The Urgent Need For Resilient Faith

Why Do We Need To Have A Resilient Faith In Today's Culture?

Tim Lundy
Sep 19, 2021    39m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
As a Christian, do you find yourself swayed by culture? If so, this message helps answers the question, "Why do we need to have a resilient faith?". Culture is continually growing away from the belief of God and the Bible, and as Christians, we need to stand firm in our faith rather than swaying with the culture. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:39] Well, Venture, as we launch this new series, Building a Resilient Faith. I want to ask you a question, are you more of a thermometer or a thermostat? Now, I didn't come up with that analogy, actually, it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When he was installed as senior pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, back in 1954, he preached a sermon, and in it, he said these words and it just stands out to me. He says, "The Christian is called upon not to be like a thermometer conforming to the temperature of the society, but he must be like a thermostat serving to transform the temperature of the society." In other words, you don't want to be a thermometer, that you just change with the times. But are you a thermostat, you're someone actually changing the times? And especially as he was speaking to the issues of his time, and issues of our time still, as they were dealing with discrimination, dealing with racism.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:45] He said these words in it, he said, "I've seen many white people who sincerely oppose segregation and discrimination, but they never really took a stand against it for fear of standing alone. That you've got to be willing not just to stand, but to even stand alone at times. I say that not just because of the issues we deal with in our time, but as we talk about this topic of building a resilient faith, and specifically and I want to address the younger generation, for you to stand with a resilient faith, the kind of faith where you're not a thermometer, you're not just changing with your culture and time, but you're actually a spiritual thermostat. You have the kind of faith, the kind of resiliency in it, that you can impact those around you.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:38] Now, I've been doing a lot of reading around this, in fact, in this talk, I'm going to layout a lot, we're going to look at a lot of different issues over the next several weeks. And for this lecture, I'm going to quote quite a bit, I'm indebted to several people in this.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:51] And so Dr. Tim Keller gave a talk at the Howard Hendrix Center, the leadership center down at Dallas Seminary, I used to work at the center. He gave the talk last year, and in it, he outlined several of the principles you're going to hear in this message. I have also been reading quite a bit of Christian Smith, he's one of the leading sociologists, he teaches at Notre Dame. I think he's one of the best in really understanding how do you hand down faith to young people, and especially in our country and in our culture? Also, a number of stats the Barna Institute, David Kinnaman, in fact, a lot from this book Faith for Exiles, I've recommended it before, and we'll be referring to it over the next several weeks. We've got Dave coming, he's going to do a seminar force in October, and so make sure you sign up for that. And then also George Barna, who's down now at Arizona Christian University, and he leads a bit. So even as I start with this, we'll cover a lot of ground, I'm indebted to all four of those and you'll hear me reference it in different ways. Maybe you want some of the research. I don't want to spend all the time marking all of it, but if you want that, let me know, I'd be glad to share that with you.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:59] As we look at it, when we talk about this issue of having a resilient faith, and why it's so important that you'd be willing to even stand alone, is we've got to recognize that culturally, the thought process of our times have changed. Now, it's been coming for a long time, there's really nothing new under the sun in some ways, but the way that it's taken root in it. In fact, Keller says, "If there's a fundamental belief of our time, it's this one, that truth is internal, not external." And that is a fundamental shift, what that means is instead of truth being something that was out there, there's some objective truth, or there's some meaning in life that all of us need to discover, now, the fundamental thought is, truth is what's in me. And so it used to be that as a culture, we may disagree with that truth is, we may have different belief systems, you may be a Christian, a Buddhist, we would argue about that truth out there. But most people agreed it was out there, and so the meaning of life is how do I align what I'm feeling with the truth of that reality? Well, that's been flipped around now, now, its truth is what's in me and it needs to be adjusted to what I am feeling.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:26] Comically, several years ago, the New Yorker had a cartoon of a little boy at the chalkboard. All the students are up there, they're doing math, and as they go down the line, each of them are solving the problem seven times five. And you see the one little girl, thirty-five, seven times five is thirty-five. It gets to him, and it's seven times five, and he's written on it seventy-five. And he looks at the teacher, I love the caption on it because he says to her, he said it may be wrong, but that's how I feel.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:54] Now, that was years ago, and we would have laughed at it years ago. But the reality is, that the world's changed in a way, that things that were a given, that were objective, now can be questioned based on how an individual feels. Now, this may not seem that radical, if you've grown up in it, you'd go, Tim, that the way the world is? It really isn't. If you look at the outworking of that, there are some rules, there's a belief system that is pretty fundamental to most people these days.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:26] If you outline it in this way, the kind of the new rules of life, the belief system of life. And these are so fundamental people don't even recognize them as belief, they would say this isn't a choice, this is reality. Look at the new rules of life. One, you have to be true to yourself, more than anything else, you have to be true to who you are. With that in the end, you have to do what makes you happy. I mean, this is a fundamental rule of life for all people, in the end, you need to make you happy. Add to that no one has the right to tell anyone else what is right or wrong for him or her. And then the final one would be, you're free to live in any way you want as long as you're not harming anyone else. Now, these rules aren't listed somewhere that you go, oh, there's the rules of life, but they're said over and over again in every story, in movies, in culture, it's taught in our songs, and more than we realize we are taking in these rules and each generation is taking it in a way that they don't even look at it as a belief anymore, this is just reality.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:39] Now add on top of that those who are spiritually minded, and a love how Christian Smith describes it. He says the number one belief, and it's growing in this day, is what he calls a moralistic therapeutic deism. Kind of a belief in God that we're supposed to be moral, and it's a therapeutic way of dealing with life. So if you look at the new spiritual rules with this, new spiritual rules would be there are no moral absolutes. I mean, you may have morals, but it's not anyone's place to say that's absolutely true for all people. Then you add to that, people are supposed to be good to each other, so that's a pretty good rule with it. God places very limited demands on people. So maybe we believe in God, but at most he's putting limited demands. I mean, the golden rule, a few other things, he's not going to mettle down to the details of life. And then the kind of final rule of this moralistic therapeutic deism is, God allows good people into heaven. As long as you've been living this, if there is a heaven, if there is a god, that he's going to allow you there if you've been a good person.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:47] Now you combine all eight of them together, this list, this is a fundamental list that really impacts people's thinking. And again, as Keller points out, it's not like people would even ascribe this as actual beliefs they had, they would just describe this, this is the reality of how things are. And if you're a young person and you've grown up in this, it might be shocking for you, you could look at this and go, well, of course, hasn't everybody always thought this way? They really haven't. And there's been a pretty fundamental shift, even in the last 40 years, and it's impacting how we approach church, Christianity, beliefs.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:31] Smith points out it impacts not just Christians, it's impacting Buddhists, it's impacting Muslims, it's impacting all of us as we wrestle with this in these generations. You look at some of the polling, and how it impacts these beliefs. So this is from Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, they did a book called Good Faith, and in it, one of their surveys nationally through the Barna Institute, they just asked people, the best way to find yourself is to look within yourself. So it's one of those fundamental beliefs, ninety-one percent of adults in our country said, yeah, that's true. Now here's the interesting thing, seventy-six percent of Christians said that's true as well. They said, people should not criticize someone else's lifestyle choices, eighty-nine percent of adults, seventy-six percent of Christians. To be fulfilled in life, you should pursue the things you desire most, eighty-six percent of adults, seventy-two percent of Christians. The highest goal in life is to enjoy it as much as possible, eighty-four percent of adults said that, and sixty-six percent of Christian, two-thirds of Christians said that. People can believe whatever they want, as long as those beliefs don't affect society, again, you can see almost eighty percent of adults, sixty-one percent of Christians. And so as you look at each of these, the last one, any kind of sexual expression between two consenting adults is acceptable, so any form, as long as they're consenting adults, sixty-nine percent of adults in our country would say, yeah, that's true, forty percent of Christians would say that's true.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:07] Now, I highlight this because these numbers have grown over the years, and the interesting part is the gap between what the general public would say and what Christians would say is not very far, it's impacting how we view the world, and especially when you start looking at it generationally. Let me put it up here, sociologists like to break us down and generations, usually based on the years you were born, I just put kind of the general age range. So if you're 19 to 37, you're considered a millennial. If you're 38 to 56, you're Gen X, that's me, I barely made it in Gen X there. So with it, 57 to 75, boomers, the baby boomers. And then 76 to 94, the builders.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:50] Now, depending on your generation, your group, we all kind of like to think that ours is the best one, everybody's got problems with it. Or it's really easy when you're on this side, to always look down this side and go the problems go this way. And you need to hear me because there's been a lot of mileage given on beating up millennials, everybody likes to beat up millennials, they're the problem out of this. Here's the deal, we all have blame in the movement that's happened, we all have to own different parts.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:20] From builders, who set the tone years ago, there's a lot to admire in that. But you know what, the builders, the one that had the boomers. And all you baby boomers, lest you think you're perfect, you were the Woodstock generation, you were the anti-authority generations, so some of this stuff lies at your feet as well. Gen Xers, who the relativism that we're talking about, man, it was in the university from the time we got to college on. And then millennials have grown up in this, and so then you go even down, the numbers with Gen Z.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:50] But we look at these categories and look at the belief systems across here. So those who consider themselves a Christian in our country, in these categories. You'll notice for millennials, it's fifty-seven percent up to eighty-three percent, so it's a pretty marked decline and it goes down even more with the next one? God is the all-powerful just creator of the universe who rules today, only thirty-one percent of millennials. now climbs up to sixty-four percent of builders would say that. Don't know, care, or believe that God exists, this flips it the other way. So forty-three percent of millennials say, I don't know if you exist, I don't care. I mean, it's a number that's climbing out of that. Human beings were created by God in his image, but are fallen creatures in need of redemption by Jesus Christ? Now again, only forty percent of millennials would say, I agree with that statement. and you can see it climbs. It's interesting to me, boomers are where it spikes, it starts going down a little bit even with builders, believe that when they die, they'll go to heaven, but only because they confess their sins and accepted Jesus as their savior. The keyword here is only, so is Jesus the exclusive way? Only thirty-one percent of millennials would say they agree with that statement, and again, you see that.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:08] Look at some of the practices, willing to try anything once, sixty-six percent of millennials said they would, it goes down to twenty-eight on builders. Believe in karma, the sense that the karma of the universe if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you, if you do good things with it, look at this, these are high numbers that believe in karma. Believe that reincarnation could be true, fifty percent of millennials would, and in these groups with it. Receive guidance from a horoscope, I don't know, but you always thought of horoscopes or something from the 60s and the 70s, you know those crazy things. It's actually growing quite a bit, and so you look at thirty-five percent of millennials will say, yeah, I get guidance from that. Try to get even with people who have wronged you. So somebody does you wrong, and again, look at the numbers across this.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:07] Now, guys, we could spend all day going through stats in that, I wanted you to get the breadth of it to recognize that there's been an impact in our culture and an impact in our time. And as a pastor, I could look at this and rail against it and all the things that's easy to preach against. I'm really at a place more where I'm looking at it, praying about it, thinking about our church, and how do we own this shift, how do we own the movement that's happened out of that? Especially when you look, and Kinnaman and their group in this, they really highlight what about 18- to 29-year-olds who grew up in the church? Because you can look at some of these things and you kind of go, Tim, isn't there always movement, don't young people always act out in that way? There is, but you're not seeing the same movement, they're not coming back.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:02] And when you look at 18 to 29-year-olds who actually grew up in the church, they break them down into four categories and I've mentioned these before, but these are ones they've been raised as Christians. Twenty-two percent of them would say they're prodigals, they're ex-Christians, they don't believe at all anymore. Thirty percent are nomads, they would say they have a Christian faith, but they're not connected to church or any religious practice. I mean, that's 52 percent that are gone of those who are raised in the church as Christians. Thirty-eight percent would call themselves habitual churchgoers, what that means is they went to church at least once a month. Not really engaged in other practices, don't necessarily believe that the Bible is true, some of the things that we would really say are a core part of faith. And then you get down to this ten percent would be described, and we've talked about this how to build this kind of resilient faith, ten percent would be described as resilient disciples, have a relationship with God through Christ, believe the Bible is authoritative in their life, want to be missional and part of changing the world, that's 10 percent.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:15] And as I look at that, I just again, I come as a pastor again. The part that stands out to me, it's 18 to 29-year-olds. I've been a pastor for a little over 30 years, so this movement happened on my watch, I've been a part of church in this country. And I don't know how many of the young people in the churches I've been in would match these categories, it'd be very easy for me to kind of look at that and go, oh, well, those are other churches, other people that deal with it. But I look at it and I go, these can't be the numbers that we want to produce.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:54] Well, look at all those numbers in the category, I know a lot of them were coming at you fast, but they weren't heartening numbers. And that's why as a church, you've heard me say this, when we think about what we're doing missionally, many, we think missionally that we want to reach the world globally, we want to reach the world locally. But we, because of this kind of embedded thinking, because of this kind of movement, we would say we want to reach the world generationally. How do we raise up more resilient disciples, how do we live in this way?

Tim Lundy: [00:18:26] Now, over the next several weeks, instead of just focusing on the negative, I want to kind of lay out the framework this week, we were going to build on the positive. What is happening in this ten` percent? What are some of the practices of their life that produces these kinds of disciples, and how do we build on that? How do you train your kids in it? How is we as a church, how do we invest in it that way? And so we'll walk through those fundamental practices around that, and how we do that. We're going to wrestle with some of those fundamental issues. Like, how can you believe scripture? How can you believe Jesus exclusively? Some of the things that the culture's changed on, how could we believe that as a Christian?

Tim Lundy: [00:19:06] Today, though, I just want us to finish out, and I'm going to walk you through what I think are seven fundamental decisions we have to make when it comes to this point in time, when it comes to really having a resilient faith. Let me walk you through those, and several of these we're going to unpack in the coming weeks as well. So if I moved through them in a way that you go, oh, I wish you'd say more, we will say more.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:31] First thing I would just say out of the gate, don't be afraid, God is with us. And I say this to parents and grandparents like me, when we start seeing these kinds of numbers, when you see the movement in it, we can get really afraid and we were like, oh, the world is crashing and everything's wrong and we got to rush in or we got to react with it. And I just go, stop, God's with us. He says it in Romans 8:31,"What then shall we say to these things?" And Paul's listing off all the bad things that could happen to you in life? "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Tim Lundy: [00:20:06] Yes, we live in challenging times, yes, we see cultural shift. Yes, we see things that our kids are facing, and they're hearing, and they're doing, and we are tempted to be really afraid. And that's where I think we have to stop and go, no, God, you're in control, you've called us here. How do we learn from what's happening? But we don't have to be afraid of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:28] The second decision that we've got to make is, we must deconstruct the current rules of life as we construct a biblical mindset. So those eight rules that are listed out for you, you can see in your notes there, those rules of life. I think one of the things is I look at it as a pastor that we've done a really poor job, is that we've not been as active in deconstructing those rules as we have been in trying to teach and construct a biblical mindset. And so we want to teach the Bible, and we present that, but we don't realize that our young people, especially, they've got a culture that's constantly constructing a different mindset in them.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:09] I'll just give you just the numbers alone. For a young person who's in the church, when they surveyed how many hours are you having spiritual input? Whether it's from teaching, whether it's praying, whether it's reading the Bible, over the course of the year, a person that's involved in the church, a young person, that numbers around 300 hours total. Then you put next to that the hours of screen media they have in any form, whether it's TV, whether it's phone, whether it's social media, that number is about 3000 hours. 300 to 3000, and in those 3000 hours, you know, it's being constructed in their mind through the stories, through what they're seeing? Those eight rules of life that we went through earlier. And so we've got to be more active of going, how do we address that? How do we deconstruct the error that's there, as we're building a biblical mindset?

Tim Lundy: [00:22:06] It's a lot like parenting, you know, I'll tell young parents, there's two sides of parenting. When you parent, you have to use discipline, but you also have training. Discipline because as Proverb says, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." So that's why the Book of Proverbs talks about the rod of discipline, and so discipline that's used, painful discipline. Now, whether you spank or not, there's got to be some form of pain because a child has foolishness in its heart. I mean, from the first age, they don't come into the world this pure being, there's a foolishness there. They want to make foolish choices; they want to do foolish things in life. And so as a parent, you have to step in with discipline to deal with the foolishness. Then the flip side of it, though, you also want to train them, so you're pouring in wisdom. And so as the combination goes, hopefully it goes through life, you are doing the discipline in a way that they lose a lot of that foolishness, that by adulthood they no longer have that's foolishness found in their heart and you've deposited wisdom they can walk in. Now, I say this because I'll see parents from time to time who don't want to discipline in any form. Well, they may talk about it, but they don't really go into that place because they know it's painful, they know the child doesn't like it, they want to be the child's best friend. And so they don't deal with the foolishness in it, but they hope, OK, I'll just keep putting enough wisdom on top of it, that'll take care of it. The problem is, you have to do both, if you don't deal with the foolishness in the heart, the wisdom, it's good that you poured it in, but it doesn't take root.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:43] Now, I say that because I think a lot of ways as a church, especially as we're training people, we're doing kind of half the equation. I'm not saying we're supposed to go and discipline them, but we're not dealing with the foolishness, we're not dealing with those new rules of life, we're not helping them deconstruct what is wrong if you pursue a life like that. And we're hoping if we just pour enough Bible on top of it, and keep teaching them more and more, not realizing there's such a clash there that we have to do both. And as parents, I think we have to do both better.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:18] With that as well, Paul puts it in Second Corinthians, I think it's clear. He says, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" Do you hear what he's saying in this? We destroy the arguments in lofty opinion, we deconstruct the error that's coming in, so that this knowledge of God can take root, and we have to be committed to both.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:48] Number three, in this, we must decide if we're going to live over the Bible or under the Bible, we must decide. Here's what I mean, and this stood out to me, as you do these studies. Because a lot of people that would call themselves Christian would say, I love the Bible, I live according to the Bible. But here's what they mean in it, they live over the Bible, not under it. And the question is, do you allow the Bible to be informative to your life or authoritative to your life? A lot of people like to read the Bible, they may be in it every day, but it's information that they're going to allow to inform their life. And I'll take that part and go, oh, I like that. And here's the key, and we've done it a lot of times, a lot of times we teach people is just open your Bible and what does it mean to you? And what you can find in that is, OK, I like this, but everything is then through that grid of, remember, of truth within me. So I even take the Bible and I put it against the grid of what does this mean to me? What does this feel to me? And when you're doing that, it's great that you're getting biblical input, but it's far different to say, no, the Bible is actually authoritative over my life and I'm going to choose to live under it. I'm going to choose to allow all of God's word to not just inform and I take those parts, but actually set the rules for life, set the foundation in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:15] Look how Paul puts it in Timothy, he says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God." It's inspired by God. And look how it's used, "It's profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." See, like that parenting, there's both the discipline side of it, I need to be corrected by it; there's also the training side, I need to grow in the wisdom of it. And we'll look at that, because as you talk about letting something be authoritative over your life, some of you struggle, you go, man, how could I trust the Bible like that? How could I allow my life like that? We're going to address it directly. Why could you trust this book? Why should you trust this book? And how do you approach it in a way that it's not just feeling based interpretation? I read something and I go, OK, this is what it means, or this is what I feel based on that, but I'm actually finding meaning, authoritative meaning, because the truth is actually here, not driven from here.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:15] Number four, we must decide whether Jesus really is the exclusive means of salvation. This is a key question people wrestle with, and generationally as they get younger, more and more young people, millennial and next generation down, would look at it, love Jesus, love what he did, hate this word exclusive. Hate when you say, no, he is the only way of salvation. And maybe you hear that, and you go, man, yeah, that that grates against me, that just seems wrong. Now again, just got off of Jesus's words, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Most people will say, I love that Jesus is a way, he's awesome as a way. I love that he is a truth among the many truths. I love that he is a source of life. But see, when you take Jesus at his words, when he says the, the, the, and it's exclusively him, that's hard. And it cuts against the very grain of all those principles that we laid out, this verse cuts against it. So the question is, what do you do with it? And why would we believe that? And so what are the implications of that if you believe that? We'll address that in this series.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:38] Number five, we must decide whether church is the community where my faith is formed, or the optional accessory to my individual spiritual journey. Christian Smith was a particularly helpful to me in thinking about this, this is convicting as well. Because we've allowed our church participation, and he's not just talking about our church, he's talking about across the religious spectrum, because everything's become an individual journey, because everything is about what matters to me and what I'm doing and what I'm processing, we even treat church that way. So it's no longer this community of faith that I place myself under an in, so that the community of faith can use God's word, can use experience, can use teaching and authority, to shape my life. It's now an optional part of my spiritual journey. And even when I go to church, it's kind of, OK, did I get something out of it? Did I like that? I treat it very much the pick and choose, even whether I'm going to go or not, does that really fit with my schedule, fit with my time? Am I really going to engage in a way, that in the past, because truth was outside of us, church was this place where I go so that it conformed me, not just informed me?

Tim Lundy: [00:29:56] Look how Paul puts it, one of his key teachings on church is in Ephesians four. And he describes it, we're part of one body, one faith, he's emphasizing this. He says, "Christ gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers..." So men and women throughout history that have been in different ones of these roles, that he's given to lead in the church, "To equip the saints for the work of ministry. Why? What are they to do? "For building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood," to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." And so this church has been given, people have been given, so that we grow. Now look at the fruit of this growth, "So that we're no longer to be children." We don't think like children anymore, we're not bound in that foolishness. Look at that next line, "Tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." Paul is talking about when these new rules of life come, when these new ways of thinking come, when these new philosophies come, because we've been formed in the body of Christ, because we have grown in that, we're not tossed to and fro, we don't imbibe it, we don't move with the culture, we are people who move the culture. And as a result of that, he continues on with it, "We grow up to the point that the whole body grows and builds itself up in love."

Tim Lundy: [00:31:34] I say this because I think we've had a movement within church that in an effort not to be too legalistic, an effort to not make it about attendance, or some of the things in the past that everything was about these markers that you show, I think we've almost moved too far the other way. Where church is totally this optional thing, and hope you can catch it, and hope you like part of it, and hope you got something out of it. When really our mentality has to be more, no, I come to engage because I need to be formed by it. I need to be formed in worship, in learning, living out the one another's with people in serving, in giving. All of these are these fundamental contexts that allows me to grow together with others, so that I'm not immature, so that I'm not tossed back and forth, so that when every new rule of life comes along, I don't just believe it because I've been formed in the community of faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:36] Number six, we must choose to be a faithful presence within the culture, I won't spend much time here, we've got to talk about this because you can start talking about culture and you go, so how do we interact it as a church? And some people choose to fight it, they're always defensive or they try to be removed from it, we're not going to engage any part of the culture, we're always against the culture. And this is the kind of church you're always known for what you're against, I'm against those people, I'm against their belief system, I'm against what they're doing. That's one way, another way is to float with it, where you want to be so relevant that you start compromising and you look just like the world. I think the third way is really the key, is how are we faithful in it? How are we a redeeming influence in every part of culture? And when I'm talking about culture, I mean every part of culture, in the arts, in media, in academia, in politics, in law. In all of this, we want to be those, where Christ has placed us, how are we redeeming this? Because Christ claims all of it?

Tim Lundy: [00:33:39] The final thing I'd just say, we must reclaim the early church social project. And I get this from Larry Hurtado who wrote a book, Against the Gods. And in it, he lays out how did the early church, how did that first century come and it was so radically different, the odds were totally against them, but they were able to actually change the world? And he said a key part of it was socially what they committed themselves to. Look at the five tenets of it, they were multiethnic, they had racial diversity, and they were committed to that, living it out in a way the world had not seen. The second part, they had an absolute commitment to the poor, they looked out for the poor and they took care of the poor. The third part of it is they never retaliated, no matter how they were persecuted, no matter how they were done wrong, they chose not to retaliate, they took Jesus at his word. The fourth thing they were known for, they had a pro-life ethic, they're the first group that came forward, they spoke against abortion and infanticide, the killing of children and babies, and they stood up for that. And then the final thing they were known for is that they were sexually a counterculture. I mean, the world back then was LGBTQ, anything you can think sexually, the categories of that time were so progressive in many ways. And suddenly, here comes this church that comes along and teaches a very strong sexual ethic that sex is between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship alone. And all of these things were very striking to the culture at that time.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:14] You know, Keller points out and it is interesting, if you look at the list of five, these first two, if you're someone who is maybe more blue state, more Democrat, these are very important points to you. If you look at the last two, if you're somebody who's more Republican, these are very important points to you. Here's the interesting thing, the early church, they lived all of them, and part of it is, it calls us out of something beyond politics. In fact, most people are not living this one out, that we never retaliate no matter what. So how do we reclaim this kind of social project?

Tim Lundy: [00:35:14] Now, guys, I know I just went through, there is a lot of information, a lot of movement. And hopefully you'll stick with me through this series, because we're going to unpack this, of how do we develop this, how do we live this, how do we become these kinds of people who are thermostats, not thermometers? You know, when Dr. King gave that sermon, and he gave that challenge, there's a young woman who heard him, her name was Rosa Parks. And if you know the story, it was the next year when Rosa Parks was on a bus, and all the seats had filled up for white people, and she was seated, and a white customer came and the bus driver said, you need to give up your seat. And she said there was a part of her that was tired, she wasn't physically tired, she was tired at a soul level, and she knew it was her time to take a stand by keeping her seat. And that one act led to demonstrations, led to court cases, led to the Supreme Court, it was one of the breakthrough movements in breaking some of the laws of segregation. Because a young woman heard her pastor and said, yeah, I'm not going to be a thermometer, I'm going to be a thermostat.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:14] See, as we dive into this series, here's my prayer, especially for those of you who are young people, I think we can grow that 10 percent, I think a generation of resilient disciples who will change their culture. Because those new rules of life, by the way, they don't work. I know it's what everybody believes, they don't work, because what works in life is what God designs. So whether it's countercultural, whether it's having a different justice ethic, whether it's really living our lives according to the Bible, whether it’s in a community of faith, whether it's standing up and saying we're not going to be afraid, we're going to stand on the truth and resiliently build the faith. See, that's my prayer, and I'm praying that through this series that we're the kind of church that produces those kinds of disciples. That you'd be the kind of person that you'd go, yeah, I want to be that, I want to be a thermostat in my time, I'm tired of being a thermometer.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:18] Let's pray. Father, I thank you, I thank you that your truth is truth. I confess where we have, I think, gotten sideways in a lot of ways, and I feel the weight as a pastor the last 30 years to see this kind of movement. It would be easy for me to blame the culture, but I'm not in control of the culture, you are. But I am in control of what you've called me to do and to lead, and so I pray in my life, and in my home, and in this church, we would be the bold kind of people that do not act out of fear, but we do build our lives on truth. I pray for this series, I pray for somebody here in this today, maybe you're stirring in them to step forward with resilient faith. I pray that they would trust you with every area of life, and trust that you can use them to be a thermostat in their world. We pray these things in Christ's name, Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
Read More
Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600