Skip to main content

God's Simple Answers to a Culture in Chaos

I do not easily cry. As I sat in church listening to a well-known Southern Baptist preacher, I did not expect to shed a tear.  It wasn’t that he preached an emotional sermon.  His antidotes were not tear-jerkers.  The reason I cried in church last week is because OS Hawkins clearly and unashamedly spoke God’s truth about our culture and trough one simple verse, showed us God’s answer to our culture in chaos.  It wasn’t a perfect sermon.  I don’t think he made it clear enough that Baby Boomers are part of the crowd that wants something for nothing. The facts are: sinners are sinners no matter what decade you are born.  Another point I recognized as unhelpful was his jibe at transgender folks by his offhanded comment: When you wake up in the morning and after you shave or put your make-up on, or in this culture maybe both.  I laughed at the time but can’t recommend his sermon without acknowledging that it didn’t need to be said.  I have a friend who does wake up in the morning and shaves then put on his make-up.  He is a human being created in the image of God, and I’m sure he would have felt rejected if he were sitting beside me in church.  His insistence that he be accepted for wearing women’s clothes, though clearly a male, is one of the main reasons he does not attend church. This reminds me why speaking the truth in love is commanded by God.  So with these points made, I want to tell you the truth that made me shed a tear.
It may sound intolerant to speak the truth that recognizing gender is foundational to our freedom, but it is.  A culture in chaos needs to understand this, but we must be careful not to alienate people so they can hear the truth spoken in love.  I’m not usually political in Tea Time for Your Soul, but I have been amazed by gender differences since my graduate work and believe recognizing our uniqueness as male or female is essential to our understanding of who God made us.  I wrote my dissertation on Genesis 3:16, which is God’s words to women after the fall.  In my opinion, it is not a minor issue that our culture is in chaos regarding gender.  The de-sexing of America will lead us further away from understanding who we are in relation to God.  It also has the potential to politically sever the bonds of family and the responsibility of parents for children.  Psalm 2:2-6 offers a forceful look at the harsh reality of rejecting our gender and rejecting the bonds that God has established. The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One: Let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints. The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath: I have consecrated My King on Zion, My holy mountain.  We can conspire together to sever any God-designed bonds and chains all we like, but this Psalm records two truths. 1. Our sin of seeing God’s restraints as chains is futile, and we will have to answer to the wrath of God.  2. God protects us through sending His Son to make all things right.
The meat of OS Hawkins’ sermon was this sentiment exactly.  He boldly and truthfully proclaimed that all the answers for our Culture in Chaos are found in the short passage Ephesians 1:7: We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Here is the summary:
Our Chaotic Culture is:                                   Ephesians 1:7 answers
Desperate for meaningful relationship—
In Him—He is the relationship we are looking for.
Desperate for immediate gratification—We have redemption—You can decide right now; there is no waiting period before you can receive redemption if you chose it.
Desperate for entitlements—Through His blood—You are entitled as a human being.  You cannot deserve or attain redemption except through Christ’s blood.
Desperate for freedom from guilt—the forgiveness of sins—It’s the only way to truly be without guilt.
Desperate for prosperity that seems unattainable—according to the riches of His grace—There is enough grace for everyone to be rich in grace because it is limitless.
               Amen and Amen.  A culture in chaos is a harvest field for discovering the everlasting truth of God when delivered in love.
Copyright © 2016.  Deborah R. Newman teatimeforyoursoul.com  All Rights Reserved.




Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing the sermon, and your reflections on it. I have grown more and more amazed at the 'de-sexing' issue - never heard it described this way, but I think it's an apt description. It does go back to our core sense of identity, doesn't it? The transgender issue is so deeply puzzling and troubling, and yet, it is at the core, identity dysphoria. I probably empathize with those folks more than I'd want to admit, and it is an incredibly painful place to live. You're so right about our need to find a way to stay in love - without love, anything of truth we want to share is nothing more than clanging cymbals. When I am at the end of understanding the chaos, I remember my good friend from Africa, who would always say to me, "Susie, God knows the end from the beginning." And Sayu was so right about that! When I remind myself that He knows the end from the beginning, I don't have to understand it all...and I certainly don't understand it all!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Moving Forward

It’s been half a decade since my husband of 27.5 years died suddenly of a brain bleed.  My life turned upside down that weekend, and nothing will ever be the same.  Someone commented to me that I had moved-on.  It was meant to be a compliment, and I totally get the affirmation that was intended.  The truth is I have not moved-on, nor do I ever expect that I will.  I love this quote sent to me in a sympathy card and have shared it over and over with others.  St Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: I can never lose one whom I have loved unto the end; one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly that it can never be separated does not go away but only goes before.               Grief should have a beginning, middle and end; that is true.  That first year or two I would have done anything to diminish my pain.  I was in so much pain that I wasn’t even a person.  It’s hard to believe that we humans will naturally grow more comfortable existing in our pit of despair of grief than to let it go…

Thank You Dad

Recently I have been contemplating why it is ingrained in me that I must be quiet and respectful and look at the flag when the national anthem is played.  It’s as natural for me as standing for the Hallelujah Chorus during Handel’s Messiah or for the Bride when she walks through the back door.  Like a Pavlov dog, my instincts go into action, and I do not even think about my somewhat conditioned response. Why?  It was definitely my own father who had the most influence over me regarding the national anthem.  I am not a sports enthusiast.  However, from a young age I found myself at sports games because my older brother played every sport offered.  Our family faithfully attended those games, which normally started with the national anthem.  I found a way to enjoy the otherwise agonizing experience of being held prisoner to my brother’s sporting events by gravitating to my friends who were there under duress as well.  We made up games of our own; we would laugh and talk throughout the q…

Waiting on Lila

On the first day of Advent I awoke to a call at 3:20 am that I should come to the hospital because my daughter was being taken down to deliver Lila—my first grandchild!  I had been first alerted to her early arrival two days before when Rachel's water broke, but not much labor. I arrived in Birmingham seven and a half hours later (it would have been sooner but there wasn’t a direct flight!). And then...we waited. We waited on Lila’s lungs to respond to a couple of steroid shots (she was three weeks early). As we waited, we halfway watched football and occasionally made small talk about subjects other than Lila’s birth; but mainly we carried on just wishing, wondering and thinking we could plan for the time that Lila would arrive based on the medical advice we were given.  All we could think about was what we were waiting for, our baby girl to come into the world.

While waiting on Lila, a code blue was called to her room; then the number was changed to the room next door. We Gran…