be prepared to speak with grace and the seasoning effect of salt.