As Jesus prays to the Father in John 17, he teaches us some things about who we are. He speaks of how he has given to us God’s word which is both a source of joy and conflict as we live here in this world (John 17:13-14). He speaks of how we are set apart and no longer “of the world” (John 17:16-17). He also speaks of our mission, that we aren’t to isolate ourselves from the world, instead stating that, “as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
As those who are sent by Jesus to be bearers of the good news to a world in which we find ourselves where in conflict with its priorities, values, and ethics; we need to understand both God’s word and the culture to which we are sent. It is our desire to equip the men and women of Creekside to think deeply about the truths of Scripture, and the challenges of culture, so that we can speak the truth of the gospel with love, clarity, and hope to ourselves and all who need to hear. Today, one of the watershed issues that faces the church is the issue of human sexuality. I love how Nancy Pearcy frames the discussion in her book, Love Thy Body, Answering hard questions about life and sexuality.
“The main reason to address moral issues is that they have become a barrier to even hearing the message of salvation. People are inundated with rhetoric telling them that the Bible is hateful and hurtful, narrow and negative. While it’s crucial to be clear about the biblical teaching on sin, the context must be an overall positive message: that Christianity alone gives the basis for a high view of the value and meaning of the body as a good gift from God. In our communication with people struggling with moral issues, we need to reach out with a life-giving, life-affirming message. We should work to draw people in by the beauty of the biblical vision of life.”
Over four Monday nights in January we will seek to do that by diving into the complicated and controversial topic of human sexuality. Over those weeks we will address issues such as:
- What is the worldview that undergirds what most people around us rely on as they think through these issues?
- What does the Bible say about issues such as femininity and masculinity, sexuality, and the implications of that in our day-to-day lives and in the life of our church community?
- As those sent into this world, how do we communicate the beauty of God’s design for us as men and women and how the gospel restores us to who we were created to be?
I believe the time spent to wrestle through these things as part of what it means to love Jesus and love those that he has sent us to. It is worth giving of our time to understand where people are at, the hope the gospel gives, and how we can represent Jesus well in this area. In our study, each week will require a couple hours of work in addition to our class times, and as is true about most things, the more energy you put into it, the more benefit you will receive from it.
I would love to have you be a part of “Gospel and Culture” this January. Please feel free to talk to me about it if you have any questions.