A Different Culture

January 8, 2014

Ephesians 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 

A Different Culture

Do the principles of the kingdom of God make sense to those that are in the world?  Of course not, for 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.”  The natural man and the spiritual man live under the dominion of two different kingdoms. One is the kingdom of light and truth and the other is the kingdom of sin and darkness.  When we came into Christ and received Him by faith into our hearts, the Word says that we were translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Colossians 1:13 says it this way, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.”  We were transplanted, transposed into a whole new realm while physically we didn’t change and our local we didn’t change; yet inwardly a transformation began to take place.  A life that is given by surrendering its will to its Creator and Redeemer is no longer a life lived for self, but instead it is lived to the One who redeemed it.  Sin hardens a person’s heart toward God. It robs a person of the ability to discern, understand and know the ways of God.  Just as hate blinds a person to love, so sin blinds a person’s eyes and heart to “The Truth”.  Because the natural man has become insensitive to spiritual things they are foolishness to him and as a result he becomes ignorant to the truth.  That ignorance and unbelief keeps him in a state of separation from God and in a place of the judgement that is already in place against all ungodliness and wickedness.  Some have deluded themselves by thinking that because they are a pretty good person and they do lots of charitable acts that God receives them because of that and they can earn their way to heaven.  The Word declares in Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-9 tells us where we were and how we came back to God. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  It is because of this wonderful undeserved grace that has translated us out of darkness and into light, that we can no longer live as those who are still in darkness do.  We have changed our culture.  If I am truly a Christian how can I live contrary to my culture?  Just as a Muslim or a Buddhist can’t live as a Christian, because it is contrary to their beliefs, a Christian should no longer live as the world, which is contrary to his or her beliefs.  My being, culture and moral compass is now rooted in Christ.  He has made me His temple and dwelling place; to now live as the world, is a betrayal and defilement of His sanctuary and of the covenant I have entered into with Him.  A covenant is a life binding agreement and commitment unto death.   Christ sealed it in His own sinless blood.  How can we then live as the world when He has given His life to take us out of it and into His righteousness?  How can we adulterate any longer His holy covenant with actions that are conformed to this world?  We, who are in Christ, are a holy people set apart for God’s own possession.  We must realize who we are, what we were called for and what our responsibility is to the holy calling and salvation we have graciously received.  Obedience is to honor Him you proclaim as Lord.  


Luke 12:32-34
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Father has been Pleased to Give You the Kingdom

Our culture and focus has not been so different than that of Jesus’ day. Men have always been striving after earthly wealth, position, power, comfort and provision. People have always been concerned about the food they would eat, the clothes they would wear and the houses that they would live in. An earthly people are concerned for earthly things, but a kingdom people are concerned for kingdom things.
Where we are at now is the same place Jesus was speaking to the people on the Sermon on the Mount. He was sharing kingdom economy, vision, culture and living. He was telling us these aren’t just lofty ideas; He was telling us this is what kingdom living is all about. The truth of the matter is, very few of us really live in that kingdom culture.
The Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom, but to live in the kingdom you have to embrace kingdom culture. In our “Christian culture” we more or less have a mentality of an earthly culture cake with a spiritual icing. Outwardly we want to look spiritual, but inwardly it is pretty much like the rest of the world.
Jesus is telling us that there is a higher way that Father has been pleased to give us, but we have to let go of the one to embrace the other. Most of us are struggling with letting go. A lot of our prosperity messages appeal to us because we see that as a way of having the best of both worlds.
Earthly culture is all about us. It quite honestly is self-centered. Our first concern is our survival and our benefits. We are driven by how we can do better and have more, but are those God’s goals for us as believers. The real question is not how much you have, but what possesses and obsesses your heart? It is like Jesus says, Your Father knows what you have need of, so do we trust Him or do we trust us? Now Father’s ideas and yours may differ, but then who needs to make the adjustment?
Kingdom living is getting the heart of the Father and living into that with all of your being. If you want true treasure, heavenly treasure, then sow into what is in Father’s heart. Your reward may not be great on earth, but it will be eternal and rich in heaven. What we strive to attain here is but for a breath of time and then it is forever gone, but what we sow into kingdom living will prosper us always.
In this time of uncertainty many of us are asking where do we invest to protect our assets and all that we have worked for. We can foresee the economy tanking and much of what we have worked our whole lives for becoming worthless. God is telling us today the same thing that Jesus told those that he preached to on the Mount. Invest yourself in the kingdom of God, that is the only thing that is not going to be passing away. If you want to be rich, be willing to become poor, if you want to be strong, then be willing to become weak, if you want to be wise then be willing to become the fool. God is building a kingdom not out of the dust of the world, but out of lively stones that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. What He is building is by His Spirit, not by might, nor by power or by the will of man.
How many of us really want the kingdom that the Father is pleased to give us? We must be willing to relinquish ours that we may fully embrace His. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


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