“These [christians] have turned the world upside down!” Was the exclamation of some of the 1st century non-believers regarding the culture of the Jesus-followers in their town.
A mistake would be to react to this text in such a way: “thats what we need to do! we need to turn the world upside down.” Such an approach misses the point. The aim of those believers was not to turn the world upside down, but rather to pursue and express Jesus. As a group follows Him, the accompanying fruit will come in opposition to the culture around them. This is true across time and culture. Whether it be 18th century Victorian England, 12th century conquesting Mongolia, or 21st century fill-in-the-blank America, there will be some aspect of Jesus’ character that rubs people the wrong way.
The reason for this is that all cultures are essentially egocentric at their heart (because people are essentially self focused). Its expressed differently depending on the culture, but at it’s root its all the same. As a group of believers express the Life of the Godhead (more commonly known as the Trinity, see Col 2:9,), it will express itself in an essentially selfless way. Without going too in depth, a community of believers who constantly give of themselves to each other is a reflection of what is going on in the Godhead. The Father and Son constantly give of themselves to the other via Holy Spirit, and his community of believers is an expression/reflection of this interplay.
As we express that culture that is truly different than the world (in other words, holy), non-believers will reject it (2 Cor 2:16).
True Life looks a lot like death, and true Death looks a lot like life*. Jesus said “if you want to save your life you will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
*The same with freedom: true freedom looks a lot like slavery, and true slavery looks a lot like freedom.
Salutations mi amigos!