Solomon penned God’s wisdom and warning as follows: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34). The word “reproach” means “shame, disgrace.” When sinfulness and wickedness primarily identify the culture of a nation, that nation stands in shame and disgrace before God. The character of our culture has become increasingly characterized by all manner of ungodly wickedness. Our culture has been turned upside down! Our nation stands in shame and disgrace as a result.
This series of articles will examine, from a scriptural perspective, a number of issues that are contributing to the steady degrading of our nation’s culture. The culture of a nation has to do with the predominant beliefs, values, practices, attitudes, social behavior and morals of its people. A nation’s character is identified by its culture. Solomon penned God’s wisdom and warning: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34). The word “reproach” means “shame, disgrace.” When sinfulness and wickedness predominantly identify the culture of a nation, that nation stands in shame and disgrace before God. Our culture is imploding, and as a result our nation is self-destructing. Our culture has been turned upside down!
The culture of a nation has to do with the predominant beliefs, values, practices, attitudes, social behavior and morals of its people. A nation’s culture identifies its character. As goes its culture, so goes a nation. As its culture collapses, its strength naturally degrades. Our culture is imploding, collapsing inwardly upon itself. Our values, standards, ideals and morals have been turned upside down! We are self-destructing as a nation.
James tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,” (Jas. 1:17). We’re told further, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from Heaven” (Jn. 3:27). The apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question, “…what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). All blessings come from God.
Just what is a steward? Two Greek words are translated “steward” numerous times in New Testament scripture. The first word is “Oikonomos.” Broken down, “Oidos” refers to “a house.” “Nemo” is an “arranger.” Put together, you have the idea of a house arranger. The second Greek word is “Epitropos.” It means “commission” and is rendered “steward” (NKJV) or “tutor” (KJV) in Gal. 4:2 and “steward” in Matt. 20:8.
Preachers have been preaching on stewardship for decades and decades. I’m not sure that the term clicks very well with most people. Its meaning may be a bit murky in their minds. Yet, it is an excellent term that is rich in meaning and relevance for people of every generation. The principle behind it is vital to the well being of every single person in this world.
The apostle Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Tim. 1:15). This is great news, considering the fact that all of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Since “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), we desperately need a Savior. That’s where God stepped in by sending His Son as our Savior and Lord. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for the guilt of our sins, making the way for us to be able to be forgiven and saved through Him (Heb. 7:27; 9:28). He personally issued an invitation to all mankind to come to Him for that salvation (Matt. 11:28-29).
Jesus stated that He came into this world “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). The apostle Paul reiterated that very truth: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Tim. 1:15). In regard to this purpose for His coming, our Lord extended the great invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). The natural question is, “How can I come to the Lord?”
Our society seems to place a great deal of emphasis on love. Some of it is good, some not so good. Some of it is more surface level, feel good rhetoric than substantive action. Many people are quick to judge others as being unloving, or even hateful, who do not conform to their superficial standard of love. Increasingly, such standards have become pretty open ended. Love should be long suffering, but even Godly love is not without limits. When it comes to our salvation, and when it comes to teaching the gospel to lost souls, just what does love demand?
Information is power! But only if the information is listened to and heeded. Many people receive valuable information that can help them in a variety of ways, but instead of paying attention to it and implementing it into their lives, they ignore it. As a result, they do not benefit from its value at all. Endless examples could be cited.
Gary L. Hutchens