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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  All Rights Reserved.


  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!


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