Sunday, September 15, 2019
“Living in a Culture of Death”
This text was preceded by the drama of the Upper Room.
The Last Supper, the place where Jesus identified the one that would betray him.
The place where Jesus took the bread and broke it, saying, “This is my body that will be broken for you, take eat in remembrance of me, and they shared it.
The place where he took the cup and said, “This is my blood, which shall shed for you, take drink in remembrance of me and they did so.
It was the place where Jesus told his disciples for the final time of his destiny of the cross and the glory of his future resurrection.
When they departed from the Upper Room, Jesus led them out of Jerusalem across the Brook Kidron, up into the Mount of Olives.
They then got to the edge of the Garden of Gethsemene where he told the disciples to wait there and he was going into the inner garden to pray.
He took his inner circle of the closest disciples, Peter and Jesus cousins James and John into the garden.
He told them to wait where he told them to pray and to watch with him.
The term (watch) in the Greek is Gregopeo it means to me vigilant, to stay awake, to be alert, to keep one’s eyes open.
Jesus simply asked them to stay awake, keep an eye out and pray.
We answered the watch statement, but pray for what?
Jesus left them to go about a stone throw away and collapsed.
The real drama that evening was just to begin.
Jesus didn’t bow his head in prayer, rather he lifted up his eyes to heaven, which indicates his yearning for direct communication with his Father.
His first words were, “Father, the hour has come for my passion to begin.
Give me the strength to do what I must do. Let my glory bring you glory.
I have finished the work you sent me to do.
I have done all and everything you wanted me to do.
I gave my disciples the truth of the word the joy of your mercy and grace.
But Father, now I pray not that you would remove them from the world, you would keep them from evil, their not of this world and neither am I.
Sanctify, by the truth of your word.
Set them aside for your holy purpose.
In essences – they have to live in this world, but they need you to protect them from the culture of physical and spiritual death all around them.
Yes, they need the Father in heaven.”
Jesus and the disciples lived in a scary sinful world that was a culture of ungodliness and spiritual and physical death.
The Romans were cruel and used brutality as a means of control.
They caused the Jews to live in a culture of death.
Jesus prayer was for them to be led and guided through it by the Father, for wisdom, guidance, spiritual, physical and emotional preparedness to live in a culture of evil all around them.
Learning to live in a culture of death was only possible by the guiding and protective hand of God.
The disciples lived in the midst of a callous, uncaring, brutal, sin filled society and culture, yet they persevered. How?
God’s providence and their want and will to be in this world, but not a part of it.
We as modern day disciples live in the same type of society.
A callous, uncaring, brutal sin filled world teaming with sin and our need to be kept from its ungodly ways.
Shelter them from evil tat was so prevalent around them.
They needed God to guide them through and direct their course and protect them as he sanctified them to his holy work.
Jesus already was in a sense acting as their intercessor.
Jesus wasn’t praying for the world, he knew that this world was in the grip of the prince of the air.
He was acting and praying on behalf of his disciples.
Jesus was thankful that all of his disciples except for Judas the son of perdition were faithful to him.
He asked for their keeping. Help in living in a culture of death.
We journey through and abide in and live in a culture of death.
Sin abounds, it is no longer frowned upon by our culture it is encouraged.
The pressure upon the Bride of Christ is similar to the early church.
Do as the world does, as the world says, you need to or be ridiculed, harassed, and cast aside or pay for it with your life.
So, how do we today live in this culture of death?
First, by understanding that to successfully do so we have to recognize that we live in this world, but we
cannot be a party to its sin.
Only the prayer of Jesus in the garden and the Father’s response to it makes it possible.
Second, we can live in this culture of death by understanding that we have to and must walk in God’s word, in his statutes, in his truth, and do so with vigor and a glad heart.
Third, we can, live in this culture of death, by not capitulating to the daily temptations that it offers.
Doing so will bring a reaction from the world. A few will accept it, most will reject it.
We are not to become discouraged, but to keep on keeping on.
We must tell about God’s love, his mercy and his grace, and also of his judgement against cultures of death.
What is it that qualifies our society to be placed in the category as a culture of death.
4000 unborn babies being aborted every day.
6570 deaths each from opioids and illegal drugs and hallucinogens.
7333 deaths monthly from alcohol consumption.
Tobacco is responsible for American lives being lost to the tune of 480,000 a year.
Guns are used as an implement of death 3333 a month.
In 2017 there were 17284 homicides in America.
Unfettered violence in our land qualifies us to be considered a Culture of Death.
Death doesn’t always mean the loss of life, it can also mean a persons will to live is taken, it can mean a person’s mind and heart wished for it.
Violence fills our land in many ways.
Every 92 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
That is to the tone of 321,500 per year.
33% of victims contemplate suicide and 13 have attempted to end their lives.
4 kids die every day from child abuse.
2.9 Million acts of child abuse are reported yearly.
Children who have been abused are 59% higher to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 as an adult and 30 more likely to commit a violent crime.
80% of 21 yr old victims of child abuse in early life are diagnosed with a least 1 psychological disorder.
We live in a culture of physical, emotional and spiritual death.
We live in it, but as Christians we must be protected from it.
We have a responsibility to confront it. To call sin, sin to help those who have a will to be helped and delivered from it.
Living in a culture of death can be great opportunities to witness, to teach and to preach about the deliverance that Jesus Christ can long to this society we live in.
We should want to be different, to be separated spiritually and physically and emotionally from this world. But also realize we are in it, but not of it.
Living in a culture of death is as easy or tough as we make it to be.
Remember these things ultimately we are only traveling through it in the end. Our real citizenship is in heaven. But we have a responsibility while we are here.
The world and society will despise us and hate us will want to make us pay dearly for our faith and lives lived in Christ.
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
1John 2:15-17 “15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
May we pray each day for ourselves and one another that God guides us through each day in this world and the he will keep us separated from it.
Living in a Culture of Death is possible when God is our focus and the world stays our enemy and not our friend.