Living Faith Builds Culture

Building a Biblical Culture as Jesus’ Church, is all about the foundation of beliefs and values found in The Scriptures. We want to take those values & beliefs and use them to form the actions and attitudes that mark our lives, our culture.

The whole book of James is one big lesson on culture formation based on God’s way

The formation of Biblical Culture does not happen by accident; it takes constant work and a desire to be aligned with what the Scriptures says rather than what ‘Feels’ good.

The whole Body can participate in the formation of the culture and then everyone benefits…everyone who is committed and present and part of the culture (family)

James 5:7-20

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

  • Building a culture that is based on the anticipation of Christ’s Return (Patiently)
  • They know the crop is coming, it’s a matter of when…
  • Living in light of eternity (what matters most: ‘A Cultural Value’)

8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

  • Does our culture reflect complacency about Christ’s return?
  • Do our relational actions as a community reflect Christ’s Lordship?
  • Do we live like Jesus could come back at any second?

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

  • We pattern our lives after those who are most profoundly influenced by God
  • Suffering so that the truth about God may be revealed: that is building culture
  • The suffering always has purpose when it is done from a God honoring place
  • God reveals Himself through His people when they suffer

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

  • Why is it such a big deal to James NOT to make oaths? (Elevates ‘Free Will’)
  • Simplicity & transparency of communication is what biblical culture is built on
  • This also means we are to give God His due, He controls, Not us!

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.

  • We are to live life with God involved in the good and the bad
  • We are to leverage the power of ‘The Church’, through it’s leadership, to heal
  • The faith of the person who calls for the Elders is the key

15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

  • Our properly functioning as ‘Christ’s Body’; through order & faith brings healing
  • A culture of commitment to the Body and seeking what we need AS a body…

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

  • Transparency about sin with other members of the Body is a cultural value
  • What kind of a culture of prayer are we building?
  • Is it marked by ‘Earnestness’?
  • Do we pray based on the the ‘Righteousness of Christ’?

17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

  • We can have the same culture of prayer Elijah had, it is possible!
  • How do we emulate Elijah and his closeness to God

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

  • Do we have a culture that gives second chances and welcomes prodigals?
  • We all need to know that if we screw up we can find forgiveness and family
  • We are to be people of reconciliation and humility
  • Our motivation is to care for each other’s souls
  • But that only happens when you go all in (True Biblical Culture)

Application Questions:

What is your personal culture regarding Christ’s second coming?

How does our ‘Body’ culture support suffering members? How can we do better?

How do you value & practice transparency in your relationships here @ Midtown?

How can you participate in building a more earnest culture of prayer?

Who might you reach out to that has wandered away from the truth?