Sermon Title: How is Our Culture Affecting Us? “That We May Be Like All the Nations”
Text: 1 Samuel 8:19-22
But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city” (1 Samuel 8:19-22).
We’re about to send six high school graduates off as they begin the next phase of life. Their lives will change significantly as they experience the world without being watched as closely by their parents. So initially this sermon was planned with them in mind.
As the sermon developed, though, it became clear that perhaps this kind of message might be relevant to everyone in our congregation. The temptation that affected Israel in Samuel’s day—to allow the spirit of the age to become their own—is the same that affects people in our time.
The movement afloat in America that is gaining traction in many demographics is to embrace Christianity as little more than a way to engage in social justice issues (caring for the marginalized, racial reconciliation, etc.). It is a form of progressivism that turns its back on the historic teachings of the Church regarding the deity of Christ, his virgin birth and bodily resurrection, the inspiration of Scripture, sex as God’s gift to a husband and wife only, the sanctity of life, etc. So many people are embracing a different form of Christianity—one that is defined more by its commitment to social and political agendas than it is to the inspired teachings of Scripture, that encourages tolerance and acceptance over any kind of commitment to Truth, and that redefines love in terms of sentimentalism (“just love and accept and approve of everyone regardless of lifestyle”).
This sermon, then, discussed 1 Samuel 8 and its context briefly, but it focused on the principle embedded in it to speak to our time. The goal was to point to some of the trends in our country that can draw us away from Christ if we’re not vigilant.
*Chuck credited A Grand Illusion: How Progressive Christianity Undermines Biblical Faithby David Young for some of the thoughts in this sermon.
- How can our class pray for you or a friend or loved one tonight?
Start Reading (read 1 Samuel 8:19-22)
- What questions or initial observations do you have after reading this text?
- Think about context: What’s the setting? What historical time period is this?
- The sermon mentioned five keywords/phrases that are popular in our culture. How have you seen these ideas used recently?
- Acceptance of all lifestyles
- Passivity on traditional Christian teachings
- Christian love redefined as sentimentalism
- Avoiding evangelism.
- The sermon included responses to the five ideas above. How do we as Christians pursue these ideals?
- Tolerance is reframed—so we pursue both grace and truth
- We accept all sinful struggles—but we help each other pursue holy lifestyles
- We make good judgments—without being judgmental
- Love is defined by sacrificial action that follows Jesus’ teachings;
- We work to invite everyone into the beauty of Jesus (Credit for the wording of these five responses goes to Bobby Harrington, discipleship.org).
- When we leave here tonight, how do we pursue the five ideals above? How do we avoid both damaging mean-spiritedness on one extreme and dangerous compromise on the other?
Start Praying (ACTS acronym)
- Adoration: Praise God for the ways that he has blessed this country.
- Confession: Confess to God that we have allowed certain sinful ideologies to become our own.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for giving us discernment to push back against attitudes that displease him.
- Supplication: Pray that God will give us courage, wisdom, and kindness to live in ways that draw others to his life-giving love.