For many generations, the church in the West has been able to float lazily along on an inner tube because the current of culture was flowing in roughly the same direction. And so, we fell asleep, not realizing that in the past few decades the current has reversed its course. Like the frog in the pot that tolerates each increased degree of heat until it boils, Christians need to recognize what is happening to us and why.
I. John 8:31-47. Jesus addresses “the Jews who had believed him” and yet contrasts them with true disciples who abide in His word, know the truth, and do the works of God. It wasn’t enough for them to be descended from Abraham if the shriveled and wormy fruit they were showing was that of their father, the devil. The same goes for those who point to their baptism into Jesus for the forgiveness of sins but who are blinded by complacency in their faith or whose hearts are hardened by compromising with the culture. These love the world more than they love God (John 12:37-43).
II. 1 John 2:15-17. As we float along on the wide river that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), we can take too much confidence that we differ from those drowning around us in degree but not in character. What Eve reasoned in her mind to justify disobedience to God (Genesis 3:2-6) is exactly that which describes those who love the world. The current of culture affects the love we have for God, which should be with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27-28), and therefore our obedience (John 14:15) and the seeking of His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
III. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. We’ve all heard Bill Withers’ song, “Lean on Me” that, if promoted, can be a false comfort from one not aware of himself floating with the current of culture. Rather, we must stick to Paul’s model of comforting and demonstrating of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 11:1). Our understanding before we became Christians was not to be trusted (Proverbs 3:5-6), so should it not be leaned on if we are complacent or compromised Christians. Rather, we must lean on God’s wisdom as found in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Avoiding the world’s wisdom (2 Timothy 3:1-5), we must walk in the light and awaken (Ephesians 5:7-14).
We must all jump out of the pot that is almost at boiling. We must all sit up on our tubes and paddle furiously upstream. How much have you let tolerance of the world affect you?