January 12th Jesus Challenges Culture
Adam: What does Ricky G. And Jesus have in common?
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
34 Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town,
– Communicate God’s Heart
-Awareness of Injustice and Unrighteousness
– Challenge the Status Quo
– They Cast a Vision for a Different Reality (Hope)
Prophets were willing to sacrifice Social Status – Privilege – Comfort Financial Security – Acceptance By Others – Personal Safety for
Jeremiah said the message within his bones was like fire. He couldn’t not say something. It was a calling.
People don’t typically like to be told their wrong so many prophets were killed.
O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long;
everyone mocks me.
If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
-Jeremiah 20: 7; 9
“The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”
― Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination
Old Testament prophecy-check and balance system
The prophet speaks and every one is to do exactly what the prophet says.
Deuteronomy 18:17-19 The LORD said to me: ‘What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their people, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
If the prophet speaks a word that is not from God, or his prophecy is not fulfilled, is to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 18:20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.
Unfortunately many prophets were killed because what they said was simply unpopular.
Matthew 23:37 ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
New Testament prophecy – everyone is expected to hear from God.
Paul’s exhortation is that when prophets speak everyone else is to weigh carefully what they hear.
1 Corinthians 14:29-32 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
Prophecy in the New Testament is to open understanding in areas of life and faith, or to confirm what God has already spoken through his spirit to others.
We often think prophecy is foretelling future events, and that is one of it dimensions. But often it is “forth telling” or declaring a truth that needs to be considered and produces a deeper understanding of Scripture or a change of direction in both heart and attitude.
An example is Agabus prophecy about Paul going to Rome.
Acts 21:10-14 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, ‘The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ‘ When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.
-1 Corinthians 14:29-33
The big shift in the New Testament is that everyone has access to hear from God and share what they believe God is saying.
Perceptions develop and expand over time.
Killing for Sport
Women as Property
Owning Other Humans
Abusive and Insensitive Language
Humanity’s capacity to feel more and more of God’s heart and hear his voice has grown over time. Our perceptions have developed as well. Things that were normal and acceptable hundreds and even a few years ago are no longer alright. What is changing? Our perceptions.
Our job is not so much to sit and wait to leave earth and go to heaven, but Jesus prayed that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How can we bring heaven to earth?
Culture must be challenged in order to keep us moving forward.
What’s the thing in our world that makes you say to yourself, “That’s not right?” That may be the thing that God has put in your heart to help bring change. Bring heaven to earth.
He challenged their exclusivism
Genesis 12:1-3 The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’
He challenged their understanding of forgiveness and acceptance
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Up to seven times?’Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Parable of the unmerciful servant)
He challenged the letter of the law with the spirit of the law
Matthew 5:21-22 ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. ( Adultery, Divorce, Oaths, Eye for an eye, Love for enemies, Giving to the needy)
He challenged their understanding of God’s grace and love
Matthew 11:28-30 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
Modern day prophets – would be people like Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, CS Lewis.
20th century has seen the civil rights movement, peace movement, environmental movement, gay rights movement, anti-nuclear movement, anti-globalization movement, MAAD (mothers against drunk driving), Me Too movement, Black Lives matter, Police Lives matter, All Lives matter, etc. They all challenge the status quo, awaken debate, they expose the often radical divides of thought among our nation. They all have moments of balance and imbalance. They have the power to create great divides but also to move us forward to greater health.
Think Different – Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Wall Pics – Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. & Mahatma Gandhi. Haunting question “If I was pastoring a church in their days would I have been on the right side?”
NEW Wall Pic – Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – to remind me that people who differ radically in convictions and beliefs about what is best for our nation can still treat each other with respect, and though their honest debate makes each one of them better.
My passion is to lead GodWhy church to powerfully model that principal, building on the foundation of Christ powerful message.
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