June 30th, 2014 Posted in sermons | No Comments »
Some believers want to retreat from culture and live in a “Christian bubble.”
They want to isolate themselves from nonbelievers.
But Jesus has not called us isolate, but to infiltrate.
Our job is to permeate, to saturate.
It’s not to evade, but invade!
We are to impact culture without being compromised by it. There’s no question that this is a tricky balance. In John 17:15–16, 18 Jesus prayed, “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Just as You sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world” (NLT).
Did you catch that? Jesus is sending us into the world!
Yet, we are also warned, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15 NKJV).
1 Corinthians 5:9–10 tells us, “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that” (NLT).
I do not expect nonbelievers to behave as believers. You might be surprised to know I do not correct everything a nonbeliever says.
Sometimes it seems we want to “Christianize” nonbelievers more than we want to see them truly converted. By “Christianize” I mean we want them to merely change their behavior. That, to me, is putting the cart before the horse.
My goal is to reach their heart first. Then I know that if they’ve truly met Jesus Christ, their behavior will change. Paul spoke of “becoming all things to all men,” so we are to be in this world, influence it, and not allow it to influence us. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world,” or as the Phillips version puts it, “Don’t let this world squeeze you into its mold!”
Yes, Jesus, our Commander in Chief, is sending us into this world. To do what? To “go into all the world and preach the gospel! (Mark 16:15 NKJV).
This is a battle, and we are either advancing or retreating. As believers, we must realize that we are “behind enemy lines.”
I was watching a World War 2 film, and there was a scene where the commanding officer says to the paratroopers of Easy Company behind enemy lines, “A panzer division is about to cut you off, so you guys are going to be surrounded!” The lieutenant in charge of Easy Company says, “We’re paratroopers, lieutenant. We’re supposed to be surrounded.”
We as the church are just like those paratroopers. We are “supposed to be surrounded.” We have been “dropped in” by God Himself.
We are behind enemy lines.
Know this: We are in hostile territory. Everywhere you look the enemy is at work, wreaking havoc in the lives of countless people.
So how can we impact our culture and make a difference?
We must not isolate; we must infiltrate.