The Christian Worldview:
where are christians
getting their worldview?
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those
who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it
is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the
clever I will set aside." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is
the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For
since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know
God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to
save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for
wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to
Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is
wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your
calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not
many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world
to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the
things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God
has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus,
who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and
redemption, so that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the
There is an enormous crisis facing the Christian community which the New
Testament refers to as the church. The fact that any minister would declare a
crisis is facing the church probably does not surprise any of you. Ministers
have been making that statement for generations. From that statement we usually
begin talking about a matter that concerns us personally or concerns other
ministers we respect.
The crisis I refer to is not one created by my personal concerns or by other
ministers. It is a crisis in its own right and will overwhelm us whether we
admit it exists or not. This crisis threatens the existence of the "organized
church" as we know it today. It does not threaten the existence of God's
kingdom--that kingdom is eternal and cannot be destroyed. But the expression of
God's kingdom as we know it in the form of the 21st century church in American
is facing an immediate, severe crisis.
This crisis has existed for a long time, and it is almost too late for us to
respond to this crisis. It is a crisis created by the lack of a worldview among
Christians. The crisis exists because we have failed, ourselves, to look at the
world as Christians. Instead, we Christians look at the world as do people who
do not believe in God. Instead of us influencing others to see life and death as
God declared, we have adopted the godless world's way of looking at life and
We have been so preoccupied in opposing change that we have not realized the
way we look at life and death has made an enormous transition. I am not talking
about opposing religious traditions. I am talking about our basic understanding
of life's purpose.
- The issue is not, "Does the worldview crisis exist?" The issue is, "Do we
as Christians have the courage to face the worldview crisis?"
- I would like to suggest that there are at least four approaches we can
take to the worldview crisis.
- We can take the approach of "denial."
- "Crisis? What crisis? There is no crisis! Everything is fine and is
going to remain fine!"
- "Do not worry about! Do not let it make you anxious! Do not let it
make you fearful of anything!"
- "Just ignore it and give it time, and it will go away like
everything else has."
- If we take that approach, when that tsunami wave crashes upon us,
our last words as we drown will be, "What happened?"
- We can take the approach of "isolation."
- "Keep your cool! Never examine us or question anything!"
- "Just keep the world out there and us in here."
- "Tell folks 'out there' they can 'come' in here if they want to.'"
- If isolation is our approach to the crisis created by worldview, we
are fooling no one but ourselves--our isolation is imagined, not real,
and everyone but us knows it.
- We can take the approach of "conformity."
- "If you are going to come in here, you must agree with us exactly on
- "We do things this way, and so must you if you are to be part of
- First, do you really understand that to be the gospel message? Do
you really think Jewish Christians and gentle Christians saw every
religious procedure just exactly alike in the first century?
- Second, we do not even agree with each other! How dare we demand
conformity from other people?
- We can take the approach that allows us to learn how to engage the
- Is outreach to our world to be on our terms or the Lord's terms?
- Do we dare examine ourselves and honestly ask if there are
differences in the Lord's terms and our terms?
- I am reminded of a statement Jesus made to John's disciples when
John inquired from prison if Jesus was the person or should they look
for someone else.
- Jesus did not answer with a simple, "Yes."
- He quoted from Isaiah 35:5 following as he gave this answer in
Matthew 11:5, 6
"the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the
poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not
take offense at Me."
- Maybe our visions are not the Lord's visions.
- I want to try to illustrate the worldview crisis to the Christian
community in practical terms by asking six questions.
- Question one: Who defines love for the typical Christian--the American
culture or God?
- If you want the American society's definition of love, go to the
movies or watch television.
- Love is commonly and strongly associated with what are portrayed as
incredible sexual experiences.
- Love is basically self-centered and selfish--the greatest question
is, "Are things good for me?"
- Love is frequently found with "everybody" [if "I" cannot find love
with one person "I" just go to the next person] or is excluded to a
"soul mate" [real love can be found with only one ideal person who was
born just for me].
- Listen to God's definition of love:
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is
kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does
not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does
not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in
unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes
all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not
perish, but have eternal life.
- In God's definition of love, there is an unbreakable bond between
love and serving others.
- Quite a contrast!
- For just a moment, consider the "soul mate" concept as an
- In the formation of any enduring relationship, there are times of
- If, when you marry, you are convinced there is only one ideal person
in the world for you, what will you do when the inevitable moments of
- Split and run! Why? "You are not my 'soul mate'!
- Question two: Who defines success for the American Christian--the
American culture or God?
- The American culture says success is defined by materialism, the world
of money, or both.
- It says the evidences of success are wealth, lifestyle, pleasure,
and being able to afford to do whatever you want.
- If you do not experience 'the good life' on earth, you are not
- God says success is measured by service and sacrifice, and has
nothing to do with money.
Matthew 6:19-27 Do not store up for yourselves
treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break
in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or
steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The
eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole
body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will
be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how
great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will
hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and
despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I
say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat
or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the
birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more
than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his
- Question three: Who defines wealth--the American culture or God?
- The testimony of the American culture is consistent: wealth is always
defined by "things."
- If you do not have "things," you are not wealthy.
- So get "things" even if you have to use people.
- Paul wrote of God's values in 1 Timothy 5:3-7.
1 Timothy 6:3-7 If anyone advocates a different
doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and
understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial
questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife,
abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of
depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a
means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when
accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so
we cannot take anything out of it either.
- Question 4: Who defines commitment--American culture or God?
- I heard an interesting interview recently as an outgoing CEO and a
possible incoming CEO were questioned.
- The outgoing CEO defined commitment to the company in terms of 20
- The possible incoming CEO defined commitment to the company in terms
of 5 years.
- The first talked in terms of paying your dues; the second in terms
that there were no dues to be paid.
- Jesus plainly said Christianity was a lifetime commitment.
Luke 14:25-35 Now large crowds were going along with
Him; and He turned and said to them, "If
anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife
and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he
cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after
Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a
tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has
enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not
able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This
man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, when he sets
out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider
whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one
coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still
far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none
of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what
will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure
pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
- Question five: Who defines happiness--American culture or God?
- American culture defines happiness in terms of personal pleasure.
- No one can be happy if he or she has a horrible lifestyle.
- No one can be happy if he or she lives in true poverty.
- "I" decide what is an acceptable lifestyle and the poverty line.
- God defines happiness in terms of service and in terms of living for
- Question six: Is death the worst tragedy we can experience?
- People of today tend to answer that question with "me" centered
- Where do those answers come from--American culture or God?
- Someone says, "Preacher, that a bunch of junk! We have had all religious
matters figured out for generations!"
- Let me see the hands of everyone one here who is a member of the
Church of Christ.
- How many of you know what it means if I raise up my five fingers and
spread them? [hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized]
- How often have you heard that in a sermon or class?
- Where in the Bible are those five things declared to be God's plan of
- Acts! No.
- The writings of Paul! No.
- It is not found in one place in the Bible.
- The history:
- Walter Scott while preaching in the Western Reserve in the early
1800's began to speak of a "plan" of salvation.
- However, his "plan" at first had six items--three human and three
- The human--believe, repent, be immersed.
- The divine--forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit,
- In 1827 he condensed the "plan" to five parts to fit the five fingers
of one hand.
- He used it as a means to advertise his meeting.
- He would tell the school children on their way home that each finger
stood for believing in Jesus as the Messiah, repenting of our sins,
being baptized for the remission of sins, receiving remission of sins,
and receiving the Holy Spirit.
- The school kids made a fist, went home and opened the fist by
explaining what each finger meant, and told the family that the man who
taught them that would be preaching that night.
- By 1900 the "plan" had become entirely human response [hear, believe,
repent, confess, and be baptized] and was the only way to enter the Church
We must stop acting like we know all the answers. We must start taking our
Savior to our culture and stop letting our culture decide who we are and how we
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 19 February 2006
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