Aug19

What's your Worldview?

Categories // Sermons

13th Sunday after Pentecost

What's your Worldview?

      Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

      What do you believe?

      Quite a general and ambiguous question isn’t it? If someone asked you this question, your response would depend on the context in which the question was asked.

      For instance, if someone asked you if abortion was the murder of a human being, you (hopefully) would say, “I believe life begins at conception and abortion is murder.” Yet we also understand that not everyone in this world believes this. In the same way, one would find opposition to the belief that same sex relationships are not in line with the Word of God.

      Academic essays and publications, movies, television, News sources and the Media in general, can and do relate their worldviews. As with any human wisdom or opinion, these sources are biased by the human state of pride, arrogance and selfishness, also known as our sinful condition.

      I know what I believe and I base my belief on the inerrant Word of God. His Word is not only the basis of my faith but also the lens, if you will, of how I view this earthly realm in which we all live. I believe in God the Father Almighty and in His Only Son, Jesus Christ, not because of my own reason or strength, that is, my own human wisdom, but because God, in His infinite mercy and grace, sent His Only Son into this world to redeem me from my sinful existence and call me His child.

      This is my confession of faith – but what do other people believe? Since we cannot read the hearts and minds of our fellow humankind, we must rely on their confession of faith. We must rely on what they say they believe.

      One such belief is – there is no one true God. Another is – by our own works we can become perfect and live forever. Such beliefs as these are deadly.

      All of us have come across people who espouse their radical, misguided beliefs. Some are treated with disdain, others are treated with curiosity and still others are treated with mistrust. We judge these beliefs against our own beliefs according to reason and faith.

      To those who believe in harmless fallacies, we can smile and speak the truth in love. After all, one cannot correct the simple-minded without shaming himself. [Proverbs 9:7] To those who are merely ignorant, reason and knowledge can increase their wisdom. [Proverbs 9:9] Yet to argue or refute a wicked man may harm you. [Proverbs 9:7]

      However, how about those on this creation who do not believe in the one true God? Are these people a danger to us and to themselves? How do people come to rely on such fallacies? They turn away and follow their own foolishness.

      A great research and resource company widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture is the Barna Group. A recent article of theirs came to my attention; it is titled, “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians”.

      In this article, the research firm focused on primary components that lead to competing ideas and worldviews, and how Christians are more aware of (and influenced by) disparate views than ever.

They are as follows:

  1. New Spirituality
    1. emphasizes the supernatural and simultaneously feeds into a growing dissatisfaction with institutions. For instance, 28% practicing Christians strongly agree that “all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.” Further, the belief that “meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is” has captured the minds of 27% of practicing Christians.
    2. The New Spirituality worldview has also inched its way into Christian ethics; one-third of practicing Christians (32%) strongly agree that “if you do good, you will receive good, and if you do bad, you will receive bad.” This karmic statement, though not explicitly from scripture, appeals to many Christians’ sense of ultimate justice.
  2. Secularism
    1. The secular worldview prioritizes the scientific method as an explanatory framework for life and advances a rational and materialistic view of the world. A larger contingent of practicing Christians are more inclined toward materialism, the view that the material world is all there is. For them, “meaning and purpose comes from working hard to earn as much as possible so you can make the most of life,”
  3. Postmodernism.
    1. Postmodernism advances the idea that there is no such thing as objectivity. Postmodern thought argues that claims on ultimate reality are subjective by virtue of their context—that is, we are all limited by our experience, and at best we can know only what is true for ourselves.
    2. For example, 19% of practicing Christians strongly agree that “no one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life.” A similar perspective also resonates with many Christians when it comes to views of morality: 23% of practicing Christians strongly agree that “what is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes.” [1]

      These new forms of belief are why many people do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. This is a hard statement to hear. Jesus tells us:

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:53-54]

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum… On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” [John 6:59-60]

      This indeed is difficult to accept. Those who do not accept His word, turn their back on God and their salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. They turn to the New Spirituality, Secularism and Postmodernism. In verse 66 of the same chapter of John, it is written, ‘From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.’ [John 6:66]

      When a person no longer follows Jesus, they begin to follow the lies and deceit, the true conspiracy, of the Devil himself. The entirety of God’s Word now becomes a stumbling block. Faith, worship, and belief must now find a new god to follow.

      What does this mean? It means the end of life for that person. Evidence of Christ and his work will not sway them. Eyewitness accounts will not convince them. For such a person there is no hope. Jesus knew who would betray him and who would reject him. ‘So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”’[John 6:67]

      Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples. This question was not for his benefit but for theirs. Maybe the God given wisdom of King Solomon was in their thoughts:

      “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

      And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. [Proverbs 8b-10]

      One of the history books I have read was about how Hitler twisted Christianity and the Cross of Christ, into a religion and symbol of the Nazi agenda. It is a very frightening narrative on how easily a good Christian nation can be turned away from Christ and the truth.

      In this book, the author quoted Rev. R. J Rushdoony. Reverend Rushdoony was a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian. In his book Law and Liberty, he wrote this.

Behind every system of law there is a god. To find the god in any system, locate the source of law in that system. If the source of law is the individual, then the individual is the god of that system. If the source of law is the people, or the dictatorship of the proletariat, then these things are the gods of those systems. If our source of law is a court, then the court is our god. If there is no higher law beyond man, then man is his own god, or else his creatures, the institutions he has made, have become his gods. When you choose your authority, you choose your god, and where you look for your law, there is your god.[2]

      Our Law comes from God. This is the same law this nation is willing to twist to its own foolishness it calls wisdom. As Christians, we consistently battle the law of man as it opposes the Law of God. The teachings of our Lord and Savior, of our God are in conflict with the world’s teachings.

      Jesus said, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” [John 6:51] This is indeed a hard teaching and it is one we ask ourselves every day, “Is the one true and only God of heaven and earth my God?” Do I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Do I believe Jesus Christ, born true man and true God to be my Savior?

      Do I believe that he has won me, a lost and condemned creature, not with gold or silver but with his holy innocent suffering and death?

      With his resurrection from the grave, three days later, has he purchased and freed me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil? [Luther’s Small Catechism]

      I hope and pray we all answer, yes. I hope and pray that we all say I believe this is most certainly true.

      This teaching may be hard to hear. This truth may be hard to accept. A faith to believe in things that are not seen by our own eyes may be the most difficult thing to have, but the alternative is not just unbelief, but eternal death.

      Jesus asks each of us, “Do you want to go away as well?” Do we want to stop following Jesus? Do we want to reject him and his Father who sent him? Do we want to follow the wisdom and the human made god of this world?

      When asked this question, Simon Peter answered this way:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” [John 6:68]

In this confession, Peter showed the wisdom of a just man whose knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

      We cannot pick and choose which words of Christ to believe and which to reject and still be saved. We have heard the words of eternal life from the Holy One of God. To reject part of his word is to reject all of his word.

      As imperfect as we are, we will only have complete understanding once with our Father in heaven, but until the day when we are raised up by our Lord and Savior, we can only have faith and believe.

      At times this may seem hard to understand, but we are not alone. God knew that we needed His Son to redeem us from our sin. Jesus, with all authority of the Father, knew we needed a counselor and guide. The Father gave us His Son; the Son gave us the Holy Spirit.

      Through our baptism, we are given the grace of God and the faith of Christ through the Spirit. Through the Spirit we are given the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Christ which is understanding; for, It is the Spirit who gives life” [John 6:63a]

      Through the Sacrament of the Altar, we are given the bread of life that came down from heaven, not like the bread of this world which only gives life for a day, but the bread that gives us life forever. The bread that he gives, he gives for the life of the world.

      To whom shall we go? We go to he who has the words of eternal life. We believe and now know that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God.

Amen

 


[1] https://www.barna.com/research/competing-worldviews-influence-todays-christians: downloaded 18AUG2018

[2] Rushdoony, Rousas John, Law and Liberty, 1984: Ross House Books, Vllecito, CA (p. 41)

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