(Photo: Fellowship Church)
"Are you sucked into the vortex of vulgarity?" asked pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, during his Sunday sermon on vulgarity, the second in his ongoing "Cool Aid" series exploring the crossroads of Christianity and culture.
Young's message actually began with a short home-made video of him driving to a party. In the clip he says that he expects 80 people will be present, and suspects he will be the only Christian there. Young says that he will count how many cuss words and off-color jokes he receives about the fact that he is a pastor, and in a follow-up clip confirms that he counted 47 vulgar words or stories in total.
"We have been drinking the 'cool aid' of our culture, which has been laced with the toxin of vulgarity," the Texas pastor began his sermon. "We slurp it. We guzzle it. We sip it without even thinking about it."
"Vulgarity has moved from an emotional outburst to the mainstream of our conversations. Vulgarity is accepted, even celebrated in so many genres of life," he said, and offered the media, music, and social networking communities as examples of where cussing is prevalent.
Young continued, "Every single person on planet Earth knows that what they are saying is either right or wrong. Where do we get that from? It comes from God. Scientists can't explain it. Psychiatrists can't explain it. Even the most spectacular sinner in the world has a conscience that comes from God.
"We're made in His image. We have this God conscience. So when we hear or we say something, we know down deep that it is wrong."
The minister then moved on to share an example of a non-Christian friend he talked with who asked him the main difference between Christianity and all other world religions.
"Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship. Our behavior has disqualified us from a relationship with God. Even after my best sermon, my best book, or my best run, I still am a self-centered sinner. I'm still disqualified from entering into heaven," the Fellowship Church pastor commented.
Young expressed, however, that Christ's sacrifice on the cross allows sinners a chance to make that relationship work again. Just like committing onself to a spouse, one has to commit himself to God by speaking purely and leaving vulgarity behind, he urged.
"When I'm talking about vulgarity, I am not talking about just cleaning up my language, or erasing stuff from my laptop, or deleting certain channels…that's just external stuff," he explained, suggesting that change has to come from within. "It's about our relationship with Christ."
Pastor Young quoted Matthew 15:18, which reads: "But the things that come out of the mouth, come from the heart."
The Fellowship preacher explained that "our words set the die for our lives. You can meet someone at a party, you can meet someone at work, around your complex, wherever. You can tell by how they are talking what kind of person they are. It is the first indicator of who a person is."
"If my heart I right before God, I am going to honor him with the words that I say. Our words are our greatest predictor of the future," Young continued.
"Don't get drunk on the 'cool aid'. Drink the living water of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of this is a heart issue. Jesus lived righteously, something we can never do. He died sacrificially, something that of course, we can never do -- and rose bodily. He has paved the course for you and me to know him," the pastor said.
He concluded by saying, "It is time to let Jesus power-wash your soul."
In his previous "Cool Aid" sermon, pastor Young talked about the controversial issue of same-sex marriage, and said that it was important to consider why the Bible describes homosexuality as sin and why same-sex marriage misrepresents God's relationship with creation.
The entire "Cool-Aid" series, which continues next week on the subject of bullying, is available on the Fellowship Church website.