The Temptation of Sophistication

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					The Temptation of
• James 2:1 My dear friends, don't let
  public opinion influence how you live
  out our glorious, Christ-originated
• James 2:2-5 If a man enters your church
  wearing an expensive suit, and a street
  person wearing rags comes in right after
  him, (3) and you say to the man in the
  suit, "Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the
  house!" and either ignore the street person
  or say, "Better sit here in the back row," (4)
  haven't you segregated God's children
  and proved that you are judges who
  can't be trusted? (5) Listen, dear friends.
  Isn't it clear by now that God operates
  quite differently? He chose the world's
  down-and-out as the kingdom's first
  citizens, with full rights and privileges. This
  kingdom is promised to anyone who loves
• James 2:8-9 You do well when you
  complete the Royal Rule of the
  Scriptures: "Love others as you love
  yourself." (9) But if you play up to
  these so-called important people,
  you go against the Rule and stand
  convicted by it.
• 1Co 1:18-21 The Message that points to Christ on
  the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those
  hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way
  of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way
  God works, and most powerfully as it turns out.
  (19) It's written, I'll turn conventional wisdom on its
  head, I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
  (20) So where can you find someone truly wise,
  truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and
  age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious
  nonsense? (21) Since the world in all its fancy
  wisdom never had a clue when it came to
  knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in
  using what the world considered dumb--
  preaching, of all things!--to bring those who trust
  him into the way of salvation.
• 1Co 1:25-30 Human wisdom is so tinny, so
  impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God.
  Human strength can't begin to compete with
  God's "weakness." (26) Take a good look,
  friends, at who you were when you got called
  into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and
  the best" among you, not many influential, not
  many from high-society families. (27) Isn't it
  obvious that God deliberately chose men and
  women that the culture overlooks and exploits
  and abuses, (28) chose these "nobodies" to
  expose the hollow pretensions of the
  "somebodies"? (29) That makes it quite clear
  that none of you can get by with blowing your
  own horn before God. (30) Everything that we
  have--right thinking and right living, a clean slate
  and a fresh start--comes from God by way of
  Jesus Christ.
• 1Co 2:1-4 You'll remember, friends, that
  when I first came to you to let you in on
  God's master stroke, I didn't try to impress
  you with polished speeches and the latest
  philosophy. (2) I deliberately kept it plain
  and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then
  Jesus and what he did--Jesus crucified.
  (3) I was unsure of how to go about this,
  and felt totally inadequate--I was scared
  to death, if you want the truth of it-- (4)
  and so nothing I said could have
  impressed you or anyone else. But the
  Message came through anyway. God's
  Spirit and God's power did it.
Main problems

• It usually means putting some form of
  cultural standard above discipleship
• Being/becoming sophisticated
  usually involves buying into the
  reality of some form of social ladder,
  so that even if you don’t try to be
  exclusive you contribute to a
A couple general principles

• Obedience to God has to be more
  important than acting sophisticated
• Serving/loving others has to be more
Bad reasons to be sophisticated:

• You’re impressed by sophistication
• You want to impress others
• You’re embarrassed by your lack of
  sophistication, by your own social
• You mix up cultural notions of
  sophistication with genuine quality
Good reasons to be sophisticated:
• You simply enjoy it for its own sake
• It’s not your fault you just inherited it
• You hold it loosely and playfully and
  others don’t feel unsophisticated
  when they’re with you
• It’s necessary for your work
• It’s part of “I have become all things
  to all people so that by all possible
  means I might save some of them.”
  (1 Cor. 9.22)
“Are you too sophisticated” quiz
• (Results should be confirmed by your
  physician before you begin
1. Since you’ve been here this
   morning you’ve:

• A) felt disapproving thoughts about
  how others were dressed, 50 points
• B) felt relief that you actually
  remembered to get dressed before
  you came, 0 points
• C) realized that you forgot to shave,
  minus 10 points
  (if you only forgot to shave ½ your face,
     minus 50 points)
2. Have you had one of these things
• A) you had people over you wanted
  to impress and then felt embarrassed
  when one of your less sophisticated
  friends came over, 100 points
• B) you don’t have any
  unsophisticated friends, 500 points
• C) you are the unsophisticated
  friend your friends are thinking of
  when they take this test, minus 100
3. If you had a daughter,

• would you prefer she
  date someone like this?
  100 points
• Or someone like one of these:
  minus 100 points
4. Which party would you choose:

• A party like this ? 50 points
4. Which party would you choose:
• Or a party with people like these:

                       Minus 50
5. If you believe you are more
sophisticated than your parents, 100
Add another hundred if you try to
make them more sophisticated
6. Insert your own question here:
Corinthians Challenge (0+)
• If you wonder at all if you’ve been
  getting sucked in by our culture,
  getting tempted by desires to be
• Read 1 Corinthians & James slowly
  and prayerfully with your social
  attitudes in mind
If you feel that you’re slipping,
     invite one of these boys over

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