On Sunday we looked at a difficult passage in the Bible. Some passages are difficult because they are hard to understand, confusing, or out of our context.
This passage was hard for none of those reasons.
This passage was hard because it called us to repent. It called us to follow Jesus. It reminded us that we live in an age with gods all around us that vie for our attention, worship, and loyalty. We live in a world where greed, sex, hate, violence, power, and self-image seek to have us follow them.
But our calling as Christians is to follow Jesus because following the path of greed, sex, hate, or power simply ends in darkness.
So on Sunday we listened to the call of Jesus to leave those things behind. That just as how 2000 years ago people were called to leave behind Athena the goddess of war, Dionysius the god of sex and wine, or the emperor the god of power and image; we are called to leave behind all the gods of our age if our witness is to have any power.
Jesus is clear in Revelation that if we compromise our character, it compromises our message. That while each god has its own temple in the world; he has no temple but us.
So this Lent we ask a deep question: “What does it mean to live faithful to you in this world”
This is a question worth spending time and reflecting on today, this week, this month, or for the rest of our lives…
Big Idea: Stay true…Live Differently
- The Spirit is whispering…are we listening?
- The gods of Pergamum
- Asclepius ~ known as the savior who healed
- Athena ~ goddess of war and wisdom
- Demeter ~ bathed in bull’s blood goddess of grain
- Dynoisus ~ son of a god and human mother, drank to connect with him
- Zeus ~ known as creator, life-giver, and had a huge alter
- Emperor ~ had the right “to give or take life”, known as “lord”, declared “son of god”
- In a pluralistic world compromise dilutes and confuses the message
- Deep witness is shown through difference
- You are Jesus’ temple in the city, you are his representation
- Jesus says don’t tolerate compromise, because it is killing your light, witness, and life.
- Our world is dominated by subtle gods of Greed, Sex, War, Self-Image, and Selfishness
- Stay true, and turn to follow Jesus
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? How has the Spirit been speaking to you over the past few weeks? What “gods of our culture” are the most difficult for you to resist? What are some reasons for that? How is Jesus asking you to follow him, and him alone? How does compromise kill our message? What message are your actions sharing about you?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Spend some time with your kids watching TV. Yes watching TV. Look at the ads that are there. Ask them what they are showing, what they are teaching. Is it that if you have this “thing” you’ll be happy? Is it that if you look “this way” you’ll be accepted? Talk through the messages they receive, and share with them the message of the Bible. That God loves them as they are and that greed, lust, and hate lead to darkness.
Challenge for this Week
Repent from any of the gods of our culture that have captured you