The author of Hebrews exhorted (with a warning!) the early church: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” The Greek word pararréō (drift) suggests the picture of some object – a boat, a log or a person – floating down a river, going wherever the current takes it. The river is the world around us; the currents of power, sectarianism, materialism, popularity and success are strong forces that move all of humankind in a certain direction. The gospel of the kingdom counters the currents of the world, calling us to a different way, the path of the crucified Messiah. In this series, we will look at lessons from the Corinthian church, Christians who were deeply influenced by popular culture, to examine five ways that Christ followers are to go against the flow of the world.
This purpose of this sermon series and Care Group study guide is to strengthen the disciple’s ability to discern and resist cultural trends that are in opposition to the kingdom of God. In his book, Living Against the Grain, Tim Muldoon writes, “The beginning of discernment is quite simply the awareness that you live in a world not of your own choosing. You are subject to its laws and affected by its social mores. You interact with people who, for the most part, are in your life for reasons that have less to do with your choices and much more to do with choices made by others over centuries. You speak their language; you are from the place where they landed. You have been thrown into the world, and now you must decide what to do here. How do you do that?”
We did not create the current world systems, but are simply born into them. Many go through their lives not questioning the world’s general views of territory, power, popularity, money and success. But after becoming followers of King Jesus, we discover that his expectations are vastly different from those held by most people.
Can you think of a time in your life that you feel truly successful? What were the reasons for your sense of success?
Who were (are) the most popular entertainers in your day? What was the reason for their popularity? We often refer to popular entertainers as “idols.” In what ways are they idolized?
What are some ways that you see turf wars in our world? That is, what are the ways that people, both nations and individuals, protect their territory? Can you think of some specific examples?