MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP) — “I don’t need to tell you that the Gospel is cross-cultural,” O.S. Hawkins said to students, faculty and staff at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, “because you work and live in a part of the country that contains a myriad of cultures.”
“But the Gospel is not only cross-cultural, it is counter-cultural,” Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, defining counter-cultural as rejecting the values and the dominant behavior of society.
Describing the past six decades — from the 1950s through the 1990s -– as lost generations of people in need of Christ, Hawkins noted, “Even today in the 21st century, with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and cultural chaos, we have at least three or four generations that have likely never sung a hymn, never known a book of the Bible.”
Hawkins, listing common characteristics of lost generations, said, “… [T]hese people are searching for meaningful relationships in life. They are seeking immediate gratification. They want something for nothing, without cost or commitment, and think they’re entitled. They want guilt-free living and were brought up to have no moral absolutes. They are thirsty for prosperity, wanting the lifestyle they had but can no longer afford.
“Who has the answers for these lost people?” Hawkins asked in a chapel message at GGBTS’ Northern California Campus in Mill Valley on Sept. 29. “One single verse holds the answer — Ephesians 1:7. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Regarding meaningful relationships, Hawkins said Ephesians 1:7 points to the fact that lost generations “must first cultivate a meaningful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and, from that, all other relationships will develop.”
“In Jesus we have redemption, which is occurring in actual time — right now,” Hawkins continued, noting: “This is instant gratification and the result is eternal life.”
The lost, in wanting something for nothing, need to know this counter-cultural truth: “The Gospel is free. It was purchased for us with Jesus’ blood. There is nothing we can do on our own,” Hawkins said.
Jesus is the only one who can provide guilt-free living through His forgiveness of sins, Hawkins said. And, to those wanting prosperity, he reminded that Ephesians 1:7 speaks “according to God’s riches” in stating that the lost can receive true riches in God’s grace and mercy that exceed sin and guilt.
“The key word in this verse is ‘redemption,'” Hawkins said. “We’ve got several lost generations out there. The ‘something’ they think they’re looking for is really a ‘someone.'”
Phyllis Evans is director of communications for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (www.ggbts.edu).