Monday, August 5, 2013
We will be taking a break from our Ephesians series in September and have a 5 week topical series entitled: Counter-Culture. We have subtitled the series: living for Christ in a world that hates Him. It may sound like abrasive language, but we believe it represents the situation Christians face daily. The world is hostile toward Christians and to Christ. This should not be a shock to anyone.
Jesus sums up the reality of being hated by the world, and why that hatred exists:
"If the world hates you, know that it hated me before hate you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)
The purpose for the break is two-fold. First, we want to teach our church how to deal with the tension and strife they endure in our culture for being Christians. They are labeled everything from bigoted, intolerant, judgmental, homophobic, to numerous other things. Are these accurate descriptors of biblical Christians? We want to help our people work through those questions and issues.
The second purpose for the break, is we want to invite people from outside our church. We want this to be a short-term opportunity for people to investigate and hear from the Bible why Christians think, believe, and hold to the positions they do. This series is going to be a big invitation push to open the door for people to experience and be a part of our community.
Here is our plan for teaching through this series:
September 1st (Week 1) -- The Authority of the Believer: this message will deal with our starting place for our worldview and why this runs against the grain of our culture. However, everyone has an ultimate authority. We will explore the faulty foundations of any worldview not grounded in Scripture.
September 8th (Week 2) -- Judgmentalism: Christians are frequently accused of being judgmental toward others. This is largely because of our willingness to declare there are moral absolutes. There is right and wrong. The non-believers, even some professing Christians, will claim the Bible speaks against such actions. But is this true? What did Jesus say about this?
September 15th (Week 3) -- Homosexuality: Starting in week 3 we will begin hitting the main hot-button topics in our culture that Christians run against the current. In this lesson, we'll look at what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and how we should approach talking about this issue in the culture.
September 22nd (Week 4) -- Abortion: Is this more than a political issue? How should believers view abortion in a culture that argues for it as woman's choice and right to choose her own healthcare for her body? Should the healthcare of the child be neglected? Should the voice of the unborn child receive no support? We will dive deeper into this issue.
September 29th (Week 5) -- The Exclusivity of Jesus: If you want to see how against the grain our faith runs to the culture, just begin talking about Jesus being the ONLY way to salvation. This tenant, which is central to Christianity, is looked at with repulsion by a culture that believes in the equal validity of all faiths. Is Jesus the only way? What about those who never hear? Is Christianity exclusive? Is it wrong for it to be that way? We'll look at all of those questions and more to conclude the series.
We are excited about this series. I believe it is going to be helpful for our church in understanding how to speak about these issues to people around them.
I want to hear from you: What issues are we missing? Are there any topics that are pertinent enough to make the series that are not already mentioned?