Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kingdom Culture


My goal this morning is the same as always: “To meet you at the place you are in life and take you to the place of prayer.”

Today’s message is specifically designed by the Holy Spirit to reach into your heart and mind and challenge you to change first yourself and then your world.

What we think can change our mind.

What we believe can change our life.

But only what we do can change the world.

Key Scriptures: John 17 (NLT)

21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.

22 "I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are.

The earnest prayer of our Lord is that we might become one, unified together, with no divisions in the family.

It takes everyone to make one. Without every puzzle piece in its place no picture is complete. Without each and every part in its proper place, no body is whole. It’s the same with the Body of Christ and each local church in particular ---

It takes everyone to make one.

I. The Melting Pot of Life Demands We Blend Ourselves With Others

A. The Segregation of The Past

1. Centuries and Empires Gone By

2. America’s Past

B. The Present Divisions

1. We Hunger To Be At Peace

a. It will not come through military domination

b. It will not come through forced integration

2. We Resist Being Forced To Blend

a. We draw lines of likeness and circles of sameness around ourselves

b. We fellowship with those of like precious faith

C. The Future Will Be No Different Than The Past Unless We Change Today.

II. Integration (We currently have laws which mandate:)

A. Economic Integration

B. Academic Integration

C. Social Integration

D. However, one cannot mandate Cultural Integration.

Note: I do not suggest that any individual or people group lose their cultural heritage or ethnic identity in order to fit into society’s mold. I do not preach a yielding of the minority to the ways of the majority. However, what I do firmly believe is that we all, from every race, color, creed, national origin, gender and language, the young and the old, reach beyond ourselves, our birth culture and/or life experiences and adopt a new dominant culture … The culture of the Kingdom of God.

There is a culture which is greater than our life’s experiences, greater than our differences and even our indifferences, greater than the injustices of this world, greater than the hurts, pains and fears of those who have just cause to feel unaccepted, unappreciated, uncared for. There is a culture that is beyond this world’s ability to corrupt, beyond the laws of segregationist governments, beyond the manipulations of greedy men who lusts for power.

There is a culture which makes all men equal, grants every person dignity, values each individual’s life and rises above the prejudices of mortal man. This culture I speak of is not the result of one nation’s philosophy or one church’s doctrine. This culture is found in one only one source –

‘The Kingdom of God’ and the ‘Kingdom Way of Life’.

The Kingdom of God is not a place, it is a way of life.

III. Kingdom Culture and The Way of Life (is established when we:)

A. Love God more than we do ourselves

B. Love others as much as we do ourselves

Matthew 22 (NKJV)

36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"

37 Jesus said to him, "‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

38 "This is the first and great commandment.

39 "And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

IV. Our Challenge Today

A. To Love God

1. With all our heart

2. With all our soul

3. With all our mind

B. To love our neighbor as we love ourselves

1. First we must love ourselves as we should

2. Then we can love others properly

A person does not have to lose respect for cultural roots in order to please God however we owe a greater allegiance to the Kingdom of God than to any other culture.

Where our raising, our upbringing, our experience or opinions differ from those of the Kingdom of God, we need to submit to God’s way, not go the other way.

There is none other to whom we can all tune ourselves besides the one true everlasting voice from heaven which is The Word of God!

This was the single aim of Jesus, as I close with Him teaching His followers to pray in:

Matthew 6 The Model Prayer

9 ¶ "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (NKJV)

Adopt a Kingdom Culture by demonstrating that you love God more than you love yourself and that you love others as much as you do yourself.

Establish the Kingdom in your life today.