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Counter Culture

Is the church called to run contrary to the world? If so, then where are we missing it? I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America. This topic actually isn’t that new. James wrote about it long ago.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses. He called them an adulterous people. What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation? The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one. It explains his choice of words. As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery. They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures. It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background. After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective. It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God. To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system. You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order. It’s the word culture. Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life. It’s how we live and what we expect. It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here. Then, when I see the lifestyle we’re called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture. There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds? As believers, we must live in the world without operating according to its system. That makes us a part of a counter-culture.

Many of the ways of God run contrary to how the world does things. When we seek acceptance from society by trying to fit in with them, we run the risk of compromising our beliefs. We must always live as a part of God’s kingdom no matter where we are.

Question: What are some areas you see where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Counter-Culture or Counterfeit?

Fake MoneyI have been posting about the difference between the Christian culture and the culture of the world.  In my last post, we saw that there are two anointings in the world – the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the antichrist anointing.

The apostle John talked about these anointings in his first letter.  In that same context he also said the following…

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.  If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.  And this is what he promised us — even eternal life.
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
1 John 2:24-26

It is important that we remain in Christ – the Anointed One.  If we do, then we will also remain in His anointing.  The problem with many of us is that we try to jump back and forth.

Today we want the blessings of Christ.  The next day we try and chase after what the world is offering.  Sometimes we appear to be a little split in our loyalty.

We need to make a choice.  What is it that I want from life?  Do I want God’s best, or the world’s best?

After all, there are those who would try to lead us astray.  It literally means that they are trying to cause us to roam.  When that happens, we lose direction and focus.

It’s sad, but in many cases there are believers who are teaching us how to live with our feet in both worlds.  While it’s true that we have to live within the present world system, we don’t have to embrace its philosophy of life.  The priorities of the world should not be our priorities.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:27

The truth is that the Lord wants to place His priorities in us.  If we will listen to the Holy Spirit at work in us, we will walk in this anointing.  If not, then we become a counterfeit.

A counterfeit is something that looks real, but it’s not.  Usually, only something valuable is counterfeited.  The counterfeit anointing is referring to those who appear to love God, yet really want what the world is offering.

Their priorities are in direct conflict with God’s, while appearing to serve, praise, and honor Him.  Don’t be a Christian in appearance only.  Remember, it’s what’s going on inside that counts.

Drink in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Let Him change your priorities from the inside out.  Don’t fall victim to the counterfeit anointing that is so prevalent in the world today.

Question: Why is the world’s anointing so appealing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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The Counter-Culture and the Counter-Anointing

Different Anointing

Did you know that the present culture of America has an anointing on it?  I have been posting about Christianity as a counter-culture.  Today I want to talk about the modern cultural anointing.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
1 John 2:18-19

The word antichrist is very interesting.  When some people think antichrist, it brings images of The Beast or a world dictator.  Actually, antichrists have been around as long as the church has been in existence.

This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:3

What we need to understand is that there is a spirit of antichrist that is constantly at work in secular society.  Let’s stop and think about it.  Here is a spirit that is anti – opposite – Christ.

In my last post I made the point that Christ means the Anointed One.  That means we’re talking about an anti-anointing that’s operating in the world.  Whether you know it or not, there are two different anointings at work in our society.  There’s the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist.

The first verse above tells us that there are people in churches who have bought into the anti-anointing that’s in the world.  Eventually these people get offended at the Gospel of Christ – the true anointing – and they leave.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist — he denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:20-22

It is all about Jesus Christ – that’s the bottom line.  We live in such an accepting and tolerant world.  It’s okay, no matter what you want to talk about…that is until you mention Jesus Christ.  Suddenly the conversation gets shut down.

The reason is clear.  There are two competing spirits at work.  The spirit of antichrist wants no mention of the true anointing.  Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing can break the bondage of sin, sickness, depression, and a whole host of other symptoms of this age.

We need to walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit.  Even if it means that we are ridiculed, shut down or rejected.  We must be a light for the true anointing of Christ in our generation.

Question: Have you ever noticed intolerance for the name of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Christ – The Foundation of a Counter-Culture

SONY DSCOur culture is our way of life.  Why, then, is modern Christianity so much like the culture of America?

It doesn’t matter what you talk about, the statistics are very close.  Divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and a host of other issues seem very much a part of church life.  I have known Christian girls who couldn’t wait to turn 18 so that they could lose their virginity legally.

Why are we so much like the world?

We would rather talk about religion than Jesus.  We try to be so careful not to offend anyone by what we believe.

I think an important word to use is counter.  Think about how we use it in society.  We have groups in counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism.  To be counter means that you are going opposite that group.

More than any other people, Christianity should be counter-culture.  We should have our own cultural lifestyle.  If you remember from my last post, that means our own way of doing things.  It should be different than how our society operates.

We need to see the Scriptural pattern.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

This verse tells us that it’s God’s job to make us stand firm in Christ.  How does He do that?  The Lord accomplishes it by anointing us.

Anointing – now there’s a rich word.  The very word Christ means the Anointed One.  His anointing came from the Holy Spirit that was upon Him.  Now we are standing firm in the Anointed One.  That’s where we have the power to fulfill what we’re called to do.

This passage states that the anointing upon us is one of the things that are guaranteeing what is to come.  That tells me that I have a future in Christ.  This anointing is taking us somewhere.

In the same way, this culture we live in is headed somewhere.  It leads to addiction, divorce, depression, guilt, and, worst of all, hell.  Personally, I don’t want to go where the American culture is leading us to.

As the church of Jesus Christ, our future – our direction – should be vastly different.  Actually, the world should want what our culture leads to.  The differences should be that obvious.  We need to get back to the basics of what Christ wants to do in us.  Then we must follow it through to the end.

Question: What are some differences that should be obvious to the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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Christianity: The Counter-Culture…or not?

DifferentIs the church called to run contrary to the world?  If so, then where are we missing it?  I want to take a few posts to deal with this issue.  I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America.

This topic actually isn’t that new.  James wrote about it long ago.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses.  He called them an adulterous people.  What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation?  The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one.  It explains his choice of words.

As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery.  They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures.  It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background.  After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective.  It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God.  To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system.  You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order.  It’s the word culture.  Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life.  It’s how we live and what we expect.  It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here.  Then, when I see the lifestyle we are called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture.  There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds?  That’s what I want to talk about in the next few posts.  Hopefully you’ll join the conversation.

Question: Do you see areas where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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