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Sermon Notes: February 21, 2021

What In the World Is Going On? Jesus’ Words On the Future
Persecution
John 15:19-20

  • Why are our attempts at practicing and promoting the good news facing hostility?
  • Why do your children feel the pressure to conform to cultural norms that clearly don’t support your belief in the Bible?
  • Why is it becoming socially unacceptable to agree to disagree on certain moral issues?
  • How is it that a country largely shaped by Judeo-Christian principles seems to be rejecting its very foundations?

Three root causes for what is going wrong in society today:

  1. The belief that human flourishing is found in an inner sense of well being.

According to social scientists there are five attributes to being a well-adjusted human being:

  1. Happiness and life satisfaction
  2. Mental and physical health
  3. Meaning and purpose
  4. Character and virtue
  5. Close social relationships

*But here are the deeper questions, what will cause this kind of fulfillment?  Where does it come from?

  1. The belief that one should be able to act outwardly as one feels inwardly.
  2. The belief that who you are should largely be a matter of personal choice, not the result of external pressure or imposition.

How in the world has our society arrived at this dangerous place? Five philosophers:

  1. Jean Jacque Rousseau, 1712-1778

Rousseau influenced other famous philosophers who taught that the only way to know and understand your lived experience is through your inner conscience, your feelings and perceptions.

  1. Karl Marx, 1818-1883

He admitted, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” To Marx, church and family presented obstacles to Utopia.

  1. Charles Darwin, 1809-1882

His theory of evolution undermined any notion of human exceptionalism by striking down the difference between human beings and others.

  1. Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900

He relentlessly attacked the concept of God and declared that God is dead.  He saw the concept of God as one which destroyed people’s freedoms and kept them weak.

  1. Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939

Freud said that human beings are shaped at a very deep level by their sexual desires.  His theories have led to three major beliefs that our society has come to own:

  1. Human flourishing in its ideal form is identical with sexual satisfaction.
  2. Sex is a matter of identity and not primarily activity.
  3. Sex is something you are and not something you do.

“Behaviors that Christianity regards as illegitimate are now made into an identity society regards as legitimate and therefore requires all its citizens to recognize for the common good…[so for example] to object to aberrant forms of sexuality ceases to be merely to object to certain sexual practices or proclivities, it becomes the denial of the selfhood of another, an act of political violence…that makes Christianity not simply implausible but downright morally offensive, even politically seditious because it seems to threaten the common good.” Dr. Carl Trueman

How should we respond as Christ-centered and biblically-based believers to an increasingly hostile culture?

  1. Recognize the depth and nature of the challenge we are facing.
  • This is not a superficial blip or momentary aberration in American culture.
  • The fewer people who consider religion an important part of their lives, the fewer people will care about religious freedom.
  • The modern view of self is the result of a long and comprehensive revolution; it cannot be supplanted until an equally comprehensive revolution takes its place.
  • A world where orthodox Christianity is considered not just implausible but also immoral is a world that we will need to navigate in a manner perhaps not seen since the second century.
  • The church has been here before and it thrived, i.e. the early church in the second century.
  1. Know what you believe and believe what you know!
  1. Don’t get preoccupied with the symptoms of a self-centered world.
  1. Don’t become inward focused or hateful towards the culture. We’re supposed to love the world like Jesus did and He gave His life that whosoever believes will not drown but have everlasting life.
  1. Come to know others as Christ knows them, individuals created in the image of God and treat them that way!
  1. Be a loyal subject to the state to the extent that that loyalty to the state and Christ are compatible.
  1. Accept that you will be persecuted when you cannot be loyal to the state because it contradicts Christ.
  1. Don’t forsake meeting together with other believers as a church!
  1. Our greatest witness is when we remain faithful to the message of Christ and flourish in Christian community.
  • How will the world ever see or experience the transforming power of our transcendent God if we keep hating each other?
  • How will we ever be the witness that Christ intended us to be if we keep looking for political messiahs instead of being satisfied with God’s Messiah?
  • How will the world ever believe our message if we behave like the world and show ourselves to be morally and sexually unrestrained?
  • How will the world ever believe in the power of God’s transforming love if we cannot see and treat each other with all the dignity and affection of one created in His image?

*Much of the information and inspiration for this sermon came from the book  THE RISE AND TRIUMPH of the MODERN SELF by Dr. Carl Trueman.