A Thought on Culture to Bring in the New Year

            As 2015 begins, I think about the culture around us and the need people, who are immersed within that culture, have for the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. People everywhere cry out for freedom and very few find it. Within Christianity, we know the source of true freedom. His name is Jesus Christ and He took the penalty for my sinfulness against God so that I could have freedom with God. Sadly, Christianity has developed its own culture in which all other cultures, even those in our own back yards, are not reached with the great news of this freedom. If there is one thing I would see in the year 2015, it is that Christians, with the message of true freedom, would not fear other cultures, but would reach out to people who are not in the “Christian bubble” and share with them the hope that is in Christ!

I often think of how Christ related to a group of people whose culture had become one of earning acceptance. I speak of the Jewish community of that day. He would speak out against those things within the culture that did not honor God, but He would also embrace those things that could be worship to God. For instance, parables were a cultural phenomenon and Christ embraced their use and even used them within the culture that developed them in order to describe the kingdom of God. Signs and miracles were expected and even sought after by 1st Century Jewish culture, and Christ used them to reach people for the sake of the Kingdom. I am left to wonder if Christ followers today have failed as it comes to using culture to reach people with the Gospel and declare God’s glory and the coming of His kingdom.

I wonder if we have created “Christian radio” in vain. I wonder if we have created a “church culture” ultimately to the detriment of God’s Church. I wonder if the institutionalization of the church has hindered the movement of God’s Church. I wonder if God’s people, in the West, have created their own culture and have left all others to parish under the Law. In the New Year, my commitment is to reach others with the Gospel no matter where they may walk, no matter what ethnicity they belong to, no matter who they have been or what they have done. I was a wretched sinner, and God, in His mercy saved me. Who am I if I do not live to reach others with that same mercy and grace? Who are we, if we do not live to reach others with that same mercy and grace?

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