In the next three months, the theme of our Sunday morning ministry is “This is our Culture, Kingdom Culture”. Elder Francis Dunn explains what this is all about.
Q: What exactly is meant by “Kingdom Culture”?
The Gospel according to Matthew introduces Jesus as Christ and King. King Jesus’ first public preaching recorded by Matthew (and Mark) is in these words, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand”. “Thy Kingdom come” in the “Lord’s Prayer” and “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) by King Jesus demonstrate that He has come to establish the KING’s DOMINION by calling people out of the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of marvelous light.
“The followers of Jesus are different,” writes the late John Stott, “different from both the nominal church and the secular world, different from both the religious and the irreligious. The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counter-culture. Here is a Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, lifestyle and network of relationships – all of which are totally at variance with those in the non-Christian world”.
Q: If I’m already saved and going to heaven, must I live this Kingdom culture?
It is important to understand that the salvation Jesus has wrought upon us is not a mere “ticket to heaven”. As much as we are saved from the penalty of sin, i.e., justification, a Christian’s journey involves being saved gradually and surely from the power of sin, i.e., sanctification. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, every child of God’s kingdom is not only exhorted but empowered to live this Kingdom counter-culture. John Stott continues, “And this Christian counter-culture is the life of the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed but lived out under the divine rule.”
Q: How practical is it, really, to live these Kingdom values? e.g., this turning the other cheek and loving our enemies – aren’t these crazy, unnecessary, impossible, “loser” things to do?
From the start of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduces “The Beatitudes” a revolutionary and mind-boggling value system of a Christian. These eight “Beautiful Attitudes” sum up, really, the way to live out these kingdom values and are further developed by the rest of the Sermon.
One’s initial response would be, “This is impossible!” If this is your response, we invite you to journey with us for the next three months as we have able speakers to unpack each part of the Sermon. Our prayer is that at the end of this teaching block from our Sunday pulpit in April, you will be like the crowds who were amazed with the authority and the authenticity of Jesus’ call to embrace this kingdom values and culture (Mat 7:28-29).
Q: How different is this from the cultures propagated by other religions that also promote humility, meekness, good works, non-violence…?
This Christian Counter Culture is very different from cultures propagated by others in two ways. Firstly, it is propagated by the King who wants His subjects to embrace a lifestyle that imitates Him. True humility, meekness, good works, non-violence are not just taught but also demonstrated by Christ. His disciples are called to walk in His steps. Secondly, this counter-culture can only be a reality when one has God enabling him. Thanks be to God for His Spirit who comes and makes His home in us.
It is our prayer that the church at Bangsar Gospel Centre, refined by our Lord and King, will not only be different but will make a difference in this decaying, dark world we live in. We echo the words of our Master and King, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:13-16).