Wayfinding Week 11

  • Set the course.
  • Maintain the course.
  • Reach the destination.

Expedition- A journey undertaken by a group of people with a definite objective.

Why we journey- to fulfill the great commandment and the great commission to make disciples who love God and people.

How we journey, how we choose to travel.
  • Authenticity
  • Community
  • Intentionality
  • Compassion
  • Simplicity

As we travel, we will experience societies and cultures and circumstances that are either unfamiliar or unique and often will be unsettling.

Why would we add a new value to our church?

The world we live in is very different from when we started 15 years ago.

Changing norms on sexuality.
  • When is sex appropriate? 
  • Who to have sex with? 
  • Couples and thruples.
  • Transgender issues.

Declining confidence in institutions.
  • Though many still say they are spiritual, fewer Americans identify with a specific religious group.
  • Public schools, medical professionals, banks, criminal justice system.

Changes in Work Culture
  • Remote work (accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic), debates around work-life balance.

Rise of Social Media
  • How we consume news, engage in public discourse, and maintain social relationships.
  • Political polarization, racial and social justice causes.

As followers of Jesus who are on a journey through life, how should we engage with and interact with people who are not followers of Jesus? I want to show you a diagram that’s a little complicated, but I think it’s helpful.

  • Passive- Not try to engage with or shape society and culture at all.
  • Active- Engaging significantly in shaping society and culture.
  • Little common grace- God doesn’t care about the non-spiritual and the non-Christian.

Full of common grace- God greatly cares about the non-Christian.

“Culture is actually beating people up. Left to their own devices without God, people will take blow after blow—perhaps without even realizing that it’s culture delivering the pain.”  - Bruce Ashford

Two Kingdoms
  • Distinction between the responsibilities and operations of the church and the non-church.
  • Christians are part of both realms, but navigate their roles within each separately.
  • “We’re going to do our thing, let them do theirs.”
  • Downside: Significant influence on the “Christian world” but little on non-Christians.

  • Adapts to and learns from culture. Embrace culture and bring it into the Church. Build churches that are mirrors of the culture.
  • People feel optimistic about secular culture (marketing methods, capitalism, environmentalism…)
  • “We’re going to join with them.”
  • Downside: Skeptical or even critical of Christian doctrine. Often critique the church more than the culture. Usually end up sacrificing doctrines and moral beliefs that run contrary to the culture. By becoming a reflection of culture, the church can lose its position as a champion of a better way to live.

  • The church can’t learn from or adapt to culture because it’s completely foreign.
  • Purpose is to challenge society by being distinct.
  • “We’re going to stay away from them.”
  • Downside: Little to no influence on society or impact on the non-Christian world.

  • Transform culture by living out the Christian worldview in their various spheres of life.
  • Involvement in politics, economics, the arts, media and education.
  • “We’re going to take them over.”
  • Downside: Over-dependence on the non-Christian world. Wrongly believes that one must control all things to have an impact. Over-reliance on secular institutions like government.

John 18:36
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world…

John 17:15–18
[15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [18] As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

Matthew 6:10
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors—we represent another world, another kingdom, while living in the midst of this one. Representatives of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
As ambassadors, we are fully immersed in the culture, but everything about us points back to the one we serve. This doesn’t mean we agree with everything culture does, but we learn to understand it and speak its language, identify its true desires—all with the intention of showing how Christ is the only one who can correctly fulfill those well-meaning (though often misplaced) desires.

  • How do the values of authenticity, community, intentionality, compassion, and simplicity influence our journey as Christians according to the teaching?
  • Considering the teaching's perspective on societal changes, why might it be important for a church to adapt or maintain its values?
  • In what ways does the teaching suggest Christians should engage with cultures and societies that do not follow Jesus?
  • How does the teaching explain the role of Christians as ambassadors in a world with shifting cultural and societal norms?
  • What are the potential downsides of the approaches like isolationism, relevance, counterculturalism, and transformationism as discussed in the teaching?

Scripture Breakdown (spoken/transcribed):

John chapter 18 verse 36, these are the words of Jesus. And if you don't know this about the life of Jesus towards the end of his life, things got a little bit chaotic, arrest, crucifixion, all of that.

So obviously emotions were on high alert and things were tumultuous, but Jesus says something within that context that's immensely profound and relevant for this discussion. and he says in John 18 36 Jesus answered my kingdom pause there my kingdom so if you don't know this Jesus has a kingdom Jesus as a Kingdom we know that Jesus is a king and so Kings we don we don have kingdoms today well we do you know over across the water but it's not something that we're used to essentially a King reigns and rules over their kingdom Jesus as king reigns and rules over his kingdom and so that the foundational premise that we have to understand is that Jesus is a king who has a kingdom he is reigning and ruling Jesus says my kingdom is not of this world and So is Jesus a King yes is he reigning and ruling over a kingdom.

Yes, but it is distinctly different from kingdoms of this world. So the world has kingdoms, metaphorically and literally. There are ways of living of the World and Jesus definitively says, I'm a king who has a kingdom and it's not like the Word.

He gives one of many descriptions throughout his life of what that's like. He said, if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting that I might not be delivered over to the Jews, but my Kingdom is not from the world.

And so if you remember Jesus getting arrested, tempers are flaring, Peter grabs his sword, cuts off a guy's ear, which is kind of cool. And then Jesus puts it back on, which has also kind cool, but what Jesus is trying to say, If my kingdom was like the Roman kingdom, there'd be a lot of fighting right now.

And you guys would be coming to arrest me and I'd telling my guys, you know, fight back. But he says, that's not the way my Kingdom is. My Kingdom's is not of this world. If it was, then my people in my Kingdom and would I be doing what everybody else is doing, but I'm not doing whatever everybody is else doing.

And my People aren't doing what everyone else else's doing because my kingdom is different from worldly kingdom's. Jesus has a kingdom Let's move on Romans chapter 12 Matthew Mark Luke John acts Romans Chapter 12 verse 2 Says this do not be conformed to This world.

So again, let me back up. Jesus says I have a Kingdom the world has kingdom my kingdom is not the same as the World's Kingdom and And so the next thing that we can learn is that, we are not to be conformed to the world.

Whatever the worlds, and this is the caution for us, active accommodation of culture, if Jesus has a kingdom that is different from the World's Kingdom, it would make perfect sense that don't take on the values and the priorities of the Worlds Kingdom.

Because they're different, they are different kingdoms. And so there cannot be as we travel, as we journey and we encounter societies and people and groups and circumstances that are different from our own, we must say if there is anything in your societal values, in your cultural values that are from the values of my king, I'm not conforming to that.

I am not acquiescing to that everybody might be doing that I'm not gonna do that society may be embracing this I not going to embrace this because I I live under a different kingdom so don't be conformed to this world go back to John John chapter 17 John chapter 17 verse 15 Jesus I don't know if you know this but we Jesus prayed to the father Jesus is a son prays with the Father we we get to listen in on one of his prayers this is one of those he says this he's praying to the farther and he is praying for you and I praying for his people then praying first people now if your follower of Christ he He's praying for you.

What does He pray for for about? He says this, I do not ask that you take them out of the world. Again, we're getting some balance. Should we, it seems as though what Jesus is saying is, we should avoid this territory.

Because Jesus saying, hey, I don't want you to take Him outta the World. I did not asked that You take him out the of world, but that, you keep them from the evil one. They are not of The World, which makes sense.

If Jesus is a king of a different kingdom and we're and he's our king. We're a part of the different Kingdom So the world that we are living in Is not our own world. This is not her home as the Bible says we were so sojourners.

We are strangers. We were exiles side note Part of reason that perhaps some of you are grieving Is because you're recognizing that the place that you've called home for so long was never intended to be your real home.

Let's get back to the passage. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that keep them from the evil one. They are not of world just as I am not in the word. And so what is Jesus praying for us then?

Sanctify them in truth. Your word is truth as you sent me into the worlds, so I have sent them into world. And Jesus' prayer is very much so as we talk about cultural engagement, and it would seem as though we should avoid this, but there should be some kind of engagement with the world where Jesus says, as you are navigating through life and as your journey and you encounter people, groups, or circumstances, I wanna send you into those.

I don't want you to become like those, but I have a purpose for you and I want to you engage with those and interact with them. I'm gonna protect you from the evil one And it's vitally important that we know the word of truth.

Some of you might say, why do they spend so much time studying the Bible? It's because we believe that the bible is the Word of God and that within this book is truth that transcends culture. And so you and I, once again, we need an anchor.

When culture goes haywire, and when people suggest that this is normal, we have to have something that stands the test of the time. Because if you haven't picked this up yet, culture is perpetually changing and so we can't accommodate culture we need truth and as we engage with culture, we need to be able to keep our bearings we need be to able be solidified in truth so Jesus again summary my kingdom he has a kingdom it's not like the world's so he can be conformed to the world we don't want to acquiesce we don' t want become like them Jesus doesn't wanna take us out of the world, shouldn't be hiding in a bunker somewhere saying is God protect me no He wants to send us into the world to have influence and create change.

Matthew 6 .10, then if you turn to Matthew chapter six, what is our prayer as we do that? As we are sent into world and as engage with culture. Matthew six. 10, again, another prayer of Jesus. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Why are we using this word kingdom? Because all throughout the Bible, you will find this phrase, kingdom of God or kingdom heaven, I believe they're used interchangeably, both to represent what does it look like when Jesus is in charge of something?

His kingship and his kingdom, everything flows from him. And so his Kingdom is going to be consistent with his kingships. The things that are important in his Kingdom are gonna be important to him. The things that he doesn't give a rip about are things we shouldn't a give rip about that aren't part of his kingdom.

And so what Jesus is giving to us as an example prayer is God, as I walk in this world that's not your world, it's a different kingdom than what I need you to do, my prayer is that you would allow me to bring glimpses and pictures and realities of your kingdom into these lowercase K kingdoms.

As I encounter people and as I engage in conversations, gotta pray that the things you would somehow enable me, your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth. And so as go into this place, and if you don't know this about culture, culture will absolutely decimate people.

It is beating people up left and right. It's it's wreaking havoc on people you know it. It bad when anybody know who Joe Rogan is? Joe Rogen? Okay some of you. I'm not not giving his an endorsement, but Joe Logan was talking about this he does a podcasts, interviews people.
He was talking about the issue of transgender, talking the reality that adolescents, pre -puberty are getting gender reassignment surgeries. And if you don't notice about Joe Rogan, Joe Rogen's not a Christian and he's not conservative, that's who he is.

When a guy like Joe Rogue and says, this is insanity, you know that culture is messed up. Right? When non -Christians who don't share the values of the kingdom are saying, this is bad, you know we've gone way off course.

You know what, my wife is, I'm gonna, can I say something about you, honey? Yeah, that's a horrible question. No, Shelley and I were talking about this a while back and she said, when I was a kid, I really with all of my heart believed that I was robot.

it's funny isn't it? If as an adolescent people went around her and said well let's figure out how to make that happen, we would go that's foolishness. Non -Christians, even liberals are saying, and I'm going to step away from the Bible because are, saying that what we are doing to children with gender reassignment is devastating.
Non Christian liberal people. And so my point being, let me get back to my point, if you and I, you and i have as fear as fearsome as today's modern times are, as unsettling as they are. Do you see the immense opportunity that we have to go into people's lives that are absolutely being broken and devastated by culture that is wreaked havoc and say there's a better way, there is a more beautiful way.

There's an alternative to what you're experiencing right now, the way of Jesus is way better than the disaster that culture is creating in people's lives, and so when Jesus says, your kingdom come, you will be done.

I wanna send you into society, I want to send you in to reflect the goodness of my kingdom. I don't want you to ignore it. I want to send you into it, I just don't want just adopt all of it but I wanna engage with it and be a light in the darkness, be a city on a hill that can't be hidden.

Last passage, 2 Corinthians 5 .20. Therefore, Paul says, we are ambassadors for Christ. So as we're traveling through life and we encounter these circumstances and engage in conversations and were in the marketplace or we were at in our classroom or sports team and encounter, we are not hiding but we engaging because we ambassadors, what a basic ambassadorship.

What does that mean? It means that you live in one place, you go to another place that's not your home. and you do your best to be a representative of the place that you're from you've never been an ambassador but I would guess you have to have some decent relationships with the people where you live in you can't just stay in your ambassador home you got to go engage what do they call it where do ambassadors live embassy thank you.

You can just hide out in the embassy you gotta you gotta have relationships you gonna have dialogue you You have to maybe understand the culture that you're living in, you have be aware of it. But the entire time you recognize that your representing your homeland.

And in this case, we're representatives of a kingdom and of the king. And so Paul says, therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. And so I think the place that we land is one where you and I as followers of Christ, you're talking to your neighbors.
You are engaged in politics. Your writing music, your creating art, your helping shape education system .You recognize we don't have to have those things. We don t have that there's a place and a purpose that we're representing in the kingdom.

We're not hiding out. We are not over accommodating and we are just not trying to be so like the culture to where we lose our distinctiveness. And that's what it means to people of the Kingdom. We live with purposefulness.

We lived with intentionality to say, this world isn't my home. I'm a stranger here, I am in exile, but as long as God has me here I want to engage with the culture around me, with hope of displaying the goodness of a king and his kingdom.

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