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The Culture We Live In

The Culture We Live In

by Dr. Daniel Rupp on May 09, 2024

The Culture We Live In

The culture we live in has several reasons to be indifferent to the Christian faith. We have to admit that, as Christians, we have failed to live it out. In some ways the world has written us off because we have given it good reason to. Lord, forgive us for that. Then there is also the fact that faith in Jesus just doesn’t make a lot of sense when compared to the world’s logic and reasoning. As a church, we have been thinking through what to pack as we head to the mall location. I know in my head that each of the three things we’ve talked about thus far are good for me – I just don’t necessarily like them.

Humility – a deep dependence on God. I can understand why the world would prefer independence – I kind of do too!  We need to have an outward focus, understood as sacrificially serving people who can’t serve us back. The world would have us try to get ahead personally or solve social issues. Sacrificial service doesn’t really do either of those things so why do it again? Last week, we talked about packing submission. To relate with God in the face of life’s questions instead of just seeking answers from Him like a magic 8 ball. Yes, that’s great, but what about our questions!?

If the faith handed down by our fathers for generations is challenging for me, as a thoroughly committed Christian whose full-time job is to be a pastor – then how could it not be challenging for people that don’t know Jesus at all? Shouldn’t I come up with really good answers for them? Maybe I should list all the apologetical reasons as to why dependence, sacrificial love, and submission are, in fact, good for the soul. If I did that, I’m not sure the world would listen. What then does the world want to hear?

I was reading Psalm 137 with a group of guys this morning. It was written by God’s people who had been removed from the promised land and scattered throughout the world. The folks who originally prayed this psalm were living under the authority of Babylonian captors. As they lived out their days, did their jobs, tried to make a new life in a foreign land – their captors requested something of them, “Sing us some of your songs from Jerusalem.”

I imagine that, in part, their captors just wanted to be entertained. “Hey, we’d like to hear a song we’ve never heard before. Y’all have to have songs back home, sing one of those for us!” At the same time, as so often happens in the bible and in our own life experience, as God’s people were living out their lives in the midst of the world people around them took notice. The people of Babylon start to note: “These folks live differently.” “They love differently.” “They act differently.” “They don’t think like we think, they don’t worship what we worship.”

Then comes the most important question of all from a non-believer, “Who is it that y’all worship anyway? Sing me one of those songs.” I think what the Babylonians wanted to see was true worship. Worshiping what the world has to offer invariably wears you out and maybe, just maybe, they were hoping there was something better. Someone better to worship.

The Israelites weren’t in the synagogue when the Babylonians took notice of their God. The Babylonians saw them live out their faith in their daily lives and started to ask questions. I wonder what song the Israelites sang in response to their request. I’m no singer, but I can think of verses that lift my soul. What’s a song on your heart that the world needs to hear?  Do you think of your daily life as a string of opportunities for those around you to see Jesus? Don’t forget, when it comes to the people around us who don’t know Christ, your most important acts of worship probably don’t happen on a Sunday morning.


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