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December 5, 2015

Text: “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will  make my dwelling among them, and walk among ,  and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate  from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me says the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:16b-18

You may not have thought about it, but Christians constitute a “counter culture”. God, in fact, intends us to be a people who are vastly different from the society surrounding us. This is a world of sinful ways and debauchery. Men misbehave grossly and rebel from God. We are definitely a minority. And the culture about us seduces and oppresses us with sinful habits.

What is a “counter culture”? Here is a definition from Wikipedia. “A counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores.” Again, “A countercultural movement expresses the ethos and aspirations of a specific population during a well-defined era. When oppositional forces reach critical mass, countercultures can trigger dramatic cultural changes.”  Examples of counter culture abound. In the 1950s we had “the beat generation”. In the 1960s the “hippies” were into the drug culture and civil disobedience. Religious counter cultures also were part of the scene. In the 1950s Jim Jones formed a cult named the “Peoples’ Temple”, later he moved his headquarters to California, then to a compound in Guyana in South America. His mesmerizing behavior gave him far-reaching control over his adherents, finally leading over 300 children to drink cyanide laced Kool-Aid. His own death is thought to be a suicide. The bodies were found in the compound on November 18, 1978. These examples are indicative of how destructive a counter culture can be. However, sometimes counter culture is hard to define.

I am not insinuating that Christianity is as dangerous as these examples. In fact, I assert that Christianity is a counter culture designed to better this world and lead men to eternal life. This identity is highlighted by the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus described the members of his church.  “You are the salt of the earth…” You are the light of the world…”  “In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works…” Matthew 5:13a, 14a, 16a 

The apostle John warns us about the evil in our world. “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of God is not in him.  I John 2:15 Another warning from John. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” I John  2:17  There are some big choices in life. Take the spiritual ones.

Listen to the apostle Paul’s call for Christians to abandon the culture of the world.  “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 Paul also calls for us not to be associated with the behaviors of evildoers. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14. Oh, yes! Here is more good advice.  “Do not be deceived: “bad company corrupts good morals.” Romans 15:33

Similar teaching is given us by the apostle Peter. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” I Peter 1:14-15

Christian’s behavior is to be remarkably different from the lives of those are not Christians. We must have different conduct, purer speech, a holy demeanor. And let us not forget to remember, we must not embrace the evils of the world.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.


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