Fighting Culture When We Have One

The church cannot fight a culture war without a culture. We must have something “in here” for us to successfully engage “out there.” What is it we must have?

First and foremost is a robust, weighty, and substantive Sunday morning worship. O, and it needs to be joyful, too. This is where the knot is tied. This is where it begins. It sets up everything else.

Could it be culture has forgotten God because our worship services did long ago? Think of the church as an “Old Country Buffet.” The “meat and potato” section has become small while the dessert section has become enormous. The sweet tooth is satisfied but hunger gnaws within hours.

When the Call to Worship goes forth, God’s people are summoned into the presence of God. It is there we gather to confess our sins, profess our faith, sing psalms and hymns, preach God’s Word, gather around the Table, and are sent out with the Benediction to conduct a series of raids upon the Kingdom of Darkness. But if all we are receiving on Sunday morning are a cup of cocoa and a twinkie, we barely will have enough juice to leave the barracks.

And a robust, weighty, substantive, and joyful worship service will create the culture we need. There will be fruit.

And one of the fruits will be faithful kids. As we fight today’s battles, we must train tomorrow’s warriors. We do so when they worship with us, see us live the faith, and talk with them around the dinner table. Some Christian parents are hoping for nice kids who make enough money to be happy and will come home for holidays.

That will not do. We have greater aspirations. In Psalm 127 the psalmist speaks of our children being a heritage and a reward. And then adding they are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” and the blessed “fills his quiver with them.” Now we are talking. God’s next generation of warriors are in our nursery, Sunday School classes, and youth group. That is the kind of culture we are after “in here”, one that will take the battle “out there”.

Another one of the fruits of a robust, weighty, substantive, and joyful worship service will be a culture of family with our fellow brothers and sisters. “Love one another with brotherly affection,” implores the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:10. And adding a few verses later, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:14). This will happen because the redeemed know the blood spilled to purchase their salvation was the same blood spilled to purchase the person sitting next to them. We are in the fox hole and trenches together. When our sibling hurts, we hurt. When our sibling celebrates, we do, too. We do so, realizing we have the same Father (God), the same elder brother (Jesus), and the same mother (the church).

When strangers walk through our doors on Sunday morning, may they experience a different culture, one so foreign they are tempted to think they have entered another world. They have. The Kingdom of God is much different than any other kingdom.

As such, we can fight a culture war because we have a culture. It is then we will be able to go into the public square and burn their idols (Deuteronomy 13:6). And after we do, take the lost and the hurting by the hand, escorting them across the threshold of the church where they experience robust, weighty, substantive, and joyful worship to a robust, weighty, substantive, and joyful God.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
May 20, 2021

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