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How To Impact Culture

May 3rd, 2010 Posted in Pastor's corner, sermons, worldview

How can we impact our culture today? Is it already good and getting better? Or is it bad and getting worse?

The biblical worldview of today’s culture is that it is dark and getting darker. By its very nature, it cannot get anything but worse because it has no inherent goodness to build on.

As John MacArthur said, “Man has increased in scientific, medical, historical, educational, psychological, and technological knowledge to an astounding degree. But he has not changed his own basic nature and he has not improved society. His confidence has increased, but his peace of mind has diminished. His accomplishments have increased, but his sense of purpose and meaning have all but disappeared.”

Sadly, this world will get worse before it gets better! In the last days, “Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

Any person who knows the history of mankind, even the history of the past 100 years, and thinks that man is evolving upward is deceiving and being deceived, just as Paul said.

So how do we reach our culture?

First, we must use a language they understand.

As believers, we get frustrated because it does not seem like people are listening to us. One reason could be that we are speaking in a different language!

As Christians, we say things like, “Are you saved? Have you been washed in the blood? Have you been sanctified and justified?”

When it comes to nonbelievers, we have a language barrier to scale. If I go to a foreign country, I either need to learn the language or find someone to translate for me.

I am not suggesting we not use biblical verbiage, but rather that we recognize that people do not necessarily understand what we are saying. To even talk about “receiving Christ in your life” to a nonbeliever may sound mysterious.

I am not suggesting that we not use biblical terms, but we need to translate.

Common ground

Paul put it this way, “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ. I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

THE MESSAGE puts it this way: “I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized⎯whoever.”

Jesus the model

Jesus modeled this with the woman at the well, the loose-living immoralist, appealing to her inner thirst. He did the same thing with Nicodemus, the meticulous moralist.

Paul spoke at Mars Hill to the nonreligious. Peter spoke on Pentecost to the religious.

In each of these situations, they adapted to their audience without compromising content.

More on this tomorrow.

2 Responses to “How To Impact Culture”

  1. Sandra says:

    Pastor Greg- Thank you for such a powerful message this Sunday. I had many emotional obstacles that morning before leaving to church, then we had double the kids (from last Sunday) in our classroom (my husband & I are teaching for this rotation for the three year olds) there were some obstacles there…by the time I turned in our sign in sheet, I was ready to just go home..In obedience I rejected those doubtful, sorrowful thoughts from my mind and we attended third service, we sat outside enjoying the beautiful weather & the most peaceful breeze would pass through during worship & once you began to speak I quickly realized that if we did go home I would have made a negative impact on my family by taking them home! My husband has the highest respect for you and by being a part of the church for two years now, his desire to be more involved in ministry has intensified we want harvest to become a little smaller for us. He is a Chippie for Riverside and it took him many years to finally give his life over to God, your way of being has made a GREAT impact on my husband and for that I give you thanks for allowing God to use you the way He does!!

  2. Mark says:

    I agree, and if we read the Scripture with sensitivity, we find that even before the canon was closed, the adaptation of language to culture was already occurring: note the theme of the Kingdom of God in the first three gospels, the theme of light and darkness in John’s Gospel, and the much more legal language that Paul used in his epistles. This is a clear responsibility for us today, one that will require courage, compassion, and the leadig of the Spirit.

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