The Matrix – Part 02
In a September 2014 issue of Charisma Magazine an article entitled, “Are You A Cultural Christian or a Biblical Christian”, states that Christianity is flourishing. There are more Christians today in America than ever before, both as a percentage and in total numbers. Roughly one in three Americans indicate they have asked Jesus to forgive their sins and grant them the gift of eternal life.
Here’s the question: If religion is such a big part of our lives, why isn’t it making more of an impact on our society? The sad reality is that claims of religious commitment run high, but impact is at an all-time low.
Here’s the problem: Although Christianity is flourishing, many of us who are Christians have gotten caught up in this increasingly bankrupt culture. We have adopted many of the values of the world around us. Maybe it’s the new sexual ethics of cohabitation or pornography, rampant greed and materialism, or winking at the needs of the poor. Gal. 5:9 explains why adopting these values is a problem: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
So when we try to have the best of both worlds, we exchange the truth of God for a lie and the glory of God for idols, we do what seems right in our own eyes, we get engrossed in the secular world, and we worship created things instead of the Creator.
The result? Cultural Christianity. Cultural Christianity means pursuing the God we want instead of the God who is. It is the tendency to be shallow in our understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle-grandfather type who spoils us and lets us have our own way. It is sensing a need for God, but on our own terms. It is wanting the God we have underlined in our Bibles without wanting the rest of Him too. It is God relative instead of God absolute.
Let’s recognize The Matrix:
1 John 2:15-17 (The Message)
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Let’s recognize The Matrix:
1 Peter 4:1-11 (The Message)
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate (recklessly extravagant) life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself.
Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus.
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
YOUR LIFE ASSIGNMENT CHANGED WHEN YOU RECEIVED CHRIST. IT IS NO LONGER TO PLEASE YOU, BUT TO PLEASE GOD.
1 Peter 2:9 (NASB)
But you are A chosen race, A royal priesthood, A holy nation, A (peculiar) people for God’s own possession, (here’s our assignment) so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1 Peter 2:9 (AMP)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
I AM A CHOSEN RACE , I AM A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD: God has set you apart unto his service. A priest with authority. We minister unto God for people and we minister God unto those people. The fruit of the Spirit, Holy living or living separated from a lifestyle of sin.
YOU ARE A HOLY NATION: This demands a different lifestyle.
Romans 6:19 (AMP)
I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.
A PECULIAR PEOPLE: Peculiar simply means “God’s own”
Titus 2:1-10 (NASB)
But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be (in their demeanor) temperate (self-control), dignified (serious manner worthy of respect), sensible (showing good judgement), (in their conduct) sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
Older women likewise are to be reverent (devout or committed to the faith) in their behavior, not malicious gossips (gossip, scandal or critical talk sharing the failures of other Christians, but sharing the Good News) nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women (and the young women must be quiet and listen) to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible (show good judgement), pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Likewise urge (to persistently persuade – meet with me after service) the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified (serious manner worthy of respect), sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
Urge bonds slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering (stealing), but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.