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Cultural Christians - Newsletter #14
 "And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32

Cultural Christians



Previous messages in this series: 
 
1. Compromised Christians 
https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=c15d446fadd28250a825e5580&id=61f3b21fba
 
2. Closeted Christians (https://mailchi.mp/db337fbde7b9/the-compromised-christian-330753
 

                           
   Cultural Christians
 
They are everywhere and they often look like the real thing. Quite a few are to be seen in church on Sunday. A small percentage do know Jesus Christ in a personal way, described in the Bible as “spiritually reborn ones.” I call them Group #1.
 
Many more people these days have dropped out of church for one reason or another. They are not necessarily ex-Christians or apostates. Many actually know Jesus, so they are in the family of Jesus. Sadly, all too often, the in-group (Group 1) sees them only as “backsliders” (Group 2). Members of Group 2 don’t “tithe” as a rule. But churches are not hospitals, sanitariums or hospices as a rule. Organizations need the income to pay for their staff and infrastructure. 
 
Group 2, the church drop outs, is a large group! It is difficult for any church to please everyone. Some churches are non-intellectual, naive, simplistic. This is understandable and often quite acceptable for us “ordinary” people.  No fault there. In contrast, “Ivory Tower” Christians can be difficult to know or relate to, even though their life-work may out live them and be greatly valued in subsequent generations. Academic studies and papers in Systemic Theology or obscure languages come to mind.
 
Proud, well educated, self-satisfied folks are slower to respond to the straightforward love Jesus offers to all of us. Nor do they easily see how deep their needs reality are. Some saints are not very social or easy to hang out with.
 
Many churches focus on ethnic groups to maintain familial and national ties with a homeland. 
 
No wonder the destitute, the incarcerated, addicts, junkies, the guilt-ridden, invalids and the very ill—among other “failures in life” embrace Jesus more readily than the rich and the famous. God apparently loves all sorts of people I can’t stand. I lose unless I adapt to the lifestyle of Jesus. 
 
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
 
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’
 
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
 
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
 
Still others claim to know Jesus, out there in the world, among the unchurched masses, the non-religious members of our secular society. They would never darken the door of a church or visit a home Bible Class. Some of these people are, some aren’t, “for real.” I call them Group 3. 
 
One problem for secular folks today is they may not realize that all of us are incurably religious. We were created to worship something or someone. When we fail to know and appreciate the one, true God (who brought everything into being, and alone is worthy of our allegiance, we default to the counterfeit. 
 
A fourth group of people in the world includes the vast multitude (especially in Third World countries), who have never (yet) heard about Jesus as He is described in the Bible. They have probably never heard any intelligent truth concerning Jesus.
 
The “good news” is not preaching about Jesus, by the way. Jesus, the man who has risen from the dead, is Himself the good news. The medium is not the message but only the way-pointer. 
 
God IS love, where there is real love, God is present. Jesus is as Personal as personal can be. 
 
“I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)
 
Ray Stedman once said, “There is only one way to God, Jesus said so, but there are many ways to come to the Messiah. Come to Jesus and He will take you the rest of the way.” 
 
Some among us have seen Jesus in a dream or a vision, perhaps after realizing that the gods and the idols in their village or their local churches are surely not representing the Highest God. Perhaps someone will give them a Bible and they will eventually come into a personal relationship with Jesus? 
 
Many people do respond to the real love Jesus has for them which may break through via Christians they meet. 
 
Not all visions are from God, but some surely are. Knowing Jesus existentially by just talking to Him is a good place to start! (See 1 John 2. Every Christian starts out as a “new born one,” Greek, teknon). God does respond to every sincere inquiry and the presence of a third party is not necessary. 
 
The Bible says, “No one seeks after God.” This is quite off-putting. Many think think they are searching for God, but it is actually God seeking them, or stimulating their quest.
 
 
In Group 4 there are many Secret Christians. These people have many reasons for not wanting to making their true identities known. Many professionals are in this class. This many include your doctor, his staff, your stock broker, lawyer, dentist, chiropractor...
 
Included are people who were once outspoken in their atheism, but they quietly changed their minds. Some were, or are, movers and shakers, visionaries by secular definitions, CEOs, professors, senators and congressmen. Outwardly all “respectable” people strive to be well-spoken of. At their funerals, even crooks and swindlers want to be eulogized. None of these persons is beyond the pale. God does not desire that anyone should perish. But for many being labeled as “very religious,” or “a fundamentalist” is to be avoided at all costs. 
 
Therefore, check in to this matter of knowing God before you check out of this short life, if only to ease the grief of family and friends when your time is up. Best not to die a fake Christian.
 
Many people do seek the God of mercy and grace as they lie dying! Many discover that it is Jesus they will give account to when the leave this present life. But no one gets into Paradise on a merit basis. Reincarnation is not an option. In one way or another we must all come to the end of ourselves if we are to know God. 
 
Those inclined to keep their core beliefs private often cite the hypocrisy and phoniness of fundamentalism or the hypocrisy of their childhood Sunday School classes which were “Mickey-Mouse,” or worse. Obviously many would lose their jobs and good name if someone were to link them to any archaic, dying religious tradition. Scorn and ridicule are common today for all radicals, religious or political. A few members of the intelligentsia can be outspoken in boasting of their quest for God, or the meaning of life, or the quest all by itself, as if arriving at a goal didn’t matter much. Many of these charges against professing Christians have merit! But God...
 
“It is appointed for man but once to die, and after that, the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
 
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
 
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’
 
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
 
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
 
Externals are all important! Reputations are a very big deal. But God is not much impressed with looks, the clothes we wear, the mask we wear. His vision in infinitely better than Superman’s alleged “x-ray” vision, or a mother’s intuition. 
 
“...the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
 
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
 
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
 
Neither are we the good, moral righteous people we think we are. Many people are “self made,” and tend to “worship our creator.”
 
As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
 


God is active in seeking all who are willing to know Him. With patience and long suffering, Jesus has always sought for people (young or old) who are willing to be rescued from sin and destruction. In every age since Adam and Eve. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. 
 
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
 
To say that man is “fallen” is to acknowledge that everyone of us is fatally flawed. From errors in our genome, to our self-exhalation and pride, to our capacity to deceive and to be deceived—none of us is what we ought to be. The world we live in is treacherous—full of deception and the counterfeit. A small fraction, a remnant only, of professing Christians know Jesus and walk daily with Him!
 
“The foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal, ‘the Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’ 
 
In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man purges himself from that which is dishonorable, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work.” (2 Timothy 2:19-21)
 
The Light brought into the world by Jesus of Nazareth is now shining more brightly than ever, available to any and all, rich or poor, old or young. The “historical Jesus” is the same “yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
 
Glimpsing Jesus as He is now, brings awe and wonder and true worship. What lies just ahead in world history is the soon return of Jesus to our planet. He will not be returning in disguise. 
 
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
 
‘As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.’
 
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.” (Romans 3:7-14)
 
Jesus will not be coming back to us living in the same Galilean lifestyle He lived out the first time. He is not, as some assume, harmless, weak and soft spoken. 
 
“Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
 
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
 
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
 
 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’l (Revelation 1:4-8)
 
You and I have nothing inherent in us that qualifies us to live forever. But we are all loved by God, unconditionally. We need only to be humbled and open to be forgiven, freed and made new, to the greatest adventure in the universe. 
 
But finally, we must mention Group 5—the apostates. These are individuals, usually men, but not always. They have heard all about Jesus for years but never allowed Him into their hearts and lives. Too proud to admit a need, self-sufficient, they assume. 
 
Jude the brother James mentions them. They are true counterfeit Christians. If the devil knocked on the door with forked tail, horns and the smell of sulfur, we’d shut him out at once. Counterfeit currency is meticulously crafted to look as much like the real thing as possible. So also fake paintings and such. 
 
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
 
Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
 
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
 
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
 
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
 
 
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
 
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
 
Knowing the enemies of Jesus would “sneak in through a side door” after he was gone, the Apostle Paul met with the elders from the church of Ephesus warn them of what lay ahead. (Acts 20:17-38)
 
 
Finally the most serious issue of all, I believe, is today’s Biblical Illiteracy. Fifty years ago most homes in America could boast of having a Bible on their shelves somewhere. A good many of us inherited an old family Bible from our parents or grandparents. Some family Bibles, full of handwritten notes, are generations deep. Owning a Bible is not enough. It must be read. When I was a new Christian, (1962) many older people in my church read through their Bibles straight through once or twice (or three times) a year. When I began to practice this form of self-discipline, I was amazed at the results.
 
Convinced or not please don’t marginalize or ignore Jesus. Write me if you have questions, lambert@ldolphin.org. My web site is free of charge, ldolphin.org.
 
Special Feature
 
Please listen to the life story of my friend Corneilous (Neal) Burrow on my web site ldolphin.org/burrow/. Neil and I met at San Jose State University a dozen years ago. That he is winsome and transparent in all he related in his true story is an understatement.
 
A Personal Update 

My ancient newsletters and my dozen recent new newsletters are all to be found stored in my dusty old library at http://www.ldolphin.org. Help thyself. Free of course. 

Though I am living embedded in Silicon Valley, as far as my outer man is concerned, my income here is low and the cost of living here is astronomical. My two month hospital sojourn in mid 2017 was enormously costly. Thankfully insurance covered most of the cost. I have been paying down the balance a little at a time ever since. 

Therefore your support keeps me functional in this short, mortal coil. “The outer man perishes but the inner man is renewed day by day.” 

Cash contributions may be sent to me through my PayPal Account http://www.ldolphin.org/donations.html. I am not able to provide a tax-deductible receipt if using PayPal. 

For a tax deductible receipt, donations should be made by annotated check to

Blue Letter Bible:
Blue Letter Bible
Attn: Lambert Dolphin Ministries 
29 Rancho Circle
Lake Forest, CA 92630-8324
 
Year End Greeting from Lambert
The First Begotten 
http://www.ldolphin.org/firstbegotten.html

 
December 10, 2018 
 

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

Your Brother,
 
Lambert 
 

Newsletter Archive:

Newsletter #13: Little Children

Newsletter #12: Strongholds

Newsletter #11: Intimacy with Jesus

Newsletter #10: Closeted Christians

Newsletter #9: The Compromised Christian

Newsletter #8: Easter/Passover 2018

Newsletter #7: Conscience

Newsletter #6: Entering Into Rest

Newsletter #5: I AM WHO I AM

Newsletter #4: The Spiritual Gifts

Newsletter #3: A Temporary Tent
 
Newsletter #2: Return to Ministry
 
Newsletter #1: Hospital Update

Editor: Lawrence Hoppis

 
Listen to Lambert's Personal Testimony
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Copyright © 2018 Lambert Dolphin / Lawrence Hoppis, All rights reserved.


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