Surviving Our Present Culture

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Dr. Stanley explains that Christians fall into two categories. There are those who are the committed followers of Jesus and there are those who are carnal and self-centered because they have become entangled by the culture they live in. Learn how to survive our present culture.

 

start your day off, right with the free in touch devotional subscribe today In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness in sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch surviving our present culture christians fall into two categories. There are those who are the committed followers of jesus and then there are those who are currently minded believers. And there’s a very distinct difference. In fact when the apostle paul was writing to the Corinthian church, here’s what he said, He said in the very first verse of Chapter three Brethren, I could not speak to you as the spiritually minded men, but as two men of the Flesh, as the infants in Christ and what he was saying is that two categories of you, some of you are true followers, you’re spiritually minded people and others of you are currently minded, which means you are walking according to the Flesh, which means walking according to their natural tendencies and desires. There’s a very distinct difference between the two. And so when you think about that, you think about what is the difference that is. What about these committed, who are these committed followers of jesus? Well, first of all, they are guided by the holy Spirit, committed believers have a passion for God. Committed believers want and desire to share their faith. They desire to walk obediently before God. They trust the Lord jesus christ for all of their needs, their whole life takes on a whole different perspective because they’ve trusted jesus christ as their savior, their growing in their christian life and so they’re committed followers, But then there’s the other group currently minded christians for example, and as he says here, he says, you’re like babes, he said, I can only feed you milk because they have convictions but they compromise their inconsistent in their christian war, doctrinally, they are very, very weak and they are usually self centered and what they’re interested in primarily for example, those things that give them pleasure and comfort and ease their the attenders and the observers, but they don’t get very much involved. There are people who’ve been highly influenced by the world, culture, the culture we live in. And so there’s a great difference between the two and they have little interest in serving God, but rather serving themselves and they have become entangled and oftentimes trapped by the very culture they live in. Now only you can decide which one of those two categories you fall into. And paul is writing to young Titus who’s a young pastor whom he has left on the isle of crete, a very, very difficult place and he is instructing him as to how to choose elders and how to to establish the churches all over the island of Crete. Now when you think about this culture, you think about it in this life, a culture like you and I live in is certainly not a big friend to christians and so what we have to ask is this, how do you and I live in a culture that is so opposed to what we believe and whose lifestyle is so totally different from ours? How do we live in a culture like this without being captivated by overwhelmed by it, overcome by it and most of all without becoming like it, How do we live in this culture but live above it? Well, that’s what I want to talk about in this message and I want to talk about the key to living in the culture as we live in and yet not becoming a part of it. So I want you to turn to the little book of titus if you find hebrews back toward the back of your bible and turn back right before that is a little book of titus on the three chapters very important letter, the Apostle paul wrote to this young pastor and beginning in first vibe, he gives us a little reasoning here, he says for this reason I left you in crete that you had set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you. Then he tells him what kind of people he should be looking for and so forth. Then he comes to verse nine and he talks about one of the key qualities that these people are to have and that’s this, holding fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able to both exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict now, how do we live in this culture and at the same time, live above it? How do we live in the midst of all of the influences in the same time? Not be influenced by it? The primary key is this, what did he say, hold fast? The faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching Now, what does he mean when he talks about holding fast simply this? When you hold something, you hold it by your hand. When he says holding fast the faithful word, the word means to cling to to hold it tight, to hold it close, that is to apply it to your life. So here’s what paul is saying, he says, teaching them to hold tightly to the word of God, cling to the truth of the Word of God, apply it to you your life. Because he knew that the christians that live in that culture of crete they would be so highly influenced, Very subtly influenced that. Before long, you couldn’t tell the christian from the non christian what a message for our day and time, because we live in that kind of a culture and we could use many other words to describe the things that go on around us. The laws that are being passed. The attitudes that people have and the way christians often times find themselves oftentimes too late, caught up in this culture with its vain philosophies with its immoral attitudes and actions and then we wonder why the church has such little influence and impact on our society. It does have a relationship with the fact that we have ceased to cling to. We have c listened, hold tightly to the principles and the teachings of the Word of God. Now, practically speaking, you said, practically speaking then. How do we cling to it? I want to give you seven things. How do you cling to the word of God? Make it practical? How do you cling to the Word of God? How do how do you keep this in your heart and your mind before your eyes and on your lips? Well, there’s seven short things. I’m gonna give you time to write them down. The first one is this. Read it carefully. Don’t just read through it quickly. Just let me read two or 3 verses. Right, quick. Read it carefully. What does it say? What does it say meditate upon it daily. Read it carefully, meditate upon it daily. That is What is this really saying? And how how am I to handle this? What is God saying about himself and about me? Thirdly, study it seriously. This is not just another book. Listen, you, why do you, why do you suppose somebody had the idea of calling this holy bible? Because it’s from a Holy God. That’s the reason this is holy. We read it carefully, we meditate upon it daily and listen not only that, but we study it seriously. We study it seriously and we believe it wholeheartedly. We believe it wholeheartedly. We obey it consistently. We apply it personally and we share it confidently now if you met business by listening, you can give me those back. So I want you to give them back to me. Beginning with number one. Number one, Read it carefully. # two, We meditate upon a daily. # three, We study it seriously. # four, We believe it wholeheartedly. # five We obey it consistently. # six Applied personally and number seven share it confidently. You know what happens, You do that and you know what you’re clinging to the word and here’s what’s gonna happen, your life’s gonna change, you cannot do what you just said and at the same time live in sin walking send. You cannot So you and I have just agreed that in order to hold to it tightly cling to it, make it a part of their life applied in their life. Those things are very, very necessary. Now here’s the big question, suppose I don’t do that, suppose I suppose I don’t treasure the word of God. What happens? How does the culture ultimately destroy us? I want you to jot these down, I’m gonna give you a list number one. When you do not hold the word of God closely then the following things happen. The culture gets your attention, they get your attention all kinds of ways. They throw things at you to get your attention. It’s number one secondly, eventually they begin to influence you because you keep listening and you keep watching, so they get your attention by that that’s appealing. Then they began to influence your thinking. The 3rd thing that happens is this they win your affections and what you first were not interested in got your attention, you became very interested and the next thing, you know, got your one your affections once it wins your affections, the next, the next thing that happens is it read redirect your focus before you were focused on spiritual things, but now you find yourself more focused on the culture around you, what other people are thinking what they’re saying? So they redirect your focus. Next thing is before long you realize they’re dominating your conversation. The culture is dominating your conversation, hu This movie story is who this ballplayer is, what he’s wearing, what she’s wearing, The words, all these things, what happens is your interest level has been redirected, and therefore it dominates your conversation. What is your conversation primarily filled with today? The next thing that happens, You know what it influences your dress, the way you dress. Oh, no, no, no, no, that would you don’t think so. Let me give an example. You know, there was a time until recently that women wore blouses that came all the way down to their skirt or whatever they may be, you know, where I’m headed, don’t you? Now we have the idea, Somebody got the idea. You cut it off about right here and then you lower it down to about right here so somebody can see your navel. Who said that’s worth looking at. I don’t understand that. You said that’s what the reason I give the illustrations because it’s all around you. They’ve got diamonds in there and all kinds of kinds of things. Now, while it’s funny, it’s tragic. Let me show you what all the young girls who are wearing those are not unbelievers enough christian young women have watched you got their attention, influence their thinking, Yeah. Change their focus. And you know what happens now? They’re cutting their blouses off, They’re lowering whatever else they’re wearing, Why I’ll tell you why they’re doing it, because that’s what seems to be the thing to do. You know what they’ve done? They have allowed the culture to determine the way they dress. And I would say to any young lady, would you dress like that and walk into the presence of the son of God? No, you wouldn’t. Why do you let the culture around you influence you to dress in a way that is certainly far from being the best or even oftentimes, just plain decency, let me ask you a question for a christian. What do you want people to look at? What, what, what what’s the light of the body right here. You know what? You live a Godly life? They’re gonna look in your eyes and they’re gonna see love, joy, peace, contentment, you name it. And I’m not talking about just women. The same thing is true of men. It is our eyes. We want people to look at why, because that’s who we are. Don’t let the culture. So listen. So clog your mind with false ideas and and and patterns of belief and behavior that you become less than what God wants you to be. You know, if you have good self esteem, you don’t have to show off anything the fact that you want to show off something says you have poor self esteem and you’re trying to do something to get somebody’s attention. If you live a godly life, you won’t have to worry about getting anybody’s attention. Listen to this. They will see it in your, they’ll see it in your eyes, they will see it in your countenance and they will feel it in your presence. You don’t have to undress to get their attention, but the culture is working at it, listen down, letting your conversation influencing your dress and also influencing your choice of music. There’s no doubt about it, that music, the way we have it today. Often times has been one of the key. Listen the key weapons of satan to drag millions of young people away from Godly ideas. The word of God, truth decency, morality, Godliness and what do they do you see? There’s all kind of, somebody says, well that’s all, everybody has all kind of music. That’s right. There’s all kinds, what does it do to you? Does it cause you to worship God? Now there’s lots of songs out. There are displays isn’t good songs and doesn’t have any physical effect. Can have you make you have an emotional feeling of feeling good because of it. But if it so works in your body that you began to feel sensual, what you have to ask is this, where did that come from? That’s why you have to be careful what you listen to how you dress. You see the world, listen the world culture, the world culture has penetrated every facet of our society. One of the most powerful weapons is music dress. And you see what happens little by little. Somebody comes out and dresses a certain way and somebody else says, well I’d like to be like her and so you want to do the same thing. Why don’t you ask the question? What does the word of God say? What does the word of God say about decency and in order. What is the word of God say about being a Godly woman or a Godly man? You know what else they’ll do? They’ll fill your mind with sensuality and immoral thoughts over and over and over and over and over again until finally, you know what’s happening? You’re committing the very things you see on tv or the lust pattern in your life has become so strong. You feel that you feel that you’re in bondage. Isn’t it interesting that satan offers these awesome promises only to find yourself in bondage of something now you hate because you cannot stop, you know why you savage yourself from the anchor, the living word of God. Then what happens? They want to ruin your witness. The culture wants listen, the culture wants to drag you away from God. He can’t listen. The culture can’t get you away from God. So they get you away from the book until they get you away from God’s book. They can’t get you away from God. And once they do it ruins your witness. Then you’re so much like them. It doesn’t make any difference any longer. They listen. They love your company now because you’re no longer a contradiction to the way they live. You’re so much like them. You don’t bother them anymore. So how you doing? Glad to see you before because you like salt and light, light. Now, it’s just so much like him. It doesn’t make any difference anymore. If you don’t cling to the word of God, listen carefully, you will not cling to God. He gave us this book. He gave us, he gave us this truth for our listen not only for our salvation but for our protection. And you know what will happen eventually the culture will listen will make you useless for the kingdom of God because having authored your schedule, you have no time to serve him little or no time to read his word at all. And now that you’re spending your money on things rather than giving God what ought to be, what ought to be given to him. You’re not interested in people being saved and longer because you see now your life is so self centered and so caught up in yourself. And you know what’s happened. You haven’t even realized that it’s happened. You’re so far from where you used to be when you read the scriptures every night and you believe that somehow the word of God must be a vital part of your life. And then the culture got your attention begin to affect your thinking one your emotions and got your focus on God. And now what happens? It leads you into our dollar tree. You said, well now wait a minute. I would never bow down before some wooden or stone or gold. God. No, we’re not talking about those gods. America has other gods. But you know what a god is. You know what idolatry is, idolatry is. Listen carefully. A dollar tree takes place in your life. When anything any person, any practice is more important to you in your relationship to jesus christ. When you’re more loyal, more devoted, more committed. Did that person that thing of that practice? Then you are the son of God. You are committing a dollar tree. You have violated one of the commandments. And you know how it happens. You let the culture get your attention penetrate your thinking, win your emotions and get your focus off of God and off of his word. Now here is the tragedy of it all. Listen carefully. Here is the tragedy of it. All right? Now, if you’re listening to say amen eventually, if there’s no genuine change in your life, here’s what’s gonna happen one of these days, you’re gonna die and somebody’s gonna come and look at your body in the casket and here’s what they’re gonna say, saved soul wasted life because you let the culture get your attention influence your thinking. When your emotions turn your focus from God and what I want you to say is this he says, hold hold it tenaciously cling to it. He says. He said, all right, okay. I admit that I haven’t. So what do I do now listen very carefully. So you won’t misunderstand. I’m gonna I’m gonna say, I’m gonna give you a word. Don’t jump to any conclusion until I define it. The way you deal with drifting, handling it loosely, laying it aside, It’s no longer in your heart, no longer really in your mind no longer before your eyes and therefore not on your lips. The word is repent. Now watch this carefully repentance while the word means change and turn another direction that will never work until the following thing is true. The motive must be right if you repent, turn away from this action or this attitude, because you’re afraid of God’s judgment because your fear of what may happen to you, it won’t work. You know what, Before long you’ll be right back at it. The motive must be I want to turn I want to repent of this sin because I’m grieved that my relationship to my God is not right. I’m grieved that I’ve grieved him grieved in my heart that I’ve been trying to live and convince and persuade and argue and defend and my relationship with him has been awesomely damaged. When that is your motive repentance will be a reality. I’ve just told you the truth. And if you have any truthfulness about you at all, you have to say, well, that’s right now, people say, well, you know, these bible believers, That’s right. So I want to ask you to do something because I want to go on record. I want you to take your bible in your hand. And I want to be sure in case anybody out there has any doubt about the fact of who we are and what we believe, that we are bible believers, but we’re also bible carriers. And we’re also bible practices. And you see it’s one thing for a few people in the church to have a bible, but what I want to say to is this, we not only believe what we’ve said, we practice. And I’m gonna ask everybody in here has a bible to hold it up. Every single person in here. This is who we are. This is a book we live by. This is the anchor of our lives. This is the instruction book divinely given by Almighty God. And you can see as you look around, almost everybody in here has one. Yes, we always have lots of guests. They don’t always know to bring those. But if you remember, more than likely you have one and we have one simple command cling to it. I want you to put it to your breast, cling to it, hold it tightly, apply it to your life. Live by it and you’ll experience God’s very best in your life. If you’re one of those persons who has never trusted jesus christ as your savior, what are you going to say when you stand before him? And he says, this is the standard by which I’m judging you. You’ve neglected it. He did not. His son. You’ve turned away. You let the culture determine your eternal destiny. What in this world are you going to say? You won’t have anything to say? And I want to encourage you to ask the Lord jesus christ to forgive you of your sins and tell him today that you acknowledge your sinfulness. You’re not coming to him because you deserve to be saved, your coming, asking for mercy. You want him to forgive you to save you from your sins. You’re committing yourself to him. You want to live a Godly life. You want to walk in his ways. You know what happened? He’ll change your life. And what you used to look at and think was so important, will lose its importance. And the things you’ve neglected will become the most precious things in your life and our father. How grateful we are for this precious book, this indestructible, eternal, faithful word of yours. I pray that you’ll sink this message into the heart of every single person. Let it cut deeply into the heart of one who has drifted, fallen away, living in sin. But knowing as they’ve listened, I’ve heard the truth. Let there be genuine repentance and a fresh new love and devotion. And clinging to the word is my prayer in jesus name.

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ABOUT DR.CHARLESSTANLEY Dr. Charles F. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. In 1982, Stanley...
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