Stones Hill Community Church
Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile
What is happening to our world? You and I are witnessing at warp speed the devolution of a nation. If things move toward a “post-Christian nation” and some are now arguing that this is the case, then how should the people of God operate when relegated to the cultural margins? What is the way forward in a hostile world? Welcome to the Old Testament book of Daniel!
Locations & Times
  • Ligonier, IN
    151 W Stones Hill Rd, Ligonier, IN 46767, USA
    Saturday 4:00 PM
We welcome you to Stone's Hill today!

A typical Stone's Hill service has:

* music (so feel free to sing out);

* some announcements (things that are upcoming that you can be a part of);

* a message out of the Bible (God speaks to us through his Word);

* and an opportunity for you to respond to the message (either immediately in the case of a decision that needs to be made OR in the future as you live out the message in your daily life.)

So relax and enjoy your morning! We're so glad you are here!

Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile

PowerPoint Message Slides
Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile
Post-Christian Culture
It has been said that our world is becoming a “post-Christian” world. Post means after. Christian means an era of time when Christ and His teachings were a dominant influence in society. Culture means the way we think and value things. This means that, over the course of recent generations, there has been an observed decline in the Church’s influence in society. In a post-Christian culture, the dominant worldview is no longer founded on Christian principles — or at least we can no longer assume that they will be.

As the church enters this time of exile from the center to the margins, we must have a vision through the unique challenges that are presented. As a Christian, in a hostile environment where the dominant values run counter to one’s own, you now experience exile while you REMAIN in your homeland. Just demonstrate that you are unwilling to conform to the tyranny of majority opinion, and you’ll know exile while still at home – forced removals, cancellations, disenfranchisement, job losses.

The Way Forward
What is the way forward in a hostile world? Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety for no one knows how hostile it may become. Eventually, a post-Christian society moves from assuming Christian values to ignoring them, to resenting them, to repressing them, and eventually to persecuting them. What was once Christian and is now post-Christian will eventually become anti-Christian, led by those who actively destroy it.

Strangers, Aliens, Exiles
God’s people do their best work when in exile. We always have. Exile infuses communities with new creative energy that rises to meet the challenges of new cultural circumstances. The way forward is to look around and understand our context, to look back and gather the resources the Word affords to us, and then to look forward with a clear vision of how we can function as the Lord’s people in a time of contemporary exile.

That’s why we have transitioned to “A Biblical Worldview Church.” It’s a vision for how to do life in cultural exile and it empowers you to come together with a game plan that will prepare your family to live in this world rather than just integrate with dominant culture. It’s the local church that can form a vibrant counterculture.

Exiles on Assignment
How do we build biblical worldview communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? Can we live with joy and confidence though marginalized? If you’re caught between a host empire you cannot embrace and a church that has no worldview mission, where do you go?

For much of recent history individuals and Biblical Worldview institutions could plan, execute, and flourish with their visions of a better world. That may no longer be the case in a few years. But don’t despair. For in the midst of the chaos of a crisis comes opportunity. The history of the church tells us that crisis always precedes renewal, and the framework of renewal offers us new ways forward. A Non-Anxious Presence shows how that renewal happens and offers churches and leaders strategic ways to awaken the Church and see our culture changed for Christ.

The question is: How? How can we engage a post-Christian society? How can we influence a culture which is desperate to press you into it’s mold? This is not to say that God isn’t at work in dominant culture. He has his “Daniel’s” strategically placed to do His bidding in the “Babylon’s” of the world. There are others who are being prepared to become “Esthers” (in Persia) and “Jonahs” (in Ninevah) and “Josephs” (in Egypt) – those who bring a biblical worldview to the culture, but within the culture itself.

So our primary job is not to make everything “Christian” in culture. Our job is to live out a Biblical Worldview wherever we find ourselves and bear witness to the truth. But, there’s no room for neutrality. The corrosive soil and polluted air of a secular worldview will have to be breathed by your children. You will face marginalization for living out a Biblical Worldview.

Daniel 1:1-7
Welcome to Daniel Babylon
A Tale of Two Kingdoms – Daniel’s New Reality (v.1-2)
A Tale of Two Cultures – Daniel’s New Home (v.3)
A Tale of Two Worldviews – Daniel’s New Education (v.4-5)
A Tale of Two Names – Daniel’s New Name (v.6-7)

Welcome to Digital Babylon
Babylon in the Bible is characterized as a culture set against the purposes of God – a human society that glories in pride, power, prestige, and pleasure. Babylon makes appearances throughout the Bible, most notably and literally in the story of Daniel. Oh, it’s there though from beginning to end. From the tower of Babel, the first “city of man” in the book of Genesis to the final act of God’s justice and restoration in Revelation. Babylon is both a place and an archetype of collective human pursuits set in opposition to God (Kinnamon).

The spirit of Babylon is about subjugating weaker people and nations using a variety of tactics. It’s not just brute force and military strength. The spirit of Babylon wants to change the language, the economics, the spiritual values of a conquered people. We see it in Daniel. The Jewish elite were captured after Babylonia’s military conquest of Judah, forcibly taken to the empire’s capital, and subjected to a cultural conquest nearly as devastating as their martial defeat. The book of Daniel is a vivid account of Babylon’s culture eradication campaign and how some exiles successfully resisted, while at the same time, were able to bear witness to God’s truth in a hostile culture.

Even without a literal empire knocking on our door, telling us to “Pack it up… you’re moving…” – many are willingly held captive. Yes screens inform and connect, but they also distract, entertain, and coerce you into a worldview and fills your heart with Babylon’s pride, power, prestige, and pleasure. Websites, apps, movies, video games, music, social media, YouTube channels – these represent what is real in our minds. What is true and false is now blurred more than ever. Everyone senses this collective loss of what is true and good, so our anxiety spikes as friends and algorithms come up short with answers that do not satisfy the soul-hunger. No wonder so many live depleted, shallow lives, huddled behind their screens consuming personalized content in a futile effort to fill the void.

“We are all residents of digital Babylon. We are all exiles now (David Kinnamon and Mark Matlock).” We are infected with the Babylonian virus. Can we develop antibodies against it? Can we go against the flow of a digital, screen-driven age? These little lighted rectangles in our pockets have redefined everything. Always connected, these smart devices have created a new context for life – Digital Babylon. We’re not shipped off to Babylon; rather Babylon travels with us in our pockets. We’re all in Digital Babylon – eating at the Kings table, totally immersed in another culture, learning to speak the worlds language, and valuing the worlds pictures, having our minds molded hour-by-hour by all the things we take in. Deep spiritual longing is drowned out by bingeing on streaming videos, immersive digital gaming, and social media scrolling. Young people especially use the screens in their pockets as counselors, entertainers, instructors, even sex educators. “Why build up the courage to have what will likely be an awkward conversation with a parent, pastor, or teacher when you can just ask your phone and no one else will be the wiser? (Faith for Exiles, Kinnamon).”

There are benefits to the Net. Getting nearly instant answers to your questions is empowering. You can watch a step-by-step tutorial on fixing a mechanical problem. Listen to your favorite song. Discover a new recipe. Get a book you need in just a few days. Shop for your friend’s birthday gift before you forget to do it. Prove who was the lead actor in the Home Alone Christmas movie. But there’s also a rub. Instant access to information is NOT wisdom. Do you know how to follow Jesus any better in a complex culture? Does the web teach you to slow down and savor life or does it induce more stress due to the speed at which everything moves? The information flow and news cycles and millions of posts. That’s why we’re stressed. We can’t keep up with this hyper-stimulated world. We’re bombarded in digital Babylon with unprecedented force and frequency, by conflicting, chaotic messages about what matters and how to live. The latest blog post, the newest music, the most popular television show, your news outlets do their best to convince us we should care or buy something.

You live in a culture right now that is hostile to your faith. It is on TV and the Internet. It is in the movies. It is in your music. Everywhere you look you are exposed to a monolithic message that is opposed to the teaching of the Bible. It laughs at someone who maintains their virginity and wants to wait until they are married to have sexual relations because they won’t the bonding mechanism of their sexuality to work like it should. It tells you homosexuality is a completely acceptable lifestyle. In fact, it is something that should be explored. LUG. Lesbian Until Graduation. It is a standard that says “Lie, cheat connive, do whatever it takes so you can get ahead.” It is a standard that says “Dissolve your marriage if you are not happy with it. Do whatever you want as long as you are happy.” It is a culture that is hostile to the beliefs that you hold as sacred. We have to know that. When you expose yourselves to that, be aware that it is going to affect you.

The way you get cultural discernment and wisdom while living in digital and cultural Babylon is by taking an active part in a robust learning community under the authority of the Bible. It provides you wisdom to navigate an accelerated and complex culture.

Of course, the ultimate in cultural navigation and human flourishing is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ. He's the great "uncut stone" of Daniel and He will smash to pieces all human kingdoms. Why don't you come to this King today?

Dismissal Song

Skillet - Refuge (Official Lyric Video)

The Story of the Bible

The Bible Project

The Entire Gospel in Five Minutes

The Story Film

Online Sermon Archive

Stones Hill Community Church Sermons

Ask a Question

A place to ask Pastor Joey questions anonymously.

Spiritual Gifts Assessment

Discover your spiritual gift-mix so you can effectively serve in the Body of Christ.