Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Confront the Culture

Did Paul try to find a common bridge with the religious people on Mars Hill? Hardly! He was offended and outraged by their complete idolatry.What he declared to them was in fact an insult--that the most learned of the society was utterly ignorant and without knoweldge of the True God.....
Here are some excerpts from John MacArthur's mess on confronting the culture.
When we take the gospel to our city, it's amazing to watch God's Word transcend the culture--and every false religion--to change lives. The message of salvation in Christ truly knows no hindrance.
The ecumenical, syncretistic spirit of the age recoils in horror at the exclusive claims of Christ. And popular, evangelical seeker-sensitive churches only make the task more difficult by refusing to confront sin in an effort to make the "unchurched" sinner comfortable.....
The Method (Acts 17:22-34): Paul spoke his message to an indifferent and arrogant audience, like many to whom you and I speak today. As we look at how Paul preached to the philosophers, you'll see three essential elements of an effective message to confront our post-Christian culture with the truth.
First, tell them that God is (vv. 22-23). Here's Paul's first point: "You are ignorant and I'm going to give you the truth." Try recommending that opening line at an evangelism conference. Some people think Paul commended their religiosity when he mentioned their many objects of worship. He wasn't commending them at all--their idols infuriated him (v. 16). Rather, he started with a given: all men are innately religious. All men are created to be worshipers--they either worship God or something else, but everyone worships something. The Athenians were no different.....
Second, tell them who God is (vv. 24-29).This is Paul's lesson to the ignorant about the unknown God. This is Theology 101. It's ironic that Paul was teaching the ABCs of theology to those who were known worldwide as supreme intellectuals. It proves the truth of 1 Corinthians 1:25: "The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Here are five things ignorant, rebellious men need to know about the "Unknown God."
God is the Creator. Verse 24a: He "made the world and all things in it." In Paul's day and ours, the truth makes no room for men's opinions regarding origins.
God is the Ruler. Verse 24b: "He is Lord of heaven and earth [and] does not dwell in temples made with hands." It logically follows that if God is the Creator, He is also the rightful Ruler of what He created. And if He is Creator and Ruler, He doesn't live in what His creatures have made.
God is the Giver. Verse 25: "He [is not] served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things." Far from needing anything from men, the Creator "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45).
God is the Controller. Verse 26: "He made from one man every nation of mankind ... having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation." That statement was a blow to the national pride of the Greeks, who scornfully referred to non-Greeks as "barbarians." Nonetheless, God controls the affairs and destinies of men and nations.
God is the Revealer. Verses 27-29: Men should "seek God...He is not far from each one of us...Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like [anything] formed by the art and thought of man." God, by creating, ruling, giving, and controlling all things, has clearly revealed Himself in what He has made--men are truly without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
Third, tell them what God says (vv. 30-31). Paul's evangelism method ends with a simple, powerful point: tell them to repent or be judged. In the past, God was patient. But a day is coming when He will judge the world through Jesus Christ. ...
Paul was faithful to proclaim the truth. He left the results to God.
End quote.
For the full text go here.
How often do you hear people proclaim God as Creator? Yet this is usually the first or foremost or primary declaration proclaimed in Scripture--this is the true God and because He is Creator, He has sole authority over everything including the eternal destiny of everyone.
Within the first six books of Scripture, God is proclaimed as Creator ("created") eleven times.

"Genesis 1:1 states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This is the first and foremost apologetic. If a person stumbles on this one profound truth, a lifetime of doubt and confusion lies ahead for him, full of uncertainty about the ultimate purpose for being alive. But when a Christian attempts to alter this ultimate statement of reality to fit the compromising philosophies of men--even scientifically-trained professionals--then woe to him for his unbelief and, even graver still, for teaching others that unbelief." ~ Lawrence Ford, Executive Director of ICR 

Gen 1:27  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them

Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was
made….14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as
of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were
created through Him and for Him.17 He is before all things, and in Him all things
hold together.

Heb 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in
many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir
of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His 
glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word
of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the
Majesty on high,

Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Psa 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.

Isa 42:5 Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,

Mat 19:4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

Rev 4:11 "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."  

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