Christian culture is a taste of God’s kingdom on earth. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Christian culture so we can learn and do. I’ll only cover a few verses here, but if you take this study further, you’ll find tons more right in God’s holy Word, the Bible about Christian culture.
Christian Culture in the Acts of the Apostles
The book of Acts presents the rise and expansion of the Christian church in the first century. If Christ is interested in culture, we’ll surely find references to Christian culture there. Studying the book of Acts, you get a sense of what things were like when the first Christians risked their lives as they shared their new faith with others.
The book is full of scenes of conflict with the ruling religious class as well as the Roman authorities. You quickly get the sense that this new Christian faith was up against a tremendous amount of pressure, oppression and persecution, from within and without. But the believers of that time stood strong and ‘did exploits.’ They changed their culture for Christ.
Let’s see how they handled community, which is a big part of Christian culture, in the opening chapter of Acts.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all
that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Christians Give To Other Christians in Need
Note the early Christians’ enthusiasm for sharing God’s Word with others! It’s readily apparent that they were not only convicted but committed to reaching out to others. They wanted others to be saved, to come unto a knowledge of the truth and serve the living Lord Jesus Christ: They taught the resurrection of Jesus. They also wanted to produce Christian culture.
Look what else they did. They sold their pluralities, gave the money they made to the apostles, who then distributed to each person who had need. This is another big part of Christian culture. There are several things to learn from this.
1) Some Christians had needs that could be met financially and in other ways
2) Christians who had pluralities sold them to raise money for those Christians in need
3) The apostles served as a distribution point (this changed later in Acts due to workload)
4) The money collected was given out to Christians in need — that’s a huge part of Christian culture
A big lesson to learn from this account in Acts is that the family of God comes first. If you had enough food only for your own family and a stranger came up asking for food, would you give it to him? I know you’d want to; so would I. Or would you save the food so your own family didn’t starve? If you’re like most of us, you’d have to save the food for your family no matter how much you wanted to help the stranger.
There’s another record in the book of Romans that also proves my assertion that we give to Christians first and foremost.
But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you,
I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there.
For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.
They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.
I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there,
so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Paul Collected for Christians in Need
The family of God must be helped first and foremost. We have to take care of our own before we offer help to those outside the family. This is Christian culture. Paul collected money to give to the ‘poor saints in Jerusalem’ and not to the unbelievers. Still don’t believe me? How about this — Jesus’ own words:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and tear you.
Jesus Says Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine
I’m pretty sure it’s plainly evident that we’re not sent to feed the world, but each other in the body of Christ. If we have excess then we can think about blessing others, but keep in mind that we don’t want to support unbelief in any way, shape, or form. We don’t want to throw our pearls before swine, as Jesus said. Use those resources to strengthen the family of God.
Now let me say here that I do believe in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and providing physical needs to anyone, Christian or not. However Christians come first and foremost. I do not believe Christians are the ‘chumps’ of the world that should be taken advantage of by those who do not and never will have true interest in learning about Jesus Christ and coming unto a saving knowledge of the truth. God doesn’t ask us to feed the world. He asks us to feed the family of God and bring others into it. Let’s be wise in establishing Christian culture.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
And there was great joy in that city.
Christian Culture Produces Great Joy
In this record, people gladly received what Philip said to them and ‘there was great joy in that city.’ Whenever and wherever the Word of God is held forth and believed, there is great joy. Philip was just one person, witnessing alone in Samaria. Look at how the Lord backed him up, empowered him and blessed him.
Just one person on fire for our Lord Jesus Christ can change the culture of an entire city! That is exciting. Perhaps we don’t need ‘masses of people’ to produce Christian culture. Maybe just a few of us who really believe and walk with our Lord Jesus Christ will get the job done.
If you’re a believing Christian who is on fire for our Lord Jesus Christ, I encourage you to work together with us at The Christian Culture Center to help establish Christ in culture. Visit our main online portal at http://ChristianCultureCenter.org and sign up for our Advisory Board. Help us help Christians do what God wants them to do.
A Christian Cultural Phenomenon in Ephesus
Later in the book of Acts, we find a Christian cultural phenomenon. God did ‘extraordinary miracles’ through the apostle Paul. In my thinking, a miracle in itself is extraordinary, so imagine what an ‘extraordinary’ miracle is! God does everything in his power to help us reach others for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at this phenomenon that helped to establish Christian culture quickly and easily.
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”
Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
So Mightily Grew the Word of God and Prevailed
What did these newly converted Christians do? They took all their anti-Christian scrolls (we’d say ‘books’ or ‘tapes’ or ‘CDs’ today of course) and burned them up. I say ‘anti-Christian’ here to describe systems of belief that are counter to Christianity. There are many, many books we could put into this category today and I’m sure I’d upset quite a few groups if I started listing them here. I’m not out to upset people or groups, but to teach the truth in love. Anything that promotes any type of spirituality that denies Jesus is the son of God is anti-Christian and any book that states such should be burned period. That’s what the Christian believers did here in the book of Acts and look what happened as a result!
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
I’d say this is a great example of Christian culture in the book of Acts, wouldn’t you? Chapter 18 shows the actual pinnacle of the rise and expansion of the Christian Church in Acts. It doesn’t get any better than this — an entire town turned to Jesus Christ because of God’s powerful works through committed believers.
To establish Christian culture in your area, perhaps some books need to be burned. Perhaps something should be done to help the needy Christians in your area before you send that money off to a secular charity. Perhaps if we concentrate more on what God wants us to do, we will get further in establishing Christ in culture. I’m just saying… no I’m doing also! How about you?