Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughts from "Cultures Reconciled"

Listen to the full message HERE.

Tonight as I donated plasma I listened to a sermon by Jerome Gay from the Advance the Church: The Gospel in the New South Conference. I am not sure how I came across this conference. The Tullian sermon I posted about previously was from the same conference. I still have the Driscoll sermon to listen to yet from this same event.

Either way, I am not sure why I clicked on Jerome Gay's message "Cultures Reconciled" to download. I am glad I did however.

Pastor Jerome spoke on contextualizing the Gospel to the people to whom you preach and the dangers of changing the Message to the perceived needs of the different groups to whom you preach. He also mentioned that most of us preach only to a certain type of person and find ourselves completely uncomfortable with people outside that defined "type" of person. He preached from Acts 10 where Peter realizes that God is wanting even the Gentiles included in this community of believers. Jesus confirms this by granting them the Spirit and ears to hear the Gospel.

Pastor Jerome said a few profound statements during the course of his presentation.

He said something to the effect of "we will not see cultures reconciled until our burden eclipses our bias." He spoke of different cultural norms that are offensive and unattractive to outsiders and how we will not preach the Gospel to those with whom we do not relate until our burden for their salvation and the burden for Jesus' glory eclipses our biases.

This is profound. I do not respect people who do not (at least) like or esteem in part Calvinism. I do not like belligerent vegetarians. I do not like being around noisy people. I don't like extremely and unnecessarily combative and confrontational people. I don't like fans of Lebron James. All of these are minor preferences in my life. None of these are so pronounced in that I would swear off being friends with these people. These are just people that I will likely not pursue to be my friends. But that means I'm also very unlikely to pursue them with the Gospel. Until my love for Jesus and His glory and their salvation mean more to me than my bias, I will not pursue them with the Gospel message of Jesus. Their cultural preferences need to be informed by Jesus just as much as my cultural preferences do.

Pastor Jerome said, "We are challenging a culture to rebel against itself." Culture is the product of a sinful people. All peoples have culture and all peoples are sinners. No matter who we preach the Gospel to we are in effect asking them to rebel against their own preferred culture. There is no person in a culture that if Jesus were to reach through His message of salvation would remain exactly the same.

Pastor Jerome also said, "our belief compels our behavior." This is a very succinct way of phrasing this profound observation. It has been said and articulated a myriad of ways, but I liked the pithy way he stated this fact. What we do is not what we believe per se, but what we believe must have some effect on what we do if we really believe it.

Lastly, Pastor Jerome reference some lyrics from a rapper he enjoys named Lecrae from a song called "Send Me" which is based on Isaiah's experience in being selected for service in God's redemptive history.

You can hear that song HERE.

1 comment:

  1. this sounds like a really good sermon - worth listening to again so i can listen, too?

    i tried leaving a comment on yesterday's post, but comments were turned off. so instead of respecting your decision to not allow comments on it, i'm instead going to post here.

    i would like to become a good enough friend to you to ALLOW you to correct me. i know this is an area that i'm VERY weak in, and i'm sorry. i would like to trust jesus enough to believe that he will lay on your heart what needs to be said, and enough to believe that his desires for me are more profitable than my own.